An Interview with
The Mentor Group International
I am an Award-Winning Author, Project Coach and the Founder of The Mentor Group International. As a pioneer Project Coach, I’ve been helping project executives who are overwhelmed with underperforming projects that drain their budgets and energy, turn their projects and companies into profitable, award-winning successes.
I’ve been intimately involved in the Project Management arena for 40 years, including being a senior executive and project coach for major companies like Chevron, Unocal and PTT, and the company which I founded in 2008, The Mentor Group International (www.mentor-group.org), a Project Management coaching company based in Thailand, supporting clients in the Australasia region over the last 12 years.
To continue pursuing my passion in helping successful project executives and up-and-coming project leaders raise their effectiveness and profitability to the next level, and to
13 October 2021
Tell us about your background, and how you came to found your company?
I am Greek born, educated in the USA, and having Thailand as my home for the last 22 years.
As Project Coach, I am internationally recognized for creating project excellence for my clients throughout mycareer over the past four decades. I have served as senior executive and project coach for numerous international organizations including Chevron, Unocal, CITGO, PTTEP, Total and others, helping them to achieve iconic project success by creating customized PMOs (Project Management Offices) that generated billions of dollars in savings, and several award-winning projects. After leaving the corporate world in 2008, I established The Mentor Group International, and supported the Australasian Region through project coaching, creating substantial project efficiencies for our clients.
Among my project accomplishments, I am most proud of the one that received the prestigious 2003 PMI (Project Management Institute) International Project of the Year Award Runner Up for Unocal Thailand’s North Pailin Gas Development project, (second only to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah); through this project, Unocal’s image was established as the “Leading Project Implementation” company in Southeast Asia.
I am the co-founder and past president of the PMI Thailand chapter and a passionate supporter of the advancement of the Project Management profession worldwide. I lecture at prominent Thai universities and frequently share my experiences at global events.
I now exclusively support global project executives who are overwhelmed with under-performing projects and businesses that drain their budgets and energy, coaching them to turn them into profitable successes.
What is most important to you and your organization – mission, vision, or core values? Why?
Whether as an executive, the CEO of my own company or while building project management teams and cultures for my clients, I unequivocally believe that the company’s core values and their adaptation by everyone is of the utmost importance for its success. In coaching my project executive clients, I first ensure that through Team Building everyone understands and buys into the core values of the company, as the building block. The Mission and Vision support of the team members comes naturally, once everyone is congruent with the core values.
I personally believe that the CEO or founder’s values can make or break a company. By first identifying their own personal values will determine what brings them their highest excitement which will then drive the Mission, Values and projects their company will undertake. When the employees buy-in and adopt these values, they will work in harmony and alignment, and thus live an authentic and purposeful life as well. Not surprisingly, this lack of connection with the leader’s and company’s values leaves employees feeling lost, confused, and unsatisfied with their contribution, which affect their performance and results.
Can you explain briefly how your service(s)/product(s) works?
While coaching Project Executives and their Project Managers and Teams, I quickly pinpoint the problem areas and the barriers by using my vast expertise and experience of industry lessons, while using assessments concurrently (pre and post) as well as my bottomless toolbox of techniques, shortcuts and Change Management skills; in a period of 6-months or less they start realizing significant improvements in savings, profitability and timely completions, which positively affects their finances, credibility and trust with their clients. Most often, my clients ask me to continue my support by helping them build a long-term, self-sustainable project management culture through customized PMOs (Project Management Offices).
How has the industry been changing in recent years?
We’ve all experienced the unavoidable changes that affected many businesses in catastrophic ways, with many going out of business after many years in operation. Many of these changes were reactionary, many last minute, quick fixes and adaptations in order to survive. Many were short term solutions that usually don’t last the test of time. In my opinion, and my philosophy in life and business, it’s best to plan and be prepared for these risks, so that the solutions are well thought, tested and proven. I see the exponential changes that have been affecting the industry, and especially over the last 2-years, to continue for a much longer period of time, at an even faster pace; especially people working more in virtual teams, adapting AI as part of the everyday business, and increased automation as the norm. As I have always advocated, even before the pandemic, the most resilient and most flexible companies will survive and thrive, but most importantly the companies that plan ahead and are well prepared in anticipation of these risk events.
What makes you different from what’s currently available in the market?
Even before I founded The Mentor Group and established my project coaching program in Thailand, I was one of the pioneer 5 Project Coaches in the USA, who adopted the more culturally sensitive approach of Coach and Mentor, as opposed to being one of the millions of practicing consultants. The main difference between a Coach and a Consultant is that a Consultant will be hired to perform an assignment, and once finished they get paid and leave, while a Coach or Mentor will stay to ensure the changes are permanent and long lasting.
Currently, I am not aware of any other company in Southeast Asia that uses a purely Project Management Coaching approach – which especially in this region and the responsive world in general, is so much more needed.
What does the future hold for your company?
The basis of preparing for the future, is the resilience model that I have built in my coaching practice, and is the same I built for The Mentor Group International, and which I am also employing in the Project Organizations I build for my clients, under the guise of Change Management; that means using influencing methods to gain trust and ongoing support from all stakeholders.
I am currently mentoring more competent and experience project managers, grooming them in becoming expert project coaches and support me in my coaching practice. I am always open to hear from anyone who is passionate about coaching and project management and are willing to work with me and be part of my expanding team. In this new virtual business environment, the candidates can be physically located anywhere in the world, and support anyone around the globe just like I do.
As life is a big complicated project, which is getting more complicated by the day, I foresee more individuals embracing my coaching programs, whether they are frustrated start-up managers, confused and stressed parents, or their teenagers who are about to tackle life, by learning to use the organizational and soft skills that I coach in my practice, to clarify their goals, and plan and execute their dreams in the best way possible.
In my recent book “Your Life Mastery, The Complete Guide to an Extraordinary Life”(www.LifeMasteryBook.com) I systematically share these life skills that took me a lifetime to master, and that are equally important in both our professional and personal life. I see this as my personal contribution during these difficult times, whether you are a worried parent, a confused start-up owner, or even an executive who wants to take their projects and career to the next level.
Some of these critical life skills I share in this book are, how to:
· Understand what’s been holding you back and release it to be able to live your life to your fullest potential
· Master your mind and emotions to enjoy a magnificent life
· Get organized to bring order and harmony to your life
· Communicate, negotiate and influence for success
· Use your creativity and power of your mind to create real miracles
My vision for my coaching company is to spread my coaching beyond the corporate and executive world, and go beyond, by teaching these skills to parents and their teenagers before they graduate high school and enter working life, so they enjoy the enormous difference that they will make in their lives.