Unleashing Limitless Potential Through the Power of Coaching
Business View interviews Jack Prevezer and Marion Gamel of EZRA for our focus on Professional Services.
Founded in the summer of 2019, EZRA is a shining example of innovation in the learning and development industry backed by behavioural science. Established through the innovation branch of parent company Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH), this organisation has scaled over almost four years of operation to become one of the world’s leading providers of virtual leadership coaching.
EZRA provides coaching solutions designed to suit the needs of the few, as well as the many. Trusted by brands such as Nestlé, Microsoft, and Spotify, the company’s coaching programs span a variety of solution areas including leadership, management, change and transformation, diversity and inclusion, wellbeing, and executive coaching. These services are complemented by two comprehensive systems: EZRA Measure, a peer-reviewed set of standardized assessments to track and quantify behavioural growth, and EZRAx, a high-touch executive coaching program designed for modern business leaders.
Jack Prevezer is EZRA’s COO and Co-Founder. He begins, “EZRA launched with a vision to scale the instrument of behavioural change, which is a really powerful tool. Historically, as the name suggests, executive coaching was reserved for the executive class in an organisation, so only those particularly senior benefited from the opportunities for personal and professional development that it presents. One of the reasons for this is that executive coaching was traditionally very expensive and had to occur in person, within the nine-to-five window. The offering was not made available or accessible to those more junior. EZRA was established to disrupt tradition and democratise the superpower of professional coaching by making it available to employees across all levels of an organisation.”
EZRA’s primary approach to this mission was to provide an entirely virtual service, which matches coaches with organisations and their staff based on specific needs. This tailored method was received with great success in a short amount of time. “We were able to connect with learning and human resource leaders almost immediately following our launch, thanks to our association with LHH, who work with nearly 80% of Fortune 500 companies,” Jack shares.
“In fact, McDonald’s was our first ever customer. The chief learning officer of McDonald’s secured a number of licences to support their high-potential leaders going through a senior leadership development program. McDonald’s were able to introduce and embed coaching as part of that program for the first time, thanks to our value and accessibility.”
Since then, EZRA has risen to become an industry leader, working with hundreds of the world’s largest organisations to integrate coaching into standard professional development offerings. The result? Hundreds of thousands of employees at all levels have received individualized, results-based professional coaching- at a fraction of the usual cost.
Jack reflects, “As we approach our fourth anniversary, we are proud to support organisations using EZRA as an instrument to address not just behavioural change within their business, but organisational change on an industry-wide scale. We don’t just supply coaches. We sit down with each organisation and provide a comprehensive plan that identifies clear, measurable goals for sustainable growth. For example, a McDonald’s executive will be working on different behaviours and competencies when compared to a leading Microsoft engineer.”
EZRA maintains a partnership with the International Coaching Federation and sits on advisory boards for digital coaching ethics, in recognition of the responsibility held by industry leaders to hold coaches to impeccable standards. “EZRA is one of the top three providers of digital coaching, so we’re in a very privileged position, as are our coaches,” Jack says.
“Every single one of them is ICF and/or MCC (Master Certified Coach) certified and has worked in a senior corporate position for at least 10 years. Once we have verified their expertise, we look at their temperament and ability to navigate coaching specifically in a virtual setting. When we assign a coach to a particular organisation, they also need to undertake an organisational briefing relevant to the organisation’s context, which introduces them to company culture, leadership frameworks and finally the areas they wish to focus on or goals they want to achieve.”
Looking ahead, EZRA has big plans to transform the way their industry operates, through research and development initiatives that integrate behavioural science into digital coaching practices. The company has sponsored research fellows at New York University’s human capital management department, to learn more about behavioural science concepts that apply to the coaching experience. EZRA also has an internal research and development department called EZRA Labs.
Jack explains, “We recently formed EZRA Labs, a team of cutting-edge behavioural scientists and learning and development experts who are focused on developing the frontier of digital coaching. They are building our next generation of learning and development tools to support what we call lifecycle milestones.
“We believe that, as an employee progresses through their work-life cycle, there are key moments that really matter that would benefit from tailored coaching. These could be the moment you enter the workforce as a graduate, become a manager for the first time, or reach a senior leader or C-level executive position. There are also transitional moments, like joining a new company or returning to work after parental leave. Every one of these is a trigger moment in career and organisation lifecycles, and it’s so critical that they are supported properly to ensure proper planning, response, decision-making, etc.
“Over the next two years, we want to be able to demonstrate evidence that coaching makes a real difference in lifecycle moments and is able to seamlessly allow an organisation to scale through those moments in an impactful and intentional way.”
EZRA offers tailored, scalable coaching for organisations focused on delivering performance and business outcomes that resonate with their target marketplace. Jack concludes, “This is an industry that is growing and will continue to grow. We’re very fortunate and privileged to be at the forefront of its development; leading the growth of an industry category is a powerful thing, and we take our responsibility very seriously.”
Marion Gamel is a certified executive coach and the Master Coach for EZRAx, EZRA’s executive coaching offering. Having spent years as part of management teams at companies including Google and Eventbrite, she has gained a solid understanding of what it means to be a leader including the challenges and opportunities that come with it. Coaching executives around the world since 2015, Marion strives to have a transformational impact on her clients resulting in stronger leadership, ambitious goal setting, increased confidence, fast growth and improved efficiency and agility.
Marion concludes EZRA’s highlight with Business View Magazine with answers to some of EZRA’s most frequently asked questions:
Q: What should executives look for when hiring a coach to help them improve their leadership skills and thus bottom line?
Marion: The top two qualities executives should look for are a coach’s qualifications and track record. Since coaching is not a regulated industry, it is important to ensure that the coach you’re considering working with is certified, has received the right kind of training, and has sufficient experience in terms of number of coaching hours and the level of seniority at which they coach.
I would also always advise a leader who is considering working with a coach to speak with a handful of past clients to understand what they got out of the experience, what worked well for them, what they were trying to achieve and whether they have achieved it with the support of this coach.
Q: What qualities are most important for executives to develop that will ensure their success as a leader in their organization?
Marion: Considering how fast change happens today, I would think first about agility. In any company, agility needs to start from the top. However, leaders also need to set a vision, a mission and a strategy that stands the test of time, so their team does not dilute its effort going in 100 different directions.
The complexity of leadership comes from the fact that agility and stability can be in conflict. This is where the subtlety of leadership lies today; the ability to alternate between agile thinking (such as pivoting fast, innovating, taking risks, and establishing psychological safety) and keeping a team on track despite all the distractions and ‘crisis’ they are exposed to.
Q: What makes Ezra’s platform unique and how can it benefit its clients in ways traditional coaching simply can’t do?
Marion: EZRA is built on a tripod consisting of:
- Great technology that makes coaching as simple and convenient as possible. In the same way tech has transformed how we open a bank account, book a flight, or buy food over the past 20 years, it has completely transformed coaching.
- Data, that empowers leaders being coached as well as their organization to track the impact coaching has not only on the leader but also on the business.
- Coaches that are carefully vetted, continuously trained and well-matched with each client, so the chemistry between a coach and coachee is optimal, and their experience and know-how complement each other.
Q: What are a few best practices for coaching executives? How does coaching at a management level differ from a VP or C-suite level?
Marion: The difference often lies in the type of coaching that is required. Managers often benefit from business coaching, which is coaching them on the way they conduct business and the way they improve the performance of their team. Whereas VPs and the C-suite often benefit from executive coaching, which focuses on their beliefs, their reactions, their conduct, and the impact they have on a large fellowship.
AT A GLANCE
What: A leading global virtual coaching provider delivering individualized leadership coaching to advance and develop workers at every level.
Where: EZRA has offices in London, Toronto and New York City operating in over 100 countries around the world.