In a world where absolutes seem to be slipping away, you can count on this: Mike Green won’t ask you to do anything he wouldn’t do. That’s the good news. The bad news––or superb news, depending on your current frame of mind––is this is a guy who hitchhiked from New York to Alaska just to prove a point. “I hitchhiked to Alaska with no money or food,” Green confirms, before laughing and adding, “on purpose.”
Green’s story reads like missing pages of Hemingway, London, and Melville: a globetrotting odyssey dreamed up and lived out by a scrappy kid from western New York whose insatiable curiosity won’t let him settle for secondhand knowledge. He’s honest, resourceful, and boisterously good company, with a dogmatic belief in the essential goodness of people that’s contagious. Today, Green is also a highly sought-after business coach whose experience has included heavy hitters such as Chevron, Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), and others. He moves easily between vastly different arenas––from deep-water rigs to downtown corporate suites.
Over the past 20 years, Green has worked and traveled extensively throughout all seven continents and almost 60 countries, tackling a broad slate of demanding jobs along the way. He says all environments, no matter how extreme, share a fundamental need: people who are brave enough to be themselves.
Green is not just philosophizing: he’s lived his ideology in high-stakes ways. Stints as an Outward Bound instructor leading adjudicated youth through rugged terrain in the U.S, Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Finland, and Scotland, as well as launching a program for juvenile criminals for the Russian government and teaching a college course in which he led students on an 85-day exploration of Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Peru make up his early résumé. Next, he taught global history to high school students in his hometown, and began leading big-game hunting expeditions on horseback through Alaskan mountain ranges. Positions with KBR in Iraq, working with multinational militaries, the U.S. State Department, local government officials, and many others to ensure project progress and safety followed, before working as the Lead Air Transportation and Cargo Lead for the McMurdo Station in Antarctica.
In 2007, Green began his performance coaching career on land rigs in Arkansas––a rough-and-tumble environment in which he excelled. He was called in to work with crews recently hit by time-lost injuries or death. It became his job to help everyone, from the top down, realize why such a costly mistake had occurred, and to recondition the atmosphere and patterns that had allowed it. Success led him to launch his own company, and then, he went off shore. New assignments took him to ultra deep water wells and new challenges.
Green’s unique personal history has shaped his dramatically effective coaching philosophy and practice. A firm believer in the idea that people are capable of so much more than they’ve even imagined, he eschews traditional executive coaching in favor of exhuming each individual’s natural motivators and connecting them to their talents and already finely honed skills in order to achieve new highs. He’s skeptical of one-size-fits-all coaching models, and instead, tailors each engagement to the person at the center of it. Together, Green and his clients examine individual values, abilities, and goals with the overarching aim of creating new, lasting leadership habits. When he takes on a new client, he asks them to take risks, from personal stretching to investing in the coaching relationship, and to accept the unease that comes inherently with growth. “We get wound up in our day-to-day lives and forget who we are sometimes,” he says. “People want to be brave––many of them just don’t know how. It’s my passion to help them find the courage to believe in themselves.”