Aaron Trahan and Doug Thorpe

The Power of Leadership: A Conversation with Aaron Trahan

As the host of the podcast “Leadership Powered by Common Sense,” I recently had the pleasure of engaging in a thought-provoking conversation with Aaron Trahan. Aaron, a seasoned leader and performance coach, shared his journey and insights on leadership, performance, and the importance of continuous growth.

The Journey to Leadership

Erin’s leadership journey is nothing short of inspiring. At the tender age of 23, he was put in charge of a $100 million business. Despite the inevitable mistakes he made along the way, Aaron’s experiences led him to a profound realization: he needed to rebuild and find new levels of success.

This realization sparked a passion for helping others reach their potential, ultimately leading him to launch his own leadership and performance coaching firm.

The Importance of Continuous Improvement

Our conversation revolved around the importance of performance and results in business and leadership. We both agreed on the danger of complacency and the need to constantly strive for growth and improvement.

In the post-COVID business world, leaders must navigate the challenges of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA). Aaron defines high performance as looking forward and being comfortable with discomfort, constantly seeking to tap into one’s potential and find their next best version.

Defining the Next Version of Leadership

We emphasized the need for leaders to think about their personal growth and development, even if they are already successful in their current roles. Leaders must define what the next level of their leadership can be, whether it’s in terms of communication, strategic thinking, or analytical abilities.

Aaron pointed out that many leaders desire better results and performance, but they often struggle with taking action and knowing how to achieve those results. This lack of awareness and clarity creates uncertainty and prevents leaders from making progress. He compared this to using GPS or maps to navigate to a destination, highlighting the importance of knowing where you are currently and where you want to go.

The Role of Leadership in Individual Growth

Aaron emphasized the role of leadership in helping individuals develop and grow. He mentioned the negative impact of sink or swim promotions and the importance of providing structure and support to help leaders succeed in their new roles.

I added that bad leadership can have a compounding negative impact on the entire team, leading to decreased potential and capability.

The Importance of Self-Reflection and Personal Growth

We discussed the importance of personal growth and development for leaders. Using the analogy of the oxygen mask on an airplane, we emphasized that leaders must prioritize their own growth before they can effectively lead and help others. We highlighted the danger of leaders who expect to be better in the future without actively working on their own development.

The Paradox of Success

We also discussed the paradox of success, where a company’s growth outpaces the leader’s growth. If leaders don’t develop their skills and capabilities at the same rate as their organization’s growth, it will eventually lead to trouble and ineffective management. We encouraged leaders to reflect on their own growth and compare it to the growth of their organization.

The Power of Feedback

Aaron emphasized the need for leaders to be aware of their blind spots and actively seek feedback from key stakeholders. He encourages leaders to ask the question, “How can I improve?” and to establish feedback loops to receive honest responses. He advises leaders to not take feedback personally but to take it seriously and make necessary adjustments.

The Importance of Thought Partnerships

Aaron discussed the importance of thought partnerships in personal and professional growth. Thought partnerships, according to Aaron, are relationships that stretch your thinking, broaden your perspectives, challenge limiting beliefs, and help you see problems and solutions from different angles.


Our conversation with Aaron Trahan was a deep dive into the world of leadership and performance. It highlighted the importance of continuous growth, self-reflection, and the power of feedback and thought partnerships. To learn more about Aaron’s approach to performance mindset coaching, visit his website at performancemindsetcoaching.com or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Remember, there is a video version of the podcast available on YouTube, as well as snippets on Instagram and Pinterest. I invite suggestions for future topics or potential guests and provide my website, dougthorpe.com, as a resource for more leadership insights.

Guest Bio:

Aaron has a 15+ year progressive background as a senior-level executive leader within public-company corporate environments & early-stage startups.

As a certified leadership & executive performance coach – Aaron leverages his background & training to support leaders with the implementation of systems, mental models, frameworks, growth programs, & external accountability that allows them to accelerate their path to operating as the best version of themselves and reaching their full potential.

Doug Thorpe Social Media:

Small business owners will hit an invisible wall that can stall the growth of the company. The key reason there is a wall is that owners need to shift from manager to leader. The question is, how to do that?

Doug Thorpe. Doug is a coach for CEOs and Senior Leadership Teams with 30 years of leadership experience. He is the president & CEO of Doug Thorpe Group. Doug is also a podcast host.

He helps owners understand the ways they need to reshape their thinking and attitude to make a successful break through the wall.

Learn how to move from Founder to CEO.

Doug Thorpe LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dougthorpe/

Doug Thorpe Website: https://dougthorpe.com/

Doug Thorpe Podcasts: https://podcasts.dougthorpe.com

Doug Thorpe Twitter: https://twitter.com/dougthorpe_com

Doug Thorpe Facebook: https://facebook.com/headwayexec

Doug Thorpe Instagram: https://instagram.com/dougthorpe_com

YouTube: https://youtube.com/@dougthorpe

Leave a Comment

Sign up for our Newsletter

Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit

Let’s make your vision a reality!

Want to discuss my work or a challenge you’re facing?  Leave your details and I’ll get back to you