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Coaching to Flourish Season 3 | Episode 11

March 15, 2023 by Steve Baker

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Raj Anderson and guest experts answer your coaching questions each week!

In Coaching to Flourish Season 3 Episode 11 our hosts discuss aspiration and inspiration, cultivating habits that help us to flourish and meet our goals as well as setting guideposts for keeping distractions at a distance.

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What habits should coaches be looking to cultivate?
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Live Transcript (unedited)

[Raj Anderson] Everyone welcome to the Coaching to Flourish podcast. I'm your host, Raj Anderson, Executive Life Coach and  Assessor, and I am excited to be here again with John Andrew Williams, founder of Coach Training EDU. Um, you just caught the beginning of something I think I would say is really magical. You know, John was just sharing about acknowledgement of where he's at and appreciation, and I want us to be able to capture and harness that, John, what else would you share about celebration today? 

[John Andrew Williams] Well, thank you Raj. And I know cause today's been a lot. So we've been, uh, we had our all trainer meeting, which is all that always gets me, uh, psyched up. And, uh, we've just been knocking out, like the admin team has really been knocking out like, uh, you know, challenge after challenge.

In terms of, you know, just the logistics on the back end and, you know, all, all of it, working with all the websites. Uh, but the big thing, we just gotta, you know, accreditations, we're talking like, you know, through level two icf, we got the health board, uh, we are work, you know, there's, there's still some movement on the other ones too.

Um, but the big thing is we got through step two of three through Apple's, uh, developer program for our app, which we're, which we're calling Coach Theory. Which is, uh, it's a, it's, it's a coach client marketplace app. So the idea is it works like Lyft, where you put in how many minutes you wanna be coached, how much money you wanna spend for that coach, and then a message is sent out to all of the coaches at that level or higher, uh, and whoever gets there gets that coaching set, like whoever gets whatever coach says yes first, they get matched up with that client. So the idea is that it's an anti-bias coach client match system that emphasizes real time, uh, like, you know, the, the value proposition is getting coached in real time is more valuable, uh, than, you know, looking at pictures of coaches and picking people to coach you based on their pictures.

And it's an anti-bias system because it doesn't matter what your coach looks like. It only matters the experience level of your coach and the fit between you and your coach. So it's a, it's an idea of, I mean, my, my hope is that people will work with a number of coaches and be surprised at what it's like to work with people, uh, and who are very different from themselves.

And, uh, That's gonna be amazing. So it's gonna also let us bring this, this, uh, bring coaching to, uh, populations and places that normally don't have access to coaching. So, for instance, let's say university wants to, um, have a certain silo of coaches that they've approved. They can have their students work with this body of coaches in a very efficient way so students can get coached exactly when they need it, by coaches that the university trusts or perhaps perhaps have trained or has on staff or you know, has contracted or those kinds of things. So this is going to be live. We have a link, so it's there. We're not sharing it yet a lot, but, uh, I'm getting, I'm guessing two or three more weeks, like by, you know, mid-April.

I think it's gonna be officially out there live where anyone can download it. 

[Raj Anderson] This is so exciting. Congratulations to Coach Training EDU, and, and to you, John, I heard you say right at the beginning, this is a dream. 

[John Andrew Williams] Yeah. Yeah. It really is. It really is. It was, uh, it was yesterday, so I was, I was driving from Portland back to Hood River and uh, there's a Marwan Bridge which goes over there. And I used to drive on that bridge, but when we lived in Portland, when working with clients, so I'd, I'd go south about a half hour, meet with a bunch of clients, go over the Marwan Bridge. And I remember like always listening to my vision recordings of like where I wanted to be in my life, just to remind myself I listened to like going both to and after client session and the feeling of, you know, let's say working with like three or four back-to-back sessions in a row, and then going over that bridge, listening to like the, the hopes and dreams that I had, uh, that bridge to me symbolizes so much. And going over it yesterday, uh, I just felt like, you know, knowing that the app was actually going to happen and just envisioning that thousands of coaching sessions that are going to happen because of this app.

It's a lot. I mean, I feel like I had to breathe through it and say, you know what, like all this hard work, all of these things, you know, it's dreaming plus doing. It's, that's the both, you know, being able to do both. Uh, that's where I'm at. And so I, I mean, it might be worthless for me to be on this, this, I feel like I'm all over the place. I really, truly am. Like, I just, it's a lot and all of it is just like, ugh. So I'm, I'm feeling it. I'm in it. I'm in it. Yeah, 

[Raj Anderson] This is magical. I, I just, as you said that, that's the Walt Disney quote, isn't it? You everyone knows I'm a Disney fan. If you can dream it, you can do it. And you just shared that right there.

[John Andrew Williams]  Yeah. It's, oh, it's so many turns. It's, uh, it's, uh, are we doing it? I mean, is it gonna go, you know, is this gonna work? Is this something that, I mean, is it just, uh, you know, am I just deceiving myself thinking, oh no, there's this like happy, like thing that's going to happen. Or is there really leadership? Is it like, yeah, this is the vision, let's actually go for it.

Um, that feels very, that there's that book by the Armer Institute Leadership and Self Deception. This feels like in that space very much. I'm asking myself, is this real, not real, is it? I mean, there's still challenges, there's still things that we gotta do, but I feel like the, the skill that I feel like I've been leaning into most is perseverance.

This idea of if we're persisting, we're still, we're still winning. Like if you're persisting, you're winning. And you know a lot of people when when they establish a coaching practice, when they start to establish a coaching practice, and I was there too, there's so many unknowns, there's so much fear and doubt and uncertainty where you just go, I don't even know if this is going to work or not, but let me just try something.

It's that, let me try something. It's that continual, let me try something that I feel like, eventually turns into, okay, I did something, or, okay, like, this is how this is going to work. But it's almost like, you know, do or do not, like, there's no try. It's like, no, no, no. Keep trying until you do like, you know, that's, that's what Yoda should have said.

It's like, just keep trying, keep trying until the do the do happens and yeah. So maybe that's what Yoda means, right? Just keep, you know, there's no try

[Raj Anderson]  It's funny, I was talking about Yoda to somebody else yesterday. Um, what, what words of wisdom do you have, John, for those who might be feeling disheartened or they're not seeing their kind of fruits of their labor? 

[John Andrew Williams] I've been there, I mean, I've been there maybe just like, you know, two weeks ago. Um, I, I think because it was hard. It was just so unknown. You don't know. I mean, it could be like Apple could have came back and said, look, this is, you've gotta do this, this, this, this. It's still three months away. Like that could, that's what we were playing with, that that's the idea. We still could be there. Um, I have, when I look at myself from a bird's eye view, I feel like there's a couple things that I've been incessant with, and one of the things that I've been incessant with is this, this adherence to I truly believe in the field of coaching, and I truly believe that the field of coaching is going to make an impact and a difference in this world. And having found something like that, that I truly believe in, it takes the pressure off of the results and puts the pressure instead on the habits that I have.

And so I think when, when I'm feeling like in that space of, okay, I'm feeling uncertainty, I'm feeling the doubt, I'm feeling the fear. If I go into, let me look at the current circumstances that usually heightens those things that can, that can make it even more challenging sometimes. So instead, I've really been incessant with adhering to that vision of, okay, this is where I'm going.

Am I, and I'm using the, the, uh, the feedback as information. How can I manage my habit set? And that's the key question, like how can you manage your habit set? I was, uh, we were, we were in a hiring cycle for a new salesperson to join the team, and uh, one of them, he said something like, uh, you know, a lot of salespeople, they get caught up in their results when they really need to be focused in on their habits.

Like they get caught up in their habits. Uh, and that's so true. And, and I feel like that's where you can go. You can ask yourself, okay, am I developing the habits I need to do in order to be successful? Yes or no. That's where your security is. That's where your shelter can be. Uh, you can take shelter in that and, and, and if you don't have great habits, uh, then seek out support to develop them, but at least you're doing something that you can completely control.

And that's, that's, that's the space that I think most people, I mean, that's the space I want to play in, and that's the space that I see when people start, you know, you start to get it like a sense of like, when you're working with someone's, a client, like, ooh, like, yeah, this person has that success, like kind of vibe going on.

It's cultivated, um, I have one more thing I wanna share too. 

So I was in, I was in a car, uh, with my daughter and we were talking about writing and all this kind of stuff, and it was lovely and, and, uh, we both have been like, really productive in the last couple weeks. And she said something, uh, about writing and um, it came like, you know, a lot of people want to write, right?

But are people who want to write, are they willing to cultivate a writing life? Like, are you willing to cultivate a, like are you willing to cultivate? Yeah. People want, you know, coaching practice, they want to work independently with clients, but are you willing to cultivate an entrepreneurship independent kind of life that is open to developing that practice?

Because, I mean, everyone wants to write. Who really wants to develop a lifestyle of a writer, which means no, you have to be, you have to have guardrails of at least two hours a day every single day. Like that's the write, that's the writer's life. Are you willing to do that?

That, so it's like, it's reframing. It's like really asking yourself the question. Uh, you know, not can I get what I'm after, but can I develop the lifestyle, the habit sets to make that thing happen? It seems subtle and obvious once it's said, but I've been really playing with that in the last couple days, in the last days.

[Raj Anderson] What habits should coaches be looking to cultivate?

[John Andrew Williams] I think the number, uh, I, I think part of it is really finding ways to, uh, one of the biggest habits I think is finding ways to, uh, stay focused. Like limiting distraction, I feel like is huge. Um, that, you know, really finding like when people are stressed out, like having a really tight loop so that, uh, you aren't like going down another rabbit, like your distraction doesn't also open up another rabbit hole.

Uh, that to me feels like the key, you know, like for me, I allow myself to stare out the window now. Like that's what I do. 

[Raj Anderson] You got your binoculars, 

[John Andrew Williams] I'm on, I'm out there. I mean that I, that is a, that is an allowable, you know what I mean? Like that's an allowable distraction uh, you know, during, during work time, but I mean, to be so disciplined on it, I feel like there's, I mean, our attention care is a certain discipline that's required.

Um, yeah. I've also been playing with hourglasses lately too. Like, can I, so yeah, I have this one here. It's a, it's a 30 minute hourglass. Uh, so that's like the, the, and then there's this other one here that's the five minute, so the 30 minutes, the warm up. So I flip it over, I have 30 minutes warm up where I only allow myself to, to write or stare out the window for 30 minutes.

And if I have an idea that is distracting, I write it down on only a sticky note, not a notebook, but a sticky note cuz the idea has to be able to fit on this for me to come back to it later. And it doesn't allow me to go to rabbit hole to like go, oh, like let me work on the pricing page, your schedule page again, like, you know, no.

Like, no. It's just I write it on here and then I go back to writing what I'm doing. Yeah. So I've been playing with that the last couple weeks. 

[Raj Anderson] That's really cool. So it is like having systems to help you form those habits, isn't it? 

[John Andrew Williams] Yeah. Yeah. And it's an incessant, it's almost like an incessant obsession with how can I create systems that actually work?

Like, you know, that your system's working when you want to use it. Like I, that hourglass, I'm like, Yes. Like, give me the hour. Like give me the hour. Like, because it's such a cool visual representation to have time passing. Like you see the sand, like literally I'm like, I'm doing it like I'm actually writing right now.

The sand is coming down and then the 30 minutes is over and I have a choice to flip it and keep going. Or, I have accomplished what I needed to do and then I can make a new choice from there. So. 

[Raj Anderson] It reminds me of the Palmora effect, isn't it? 

[John Andrew Williams]  Yes, exactly. 

[Raj Anderson] You can get one of those, you can get an hourglass. Really cool. 

[John Andrew Williams] Yep, yep. 

[Raj Anderson] What common distractions get in the way for people?

[John Andrew Williams] Um, yeah, I mean, I mean, I think that, I think the, the one that comes to mind that I've been avoiding is an endless scroll. Like anything that has an endless scroll aspect to it, uh, I will go through different time periods where I avoid them completely. I cleanse completely, but it's not sustainable. Um, cuz they do have to communicate with other humans, social media at some point in time.

But I do, I'll just like, I'll just take breaks from it for a very,  for a while. And then, uh, that to me seems like the big one we talk a lot about as a family too, like to be mindful of being able to scroll, like to have guardrails too around when you do it. Uh, it's just guardrails, you know? I, yeah. That's how that works.

Like you, I mean, you, you, yours, like, you know, you keep the technology out the phone out of the, out of the certain rooms, right? Like that's a guardrail. We need them. 

[Raj Anderson] Yeah. I took all the apps off my phone. As well, social media apps, not on my phone. 

[John Andrew Williams] Wow. Right? 

[Raj Anderson] So, you know, I only have LinkedIn really. Um, you know, the, oh, there's few others, but then I don't manage them personally.

And if I'm gonna go on LinkedIn, I actually have to go onto my computer and it's limited, so, there are some parameters there. And I'm hearing you, John, talk about mindfulness, you know, staring out the window, you know, you're looking at those hawks. I think mindfulness sometimes can be, uh, underestimated by people or they think mindfulness is about sitting silently in a room or meditating.

Yeah. I have mindfulness moments when I'm washing the dishes. Just calm. 

[John Andrew Williams] Hmm. Hmm. Yeah. 

[Raj Anderson] How would you speak to that? 

[John Andrew Williams]  Yeah. Uh, it's funny, I'm, I don't feel like I'm doing it. Like, you know, when I, when I look at the window for a bit, um, I don't think I'm doing it thinking, okay, I have to check in. Like, I'm not, I'm not exactly conscious of that, but that's exactly what I'm doing. Like, It's a way of like a reset, you know, it's a way of, um, allowing whatever thoughts need to settle versus trying to add more thoughts into like, it's, it's, it's like, so let's say that the, the idea is to, uh, work out, like process whatever needs to be processed, right? Uh, by like just sitting. Looking on a window or whatever, uh, all the, all the current thoughts have to settle down like sand and water and just sort of settle the water separates, there's more clarity> When, uh, I try to distract myself through adding more in to like, make the, you know, just push the sand away. 

It's literally like trying to add more sand into the bucket, you know, into the swirl world and yeah, you'll push the sand down but you're just, you're also spilling water all over the. Hmm. And you just have more ideas, more stuffed after process. So it feels like, yeah, like I've escaped those ideas for a period of time, but then I've added tons more ones, and those ones weren't really processed yet.

So it's like the processor's overwhelmed. And in, in computer science terms, this term is called thrashing. It's like the computer is doing all the work of context switching from one app to the next, like, okay, like, yeah, let me gather all the resources so I can actually do some algorithms and make some computations, but the computer can't get to that real work because they're spending all of its time just adding like just context switching.

Like, okay, like I'm going from thing to thing to thing to thing, but I'm not really actually doing any work. I feel like a lot of people are in that space. Like, and, and especially when you're in entrepreneurship, the idea is I don't even know what I need to do. I need to do 12 things all at once. So how do you do, how do you handle that?

You gotta have a mean for me, like I had to have a sense of like, going back to the like real circle, like, like really finding, okay, so this is the, this is the vision, this is the dream, this is the work that needs to happen. Uh, let me just do one thing and let the 11 other things be there for a bit. I feel like there's definitely a capacity for tolerance.

It's almost like a capacity, it's a tolerance. Uh, there has to be a tolerance for things not being perfect. And that's okay. And knowing like, yeah, it's not perfect. There's probably a typo in one of our, in one of our textbooks.

[Raj Anderson] It's complete. It's done though. 

[John Andrew Williams] And we have comments and let us know where they are. Right. Oh my gosh. But yeah, it's that, it's like, it's a tolerance. Have you have to be able to build a tolerance for things not being perfect, comments happening, whatever, like, you know, negative feedback, whatever you get.

Um, but knowing that, yeah. Okay. Like, we're gonna get there. Thank you for that feedback. We'll, we're working on it. We're, we'll get there. It's the we'll get there. Um, it's the, yeah, we're trying to, it's done. It's that feeling. 

[Raj Anderson] And I, I'm hearing essential qualities, essential coaching qualities right there in practice, you're talking about being courageous, you know, and, and trusting self and trusting the process.

And what was really beautiful, I heard you share, John, is just as coaches, we hold space for our clients and our coachees. You are talking about holding space for yourself too. 

[John Andrew Williams] Hmm. I haven't thought of it that way, but. I love that. That's fun for sure. Yeah. 

[Raj Anderson] Yeah. Holding space for self. We gift it to our clients and we gift it for other people and yeah, that's what we training coaches to do, aren't we?

[John Andrew Williams]  Cool. I like that. Oh, I love that analogy. That's so cool. Yeah, it's like that almost exactly. It's like the ability, it's almost like having silence in conversation, right? We talk about silence between, you know, a coaching question and then letting the client answer. It's almost like you're allowing a pause in your, like you just stare out a window. You're just allowing a pause. Like, it's almost like you allow your, you give yourself that same gift of silence to process whatever needs to be processed. That's so cool. I love it. 

[Raj Anderson] And we we're on time, John, and I would love to keep chatting. We, we'll probably have John again next week so we can build off of this.

And we've got some themes around health and wellness, which I think will dovetail to this perfectly next week yet. What message would you close us out with today, John? 

[John Andrew Williams] Yeah, and just, just gratitude. Thank you, Raj. Like I know that I like came in like. Where it like, it's, it's emotional. It really is. And it feels like it's so much work and it just feels like when it comes together, it really has.

And um, yeah, it, it's, I'm just breathing. I'm just reminding myself to breathe. Like it really can be this amazing.  and that doesn't minimize the work, you know, that doesn't like all the doom and gloom. Like there's there, it's present, it's, it can be there. And yeah, there's still a ton of work that we need to do, but I'm really, really stepping into this celebration of yeah, we got, we got a big milestone and uh, I'm taking it.

Yeah. So thank you and thanks for listening to me like all of it. Thank you, Raj. You're amazing. 

[Raj Anderson] Thank you, John. And we're grateful. Yeah.

[John Andrew Williams] Thank you for the space. 

[Raj Anderson] Thank you. We're grateful for you. And, and this is on Improv in Action. I had questions through 'em out the window. 

[John Andrew Williams] Yeah.

[Raj Anderson] This more important. 

[John Andrew Williams] I can't even believe it. It's so wild. But thank you. You're lovely. And, uh, this is amazing space. Um, yeah. Yeah, I, I think, you know, I can't imagine once it's like really live, I'm just waiting for that very first coaching session to happen because of this app and to feel like, uh, this field, I feel like the world needs it. And you know, the thing that keeps me going a lot is thinking like, yeah, we're doing this for our larger purpose.

You know, it's to bring more kindness and empathy. You know, I aspire to be a better leader. You know, I aspire to be a better human. And I think one of the things I'm really reminded of is Laura Whitworth. I took a leadership program with her, she's one of the founders of the ICF. And there was one thing that stood out to me, and which, you know, among others, but there's one thing in particular, and it's this idea, she gave this really impassioned speech where she said, look, you get yourself in trouble when you think like I am good at whatever that is.

Uh, and. I mean, when she's really speaking to is the  idea of a fixed mindset where people say, I'm good at this. Uh, then, you know, opens up defensiveness and all those kinds of things. But the idea is like, aspire, like when you aspire to, you know, yeah, okay, I might be good at this, but I aspire to be better, is that word aspire, which opens us up to continual growth and it's, it keeps us in that growth mindset.

So, yeah, like I aspire to be a better human. I aspire to be a better leader. I aspire to be a better, you know, you fill that, you fill in the gap, uh, you know, you fill in the blank. And yeah, that's what remind you of pretty heavily right now. So thank you. Thank this space and all it. 

[Raj Anderson] Thank you, John. I wanna acknowledge you. You deserve this, all of your hard work and I would say today has been both aspirational and inspirational. So thank you to you and thank you to the listeners. 

[John Andrew Williams] Thank you. Take care.

[Raj Anderson]  See you soon.

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