In this interview, we talk with Joseph O'Connor about his article, Value Yourself First - The impact of coaching on the coach.
A coaching session is a co-creation between coach and client. Both learn something, both grow as a result. Coaching can be stressful so we need to be aware of the signals of stress from our own body and mind. Clients can trigger you. They may have issues that are close to a problem you have. Sometimes they have a need that causes you to feel the pressure to fulfill that need rather than be a coach. Coaches may be very empathic, and client's emotions can be infectious. Self-reflection is crucial for a coach, although you can use the issue to challenge the client.
Coaching is a wonderful profession. We get to talk with all sorts of people, in all walks of life and help them resolve difficult situations. It also provides many opportunities for learning and focusing on what you learn can have a positive impact on both the coach and the client.
Joseph O'Connor is an author, executive coach, trainer and consultant. He has given trainings in over thirty countries and specializes helping executives become more authentic leaders. Joseph is a global director and co-founder of the International Coaching Community (ICC). He founded the Neuroscience Coaching Centre in 2019 for coaches to have access to the best Neuroscience resources for coaching.
His vision is to contribute to an integrated model of coaching – physical, mental and spiritual - to help all to act with practical wisdom in an increasingly complex world.
Join us as we learn more about the positive and negative impacts of coaching on the coach with Joseph O'Connor.
Watch the full interview by clicking here.
Find the full article here: https://bit.ly/btp_OConnor
Grab your free issue of choice Magazine here - https://choice-online.com/
In this episode, I talk with Joseph about his article published in our June 2022 issue.
Read a chapter of Joseph's latest book, "Coaching the Brain - Practical Applications of Neuroscience to coaching"
Hi, I'm Garry Schleifer. And this is Beyond the Page, brought to you by choice, the magazine and professional coaching. choice is more than a magazine. It's a community of people who use and share coaching tools, tips, and techniques to add value to their businesses and impact their clients and their own lives. And we'll find out more about that in today's episode. It's an institution of learning built over the course of 20 years. Yes, this little baby's been around for 20 years and we celebrate with our logo. You can have a copy. We've been dedicated to improving the lives of coaches and their clients. In today's episode, I'm excited to be speaking with author, executive coach trainer and consultant Joseph O'Connor, who's the author of the article in our latest issue, entitled "Value Yourself First ~the impact of coaching on the coach", which I am dying to talk about. He's the author of 19 books about coaching, neuroscience, neurolinguistic, programming, training, communication, skills, management, and system thinking. I dunno , what else you could add in there? His books have been translated into 30 languages and have sold over half a million copies worldwide. His latest book is "Coaching the Brain~ Practical Applications of Neuroscience to Coaching" and was published internationally by Rutledge. Do you say Rutledge or Routledge? Y eah. Rutledge Rutledge in February. Y eah. J ust, j ust s wing over t he exactly, in February of 2019. Joseph is a global director and co-founder of the International Coaching Community, ICC. He founded the Neuroscience Coaching Center in 2019 for coaches to have access to the best neuroscience resources for coaching. His vision is to contribute to an integrated model of coaching, physical, mental, and spiritual, to help all to act with practical wisdom in an increasingly complex world. Wow. Welcome Joseph. Thank you so much for joining us today.Speaker 2:
Thanks Garry. Great to be here.Speaker 1:
Yeah, yeah. All the way from the UK, another Commonwealth country, just like here in Canada. And of course we do what we always do in Commonwealth countries to talk about the weather and how hot it is in both countries.Speaker 2:
Yeah, we can skip that, I think.Speaker 1:
It's just too in both countries . Yeah, exactly. Go on. You know, one of the things I loved is that our art director did this particular image, which just goes to show you how well she connects with the article , because, you know, you spoke about traveling before COVID and how you had memorize the , what is it, oh, here we go. In the likely event of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from above. Secure your own mask before helping anyone else. How true, how true. And this article really speaks about that. It's about the coach and what's the impact both positive and negative on it, but why'd you decide to write itSpeaker 2:
Well , it was an interesting, you know, knowing that you were doing an issue on the impact of coaching and it was artfully vague. And , I mean, I just like to look at perspectives that aren't necessarily so well covered . So , you know, when you talk about the impact of coaching, you've got the, immediately your mind goes to the impact of coaching on the business, for example, and the ROI and this sort of stuff. And that's important. You have the impact of coaching on the individual coachee. Of course, it is linked to the institutional one and measured in different ways. But sometimes what gets forgotten is the impact of coaching on the coach themselves. They kind of get left out of the equation and I think that's sad. And I think it's very important as well because any coaching session is a co-creation between coachee and a coach, you know. We make it together in a particular context and there is impacts on all parties. And I got interested in, well okay, as a coach and the coach is the instrument as it were, the human being is the instrument of change in that situation, brought into a context, brought into to talk with the coachee. So then you better pay attention to the instrument and how sharp it is and whether it gets blunted down by repeated use and whether the metaphor gets out worn.Speaker 1:
Yeah, well then that's a good point because many coaches spend a lot of time sharpening their instrument by, you know, training, neuroscience and NLP and adding to their toolbox. And what you focus on in this article is more about the wellbeing of the coach and the impact and what I, and so thank you for doing that because, wow, I can't tell you how much my clients have impacted my life. And you speak about that quite well in that , in the article, but here's the thing. The amazing thing I see is how often what I'm coaching the client about is also something that's going on in my life. Okay. So you're an NLP and all that sort of stuff. Is that, did I cause that, or did that just a coincidence synchronicity,Speaker 2:
Sorry. You mean in the?Speaker 1:
In that context of, you know, when I'm coaching the client and so many times. I have you here. I figured, well, I'll toss this one out and see if we can answer it, but is it some universal energy that's causing that client to have a topic that connects or do we just have so much going on that its chances are pretty likely I'd win the lottery on this one?Speaker 2:
Ahh , yeah. I dunno. In the end, I suppose it doesn't matter, but , I think the universe is basically benevolent and will not always end the way that we would like, but it would basically serve you up things to help you to develop.Speaker 1:
Well , thank you.Speaker 2:
This isn't always , we don't always appreciate this, put it that way. Yeah . But yeah, I think , clients will challenge you. They'll challenge you in your own weaknesses and they'll reflect back your own weaknesses very often. Sometimes you think, you know, is this me, or is this the client? And yeah , you've gotta deal with it. You know, you've gotta deal with your own self .Speaker 1:
Yeah, yeah. True that, and, you know, and to your point, the universe gives you things in strange ways. And that's one of them for me. I was just wondering, not questioning. I'm happy that this happens. My job is to not get hooked or triggered by it and stay present. And, you know, speaking of triggering, you wrote about that in the article, clients often trigger the coach. Now I'm guessing there's a positive and negative triggering. What do you mean by that? And give us some examples.Speaker 2:
Yeah, well, you know, when I use the word trigger sometimes , we assume that triggering is bad. You know, that it's ___ or you get triggered something bad happens. Not necessarily. I mean, of course I think we're always responding emotionally to each other. And sometimes clients can kind of elicit thoughts, feelings from the coach that are difficult for the coach then to deal with and especially difficult then to deal with a client who's holding up the mirror. And you end up, at worst case, dealing with yourself, you know, in the mirror rather than the client. So sometimes yes, it's important to know when. You gotta make sure that you are always dealing with the client and not your reflection. I think that's the first thing. The second thing is that sometimes clients will trigger particular emotions and this is useful to know. I mean, for example, for me , very often I'll find myself feeling impatient. You know, come on, let's cut to the chase here. Let's get to the point, come on, just, you know, stop messing around.Speaker 1:
And then I have to ask myself, okay, is, is this me or have they actually got something to say, and they're kind of not saying it, or they're trying to say it? How can I best help them articulate what they need to articulate rather than focusing on my particular impatience? So they learn to do something to satisfy that. So it works in many different ways and also it can also trigger or elicit , um, some, some positive emotions too. So it works many ways. You just, I think what's important is to be aware of what's happening in yourself so that you can always have that distance where you are able to help the client rather than kind of getting lost in the problem.Speaker 1:
Yeah. Well, and I said earlier, it's just a reminder to be present and being present is to notice what's going on for yourself. And I'm also learning I'm in a MCC training course, and what I'm also learning is it's an opportunity to reflect that back to the client, say, I'm feeling very impatient here. Is that something that's going on for you as well? Or, or, or right. So it's, it can bounce right back as a tool into support the coaching.Speaker 2:
Oh, absolutely. I mean, sometimes, you know, I would feel impatient and the client may then start talking about how other people lack patience with them. So then, you know, the coach , as a coach, you have the choice about listening or, or saying something like, well, that's interesting, cause I'm noticing in myself, the same sort of thing now.Speaker 1:
Now wat do you think it is about this situation, this interaction and the way that you're interacting that is triggering that in me and also in other people and you won't get to say something like that if you're focused then on , you know, your impatience and they need to get on with itSpeaker 1:
Yeah. Yeah.Speaker 2:
So yeah, that , that can sometimes happen as well. And it's very interesting then, because then, see the other people won't tell the coachee why they're impatient. They just say, get on with it, you know, somethings wrong with you. But as a coach, you can say, okay, I'm feeling this now let's explore together what's happening because this is like a little opportunity to find out what's happening in these interactions. And then they can turn the light on themselves, what they're doing.Speaker 1:
And learn a lot from that, which they wouldn't be able to learn otherwise or would be very difficult. Cuz most people in work don't give you straightforward feedback.Speaker 1:
Of course not. That's why coaches make a living. It's really great. No, and you know, I was noticing also rereading the article that you, you know, we're talking about triggers, not triggers and things like that, but also what your clients try to get you to do. I like that part. You know, how many times, like, even as early as yesterday, one of my clients gave a scenario and then said, okay, Garry, tell me what I should do. And then I, of course, I've stopped point blank saying, no, I don't do that. I say, well, let me reflect back what I've heard and let's see what you hear in all of that. And so I found a way to redirect advice giving or, you know, consultative work, stuff like that. Anything more you wanna say about that particular aspect of taking care of yourself as a coach?Speaker 2:
Well, yeah, there's, I mean, there's several things. Great example you gave about that. And I remember one of the very first rule that I ever learned in coaching m any, many, many years ago, as far as coaching ever has rules, is that if a client says, what should I do? You have to answer in some kind of way, well, what do you want?Speaker 1:
In this sense, you want me to tell you what to do now? That's interesting in itself,Speaker 1:
You know , coaches are people who want to help, you know. We are people who absolutely want to help and sometimes we can get pulled into helping in ways that are not helpful in the long run for the client. Like, you know, trying to solve their problem for them and it just kind of, it's like a key and a lock , you know, just catches us sometimes with that sort of person. And so we move into that way of acting, which we know so well, a nd it's not necessarily appropriate for the c lient. Y eah. And I think that is a difficulty for anyone i n a kind o f change helping profession, particularly therapist of course, b ecause the problem on the other side is that much more intense.Speaker 1:
Right. Yeah. Well, I've recently heard, it said that if you leave a coaching call feeling like you've done more work than the client did, you're not doing it right.Speaker 2:
That's right . It's interesting, isn't it? But at the same time , I think as a coach anyway, well, I certainly think about, well, what did the clients say and try and understand that and ready for the next session. But also I like to think about, well, what did I learn from that? You know, what sort of things did I actually take from that?Speaker 1:
Right .Speaker 2:
And I always get interested in my , fleeting emotional , you know, I look at my diary and say, oh yeah, okay. So , that's my next client. And then I become very sensitive to what is that fleeting emotion that goes through kind of impatience or anger.Speaker 1:
Oh, God, no, not this client again.Speaker 2:
Or, you know , oh God, I just can't understand them . They're gonna drop me, you know, unless I do a good job. And I think that's very interesting because it then shows you the sorts of things to watch out yourself . And in that sense, make you a better coach, make you able to help the client more, better results. And so it goes on. Yeah. Yeah . It's a bit of judo. It's a bit of martial arts rather than trying to do it directly. You use the energy of yourself with the client to let that happen.Speaker 1:
Yeah. Well , it goes back to dancing in the moment, dancing with the client. You know, you alluded to something though , you said diary , but you also said writing and journal. You recommend coaches keep a learning journal. Tell us a bit more about that and what you've learned from your clients.Speaker 2:
Oh wow. Many things on different levels. I've learned a lot about what they do on one level. So, you know, I just, for some random reason, I seem to have had many clients in financial services and many clients in energy services. Oh, okay. And they are both fascinating areas , that so many people either take for granted or make snap judgments about, or just saying , you know, that's not for me. Right . It's fascinating these areas and God, I can remember , oh, back in 2006 , 2007, I was coaching a merchant banker, really intelligent guy. And he was talking about his work and I can remember him saying, there's a sickness in this. There's gonna be a big crash really soon. You know, at the time I thought, well, okay yeah, merchant banking , we are used to kind of crashes and up and everything else. But by God, he was right which also then makes me think of, there are some people in any area who are wise enough to be able to see beyond what's happening and to be able to not exactly predict, but at least say, look, if you keep on doing what you're gonna do, what you're doing, then that's gonna happen. So that's one area. The other area is simply different ways of thinking because you give anyone a problem and they'll tackle it with a particular way of thinking that they've built up that they're good at particularly. You know, we're all good at particular ways of thinking about things and coaches have a lot of these, but executives have some amazing ways of looking at things. And, you know, they're describing what they're thinking in a meeting or a teamwork or an executive decision and I'm going, wow. I would never have considered that.Speaker 1:
And it just, I feel just, you know, my blinkers just widen a little bit in many ways. Right.Speaker 2:
So there's just a , there's just so many things that coaches can learn.Speaker 1:
Yeah. Well, no kidding . Right? But you know, the idea of keeping a learning journal, I mean, wow, that'd be a book unto itself. Things I've learned from, you know, a companion, Things I've learned from My Clients. Yeah . You know? Yeah. Honor intuition. There's a sickness. I love what that merchant banker said. The intuitive words were , there's a sickness. I'm like, wow, brilliant. And sure enough, there was. Right. Yeah . So you talked in here about coaches impact on coaches and, and alluded to taking care of their wellbeing and effectiveness. What's your recommendation for our coaches?Speaker 2:
Oh, I really believe that any coach, well, everybody really, but particularly if you're in the sort of professional of a coach of helping other people and changing, to have some kind of meditation practice, some kind of mindfulness stroke meditation practice. There's many different ones. You find one that really works for you. Especially the neuroscience research behind the benefit and effectiveness of some kind of regular meditation practice. It's just cast iron, you know, there's no arguing about it. And that's the hard neuroscience point of view, let alone anything else. You know , if you want your brain to work better, if you want to your attention to be clearer, if you want to be more emotionally resilient and that's what to do. Quite apart from the fact that it's going to help you stay apart from these trains of thought, not only the client's one so that you don't kind of get engrossed in their story. Right. But also your own trains of thought. And then you can say, well, you know the saying, we all have trains of thought, but we don't wanna jump on them necessarily. Very much pick the ones that we jump on, if any. So it gives you a clarity of mind over time that I think is really important. That would be my number one recommendation.Speaker 1:
Yeah. Okay. So help me out. Maybe some of our listeners are too. I wouldn't say I'm not a fan, but I don't know what's the best meditative practice for me. Like, for example, if I do yoga, I start laughing and I can't attend the class. It kills me. It makes me laugh so hard I fall. I can't keep a position and meditation to me when I hear meditation, I hear, you know, hours of sitting in silence and, you know, contemplating your naval, so to speak,. What would you recommend for a starter like myself or something that, that is easy to maintain.Speaker 2:
Yeah. I like your yoga session. I mean, that sounds fun.Speaker 1:
Yeah. Well, unfortunately, they're trying to keep the peace and the calm. I just, I gave away my yoga mat . It was just, it I'm done. Yeah.Speaker 2:
Well, I mean, in terms of meditation or mindfulness, yeah, there's a lot of baggage behind it from all sorts of places and people think it's gotta be serious and you've gotta sit still. And it's kind of , you know , all of that sort of stuff. It's not really. It's rather like , I mean, one of the best examples I heard is that a snow globe, you know, about these in Toronto, right? These glass globes.Speaker 1:
We definitely know about snow.Speaker 2:
Yeah . Yeah . But you know , you have these ornaments, glass globes, little picture and when you shake it, right, makes a big snowstorm. Okay. So that's normally what our mind is doing. It's somebody , you know, it's shaken it up. All sorts of things happen. We read the paper, we read the news, we talk with someone and, you know, the shake up the snow globe . And you can't see very clearly when that happens. Meditation on one level is simply letting that snow, you know, putting down the snow globe , not shaking it and letting that snow settle so you can actually see what's there. And that's a peaceful and pleasant process. And although some people may kind of think, oh , it's an effort. You know, it's an effort to do that.Speaker 1:
Yeah. I think that's the great word.Speaker 2:
All you do is you observe your effort. That's all. You say, Oh that's interesting. You know , I'm finding this an effort . That's another bit of snow jumping around.Speaker 1:
So you can always observe. Whatever's happening, you can just let it settle. And then there's a clarity about that, where you can allow the world to come to you instead of imposing our snowy landscape on it.Speaker 1:
Wow. You had me at the snow globe, the snow jostling around, and then settling. I was almost sitting here thinking I'm in a meditative state, just listening to you tell that story. Like, cuz I was picturing it. You had me, like I was thinking of the snow globe we have in the cupboard over here. But yeah. Well thank you. Yeah. That's very helpful. It's very helpful. And from what I'm hearing, it doesn't have to be complicated or stress, definitely bettern not be stressful.Speaker 2:
No, it doesn't have to be two hours. It can be just a few minutes.Speaker 1:
You know, a few minutes is better than nothing.Speaker 1:
Yeah, true. You know, I practice spending at least five minutes before a call letting the dust settle on what I was just doing, clearing my desk, reviewing some notes from the previous conversation and kind of getting myself into a mental picture of being back with the client I'm about to coach. And sometimes my little phone Fitbit app has two minute calm and two minute meditation and I'll just sit and do that if I just feel too much like the snow globe just won't settle down. I am so gonna use that from now on. Great. I love that. I love that. People around me are gonna be like, uh oh he's gonna tell the snow globe story again, right?Speaker 2:
Yeah. You're gonna have to go and buy one then you can show it to them .Speaker 1:
Oh yeah, no, we have , like I say , we have one in the cupboard . Okay . In the other room. So I'll dig it out. Wow. Joseph, this has been awesome. We could talk all day about this. I do wanna ask you though. So you wrote the article, you saw it published. Was there anything you thought, oh, I wish I'd put that in there. Or I wish they could know more about this.Speaker 2:
I can't think of anything. I mean, I would've liked to have expanded some of the things. But you know, there's a, whatever it was number of words. I mean but that's good. That's a discipline. Right , right. Because then you have to really, we're a bit kind of fluffy with words, aren't we? We have so many of them that we just , you know, just keep using them. If you really have a discipline, it'll be a thousand words so make every one count. Then that's a discipline of writing that's .Speaker 1:
And you should know with all your books. Well , you know, you've spoken a number of things about. What would you like our audience to do? What's one thing you want listeners and readers to do as a result of this article and conversation.Speaker 2:
I guess it's got to be turn the attention inwards every now and then don't forget yourself. And that's not, you know, I'm not saying be selfish and think of yourself all the time, but you are part of that co-creation with other people. Right. And if we are always, you know, out the world is a very interesting, fascinating and hypnotic place. And if we're always out there and we don't really attend to what's seeing, we will miss out and we will be less effective and we will be less happy. So, you know, a happy coach is a good coach.Speaker 1:
Right . Right. Exactly. And, you know, it goes back to the beginning of our conversation, the beginning of the article, take care of yourself first. Like it's not selfish. You can't give if you're well as dry, right? You have to replenish, refuel, you know, get yourself ready. And sometimes that's, you know what you're saying. Reflective practices, journaling, meditation, things like that. So, wow. Awesome. Like I say, we could go on all day, the two of us. Yeah . But I have to end and wrap . I want to thank you so much for joining us for this Beyond the Page episode. What's the best way for people to reach you.Speaker 2:
Joseph@coachingthebrain .com and the website is coachingthebrain.com. So that's fairly simple.Speaker 1:
Super simple. Let's coach the brain. Yay. Thank you very much. And that's it for this episode of Beyond the Page. For more episodes, subscribe via your favorite podcast app or on our website as Joseph and I were talking about , choice -online.com/podcast . And while you're there, don't forget to sign up for your free digital issue of choice magazine by clicking the sign up now button. I'm Garry Schleifer. Enjoy your journey to mastery.