Coaching Skills For Leaders

Burnout Prevention and Leadership Effectiveness in the Tech Industry - An Amazing Interview with Matthew Cooke

August 10, 2023 Neil Thubron and Jana Hendrickson
Coaching Skills For Leaders
Burnout Prevention and Leadership Effectiveness in the Tech Industry - An Amazing Interview with Matthew Cooke
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Have you ever felt the stinging sensation of burnout, the kind that leaves you feeling like a shell of your former self? Our guest, executive coach Matthew Cooke, knows that feeling all too well. At just 24, he experienced a profound burnout while working at a startup, an experience that became the cornerstone of his life's mission: preventing burnout in the tech industry. Join us as Matthew shares his insights into the importance of self-care for leaders, divulges practical techniques for enhancing effectiveness, and explains how you can apply Ken Wilbur's three dimensions - I, we, and it - in your own work.

As we all navigate the murky waters of remote work, we dive into the unique challenges faced by managers during these unparalleled times. Matthew shares strategies to foster relationships and collaboration across departments, the power of asking the right questions, and the necessity of reciprocal support. Even more, Matthew reveals how sensory acuity - the ability to pick up on subtle cues - can help leaders better understand and cater to their teams. Listen as we discuss the importance of recognizing facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice, and how you can use these cues to your advantage in a remote work environment.

Finally, we explore the intriguing concepts of executive presence and embodiment, and how they can be incorporated in the workplace to improve decision-making and understanding. We discuss the potential benefits of being more attuned to your own body and those around you. Then, we tackle the tough topic of burnout prevention. Matthew shares his tips on setting boundaries, prioritizing consistency over intensity, and breaking free from burnout-inducing patterns. Listen as we delve into the importance of personal space, early burnout detection, and the power of awareness and acceptance in behavior change. Join us for this insightful journey into leadership, self-care, and burnout prevention. Don't miss this opportunity to learn from a seasoned expert and equip yourself with the tools to navigate the tech industry with resilience, presence, and effectiveness.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Coaching Skills for Leaders podcast with Jana Henderson and Neil Thubberon. The purpose of the podcast is to help leaders anywhere develop their coaching skills to transform the lives of those they lead as well as their own. Welcome to another episode of Coaching Skills for Leaders with Neil and Jana, and we are delighted today to be joined by a special guest. So, jana, I'm going to hand over to you to introduce.

Speaker 2:

Yes, I am super stoked too because we are only doing like one or two in an interview style podcast per season, and so this is a very special spot that goes to a very special friend and colleague of mine. His name is Matthew Cook. Thank you so much for joining us, matthew. I really appreciate you coming on the podcast to share about your expertise and I just want to really take the space up to share about you, with your permission, which is that Matthew is an executive coach and facilitator and founder and leadership mentor and has over 12 years of experience, so very seasoned, professional, and I love that.

Speaker 2:

He's helping tech leaders get more done, but with a very big emphasis on without burning out. And this is sort of stemming from himself after college, working for a startup which is actually how we met, is called Nthios, or while it's called Nthios, which is kind of like a Netflix for optimal living, and there, as a head of content curation, he worked directly with 200 plus of the world thought leaders on topics ranging from neuroscience to productivity, to conscious business and mindfulness and spirituality and health and fitness. But after working there for four years at 70 plus hours a week, he really did burn out himself at the age of only 24. And so he really made it his mission after that to end burnout in tech, and that's something I think a lot of our listeners can relate to because it's so much of a culture. And so now Matthew is working at a company called Evolution and has really had a great privilege there of working with individuals and leaders in companies such as Snapchat and NVA and data essential.

Speaker 2:

Abercrombie will be household name signature health iterable. You know really big companies and has also consulted with leaders from companies like Apple, spacex, like Google, disney, pixar you name it all the big household names and brands and really from a variety of industries. So thank you again, matthew, for joining us and bringing all your expertise and experience from the last 12 years to our podcast. We're super excited to have you.

Speaker 3:

Wow, thank you so much. Such a warm welcome and like even just the energy of that, it's just so sweet. Yana and Neil, thank you so much. We're excited for this.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I just really yeah. Thank you honestly for spending your time with us, because I think you bring something that's very unique that we haven't really touched upon at all, which is really the health, energy management, the nervous system regulation. You know, helping leaders deal with some of the physical aspects of leadership in a way right, whether it's, you know, around preventing burnout or healing from burnout, but really becoming more intentional and mindful about how they work and how they be in life, so that they will also preserve and, you know, even increase their personal health. Would you say that's true?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, absolutely yeah. Yeah, I mean I'm even happy. What that sort of brings to me is there's a framework that we use at Evolution. We talk about it. It's like sort of three dimensions, and this comes from Ken Wilbur's work and Interpol Theory and he talks a lot about I, we, it, and then he also adds it's plural and we sort of collapse the it's together.

Speaker 3:

But to say that as an individual I have to be aware of the I dimension and sort of how I'm subjectively and objectively approaching my work. There's the we, dimension, which is the cultural, and I know that for both of you you've done culture, work and being inside of the team dynamic, how we connect here. And then there's the it, which is, I think, where a lot of management consultants love to hang out. That's the strategy, it's the processes, it's the more technical aspect of our work lives and it's kind of like the thing that we're working on. But I think the part that's left out most of the time is where am I contributing to the problems and the solutions here at my organization? And that's where I think self care gets like a really bad rap, is like it's a selfish thing when the way that I really look at. It is the only way that I can truly show up with my full self to work is if I actually have like a full self to show up to work with.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, such a good point.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, it's interesting focusing on the individual first. A lot of leaders focus on everybody else other than them. You know, they focus on their boss and what their boss needs. They focus on their people, what their people need or their customers. And in your experience of working with leaders and the techniques you use, the coaching skills that you use, what would be the most effective for a leader to use on themselves or with their team? What would be a great skill that you could, they could, use themselves?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's such a great question. I mean, I think so when I first. So this is funny. I have a Bachelor's of Science in health promotion and wellness with an emphasis in life coaching.

Speaker 3:

I somehow lucked out and I got a four year degree in life coaching and one of the things that they taught us, like freshman year, like I'm like an 18 year old, like super excited about you know, just young and fresh and they told us that every one of your clients is creative, capable and complete and they're like they're not broken. I don't need to fix them. I'm just here to show up as a thought partner with as much deep presence as I can possibly muster in a conversation. And so I think, and I know that you both, I clearly, the way that you both operate and sort of a way of being, is just that, and I think that for leaders, when we're working with our teams and with ourselves, is to recognize that, like I'm not broken, my people are broken. It's not my job to fix them. It's not my job to even fix myself, really, but I think the like true, like magic, is in presence and, for lack of sounding cheesy, but I think, I think it's really real.

Speaker 1:

And how, how, and I get that and that's, but that's so hard for a leader in that work environment where they're going to one team's called to another team's called to conference, called to jump in their car, how could you advise, or what would you advise leaders to do to create that present? Because I love that creative, capable, complete. If they thought about everybody in that way, wow, so so what? What would you advise? How can they create that presence when they're with people?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's such a good question because it's like I feel like there's like a technical question in that and and and I and I want to answer that. But I think, firstly, for me it's also a sort of a mindset thing of I need to recognize that this is a, this is a marathon, not a sprint, and I think that that's what I because and it's funny because we have the language of that, especially in tech is like it's like all right, we got another sprint, you know, and it's helpful to have sprint. But but recognizing that there's like like so a lot of times I will ask my clients like how long do you plan on working for or continuing to work for? And they're like well, I guess I mean obviously the rest of my career, you know 20, 30, 40 years and so, and so my follow up is usually then why are we working? Like you're only going to be doing this for a couple more months, or maybe up to the year or two. So I think that's a lot of folks is yeah.

Speaker 2:

It's a great perspective shift, isn't it? I love that question. I'm totally going to steal that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, please do.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and so I think so I think from like a technical perspective, neil, I actually really love there's so a nervous system regulation work. So I've been, I'm trained in somatic, experiencing and continuing to get more and more first in this world. I think one of my favorite tools because it like I want to make this a secular and like non wooey as possible, I think sometimes like fullness gets like a, it's like the hippie stuff, like there's a tool that we use which is just called orientation. It's a really simple skill that we all do. It's like when you see a dog walk into a room for the very first time, the dog will immediately just start looking at the ceiling, it looks at the walls, it kind of checks out the people that are in the room and typically it starts to search out or seek out what's even kind of pleasurable or pleasant to look at or to observe in the room. And it's a way for it to start to self regulate, to feel more comfortable and feel present in the room.

Speaker 3:

And so the irony is I know a lot of times we like to separate ourselves out as like we're not animals but we're animals, and so literally that's a tool that we use is orientation. So I will a lot of times invite my clients and, again, if you're a leader in tech, just taking, if you have. Something we do at evolution is we actually bake 10 minutes at the end of every call, so we only do 50 minute calls at evolution to allow for our clients to like do bio break, you know, like to actually take care of our biology, which could include taking a snack, getting a snack, getting water, going to the bathroom, but then allowing yourself a few moments to actually like look around and, okay, I'm here right now and it's safe right here right now.

Speaker 2:

You know I've never I really have to get in on it. I mean, that's just you know. I have noticed, you know we've talked a number of times and I've noticed in your calendar and other people's that sometimes they just do 50 minute calls and I have never once thought about this as a stand for wellness. That's just freaking awesome and I think that's something I like immediately want to take to a couple of my clients to have them reduce their meetings to 50 minutes just for that presencing and as a taking a stand for one's own well-being, for biobricks food, you know, not rushing stress reduction. I just I mean, my mind is just a little bit blown for something so simple. Right, like something so simple.

Speaker 3:

It's a really cool thought though Love it. And I think, yeah, and I thank you, and I think that the fear is that people will like balk at it. But the truth is, if you share that with people, they actually respect you more, which is really like oh shit, I like, or, excuse me, whoops, shoot. You know I should do that, okay, like I should do that for myself, like I didn't you know, like kind of the experience that you're having. I think that's really what people experience. That's not for the most part.

Speaker 2:

It's a matter of how you frame it and how you share about it, totally right.

Speaker 1:

Neil go on. Yeah, and what I love about that as well, and it's interesting, I've actually just recorded a video in a time management course and I talk about Parkinson's law because most people don't think that 60, you know 60 minutes, we're going to need that 60 minutes. But actually if you make it 40 minutes, guess what? You get everything done anyway and you get 20 minutes back. Or 50 minutes, you get 10 minutes back. But there's so I just want for our listeners just two great nuggets to start with already.

Speaker 1:

Okay, orientation, I've not heard that before. I absolutely love that as a coaching skill. That's that. You know. It's coaching skill that we're taught as coaches is to be present, but help your client be present when you first start a session. But making yourself present when you walk in a meet, in a room or on a team, I love that. And the second one is why do 60 minutes when 50 minutes will do and give yourself 10 minutes of time to get ready for the next thing or have that bio break, brilliant. No, thank you for those nuggets, matthew. Thanks, matthew. I love that too.

Speaker 2:

So, when you are working with these people and very large organizations, where you probably can discover a lot of patterns and culture, what do you see to be some of the biggest challenges that could actually be addressed by leaders developing more coaching skills themselves?

Speaker 3:

I think the big one that I'm continuing to see more and more is this remote work thing, and I'm sure that y'all have been talking about this on the podcast and just in your own personal conversation, because I know every HR professional that I'm talking to is, like you know, an L and D is like I don't know, excuse me, learning and development for folks, but that just maybe don't like. How do we address this as an organization? Because I was talking to a CHRO a couple of weeks ago and he was sharing. It's kind of like we all used to be on this big cruise ship and we were just, you know, we were all eating in the same cafeteria and we all would go down the same slides and you know we'd go to the same theater show inside of this big cruise ship and we'd all go to sleep at night inside of this cruise ship, but we were all together. And now it's kind of like we have all of these like lifeboats that are all alongside of the cruise ship but they're still kind of in their own little lifeboat off on the side, and so sometimes there's these moments of like wait, are we still? We're still tracking with the cruise ship. Are we still like, are we still headed in the same direction?

Speaker 3:

And I think, if for a lot of managers especially, it's actually the most anxiety provoking because it's like I want to do right by the cruise ship, by my, by my organization, by my founders and leaders up at the top of my, in the board and my stakeholders, and I also want to do it for my team, Like I want to make sure that I'm elevating in them as individuals in their work and making sure that I'm putting them in the right direction.

Speaker 3:

So I feel like the work that has been the most difficult or the people that have been the most affected perhaps by the pandemic, is actually managers and people really trying to lead teams.

Speaker 3:

So I think even just having that visual perhaps for some folks is is is just a good reminder that, like cross functional, this cross functional relationships is the biggest thing Because, again, day to day, we're in our workflow, we're like we're super in it with our team, we're on Slack, we're on Zoom or teams or whatever the heck you're using Google Meet, but recognizing that the building of the relationship, if I'm in a delivery position, recognizing that my relationship with sales and marketing is actually just as valuable as my relationship with my team and delivery, because or operations or whatever it may be, but because we're in different lifeboats, so like I need to know what they're doing in order to most effectively be aligned with that in our objectives.

Speaker 3:

So, as leaders, like that's the and I'm getting goosebumps because I'm like thinking about some of my clients right now, like and how huge of an impact it's made towards their overall outcomes and even their KPIs that they're like adjusting because they're like more aware of the relationship and the conversations that they're having with other leaders. And those are the things. I don't know if either of you all watch sports, but it's like the things that don't show up on the stat sheet. It's not the sexy, like the points or the rebounds or whatever, but it's like those unspoken things that actually make all the difference.

Speaker 1:

And I see it all the time with the remote working and I love the description of the different departments because, being sales on my life, I think delivery did a really good job. You know we're just not on the same page as sales or product and it was never on the same page, you know. But actually one of the things I'm taking away from this conversation so far is actually they're creative, capable, complete and I just need to recognize that as a leader. But remote working piece and the being in lifeboats, what coaching skills might help a leader?

Speaker 1:

or manager or manager pull out to you know, pull that together and try and make that work more effectively.

Speaker 3:

I think a lot of it is the kind of questions that I'm asking, which I know this is. Every conversation that you all are having is like how can I help? What do they need from the conversation? Like actually thinking about what is the other person need right now and asking that really directly. How can I support you? Because there's also the law of reciprocity, which I know you know well. If you're doing sales, neil, you know it's like the law of reciprocity is like as I'm giving and supportive and genuinely with open hands, open handedly, how can I help you? Reciprocity is a very real thing. People are going to then want to be like how can I help you, neil? So that's always that's. I mean, it sounds really cheesy, but that's really always my goal is like I want to be on every call, being like where's the value that I can provide? And like that's that's what I'm kind of like being a heat seeking missile for is like how can I help this person? And so, yeah, I guess like yeah, go ahead.

Speaker 2:

No, it's just going to say, matthew, because you started off earlier in response to this question, really describing almost the invisible stuff. Right, it's the in between stuff, it's the, you know, the small things, not the major KPIs, that really make a big difference. So I was curious, you know even how. How do you think these people might shift their thinking? Because it seems like a big mindset thing, right, like so it's. It's around themselves having more realizations about what they need and what is actually missing or what might create a different experience for them in the job. You know, especially when we talk about the big cruise ship and the little lifeboats, you know what they think might be making a big difference for them. And then bringing that same curiosity to cross functions, to other teams right, that's kind of what I'm hearing from you. I was wondering if there's, like any other sort of in between the lines things that you've realized or noticed, seen a pattern for that really make a difference in the persons, in the managers, experience of work.

Speaker 3:

That's such a great question. I think this is maybe getting and this is getting into some of my like more somatic experiencing background. Just awareness of the biology is like when I'm working with a client and this is yeah, this is a great coaching skill. Thank you for serving this up or team this up. He has, like I'm listening for the narrative, like I'm listening to their story, but to me that's also like 30% of the I don't know 40% of what's actually valuable, because I want to also be watching their biology like, especially because we're not in person and there's so much fewer things that I can really take in about you there's. So our nervous system takes in 12 million stimuli per second 12 million and our conscious mind can only process 40 bits per second, which is actually even that's pretty significant, but there's so much that's being left on the table and so as a leader, as a manager, I constantly I'm actually watching my people, like when I'm working with them, so I want to watch when I bring up and people may not see this on video, but when I bring up, like the reorg, that like is potentially impending at our organization and I see somebody really like feverishly itch their head or do some other kind of like stroking or you know, or whatever it may be a sort of a self soothing mechanism. That's very real. That's not. That's not some conscious thing that somebody like is trying to impress you with or say it's these, we do these unconscious things that are literally a way of soothing ourselves, like you would sue the baby, and we don't even know that we're doing it most of the time. And so when I am watching a client, now, this is like sort of a refined sixth sense that you start to pick up as a leader. But I just want to be watching my people and notice, does their face get flush Like, do they start to lose the color in their face when we're talking about something, again, like these self soothing mechanisms that they might do.

Speaker 3:

I'm noticing if their eyes glaze over, right, like there's, like there's actually a lot of cues and I guess body language just to say more broadly right, but there's, there's a lot of cues. You can also hear it in their voice. There's something called prosody of the voice, which is like the sort of more melodic, you know, kind of tone that I take on when I'm in a conversation. If I start to have a very flat effect. I'm probably in more of a freeze state. I'm probably, or maybe even, a little fight or flight Like, so I'm losing some of the richness of what it is to be fully present with another person. Is that, oh, is that? That's amazing? I love it, yeah, okay.

Speaker 2:

Because I don't know that any leaders would really pause and have enough presence right, coming back to that in the moment to truly, you know, watch the individual I would call it sensory acuity right To have the sensory acuity to pick up on.

Speaker 2:

You know, are they starting to breathe really like fast or shallow, or are they like their shoulders raising up or, like you were saying, that itches? I always love when people like talk and they start to like touch their neck like this, like a noose around the neck type thing, you know, or the even simple things, like the voice croaking and they're like, oh, something is not being spoken here, you know, with the through and the voice kind of goes. And so I love that you point to that, because I don't think it's on top of leaders minds to really pay in depth attention to almost all the things that aren't being said and really are just still very visible, because we're so good at ignoring those two, aren't we Do? You know what I mean? Like we kind of pick them up but we don't really pay or want to pay attention to them.

Speaker 3:

Well, and it's a skill like, which is cool, this is coaching skills for leaders, so, like, this is a competency, like and I don't think it's given enough weight because we're trained from so young to be intelligent, to use my thinking, cognitive mind, which is so valuable.

Speaker 3:

Clearly it does a lot of great things. But to recognize that there's so many other channels of experience that we have as humans, right, like I experience images, you know, like if, if went, like when I'm talking about the cruise ship, it's like probably you saw a picture of a cruise ship in your head, Like that's a, that's, that's a channel of experience. There's sensation in my body that I'm aware of or not aware of, right, and then there's, yeah, there's orientation that's one we were just talking about. And then there's there's obviously affect or like emotion, but then there's also thinking or sort of the meaning channel, and we all have these different channels and that are trained at different levels and we we've really trained the thinking, really good at that. So so, yeah, it's another skill that that I think. I guess what I want to like encourage or implore people is that just because it's something that hasn't been trained doesn't mean you're horrible or could never do it. It's just something you just have to like work on, just like working on free throws or I don't know.

Speaker 1:

You're speaking, your public speaking, I think the thing that comes through now is there's a great point about. I love the question you're on about reading between the lines, that the, the, the, what coaches are trained to do, and this is where I think leaders don't necessarily have to have the time. I think they haven't had the time. We talked about being present. That's another thing is Coaches focus on the person, not on the problem. Coaches focus on how can you help that human being in front of you? Yeah, and, and, if that's you know, and and by focusing on that human being in front of you, you're not just listening to the story, you're listening to everything you're receiving from them. So great coaching skill, matthew, you know that. I think that's a really good thing for the. Again for the listeners to take away is how could you a be more present but be focused on that individual and what they're not saying with their words and their story, but they're saying with everything else that they're communicating to you?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 3:

Oh sorry, go ahead Yana.

Speaker 2:

No, you go.

Speaker 3:

You're making me think. I'm just thinking because, like Neil, you and I have the sales background in common too, and I'm thinking about like I had a used to have a mentor Alex Moscow it was and lives in Austin, texas now Incredible teacher, and one of the things that he taught me was that anytime I make it about the money, making it about myself yeah, like the money that I'm gonna receive, but anytime I make it about the client's vision and like what they really want, and it's like it's making me think of what you're just saying like taking All of the person, the money is just a natural byproduct of that. Like it's just a natural symptom of, like me, just like Really caring about that person's whole world and experience and the reality is.

Speaker 1:

The reality is when you focus on the person, how you can help them, and applying coaching skills in a sales environment, which we're actually talking about on Thursday and it's applying coaching skills in a sales environment. Honestly, if you're focused on the individual, you're gonna sell so much more and with a lot less resistance Then you would if you were trying to just force something on people or you're just focused on you and the money.

Speaker 2:

Well, all right, let's, let's like, dive a little bit more deeply into this. Okay, guys, because I'm just thinking of especially one of my clients where, you know, if they're leading a large organization, there's a lot of pressure on them and they have their agenda of what, who needs to do what, what this person even like to the system, like what, how do they need to be working so that they're actually in support of what I need to do? Right, and what you just described sounds almost like a nice to have. But how do we get, like how, what can people practice In a sales environment or in a leadership function to even pause and care about the other person as opposed to their objective? Do you get me?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

I think that might be so hard, right, because you're just like you're just trying to get stuff done. Yeah, you know, right, efficiency, productivity. You know I don't have time for this, I just need people to do their jobs, right? That's kind of what we would hear, or even in the sales environment, I'm thinking you know, if you're the person who's doing, you know, like the data was mentioning, we're teaching this to tick tock on Thursday about. You know, in the sales environment, how can we use coaching skills and how? You know, how can we get these people Even to pause when they're doing like 20, 50 calls a day? Be to be About the individual that's on the other end of the line, to really, you know, listen in where they're at what would actually truly help them in there with their vision and their goals. It sounds like one would really have to like, step out of the task, even, and into humanity.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's yeah. You're making me think of, or what's occurring to me as you say. That is, I'm thinking from the top down. We kind of have to make a decision. Are we more interested in quality or quantity?

Speaker 1:

That's what I was thinking and putting that in my head, as Zahna was saying it's you can make loads of calls and not close any deals because you're not focused on the individual. So if your measure is making loads of calls, great, you're going to achieve that. If your measure is actually closing quality business, then if you're following a script and you are just focused on the process but yeah, it's from the top down, it has to be what are we actually trying to achieve? What are we actually trying to achieve with our sales organization or our leaders or whatever part of the organization we're focusing on?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah. And are we compensating and incentivizing as such? Yeah, because obviously that's that's really moves and drives people.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely like you were saying, you know, people changing their KPIs actually based on the culture that they want to create and what they want to bring out of people. I really like that earlier. Okay, I have two more topics that I definitely want to talk with Matthew about, and we're like you know, we're gonna probably make this just a little bit longer today because there's so much juicy in this. One is embodiment. Am I right in thinking that, matthew, you have some thoughts on, you know what kind of stand Declaration, what we can embody as leaders as a coaching skill? I mean right that? Because embodiment to me is like something that we as coaches, definitely think about and work on and our conscious conscientious about. What are your thoughts on the role of embodiment in healthy leadership culture?

Speaker 3:

So good, yana, I Think it's as you talk about it. I guess I sense or sort of feel like it's it's less about, because I think we talk about executive presence like that, so that's a, that's a term, and, like people do trainings on executive presence. I think what's difficult is a lot of times it's a very external version of it. So it's kind of like something that I have to practice, that's sort of forced. And yeah, I think the difference goes from making it something that's external to something that's lived and Something that's real and experiential for a person. So embodiment for me is less about what does this look like and more what does this feel like to really be present to Me. Again, there's a lot of different things that this is, this kind of goes to, but Sensation, being a really big one, is kind of like you know, like there are people like I was actually just talking to a leader who owns five businesses Just a couple of weeks ago and he was sharing with me that he makes.

Speaker 3:

He's sort of at a point in his career Now we're again. He owns five different businesses and he's just kind of a problem-solver at this point. People just hop on the phone with him and he's got people that are, you know, actually implementing the things and he just gets on the phone and he said it. He said at this point, my career it's all gut instinct, like I. Just I have so much pattern recognition that like I just sense it in my body what the right answer is of what to do, and so I think for us as leaders, it's Through experience and gaining more and more Experience I can start to pattern recognize. How does that actually feel in my body? I've heard I'm sure you probably have heard this too this sort of metaphor. I've heard in like some. I think it's like some leaders in Japan that will have like a meal with somebody if you heard about this and they'll talk about business and then, however, the meal sits with them. That's how they'll make the decision.

Speaker 1:

I never heard this.

Speaker 3:

Literally like how does, how does it die? Jazz, but I love this idea that it's like my body really does know, like there's like a really there's a little deep, innate intelligence to my body and we all have it. There's something called approach, avoidance, that's that's I. I naturally am drawn to things that seem safe and feel like I can trust and Maybe even pleasant, and then I, I, the things that I don't feel safe with I avoid, or it's sort of back away from, and that's a very real there's. It's called interoception and Neuroception, but interoception just being my internal perception, my ability to perceive my internal experience, so that's that is embodying it for me is is the practice of that, and it is. It's an ongoing practice. Man, like I am so good at my thinking mind, like we said, the cognitive being.

Speaker 3:

But and I think I'd share this with you, yana, neil, this, this might be new to you we're we're doing one of my colleagues, meredith, and I at evolution, we're doing work inside of organizations now called wisdom in the workplace, and it's it's like how do I bring Really tangible, impactful wisdom as another data set? So like let's, let's, let's do customer research, let's, let's do analytics, let's get all the numbers. Let's do all of that. Look, we're not throwing anything out. But then let's have this additive layer of the, the non-cognitive Information that's available to me all the time.

Speaker 2:

Mmm, that might intrinsic wisdom, if you will, yeah so yeah.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and it's like I want to make it as not wooey as possible. Like we joke that, you know we want to make it accessible to like folks that have been in business for a really long time. You know folks that just like it's like I don't know about that hippie, woo-wee stuff. Like we want to make it accessible to those folks in a way that's like yeah, just makes sense, yeah, and so, yeah, there's, there's kind of stuff is available to us, and I think- Well, some interesting.

Speaker 1:

I mean, I've not heard the term embodiment used in the way you've just described it before. That's the first time I've heard that, and what comes to my mind is, you know, as a coach, constantly asking people how does it make you feel? You know, we're focusing on feelings rather than the actual action itself. What I like about what you just said around embodiment is it's not the feeling is how do you, how do you use the word, how do you embody that feeling? How do you build that feeling into that? And in a practical way, because I'm thinking about so how do I apply that then? Is so if, if I'm feeling great about something because I've just closed the deal, I've just had a great conversation with an employee, how do I embody that into me? So I mean, I'm going to go back to practical. So are there some techniques for doing that? Yes, Totally.

Speaker 3:

Totally, and it's so I'm so happy you're saying that. I know that's such a great question. Is that gets me excited? Is this idea of we call it soaking. We call it soaking, and it's literally the idea that when I talk about or experience a positive experience, I want to see if, instead of jumping around and getting all excited and sort of expressing that energy, I want to know if I can actually hold that like ooh, yeah, that feels really incredible in my body and actually feeling or soaking in that, because then I'm building those neural networks and mylinating and strengthening those pathways, not just in my brain but actually in my nervous system to all the way out to the peripheral, like all of me getting fully experienced and sort of imprint into my being more of that.

Speaker 3:

And then I want to give now this is not positive vibes only I don't want to paint that picture, but I want to give benign neglect as much as possible, benign neglect to those maybe like less pleasant experiences. Again, they're there, they're real. I'm not going to ignore them or pretend that they don't exist, but I'm going to give less attention to those things because the 24 hour news cycle, social media, like there are plenty of things coming to me all the time telling me how scary and horrible the world is. I don't need to like spend more time with those things. So for me, as a leader, it's a deliberate choice to spend more time soaking in positive experience or, again, pleasant experience. I don't need to label it as good or bad, but just like that feels, I like that. I like that experience. I'm going to do more of that, yeah.

Speaker 2:

I can imagine, so it's really simple, it's really simple.

Speaker 2:

I can. It's so fascinating because even as a normal human being, I've had a really lovely weekend with my family and there were moments where I was just like marveling at my husband with my two girls in the swimming pool. You know I was just really happy. But I actually you know in hindsight I did not soak in that right Like I didn't have the practice to do that. But it's something that you know can be applied in such simple moments, right when we really are, rather than expelling that energy and being, like you know, momentarily enthused or, you know, happy about it, to really cultivate the internal percolation of that feeling.

Speaker 2:

I really like that, and I can imagine that that's tricky for some leaders to do, almost because there's so much drive and momentum and productivity being gained from negative feelings. I don't know if you guys agree with that, but I just see so much of like guilt driving action, pressure, driving action, responsive, a negative sense of responsibility, driving action. And so I wonder what might become possible if we are better at soaking in positive experience and having that become a driver in daily life of leadership.

Speaker 3:

That's 100%. Yeah, I mean that goes back to the I-We it model is like that's a we thing, is like we drive through guilt and shame and pressure. That then becomes operationalized in the it of how we, how we drive people and how we incentivize with through KPIs and how we incentivize through sending Slack messages at three in the morning and expecting you to respond to them. These things versus the I dimension, which is like how am I contributing to this problem? What am I doing that's incentivizing behaviors or these types of ways of being? So it's like that. To me, that model is such a profound way to use as a diagnostic tool for any situation or problem that I'm seeing. If burnout is really prevalent, which we've even talked just a little bit about If burnout is really prevalent in my culture or at my, at my workplace, if I'm feeling burnt out, I want to consider it through all three of those dimensions.

Speaker 1:

And I want to. So, if it's okay, I want to go down that avenue now. That's right. Yeah, burnout, because you know we were talking before we start recording that I've had in the last two years. I've had clients with life changing illnesses that have come due to stress in the workplace and burnout, whether it's epilepsy or cancer or diabetes, and I know that that's a big focus area for you, matthew, and it's an area that you can kind of specialize in. So I'd be really interested in learning from you some of the well, what have you learned in working with leaders in that space? That would be really helpful for the people leading to listening to this podcast.

Speaker 3:

I love this question, neil. Both of you are so full. I hope you both realize how good at asking questions you are. Like.

Speaker 3:

Truly, at least on my side of things, it's so enjoyable to receive your questions, cause I go oh yeah, I got a thing is this idea of what I teach my leaders is and I don't want to blanket statement illnesses and disease, because those are very real.

Speaker 3:

A lot of times, though and we talked about this beforehand, I think there's a stat that's like 84% it's probably even higher than that is usually stress related, which you actually had shared, neil, and that feels. That feels so true of my experience in the 12 years that I've been doing this with clients, and one of the things that I recognize with that and I had to learn this the hard way myself is to get off of the roller coaster of emotions, and especially as an early stage entrepreneur and founder when I first started some of my businesses and being inside of startups. We are on a roller coaster because we're all wearing different hats, we're all yelling at each other to hopefully try to get things done and move things forward. We're desperately trying to make sales, and it's like it's a very difficult thing, and so the key distinction that I give my clients is consistency over intensity.

Speaker 1:

Okay, go and expand on that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm just like I'm laughing up everywhere you're saying that, yes, keep going.

Speaker 3:

It's the idea that what are the simple habits and procedures that I can consistently do, honestly, even ideally, seven days a week, and so I'm not even always looking inside of the professional, but I'm sometimes looking inside of the personal as well. Lens of what can I? This is the marathon thing, right. It's like how can I consistently show up to my work life and my personal life? In small ways, I love DJ Fogg's work. He's from Stanford and he talks about tiny habits, yeah, yeah. Or like, if you're a James Clear or Atomic Habits fan, like, what are the tiny things that I can consistently do? Again, like it's literally I tell my clients to do a top three for to-do list every day is like what are my top three? Prioritize those things, first thing, and then we can get the we? This should be like a four hour podcast movie. Do we do it in time? We've done weekend trainings on the stuff. But, yeah, what are my top three things? So, consistency over intensity.

Speaker 3:

A good example of this, you know, if you want to like a visual. As you know, if you're to go to the gym, I had a personal trainer that I was working with a couple of years ago and he used to say, matthew, I'd rather you come in here 30 minutes a day, every day, for 30 minutes. And he said I don't even want you to break a sweat, like, literally like don't break a sweat, but just come in, do the work, set a timer for 30 minutes and then leave. He said I'd much rather you do that than come in for four hours or two hours on Saturday and tear your hamstring because you're going so hard. Right, and that is actually. That is literally what burnout is. Burnout is tearing your hamstring on Saturday because, because you did nothing or, in some really dysregulated way, did a couple of random things throughout the week and then, like you, just hit it really hard, because that's what overwhelm is. Burnout is is when I'm chronically overwhelmed, and overwhelmed means I'm, I'm, I'm over capacity, I'm past my capacity to hold this.

Speaker 1:

So it's interesting this is only there your analogy of the roller coaster. When you said get off the roller coaster, I thought you meant actually just get off the roller coaster and that's it, stop working on it and the, the. But what I think you you've just said is get off the roller coaster daily. Give yourself time to get off that roller coaster on a day.

Speaker 1:

Cause I literally just came off a call with a client who's going away on vacation for two weeks, and they were just like I can't wait to get away, cause I'm just going to relax. And I asked you so, look, how are you going to come back though? Cause you're going to come back and you're going to go straight into it again. If you haven't, so what happens? Could you create while you're away that you could then bring back to it with you? And so that roller coaster consists of I love the fact you use that term, cause, as you say, if it's 10 minutes a day of that being present, that mindfulness or whatever it is that helps you, okay?

Speaker 3:

So so good as well. Yeah, Consistency over intensity.

Speaker 2:

I love that too, and it the other piece that it made me think of is when you were living this life of, basically, I was wondering what you might tell a client that's just having a really, really hard time. Come off the roller coaster, right Like, to let go of that intensity, because that's all they know of how to make stuff happen. Right Like, it must be so hard for some people, especially the ones that are in this 24 hour news cycle. You know individuals that work in financial markets, that kind of stuff, right, and so that's how you use related markets. How can they create I think the word that came from mine is basically boundaries right Like, how can they create those pockets of personal space, of checking in, space, of anything that is actually well being related, so that they do not burn out?

Speaker 3:

That's such a good question, yana, and that's actually that's probably. Those are probably my toughest clients. When I work in the financial industry, especially if you're, I've worked with some traders, some finance like stock market traders. It's difficult because it's identity based, it's who they see themselves as, and so I don't want to say that, but my sense is a lot of times it's they actually have to kind of hit their head and then they go. That hurts. I don't like that. I'm going to which meaning like burning out or whatever it may be, but it's such a, it's so patterned in them. It's like when I tell you that I, if I I'm not, but if I said I was a vegetarian, you know it's like I wouldn't consider eating meat because it's like, no, that's my, that's who I am, you know I am a vegetarian or whatever, or I'm a carnivore or whatever it is. But and I think for a lot of those people they they identify, they have so much positive reinforcement for being that way.

Speaker 3:

Those people, yeah, so. So I think part and this is I don't know I feel like you all both probably relate to this too as coaches is like we have to meet people where they are and so like if that's where they are, it's not my job to be like hey, you're doing this wrong because that's not going to, that's going to backfire. So I actually, for folks like that, where it's so intertwined in their being, I have to like I love what Neil said. It's like going on right for the two weeks, like that's a bandaid, you know, it's like that's cool, but like this is something that probably requires stitches and a bandaid is probably not going to help that. So for somebody that needs stitches, it's like it's kind of like alcoholics, anonymous Like you, kind of need to admit like I'm an alcoholic, you know, like, like I think there needs to be like I'm, I'm in burnout recovery. I really need help here To even just recognize it as a problem.

Speaker 3:

Yes, like so. One of my teachers always used to say the three steps to behavior change are as number one as awareness, number two is acceptance and then number three is inspired action. But a lot of times we go from awareness to action and we take like massive action. You know, and it's this very like Tony Robbins, so you like I'm on a and it just it just completely. Again, this is intensity, we hop into intensity and then we and then we flop and then we yo-yo back. So I need to actually go through awareness, I need to truly go through acceptance, which which requires even some level of maybe grieving, like and mourning sort of what I did do. That doesn't work in my new frame of of of way of being, that I want to be, that I want to experience, and then inspired action comes from that place. I want to say from that mountain top, you know, from that new perspective. But it's not until I do the, the awareness, then the acceptance, that I can actually do inspired action.

Speaker 1:

I was just thinking that, just kind of pulling back to a lot of the things that we've said. You've said during this conversation that, as a leader noticing burnout in other people some of the things we've talked about about the orientation, actually could mean just looking around the room and seeing every how, what's coming across from everybody in that room. And then that comes to the piece where we were listening without our mouths. We're listening with our eyes and our ears and we're actually noticing the, the signs of burnout, like the bags under the eyes or the, the red eyes or the. What a plush skin or whatever it might be. You know we're actually paying attention to human being in front of us is where great leaders can take some of everything you've learned here to help their people not go into burnout as well.

Speaker 1:

No, that's fantastic. So do we feel like we're? We've gone over and I feel like we could. There's so much we could do here. And, matthew, a great help. You're on for a second conversation, actually, but is there any last thought that you'd like to leave with leaders who want to develop their coaching skills?

Speaker 3:

I keep thinking about that creative, capable and complete Right. It's just like I want to hold. I want to hold my people in the highest esteem, that they really want the best for me, as I want, and the end for the organization, as I want the best for them, and to into like as much as I can internalize that in holding them in that regard, because the cool thing is they'll reflect that back to me then that I'm creative, capable and complete as well. It breeds a lot of trust.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, thank you, matthew. That's fantastic, yana, I'll hand over to you to. To wrap up, yeah, I'm speechless.

Speaker 2:

I don't know what else to say. I think this was a beautiful conversation. Matthew, Thank you so much for bringing all of your you know, experience and your thoughts on this topic, and just so much wisdom and breadth and depth to our podcast. I really know for sure that this is going to be a very successful episode that people are going to listen to. I know I'm going to send it to every one of my clients because it's just so juicy and good and I'm just super grateful for you know, knowing you, having you as my friend, as a peer colleague and just as an honored guest on our podcast. So thank you everyone for listening and I hope you join us again next time. Thank you.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for listening to Coaching Skills for Leaders podcast with Yana and Neil. If you found the conversation useful, please share with your colleagues and friends. Please also leave us a rating and a review and if you would like to connect with us directly to discuss your own or your business needs, you will find our contact details in the show notes below.

Leadership Coaching and Preventing Burnout
Remote Work Challenges for Managers
Importance of Sensory Acuity in Leadership
Understanding Executive Presence and Embodiment
Consistency in Leadership and Wellbeing
Preventing Burnout and Developing Coaching Skills