Coaching Skills For Leaders

Unraveling the Power of Physiology, Focus, and Language for Enhanced Self-Awareness and Leadership

August 22, 2023 Neil Thubron and Jana Hendrickson
Coaching Skills For Leaders
Unraveling the Power of Physiology, Focus, and Language for Enhanced Self-Awareness and Leadership
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wondered how superhero poses can elevate your confidence? Or how a simple shift in language can empower you? Get ready to unravel the triad of physiology, focus, and language in this episode. We delve into the power of these essential elements and how we can consciously harness them to shape our emotional state. Discover a unique TED Talk that unearths the magic of superhero poses and their impact on our confidence. As leaders, understand the profound influence of our behavior on our organization and business. 

In the latter segment, we dissect the triad further, exploring its potency in coaching oneself and others. We spotlight the significance of language; how being at the helm or at the mercy of life at any given moment can mold our emotional state. As leaders, the emotional environment we craft profoundly sways our teams. Listen as we emphasize the indispensability of self-awareness, and the ripple effects of our language and facial expressions. We wrap up the episode illuminating how these principles can be employed in sales teams and the importance of presenting ourselves with aplomb and connection.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Coaching Skills for Leaders podcast with Janna 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.

Speaker 2:

Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of Coaching Skills for Leaders, where we have a superbly juicy topic for you this afternoon, and it is drumroll.

Speaker 1:

So, yeah, hello everyone, great to be here again. So we're going to focus on the triad that you can use. It's a coaching model that we want to share with you the triad that you can use to control your own state, be aware of your own state or notice the state in other people. That's what we're going to talk about today, but actually just to get a ground level. What do we mean by state Janna?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's a great question. So I was first introduced to this. This is a Tony Robbins, classic Tony Robbins model, the triad being made up of three parts that create any emotional state, whether we are in a depressed state, in a top of the world kind of state, in a sad state, anything that's really an expression of our mood, of our feelings, is really made up of three parts, and so we want to show you how you can be aware of your own state, actively change your own state, actively influence other people's states by focusing on these three parts that are making up the triad, and they are physiology, focus and language.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, brilliant, and physiology is at the top because it's the most powerful. And physiology because I get asked this really, what do we mean by physiology? Physiology means what you do with your body, what you do with your face, what you do with your hands, your gesticulation, basically everything you do that is physical around you. And why is that important?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, think about it. If I was asking you to be an actor and show me that you're depressed, we use our body massively to create depression. For anybody listening, what would that look like? I would say we probably have our head tilted down, the gaze of the eyes is more towards the floor, we would usually hunch our shoulders, the breathing would be more shallow rather than full, deep breaths.

Speaker 2:

So in order to make depression happen quote unquote, depression, a depressed state happen, we have to do certain things with our body that let us sink into the deep, sad feelings with our body. So the shoulders being rolled forward and the gaze being down and the breath being shallow is like three ways that we would express that. If, on the other side, I asked you to show me as an actor how you be, if you just climbed Mount Kilimanjaro or something that's spectacular and you have an amazing view and you feel literally on top of the world, most of the people would have some version of shoulders back, deep breaths, you know being like literally. The gaze is certainly at horizon level or above. You know you're just energetic, you're bringing power to the moment in some ways and we all, we do this all just with physiology. We could literally say nothing and think nothing and still create a feeling based experience, based on how we use our body.

Speaker 1:

Brilliant. Yeah, I think of a great example of it in a business environment as well. So public speaking is one of those areas where people get. You know it's one of the things that people fear most is public speaking. And if you walk to the stage and you walk in a slow way, looking down at the ground, breathing shallow, as you just described, and you've got that, you know you're nervous, everyone's nervous. When they go on stage, everyone's nervous, but your body is showing that you're nervous, then that that state is going to come across the audience and it's not going to help your brain.

Speaker 1:

And you know I do a lot of public speaking and when I'm nervous, before I get up in front of a group of people, but I always start at the back of the room and I like to run to the front of the room.

Speaker 1:

I get on stage, I throw my arms open, I push my chest forward to get me in the right state. I don't care about the audience at that point, I just want to get me in the right state you can use that power of your body to get, and the reason it works. So this is I remember the Tony Robbins explanation as to why this works is because of all the neuro nerves in our body all connecting together and that sends a message to our brain. So if we are in that kind of depressed, nervous state, that's sending a message to our brain that we're nervous with. And if we are in a, if we're switching our bodies into a powerful state and we're looking up, we're pushing out our chest, we're breathing heavily, that's sending powerful messages to our brain about confidence. It's tricking our brains into thinking a different emotion, a different emotional state.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely, and there was a really great TED talk I believe it was initially with Amy Cuddy where she actually talked to superhero poses and this was coming out of research studies where they led all the way to basically surgeons even having the arms on the sides of the hips and standing like a superhero right Legs slightly spread apart but firmly in the ground and that increasing focus and confidence before complicated surgery.

Speaker 2:

So this isn't some woo-woo stuff, this is actually proven physiological changes and I think the reason why you said it's probably one of the most powerful of the three pieces to the triad is because it is the easiest to change right. Sometimes it's so hard to change what we are thinking and what we're focusing on, but the body we can change by literally just getting on the floor and doing push-ups or having a stand-up desk versus a sit-down desk situation right where we are just more upright. So it's one of those that we can use really powerfully as leaders. And the reason why I thought this was so important to talk about was really because how we are being and how we're showing up as a leader in our organization and our business is going to be so determined on our triad and our state and how we create that. So let's just also get to the other two, right, like we haven't only really touched upon the physical or physiological side. So what are the other two?

Speaker 1:

Okay, so let's talk about what we focus on then, as the next point. So what we focus on. We can choose what we focus on in any given situation. A great example is when we walk into a train station. Let's say we walk through a train station, we can focus on the cues, or we can focus on the great conversation and smiling person standing next to us, or we can focus on the someone having a laugh in the distance, or we can focus on someone who's angry about having to wait for their train. We choose what we focus on, and so why not focus on the things? Why not choose to focus on the things that are positive? Why not choose to focus on the things that are going to empower you and enable you? By focusing on the other things, it's going to drag your state down, so focus on the things that are going to lift your state up.

Speaker 1:

How would you explain it?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, thank you. I think that was a great way to share what it is. The main way that I see this happen in Shawak is really in a couple of different ways. Tony Robbins would always say where focus goes, energy flows. So that's like a world famous quote of his, and it's really, really true, because what we tend to do as humans, I think a lot of the time is to focus what we don't want, what we don't want to happen, what we're trying to steer away from what is in front of us. That is not working, and this is exactly where the brain does not hear the don't. The brain just goes oh, this, more of this. And so we actually inadvertently create more of the things we don't want if we are not focused on the outcome. We want to create the direction we want to walk into, the experience we would like to have, and so focusing on the thing that you do want versus the thing that you don't want is a very, very powerful adjustment that we can all make all the time, every single day, whether we have an argument with our spouse, whether we are out for a run and we're focusing on how hard it is versus how beautiful the nature is. There's so much.

Speaker 2:

I had a really interesting experience with that yesterday running, because I just became a Peloton customer and with the Peloton app comes all these exercises and workouts with coaches, so I literally have my personal trainers a vast range of them in my ear now every time I go for a run and of course, I show up so differently when I have somebody to say okay, then in like 10 seconds we're going to speed up for a sprint. It's there directing my focus. So at the end of the workout I did a really hard workout from very little motivation, but I showed up way differently because I had somebody helping me with the focus and the language piece was really there as well, if you think about it right. And so I think it's just incredibly powerful for us to have the experience that we would like to have if we're just very clear on how we can focus our thoughts and our you know, our internal language, which is the third piece.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and it's interesting actually to focus on what we do want rather than what we don't want. It's interesting when coaching people and and you, I know you'll find this because I know, I know, I've done it with you you say well, so what do you want? And the answer well, I know what.

Speaker 1:

I don't want. Yeah, I don't know why I do want. And I find that, with you, know, I know I don't want to work for this boss anymore, I know I don't want to work for a corporate anymore, I know I don't want to, yeah, okay, so what do you want? So, I guess, how do you?

Speaker 2:

so, being knowing what you do want, then you've got to know that before you can focus on it, I guess, yeah, I mean, I think it shows up in two ways, like so what that makes me think of that you just shared is usually when I ask the question what would you like or what would you want? How do you want things to be different? People have this habit of giving me all the examples of what's currently in their ongoing, in their present life you know what's how things are showing up and then losing their train of thought because they don't have the ability yet to cut through all of that and all of the story to. This is actually the experience I'd like, and so, as a coach or a leader, I feel like we have the obligation to stick with it and really dive into what is it the person's actually trying to accomplish here, because we all have this habit of well, and then they didn't. They said they sent this email, and then they said this, and then they said that, and then I had to do, you know, I had to scramble to make it happen in the last five minutes.

Speaker 2:

Okay, I mean, okay, I hear all of that. And what's the experience you actually want? Maybe not in this case, because this is past, but what about next time? How would you want to show up next time Right Like what can you focus on next time? What? How can you approach the situation differently? So when we are working as leaders, we have to have the ability to guide someone's focus on the outcome towards the outcome right and actually it kind of links a bit to reframing, which we'll do in another episode.

Speaker 1:

How can you reframe a situation? But actually the analogy of a glass half or glass half empty is a really good one, because the situation is exactly the same Whether the glass is half full or whether the glass is half empty, and it kind of leads onto the third one nicely, because the language you use will determine your state as well. Absolutely, if you say this is really bad, the glass is half empty, again, that language is not going to get you in a great state. Absolutely, if you said the glass is half full, again, that gives you a slightly different feeling about how that glass is, the state of that glass. So the language you use to yourself, because our self-talk creates our self-thoughts, which creates our state, which creates our emotion, and so the self-talk, the talk we give to ourselves.

Speaker 1:

There was a podcast I listened to yesterday and it was fantastic. It was about this, about negative thoughts and how negative thinking or using negative words in your own head can increase the chances of it happening by 30%, something like that, some of that, some studies on this, and if you say it out loud, it increased it by seven times or something.

Speaker 2:

I bet.

Speaker 1:

So saying it internally is one thing, say it out loud is another. But how would you describe the language piece of this trial?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I love this one. Obviously, it's something that we've even talked about in the self-coaching one on one. It's one very like. All three of these are ways that we can actively coach ourselves as leaders and work with others, and I think what the language piece is a lot about for me is whether you are at cause or at the effect of life at any given moment, and what I mean by that is you can be either in a state of responsibility, where you are owning your experience what's going on, you're taking responsibility for the results that you're creating, and it's a much more helpful and empowered state or your internal language can be more aligned with a victim state, where you're at the effect of the world, at the effect of the other people, at the effect of somebody not doing their job.

Speaker 2:

Right, I was just listening to this the other day, where they were describing how, when an employee isn't doing a good job, we are very fast to be yelling at them, firing them. But think about this way If the employee was a flower, if the flower doesn't grow, we wouldn't yell at the flower for not growing. We would look at how can we optimize their environment to help them flourish and grow. So that would be, for me, a way of being at the effect of really encouraging my team member by looking at how am I co-creating that they're not performing Right, how am I creating that with them and how can I be at cause of their being creating rate results and being in peak performance?

Speaker 1:

What just hit me with what you just said there is, as a leader, we can, and regularly will, create the state of the people that work for us, or the people around us 100%.

Speaker 1:

And I can think of some great examples of people I've worked with who just create an incredibly negative state of everyone around them. And everyone listening to this will know that when you see the email coming through from that individual who further up the chain and your heart starts beating, or you start wondering about what next, or you see their number come up on your telephone, that could change the state. You know, seeing that number can change the state. It's a trigger, absolutely Because of the language they use, because of what they focus on, because when they're reviewing you they're focusing on everything you've done wrong, not anything you've done right, and the physiology that they are using will create the state in you.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, it's interesting, so as leaders.

Speaker 1:

We need to be really careful with all three of those because we're creating the state in others and as coaching leaders. So, leaders using coaching skills for leaders, being aware of someone else's focus, their language they're using and their physiology will help know what their state is and therefore how to react to that, so you can support them in the best way.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely, I would 100% agree.

Speaker 2:

And you know, with the language piece, I think also it's coming to really like the. I think one of the key things that I come back to my mind is thinking of a client where there's a huge difference between when they think, the thought I can do this, I can do hard things, I can handle it, you know, versus I'm not sure what to do, I don't know, you know, I don't know what the right thing is to do, right. So we have all this self-talk that is inherently disempowering and we're not even aware of it, right. And so I think, as a leader, if you are in that position where you're still struggling with self-awareness and you don't really know how you're creating your own state, the language maybe sometimes the first one to look at to see, you know, to create the awareness, first of all, because you can notice the impact that you're having as leader when you're coming saying this versus that. Because even if, like we all have met this person that when they walk into the room, the impact is so positive they haven't even said a word yet.

Speaker 2:

But that is state right. So it's the physiology, exactly, it's really we can feel how they're showing and how they're being inside and what they must be focused on and how they're thinking about themselves, and it all you know, especially the thinking part, goes back to self worth good enoughness, right. So for me, it's one of my favorite things to play in in the coaching arena because it has such a profound effect on how we create impact for ourselves and our own lives, as well as in teams and organizations.

Speaker 1:

And one of the things that creates that, when someone walks in the room with that air of confidence, with that air of compassion and you feel comfortable with them, the facial expressions are so powerful. There are hundreds of muscles in the face and I was doing yoga the other morning with a client when we were doing some team yoga and we were doing some yoga and one of the exercises was when you are sitting in a certain position is to smile, and this yoga teach had a smiling for a minute and it is really difficult to not smile without laughing when you're smiling for a minute and it's really difficult to feel unhappy. So that if you smile just, you know, not a goofy smile naturally it makes people feel or smile with your eyes. It makes people feel comfortable with you and engage with you, and you can do that on teams and zoom as well, so you can create state in people in that way as well.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and the last sort of area of application of this for me is in sales teams. Right, like, we talk with sales teams quite frequently, and it was certainly one of those things when I worked at Tony Robbins, this coaching organization, that we were very much made aware of and we had to do all of our coaching standing up, because we were trained to be in a peak state ourselves first, before we ever picked up the phone. And so I think, especially in a sales environment, this is quite critical because, you know, we can't show up with anything less than confidence, calm, connection and connectedness to the other person and really being focused on the other side, not on ourselves and whatever stuff went on at home, you know. So really using the triad in a sales organization is very, very empowering, because it just makes you show up entirely differently, right?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, because you've got to. You know, whenever you're turning up to do a sales call, or you're turning up to pitch to the investors, or you're turning up to take a business case to your boss, you've got to turn up in the right state, which means you've got to manage your physiology first. You've got to manage the language you're telling to yourself you know, this is going to work. I've got the best business plan here. I know what I'm doing. This product is really going to help this customer and your focus is on being successful, not on them saying no. Focus on them saying yes.

Speaker 2:

The way that I would suggest to access that, because some people might sit here and be like, oh yeah, that's all sounds, you know, fair and well, but how do I actually do that? In the moment, I think, rather than trying to pick out you know incantations or you know kind of phrases that will be, you know, positive, I've got this, you know I'm the best sales person in the world, that sort of thing If that's not believable to you, that's not going to work for you. So what I would do instead is really focus internally on a last time some time in the past when either I've had the best possible sales call and it just went like it just worked. You know you were just in flow, things were working out great or it can be even outside of the context of work, where you were feeling on top of the world and really think about how was I being with my body then, like was I breathing fully or shallowly, like was I standing or sitting?

Speaker 2:

You know it might be a hike, it could be last time you swim in the ocean or you surf the waves, like just thinking about what was I focused on, what was my language like and what was my body like because you can literally just by remembering putting you can put your cells and your body back into the state, and that's a practice everybody can do. That will help you, alongside with the superhero powers in superhero poses and other things. But if you're struggling to get yourself there by thinking alone about your language, then definitely try to remember a situation or a time when you were just simply feeling awesome.

Speaker 1:

And I think you know kind of pulling this together for the leaders. Listening to this, just to just to repeat the three elements of the triad physiology, how you use your body, focus, what you focus on and the language you use. Being conscious of those in yourself and noticing it in others is really the coaching skill we want you to take away from this conversation today. Just be aware of it. You don't have to do anything with it, just be conscious of it to start with, agree and then maybe start fanging it and doing things, playing around with it, doing things differently with it.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely yeah, really great topic. I loved it, and thanks so much for having this conversation, neil. I hope that it inspired you to try out something different, to be more mindful, to create more self awareness, increase yourself awareness and really just lead more powerfully, which is what we're here to enable you to do with the coaching skills for leaders podcast. So thank you so much for listening. Thank you, neil, for joining me on another sunny day. I look forward to our next conversation Very, very soon.

Speaker 1:

Thank you. Thank you for listening to coaching skills for leaders podcast with the honor 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.

Coaching Skills
Language Power, Coaching Leaders