Join me in a conversation with leadership coach and author Emily Sander as we dive into effective decision-making, communicating, and more. An enlightening conversation with an enlightening guest. Comment below and be sure to get an answer from me!
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Emily Sander is a C-Suite Executive and Founder of Next Level Coaching. As an ICF-Certified Coach, she guides clients toward new perspectives that enable them to adapt and evolve as leaders. She is the author of the book, Hacking Executive Leadership.
EMILY's PAGE https://www.nextlevel.coach/
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The decisions that we make determine the direction of our lives. So it is crucial if you’re not headed where you want to be headed, to take an in-depth look at the choices you make. Remember - this doesn’t have to be stressful, and none of us are commanded to make the right decisions. If you’re relatively happy and satisfied with the way your life is going, you can choose to ignore all of this without judgment from this platform.
However, if you want more out of life than you are currently getting, I would suggest to you that the first place you look to see where there may be a problem is your choices.
Today’s guest is author and leadership coach Emily Sander, founder of Next Level Coaching, and she walks us through some helpful information about the decision-making process - as well as diving into some reasons from our past that we may be making our new decisions based on old thought processes and motivation.
Don’t miss this conversation - we’re getting ready to start in 5 4 3 2 1
[00:00:00] Matt: Emily, what is it that you do?
[00:00:03] Emily: I am a leadership coach, so I have by way of background, I've spent 15 years in the business world and the corporate world leading. Client facing teams and working with executive leadership teams. And several years ago, I was reflecting back on a number of those roles at different companies.
And I said, what was my favorite part? And it was working with individuals to get them to their next level, whatever that was for them. It could be at actual career advancement or helping them, , feel more confident in a team meeting or presenting. And so once I paired that up with coaching as a thing, and I can go get certified and trained on how to be a coach and do this full time.
Then I, that I would to do that. So I work with business leaders and business professionals from all around the world, on whatever is top of mind for them.
[00:00:51] Matt: do you find that there's anything that is in general what's on the top of mind for them. Like any, I, typical recurring themes is what I'm looking...
[00:01:00] Emily: Certainly, I typically work with professionals going through a transition. So they've either just gotten promoted into a new job and they're trying to navigate how to be successful there and maybe gain some new perspectives or skill sets that are gonna help them there. There's the principle of what got me.
Here isn't gonna get me there. So the things that made them a go-to person and made them a top performer in their previous role might not be the same things as they're going to need to do now. And then some people are looking to be promoted. Hey, Emily, I'm think I'm doing well, but my boss is giving me some feedback and some different areas.
I wanna make sure I'm optimizing all of those things and giving myself the best shot to. Recognize and rewarded. And so helping people on those types of things, and that can be internal things like mindset and self confidence and all of the stuff that goes on in between our ears. And it can also be tactical and practical, external things like, okay, if you need help with public speaking, and that's part of your job to give presentations to the board or your constituents, we can work on those pieces as well.
So all across the board, but in, the general realm of business and folks going through some sort of transition or inflection point.
[00:02:10] Matt: That sounds fascinating to be coaching leaders. Do you typically find yourself like helping people make decisions or telling them what to do, or how do you go about the coaching
[00:02:23] Emily: Yeah, I try not to just tell people what to do. But certainly I like to think of myself as an objective outside sounding board, and that's really helpful to people. Folks have colleagues and bosses and mentors and, even family and friends, but sometimes it's just not the right setting to really talk about things in a transparent, honest way and have someone fully engaged and invested in that conversation. Coming from a business background, I can speak their language and I can understand what they're going through and provide some outside perspective. So for example, if someone is thinking about a decision and there's, there they go.
There's option. And there's option B and I might go there's C, D E FG, and they go, oh my goodness. Okay. I didn't even see those different ones or help them gain some perspective or clarity around things that can be helpful.
[00:03:14] Matt: How would you help people to be confident about the decisions that they're making?
[00:03:19] Emily: One of the biggest things I say is you need to make the best decision you can with all the information you have at the time. And that's the rubric that is most helpful. So people use hindsight bias and they often conflate the decision with the outcome. So a simple example is, oh, I took this route to work and there was an accident so I was late. That was a bad decision. It might not have been a bad decision. It could have been the best decision you could make at the time you left your house. You didn't know about the accident, but because the outcome was not what you wanted, you say it was a bad decision. So how helping people see it through that framework and that lens of, okay.
Am I making the best decision that I can with all the information I have at the time? If the answer is no, I might need to go get some more information or maybe go get some more outside counsel. From someone go do those things, but if it's like, Nope, Emily, I've done everything. I can, I need to make this call now.
And so I'm making the best call I can right now that's a good decision. Okay.
[00:04:22] Matt: I like that. It does seem like the example you gave with the car accident, that is a completely unforeseen thing. It's it? It seems to me that there's gonna be a lot of decisions that people have made that puts you more in a gray area where something that you decided made you cause something else to happen and not just an accident on the road, but to be able to look at a situation and decipher what the best decision is how would you go about that?
[00:04:51] Emily: Sure. Leaders are almost always making decisions within incomplete data or imperfect information, and that can be from external things like we just mentioned, and it can also be from a lack of clarity in their thinking. So maybe they were coming at that decision. I'm stressed, I'm tired, I'm coming from a place of scarcity. And so I'm making this decision in kind of a warped tilted mindset. And so there's lots of things to unravel and unpack there. And so making sure you're putting yourself in best position to lead and as a senior executive, you're often being paid to make a very few high quality decisions over the course of your day or week or month. And so you need to do all the prep work and all the things you need to do. You prepare yourself for when that moment comes, you're ready to step up. And so there's a whole bunch of things you can do there, but there are the external factors that are unforeseen for sure.
And then there are things that we might have blind spots to, or have biases towards that we need to be self aware about. And either counter them, at least know that they're there. So you can counterweight them or have someone help you make that decision.
[00:05:59] Matt: Can you intuitively see where the blind spots are that they might not even be hitting?
Yeah. It's in the course of a coach engagement, you can certainly talk to people about that and suss out what they're saying and what they're not saying. One thing that I often suggest people do is think about your self and your beliefs, like a lens. And think about a contact lens. So in real life, we use contact lenses to see more clearly and they're right on our eyeball.
So we often forget that they're there yet. Everything we see and everything we're taking in and experiencing is being filtered through that lens. So if it was tinted blue, everything's gonna look blue. If it's tinted orange, everything's gonna look orange. In this example. Think about that contact lens, like your belief set.
[00:06:47] Emily: So everyone has a set of beliefs they're carrying around, and that is based in values and how you were brought up in education and who you associate with, et cetera, et cetera. And so we all have these things built in and our experiences and interactions are all going through this filter. So really quick example is if you're walking into a team meeting and your belief is I'm a bad communicator, I'm not good with people.
I don't have anything valuable to say. You are going to show up and behave in a certain way in that team meeting. If instead you walk in and say, I'm an effective communicator, I build good rapport with people and I communicate well, you're going to have a much different outcome in that team meeting. So that's the principle and the takeaway for people listening is take inventory of your belief set.
So what contact lens. Are you wearing and what are you carrying around? And sometimes in that belief set are hidden beliefs. And these are things to your question that we might have blind spots towards, or we might have inherited. So we pick them up as kids in our formative years and we have carried them forward without knowing about them.
And so that could be oftentimes children are told, don't talk to strangers. Little Billy is walking to school for the first day of school. Don't talk to strangers. That's perfectly sound advice for mom and dad. If Bill has grown up and he's going to a networking event for a business, don't talk to strangers sounds funny, ? That's not good advice. So that's a belief that you probably wanna set down. It served a purpose before, but it's no longer useful. So set that one down and say, okay, I need to go and connect with different people and strike up conversations with people. I don't know.
[00:08:33] Matt: Ignoring the hidden beliefs for a second. Do you have any system or way that I could take inventory of my belief system is like, how would I go about figuring that out?
[00:08:48] Emily: Sure. So step one is asking yourself for having someone ask. What is important to you? What are your values? And sometimes people can just say them, and that's the first place to start.
The other way to come to that answer is observe your actions. So if you think about this chain reaction. It goes beliefs to feelings, to actions. And so we have beliefs. They make us feel a certain way, and those feelings prompt us to take certain actions. So even if you can't observe, what are like Emily, like I don't, I can't spout out my values or my belief set, look at how you act in certain situations and look at where you have an emotional reaction and that can give you clues and you can reverse engineer.
Okay. Like I had an outburst at that meeting. So that was the action that's observable. I could observe that. People at the team meeting could observe that. What did I feel right before that? And then what did I have to believe? What would I have to believe in order to do those things? So you can backtrack if that makes sense it does
on your actions.
[00:09:50] Matt: Is that something that you would. Is that something you can sit down and think about and write out in a couple hours in one night, or is this like an ongoing process that you're constantly analyzing your belief system?
[00:10:02] Emily: I think it's a combination. So certainly taking dedicated time to sit down and really write down journal free associate. However you operate best is a good starting point just to get whatever you can. That you can think of in your consciousness out there. And then over time, I would suggest days over a few days or a few weeks to, just journal jot some things down or keep it in your phone as things come up and you will, you'll almost certainly see patterns and say, okay, so these similar types of situations are coming up for me, or, oh, maybe it's a certain type of person or maybe an authority figure or something like this, where that seems to trigger something in me. Or conversely, Hey, I get excited and I'm in flow state and I lose time doing these types of activities. And just taking inventory of those types of things can give you a good baseline.
[00:10:51] Matt: Okay and then. Bringing back the hidden ones. what I mean, those just crop up and you deal with them as you realize them. Is that how that works?
[00:11:03] Emily: Yeah. So that's again where you can use the beliefs, feelings, actions, and reverse engineer. Oftentimes it's really helpful to get outside perspective because if it's a blind spot. Inherently, you can't see it very well. So a trusted family member, a friend, a mentor, obviously a coach can be a great resource for this, but someone to help you unpack that and ask the right questions to tease those things out of you can be really helpful. A lot of my clients say, Emily, just having a time and space to talk about this out loud.
A lot of people process things verbally. So when they're talking about it out loud, they hear themselves and they pick up on something just from talking about it out loud. So most people are going throughout their, the motions of their day very quickly. And they don't actually take time to think about things and reflect on things.
So it might just be taking time having coffee with a friend and saying, Hey, can I talk to you about this? This kind of came up and I wanna see what you think about it. That can be a great conversation. Obviously, a session with the coach where. I wanna describe to you what happened? Can you give me some out outside perspective and ask me a few questions about it.
That's a great resource as well.
[00:12:10] Matt: Okay. If if I was gonna sit down and write a list of my values, what does that look like? Am I writing down like honesty and hard work and that kind of stuff? Or are there deeper or different kind of values that I should be seeking and thinking about?
[00:12:25] Emily: Yeah. I That's a good place to start. I think honesty and integrity. Those are ones that come up a lot for people. There's also, what motivates you and your values can change over time. So a lot of people are working under old beliefs or motivations. So I'll give you an example that comes up in my world a lot. Okay. A lot of people in early in their career are money motivated.
Emily. I have to pay rent. I have a mortgage I have to take care of. So and and that's a perfectly valid value and belief and motivation set, I need to earn money. So I'm gonna take a job that gets me money. Mid-career it often changes to, I want to be somewhat of influence. I wanna have an impact and I wanna have a seat at the table at my company.
And so that is a new value and a new belief and a new motivation they go after in late stage career, people are often, Hey, I've done everything I'm gonna do. I don't need to prove myself to anyone anymore, but I wanna give back. And I wanna make sure I'm imparting my wisdom or helping the next level of leaders come up and do succession planning as such.
And so they their beliefs and values change. So yes, writing down what you think they are today is a good first step. And then either bouncing them off yourself or someone else say, is this really what I wanna be going after right now? Is a good.
[00:13:43] Matt: So if I said I want to be out there helping people, would you consider that a value or just a goal or
[00:13:51] Emily: Service. So service to others, I believe is a value. Okay. And there's a million different ways to do that. You can serve in a hundred different ways and knowing that's important to you knowing that's the driver for you is the first step. And then finding out the best kind of match or way to do that and manifest that in the world would be an extension of that.
But yeah, service is a value.
[00:14:11] Matt: Okay. Okay. And one of the things I'm actually about to sit down and write a podcast episode based on a conversation that I had, and I think that you would be able to add to this conversation . I was talking to somebody who. Said when I was asking them about their values and what they wanted to do.
And he wanted to be seen as a teacher, he wanted to teach, he loves to teach. He wanted to be seen as a teacher, but he, it was hard to draw that out of him because he felt guilty saying it like. Somehow that's a bad like, I'm just, I'm talking about how I want other people to perceive me. So I try to tell 'em like, I, one of the things that I want to do is be respected by the people I respect and be admired by the people that I admire.
That's a driving motivation for me to keep working on personal development. What would you say to somebody who thinks that's wrong or is having problems saying that's a selfish motivation?
Yeah. So I'm hearing a, should a hidden should in that statement. So I should want to be seen as a teacher. And so to me that says there's some sort of external expectation being placed on this individual. So I'd be curious about where that's coming from. When he says, when he. I should say I. He's seen as a teacher who is saying that to him, what voice is saying that to him? So I don't know if you got to that at all.
I think it I think it was a past career for him that just wasn't making enough money, but he was training people and using the software at some business and he, that was his favorite job. He we were talking about it.
He said it was his favorite job. He got to sit down and teach people, show people how to use the software. He likes people having enlightening moments of, oh, that's how that's done. And this is a really powerful tool and get excited about it. And he loved that. And then he moved on and he said, he'd like to get back into a position like that.
And that's when I said what you sound like teaching is probably something that you should look at and think. And he says, yeah, he'd want to be seen as a teacher, but
interesting. Yeah, there's optics. And then I think you were getting to it, which is the root cause or the root motivation, which is maybe you want to.
Share information with people. You want to empower people or give your experience to people who don't have that opportunity. There's something behind that. It's not just being a teacher. Maybe that's the container it develops into, but there's something even more foundational behind that.
And so I think you were getting close with, Hey, you, you wanna. What did you say before
[00:16:31] Emily: as being a teacher? That part? No, it was, no, it was the part after that. So we wanted to be seen as a teacher, but you said no. It sounds more like you want to, and it was something closer to the essence of it.
[00:16:42] Matt: Just be a teacher, not worry about being seen as a teacher. Yeah. I, I don't remember what I said. And it's funny cuz this is being recorded, but I'm I can't go
[00:16:50] Emily: back. No worries. No worries. It was genius. Not whatever it was. Believe me. It was, that is, it was really good.
[00:16:55] Matt: I don't hear that often enough.
[00:16:58] Emily: but yeah, often it's like the outside optics and it's the external expectation of parents or friends or society or all those things that we think we should do. And so I think for him, it is getting to the root of what he actually finds fulfilling. And so it might be, Hey, if no one else. Saw this, or you were on a desert island and you were just doing what you wanted to do.
What would that thing be? What would that activity be? And trying to draw out of him? If no one else, if you couldn't tell anyone else about this, they couldn't know what it was. Take that optics piece away and say, okay, if it's just you talking to yourself here, you talking to Matt, what would be the thing that you wanna do?
[00:17:37] Matt: , that's really interesting. I had that thought about a month ago. Because I was thinking my music, when I play the piano , I do it because I'm eventually gonna be playing it in front of people. And I can sit down at the piano and have a lot of fun by myself in my house.
But then I'm like, if everybody else in the world, but me ceased to exist right now, would I still sit down and play the piano? The answer is, I don't know if the motivation would be there because for me, it's bringing that enjoyment to people and I can have fun doing it. But just knowing that the reason that I'm sitting here practicing for two or three hours is because I will be performing this for people who are gonna get something out of it.
[00:18:21] Emily: Yeah. There's two elements that came out for me. There one is mastery, so there's in it of itself. Getting good at something. There's a satisfaction in that. I'm sure you started playing piano like chopsticks or scales or whatever, and now you can play at a higher level. And then there's also this element of Co-creation and we're sharing this experience together and sharing what you've done with other humans.
And there is a give and take. And especially with live performances, I often say there's a huge difference between seeing a movie and going to live theater. And it's just like this organic, natural two-way street. So there, I think there's something very human and we're, society and we like to be in groups and we like to interact with other humans.
And music is just a, is just. Great way to do that. So I think there's two things that might be coming out there for you. Which is one, like maybe you wouldn't do all the practice that you do today, but it sounds like you still like playing piano. I do yourself. Yes. Maybe you wouldn't, have as much structure around it or practice as much, or have the vision of you performing in front of people in mind when you do it, but you might still do it in.
Certain way in certain fashion. And then there is this like excitement of okay, I get to, Showtime, I get to perform this and do it in front of people and get their reaction and feed off of that and give them something and receive something from them. Wow.
[00:19:39] Matt: I like that. This is a coaching session for me. I read your profile on pod match and. You said the most interesting phrase , which is learn how to never fail again. Oh. So can I ask you about that?
[00:19:54] Emily: Absolutely. So that, that is referring to this concept. I have called the failure loop and I actually have a graph in my book on it, but I'll describe it briefly.
So it's a series of loops, individual loops that are connected in a chain and the chain goes up into. and that's the direction of progress. And this failure loop framework is a way to reimagine how we think about failure. So we transform failure into progress and how that works is if you think about your life experience, there's gonna be times where things don't go your way and you made a decision.
We talked about that earlier. Oh my gosh. I just fell on my face. It's embarrassing in front of friends and family. I made a presentation. and it was a big deal and I did not do well. I failed at that. And a lot of times we have that negative feeling and our self worth goes down and we have that gut punch feeling.
And that is the failure event. And in the chart, that's the section of the individual loop that goes back down into the left and that's the opposite direction of progress. And so there is a point where you're. Back down into the left. And a lot of people stop there and a lot of people go, I'm a failure and they sit down and declare themselves a failure and they stop.
And that's one way to approach failure. The other way is to say, okay, I know where I am in this process, and I know what I need to do right now. And what I need to do is take the lesson and learning from that experience as painful and difficult as that might be and apply it going forward. When you do that, you've just propelled yourself up to the next rung in the next individual loop in the chain of loops up into the right and that's progress.
So that, that sequence is the framework and the part in the gut punch bottom part of the loop that can take a while. So sometimes that can be very short where it's oh, that didn't go my way, but I know where I am. Take the lesson learning out of it. Got it. Sometimes that's weeks, months. If you've had something really difficult really challenging happen in your life, it can take a while and give yourself that room and give yourself that space to be I'm in a, I'm in a reflective, not so great space, but I know where I am and I know it's temporary and I know it's gonna pass.
But that's the failure loop. And I always say, if you use this framework, keep it in mind, know where you are and you continue to propel yourself up the chain. You have just transformed failure into progress. And in, in that way, you will never truly fail again because you will always just be learning, growing, and improving.
Working and operating at that higher level of who you are as a person of who you are as a leader of the types of decisions and choices that are even coming on your radar, the types of opportunities that you're having to fail in.
So Hey, I'm at this big Ted talk presentation I had to have a series of failures and challenges and opportunities to even get to this point. So now I'm having the opportunity to maybe not do so well at a Ted talk, but Hey, I'm at a higher level altogether, even just by being here. .
[00:23:05] Matt: All right. And then, do you see people that you are coaching? Do you see people like dropping back down? Because they. They didn't learn the lesson properly the first time.
[00:23:17] Emily: sure. Life will give you ample opportunities to, to learn that lesson again. if you don't get it the first time. So yes, if someone is being presented with the same challenge and they're doing the same thing over and over again, and that's not working, that's literally the definition of insanity by the way.
And so they need to try something new and. Take time to reflect and take the learning and lesson and apply it. And sometimes you've picked the wrong thing okay, Emily, I know I need to do something differently. Let me try this. Whoop. See Daisy's that didn't work as well. So let me try a new thing. And it's that whole concept of who invented the light bulb.
There's that great quote where no, I didn't find
[00:23:58] Matt: Edison.
[00:23:59] Emily: Yeah. Yeah. I, I find 9,000 ways that it didn't work. And that was part of my journey to electric.
[00:24:04] Matt: That's a, that's the 9000th way that did not invent a light bulb. I just discovered another way not to have a light bulb
[00:24:12] Emily: but that was part of this process. . And it had to keep going.
[00:24:15] Matt: , can I get a picture of that graphic for the loop so that I can put it on the podcast so that people can see it?
[00:24:21] Emily: Absolutely. Yeah. That'll help. Help make more sense, but yes, I can send you that and put it in the show notes or wherever this is going. That'd be awesome.
[00:24:27] Matt: That would be fantastic. And then during these coaching sessions, do you help people with their communication skills?
[00:24:36] Emily: Yes, definitely. So that can come in many different forms. Sometimes it's the interpersonal communication you're having with colleagues and Hey, I'm coming off a little bit gruff or I'm, I'm not getting my point across the way I want to, and that can go into little tactical and practical things such as I'll give you a quick example, switching the word, but and in the middle of a sentence can change the dynamic of a sentence and how it lands with the listener. So this is particularly important when you're giving feedback to someone. So let's say, I'm your boss and I'm giving you feedback.
A lot of times people will say a whole bunch of positive things to try to ease their way in and, pad this conversation. And then they'll say, but, and they'll give the negative comment or the constructive criticism and to a lot of people listening the, but will negate everything they've said before.
So all the positive they said before, have. Wiped clean and canceled out. They just hear the negative. So in that same sentence, if you switch the word, but for, and so you do this thing well, and you do that thing well, and next time we could go this direction and try that it lands differently. And so it's better received by the person you're talking to.
So sometimes just a little change like that, and your communication can make all the difference in the world. So that's one example. And then sometimes it is someone a fear of public speaking, or they wanna be more effective in their presentation, or they have a panel interview coming up for a very senior executive position.
And so we talk about how to prep for that, and that can be again, mindset and how they're approaching things and how they feel about themselves. And then it could also be external tactical and practical pieces where let's synthesize the information you're talking about in a concise, compelling way. Okay.
[00:26:22] Matt: All right. I had a vision right when you started talking and you mentioned the word gruff of maybe you sitting with a client and you saying you might come off gruff and then the guy or girl would be like, I'm not gruff. And you're then you were saying, you're being gruff with me.
Do you find that the people. Do they act as themselves when they're with you or do they try to do they, can you see how they are? Do you know what I'm asking? Can you see how the person really is or do they change when they come in to be these awesome people?
[00:26:53] Emily: No. Yeah. so it's funny on the initial intro, a call I have with people, I offer a free consultation with people. Sometimes people are playing up to who they think that they should be or who they want me to think they're being most people don't cuz they wanna honest conversation, but some people do. So I know what you're talking about. Most often people go the other direction and they become more unfiltered when they speak with me because they're not worried about, oh, this is my colleague. They might gossip to someone else. Or I might get in trouble. If I speak to the boss this way, they're saying Emily, you're my coach. I'm just gonna give this to straight up. And they'll I'll see the rough edges come out, even they'll be even more pointed and more sharp with me. And I have a, it's funny, you mentioned that, cuz I had an example where someone came to me.
The reason they came to me was because they kept getting fired from jobs for their communication. And they say, I keep getting performance reviews that say, I don't communicate effectively. I'm too harsh on people. I've gone through a series of jobs, but Emily I don't have a communication problem.
Like I'm just fine. And I could tell by the way, he was just speaking to me in the first few minutes. That I was getting a little, I was like, oh yeah, that's coming off a little sharp and direct and you keep interrupting me. And, okay. A lot of times you can see what they're talking about.
And in his case he had gotten the external feedback of, Hey, I'm doing something and I need to change. So after a few rounds of feedback, I'm gonna go to someone to help me with this.
[00:28:16] Matt: So when you encounter that situation, do you. Is this a process where you just call it out or do you slowly try to get them to realize, is there like a process to get them there?
[00:28:27] Emily: Yeah. The answer is it depends, but to go through those scenarios, it, a lot of times it needs to be straightforward. And for this particular person, it was, you've received this feedback. What do you take from. And, you're saying you assess your communication in this way.
Tell me more about why you say that and how you assess that. And it, in, in that case, it was all about him and I'm like, and I said, have you gotten feedback from the people you're communicating with? How might they take your communication style? And let's say you didn't think about communication the way you do.
Let's say you thought about it like X, Y, and Z. If you were playing that conversation back with that lens on and with that background and experience, how would that conversation have gone to you? And so working him through, okay. Yes. I've gotten repeated feedback, not just from one source. And yes, if I take time to sit in someone else's shoes, I could see how that conversation could be taken a different way.
He didn't agree with it at the beginning, but he said, I can see how that conversation could be taken a different way. And just getting that little daylight wedge in there opened up a whole bunch of different convers. Okay.
[00:29:33] Matt: Wow, that's great. And I love that it tied back to the lens, right? Because he was not changing and continually getting fired.
I don't wanna be talking about your client like this, but but and continually getting fired because he might have had this paradigm, this lens on that said, I'm, it's their problem. It's not my problem. They need to listen to what I say and whatever. Then he, you eventually brought him around to realized that it was his problem and his communication.
[00:30:03] Emily: Yeah. He had gotten enough external feedback. He's I need to do something. And, at one point it is, Hey, there's a common denominator in all of these equations and that's you. So let's take a look at that and see what we can do there.
[00:30:14] Matt: Would you recommend to people to approach the communication aspect with other people?
Just if I'm working with a few people just call 'em in, have a meeting say, Hey, is our communication working? Is it going well for you? That kind of thing.
[00:30:28] Emily: One of the best things a leader can do is ask about how someone likes to be communicated with or receive feedback.
Sometimes that's a question that people are going to be forthright and answered you directly. And sometimes they're gonna give you a, this is what I'm supposed to say, answer in which case I'd observe what makes them comfortable. So take an interest in someone and really be curious, okay, how does this person tick?
How can I make them feel most comfortable, capable, and confident. That's your job as a leader, literally getting them to perform the best. That's your job. So how do I give them a safe space to work in? So yeah, I think to loop back to your previous question, sometimes being very direct and being straightforward is the best way to communicate with people.
And sometimes you need to be a little bit more nuanced and a little bit more, let me be balanced about. The level of positive feedback and constructive feedback that I'm giving you. So for instance I was working with someone. And she was from New York and she had grown up in the very New York household and big family had to yell and scream and hit your point across.
And her way, her style of communication was very direct and like very loud volume wise and everything. And she had to learn, Hey, sometimes this works well with people, but sometimes this can be off putting and offensive and scary for different people.
So she would have to flex her communication style to something a little bit more nuanced. And if she were to go into a feedback session with someone who needed a softer hand and she was as direct and pointed and sharp as she was, that could send someone in a spiral. So she wasn't trying to do it, but that could send someone like, oh my gosh, She's so angry and I'm gonna have to think about this over the weekend, and it's gonna stress me out all over the weekend.
And you're unintentionally doing something like that. Conversely, if you're someone who I like. No balanced, fair, equal information. I'm a little softer and quieter with my communication style. And you're speaking to someone who responds well to direct, two by four over the head communication.
And they're trying to like, read what you're saying and pick out like what is she trying? Just tell me like what you're trying to say. Don't do this maze wishy washy language. It could be the opposite of what they need. So just knowing who you're talking to and knowing what's gonna be the most effective for your listener.
[00:32:46] Matt: Okay. So it is very important then for a leader to know the people to understand them. It just hold maybe multiple conversations to figure it out.
[00:33:02] Emily: Yeah. So one is ask them, so I would just ask them because a lot of people will say, oh my gosh, thank you for asking. If you have a boss asking you that question, that's a great sign.
So ask them and then observe them over time. Like we mentioned before, over days, over weeks, over months, observe, what types of things they respond well to what types of things they get a little bit more unsure about. You can, if you are cognizant about paying attention to those things, you can pick up on what they say, what they don't say.
Their body language gives away a lot and also their performance. Okay. When I put pressure on. He steps up and he really shines and that's what makes him excel. Or when I put pressure on Emily, she doesn't like that. She needs reassurance and confidence and support, encouragement, all of those types of things.
[00:33:48] Matt: . So then what advice would you give somebody who wanted to overall level up their leadership?
[00:33:56] Emily: Two things be self-aware. So in any interaction you're going through in any conversation you're having, you are half of that equation. So we've talked about your belief set. What makes you tick, your biases, your communication style, knowing that is really important and will only help you in whatever you're doing.
So being self-aware. And then I think having this mentality of ongoing self-improvement and ongoing growth. Is really important. And I'm sure almost all of the, all of your listeners, if you're listening to this podcast, you probably already have that, but a lot of people in the world don't, and it just surprises me how fixed mindset and stagnant status quo.
"I'm never gonna change," that is out there in the world. Be a person who let me step back. My view is human nature is to evolve and adapt and grow. And we are naturally curious and explorers and we want to progress and get better. It's like a tree doesn't try to grow or doesn't try to have leaves and get bigger and grow taller.
It just does that's what it does. I believe humans do that too. We're just meant to be curious about our world and be curious about ourselves and keep learning and growing until the day we die. And so I'd really encourage people. Hold onto that be a lifelong learner and whatever avenue that takes you in music, literature, sports business, world, whatever that is for you go after that and try to get better at that and try to be the best you can at that.
[00:35:25] Matt: . I loved the tree, like I've heard that before, too. Like how tall will a tree grow a tree? A tree doesn't grow half, a tree grows all.
[00:35:36] Emily: And a lot of times external things are trying to get in its way and it'll go around it and it'll adapt and go around it.
So a lot of us have that going on too. That is yes.
[00:35:44] Matt: And that is a beautiful metaphor. Sometimes just being humans though, having the dignity of choice. means we can choose to not be all we can just choose to be some
[00:35:56] Emily: yeah. We can choose to go through the motions and not really be there.
I've had clients come to me and say, Emily, you know that sensation where you're driving somewhere and you get there, but then you were like, how did I get here? I spent the last 20 years of my career, like that. I'm like, oh my gosh, That's profound. That's profound realization. Yeah. And so making sure we're being fully alive and we're playing to our strengths and playing to our talents and gifting, I think that's so important.
Cuz if you think about it all the 7 billion people in the world, a lot of people aren't doing that. And they're living way below their potential. And if people were living in their area of strength and were fully alive or even closer to it, the world would just be a different place. It would have a different texture to it.
So I think that's really important for people to hold onto. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:36:44] Matt: And that actually, I could see your passion right there. That's that seems to be part of your mission is to draw that out of people. And I am certain that you do an incredible job of that. That is really good to hear your passion in there.
You mentioned playing to your talents. How do, is there a, is do you have a route to figure out what your talents are to actually know, and then I, and then start going after that?
[00:37:13] Emily: Yes. So that reminds me of a great book. It's called Hannibal and me, and I would recommend it. I highly recommend it. It's on my top 10 book for leaders and basically it's it.
The backdrop is about Hannibal, the great leader in the ancient times who famously. Attacked Rome and went across the Alps with elephants. And, but the back that's the backdrop of the story. And basically there's two types of people that the book talks about and it's people who know what they wanna do and have their vocation and have their calling from a very young age and everything is pointed towards that.
And then a second group of people who. Don't really have a clear picture and they wander around from here and there's pros and cons to each of these two paths. And one is obviously the clarity and the single mindedness you can have around what you wanna go after. And then a lot of those people get it at a very young age or a relatively young age and they go, oh no, what.
is that all there is, I've accomplished that. And now what's ahead of me and the second group of people they wander and they are unsure of themselves. And they're like, I don't have a purpose or a direction, but they're collecting experiences and they're collecting a wide range of experiences and skill sets.
And so when they meet their pinnacle and their opportunity, they're ready for it in a different way. And so there's this dichotomy so long way of answering your question. Yes. There's different routes. People take to get to what their skillset and talent and calling is. And I've just really resonated with that book.
Cause a lot of people are on the first group and a lot of people are on the second group and maybe they're mixed in between, but some things that as you come of age and you're, and you. What do I like to do? What do I not like to do? What am I naturally good at? What do I struggle with? What do people go to me for?
Oh, Matt, you're the go-to person for this? Whenever I have a question, you're the first person I think of that's a good data point to have what do I lose time doing? What would I do for no money? All of these things are just indicators and guideposts to where you might wanna go towards. .
[00:39:13] Matt: I will definitely check that book out. That sounds fascinating. I am definitely in the second group cuz I'm almost, I'm almost 50 and I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I have had a lot of that wandering, I'm here podcasting primarily because I created a music studio.
I recorded six albums up there and then COVID hit. And I decided to learn a new thing and learn and just go a completely different direction. And I'm like, I could start a podcast too. I've got the music studio, I've got everything there.
I got the setup for it. I probably wouldn't voice for it.
Hey, thank you.
I wouldn't have even started this, if not. But there is a pull because I'm a musician who's doing like marketing and business management, coaching and stuff like that. There's a pull to, I've also been a magician, there's a pull there's a and a ghost writer, like lot of things that I've done.
And like you said, collecting experiences, I've collected maybe far too many experiences. but yeah but it's every time I make a decision, it feels like I'm leaving something else in the dust.
[00:40:15] Emily: Yeah. Yeah. You should read that book cuz they say, the Wanderers is what they call the second group.
Often feel like they're wasting time, but really the, all these things build to what they're meant to be. And so that was very reassuring to me because I consider myself in the second group as well. And that really upset me and caused me a lot of anxiety early on in my life and career. I should know what I'm trying to go after.
Cuz if I knew it, I could go after it better and faster. And things unfolded in such a way that led me to coaching, which was perfect timing. And I have the background and experience to back it up now. And so everything worked out just in a wandering meandering.
[00:40:51] Matt: . I definitely am gonna pick that book up.
I am also gonna pick up your book. Can you tell us about that?
[00:40:59] Emily: Absolutely. It's called Hacking Executive Leadership and it's a short read and I've been told for a leadership book it's pretty funny. And has the. Has lots of good anecdotes in it. It's not too dry, like they can be. And it really combines my 15 years in the corporate world and all the lessons I picked up there and my experience, coaching business leaders, and combined distilled down the concepts and frameworks, I think can really help people in different ways into a easy to read book.
So you can pick up hacking executive leadership on Amazon and audible and Kindle and all of those places, books are sold.
[00:41:31] Matt: I will put the links in the description. If anyone thank you. If anyone wants to get a hold of you, how would they go about
[00:41:37] Emily: doing that? Certainly the best place is my website.
So nextlevel.coach, next level, all one word.coach and I'm on Twitter. Next level, Emily and LinkedIn and all of those places as well.
[00:41:48] Matt: Outstanding. Thank you for this amazing conversation. This is gonna be really valuable to the listeners. So I just wanna say, thank you.
[00:41:55] Emily: Thank you, Matt.
[00:41:56] Matt: Thanks for having me.
So there's one question that I asked all of my guests. If you had 43 seconds and you had the entire world on the line, what would you say to them?
[00:42:09] Emily: I would go back to what we were talking about. Everyone. I believe everyone's job in this world is to put good into the world. I believe everyone has unique gifting and talents and skill sets, and the world needs you to be in that area of strength. And only you can do that the way you're gonna do that. And we need you to be fully alive and fully engaged and serving and participating. And so I would encourage everyone to take the steps they need and make the changes they need to get closer to that for all of.
[00:42:41] Matt: Excellent. We can start reading your book, reading the Hannibal and me book and figuring it out from there. Thank you so much for this. I really appreciate it. Thank you, Matt.