Paul Glover – Everybody Needs a Fool | Conversations with Coaches | Boxer Media

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Paul Glover – Everybody Needs a Fool | Conversations with Coaches | Boxer Media

Paul Glover, Part Three! It was so good to have one of my favorite people back on the pod.

One of my first three-timers, Paul shares his new framework built around the idea of having a fool in your life. But what does that mean, exactly? Drawing on the original medieval example of the “King’s Fool” or the “Court Jester”, the fool is one who can speak the truth to the king from a different (possibly insane) perspective…WITHOUT getting killed for it.

How does that translate today? A fool can be a powerful tool in your life – someone with the wisdom and perspective to see what you cannot (we all have blindspots), AND who is given the “psychological safety” to speak that truth to you without fear of reaction or reprisal.

There’s much more to it than that, and we get deep into all of the nuances and facets during our conversation. But at the heart of it, the fool is a dead-simple concept that is nevertheless quite challenging and sometimes painful…but so so so worthwhile.

Paul is a C-Suite performance coach with 20 years of experience as a federal court trial lawyer. He’s a passionate storyteller who believes in the power of narrative to influence and educate in the business world, personal life, and even courtrooms. He is also a member of the Forbes Coaches Council and the Author of “WorkQuake”.

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Kevin Stafford 0:00
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the conversations with coaches podcast. This one is a special one, I think in my, my esteemed opinion as the host. This is only the second time I’ve had someone back on for a third time. And quite I mean, you know, this is maybe wishful thinking probably not. Because I think we have great conversations, hopefully third of many more. Like, I mean, if I had my druthers, it would be like a monthly check in but you know, maybe, maybe come summertime, we’ll be having Paul Glover back on again. But for now, times three. Paul Glover is back with us. If you don’t, you might remember you probably have listened to his previous episodes. They were fantastic. Again, in my my opinion. But if you forget who Paul is, Paul is a C suite performance coach, with over 20 years of experience as a federal court trial lawyer. He’s passionate storyteller who believes in the power of narrative to influence and educate in the business world, personal life, and even courtrooms. He’s also a member of the Forbes coaches Council and author of the book work quake. We had some very Contentful conversations a couple of times last year in 2022. And this is the first of our conversations in 2023. Paul, it’s really good to have you back. It’s really good to see you.

Paul Glover 1:08
Governor, it’s really good to see you. And again, it’s an honor to be back. Glad to know that I’m a three timer here. It certainly was an enjoyable conversation the first few times. And I intend to keep it that way. For our third.

Kevin Stafford 1:22
Well, let me let me tee you up with a meaty topic that I know you’re gonna have a lot to speak on. And I’m excited to hear you speak on to and talk with you about you have a relatively recent TEDx talk that has, well, it’s an idea worth sharing, as you put it. And so why don’t you talk a little bit about that. And let’s just let’s bet that back and forth to see where we go.

Paul Glover 1:41
Sure. The the the title of the 10 acts is everyone needs a fool in their life. And it’s a personal experience as most TEDx Azhar. And it occurred to me as I look back on my life, and both the successes, but especially the failures, that if I’d had a full of my life, my life would have turned out very differently. And by the way, the definition of a floor which confuses people, is very medieval. Anyone who takes a look at the fool who was setting at the foot of the throne of the king immediately believes that the fool was a entertainer, a gesture, he would jump up caper about singing a song, tell a joke, and sit down. Now that was not the role of the fool. In medieval times, because the king was anointed by divine right. If you challenge the king, you committed the crime of heresy. And heresy was punishable by death. So there was no one who was in a position to tell the king when they were making a mistake to identify their blind spots and their triggers. The Fall, though, was an exception to the rule because he was viewed as being insane. That’s why they dress the way they dressed and acted the way they acted. insane people were not held to the same rule about heresy, and were nuts. They didn’t know any better. So the reality was that the counterbalance to divine right was the establishment of the role of the fool as a trusted adviser to the king. And therefore he had the psychological safety to tell the king the truth and not get killed. That’s something that is something that I believe more than ever leaders in particular, but everyone in general need today, we need someone that we trust and respect, who has the psychological safety to tell us when we are making a mistake, because unfortunately, we all have blind spots that are inherent in our personality. And blind spots by their definition cannot be seen by us, I love the concept of being self aware, except when you look in the mirror, you see a predetermined image, it is not the real you the real you is only seen by other people, we all wear a mask, we try to we try to we try to put out to in society, the way we want to be seen. And also we are often ignorant about the triggers that we have that will generate bad behavior, destructive behavior. So the concept is that we need to recognize that and leaders in particular do and find a full, give that full the psychological safety to tell us the truth or tell them the truth, and then be willing to listen to that truth and hopefully recognize the triggers and stop the bad behavior. This is a concept that I work hard at with my my coaching clients, because I act as their fool. I can see Ever that to be the job of any good coach is that you need to know your client well enough to be able to say, because I know you and your personality, when you tell me, this is what you’re going to do, I need to have the safety to tell you, you’re wrong. And let’s explore why you’re wrong. Because until we see our blind spots through somebody else’s eyes, they identify them for us and understand the triggers that generate the behavior, we continue to make the same mistake over and over again. That’s that that is the idea we’re sharing. And it sounds simple, except it is extraordinarily difficult, especially for successful people to take that idea and make it worthwhile embrace it, it actually takes failure. When when you have failed, in your struggle struggling with y, then we have to open ourselves up to do two things. Firstly, embrace the failure, and embracing the failure means we learn from it. But also, to understand that if we don’t do something that we weren’t doing before, we will commit the same mistake, inevitably, it’s a blind spot. And believe me, we don’t see our blind spots other people do. And other people figure out how to trigger us. So when it comes to be manipulated, this is where we fall within the category of manipulation. Someone knows our blind spots, someone knows our trigger, they frame the situation so that they will press that trigger, pull that trigger, and cause us to react the way they want, often to our own detriment. So that’s what we’re, that’s where I’m at with this. And I’ve put together a put together the TEDx talk. But I also put together a workshop because I think there are three elements of this. One is you have to recognize the need to have a full, the mindset has got to be there. The second thing is you have to provide the psychological safety, before you go out and find a full well, we’re going to find our fools are fools, our friends, family, could be coworkers, or coaches, someone we trust and respect that will perform this. And by the way, when I went out and found one, my first full was my wife. And when we first had this discussion, she refused. She said, I’m not going to be your full because I know how you are. And I know that when you when I tell you something you don’t want to hear, I know how you’re going to react. And I don’t want to deal with that. And so we had to reach a pact where I would I we developed a system where when she would tell me something that I didn’t like and didn’t want to hear, we would then take a break. Because I needed to get away from the conversation. And then self reflect. And I could come back and have it and she was brutal. And I love her to death. But I’ll tell you what she could she would piss me off in a heartbeat. And then we would have to break it. But But legitimately I respected her, I trust her. And she saw me a way that I didn’t see me. And she saw those blind spots. And she saw how defensive defensive, I would get how I would have a knee jerk reaction. So when someone pulled one of those or pulled one trigger, so it was a it was a revelation that had nothing to do with self reflection. I was I was very much into self reflection. But it doesn’t go deep enough it can’t. So So anyway, that’s where I’m at with us. And so the workshop is mindset that you realize you need a full, then you have to provide the psychological safety, and then go out and find a full, they have to be willing to do this, which means they have to believe that you’re serious about what you want, because this is about transformation. And transformation is really hard. And to do this to be serious about it. First you have to commit to the experience, because it’s not a it’s not a pleasant one, then you have to convince people that you’re serious about it, and you will allow them the the opportunity to be a fool, but then I believe there’s a payback, then you have to become a four Oh absolutely. If you had the gift of a fool in your life, who helps you you need to find someone to be a fool for gratitude and we talked about gratitude just briefly, that the support of gratitude being grateful does not allow you not to be then react to being grateful. You know, the concept of having an empathy is fantastic. Well, I really feel empathetic for you. The reality is if you don’t Have compassion connected to empathy. Because compassion is about not only do I recognize the issue you’re dealing with, I’m going to do something to help you overcome the issue. So I find it interesting that we’re all about empathy. But are we really about a compassion? Because compassion requires that we now do something positive to help

Kevin Stafford 10:25
taking action. And that’s Isn’t that always, well, maybe not the hardest step. But it’s I it gets, it gets overlooked. So frequently, when we’re talking about something like empathy, people feel like empathy is sort of an endpoint, where if they can just connect with the feelings and thoughts, another person’s like, Ah, okay, it’s almost like, I’ve read that book. Okay, have you put any of the things you learned from that book into action? Are you are you is that being expressed in any meaningful way that’s affecting the kind of change that you’ve seen in your life and would like to share with other people. And it’s, I feel like that’s such an important distinction to make and something, there were so many things that in your presentation that you just that you just gave that, I like, there, at least like a dozen different points. I was like, Oh, yes. And that, that there’s so many different things to talk about, which is why it’s such a great subject to really focus on and I love before all I’m going to ask you again, at the very end, but you mentioned that you’re creating a workshop for this is there like, I’m going to ask you for the link again, at the end of the of the of the episode, but like, where’s where can people find out more about this workshop around this

Paul Glover 11:23
by going to my website, Paul Glover And information about the workshop will be there. And it’s a it’s a brand new venture. Like I said, I’ve used it extensively, use the elements of it extensively in my coaching practice with my clients. But but I felt that it needed at first it needs to work it as a workbook. And I believe that that it it also the the concept of having an action plan. So that the deal is you take the workbook, and you can work with anyone you want to obviously, if you already have a coach, you have someone, you can set this action plan up so that you go through the steps necessary to obviously, realize the need for a full, set up the psychological safety, find the fool, go through the process of them telling you reflecting. And then like I said, the last thing is you need to then say now I’m going to reach out, and I’m going to, I’m going to pay it forward, right? The vet benefit that I get has got to be paid for. If that doesn’t happen that I really believe that it’s a interesting concept. But not a not an idea worth sharing. Brilliant. And by the way, the elements will be the full is something that’s included in the workshop, because when you go looking for someone, you obviously respect is fine. But you also they also have to have the ability to, to communicate with you in a way that makes sense. So that you will understand what you need to do next.

Kevin Stafford 12:55
It’s really, I love the example that you gave of your wife, well, I feel like it’s so perfect, because she immediately expressed the wisdom that indicates that she was going to be a great fool for you because she was like, no, because I know you. And then she came back and you worked out together a structure a plan for that, again, that will actually buffer and create the psychological safety for her to be able to give the full feedback, the real power of it that you needed in order to grow. And I love that. And I connect with this very much. Because that moment where you realize someone has said something that basically steps on one of your triggers, or sets you off. And that defensiveness that rises up, I can almost feel like Bible rising or like heartburn, even though it feels different as it’s coming up. And I one thing I’ve learned is to have those circuit breakers in place where it’s just like, oh, cut down, cut the power step away, because I’m gonna I’m gonna have a reaction that I don’t want to have. But that’s in me and I can’t ignore that it’s there. And that’s where a fool comes in. So attendee is an understatement comes in so valuable and so impactful, because having somebody who could see it, they have the perception and the wisdom, and the knowledge of you personally, as well as just how life goes to be able to see things and say things in a way that’s going to connect with you, it’s gonna get to you. And by getting to you, inherently means it’s probably going to touch you in some sensitive places. And when you touch something in a sensitive place, there tends to be a reaction. It’s a fairly natural human process, you know, whack me very gently with a hammer on my knee in the right spot, and I’ll kick you know, there’s, there are reflexes here, there and everywhere, acknowledging them, understanding them and engaging them in a wise way. And I know keep throwing the word wisdom out there. I think it’s on my mind because we’re using the term full as a nice framework to discuss this too. And those things go hand in hand in this scenario, which is something I love about it. It’s just it’s such a it is such an important process rocess to engage in all the all the way through each step up to an including and this I gotta say, I love that you made sure to clear out and make this a core tenant To have this of this process, that becoming a fool for someone else, you’re not, it’s not finished. I mean, it’s never done because you’re constantly engaged in this process. But you naturally will find a way to give this foolishness quote unquote, back to someone else, because you’ve seen the value for yourself, you’ve experienced it. And that’s that is the natural expression of this process. I’m there’s so much more to say, but I’m just I’ll let you I’ll let you go for a little while. I love it.

Paul Glover 15:26
But you’re spot on with it. Because once you recognize the value, and I’ve given this, I’ve given a presentation with the workshop. And what I found interesting afterwards, were the number of people who responded so well to it, then it convinced me that this was something we’re sharing idea we’re sharing. But but it actually a couple of teams, three or four people came up to me afterwards as a team or group and said, we are now committed to be in each other’s fool in our teamwork, professionally, because they said, We need to have this, this idea that psychological safety so that we can share, and and opine and observe and make each other better, so that the team becomes better. And it was. So I guess I’d always thought individually, but the concept of a team being able to do this, and creating that psychological safety is truly I think, a base element of high performance. Because you eliminate so many issues, if you’re able to do that with each other, right, you trust each other, you respect each other. And when you see somebody starting to do the wrong thing, the ability to help them course correct, by pointing it out in a way that they will find it acceptable. Is is huge. And that way they were they said not only will we have a full but will will be a full immediately. So they had combined them into the same relationship. And I thought now that that was something I had not thought about that is really cool. I’m really is a functional point of view.

Kevin Stafford 17:06
And it I think you I think you’re spot on and identifying it as really the key to unlock the highest level of performance with with a team. Because if you have that capacity within your team within your construct, to be able to be that kind of power to be able to. And I’ll use this term loosely to wear that hat for each other when the time calls for it to put on the quote unquote jesters hat, you know, the bells and everything that I got in my head, to be able to do that for each other in real time. And to have that level of trust and respect, and openness, and also everyone united by a common goal. So no one’s ever everyone’s got the reps, they’ve got the practice, they’ve learned the techniques, and they’ve identified their trigger spots, and they’ve been open about sharing them. And that I just imagine that those those times in my life where I’ve been in a team scenario where we had something even close to that level of interconnectedness, especially in the context of being like being each other’s fool. that’s those are some of the moments of the highest achievement of my entire life. And I remember them fondly, although I’ve never necessarily identified them exactly in this way, which is what I love about this framework is it helps to shift my perspective, just a tiny bit on things that I thought I already knew. But it allows me to kind of look back and understand or look into the present and understand better the way in which I’m engaging with certain people and the way in which they’re engaging with me and how that could be improved or even just like a bump leveled by just, you know, an engagement with a sort of, with a sword with a sort of fools demeanor, and like identifying people in my life for whom I’ve been that in the past and never really called it that, but have definitely been like, A, this is not the same thing. But in my head kind of as like a not parallel, but sort of a related concept is the devil’s advocate, which serves a very different purpose, I think. But it’s related in that there’s there’s a there’s something served there by giving you giving you a different perspective, something that you can’t get on your own, but needed, where to go where you want to go.

Paul Glover 18:58
I like that the devil’s advocate is an aspect of it. Absolutely not to say, but truly a part it’s a part and parcel of a process that you could employ. And yeah, it to me is, I don’t know, I believe I truly do believe it’s transformative. And we’re gonna we’ll find out once I give the TED Talks out there I guess we’ll find out how many people actually connect to this concept. But yeah, the the the it worked for me and by the way, I am a recovering lawyer. Absolutely. A tough sell believe what you tell them beyond wrong immediately creates the bait hit. It doesn’t create listening necessarily. It creates the bait and so yeah, I had I was a hard case and I right now I operate with four different fools in my life. My wife remains a fool but I’ve got two people that I rely upon. We often call them coaches or mentors. I applied the name fool For my professional life, because it’s interesting that how committed I can become to a specific path or a Gold Hill without and not and not even think about talking to anybody else about does this make sense? Or is this an approach, which is silly, I mean, it really is, but but I, you know, that self confidence is overconfidence in me. And I need to slow it down, and I need to get an outside perspective, because I am so focused on this is what I want to do. And I’ve already decided this is how I’m going to do it, and to defer me from that requires a full, because I’ll just blunder right on and, and, you know, make the mistakes and do all the bad things and then be upset about the failure that follows it. This is a pretty precursor to success for me, it forces us to do the things we don’t want to do, put our ideas or concepts in front of somebody. And the reason we don’t do that is we know that there’s something wrong with it, or we’re afraid they’re gonna say don’t do that, or it’s wrong. And by the way, it doesn’t mean that necessarily, you have to follow that advice, but you at least need to hear it. Because you sit should then walk away from that conversation, and then do the self reflection. But I’ve often found that I’ll put a course of action together that I think is spot on. And then I there’s a reluctance in putting it out in front of someone for them to tell me that it’s not going to work. I’ve gotten over that. I trust that my fools implicitly. And we have that relationship. And it serves me well.

Kevin Stafford 21:44
There’s two things that you just said that I really, I really responded to, in addition to everything else I’m responding to, there was one where you said use the term slowing it down or is it slow it down. And that’s something that a lot of people get afraid of, to when it comes to this kind of feedback is there’s you have what you think of as a good idea, a good project, a good notion, a good some something that you’re just like really excited about. And that excitement creates a sort of momentum, that can be a little scary, in and of itself, it can be scary to consider slowing that down. And some people are just like, let’s go, let’s move fast. Let’s get in there. Let’s do it. And slowing down feels like feels like right next door to stopping and you don’t want to stop. But slowing down, I’m trying to think of exactly how to say it’s said that I hear in a number of different ways. But slow is steady and steady as fast is something I hear quite a bit of I get that from, you know, like military thinkers and whatnot. And I find variations on that concept to be very valuable. Because study, especially the study is fast part, sometimes it really is the right call to slow it down a little bit. If you’re not this stop, you’re not gonna lose anything. And just like let let other people see what you’re thinking what you’re doing, where you’re going. Because, for example, if you’re if you’re trying to go really far, if you make a one degree change to your course, it’s not gonna seem like very much. But the farther you go down that road, the more of a difference is going to make on where you arrive. And getting that feedback getting that getting that full perspective, that slight shift that you need, or maybe major shift that you need early is so crucial to arriving on target where you want to be going. And it’s can be difficult to see it that way. When you’re in the in the flush of that momentum of something that you’re excited about that you’re like this is it zit.

Paul Glover 23:27
First, you’re absolutely right. And that’s how I that that’s how I react to a good idea, right? I’m immediately ready to go. And I’ve finally come, I’m able to now look at it and say, only so much time, only so much energy, only so many resources. And I need to make sure that every one of those is spent correctly. The only way I can do that is to make sure that I get that outside perspective that I always ignored before just believing I knew. And perhaps it comes with some age, I’m saying at some point, you realize that before 1000 weeks is now 1000 weeks, rather than just done belied. You know, I equate the way I used to work is I would be in a black room trying to find the light switch. And it’s much easier to have somebody who turns on the light for you. And that’s how I equate it is is is if I asked the people I respect who know me well enough and I say is this something I should be doing? And it’s interesting because I we always knows what we want to do. We often don’t know what we should not do. And I put on I actually have the beginning of the year I do a couple of things on my wall and one of Musco called via negativity. Being successful today means identifying what I should not do and then not doing it. Because we’re only good at identifying all the things that I want to do. The question is should I do though, and this is where the filter reacts really well, to the question. And they go, I know you, and I know what you keep telling me you want. And I’m looking at what you just said to me. And I want you to say, is this or I want you to consider is this what you should do? And requiring that thought process from someone I respected? Absolutely stops me from doing things that are not focused on what I want the outcome to be. And by the way, that again, what I’m talking about, it sounds like coaching, but it goes at a different level.

Kevin Stafford 25:44
Absolutely, it’s it’s sometimes just, just the asking of the question, is the answer. Because it engages that process,

Paul Glover 25:54
you’re spot on with that? Because once somebody points out the blind spot or the trigger, you’re like, Oh, no. That’s why I was doing that. I, by the way, oh, you beat you, that adds to self awareness that you can’t, you cannot get that on your own. So it adds to your self awareness, which makes you better able not to react that way. Whenever it happens again, and you learn from the experience, but without the without that perspective, not going to happen.

Kevin Stafford 26:27
Speaking of perspective, I just looked up to the clock and realized we’ve already been talking for a half an hour. It’s already been a half an hour. I couldn’t find it. I don’t know how long it was. But this is delightful. I’m really excited by this. This is really great. Before I let you go and get on with your day. Obviously I was at Paul Glover Is your is your main websites where to fly. If people want to learn more about you in general, this workshop, specifically, the TEDx talk, anything else you’re up to? That’s the place to go? That’s the place to go. Okay, that’s perfect. And obviously, you’re active on LinkedIn. It’s where we met the first time anyway. Now at this point, now we’re just we’re just pod friends. Yes, we are. Oh, ha, this is this is delightful. I could definitely keep you all day. But I think we both got some other some other stuff to get to. But I’ll be I’ll be bugging you for a part for probably a few months, maybe, maybe come maybe maybe as the summer starts to get closer and closer, we can come on for for mid year check in and to see how things have progressed. I would love to.

Paul Glover 27:27
I can’t wait. I enjoyed it so much. You, you you basically you trigger me in a good way. Thank you so much.

Kevin Stafford 27:39
Oh, it’s truly my pleasure. And to the audience. This is your third time listening. I mean, if it’s not your third time listening, first of all, go back get the other couple of episodes. Right after that. Check out Paul, get on and get him on LinkedIn, connect with them. Check them out. Obviously, you know, he’s got the goods and quite frankly, he’s an absolute delight. That’s just my biased opinion. But I’m sharing it with you. I’m sure you’ll share it yourself soon enough. And we will talk to you again very soon.

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