Sohee Jun – On Curiosity, and Narrowing Your Focus | Conversations with Coaches | Boxer Media

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Sohee Jun | Conversations with Coaches | Boxer Media

As a top leadership coach, keynote speaker, leadership development expert, and Amazon best-selling author (with a second one on the way in October 2023 ), Dr. Jun works with high-achieving women and emerging leaders to unleash their untapped power for themselves and their teams.

Sohee’s coaching is not the kind that comes from a book (though she has written one). Her coaching is backed by a Ph.D. and Masters in Organizational Psychology, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and multiple leadership certifications — but more importantly, it has been shaped by her own personal experience as a leader with a large team and many frustrations.

It is her goal to leverage that rare ability to blend experience, theory, and effective strategy to come up with customized plans that guide managers toward becoming better decision-makers and communicators – plans that work in the real world.

To learn more about Sohee:
Mommytracked: How to Take Authentic Risks and Find Success On Your Terms

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Kevin Stafford 0:00
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another smiling episode of the conversations with coaches podcast. As you can probably tell from the tone of my voice, I am speaking through a smile, because I’ve already been talking for at least 15 minutes to our guest today. So he June, she is fantastic. And I’m excited to get to like, introduce you to her. She’s great. Let me introduce you formally. And then you get to hear her and she’s, trust me, she’s gonna make an impression. As a top leadership coach, keynote speaker, leadership development expert, and Amazon Best Selling Author, Dr. June works with high achieving women and emerging leaders to unleash their untapped power for themselves. And for their teams. There’s tons more to talk about. So he I’m already tickled I get to talk to you today. And I’m glad I get to share this conversation. So just thank you for being here. And for being you. I think

Sohee Jun 0:49
Kevin will get into it. I was like love listening to the bio part because quite honestly, I’m like, Wow, that’s pretty cool. Like, I’m a pretty cool.

Kevin Stafford 0:59
It’s like, hey, that’s me, that tears he’s talking about. And that’s, that’s all true. All right. Which is kind of a good aspect of coaching, too. It’s like coaches give you that perspective that you maybe can’t quite get for yourself, about yourself. But we can get into that we can get into that later if you want. So many things we need to talk about. I know I’m already I’m already plotting and scheming for part twos and threes as the year develops, but we’ll get we’ll get there. We’ll get there, I promise. So first, I want to I always love asking this question. What’s your superhero origin story? As a coach? How did you how did you like realize or discover? Or who told you that maybe you already were a coach in an all but name and like what basically prompted you to move into coaching as an expression of your of your personal and professional self? And what got you to start your own coaching business?

Sohee Jun 1:48
Whoo, you know, that’s such a layered question. And the way that I answer that is to say that, you know, it’s I coached through my lived experience. And the moment that I knew is not one big giant moment, but it’s a series of experiences that really led me here. So I was really lucky enough to have found this profession in my last year of undergrad where I was, like, you know, what, I’m not gonna go the medical degree route, although I was, you know, heavily pressured to, and I stay true to like this innate, knowing for me that I’m fascinated by psychology and people. And not just because I like people, but because it’s like, how, what makes us tick, what are those things underneath that, you know, can help us be successful? So I went into it. And I found this burgeoning field of organizational psychology. And at the time, you know, not a lot of people knew about it. So I was like, what, what can I do with this, and I chased down my professors, and I was like, I want to know more, just tell me why I’m so passionate about this. And they told me about a graduate program where you can get your Masters and PhD in this field, I was like, Sign me up. You know, Kevin, it’s like when you know, you know, and those moments are rare. And so I followed that and went through a Ph. D. program that allowed me to do this work in house, meaning this work being talent, everything talent, management, culture, strategy, Team interventions, leadership development, soup to nuts, and I want to say it was probably 10 years and where I started to really, really notice that the most impact, the direct impact that I could have was one on one coaching conversations that I was having at all levels, C suite SVPs, down to your frontline employees. And I was like, I was getting really curious with it. I was like, okay, I can do the big team stuff, and I enjoy that. But this, this conversation that I get to be in where people trust me really quickly, and I’m able to meet them where they’re out, there was something really magical about that. And I started to follow that I wanted to do more of that work, which allowed me to really own that, that my superpowers were like, all, you know, kind of intermixing and that I get to use my power of really deep listening and also being able to support and challenge in the moment that they’re in. So, you know, fast forward through my amazing career, I’ve been able to lead teams, and you work for wonderful companies. And then I really wanted to do this on my own as a coach to high achieving women and emerging leaders. So yeah, this is five years now that I’ve had my own firm. Excellent. I know it’s been

Kevin Stafford 4:31
flies by doesn’t

Sohee Jun 4:33
know I look back and like they say the five year mark is kind of critical in terms of entrepreneurship. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. So I’m very every day I count my blessings that I get to impact in that way and serve in that way.

Kevin Stafford 4:46
I love that it’s it’s such a common refrain that I hear especially amongst coaches now, but I love the everyone has their unique steps on their path to where essentially you just realize that there’s a way for you to have the kind of impact you want to have and can napped and the way you want to connect and serve and the way you want to serve. And you identify not only the manner in which you want to serve, but also who you want to serve. And I love that you It’s like your your opportunities expand and abound as your focus contracts and gets narrower and tighter and hotter. You know, and it’s I feel like, amplifies your impact is such a profound way as you just are, you’re willing to pursue that.

Sohee Jun 5:20
Yes. And I think a lot of coaches or just entrepreneurs struggle with that concept of Uber focusing. I mean, I’ll tell you, I didn’t get it right, or there is no right. But I’ve made a lot of what I call missteps or data points, I gave me data to pivot. And it was one of those things where I’m like, Oh, my God, I don’t want to narrow my niche. It’s just what if I, what if I never get a client? What if I never get to, you know, anything kind of like a fear mentality? And I really had to look at that for myself and go, Look, I know how I want to be in service. And what I noticed in looking back in the breadcrumbs is that when I got curious and own, that, that is the best way for me to be in service, it allowed me to have more confidence to go, Okay, I’m going to hyper focus, which to your point results in people being clear about how they can work with you and how you can best serve them. So yeah.

Kevin Stafford 6:12
I love I love that little phrase, a little transitional phrase, when I got curious. This is so so what doesn’t so much come from that moment, when you just allow yourself or decide to be curious what comes after that? It’s

Sohee Jun 6:28
I’m like grabbing my face on like curiosity for me. So core, it’s a core value of mine, and unpack curiosity for people. And even for myself, underneath that means that you are suspending judgment, right? How many of us walk around with bias notions of everything, and part of that is, you know, hardwiring to help us survive day to day, but also, that we walk around with all these judgments. And so how can we suspend that for the moment, and be open minded to what is occurring? So all those are big things to say, like be in the moment be in the moment?

Kevin Stafford 7:04
I find that I still frequently find that with, especially with coaches is that it’s people will sometimes think that it’s about answers. But really what a good coach does is they come to you with the better questions. It’s always it’s always the next question. I feel like that’s, that’s an expression of that innate core curiosity that really both grounds and uplifts, what a good coach can do, and what a good coach can bring to your life just to help you to unearth things and to not bring not bring you to an arrival point where you have an answer that solves a problem, but to open up the world that you’re in with questions that do focus you and narrow your vision and allow you to really drill down and see far enough forward and not think of narrow as less, because really narrow is more in a way that it’s important to explore. I think,

Sohee Jun 7:52
yeah, I think there are those two things are very much linked, the curious and being able to stay open. And also, for me, it’s a matter of, you know, I wrote this article early on about the art of the question. And it is such a powerful thing that you you mentioned, because how many of us walk around, you know, talking to people, and they ask you Yes, or no questions, which really shuts things down. It’s very limiting. And so when you’re able to ask questions from a place of curiosity, and more about discovery, rather than I’m going to tell you what to do and direct your life. I mean, the people I work with, we’re, they’re adults. And I don’t believe that, that I can give them a better answer than they can come to themselves with the right guidance. So my job is to innately tune in to what is being shared with me hone in on those themes that keep coming up, illuminating that asking questions. And guess what I mean, I think this day and age to Kevin, maybe you find LIS, there are people that want me to be a little bit more directive, and I’ll meet them where they’re at, and, you know, be much more focused and pointed with the questions, not leading them, but just, it’s the ability to use the art form of the question, to help unlock possibilities. I live in a world of what’s possible.

Kevin Stafford 9:19
And sometimes, and I really appreciate that you highlight that need to meet people where they’re at, because you can’t just apply these kinds of concepts like a paste over top of whoever’s coming to you. In fact, that’s I think that’s antithetical to what a coach brings to the table a coach is they have their their systems and processes and their ideas, they have their programs, their principles, their frameworks, it’s all part of what a coach brings. But really a just as if not more important aspect is that agility, that adaptability, that empathy that allows you to show up as a coach for someone closer to where they already are, and start the bridge building. From that closer point of view. I often think about the analogy of bridge building. The farther apart you start, the more work is going to require to actually build a bridge that people can cross that things can cross over that can support. And the closer you start, the easier it is to get to work on those bridges, those connections that are going to allow more and more traffic the past between you and then eventually, that person is going to learn how to build bridges better for themselves and be able to connect with more people in more dynamic ways. And I feel like that coming closer and meeting people where they’re at is a really crucial step that I feel like, I don’t know if it gets overlooked, but I don’t think it gets enough shine in our conversations. And so I love that you I love that you pointed that out,

Sohee Jun 10:31
oh my gosh, your visual metaphor of the bridge is so. So right on. That is what it’s about. And I think as we’ve talked about it, that is one of the superpowers that I have as a coach, which is I of course, I have the PhD, I have the framework and all the years and all the things. But what I think brings value to the interaction is that I come to use, I would say I’m interacting with you as though you are a blank slate to me. And I have tools that I will pull from I pull from brain research, neuroscience, mindfulness, emotional intelligence, work, all of that stuff, that in the moment I can pull that would be useful to to the person say that you and I were talking. So I think that’s the magic and creativity of being a coach, and I am such a believer of meeting them where they’re at.

Kevin Stafford 11:21
Because of them. I told them, I told you, this conversation would be great. I’m just gonna want to like stay in the weeds and talk about these concepts with you all day. But I do want to give give you a chance to talk a little bit about what your practice looks like today. Obviously, you’re about five years into having your own coaching practice. And we know who you coach high achieving women emerging leaders, I usually ask this question in a borderline interrogation style where it’s like you, who do you coach, and how do you coach them? It’s like, what did you know? And when did you know it? But I’m curious what the what your practice looks like a little bit in a little bit more depth right now. Like, what’s your experience coaching? These high performing women? What is it? What is it like? What’s your approach like you? Are you still primarily one to one? Or do you do you have you expanded into like smaller group coaching or masterminds or anything like that. And also, this is an opportunity for this is a little bit of a tease for me for you to maybe talk about any rhymes with cook that might be this year, if you want to talk about that as well. So yeah, tell me a little bit more about about your activities as a coach today. And what’s what’s what’s good, and what’s looking good coming up.

Sohee Jun 12:23
I love that little teaser. So the bulk of my practice is one on one. And I am expanding into team coaching as I have received, I’ve gone through the year long journey of you know, being certified in team coaching. And I think as I read tea leaves, and I think it behooves any coach to be looking futuristically, right. And I believe so much that because we work in such teams and matrix environments, and it’s complex in the work world. team coaching is going to jump at some point. And I know that I’ve done that with my clients that are willing to bring in their, you know, their leaders, or the people that are working on a project team together to see what this could be like, and it’s so powerful. So team coach, and I see doing more of and I do have coaching circles, so it’s a yes. And so the bulk of my work is one on one with C suite, SVP, director level women as well as leaders that want that support to go from where they’re at to more, right, they want that support to take on the next big thing. So that’s where I specialize in. And interestingly enough, in the past five years have had the honor of working with a lot of the entertainment production, media startups because of the world that I’m in. I’m in Los Angeles, so not surprising. And then to answer that question of what’s cookin, it’s my second book. I mean, this one. So the first book, my first book is called mommy tracked how to take authentic risks and find success on your own terms. So that was a very different lens in terms of guiding women to define success on their own terms. So it was very much like here’s my lived experience if it resonates for you, here’s what you can do. This next book that is dropping in the fall. October is your the first pick Kevin, you’re the first person I’m sharing that with

Kevin Stafford 14:18
Oh, yes by the say October that’s specific. All right.

Sohee Jun 14:23
Very specific. So yes, it’s October. So this is Oh gosh, I’m so excited about it. It is two years in the making in which I surveyed and asked a lot of questions of the high achieving woman in my practice as well as in my network and just people that I know that are fantastic in their own way. And you know what I noticed there my coaching practice, Kevin is that we women, this is a book targeted for women have these nuggets of wisdom and we share it in our own little circles, little pods. I’ll share it with you because I trust you. Here’s the mistake I made I wish I could have done that differently. Here’s how I failed here’s what I I would tell myself when I’m 2020, or even looking forward into 6070, all of these nuggets of wisdom that are just shared in their small tribe, I blew it up and I’m putting it in a book so that women can find themselves in it and look through the lens with which these women made mistakes and would do things differently. Or, Yes, that was the right move for me and like, call that wisdom into a book that, that they can then be like, Okay, this is like my, you know, this is like my mentor book. This is like the thing I want to pull out when I want some wisdom about how to navigate workplace and life challenges. So that’s the

Kevin Stafford 15:40
that’s awesome. Look at you being a connector in a whole different way, a whole new way. Building Bridges.

Sohee Jun 15:47
Bridges, you’re right many bridges. That’s exciting way to bring it back to

Kevin Stafford 15:53
us love. It actually reminds me there’s almost like an almanac like that elsewhere. It’s just like this, a place where we’re information, valuable, vital information that’s been honed and discovered and like paid for through people’s individual experiences gets collected into one place so that you don’t have to live someone else’s past in order to move into your future, if that makes sense.

Sohee Jun 16:14
Beautifully said yes. It’s wisdom that’s in there. And you know, it’s so many of it is through stories, because I’m not Yes, I have data and it’s through surveys. But the book is about stories of you know, being at so imagine like you’re at at you know, your dinner table with your most trusted friends and colleagues. It’s that type of feel where I want to invite the reader into my kitchen, and I want them to feel a part of this journey and to get the nuggets. So

Kevin Stafford 16:44
that’s exciting. Get the nuggets. I’m tempted to make that the title of the episode just because I like I that phrase tickles me in some way. But I think I think I can do better than that. But I like that. Oh, I should ask too is probably not yet. Or at least not announcement yet. But title of the book good or is that still being worked on? Or being?

Sohee Jun 17:00
But I want to help hold it.

Kevin Stafford 17:02
Okay, okay, I got you gave me October, which I’m already over the moon about. So I gave you enough, Kevin. You did? You did, I shall content myself with with a block on the calendar. And I’m not kidding, I wasn’t getting when I said this, I’m definitely going to have you back at least once as we get closer to that release date. So we can do a little more book talk because I’m, I’m pretty stoked about that. That’s the kind of thing that I feel like, doesn’t exist enough in the world. Like I’m sure that I’m sure there are versions of this somewhere in certain aspects. But this is I was like this is like, like a good coach does you’ve identified a gap and moved into it. Yeah. I love it. I love it so much. As also I suspected, I’m looking up at the clock now. And we’ve already been, we’ve been recording for almost 20 minutes we’ve been talking for over well over 30 minutes. I could I could easily I was gonna say lose a whole day, I can easily gain a whole day chatting with you, I can already tell. Before I go, or before I go, before we go, I should say I want to make sure that you say and of course I’ll put links to everything that I can in the show notes. But where can if people want to get a get a little taste of what you have to offer, which they totally should after listen to this episode. Where can they both find out more about you who you are, what you do? And also if it’s different, where can they best connect with you or get to know you? Or maybe like you know, make a meeting kind of like converse with you? Or do you have DMS that you’d like people to slide into?

Sohee Jun 18:27
I hate DMS I have to tell you it’s just so distracting. So here’s how they can find me in the most direct way, which is my website He John And there they can see all of the blogs and the podcasts as well as interviews and keynotes that I’ve done which give a sense of my personality in the way I do things. Also, I have a newsletter that I provide only on LinkedIn. So find me on LinkedIn, I do a monthly newsletter that’s really full of very useful applicable workplace strategy stuff. So find me there as well. Those are the two main places and I’m obviously on Instagram, but I would say that that’s more of a recent thing. They can see that too.

Kevin Stafford 19:07
Yeah, that’s I feel like if they go to your website LinkedIn, I find that LinkedIn is so frequently it’s sort of like it’s almost like a website or a part of a website where it’s like oh I’m on LinkedIn all the time and I’ve got you know my or whatever it happens to be because it’s but like you always like if you wanted to find somebody’s Instagram or wherever they else on social the website I imagined is a great like one stop shop like you could probably find you wherever you are starting from there and it’s just a quick a quick step to anywhere else you might be so that’s that’s fantastic.

Sohee Jun 19:33
That is the bridge the website is the bridge to everything

Kevin Stafford 19:37
really ties the room together I love it well so he I clear I hope this comes through in the Zoom I’ve had an absolute delight going to chat with you. Ready lamb already excited to do it again. Next week, I’m kidding. Assemble at rest for at least a few months before I come back and get you back on the podcast but I’m just very grateful that you came on with me today. And I’m grateful that I got to meet you. This is our first chance getting to talk and I, I’m just I’m just thank you. Thank you for being you. And thank you for talking to me. I’m just very grateful for who you are, what you’re doing and that I got to get to get a little a little slice of it today. So,

Sohee Jun 20:14
thank you, thank you for doing the work of a world that you do.

Kevin Stafford 20:18
It is genuinely My pleasure. I get so much I get so much from it. It almost feels like cheating. So I guess that’s maybe the way it should feel. Thank you. And thank you to our audience for listening. You know what to do. You’ve gotten you’ve gotten a little bit of the sunshine here from from Sophie, go find out more, go to her website, go to her LinkedIn, subscribe to the newsletter. It’s probably probably get the nuggets, get the nuggets. I’ll leave. I’ll leave you with that. Get the nuggets and we’ll talk to you again here very soon.

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