With featured guest

Claire Walton

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Claire Walton | The Remarkable Coach | Boxer Media

Claire Walton has a wit and sense of humor that matches her skill and smarts in leadership and performance coaching.

In this episode of The Remarkable Coach Podcast, Micheal and Claire follow tangents from the coaching relationship to what motivates change, from the importance of homework and practice to what it means to have a well-defined purpose.

This was another delightful podcast to record, and I think you’ll find it filled with equal parts fun, wit, tactical philosophy, and life philosophy.

A bit about Claire:

Claire is a leadership and performance coach who inspires and enables leaders to make a difference for themselves, their teams, and the people they serve.

She is also the author of the Amazon best-seller Super Neuro You – which is all about achieving more success with less stress and making a difference for yourself and others.

Where to find Claire:
Linkedin:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/clairewaltonchangeagent

Other Links:

Book Links:
Super Better – Jane McGonigal
Man and Superman – George Bernard Shaw
Super Neuro You – Claire Walton
Evolve Your Brain – Joe Dispenza, et. al.
Connect – Simon Lancaster

Where you can listen to this episode:

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Micheal Pacheco 0:00
Hey everybody, welcome once again to another episode of the remarkable coach podcast. As always, I’m your host, Michael Pacheco. And today with me, I have Claire Walton. Claire is a leadership and performance coach inspiring and enabling leaders to make a difference for themselves, their teams and the people they serve. She’s also author of the Amazon Best Seller, super neuro, you achieve more success for less stress and make a difference to yourself and others. Claire, welcome to the remarkable coach.

Claire Walton 0:30
Thanks, Michael, good to good to be with you this evening as we are in the UK.

Micheal Pacheco 0:34
Yeah, there you go. It’s about 10. In the morning, here, evening, there? Well, we’ll make it work. So to open up this podcast, I always like to invite our guests to just tell us a little bit more about yourself and kind of why you got into coaching in your own words.

Claire Walton 0:53
Yeah, thanks, Michael. While I was coaching, before I was a professional coach, so my previous career gave me a fantastic opportunity to do lots of coaching. And my previous career was probably in very least two parts. So very briefly, you know, I had some time as a general manager. So with a team of biggest team, I would have had in entirety, so not not just direct reports, but the entirety would have been about 400 people. And my style was to, you know, challenge people a lot, I have a quite a lot of feedback over the years about being quite challenging, hopefully, most of the time in a really positive way. And so I was I was using coaching to challenge people in my 20s, when I was a general manager, challenging them to think for themselves to know what life is so much easier if you can get the people around you to think for themselves, take actions for themselves make decisions for themselves and problems for themselves. And so I think I intuitively work that out fairly early on. But my general management career was That was after I’d started in human resources, as we tend to still call it over here. And we’d been taught some of the basics of coaching in my very early career in human resources, because I was utilizing some of the best principles and models of coaching back then. And then my second career was as a human resources director, so executive C suite type roles, where I was doing a lot of culture change, leadership, development, and underpinned throughout all of that we had very much at all, we’re always bringing in very much a coaching culture. And I was, of course, coaching my team and my direct reports, I was coaching, sometimes my peer group, and very often actually my boss, the MD, or the CEO. And through all of that, I realized that I liked the coaching side of my previous roles, probably more than I do any other aspect of it. And so nine years ago, I started my business, which for short, is called leaders are mad. It’s also because I go sense of humor and leaders are a little bit mad. But of course, you’ve probably worked out but by my introduction, that leaves our mind as leaders are making a difference. And I felt that as a leader, I could actually make more of a difference. Getting out of the organizations and working from the outside in. As a professional coach and coaching lots more. very senior people like them, primarily, my target audience tends to be C suite. So I can I can coach so many more people and have so much more of an impact. Which is I guess, ultimately, what my ego requires of me.

Micheal Pacheco 3:57
I appreciate the honesty and transparency.

Claire Walton 4:03
Well, you know, I think you know, as coaches we learn to leave our ego at the door, when we’re actually in the coaching conversation. But if I am honest, you know, I you know, I’m very much driven by believing that my time on this planet is worthwhile, and I’m making a difference for not only my nearest and dearest who are clearly very important to me, but But beyond that, and the more I can you know, the more of an impact that I can have then then the happier I am and that was why I wrote the book as well you know that because that was another opportunity to to make a bigger difference on an audience perhaps that I could actually directly influence support culture etc.

Micheal Pacheco 4:46
is the name of your business leaders are mad mad is an acronym for making a difference. I did not catch that when I read your intro myself. It’s kind of brilliant. I like it, can you tell us more about that? Like, what’s, why are leaders mad? And when you say mad, I’m, I’m gonna assume that you mean mad and kind of the British sense of the word, which is a little bit different than what we mean when we say it in America. So if you can talk a little bit more about that, that’d be be good.

Claire Walton 5:18
Yeah, absolutely. But I think first of all, you need to explain how it’s different in America.

Micheal Pacheco 5:25
Well, I feel like so when you say if a if a Brit says, You’re mad, it kind of means crazy, right? Like weird, silly, crazy. I think in America, it’s mostly just kind of it’s angry. We get that we can make that connection from mad to crazy, but I think the, the path of least resistance for us is to think of it as anger.

Claire Walton 5:54
Okay, so that’s interesting, isn’t it? So when I came up with the leaders are magical shot, I was thinking of all of those things. So I was thinking. So the leaders are making a difference. Where did that come from? So nine years ago, I taken or 10 years ago, I took a year out to study for my MBA at the ripe old age of 45. But about a year out study for an MBA full time. And at the end of studying towards the end, and studying, I was trying to decide what am I going to do? Do I go back into my old career do I start something new. And I felt that I could be of more service, I could have more impact if I were to work from the outside. And I had been getting quite mad myself. And literally mad as in both crazy frustrated, you know, angry at times with some of the people that I was working with and for in my previous career, and working internally within the organization and trying to do poach people who are peer group and coach people who are your boss, when those people are coming to work with us different attitude to you. I struggled with it. If I’m honest, I really struggled with that. And so I felt that it was I could make more of a difference myself, if I work from outside the organization’s choosing clients who still might frustrate me a little bit from time to time again, if I’m honest, but certainly never made me angry. Certainly never made me crazy. And as a result, you know, I can have the sort of relationship with my own clients who, who were not just choosing me, I’m choosing them as well. And, and I can have a relationship with them where we can do some really constructive stuff. So it’s kind of born out of a little bit of frustration that I came up with it and why did I shorten it to mad or partly, I said before, you know, I’ve got a bit of sense of humor. You know, we love acronyms, don’t we in the business world. We follow? Okay, yeah.

Micheal Pacheco 8:24
Those three letter acronyms.

Claire Walton 8:27
That’s it. Yeah. So we like the odd TLA. And back then people weren’t talking about? And I don’t think they do in America, actually. But over here in the UK, nearly everybody’s talking about going mad and being mad and using it as the TLA for making a difference, but I think I was one of I think I was one of the first. And do you do it works really well in terms of kind of being a standout brand. So alongside not just the slightly quirky name that gets, you know, people to ask a little bit more about it. But alongside that, you know, Bryce, my brand is brand is bright, it’s bold. I use animations of superhero characters, have a little bit fun, fun with it. And again, why am I doing that? Well, one of the things that I’ve learned over the years is we’re actually so much more effective when we are being a little bit more playful. You know, I give an example. I was coaching a very senior person in an organization earlier on this afternoon here. And is one of the things that that we were working into the coaching session with him is, you know, how can he embrace some of the challenges that he has with a little bit more of a playful attitude? Because when we go into things with a slightly more playful attitude, we have a different energy, don’t we? You know, we have a lot, we have a more positive energy, we tend to, you know, be more engaged with it, where our barriers are down a little bit where we’re happier to be a little bit more vulnerable. There’s just so many benefits of us being playful. So not only the name, but the brand as well. is all part of that.

Micheal Pacheco 10:20
Yeah, I think I love the idea of kind of focusing a little bit on that playfulness. Because certainly, you know, when you run in, when you’re facing when you’re facing problems, and you’re looking for solutions for things, if you’re approaching it from a place of frustration and feeling stuck, you’re, you’re almost self limiting, right, you’re lowering the ceiling of things you can reach for. And if you’re, you know, going into that, thinking about how, you know, being playful about it, having fun, trying new things. Learning, right, I think that’s, that’s, it’s a, it’s 180 degrees difference, for sure.

Claire Walton 11:08
Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, through my coaching work, we talk a lot about emotions. And if we think about the core basic emotions, we think about the survival emotions, the strongest of which, of course, is fear, you know, you know, fitting with fear, and anger, and sadness, and so on, these sorts of, you know, these emotions tend to make us a little bit more defensive, we’re more likely to put the barriers up, our behavior is less constructive. Our thinking is less constructive. Whereas, you know, if we have, if we engender and embrace, you know, more of those, let’s say more, and I’m going to share more positive emotions, because I just want to carry out that with, of course, fear and anger and sadness can be positive. But overused, obviously, not. And unfortunately, a lot of people overuse them to a point at which they’re not, they’re not helpful. But if we think of the likes of in terms of car emotions, you know, excitement and joy. You know, that’s, again, where that sort of fun comes more in if we, if we frame something, as being something we get excited about, we’re gonna have to experience some joy with, then, you know, we’re much more likely to engage in that in a way where the barriers come down, the thinking is freer, and we become much more effective.

Micheal Pacheco 12:32
Yeah, I think I mean, it helps to sort of tuck that ego away and allow yourself to make more mistakes, because you’re not as worried about it, because you’re just having fun. Right? I think it was, it was Albert Einstein, I’ll butcher this quote, but he said something along the lines of we can’t solve a problem in the same state of mind that we created it in. Yeah, yeah. Right. Yeah. It’s something like that. It’s probably not exactly.

Claire Walton 13:00
Yeah, I didn’t want to see other courts. And I’m sure it’s here that his as well, is that creativity? is intelligence. Having fun? There you go. Yeah. And again, so if you think about it makes sense with the other quote, actually, because, you know, isn’t that the thing, you know, we got to be creative, problem solving. You know, these these days, I said, these days, in terms of like, 2022, versus even 2021, we’re constantly required to be more creative in the way that we address everything. Because so many things either lead in proving or it’s the first time we’ve handled it. And so we need to bring that newness to it. And, and again, that lightness that that acceptance that, you know, we’re probably going to make some mistakes. But hey, mistakes are actually cool, because they’re on the way to progress.

Micheal Pacheco 13:55
Yeah, I think, to that, to the, to your point there, right, the the industrial age is behind us. So the era of standing in a line at a factory and making a widget. Robots can do that. Now. Our job is to creatively solve problems. Yeah, you whatever the problem is, whatever industry or sector you’re in, you know, the that that kind of mechanized work is now done by machines. So I want to circle back to something you said a few minutes ago about fear and anger and sadness. They can be positive emotions. Can you talk a little more about that?

Claire Walton 14:35
Yeah, absolutely. So I have a lot of clients that will either come in here or I’ll go to see them or will do the online thing and they they will walk in and you can tell before they even say anything actually. They’ll come on screen and you can tell by their they say anything, what primary emotion that they are feeling, and I don’t take it personally if they walk in with anger and frustration. You know, and that could be about something that’s just happened, or it can be more than that halo effect of just how they’re generally, you know, feeling right now. And, and they will often come in and they’ll say, you know, one of my goals for today is I want to get rid of this anger, I want to get rid of this frustration, or I’m feeling really down and lethargic. And, oh, just me and I’ve lost my mojo. So that could be more like sadness, for example. And, and they want to get rid of them, they often talk about getting rid of those emotions, because they don’t like the way that they feel. And they attach their thought to that, that, you know, these are negative, and these are unhelpful. And I encourage my clients to feel them, I encourage my clients to leave in to those emotions. And to try and understand why they are experiencing that emotion. What is it there to do for them? How is it trying to serve them, because it’s, in effect, a part of them speaking up, to, to get them to notice and to do something, but I also do a little bit of parts therapy type work with my clients, where maybe their fear, or their anger, their frustration, their sadness, maybe that part of them is kind of over playing its part. And it’s only really in the dialing in, though, and leaning in and trying to understand it and get curious about it, but in a compassionate way. We can take from it with what’s valuable. Yeah. And, and use that to make some form of difference, whether it be for ourselves or for other people. And to let go of what’s not helpful. So if we take an example, I think back to a client that was deeply frustrated one session, when she came in to see me and was like, Whatever you do, I need to get rid of this frustration. I don’t, I don’t like it’s not helpful and behaving in really unhelpful ways. And, and she was actually, you know, she wasn’t, she wasn’t understanding the frustration. And basically, she was taking the frustration out on the people around her on her team and her and her colleagues. That there was real value in leaning into that frustration, understanding it, because it helped her to see that there were changes that she needed to make first of all, to herself, so that she wasn’t dis affecting those people around her, that also needed to change. And then to take an approach of coaching and consulting with people to create changes that would then stop her feeling frustrated. But she had to understand the frustration in the first place. And if we’d have just found some sort of technique to distract her from it, let’s say, which could have easily done, then we’d have lost the gold, we wouldn’t have found what she could actually do. She wouldn’t have made the changes. And actually the reality is the frustration would have kept popping back up. And if that frustration was popping up for her, that it was popping up for other people as well. So it’s we’ve got to be careful about wanting to lose or get rid of some of those emotions when we consider them unhelpful.

Micheal Pacheco 18:39
But yeah, I mean, those those what you’re saying, I’ll try to rephrase this, and you can tell me if I’m on target or not, it sounds like some of these quote unquote, negative emotions are anchors. Or maybe to put it in medical terms, they’re symptoms, right. And if you ignore the symptoms, you’re not going to be able to fix the actual problem, if you’re just distracting from the symptom, like the symptom is, is, as a barometer, it’ll, it’ll help point you to like, let’s let’s lean into this right and figure out what’s causing this and make some changes there. And that is the road to getting through to improvement and getting rid of this frustration, anger, sadness, whatever the emotion is.

Claire Walton 19:20
Yeah, yeah. I love the analogy. I think the analogy in the medical analogy really works. Well. Yeah.

Micheal Pacheco 19:27
Awesome. I think that that kind of parlays well into what I want to talk about next, a coaching relationship. What does that look like for for you in your business?

Claire Walton 19:38
Yeah. So I think I started when I when I said earlier about the importance of the later two ways in the relationship, so we’ve got to remember, you know, when I when I take on new clients, I’m taking them on after a chemistry session, always after a chemistry session, and I never assume that in the chemistry session. And that conversation is all about, do they like me? Did they think I’m the right sort of coach for them? It’s also are there going to be a client, that’s going to work well, with me too. And there’s a couple of reasons for that, actually. So in that chemistry conversation, I want to make sure that I am the best coach for that client, based on what that client can afford. i And again, I’m being really honest with you here, Michael, because, you know, if they, if they could afford, you know, one of the, you know, top five coaches in the world, then I’m not one of those, so they should go to that person. Yeah, they should, perhaps actually, because they might not get on, they might not actually be the chemistry, but I think it’s, I think it’s really important that I am the best coach for that person based on what they can afford. And best, you know, it’s not just about calibers, you know, it’s about the personality think, you know, do I have credibility in their eyes? I think that’s really important, you know, we all have credibility in somebody’s eyes, but do I have credibility in their eyes, because they have to believe that I can, and will help them. Otherwise, you know, it’s a waste of time, regardless of whether or not I actually can they need to believe that they also need to believe that they can be absolutely 100% Not just honest with me, but open and, you know, vulnerable in terms of, you know, going to depths of sharing about some of their innermost thoughts and feelings moreso than they would with anybody else. And I including that sometimes that you know, that partners and friends and family members, and so on, again, that’s really important, because I like to make sure that we really dig deep in our coaching so that we can make sure that we make a difference. And then from my point of view, you know, I’m, I’m looking to, to them, and I make it really clear in the chemistry calls, that they’re up for a change, you know, they actually want to make change happen, they want to make a difference for themselves. And then again, as a result of the difference that they make themselves, the changes they make themselves, that that will have a ripple impact on others, which requires them to do some things outside of the coaching sessions, as well as be really vulnerable in the coaching sessions and engage properly in them. So it requires them to take action outside of the coaching session. And I want to know that they’re going to do that, because if they’re not, they’re not going to make a change. And quite frankly, I’m not interested in taking their money if we’re not going to get a result. So it starts very much with that chemistry session.

Micheal Pacheco 22:53
Yeah. What sort of? I mean, I think I’ve had, you know, a number of coaches myself over over time. And of course, we work with coaches, and I talk to coaches every day. I think every, every coach has their own tactics and their own ways of working with clients. What for you? What sort of, let’s call it homework, right? You mentioned that you that your clients, they need to do stuff outside of the session, you can’t just come to a session for 60 minutes, and expect the world to be perfect as you walk out that door. What sort of homework ask your clients to work on outside of your sessions?

Claire Walton 23:41
Oh, crikey. Now that can be so many different things. So there are a set pieces. So there are there are there are exercises that I might identify that would be useful for the clients. So if I give you an example of an exercise, so these are exercises that I’ve come up with over the years that I’ve either modified from those that I’ve what do we call it stolen with pride from others and have modified? And then there are some that I’ve come up with for myself. And there are some that I you know, blatantly say look, this is somebody else’s exercise. It’s not one of mine, but for example, is one that I call success tips. And it’s based on a little neuroscience trick, which I pulled out from reading. Oh, what’s her name again? Jane McGonigal, you can see we’re looking for the book where Jane McGonigal is book super better, which is a fantastic book. So she’s a neuroscientist that’s into gaming. And now he has also written this, but have you heard of her before Michael?

Micheal Pacheco 24:53
I have not. No.

Claire Walton 24:56
She’s amazing. She also has a fantastic TED talk as well. I’m super better. So So I adapted it from something that she mentioned in her book, which she credits to somebody else. So we’re all kind of like sharing these things along the way, aren’t we, but the idea is really simple. And I use this exercise with people when they are coming to me with a general lack of confidence. So as opposed to them, they’re lacking confidence with a specific, they’re generally lacking in confidence, which is more common than you might think, in C suite leaders, it’s quite often because of stuff that’s gone on very recently. Or it could be which have damaged their confidence, or it could be that they’re just taking a step up. And, you know, they tend to suffer from self doubt, etc. And what I asked them to do, is to go away and write up every single achievement that they can think of that they’ve ever had, and list them, right. And there’s quite a lot homework for some people, and then go back to each and every one of those achievements and every single achievement to then complete the sentence. Because I So say, for example, with me, one of my achievements would be I wrote a book that was a best seller on Amazon, even above for a period of time, Simon Sinek, start with why. And Brent Abraham’s, I think was leading Bradley or whatever that one’s called. Because I had a vision of success, because I felt I set myself goals, because I was very disciplined. Because I asked myself every single day, how do I make the boat go faster, specifically, in regard to achieving the goal of the book, because I asked for help. Because, and so on, and so forth, and you extrapolate every single because I, and then you do that for every single achievement that you have had, and then you reflect back on that. And the process of doing this is huge, because I don’t know if you realize this, but most people they kind of like the kind of shrug off their achievements. They’re a little bit embarrassed about their achievements, which is ridiculous. But they certainly don’t really dive deep into, you know, what is it about me that enabled me to achieve those things? Yeah, and go through, you know, all of their achievements in that way, what they then start to do is they can then start to get some general confidence around all the different strengths that they have their unique contribution in this world, which is based on knowledge, experience, personalities, skills, etc, etc. And that really kind of like brings the competence levels up. And then when they’re coming to specifics in their role specific challenges, in general, from a place of confidence, again, those barriers to their competence coming out, those barriers are down, those barriers have gone. So that’s, that’s one of the exercises that I would bring to them. But the other most common thing is practice. So we’ll agree something that someone needs to do. So I’ll pick from this afternoon session. The clients wants to be more confident in external social situations where it that initial small talk, let’s say is required. Now I have a strong belief that to get to become competent at anything, you need to practice it. Which requires you to go through a period of discomfort until you’ve practiced whatever it is, to the point at which you’re no longer comfortable, you’re more likely to embrace it, you start actually to become quite good at it, as well as obviously getting some skills build stuff. And so we agreed that he is going to find more opportunities to go to external events, accept the discomfort for a while and practice being uncomfortable, because there’s benefits from that as well. Just purely practicing being uncomfortable. We can always talk about the benefits of that. And then specifically, you know, practicing some of the skills that we talked about in those sorts of situations. So yeah, practice, practice, practice.

Micheal Pacheco 29:43
I love that. I liked that a lot. I heard so there’s I don’t know if you’d call it a framework. But one way that I like to think about this, I forget who I got this from but thinking about things like practice in terms of reasonable versus unreasonable. If you’ve so take this guy For example that you’re speaking about, if he doesn’t spend time practicing, is it reasonable for him to be good? At? You know, small talk in social situations, you know, if he hasn’t spent, if he hasn’t spent an unreasonable amount of time practicing that, is it reasonable to be very, very good at it? Probably not. Right. So that practice is so important. It’s great.

Claire Walton 30:28
Well, if we take this example, because you’ve got a guitar there, I’ve got several guitars behind me. These guitars are not mine, they’re mine at the house. I use this as an example, I say, you know, I have no idea whether or not I a good, or could be a good guitar player, I have no idea. And the reason for that is because I haven’t practiced enough. You know, I’ve pulled them down, I’ve got him to teach me a few things. But I’ve never put the practice in enough a reasonable amount of practice and enough to know whether or not I have it within me to be a good guitar player. Yeah. And, you know, that that’s the starting point. So that’s the other thing that you know, from, from a coaching perspective is probably one of the fundamentals, isn’t it that we coaches need to work on is the motivation that people have to put the practice in, in order to develop the skill and the confidence. And, and actually, for it to become an if we keep on the guitar analogy that, you know, if I practice for long enough, I don’t have the motivation, by the way of the real issue for me. But if I didn’t have the motivation, I would practice for long enough to maybe get good enough to then go, Oh, my goodness, I really want to learn now. Now I want to go through some formal study. Now I want to go out and see my guitarists and really observe and, and do all the things my other half does, you know, who is incredibly passionate about playing guitar, I would then have the motivation to do all of those things to add to my practice, but I don’t because I don’t want to play the guitar enough.

Micheal Pacheco 32:13
To each his own or her own, I’ll circle back to to what you were speaking about before about making it playful, right, approaching it. From a playful perspective, going out to social events, when you’re uncomfortable with that. As an introvert, I speak from experience can feel like a lot. But if you you know, if you set expectations in your head and approach it as playfully as you possibly can, you know, it’s it doesn’t it’s not necessarily all that bad.

Claire Walton 32:50
Exactly. And that’s what we did this afternoon, it’s we did we tapped into the motivation. So we tapped into that to you know, let’s really understand what are the benefits so, so we go to the, you know, let’s assume that this is something that you get really comfortable with, getting really confident with. So what? So what was the what’s the benefit? What’s the value? So we kind of like go there? And then, you know, we did, we went to the playfulness, and I actually did say, you know, so I want you to imagine enjoying enjoying being at one of these events. And he said he said to be struck straightaway. He’s like, I can never imagine enjoying one of these events. And I said, Okay, limiting belief, I can never imagine during this, it’s a limiting belief. Yeah. So then we got, yeah, exactly. So then it’s about, you know, what will, you know, what would need what, what would need to happen in order that you would enjoy it? Yeah. And one of those things is to go along, not expecting anything of yourself, anything of anybody else. And just to find some thing that you can tap into, and something that he and I have in common is a desire to continually learn. So, you know, it was a, okay, so just go along with an experimenter mindset. You know, try a few things that we’ve talked about, just for the learning. That’s stage one, it’s just for the learning, it’s for nothing else. And that was just enough to, you know, have that have that if you like that long term motivation of at some point, you’ll get the value, but then that intrinsic motivation of, you know, actually, I can imagine it it actually feeling okay, at least, if, if I would take it from that perspective.

Micheal Pacheco 35:00
But that’s that’s what I was used to imagining it feeling okay. And I was going to talk about that. So you may already know this question. But for me sometimes what I will ask myself as a tool that I use a lot when I feel stuck, or if I am having difficulty visualizing something, is I’ll ask myself, what does this look like if it’s easy? Yeah? And if you can answer that question, almost because because by asking that question, what does this look like? If it’s easy, you’re kind of removing yourself from the situation, you can kind of approach it from a different frame, right? Where it’s not a personal, and it’s a little bit easier to look at it that way. When you’ve removed, you know, you’re kind of you’re looking at it not from in your head, but you’re looking at it from over here a little bit.

Claire Walton 35:44
That makes sense. But, you know, that ties in with the the part of the conversation that I can’t remember if we’ve already had it or not. But anyway, where we’re saying about, you know, from a coaching perspective, leaving the ego at the door. So do you think about what you’ve just said that? And I, I love this. When I, when I was asked this? Well, a few months back, actually, when do I think I’m most in flow? So in my life, when am I, when am I in flow? And I immediately said, when I’m coaching somebody, whether it’s in a formal, paid for coaching session, or it’s just in my life, generally where I can’t help but coach people, I am in flow. Why am I in flow? I think the biggest thing is because my ego has gone out of the door. And what I’m doing is I’m totally focused on helping the person in front of me. So I’ve, I’ve given up on any sense of self, there’s, there’s no real connection with sense of self, you know, it’s all about the person in front of me, and wanting to be there for them, understand them, provide for them. And, yeah, I think the minute you kind of like lose the sense of yourself, you get into blown, and I think that makes a lot of sense with other activities where you might be in flow. And then I think that also links to the client this afternoon, there was way too much of a expectation, based on experience, that in those situations, there’d be that chatter in the head about how am I coming across? What are people thinking of me? What should I say next? Did I say that wrong, etc, etc, etc. So let’s leave the got the dark. And it’s probably helpful that I practice it all the time in my coaching. So probably outside of coaching, I have less of a concern about what people might be thinking about me. Because that’s why I’m saying to us that I can’t relate, I really can’t relate. Yeah,

Micheal Pacheco 38:02
I love that, with circling back to the ego conversation. If it’s alright with you, I’d like to read a quote, I was reading George Bernard Shaw the other day, he wrote a stage play called man and Superman. And there’s this quote, that’s it’s kind of about ego and helping people. That really just resonated with me, and I think it might be interesting to bring into this conversation. So George Bernard Shaw writes, This is the true joy in life being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that My life belongs to the whole community. And as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work, the more I live, I rejoice in life for its own sake, life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch, which I have got hold up for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

Claire Walton 39:22
Michael, thank you for that. I love that. And I’ve never heard that before, which is very unusual, isn’t it to hear a quote that you’ve never heard before? And I love the fact as well it’s called man and Superman because I love my superheroes. Yep.

Micheal Pacheco 39:37
Yeah, you can pick up the paperback of the stage play on Amazon for about 10 bucks. It’s a it’s a good read, highly recommended.

Claire Walton 39:45
Fantastic. There’s quite a lot in there that I liked. But I think the thing that struck me is so again in my coaching, which I’m sure most coaches work on with their clients. You know, we do a lot of work around purpose. Yep. So you know, particularly because again, you know, people that I’m coaching are in those C suite type roles. What’s interesting is often there have company A company purpose that they can tell me, it’s interesting, because actually, some of them can’t tell me the company purpose, even though they know they have one. That’s another matter all together. So they can tell me about the company purposes. And then I will ask them what their purpose is. And then they will become unstuck. And they don’t know what their own purposes and I’m like, Whoa, we have such an opportunity here to help with with your energy and your focus, which are the two big things that I talk about a lot with my clients. And the reason why I talk about energy and focus so much is because, you know, we only have so much energy, and it’s getting zapped, left, right and center. And we need to focus more, and most of us are getting distracted, left, right and center. Okay, so we talked about energy and focus a lot. And understanding what your purpose is. And being able to align that with the purpose of the organization just dials up hugely, that energy and that and that focus. And also what it what it does from a leader follower perspective, is it hugely attracts your followers to want to work with you don’t know if you’re going through this in the States at the moment, but we are here in the UK, massive issue in terms of retention of well retention of people for stuff, nevermind retention of talent, and a massive issue, then with recruitment, so to getting people in leadership roles to be able to seriously do that, that piece around, or playfully do the piece around purpose. But you know, really do it in detail. And get the alignment to the purpose of their organization in a really authentic, genuine way, I think can make a massive difference to the individual and the organization.

Micheal Pacheco 42:14
Yeah, I think I mean, everything, everything kind of starts with purpose, doesn’t it? If you’ve got, if you’ve got a purpose, you don’t need to worry about your ego, because you’re not you’re you’re focused on the purpose. You don’t need to worry about motivation, because that follows suit. You don’t need to, you know, worry about as much about all these other things, because you’re because you’ve got that purpose. That’s that’s kind of, you know, driving you and guiding you.

Claire Walton 42:43
Yeah, yeah. Well, that’s it. I mean, you know, we talk quite a lot about values as well, don’t we in the cultural world, and we do work on values. And actually, I do the work on values as a preparation for the work that we do on purpose. And, you know, this, this whole idea of, you’ve got people in leadership roles in particular, who have so much coming at them. And it’s not just distracting in the sense of, they can’t focus on any one thing at any one time, they often feel they can put the right techniques. But they’ve got to make choices all the time. You know, they’ve got to make the choices about how to spend their time how to spend their money, how to spend their energy, you know, how to utilize the resources around them, and so on and so forth. And, you know, to just cut through all of that, sometimes you need that simplicity of not necessarily even four or five values, but the simplicity of purpose. How is this going to make a difference? Is this really going to make a difference? And is that is that difference going to give us a big enough difference? And what’s the return on our investment? You know, is it a big enough difference? Is it worthwhile? Is this the best way to spend our time, money, etc?

Micheal Pacheco 44:08
Like that? How is how is work on values a stepping stone for work on purpose?

Claire Walton 44:20
I think people struggle going straight into looking at, you know, why am I here? You know, why do I exist? Okay. I mean, that’s a huge question, isn’t it? You know, if I was to start to say to people, I just want you start with saying, Why do you exist? It’s like, Oh, my goodness me, you know, maybe it’s to reproduce. I don’t know, what’s the most fundamental reason why we exist. So by starting with values, the first thing is it’s a much easier warm up. In fact, I was doing this with a team of HR FOC. US I coached the HR director and this was my first engagement with her team. And we were looking at, really, you know, dialing in the teamwork, and the overall motivation and energy within the team towards their strategic plan. And the way we started was looking at getting them to identify their individual values, share their individual values or their core, individual values once they’ve gotten down to the core ones. And, and from that we were looking at, can we pull out some Katene values. And then we did the same thing with purpose as well. We then got them to from their core values, and with a little bit more reflection, a few more questions. But using core values, as the foundation identify with, you know, why are they here? What impact do they ultimately want to have? And by the way, not just in their role, but again, in life, what impact do they want to have? And then how can we work that into their role? How can we work that into what the team’s doing? And then how do we relate that very specifically to the strategic plan. And unbelievably, with, I think it was nine people, we managed to actually link all of those things together, but done a bit of pre work that link all of those together in a one day session,

Micheal Pacheco 46:28
in a one day session,

Claire Walton 46:32
and a one day session with the HR team, I might ask who, which I was very surprised about who had never, never looked at individual values don’t work in an organization that has organizational stated values. And they’ve never looked at purpose before. Wow. It doesn’t have to be very complicated, like the did a little bit of pre work on it. But it’s just it’s just a fascinating conversation. Is it to really tap into, you know, the most fundamental question, I guess, which is, you know, you know, why are we here?

Micheal Pacheco 47:12
Yeah, it’s, it’s a running, it’s a running joke on this podcast, among our executive coach, guests and leadership coach guests, that every executive and leadership coach is secretly a life coach. Because that’s the fundamentals, right, that those are those are the building blocks, if you don’t have that stuff figured out, you’re not going to figure out the organizational stuff.

Claire Walton 47:40
Well, totally 100% agree. And I often get it comes up in the chemistry calls, or it also sometimes comes up in three way conversations that we might, don’t always do, but will often do. And it will come up and maybe if there’s a sponsor bringing me into an organization, where they where they will sometimes say, so are you you know, Will? Will you cover purely work related topics? And I’m like, Whoa, that’s interesting that they’re even asking the question, okay, let me bring you to my planet. We’re on my planet, you don’t coach the topic, you coach the person. You know, in a in a group coaching setting, we may be coaching the topic, that’s different. Yeah. But in individual coaching, I am always coaching the person, we might have very specific goals in mind. But if it goes back to some of the things that we said earlier, that goals really are about making some form of change. There’s some sort of difference, you know, a goal, we’re going from here to there. So there’s a difference, or a change. And in order to find the, the energy, you know, the motivation, to do the homework, to do the practice, to have the discomforts and everything else that is part of going from here to here, then, you know, we need to tap in to, you know, what’s going on for the person? And what does the person want out of life? And who is this person, not just what role do they play? And what’s the system around this person that’s beyond just the system of their immediate organizational context as well. So, you know, one of one of the things that we’ll do, as part of the setting up a coaching agreement, is, you know, I want a little bit of client information, you know, beyond just some of the basics, even things like you know, just simple things like their children and what they’re called and their ages and their other hubs and or if they’re singing single, just the fact that they might be single or whatever, you know, whatever it might be just some of those sorts of things. And clearly that rapport building that we’re always doing, not just in the chemistry session, but in every session that we have, understanding a little bit about that system, you know, asking, you know, today with the client, you know, you know, you know, not just the How are you for the sake of the How are you, but you really, you know, how are you what’s going on? You know, what have you just been doing before you came here, even those sorts of things? I think that’s, that’s really important. So we’re, yeah, we’re always coaching the person,

Micheal Pacheco 50:38
I think, yeah, I mean, we don’t, we don’t live in a vacuum leaders don’t live in a vacuum, it’s, it’s got to be a holistic thing, because that is just the nature of being right. It’s not, we’re not in a vacuum, I guess, is the only the only way I can think of to say it. But,

Claire Walton 50:57
of course, that, you know, what might happen very occasionally, is that we identify things that, you know, eventually get to a point where that person might leave the organization. And, you know, it’s interesting, because sometimes the person is bringing you in, if it’s not, the coachee is the client. If it’s somebody else, bringing you into the coaching with the client, then you’ll sometimes get that fear of, well, what if in coaching the person, you know, something comes up, and as a result, they end up wanting to go somewhere else? Well, you know, it’s always better that if it was something bubbling underneath, organization, ideally, yeah, exactly. So I sometimes, sometimes I will get asked questions like that, and I’ll answer them, as you can imagine, really, honestly, but demonstrate how, you know, ultimately, that’s gonna benefit the organization anywhere.

Micheal Pacheco 51:54
100%. And there’s so there was a few years back, I remember there was questions kind of floating around a lot of startups about training, training their employees, like, why would you? Why would you spend a whole bunch of money to train your employees so that they leave your company for a better paying job? The and the only answer that question is, what’s the alternative? Not training, not training them. Like, that’s, it’s terrible.

Claire Walton 52:28
And, of course, you know, there is also that factor of that you train them, you, you give them coaching, you win all sorts of benefits to to their life as a whole. We know over here, certainly, I don’t know what the research is on the state, I imagine it’s probably fairly similar. The particularly over the last few years, you know, people have gotten to a place where they’re much more likely to stay with you, because you are providing for them in a much more holistic way. So not just even training them to do their job, but you’re providing the coaching around them as a person, as another example, you’re providing an opportunity to work in a way which suits them as far as you possibly can dependent upon the job, etc. But, you know, people are much more likely to step up in the organization. If if you’re finding those opportunities, and yeah, so so, you know, I’m always encouraging clients to get closer to what the individuals need from them. That’s beyond the obvious, maybe direct, immediate impact on performance.

Micheal Pacheco 53:42
Awesome. Claire, you’ve got a book that is a best seller on Amazon, would you tell us about that?

Claire Walton 53:51
Yeah, thanks so much. So it’s called Super neuro you at but it’s not about neuro diversity. And I have to keep saying that now. Because I’ve had a few people that have done that to second thing, read the title and just gone to someplace that’s not related, actually, to the content of the book. The tagline is achieve more success, for less and make a difference to others. That says a little bit more. It’s actually, Michael, it’s written as fiction. But it’s actually a book that will give you all sorts of self development opportunities, should you wish to take it, but you can just read the book to read an inspiring story that you might relate to, if you can relate to a woman in her mid 40s. Who, who is written in the style of her writing in her journal, and she writes about something that happens in her life at the beginning of the book, which gets her to buy the recommendation of a friend meet Ed coat Wow. And you get to have a bird’s eye view on some excerpts from those coaching sessions. So you might be able to take something away from okay, yes, that’s resonates with me to Laura, Laura, the key character also get to have homework set. And you indeed can also do the homework should you wish to. So you have the opportunity to download some exercises from my website, and do the homework. And basically follow Laura’s journey through the coaching experience, excerpts from about a year’s worth of coaching, and then find out what happens to Laura three years on right towards the end of the book.

Micheal Pacheco 55:45
I love it. So it’s we got it. It’s a little allegorical. It’s a little bit tactical. Perfect.

Claire Walton 55:52
It is, and I’m told, and it says in some of the Amazon reviews, and if anybody has read it, people more reviews on, I’m told, it’s an easy read. And for some people, they even had a belly laugh, and some people even had some tears. And for me, I think if you can draw emotion in the book, as well as get a bit of growth, then it’s got to be a good thing.

Micheal Pacheco 56:16
Awesome. Awesome. So beyond super narrow, you by the inimitable, Claire Walton, are there what other books would you recommend your clients read? Give me Give me two more.

Claire Walton 56:29
Ah, gosh, so over and above the one I’ve mentioned, from Jaron. Oh, no. Because I read the

Micheal Pacheco 56:37
German book again. What was the name of that book?

Claire Walton 56:41
Super better. Super better. Okay. Yeah, absolutely fantastic. So I read a lot. I mean, I’m really interested in neuroscience. So I read a lot by Joe Dispenza. So anything by Joe Dispenza, if I look, to get the exact title is evolve, your brain is a fantastic book. I did that on audio. First, I do a lot of my books on audio first, and I think, you know, if I liked it on audio, then I go and I get the textbook. And then I was just underlying everything and post it notes on everything. Amazing book, very inspirational, in terms of his story, but also so much to take away and use for yourself and also use if you happen to be a coach as well. And then I’ll do a recent one. So connect by Simon Lancaster, that’s, that’s come out fairly recently. And I read it a couple of months ago. And he his background is as a speech writer. And he talks about how we connect with one another. So there’s also a marketing perspective, that’s really useful there from a leadership perspective, and also from a coaching perspective that I took from that.

Micheal Pacheco 58:02
Awesome. Perfect, Claire, thank you so much for that. I know we’re coming up on that. Well, we’ve actually past the hour. So I want to be respectful of your time. Your website is leaders are mad.co.uk. Is there anything else that you would like to talk about that we haven’t had a chance to touch upon yet?

Claire Walton 58:23
No, I would. I mean, you could keep me on for hours. Because I could talk for hours, you probably guessed. But I just want to thank you, Michael, because I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. I love these sorts of conversations where we just got into it. There’s no rehearsal. And yeah, we just have a really genuine conversation about what we’re passionate about. So thinking

Micheal Pacheco 58:42
stuff. Thank you. I appreciate it. I enjoyed it as well. So thank you for joining us on the remarkable coach Claire Walton. Again, the website is leaders are mad.co.uk Please go check her out. We’ll have shownotes there. And the books will be listed there as well. So you guys, you don’t have to. If you’re listening in your car or whatever, don’t worry about that. And yeah, Claire, thank you so much again for being on the remarkable coach podcast. Appreciate it.

Claire Walton 59:09
Thanks, Michael.

Micheal Pacheco 59:10
And thank you to our listeners and viewers. We’ll see you guys next time. Take care

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