The Remarkable Coach

With featured guest

Jenn Lofgren

Jenn Lofgren Show

It’s important not to dwell too long on the disappointments and adversities that you face.

It’s also necessary to give yourself room to grieve your losses and move forward. Don’t let them overtake you.

Acknowledge your options, and know the consequences of your choices. If you fall down, get back up. What matters most is that you enjoy and focus on the experience, rather than the destination.

Get out there, develop that experience, and keep learning.

In this episode, Jenn Lofgren details her dynamic approach to business coaching, and how you can achieve your goals even in these trying times.

A Bit About Jenn:

Specializing in Leadership & Executive Coaching, Jenn Lofgren is a Master Certified Coach who’s become a thought-partner for evolving leaders. While leadership coaching is her specialty, Jenn doesn’t believe in one-size-fits-all coaching. Real people simply don’t work that way. Jenn wants leaders to have a positive impact on those around them, which is why she leads from a place of curiosity and choice. In this way, she supports you in uncovering what’s holding you back, enabling you to create the shifts you need to become a bold, inspiring, and magnetic leader.

Jenn is one of 3 Master Certified Coaches in Calgary (out of 54 total in Canada). With over 15 years of experience in coaching, mentoring, gap analysis, and strategic development, Jenn has an insatiable drive to learn new concepts. This allows her to understand the bigger picture of leadership, becoming a more impactful and confidential thought-partner for your needs.

She is fortunate to be a partner with the Women’s Executive Network, a contributor to the Forbes Coaches Council, MBA mentor through the Haskayne School of Business, and a member of numerous boards, councils, and committees. She was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women (WXN) in 2018, as an outstanding Alumni by Mount Royal University in 2019, and named Entrepreneur of the Year by Distinctive Women’s Magazine (2014). Among these accolades, one of her most significant and rewarding accomplishments is volunteering with the Calgary Youth Justice Society, helping at-risk youth become community leaders.

Credentials aside, when not working with inspiring leaders, you can find her being a wife, mom, fearless skier, and aspiring golfer.

Based in Calgary, Alberta, Jenn works with leaders across the world, inspiring and empowering leaders worldwide.

Where you can find her:

Where you can listen to this episode:

Jenn Lofgren 0:02

If I accept it, it's like accepting the ugly gift from someone that you don't really want. But I have options, I can decline it. There's consequences to that or I can accept it, and accept now that it's mine this gift, as ugly as it is, once I accept it, I'm in full control of what I decide to do with it next.

Doug Holt 0:23

Hi, everybody. I'm so happy to have this guest on today. I have Jenn Lofgren and Jenn is the founder and CO executive and leadership development. She's also a master certified coach, a Forbes contributor, and a serial board member, as well as a community champion. Chin is also been recognized as one of Canada's top 100 most powerful women. Jenn, thanks so much for being here.

Jenn Lofgren 0:51

Thanks for having me, Doug.

Doug Holt 0:52

Yeah, I'm very excited for this conversation. We talked OFF AIR off the recording anyway, there's so much going on in the world right now. So Jenn, what I'd like to just start off by sharing with people is a little bit about you and your journey, and how you got to this position and being one of Canada's top 100 most powerful women.

Jenn Lofgren 1:15

It's surreal to be able to say that and receive that recognition a year ago and we've all got big complex stories. Sometimes it's really hard to figure out where to start. Maybe I'll start at the beginning is, people have heard my introduction. And then there's a lot of assumptions that people will make about someone like me and what my story might be. My story starts when I was 15 and why start at 15? Something really hard happened in my life when I was 15. I was an A student in high school, I was in French immersion, I was in what's called IB studies, which is the top of the top of the high school students, and taking this high academic program. Then four months before I turned 16, I found myself living in a shelter for homeless youth. That became the beginning of many really difficult years trying to figure out not how to do well in school, but how to go to school and to figure out purpose in life and what I wanted to do. I thought I had direction or a little bit as much as you can have it at 15. But then that all got turned upside down just trying to survive, not thrive, and do well in life became my focus. How I move forward from there I think it's important to even highlight how important someone seeing your strengths is I had a high school teacher that saw my strengths and acknowledged them. In little ways not knowing quite what I was dealing with, it inspired me to want to do well for him. That led me to taking three years of automotive studies as a mechanic in high school, things I never thought it would do, because somebody saw my strengths and acknowledged them. I wanted to spend more time with someone like that, that inspired me. Then fast forward from there I spent 11 years in information technology as a first career that was really an accidental career, and got to a point in my life where I was trying to figure out what I was really passionate about. I had my choice of opportunities in that career, I was having great reputation in the industry, but I wasn't satisfied. And I made the difficult decision to leave that career behind and start over and retrain and go back to school with an interest in leadership culture, teams, and that development process. Got my HR designation and spent a few years afterwards in human resources. But continuing and looking at my leadership path, led me down the road of layering on professional coach training and following this passion for leadership development and starting inside of executive and leadership development in 2009. And I don't know about you guys, but in 2009, for us, it was a terrible recession, terrible downturn, very worst time to start a business. And in hindsight, the very best time to start a business. Yes, because it taught me to create a sustainable business from the very beginning. And now we're 11 years later, and I won't tell you that everything's been easy. Over the last 11 years, there's been a ton of learning and growing this business and working with some amazing leaders along the way, but I've had to really grow and develop myself. Through those years and there's been some crazy tears. There's been some really big wins. And along the way, one of the things that's really contributed to those wins is volunteering in community and the communities that have been serving me whether it's been the community at large, or the community of my profession, the HR community or the Chamber of Commerce, but also with arts groups with groups that serve youth, those have all been part of my journey that have led to that recognition as one of Canada's top 100 most powerful women. I'm Jenn Lofgren, mentor locker, and I just do this stuff that for me is just the right thing to do. So I think that's, that's part of my story.

Doug Holt 5:38

What a great story because I think you're right people. see someone like yourself, you're successful. It's the successful coach podcast you one of Canada's top 100 most powerful women, and it must have just been all laid out for you just easy peasy, no problems at all. And they get to hear your story and realize, wait a minute, you've had some hardships just like I have, you've been knocked down just like I have, you switched careers just like I want to do. What do you think has made you successful? where other people have faltered?

Jenn Lofgren 6:20

I think that goes right back to my experiences at 15. I had a choice moment there. And don't get me wrong, I very much felt hard done by and like a victim. But then I decided to look at "Okay, now, here I am. What am I going to do now?' And not letting that take over and run things for me and having this idea of a choice mindset. And not dwelling too long in the hard things that happen to me or the adversity that I face. And we all run into losses, disappointments, hard news, things not going away, the rug being pulled from under us. And while it's important to give ourselves space to grieve loss, to not be overcome by it. And I think what's helped me is moving to that mindset or shifting to that question of, okay. And here I am. Now, what do I want to do with it? I haven't had the choice of what happened to me, what do I want to do, as a result of my circumstances, the pieces I am in control of. And I think that's what's helped me be resilient and keep putting myself out there recognizing the choices that I do have on what I do have control over. And sometimes it's just my attitude about something. And being able to shift that while still acknowledging that some of the instant shift, I still need to leave myself room to grieve and the tears that show up and to work through that, but not let it overtake me and keep me from moving myself forward and taking that next step, whatever it might be.

Doug Holt 8:09

Yeah, I mean, it's so important, I think that people don't realize, it's kind of a you hear a lot when you fall down, dust yourself off and try again. I think it's difficult to do.

Jenn Lofgren 8:24

Well, you don't just fall down and dust yourself up, but hop back up. I don't, it's I fell down and then like I'm in the dirt, this sucks, and this is dirt. Okay, I'm in the dirt. Now, do I want to be in the dirt? Do I want to get back up and asking that question, but I got to sit in the dirt for a little bit and go, "Okay, here I am." And then there's a little bit of a shift.

Doug Holt 8:55

And you think it starts with the acceptance of knowing where you are and being okay with that on some level, not being okay with it. But just coming up with facing reality of this is where I am right now in this moment. And now I get to make a decision on which direction I want to go.

Jenn Lofgren 9:13

Yes, and maybe a different word of being okay with it would be, I can accept that. That's what it is.

Doug Holt 9:22

But yeah, thank you, much better choice of words.

Jenn Lofgren 9:27

And I accept it. If I accept it. It's like accepting the ugly gift from someone that you don't really want. But I have options, I can decline it. There's consequences to that. Or I can accept it and accept now that it's mine this gift. as ugly as it is. Once I accept it. I'm in full control of what I decide to do with it next.

Doug Holt 9:52

Yes, I find that a lot of people listening to this are going to be for coaches, want to be coaches, business leaders. You're going through it a lot of times we find that the person that lies to us the most is ourselves. And a lot of times that's lying to ourselves about our current circumstances or where we are what's preventing us from moving forward or, or taking that action being on stage or being on the podcast or whatever it may be. Now, I know that you know, something that you've done really well, especially leadership is mindset work, and really working and honing on in on that mindset. What would you say to somebody who's listening to this right now that can kind of relate to obviously not your past? I want to go, I want to get away from your past and talk about what you're doing now. But to the present moment, who say, "I wish I could do what Jenn's doing" what would you say to that person?

Jenn Lofgren 10:45

First of all, I'm no different than anybody else. And I'm the overnight success we hear 11 years in the making, and still in the making. And it was interesting, even along my journey and getting my master certified coach designation, you need 2500 hours before you're even eligible to apply. We kept track in a spreadsheet every month, my virtual assistant, she would document in the spreadsheet, the hours but there wasn't never tally at the bottom and one year. So I wonder where I'm at and in Excel spreadsheet, do the equal sum and copy the whole column. And then I ended up with the number at the bottom and it said, 20 100 in change. Oh, wow, I didn't even realize that I was there. And then I had a decision in front of me. But it started one hour at a time. And I remember when I started my business, talking with my husband and saying and filling the coffee socialite, it's been four months, I feel like all I do is have coffee, and I have no work. And that's really where I started because it was no one engaging in coaching services at the time. So it was meeting lots of people, but it laid the foundation for those relationships in the future. To those people that would refer others to me, that would hire me themselves, because they invested deeply in the relationship. And the other thing I would say is, if you're starting a coaching business now and you're brand new coach, to just get out and coach a lot to develop that experience and keep learning. I've been in my own business as a coach for 11 years. And I'm taking another development program right now, deepening my skills in team coaching work, which I've also done for many years. But I'm continuing to look at how I grow and develop myself, I'm not been there done that because it reached a master certified coach designation or I've won awards, there's always new things that I can learn to be better for my clients, that is still that one hour at a time. And all of a sudden you open a spreadsheet, and you've reached a goal that you didn't even know I'd already crossed the finish line.

Doug Holt 13:14

That's really all about being present on the journey, right? You're not just focused on the destination, you're actually focused presently on serving people and doing the work you're called to do. And then you look up one day, and you're there, I think all too often people that I've coached in the past, they're so focused on the goal, that they miss the experience, they missed the ride. And once they hit the goal, then it's kind of like, "Oh, wait, now what?" Whereas joining the journey, it's a different experience altogether.

Jenn Lofgren 13:46

And there's something to be said about having a goal. And I think there's a nuance to the goal. And when we come from more of a reactive mindset, I have a goal. And how do I get people to like me to help me get that goal? How do I protect myself and come from a scarcity mindset that if I get it, then somebody else can't. But if they get it, then I can't? And how do I be perfect and push and hustle and control my way into making that goal happen. And when we come from that more strategic mindset, it's important to have that goal and know the story we want to have a year from now as often when I talk about my with my clients is where are you now? What do you want to be experiencing a year from now and tap into that passion and look at it from a little bit bigger picture and be open to the goal. Adapting and adjusting over the course of that say it's a year long goal, so that you can take all the wisdom and learning and refine the goal and see where it takes you and not just blindly work towards that goal over time. And what happens is they develop deeper relationships that support you that you're able to have Some boundaries in your life around that goal, but around other things so that you get some broader fulfillment, and that you're able to be truly who you are and let go of the hustle in pursuit of the goal. But you also need to have something you're striving towards, or that new story or that new reality that you're looking to make happen, but not so tied to it, that you're you've got the blinders on. And pursuit of the goal is actually damaging to you and not getting you more of what you want in your life.

Doug Holt 15:33

Absolutely, well said.

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We talked about what you're telling your clients. Tell us a little bit about who you do work with and what Incito does.

Jenn Lofgren 16:44

I guess let's start with what Incito does is we work with leaders one on one and leadership teams to elevate how they lead. And we start with looking at the mindset of leadership, person skills and tactics on top because if I'm working with someone, I teach them a bunch of skills and tactics. But I like to use the example of feedback, I can teach you how to give feedback to someone teach you a framework. But if you come into giving feedback from a mindset of I'm right, and you're wrong, and a place of judgment, and fixing the other person, doesn't matter what framework, you learned to be effective, and you deliver it perfectly according to the framework, your mindset and intention, is really what's going to help that feedback be heard. And so we work with one on one with leaders, and moving out of that reactive mindset and more towards a creative and strategic mindset that helped them get more of the results that they want. But we also do it with leadership teams to help how they lead collectively. And if we were to look at a leadership team as one leader creating that consistent leadership across an organization, and some of the leaders we work with they they range from some emerging leaders, middle managers, and a lot of the leaders and majority of them that we work with these days are those leaders that are in senior executive roles. VP, CEO, CFO roles, because when you've got a strategic and passionate leadership at the top of the organization, is going to filter down through the organization and help everyone in the organization not just be more effective, but have greater fulfillment, have more of what they want in their life and be able to create greater impact. But it starts at the top of the organization and really supporting those leaders at the top of the organization developing to their best potential.

Doug Holt 18:37

Love it. Absolutely. And, and so when you're working with somebody in present day, here we are right, we're recording this is we're in the States, especially in the midst of COVID. Ot's like the continuation of part one, you're in unprecedented times. How do you direct your leaders, your leadership to handle these types of situations?

Jenn Lofgren 19:03

I've been talking with a lot of leaders about creating strategic plans, and coming back to whatever business is going to be now for the business and how do I create strategic plans and direction when I don't know what things are going to be like in a year from now nevermind three years from now. I'm not even sure what its gonna be like next month. How do I do that? And some of what we've been talking about is still setting that course and I have to use the metaphor of a sailboat. If I have a sailboat and I'm going where the wind blows me whether it's with COVID or any other issue that comes our way. If I just let the wind blow me where it blows me then I'm going to either go in circles around getting ended up somewhere, that's not where I want, but based on the information I have right now I set a course and I go back to the sailboat and I set a course for an island. And then over the course of days, weeks, months, some things happen. And as I get closer to that island, I learned new information, I can adjust my course, or I can change directions completely. Maybe I get closer to that island. And I realize it's an archipelago, and it's a bunch of islands, and I have a new choice to make to refine where I'm going. Or maybe I get close to it and it's not a very hospitable Island. And maybe it's not a safe place to go. Or maybe something happens with my crew or I get a call and I learned something new. Now I decide even though I'd like to go that destination, it's in my or my team's best interest to go in a different course I can at that time. But what's so important is choosing a course and not going for perfect in the right answers. But continuing to move forward on setting that course, and then set adjust and attack. Because the world really isn't any more uncertain and unstable. Now that COVID has happened, we just faced with the reality, a lot more of how uncertain world really is. The certainty that we had was only an illusion. Because here COVID happened, but other things have happened. And we're just more acutely aware that really those good practices that you had before COVID are still there for you. And moving to letting go of fear. And having more into that passion in that direction is where I've been talking with a lot of the clients that I've been working with, and also making room to talk about the being in the dirt moments, making room to process it so that's not writing shut down beside you all the time, as you're trying to move forward. If you're not able to process that, then that's going to be driving your decision making keep having that fear pop up over and over again, then being able to tap into all your wisdom and all the information that you have in front of you to make the next decision, the right decision, the next decision. And then based on that, to have new learning to get to the next best decision.

Doug Holt 22:25

You find Are you recommending to your leaders that they create that space to in their schedules and things like that for routines or space for them to have quote unquote, thinking time to more so than they had previously.

Jenn Lofgren 22:41

Yes, and for everyone, it's a little different. But I work with a lot of leaders that I joke that there's three clubs, there's the; I can't get to sleep club, 2am awake club for two hours, and there's a 4am Club and those guys, they wake up and they're awake for the rest of the day. And the reality of those three clubs is the same thing, you don't have enough time in your day to do your thinking, you will do it in bed at night. So whether you're carving out a day a week, or you're carving out an hour at the beginning of the day, an hour at the end of your day. What works for one leader doesn't necessarily work for another. But if you're not creating strong boundaries around that thinking time, then you're you're not going to be able to make those strategic decisions. But you're also going to be joining one of those clubs, or you've been part of one of those clubs for a long time. And doesn't matter what other strategies you bring in place to manage the insomnia until you make choices around those boundaries. In fact, thinking time in the day, you're not going to get past one of those clubs.

Doug Holt 23:53

Love it. Yeah, I set aside 90 minutes every single day, just for thinking time personally, even if I am in the 2am Club just because my child wants.

Jenn Lofgren 24:07

And mine is Fridays. I don't take clients on Fridays. And that is my day for that thinking time. Although we'll have little pieces of it elsewhere. That is my full day for that thinking time. It's also where I put my personal appointments or if I want to have a coffee meeting with someone or I want to reach out and do something new or there's a pile of articles that I've never been able to get to through the week. That's my one day a week to really dig in and have that focus thinking time. So whether you do it every day or you have a big chunk of time, once a week. It's about trying something and looking at what you learn from it to refine it to figure out what's going to suit you best.

Doug Holt 24:53

Absolutely. One of the things you know I've been coaching in one way or another for over two decades now. And one of the things I really love Respect about our first connection was how real you are. And you know, because I know people that haven't got a chance to talk to you as much as I have. Granted, I haven't talked to you that much. But you're, I can see this already. Because I hear people saying, well, that's easy for Jan. Right? She can have thinking time, she can take your laughing if she can take Friday's off, and what have you. But you and I spoke and you were in the backyard with your daughter, right? hanging out. And we still had a very professional business conversation. It was very real and let's share that. I like to get your thoughts on it too. Because it's such a common obstacle for people like, well, that's Jenn. Right? She can do that, because she's got whatever, wherever they're filling the blank story is, and what would you say to somebody that's sitting there making up an excuse. you're 11 years in the making overnight success story. It's easy for Jenn, but not for me to take that Friday off, or to carve out that taking time.

Jenn Lofgren 26:02

It take me back to when I started the business. And my daughter was little, and they wanted to spend time with her. And so that was the original attention around Fridays before she was in school. And people said, Oh, that's cute. Good luck with that, that won't last very long. And I don't negotiate with myself Fridays are that day for me. And there's been sacrifices needed to make it happen. And do I always protect it? No, I'll choose to make some exceptions. there's times where I'll choose to work with an executive team, because it's a full day session with the team. It's the only day they can get it together. Will I do that every Friday? Absolutely not. It is an exception. And in order to make that exception, I have some questions to ask myself, and look at my schedule, and how often I might be doing that I give up three or four Fridays a year. But at the same time, I've had to say no to some plants that have said, I want to work with you. But the only time I can make work, it's a Friday, I can't do that, I'd be happy to help you find another coach that would be able to do that with you. But the idea behind my Fridays is this and I tell them. And there's been a few clients that have opted not to work with me. And that's been hard to accept. And I want to tell those other coaches that by holding those boundaries, more often than not, those clients have found another way to work with me, because they've been the client for me. And it's been my role modeling boundaries for them. And holding that and doing it in a respectful way with them and being transparent with them, that made them want to work with me even more. And to show them that if I can do it, they can do that for themselves in the way that fits for them to create what they want in their life. And I remember sitting on the steps of my deck talking to you and my daughter sitting on the couch up side and the dog. And I don't have coaching sessions like that, if I'm working in my home office, I'm in my office. But if I'm having a business development conversation with someone, I'll probably take it like that too. Because it's that opportunity for them to get to know me and my style and my approach. And if there is something that happens in this a distraction, then I'll go inside, and I'll go back into my office or I'm in my office office today. But if I can't be real and be myself with my clients, then I can't serve them because it's offering place that acting and they won't get the most out of me. And it's it's not always easy. But I joke with people that I have the best boss, because she holds me fiercely accountable, she knows all my tricks, and lets me get away with nothing. But she also lets me do whatever I want to do. My reason for sharing that is it's up to me to create what I want, and to allow what I want. And it's been being real, that has led to my clients wanting to work with me, and especially the senior executives that don't want somebody else to hustle and treat them different, but to treat them like person that they are and not to show up and hustle for them in some way, shape or form.

Doug Holt 29:36

Well, that's exactly one of the reasons I shared that is I think you go through a cycle of life like you do in business. In your career, where you start off and I did anyway putting on the suit and getting ready and putting on a fake mask. What I thought needed to be professional, younger than everybody else. Whatever found was, the more real I was, the more authentic is kind of the new black now, right? The more authentic I really was with who I am, it allowed that space for the business leader, whoever I was talking to, to be themselves to share what they were going through, everybody's going through something, you know, the scales are all different, but it's there something and my conversation with you was extremely professional, I could tell right away, you were in that cycle, what I call out of teenage phase where you know, everything and you were just calm and assured of yourself. So I could tell right away instantly that you knew what you were talking about, you're very sure that you did. And that's a compliment. Because I think a lot of people listening to this, they think, Okay, well, yeah, I want to be a coach or their business leader, they want to hire a coach, it's got to look a certain way. And what I'd say to them is you got to be yourself, because you'll attract somebody who's the right fit for you. And you also be more relatable.

Jenn Lofgren 30:59

I've also learned the hard way that I've taken on clients early on in my business, that I thought, I think I got to take them on, I don't have enough clients or it's a client, I really want because their role or what they're doing. And anytime I've done that, it's been the client that I dreaded going to see that I felt performance anxiety of showing up a certain way. And they never got the same results that the clients that I was real with, were able to get because they weren't getting the best of me. It wasn't a good fit for me but it also wasn't a good fit for the client, when I was showing up in that way. And you make me think of a CEO client I started working with a year ago, and I'm always curious why someone chooses to work with me over someone else when they've interviewed a number of other coaches. And I asked him, "What made you choose to work with me?" and he said, "Because you're the only one that asked me about how I'm doing personally, that asked about my family. And that really connected with me." And I didn't really think about that, because it's just a fascinating, interesting person that's taken on a big new role that's required a move that's impacted his family, the sake of something wants to get genuinely interested in. How are you doing? And what's it like, and spending time on that set are rushing to the agenda? Because I was genuinely interested in compelled by what was happening with this person.

Doug Holt 32:48

Yeah, well, it's so important. Speaking about being important. I've already taken so much of your time, Jen. And I think I could talk to you all day, as well as the listeners could listen to you. But for those that want to find out more about you and what you do, what would you recommend that go?

Jenn Lofgren 33:05

Our website is, and I'm also active on LinkedIn, I share my Forbes articles and blog articles and just love to engage in community in conversation on LinkedIn. So I think those are the two best places to go.

Doug Holt 33:24

Excellent. Well, thank you again for taking the time. I know how busy you are. I really appreciate it.

Jenn Lofgren 33:29

Thanks Doug.

Doug Holt 33:29

So thank you for joining us at the successful coach podcast. please hit like and subscribe so we can bring you more great interviews like these. Until next time, have an amazing day.

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