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Called to Coach
Keeping It True: Coaching From a Three-Dimensional Perspective
Called to Coach

Keeping It True: Coaching From a Three-Dimensional Perspective

Webcast Details

  • How do you get a "three-dimensional" view of a coachee, and what are the benefits of doing this?
  • How can you help coachees stay true to their values while genuinely hearing others' feedback?
  • How can the coaching journey be structured yet flexible, to give your coaching direction and yet keep it tailored it to the individual?

Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series -- Season 10, Episode 38.

Below are audio and video plus a transcript of the conversation, including time stamps.

A "true perspective" of a coachee is like a sculpture -- it's three-dimensional. Other people's perceptions of a coachee give a more complete picture of that coachee's situation and who they are. But how do coaches get their coachees to buy into and be open to receiving feedback? How can they help their coachees to maintain their values yet consider and learn from that feedback? And how can they lead their coachees on a coaching journey that is structured, yet flexible enough to accommodate and honor each individual? Joe Hart, organizational psychologist, culture specialist and author of True Perspective, joins the webcast to help us find answers to these questions and more.

Coaching ... can be quite two-dimensional, especially if it's over the phone and it's a couple of sessions. ... But it's far more powerful to understand what's going on from other angles.

Joe Hart, 10:13

You're going to face some darkness in your world. ... And being able to call on your purpose is the purpose of a purpose -- being able to get there at that moment where you need it.

Joe Hart, 48:27

As a coach, above all else, the most important thing you can do is to be present. And so your state really matters when you step into a coaching session.

Joe Hart, 55:20

Jim Collison 0:00
I am Jim Collison, and this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on September 15, 2022.

Jim Collison 0:17
Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you're listening live and you don't see the chat room, we'd love to have you in it. There's just a link right above me there to it; click on that and sign into the chat room. If you're listening after the fact, you have questions, you can always send us an email: Don't forget to subscribe to Called to Coach on your favorite podcast app or subscribe right there on YouTube, so you never miss an episode. Marie-Lou Almeida is our host tonight. Marie-Lou is a Learning and Development Senior Consultant and has been with Gallup for over 20 years, based in our Sydney, Australia, office. She's an executive coach, course facilitator, consultant for APAC, in our APAC region. And Marie-Lou, it's great to see you a second time. For folks who came out live, they'll know I said that, but welcome to Called to Coach!

Marie-Lou Almeida 1:11
Yes, brilliant. No, thank you so much, Jim. Always great to be here!

Meet Our Guest on This Episode

Jim Collison 1:15
We had, we had a good practice, and we have a fabulous guest. He's so great, we want to have him do it again. So Joe, welcome. But, but Marie-Lou, why don't you introduce him?

Marie-Lou Almeida 1:25
I will do that, certainly. So yeah, we know so good, so good to have Joe. And I will give you a little introduction into who Joe is. And Joe started his career here at Gallup. So he's a former colleague and a dear friend; we even shared an office together. So we go a long, a long way back. So it's, it's a real pleasure to get to have a chat here on Called to Coach today. Today, Joe runs his own business called "True Perspective," which he started in 2017. And strengths-based psychology is really at the core of his practice as an organizational psychologist, elite development and a culture specialist. Joe has a deep understanding of the power of utilizing a strengths-based approach to lead a purpose-driven life. And I know purpose is very important, and we'll talk about that in a bit. He has also recently written a book called True Perspective, which I've just read and thorougfhly enjoyed. So really looking forward to this, to this conversation. So Joe, when I asked you to join Called to Coach and, you know, whether you'd be willing to do this, you very readily agreed and said it was a bit like coming home. So welcome home first!

Joe Hart 2:46
Thank you so much. Great to be here. And no, it, it is, it's wonderful. I couldn't wait to have this conversation with you and Jim, and yeah, it's awesome.

Marie-Lou Almeida 2:55
Fantastic. What is, what about this is like coming home?

Joe Hart 3:01
I think, so Gallup will always have a really dear place in my heart. It's such a, I think, when I think about the culture of all organizations that I've ever partnered with and for companies that I've worked for, Gallup is like a family. And I just have this sense of, if I was to go anywhere in the world and rock up to a Gallup office and say, "Hey, you know, I started my career at Gallup," I'd be met with open arms. Someone would want to take me for lunch. There'd just be this sense of belonging. And I think that's so powerful, just as a, as an organization, to be able to harness that and live by that and lead with that. So yeah, Gallup sort of taught me that. I remember saying to a manager once, I don't know if I can work for another company, because I just felt so connected and looked after and supported. And that's, that's still true today, yeah. In terms of what you guys are all about.

Marie-Lou Almeida 3:58
So, so good, so good to hear that and, yeah, to have you here on, you know, something that's very Gallup -- our Called to Coach series. So, good to have you back here -- a bit like coming back full circle. Yeah. So, you know, you've written this wonderful book, and I've just finished reading it. And I've really thoroughly enjoyed it. And I know from, in the book, you draw on your professional life, your experience as a coach and a consultant. But you also share a very personal story, and that does make it an engaging read. But I think, more importantly, by doing that, you really demonstrate and role model what it is like to lead with the truth. For the reader, it can be raw and it can be confronting at times as we read through that. And I think you just show a lot of vulnerability in doing that. What was -- I'm sure it was not easy, but what was important for you to share that story?

Joe Hart 5:02
Yeah, great question. And thanks for reading the book, by the way. It's, it means a lot. But I think there's a couple of things. For me, sharing my story was a, there's a bit of a selfish reason around it. I think I understand the importance of being able to liberate yourself of some of the stuff that you've experienced in the past. And I do share some quite challenging experiences, and, and how that's then formed my understanding of self, but also others. So that's probably the first reason, just that selfishness associated with wanting to do something that was enabling me to be quite cathartic with it, and just express myself and get it out there.

Joe Hart 5:43
I think the second reason is asking, asking clients or asking people to be vulnerable, is, I think it's unfair, especially as a psychologist, because there's this, this distance or this barrier, because you're a professional. And there's this authority there. So I wanted to show my clients and demonstrate that I can be vulnerable too and I'm human; even though I'm a psychologist, I'm human, and I want to respect them and, and myself in that process. Because sometimes when you're coaching somebody, their story, it actually overlays with your story, and it has an impact on you, and you feel emotion in that moment. And rather than run away from it and say, Oh, that's not allowed, and I can't be human in this conversation, actually, you can. And I think that's what we should aspire toward.

Marie-Lou Almeida 6:42
Yeah, you know. So you talk about sort of the importance of, of sharing that, right. And what I, I think what struck me also in your book is, it's not just your version of events, right. And I think that's what True Perspective is about. It's about how people see you. And so while you narrate an incident, you also get your mom to share her view of that, and you get your sister to share her view of that. I think that's really powerful. What brought that idea to do that?

Joe Hart 7:21
Yeah. So you know, what, that, that part of the book and that, that technique, I guess, is, was an accident. So, so really, I think, I, as I was writing it, I felt this, there was a couple of reasons. As I was writing it, it felt a little bit self-indulgent. It was like, Yeah, well, this is just my view. And, and while, you know, I believe that to be true, I wonder what my sister would think about this. I wonder what my dad would think about this. I wonder what my mom would think about this. And also my editor read it, and went, "Wow, that's pretty full-on. That's a bit heavy. Are they OK with you sharing this?" And I was like, "Oh, good question." So in that moment, I said, Wouldn't it be interesting if I shared them this story? I'd share it with them, and then I get their feedback on it; I get their perspective. And my editor was like, "Oh, yeah, that that'd be cool." And I said, "Yeah, that'd be great if we could integrate that into the book somehow and, and to see how that that forms.

Joe Hart 8:22
And so I did. I asked for my sisters, my dad and my mom to provide their perspective, and just kept it within the, the confines of, you know, direct family. And, and that was, that was really interesting. And, of course, one of my sisters decided not to partake. My dad wasn't well, so he, he sort of listened and gave me some verbal feedback, which I integrate into the book. And then my mom and my other sister provided written responses, which I incorporated. But yeah, it definitely changed my whole perspective around my own experience and my own story and just opened my eyes to actually what was going on for them as well. So it was really interesting, really interesting.

Three-Dimensional vs. Two-Dimensional Coaching

Marie-Lou Almeida 9:09
It is. You know, just reading it, it, I think it is, it's so powerful. And it reminds us that everyone may view the same situation so differently. And sometimes, when we're in that, you know, when we're coaching someone, we're hearing it from, from one perspective. And, you know, in True Perspective, I also like the metaphor you use of sculpture, right, building a sculpture. And when viewed from different angles, it's different. Tell us a bit about, yeah, that, that metaphor and, because I think, as leaders, it's important, when we coach leaders, it's important for them to see how they are seeing or how they land in the world.

Joe Hart 9:47
Yeah, so, so I think, yeah, I love that you love that, that metaphor, because yeah, I love that metaphor, and actually the sculpture that I refer to, I think I tell the story in the book, I've got just behind me there. My sister recently brought it; she found it in a pile of junk somewhere, unfortunately, but she brought it home. So I'll, I'm more than happy to share that. But no, I think when it comes to coaching, it can be quite two-dimensional, especially if it's over the phone and it's, you know, a couple of sessions. And, you know, back in the day, that's, that's sort of how we how we did it for the initial one or two sessions at Gallup. And I found it frustrating, because I was like, I'm just getting one version. And it's just this slice. And I could sense there's more to the story, there's, there's more going on here. And even in organizations, when you coach somebody, you meet them in a cafe, or you meet them in a private, private room, you're hearing one version. And of course, it's their version. And it's true, and it's valid. But it's far more powerful to understand what, what's going on from other angles.

Joe Hart 10:55
And so that, that led me to really get interested in long-term coaching, but also coaching within organizations where you're coaching multiple stakeholders that actually know each other and interact with each other. And that, to me, it becomes far more complex and obviously political, and there's politics at play. But the nuance and the effects of the context and what's going on around them makes it makes it really interesting, but also powerful, because you can observe what's actually happening in the context.

Jim Collison 11:34
Joe, if perspective is so important in that, especially in group, you know, in group coaching situations, we spent a lot of time talking about 360s and getting, right, getting, is there a way to speed that perspective process up a little bit, so that you can get to the meaningful coaching faster without -- because sometimes that's there's, there's a lot of work involved in getting, getting perspective, right, getting the stories, getting -- it's not just looking at a sculpture and going around it one time; you've got to really dig in. Any thoughts on that, as we think about that, that group coaching and that, that 3, from that 3, 360 perspective?

Joe Hart 12:13
Yeah, so, yeah, I love 360. And I do, I do, utilize 360 in that context, to be able to understand what's going on. But I let the, I let the coachee determine who the stakeholders are and actually sit with them; I directly speak with them. So that's not, not a really long process, in terms of, you know, creating a report off the back of it. And the formality, I'd say, is what people are looking for, for validation or, or to make it feel like, yes, I've gone through a 360. But the, I think the coaching, the coaching, usually, I'd say the, the most meaningful and challenging aspect of coaching is that very first session. In that very first session is where we sort of connect. And it's, the rest of the sessions are about disentangling whatever it is that we've identified.

Joe Hart 13:12
So I'd say we know -- the coachee and myself -- maybe it's not conscious, but we know what we're working on, after that very first session. And that's, yeah, the rest of it is about how willing they are to go there. And, and there's so many reasons why somebody's not or why they're holding back or why they, they might regress, even, in terms of their, their level of progress. You know, it's like, I'll get feedback sometimes from a, from an organization. They'll say, "Oh, yeah, they're going great. Like, what are you guys doing?" And I say, "Well, you know, they're doing the work. Yes, we've had a conversation, but they're doing the work." And then sometimes it'll go backwards, and they go, "Ah, geez, they're in a bad way. Can you have a chat with them? You know, can you make them?" And it's like, "No, no."

Joe Hart 14:03
However, I think, you know, it really comes back to that truth. Like, whatever that, that truth is that that person has identified in themselves that they're either not leading with, or they're not owning, or whatever it might be. I think that's, that's where it becomes, you know, quick, yeah, if we can use that term. And, look, I think everyone's got their own process. I don't like to think that there's a fast way of doing it, but it, we all know what that truth is. It's about identifying it and then doing what you know needs to be done. And that's, that's it, pretty much, if I can simplify it. Don't know if I've answered your question, Jim.

Obtaining Feedback for Coachees

Marie-Lou Almeida 14:50
Yeah, so you know, you talk about, I think, like, you say you always start with the person you're coaching, right? And in my experience also, as a coach, it's so important we do that, and we spend enough time before you bring perspectives of other people into the equation. You want them to be really ready to take that on and sort of primed even to take that on. What are some ways, I think for a lot of our coaches listening to this, you know, what are different ways of gathering that feedback? You know, I know, you know, we may have like a, sometimes there is, like, a more formal process where you get ratings, or where you get some, you know, call feedback as well. But for coaches who are on their own and may not have all of that technology to support them, what are some ways to get that feedback?

Joe Hart 15:41
Yeah, so I think there are tools, and you can use tools like 360 tools; there's thousands of them, and they're not hard to identify and, and to buy, so you can purchase them. They typically look like a link that you send out. And either you can direct who, who provides the feedback, or, or you can ask the individual to direct who they want the feedback to come from. Rather than, you know, stress about, you know, what sort of, what sort of tool you're going to use, because I think that that is less important, I think what's more important is engaging that person in the process of seeking feedback. Because if they don't want the feedback, or they're feeling scrutinized or evaluated or judged as a result of that feedback, then, you know, it's just not going to be helpful. It's going to be a waste of time, actually, and probably more damaging than good.

Joe Hart 16:38
So an example of where that, that isn't a good thing to do would be if an organization said, Look, we've got this person that, you know, they've got some challenges. We think a 360 would be really useful, so they can hear the actual truth. And, and then, you know, we can, you know, do the work with them and make them better. And I just think that's such a terrible starting point. Because, firstly, that person needs to feel understood. And usually, if there's some challenges, maybe, maybe they're not feeling understood; they're not feeling heard; they're not feeling supported. So I always like to start with that. It's getting to know them, and letting them know that I'm there to support them. And actually, they're more important to me than the relationship that I have with the person paying the bills. Don't say that out too loud. But, but it's, it's true. It's like actually the person that I'm coaching -- of course, their organization has supported me to come in and work with them. But that's, that's what's most important to me, to work with them and to actually enable them to do what's right for them. And sometimes that can even be leaving the organization. So, what, you're here to coach me out? So is that what you would like me to do?

Joe Hart 17:52
And, I mean, look, ultimately, that's, like, I'm there to serve them. And so if they've said, "Yes, I really want feedback; what would that look like?" Then starting by just getting them to nominate their key stakeholders. And before I do anything, they need to have the conversation with them. They need to engage with them, and say, "Hey, I'm going through this process. I've got this coach; his name's Joe. And he's going to, he's going to connect with you. Are you up for that? I'd really like some honest feedback." And so enrolling them in the process, I think, is so important, for two reasons: They're letting them know that it's important. But secondly, that they're saying, I'm going out of my way to make sure that I've got a coach that's gonna meet with you and sit down and talk about me and give me that feedback. So I'm invested, right, so it matters. So I'm definitely going to do something with his feedback, if you're willing to give it to me.

Joe Hart 18:47
So that relationship right there -- that process, it changes. So, so rather than just sending out this impersonal link that they then fill out in the secrecy of their own home and put a few extra commas in to make it sound like someone else has said it, I mean, I'm just not into that. I think the real magic is in what people are sharing. And I think when you're doing it in person as a coach, you can dig a little deeper. You can seek permission to share that information directly with them and say, "Are you comfortable with me sharing what you just said directly with them?" And I think that's, that's a really powerful way to do it.

Jim Collison 19:24
Joe, I think you just answered my question in that answer, as opposed to the, the one right after, in the sense that, engaging them in the process and then having them reach out saying, Hey, I'm engaging, that, the act of doing that, the process of doing that may speed up that perspective, because the individual's hearing it from them, right. It's, and in almost granting permission from that. And that may speed up that relationship process. That's great.

Joe Hart 19:56
And then, then there's no challenge with confidentiality either. Yeah. It's, it's like, Well, how can I trust that what you're doing? It's like you've nominated them. You've asked them for feedback. I'm just the vehicle. I'm just the messenger, and transparency around the questions that I'd ask. And we always start with them. Right? So we start with them first. It's like, Here are the questions that I'm going to be asking your stakeholders. But you need to ask them of yourself first. And so they know exactly what I'm going to ask them. I'll say, "I'm not changing anything. It's just going to be slightly reworded, because it's coming from them to you, not you about yourself." And then we reconcile that and have a good conversation about it. But there are usually no surprises in it. The truth is always in there, but they already knew it.

Marie-Lou Almeida 20:41
It is, I think, so important, like what he's just said there, about just building trust in that process. Right. I think so often organizations, where they fail with 360s is, it's almost seen and used as an assessment tool, rather than a tool for development. Right? It's, it's, this is should be purely for development, rather than assessing who's doing what and what the score is.

Joe Hart 21:10
Correct, correct. And that's, look at, even though that is clearly specified throughout every interaction and reinforced at every step, people can't help but determine that, you know, it's going to be utilized against them. And also people giving feedback that, you know, of course, if it's the CEO, I couldn't possibly say anything that might be perceived as critical. So coming from the person directly to them enables them to ask those questions, but you're still gonna have challenges with trust. It depends on the culture of the organization, the relationship of that individual. But all of that is really useful context and really useful information for a coach. To understand all of that is, that's how we create the three-dimensional view of what's happening here, not just the two-dimensional what you told me one on one; now I've got the full picture and the sculpture. And so that's, coming back to that, that metaphor, I think that's, that's what I mean; it's like building that three-dimensional view from as many perspectives as possible. And the more perspectives you seek, the higher the clarity and resolution you get of that image. And I think that's what we're, we're working towards as coaches.

Staying True to One's Values vs. Considering the Perspectives of Others

Marie-Lou Almeida 22:31
Yeah, I love that. Such a, I think such a great metaphor and visual to have, in terms of, you know, what this is, this is all about. But how do you kind of strike the right balance? Because on the one hand, you know, you want people to stay true to their values and who they are. Right? And then also consider what other people think about them. So how do you strike that balance?

Joe Hart 22:58
Yeah, yeah, that's, it's a really important question. And I think it's, it's one that comes up a lot. I think what I'm all about is, I call it legacy creation. And simply put -- you know, if "legacies" feels like too much of a big word -- simply put, it's, How do you want to be remembered? Right, so as a leader, as a parent, as a sibling, whatever it is, in whatever context you're in right now, how do you want to be remembered? And I think most people -- and I say most, because there are exceptions -- want to be remembered, in broad terms, positively. They want people to reflect on them positively. So if I can align people to, to what that legacy is, and now we're talking about the future, and we're creating that, that persona, that perspective, "Yeah, this is, this is who I want to be in the world. And this is how I want people to reflect on me," then we come back to, well, that should be how you reflect on yourself. And if there's a gap there, then we have a problem. We understand why it's not working for you.

Joe Hart 24:04
If you, how you want to be remembered is absolutely aligned with what you say about yourself and what you think about yourself, then we look at how people are experiencing you, and what's the reality and what's the difference. And I think that's, it doesn't always have to be bad, right? You can be misaligned, but people are experiencing you positively; it's just not necessarily how you want them to experience you. And vice versa. You've obviously got situations where people are experiencing you negatively and you weren't aware. But that would be a more difficult conversation, but no less important, in terms of what you need to work on. Because I think when you're aligned, you're experiencing, you're experiencing congruence. And when you're congruent as an individual, you have greater capacity. And when you've got greater capacity, then you can help people. And if that, that be as a parent, as a coach, as a leader, as just a human being, in general, when you've got greater capacity, you can help people do more and share your wisdom and experience with them, rather than be so focused on what's going on inside you. So, yeah, it's less about what people think about you. Because that, that's an assumption. I think it's their experience of you is what I'm angling for.

Marie-Lou Almeida 25:26
OK, OK. Do you ever come up, like, with situations where maybe, you know, one person's feedback is very different from the others? Or, and are you looking for generalizable sort of themes? Yeah.

Joe Hart 25:44
Yeah. So sometimes, absolutely. You get individuals where the feedback is, is very different. Now, I don't limit the feedback that people seek to the work context; I allow them to include, sometimes they include partners. Now, there's a reason why they might include a partner, because they've worked with them in the past, or they currently work with them. Or they just really value their perspective and know they're going to be honest. Sometimes they include clients or friends that know them really well, that speak the truth, or they're very direct. So they want that, that loving critic to have that opportunity to speak their mind.

Joe Hart 26:25
But yeah, of course, there's, there's really unique elements that come out from certain people, depending on their relationship with them. If it's, they've only really worked with them in one context, then they say, "Well, this is my experience, but it's only in this context." But then I just, I do look for the themes. And there's always, there's always a theme. There's always something that comes out. And I think that's the, that's the magic of being able to speak with so many different stakeholders that they've personally chosen. There's a reason why they chose that person, because then they feel like they know them all. They've got something to share with them. So, yeah.

Discovering Words Others Use to Describe Coachees (Themes)

Jim Collison 27:06
Joe, can you dig in on that word "theme"? I know, we mean, we mean, not "theme" in the terms of CliftonStrengths themes, but I'm intrigued by that word, there's a "theme." Can you, can you elaborate on that a little bit?

Joe Hart 27:18
Yeah. So, so a theme, a theme would be a consistent, so it's maybe, maybe it's a word that people use. And obviously, they've not even met each other. Right? These stakeholders, they don't know each other. They don't know what the other people have said; I never divulge that. But they might some consistently use a word like "direct" or "challenging" or, or, you know, they, they, they're very strong with their words or, you know, so that would give you a theme -- a sense of, OK, so they're saying that this person is quite confrontational, or they can be quite challenging with their words. And, and so I'll reflect it back to, to understand that a bit more. "So when you say 'direct,' like, give me an example of that." And then they'll, they'll talk about it. And then I'll go, Right, OK, now I've got a really good understanding. Because that's exactly what my coachee's going to ask me.

Joe Hart 28:13
If I say, so one of the themes that came back was you tend to be quite direct. So what do you mean by "direct"? So I need to know what that looks like and be able to explain that to my coachee so they're not confused or defensive about it, but they're actually listening to the feedback and accepting the feedback as valid, not rejecting it and saying, "Oh, well, that's just one person's opinion." And you've got to be careful, as well, of trigger words. And so, and what I mean by that is, there's examples that I could draw on where I've, I've done a 360. And I've given the feedback. And it's been written in a report, and they've read something. And for whatever reason, somebody in their stakeholder group has used a word where it just, it cuts, it cuts them, right. And we've all got stuff like that. If certain person used a word, you just go, "God damn it! How dare they!"

Joe Hart 29:12
And, you know, to stop that from happening, because, you know, inadvertent, sometimes I've used a word where I say, "direct," and for whatever reason, that is a trigger word for somebody. I think it's really important, for that first feedback session, to not have anything written. It's just a conversation. And it's actually just socializing the themes with them. So if they go "Direct, what do you, what?" And you see something happening, and you're like, Whoa! OK, trigger. So when I say "direct" what I'm talking about, and it's my word, it's not no, it's no one else's word. This is a theme that I've heard and extracted. And I think that's really important to just slowly integrate this information, because it is big for people. It can be really big.

Listening for a Coachee's CliftonStrengths Themes

Jim Collison 29:56
Well, you, the reason I asked you that question is because your cadence changed when you said the word "theme." You, you almost, that was almost like a word for you. You were like, you know, there's "themes," right? And so listening for that in the conversation, I was like, Ooh, there's gotta be something maybe more to that, right. Maybe just a little practice, kind of, in that. Can I, can I ask a follow-up question? And Marie-Lou, I hope I'm not jumping the gun on this. But as we think about the CliftonStrengths themes, then -- the other set of themes -- how are you listening for those? And is that a part of it? How does that framework fit in to that listening?

Joe Hart 30:37
Yeah, so, and I do use CliftonStrengths in all of my coaching engagements, because I think the tool is brilliant, love it. And it has that developmental, developmental focus. So I think when you're delivering feedback, there's a tendency, a natural tendency for people to see it as quite negative, even when it's quite positive. They'll take the, Oh yeah, OK, this is bad. They, they're just armed for it, and it comes back to that trust and that feeling-evaluated perspective that most people have when they're getting work colleagues to give them feedback. So, so I think, in terms of integrating the CliftonStrengths, obviously, we've got balconies and basements. And we can talk about the positive, the bright side, and then the dark side to each talent theme. I think that is a really nice segue to get them to, because usually I would have done, focused on strengths before going down the path of 360. So being able to integrate it back to OK, let's bring it back to a focus on strengths. Like what theme are you hearing from your CliftonStrengths emerge here? And how could that be something that you hear in this feedback that you integrate? And I think this brings it back to the positive and what they can do and how this can support them, rather than it be seen as, well, that's it. You know, this is really challenging. Or I'll just fob that off as something that, you know, I can't do anything with, because that would be a shame for somebody to sort of reject the feedback. That's a bit of a rejection.

Marie-Lou Almeida 32:12
You, yeah, I think you explained that really well, because, and it has been my experience as well, when you, you know, when people can see how maybe that talent theme can help them and hinder them, they're going to be just a bit more open then to receive that feedback. Like I've had someone, you know, receive feedback in the 360, where it said, you know, she needs to listen more. And while that can seem, you know, quite harsh if you just read it without any context, but this person was high Communication, right? So they were, you know, already quite aware of times when, you know, how Communication helps them, but also how it gets in their way. And so then it wasn't coming, like, out of the blue; it was something that they were kind of ready or primed for.

Joe Hart 33:00
Yeah, absolutely. And every, even if it wasn't Communication, you know, say it, say if it was Restorative, for example, they could say, You know, they just need to listen more, You know, a Restorative person wants to jump in to solve the problem and an action, you know, what's, what's going to happen next? And here's what you need to do. And, you know, that's not always what people want to hear. So you can link it back to, to that feedback quite readily. And I think it's a really great way to do it. Because then you say, OK, well, maybe we need to dial that down. How can we leverage this more, or whatever it might be? So --

Keeping Coachees From Obsessing Over "Trigger Words"

Marie-Lou Almeida 33:34
How do you kind of ensure people don't obsess about just a few, you know, maybe trigger words, like you said? Because that I think is a problem often with 360s. They, they latch on certain words, and that's all they see in that report.

Joe Hart 33:51
Yeah. That is, I think, first, you've got to call it out and say, This will happen, because it will, and it does. Everyone does it -- even if it's, like I said, largely positive, people tend to focus on very small elements of that feedback and don't see the bigger picture. So rather than ask, you know, the question of Why? Why this feedback or Why, why did they think that? Or Why this word? Just, just slight, slight shift and change it to a "what." So, What, what does this feedback mean to you? Or what are you gonna do with this feedback? Or What, what could you do differently as a result of this feedback? And I think that, just that switch from "Why?" to "What" -- because Why is sort of useless, actually, especially when, like, the feedback is valid. And, you know, I know it may not be actioned, but you have to go into a 360 with the courage to accept all feedback as valid. And that is just a given. You just have to. If you don't, then, then don't ask, is my view.

Jim Collison 35:09
Joe, to take it back, you got me thinking. So in the, you know, you're doing individual coaching up front, getting people ready for these 360s. In the conversations about their own themes, their own CliftonStrengths themes, do you, do you, can you get to those, kind of those, or can you sense those triggers, those trigger moments in advance? And does that help you in the 360 process? Or do you, can you see some of those things coming, because you've worked through that individual coaching from a CliftonStrengths themes perspective?

Joe Hart 35:45
Sometimes, yeah, sometimes. I think, if, during the CliftonStrengths, like -- and it doesn't happen often, but I think where somebody is, like, they don't like their themes, or they sort of reject it a little bit, I think that that's a bit of a red flag for, OK, that there's gonna be some home truths here that aren't going to be readily, readily digested, you know, and they might cause a bit of, a bit of a hiccup or a bit of heartburn. So, I think that's probably, you know, I think it doesn't happen often, though, if I, if I'd be really honest. That's quite, quite rare. But that would be it, I'd say.

Helping Coachees Lead With the Truth About Themselves

Marie-Lou Almeida 36:28
Sure. So, you know, you talk about perspective, right, being, considering what others may think of us. How do you also get the individual you're coaching to, to lead with the truth? Because, you know, you need that from them.

Joe Hart 36:50
Great question. And the honest answer -- this is leading with the truth -- I don't know. You know, I think it, it really comes down to identifying choice. And I think if you want to, if you want to be a leader -- not just at work but in life -- you need to discover, in whatever it is that you're, you're facing, your choice. And, and I know that it's not a new concept. And, you know, I'll still, you know, the concept of Viktor Frankl, and, you know, that that between a stimulus and a response is your choice to behave in whatever way you want, you want to behave. And no one can take that away from you. And so giving somebody that opportunity to identify their choice in their moment, that's their opportunity to lead with the truth; like, I can't force them. All I can do is highlight the choice or enable them to identify it for themselves.

Joe Hart 37:50
And then we can talk about some of the challenges that they're facing that are preventing them from seeing that choice or taking that choice. Because, you know, we know, it's complicated. And I'd be, I think it'd be unfair to say, Oh yeah, it's easy; just do this. That's, that's not true. And we all know that to be the truth in ourselves, when we're facing a challenge or a difficult decision or a life change. It's not simple. And I think it's patronizing to try and break it down to be simple. So, the only thing that's simple about it is it's a choice. And the second that you recognize that, it sort of empowers you; it enables you to see it from a different perspective and to embrace it. Even though it's still hard, it's, it does simplify it. It's like, right. It's a choice; I need to make this choice, and then I'll figure out what happens next. That, yeah, that, I think, is all you can do.

Marie-Lou Almeida 38:53
Yeah, now that is real, I think really good advice. It's a tough one, and we all come across it. You know, as coaches, you may come across that odd person who doesn't want to be coached. Right. And I know in your book also, you talk about the importance of being coachable. What are some insights you've had over the years on getting them to, yeah, to be more coachable?

Joe Hart 39:24
Yeah. So, so look, I think it's so important how it's framed. The purpose of coaching is, is, I think, if they feel like they've been, they've been asked to be coached, like, say, someone's, you know, I've had, had assignments where somebody's done something silly at work, maybe with a client, maybe engaged in ways that they shouldn't have. And to demonstrate that they're, they're taking it seriously, the organization says, right, we're going to get coaching for this individual, sort of, you know, we're going to help them change their behavior and be a better person, just so the client doesn't get upset. That was a waste of time for the majority of that coaching engagement, because the person was like, I don't need to be coached. Like, this is a joke; like, it was their fault and their problem.

Joe Hart 40:16
So for, I'd say for 90% of it, it was, it was, it was a bit of a waste. And I actually called it and said, "I don't think this coaching is useful. Because you, you clearly don't feel like you need to be coached and more than happy to, to just press pause or exit this whole engagement, because you don't want this." "Oh, no, no, no, I do want this." And I said, "Great. What do you want?" And so just put it back into the coachee's court as to, this is your time. I'm happy to turn up. It's sort of like, think back to I don't know, if you've seen "Goodwill Hunting." And you know, he's told he has to be coached. And he's sitting there, and he goes to all these different coaches, and none of them work, right, because they're trying to do something that he doesn't want. And then his final coach says, "Yeah. Cool. I'm happy to sit here. And we'll just sit here and stare at each other for the next hour. And that's cool." I think that's a really, that's a really valid way to deal with somebody to enable them to make the choice that actually, no, there's stuff I do want to talk about; there's stuff that I do want to clear up here. Yeah, can't, can't force anyone.

Structuring Your Coaching Journey (Flexibly): 3 Topic Areas

Marie-Lou Almeida 41:27
Yeah. Yeah, you know, you, it appears, like, for you, coaching is a bit about a journey. Right? It's not just a one-off session. A question I get from a lot of our coaches is, How do we structure this? You know, should we have topics? What does that look like? What's your advice on that?

Joe Hart 41:51
Yeah. So yeah, I have Adaptability in my Top 5. Right. And it's one of those, one that's, it's always been in my, in my talent themes. So I strongly align to it. I use it on a daily basis. I'm using it right now. But I think I don't like to, I don't like to go in to any coaching engagement with a very rigid structure. I just think that isn't, it serves me because it makes me be able to be prepared and know what I need to talk about. But how is that helping my client, actually? How is that serving them? So the other side of it, though, is what I've realized in running my business: If you pitch yourself as, "I'm a coach." "And what do you talk about? What's the structure?" And you say, "Ah, you know, we just go with the flow," people don't buy it. They're like, "Hang on! That doesn't sound very good. You don't seem to know what you're talking about. How can you just go with the flow?" It's like, "Yeah, but you'll understand once you're in it" -- no. People want structure, and especially if they're, say, a head of HR or head of OD, they want to know, what's the structure?

Joe Hart 42:58
So to how I, I work around that is, I talk to three different topic areas that I like to cover with my clients. And the first being a Strengths Focus. And I talk about strengths-based psychology, I talk about the tool -- as in CliftonStrengths assessment -- to help us get really clear on what are those talent themes? And how do we, we dig for gold and enable that person to realign with who they really are? So that, I think, is the first one that's -- it's, it's grounded in science, but it's also just a great conversation. We all love talking about our strengths.

Joe Hart 43:34
The second one is the one that I probably love the most, and that is Alignment to Purpose. So it's not enough just to be able to talk to your purpose; we need to be able to align with it. And what I mean by that, we've all been in an organization where they've got these wonderful values and a purpose statement on the wall. And then we see people behaving and acting in very different ways. And so there's this misalignment, which creates this disconnect, which doesn't feel nice. And so that, that discord or that incoherence that you experience in a person is the same; it just doesn't feel right. It's like you're saying one thing, and you're doing another; there's no integrity here. That doesn't work. So stating your purpose, and if you don't know what your purpose is, OK, let's work on that. And then let's align your behavior with it. So that's the second conversation, and it overlaps really nicely with strengths as well, because they all tie in.

Joe Hart 44:29
The third one, and I guess I'm talking about a three-part Venn diagram here -- Strengths, Purpose, and then at the bottom, which underpins that, is Emotional Regulation. And I'd say this one is -- or Self-Regulation is another way of putting it. When, when people fly off the handle, or they're really filling themselves with negative self-talk or, you know, they've got some sort of, some sort of distraction in their world that is driven by emotion -- and we've all had it; you know what I'm talking about -- we can't see your strengths, and we can't see your purpose. It's sort of, it's like this fog that sits over somebody. So being able to manage that and be really self-aware -- internal self-awareness of what's going on inside you physiologically, but also how that's then being expressed -- I think is so critical for everyone, because it just, it hijacks you emotionally. And that prevents you from being fully expressed.

Joe Hart 45:31
So yeah, they're the three conversations that I bounce around, in terms of structure. And I position that right at the front. And I usually say, like, here's the model that I'm going to be using in my coaching. Here are some of the tools that we're going to use to support this. And you can expect that we're going to, we're going to cover these off. But where would you like to start? And so typically, they'll say, "Oh, look, I'm really fascinated with purpose," or, "Yeah, I can't control my emotions very well; I think I need to focus on that." Or, "I'd love to start with strengths, because I've never done my strengths, or I did it." And, and so it just becomes their choice as well. So I love the concept of enabling them to lead the conversation. And then, of course, I'm, I'm maneuvering as well. But I want them to own it. I want them to engage with the conversation -- more so than me directing it.

Helping Coachees Find Their Life Purpose

Marie-Lou Almeida 46:21
Yeah, I love that. There's, there's a structure there, but it's loose, and it gives you the flexibility. Because, you know, in coaching, of course, we want to be, you know, we should be willing to be led. Right? And you don't want to kind of overstructure it, I think, too much is, is the advice, which is great. You know, purpose, I know is very important for you, and it comes across very strongly in your book. How do you help someone unpack that? Like, you know, I know, some people with, let's say, the CliftonStrengths theme of Belief or Responsibility, they might be able to rattle it off and say, This is what my purpose is. But some people, I think, find it harder than others. How do you help them come up with one's own purposes?

Joe Hart 47:11
Yeah, yeah. No, it's a great question. Because I think, I think, yeah, sometimes like purpose can be a trigger word for people, where -- and by "trigger word," I mean, not in that, you know, it's some bad experience, but they just yawn when they hear the word "purpose." They go, "Here we go," roll their eyes and, "Oh, purpose. Why, why do we need a purpose?" You know, I've literally had people say that to me, like, "I don't need a purpose." Like what? And, and I say, "Cool." Yeah, no, or, "Good." And then I ask them, "So what's most important to you?" And of course, that question is one that they might consider, like, "Oh, what do you mean, like at work or at home?" And I'm like, "Well, you choose." And I think that question is about purpose, because purpose really does define for you what's most important right now. Not tomorrow, not yesterday; right now. And being able to tap into that for yourself is, is what I think the magic of purpose is all about. And it's not what you say. And it's not the values that underpin that. Like, that's how we sort of get there. But it's, it's what it does inside you when you call on it.

Joe Hart 48:20
And so, I believe that, even if you haven't faced it yet, you're going to get to a point where you're going to face a challenge, you're going to face some darkness in your world, and it just happens, right. We all have our ups and downs. And being able to call on your purpose is the purpose of a purpose -- being able to get there at that moment where you need it. When, you know, you've, you've defined it for you, in the absence of that stress and that, that intensity, but, but you tap into it at your darkest moment. And it gives you the energy and the fire that you need to move forward. Because you've always got what you need. And that is the choice of tapping into your purpose and being able to draw on that energy. And then it's expressed, and people experience you in alignment with that, even in your darkest hour. And I think that's, that's where I get to with purpose. I think it's really powerful.

Marie-Lou Almeida 49:20
Is it, is it something that they can draw on, you know, just in how they live their life? Or do they see it as separate work being, you know, different from their life?

Joe Hart 49:33
Yeah, look, it depends. Some people, some people like to keep it separate. And, and look, I, straight out, I say that's, that's not how I view the world. And I'm totally OK with you saying it is separate. It's, but just let me, let me explain how I view it. And, and so it's no judgment. I think it's fine if people want to see their work purpose and their personal purpose as two differing ways of being. I, I just, I just think that's exhausting. And I talk about this concept of multiple selves. It's like, OK, so you're gonna be, you've got your, your work purpose and your home purpose, and then your family purpose. And I just think, Well, now I'm confused. I don't know who to be anymore. I've got all these different masks I'm wearing. And whoa, you know, like context, of course, you need to alter your behavior, in terms of the context you're in. And I think that's a given, right? If I'm in a boardroom, or if I'm in a bathroom, I'm going to change my behavior; that's obvious. But, but when it comes to your purpose, that shouldn't change; like what's most important to you is pretty constant, regardless of the context, in my opinion.

Jim Collison 50:42
Joe, the "purpose" question was really hard for me for a lot of years. Because everybody came up, you know, I'd hear these people say, "Oh, I got these ... . I want to do these kinds of things and that and this. I didn't want to do any of those kinds of things. And it took a while for me to figure out, I'm a very transactional, like, my purpose is to help people and then how I do that is on a very day-to-day, transactional basis. And I had, the other day I had somebody describe, you know, a little bit of what I do as like hand-to, daily hand-to-hand combat. And I kind of went, Well, it kind of, like, I like being in the dog fight every day. And, and, so, as I hear, like, I think I'm finally getting to this point. I mean, I know I'm a young guy, and I've got lots of years left.

Jim Collison 51:26
But the, I think I'm finally realizing, I think the reason sometimes people struggle with this purpose -- and even the same reason they struggle with values -- is because we do have some, we do have some ideas that these have to be these well-thought-out or well-planned or big, grandiose examples of things when, for me, I see my purpose as if every day is different, and I'm helping people, it's a pretty great day, right? And so I just want to encourage others to think, I think sometimes we put too much emphasis on the, "I'm gonna write a book. That's my purpose." I'm never gonna write a book. That's just never gonna happen for me. No. Don't bully me and don't peer-pressure me. I don't know, I just, to me, that's been an eye, big eye-opening experience as I've gone, as I've traveled with a lot of coaches on Called to Coach, and we talk about some of these things. And I'm like, Well, I don't know if I hold that strong to values, and yet my values reside in helping people, and that every day can be different. I don't, it doesn't have to lead to some -- I don't know. Any thoughts on that?

Joe Hart 52:36
Yeah, I love it! I love it! It's simple. I mean, at the core of it, I, I'd like to be able to get to the point where you can distill what you, what your purpose is to a really simple, pithy statement. And so, for you, it's like, yeah, day to day, I like to help people. It doesn't, and it's not for anyone else. Like someone, like I've had people say their purpose statement to me, and go, "Yeah, but it feels a little bit, like, insignificant," or "It feels a bit, you know, narcissistic." And I'm like, "Who cares? Like, does it change something in you? Do you feel good about it?' And they're like, "Yeah." And I'm like, "Yeah, I can see that. I can see how you shift when you talk about it. And so that's what it is for you." And yeah, it is really simple. It should be really simple. It shouldn't be this big, complicated, you know, wrestle in your mind about what your purpose is; it should just roll off the tongue and just be, be quite, quite easy. So yeah, sounds like you've nailed your purpose.

Jim Collison 53:36
Well, we'll see. Marie-Lou, we have just a couple minutes left. Any final, any final questions from you? I'll give the chat room 1 second too, to see if they have any additional questions.

Marie-Lou Almeida 53:47
Yeah, no, just, you know, what are some tips that you would give coaches listening in? I think, you know, a lot of times, I've come up with, you know, you know, I teach the Certification course. And there are some who will just take off and run, you know, start their own business and do great things. And there are some who are more hesitant than others. They all got the same training, but not everyone has that confidence. What are some tips you would, you would give, as someone who started their own business, just to have that confidence to go out there and do your job?

Joe Hart 54:27
Yeah. Yeah. So I think the first one, and, you know, maybe it's a bit of an eye-roller but, it's not about the report. You don't need some special certification, except Gallup certification; probably need that. You don't need any qualification, really. You have everything you need right in front of you, within you, as does the person that you're sitting with. And that, if you're, if you're called to coach, if this is what you know that you need to do, then, then don't, don't delay. Actually just jump in. Of course, seek experience, get peer feedback, do all of that to become better at your craft. But don't wait. Step into it. I think that's, that's probably the first piece of advice. The second one, I'd say, is, as a coach, I think, above all else, the most important thing you can do is, is to be present. And so your state really matters when you step into a coaching session. So if you're stressed, if you're upset, if you're desperate for a sale, if -- whatever it is, that's going on -- if you bring that into the coaching session, that's what people will experience. So know how to, how to get present and bring your state into that session with consciousness. I think they're the two things that I really love people to take heed of.

Marie-Lou Almeida 55:59
That's brilliant. Thank you so much. Yeah. Over to you, Jim. Question from the audience?

Jim Collison 56:03
Joe -- no, none. A couple, couple, Brooks out in the, in the, in the chat had asked if we could go a couple hours on this. And I don't think we're gonna, I don't think we're gonna be able -- which is, which is great to hear. Marie-Lou, take a second and thank Joe for coming out.

Marie-Lou Almeida 56:21
Yeah, no, absolutely. So thanks, Joe, for sharing a piece of yourself here today. You know, I think that's something you, you always do, and your honesty and generosity and just giving advice and being yourself and just leading with the truth, I think, always, really has shone through here today. So thank you so much for sharing a piece of you.

Joe Hart 56:51
Thank you, Marie-Lou. Thank you, Jim. It's been a pleasure, it's been really great to come on.

Jim Collison 56:55
Likewise. You bet, Joe. Thanks for coming out and sharing that wisdom. I was a little, I, very intrigued. I have to, I have to go back and listen to these again anyways, and I'm gonna enjoy it a second time through -- except for my mistakes, but a second time through. So thanks for coming out and being a part of it. With that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we do have available now in Gallup Access. Head out to You can log in there. Tons of resources that are available for you; a lot of stuff that we talked about. We've got some great stuff for you out there as well. Don't forget that you can follow us on Eventbrite if you want to stay up to date on all these, and we're going to be doing more of these here out of Australia, which we're kind of excited about. So join us on, on Eventbrite: If you have questions around coaching, master coaching, or you want to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, send us an email: You can find us on Facebook:, or just search "CliftonStrengths" on any social platform, including LinkedIn. We'd love to connect with you there. We want to thank you for coming out today to be a part of the program. Thanks to everybody who joined us live. And with that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Joe Hart's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Strategic, Adaptability, Ideation, Communication and Command.

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