Season 1 | episode 7

Welcome to the Coaching Studio Podcast

This podcast features fun, lively conversations with masterful coaches who are creating an impact. Get to know them, their journey into coaching, and discover what wisdom they would offer you about being a better coach.

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Welcoming Otto Siegel, M.Ed., MCC to the Coaching Studio

the Coaching Studio Guest

A warm welcome Otto Siegel, M.Ed., MCC for being on the Coaching Studio.


  • Host: Lyssa deHart, LICSW, MCC
  • Music: Frolic by Harrison Amer
  • Production Editing: Lyssa deHart
  • Social Media and Communications: Michele Logan

About This Episode

Read this episode of the Coaching Studion Podcast with Otto Siegel:

Lyssa deHart

Hello and welcome to the Coaching Studio. I am so privileged today to have Otto Siegel as my guest and I’d like to read you a little bit about him. Otto is the founder and owner, CEO of Genius Coaching in Scottsdale, Arizona. He works with brilliant misfits from 7 to 27 and their families, to help them find out who they really are, and overcome behavioral and emotional challenges.

He is the co-author of, Yes, You Are a Genius, and created the Genius Profile as an assessment system to evaluate human brilliance. Otto’s approaches, informed by his 17 plus years as a high school teacher in Munich, and in San Paulo, and based on principles of brain plasticity, the physiology of the human body, positive psychology, educational kinesiology, and behavioral science. He holds a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Munich and is a Master Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation.

So, Otto, welcome! Welcome, welcome, welcome to the Coaching Studio. Thank you so much for being here today. I am really curious about your book. I actually have a quick review that I sort of parsed out of the review of your book, and I was wondering if I could read that real quickly. Absolutely. My pleasure to be on your radio show. Lovely.

So this is a great review of Yes, You Are a Genius by Otto Siegel and Susanna Lang. “Siegel and Lang offer as their initial evidence, Einstein’s often stated belief, there is a genius and everyone, they make a strong case for their argument. They pose three questions to their reader. What is my unique set of genius abilities? Which environment brings them out? And, how and where can I intentionally leverage them? Genius becomes an uplifting lesson on the how-tos of learning and living offering a clarifying and systemic approach to self-enhancement. To paraphrase the wise old axiom, genius is a terrible thing to waste. ” And this is a sort of a breakdown of a review by Ben Miles of North Valley magazine in Phoenix Arizona, so it sounds like a fabulous book. Um, I have not read it yet, but I am definitely heading in that direction. I love the premise of it, which really rolls into my first question for you. What, where did you discover your own genius? Like how did you take that journey of self-discovery of your own genius?

Otto Siegel Well, more likely than expected, it was a painful way to do that. I was always the highly intelligent misfit already in elementary school, I just never fit in, I never fit in any classroom. I only had a few friends. I felt lonely most of the time. But then had these brilliant outbursts. I could memorize things that nobody else could. People would say, how did this come out of you? And I could make people just look at me and said, wow, I didn’t know you knew that, and I felt alienated for a long time until I realized, hey, wait a minute, no, no, that’s my brilliance. I strive and I did unusual things. So for example in puberty, I grew very fast all of a sudden and then my body felt awkward and they just didn’t feel and comfortable anymore. And that the brilliant PE teacher and he told me you need to move more. Come here, play volleyball, play basketball, do track and field, and invited me to additional and extracurricular activities and I did. It saved me from childhood or teenage depression. That’s why the first light bulb that came on in there said, well there’s a strong connection between physical movement, do what you love to do and do it abundantly go all out, and sure enough to qualify for Olympic Games in Mexico City. How about that? Mm.
Lyssa deHart Holy Cow.
Otto Siegel

Yeah, I was an outlier and I felt in my element. Okay, when I do this outrageous thing, then again, the routine kicks in yes, to go to the motion. Uh, and the injured myself, I couldn’t study physical education at a back injury right before entry example university. So that was a no-go, big stop sign right there. A big personal crisis with it. Of course. Then I go through the motions of university started biology and chemistry. I’m so glad I did. The decision for that I made during an opera and the break, but I was in the ice cream and hot strawberries. Out of the blue because I had teachers that were my role model. They saw a professor that’s all beyond their discipline. They saw the big picture of biology that every person needs to know the basics about the human body. If your a biologist, or not, you need to know how their chest and works, not only if it’s sick, give responsibility to do a doctor.

No, that’s not good enough. And the same thing with chemistry and that resonated with me even though it was mediocre, had a scene in both in high school. But this was my calling until today and passionate about the human body. It’s a foundation of genius, coaching is physical intelligence, genius is not mental geniuses, and experience all of them. If you started them were outliers, all of them. If it was Bill Gates, if it’s Steve Jobs, you name it all of them step out of something, it was not comfortable. They were frequently misunderstood and frequently didn’t make it. That’s why geniuses’ are so depressed. People just don’t have the guts to do live it and find out what it is. So it took me what he used to figure it out.

Lyssa deHart I’m wondering, you know, as I’m hearing you talk and I’m really having that sense of the kinesiology, the physicality, the somatic, experiencing that you’re talking about. How did how did you come into coaching from this experience?
Otto Siegel Yeah, there was another story, we moved here to the United States. Teaching was out because it was done with it after 17 years in Munich and in Brazil. And I couldn’t stand the routine anymore. So I got a job in a corporation as a training manager and then my job was to develop training. And I had no idea how to do it. But I came across coaching one morning, the coaching brochures on my on my desk, that’s how that’s it. If you train teachers to be coaches, we are all good. My progressive CEO said yes, go for it, had a chance not only to get paid for the certification, the first part of the ICF, but also to develop coaching as a leadership tool right away. And that was absolutely, it was in heaven for me because I love to learn and to teach at the same time. That’s how I got into coaching because I saw the results. And said, wow, that’s good. And after they laid me off after the company was sold, I took my severance package and started, okay, now I need to merge those, two education and coaching because it’s odd behavior-driven. It’s not the right system, only kids need to have to want to learn, they need to be excited about learning open their minds, Not being bought out of their minds, be excited and curious. That fuels learning like nothing else. And that’s how I started in 2003.
Lyssa deHart Amazing, wow, that’s quite a journey you’ve been on. When you think about, you know, where you have been and all the things that you’ve been through as on this evolution of yourself, towards becoming a genius coach, what have you most learned about yourself along the way?
Otto Siegel And I cannot compromise with who I am, I cannot, if I do, I get depressed and I went through a severe bout of depression anyway, my, my 40s, there was definitely a severe, my uh midlife crisis, but once I’m true to myself, I know what it is. I’ve had enough coaching myself and workshops to figure that out, if I am true to that, I’m happy. Yeah, I create money, I create my life, I smile all the time. I inspire other people. I’m contagious with my energy and that’s what I learned, but only if I’m true to myself.
Lyssa deHart Yeah, and for a lot of people that being true to themselves is theoretically makes sense. But to embody that is something different. Any words of wisdom on how to build that muscle of being true to oneself?
Otto Siegel Hire a coach.
Lyssa deHart Yeah, yeah. Have that partnership.
Otto Siegel Absolutely impossible to do it on your own, absolutely impossible. I have a coach on a consistent basis because it’s an ongoing adventure. It’s it’s fun to do that because there’s always more to discover.
Lyssa deHart You know, and I think that is so crucial auto because I think a lot of, you know, it’s an interesting thing. There are a lot of coaches in the world and they’re, they’re, you know, want to be a value to their clients and they’re out there selling themselves as coaches. And yet they don’t themselves have a coach. It is a really interesting paradox that exists in the world. Yeah. And so how do you keep this passion alive in yourself? I mean, I hear the part about the alignment to your true self, but how do you keep that energy up, and that passion?
Otto Siegel I’m always doing new things. I’m an innovator, Okay, as I’m not a life coach, I’m not a business coach, I’m not an executive coach, I’m a genius coach and that is my niche by choice because it’s rooted in myself. I cannot do anything else. Yes, I coach executives of course, because highly intelligent misfits are everywhere. They have no age limits even to longevity coaching because you become the retirement, that the idea the reality now that shows up more and more in the longevity trend globally is you can push your age limit. Mhm. And that’s for many people, frightening. Others it’s exciting because genius doesn’t stop.
Lyssa deHart So speak to that when you hear it’s frightening to somebody versus exciting. What is the tension between those two perspectives for folks?
Otto Siegel Most people are deeply ingrained and the whole thing, life, and death cycle. Okay. That might stretch it a little bit. I’m thankful to live a little bit longer than my daddy, but that’s about it. Uh now for the first time in human history we have the technology available, We have scientific insights available that no generation ever had before us.
Lyssa deHart Right.
Otto Siegel And that gives us enough reason to question the normal life and death cycle. I do. And I’m totally intrigued about it because it’s so much fun to live longer. I’m gonna have so much fun. I forget to die.
Lyssa deHart I want to have so much fun, I forget to die also. And you know, and I think that shows up for me is you’re saying that is really this idea, these stories that we create about like, okay, I’m gonna work this long at this one company and then I’ll retire and then I’ll be retired and then I’ll have all this time too whatever, sit in the sun will take long walks, play golf, whatever your vision is. And it’s interesting because I’m hearing you talk, I’m thinking about myself and I think, you know, I don’t want to retire. Like retirement isn’t a word that comes up in my mind because I like what I do so much. The idea I may shift the amount of time I spend in different places. But I really love this idea of keeping my mind alive right? And that’s what I kept talking about also.
Otto Siegel Yeah, absolutely.
Lyssa deHart What is something that you… go ahead, go ahead.
Otto Siegel I mean it’s everything to round that out. It’s everything alive. His mind, body, spirit, everything because without your body you cannot have a mind that’s functioning. So it’s all one and the whole holistic approach and coaching. I totally intrigued about it also like the new trend and somatic coaching. Finally, coaches wake up that the body is everything including the brain. The brain is not a separate entity, it’s not neurological coaching only that’s your mind over body and mind and body. How about that?
Lyssa deHart Yeah. And I mean that sense that, you know, I mean our first brain really was our gut when you think back on it, even an Ameoba has a gut. Um and so it’s like the sense of engaging all your brains in the processing. I mean, we know about the head, heart, gut connection. I think science continues to move forward with curiosity. We’re going to find that all of our different organs probably are impacting in the way that we think and feel and experience the world around us. Absolutely. It is a whole-body experience. You know, it’s interesting. This is kind of an aside, but I saw this amazing 3D residence uh image of a cell. It’s like the highest residence of a cell photo ever taken. And you look at it and I’ll show a picture of it in here. In fact, I’ll share it with you in just a second.
  the Multiverse on the Coaching Studio
Lyssa deHart Um but it is like looking at an entire universe, let me actually pull that up real quickly.
Otto Siegel I would love to see that picture. I love it. And I love what you say, the media has already got, its our first brain. I love it. It’s so right on. We all have it backward.
Lyssa deHart We really, we have really taken, we’ve really taken this idea of the mind as the most important structure a bit seriously. So, so uh so let me share this with you really quickly. I think you’re going to be blown away.
Otto Siegel Wow.
Lyssa deHart Yeah, so this is the most detailed representation of a human cell. Yeah, I mean, and when I looked at it, I was like, it’s extraordinary for the fact that it’s so complex. It’s a universe.
Otto Siegel It is a universe, similarity. Yeah, similarity, the universe is absolutely stunning.
Lyssa deHart And if and if this is what is we are at the cellular level. It just is striking what all we probably don’t even know yet.
Otto Siegel Do you know how many cells we have sitting on our chairs?
Lyssa deHart No, but I think you do because you’re asking this question so I’m hopeful.
Otto Siegel I wanted to let you guess, but I don’t know if I should, I’m sure it’s in the billions, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be off.
Lyssa deHart 100 trillion.
Otto Siegel 100 trillion.
Lyssa deHart Ironically the stars in the visible universe at the same number. So interesting if I have a very spiritual client and she talks to me about the universe, the universe gave me this universe, gave me that today. I said, hey, wait a minute, which one do you mean this one out there? This one sitting on your chair right here, that one is sitting on a chair. I can coach definitely. The other one I’m not sure about.
Otto Siegel Yeah. Yes. And now that we even see the cell, like there’s a billion or maybe even a trillion how many cells in the 100, 000, 000, 100 trillion universes within us.
Lyssa deHart On top of the extraordinary thank you. Well now I know how I’m gonna keep my passion alive in about these like forget about the multiverse, we are the multiverse.
Otto Siegel Yeah, I love this word, this beautiful, Lyssa yeah.
Lyssa deHart What is your, what do you think the biggest misconception about coaching is that you see in the world?
Otto Siegel Yeah. Mind over body, there’s a misperception and not giving the body enough credit and in the coaching process because the body is demand taking action, the mind alone doesn’t do anything. The mind has developed strategies and plans and there are these feelings and emotions and limbic system their process. We know so much about it now but the person taking action is the rest of it. Yeah. And that to come back to the forefront called somatic coaching and called a genius coaching. That is genius because genius is physical. Genius biological, all these people who did something, they did something they don’t just thinking about it, they did something significant and that’s you need the whole body of a person. So my background is pure biology and physiology and brain plasticity. We can re-educate our brains, that’s my new trend in coaching. Re-educating the brain with our reality. Not the fantasy is not even with goals goes okay, but they are limited and their temporary because they change over time.
Lyssa deHart Right?
Otto Siegel So as a much bigger picture for coaching, I can see.
Lyssa deHart That’s beautiful and I heard you talk about um well actually before I asked that question, what do you think is something that young coaches need to understand as they’re going through their own coaching journey that would be useful as they move from, whether it’s a new student towards their MCC? What do you think new coaches and young coaches might benefit from hearing from you?
Otto Siegel The structure of coaching the basic assumption of coaching is absolutely valuable to bridge the gap between the insights and knowledge to wisdom and the action. You understand that on a deep level it’s very important for a growing coach, unfolding coach, because it’s never-ending journey. Once you understand it’s great what you think, but how about the action, and what’s in between what other barriers we make up? I call it M. U. S. Made up stuff.
Lyssa deHart Mhm. I call it stories. So there you go, the internal narratives, right? Yeah. You know, and as you say, that, you know, the thing that is, I mean, I know in my own coaching journey, the letting go of the attachment to what I knew. In in service of asking questions that supported my clients to know what they knew.
Otto Siegel Yeah.
Lyssa deHart Right. And so I hear that and what you’re talking about, like, how do we do that as coaches support our clients to bring out that internal wisdom that they already embodied? Yeah, unconsciously, possibly.
Otto Siegel Absolutely, most of the time, that’s why they hire us, and also how to hold that space, but we see almost immediately, and they might be totally blind to because it’s on their back. We see their back and they don’t. So this kind of, building trust and building a deep respect for each client is such an amazing journey that has to do with personal maturity as well. That’s what I love about coaching. But there’s no end to this journey.
Lyssa deHart Yeah, Yeah. Somebody asked me, oh, you got your MCC and I was like, it’s really much more of a mile marker in my mind than it is an end goal. Like it’s really just another, it’s an indicator that, okay, I’m able to demonstrate like this, but that’s no stopping point. Like the journey continues to your point.
Otto Siegel Exactly.
Lyssa deHart So how do you take care of yourself as a person so that you can show up so fully with your clients? Like embodying your own coaching mindset. What what strategies do you utilize?
Otto Siegel Well, first it’s a lifestyle. Um, my day begins with the body hour. The 1st 20 minutes are dedicated to our dogs. I run with them. Then I include either yoga, includes swimming, I include uh, strength workout, includes stretching, just to welcome my body to this new day and then I go out and do things and there’s a very good habits. I eat healthy food. Uh it’s a very delicious diet, not even a diet that don’t even like it because I like food. It has to be tasty and healthy as fresh as possible, organic as possible. But that builds myself and I care about them that self love in many, many different race. I have very good friends that that build my life, have a very great circle of friends, A great community, people are limited, build my life to endlessly, which means to take our death from the equation. That is very refreshing to do that. So the whole lifestyle is evolving around that.
Lyssa deHart Yeah, and it’s so crucial those people that we surround ourselves with, we are at choice and if we choose consciously the folks that we surround ourselves with who uplift us along the way and we uplift them. What a what a reciprocity. You know, the self-love in the multiverse. A so what are you up to today that you would like to share with this audience?
Otto Siegel Uh, today I’m working on my new campaign for a program I call uh, came out of Covid, called Parents Playtime. I figured out I figured out in my work with teenagers, especially parents, don’t play with their kids anymore. That’s just dictate to them. And who wants to hear that all day long as a child? Of course you shut down. You don’t trust them. You don’t listen anymore because it’s just too much. So we started to, I started to do research, a survey and through enough parents said, I don’t even know how to play with my child. Okay, You have a play disorder. How about that? You want to hear it? So I started a pilot program.
Lyssa deHart That’s diagnosable to a play disorder.
Otto Siegel Play disorder, my latest diagnosis. Do you suffer from a disorder? Because if you think about it plays the first language you speak without having to learn it internationally. Play doesn’t do any discrimination. Play doesn’t care about skin color, play doesn’t care about sex and gender, nothing.
Lyssa deHart It doesn’t even care about species. If you watch any animal on the planet play.
Otto Siegel Exactly. And kids play with dogs. I mean there was even across across.
Lyssa deHart Across species. Yeah.
Otto Siegel It is so powerful. I could put parents in breakout session on zoom and have them bring a toy and play with each other strangers I’ve never met. It is absolutely mind blowing, to say the least. And now I developed this program for parents to play. Parent playtime, the biggest wrestling if you can imagine.
Lyssa deHart I love it well. And they will definitely be a link below the podcast so that you can follow the link and learn more about parents playtime. You know, it’s so interesting because that idea of laughter and how often kids laugh versus how often adults laugh, right. And, and this idea of play, I think we get so serious and bogged down with all of the stories around responsibility and how we’re supposed to represent ourselves, whether it to the world, to ourselves, to our spouse, to our children, whoever, right. And, and these, these roles that we get involved in playing often don’t allow us outside the box.
Otto Siegel So true, so true, and all these things are curable.
Lyssa deHart Yes.
Otto Siegel But they are very very strong. There is more than hope.
Lyssa deHart There is, there’s so much hope and claiming so many different things to different people. But finding what it means to you and doing it to your point. It’s an action, right? It’s that taking that action and not just thinking about it. It’s not all in our head, it’s actually all about us, inside of us all. Otto, thank you so much for being on the show today. I really am so thankful I had this opportunity to have this conversation with you.
Otto Siegel Thank you Lyssa, I feel the same. It was such a refreshing, energizing conversation. I love it. I love to share with who I am allowed to learn about you and thank you for doing this podcast. It’s an amazing communication tool. It was an honor to be invited for you by you today. Thank you so much.
Lyssa deHart You are so welcome! And to the listeners, please, there are links that will take you to Otto’s book and there are links below that will take you to his website so you can learn more about the work that he is doing in the world. And find ways to enliven yourself and your whole self in your multiverse, that is you. So I’m gonna I’m living with that Multiverse now of self-love in the Multiverse, that’s my new favorite thing. Thank you so much.
Otto Siegel You’re welcome, I love you Multiverse, it’s so light and then lightning at the same time. Thank you.

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Lyssa deHart, LICSW, MCC

Lyssa deHart, LICSW, MCC


Lyssa deHart ditched her therapy practice to become a Leadership Confidence Coach. Along the way she discovered a passion for professional coaching and wanted to find ways to share that passion with the world. Come join her in discovering and meeting some of the most amazing professional coaches on the planet. Her goal is to inspire coaches. Lyssa is the author of StoryJacking: Change Your Dialogue, Transform Your Life , and The Reflective Coach. Lyssa is an ICF PCC Assessor, Certified Mentor Coach, and budding Coach SuperVisor. Lyssa uses her understanding of the ICF Core Competencies, combined with her knowledge of Neuroscience, to work with people to become extraordinary professional coaches. Let's Go!

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