Season 2, Episode 30

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.

Let’s go!

Tara Nolan MCC joins this episode of the Coaching Studion

the Coaching Studio Guest

I am very excited to welcome Tara Nolan, MCC, to the Coaching Studio Podcast.

Quick Links from Episode
Visit Tara Nolan, MCC by visiting her website and see what she’s up to!
Take a listen to her Podcast The Game of Teams
Find Tara Nolan, MCC, on LinkedIn

Credits

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

About This Episode

I am looking forward to introducing you to my guest in the studio Tara Nolan, MCC. One of my favorite parts of the conversation was when Tara was talking about the “being” of partnership. And the move away from listening to the content and she shifted into listening now just for energy. Noticing what words really spring out to her that she could then be curious about. She said, “Am picking something up and being curious about that and noticing the terminology, or when a client just takes deep inhale and moves backward.” These small easily overlooked elements that often lead to the deeper underlying important inquiries.

Tara Nolan, MCC is a coach for Top Teams & Senior Executives of global concerns. Tara is a certified Mentor Coach & facilitates Leadership Development programs. Tara is a keynote speaker & Podcaster. Visit her Podcast, The Game of Teams. Consistently working with organizations such as Microsoft, Zurich FS, Quintas, the Senior Civil Service, and others she delivers an executive coaching service with a difference. Her approach balances the needs of the company and individual while leaving a lasting, positive legacy of professional and personal change. Previously she was a headhunter for PricewaterhouseCoopers and an investment banker for Morgan Stanley, working across the world, and is now the head of Tara Nolan Ltd, a pan-European provider of executive leadership solutions with selected partners.

Read the transcript of this episode of the Coaching Studio Podcast:

Lyssa

Hello. I’m Lyssa deHart, and welcome to The Coaching Studio. Today in the studio is my guest, Tara Nolan. She is MCC with the International Coaching Federation, and my privilege to have you on the show as a guest. Thank you, Tara. Thank you so much for being here today.

Tara

Oh, Lyssa. Thank you very much. I’m delighted.

Lyssa

I’m very excited to have this conversation with you. First of all, I have to just say I love, uh, your accent. So you know umm.

Tara

It’s so funny. We never think we have an accent.

Lyssa

Like, I don’t think I know, but I hear the Irish lilt and it makes me happy. I would love to hear a little bit about sort of what was the journey or flow of your, I don’t know, evolution into becoming a coach and coaching in general?

Tara

Yeah, and it’s funny, I’m slightly nervous that I haven’t canned this answer too much and becomes a little bit boring to myself and to others. But I suppose when I was in university and I studied economics, I generally didn’t really know what I wanted to do with that. Um, and I fell into investment banking and liked it for a lot of the trappings that afforded me. Like the money.

Lyssa

That’s a nice trapping, yes.

Tara

And the ability to spend. But I think my soul was a little dead, and I still didn’t know even from there. And this is the part of my story that most people get interested in, even though sometimes I don’t. But I dated a South African accountant who was working for Morgan Stanley, the investment banking firm I was with. And it was his dream to go to the Cayman Islands and become a scuba diving instructor and open his own shop. And it was my folly to follow him. I was led by the heart believing that this was my soulmate. And it turned out not to be the case. But I spent two years in the Cayman Islands, and I guess what I learned there was what I didn’t want. And I didn’t want the repetitive as much as the backdrop was beautiful, but the repetitive conversations. The same life day, and it was like Ground Day in a very beautiful setting. And, uh, uh, things like, Gen Z will be listening to this and going, what you talking about? But CDROMs came out. I had no clue. I didn’t have any idea. Anyway, after two years, I fell out of the Cayman Islands and found myself in New York City. And I was a very fortuitous find because I started head hunting, or in the realm and domain of head hunting. And that was very interesting for a while.

Lyssa

Shift the conversation for sure.

Tara

For sure. And I was in the heady world of New York City, the frenetic world of New York City, the vibrancy of that city. I still love it. I love it for all of its quirkiness and oddness and its energy and its difference and possibility. And it was certainly a million miles faster than the Cayman Islands. And I guess that also excited me, was very different and the possibilities were endless. And I was lucky I got this role and job. And I was lucky in the assignments I got, et cetera, et cetera. And then after four years, my little sister had her first baby and I felt like I was removed from my family for a very long time and I thought to come back to Europe. If you ask me, have I any regrets, that probably is one regret. That I left New York City and left my green card there. Because I really enjoyed a lot of America, and I know there’s lots of story about America now, et, et cetera, cetera. I loved my experience, but I went.

Lyssa

Back, I’m here, and I still love America. Even with all of it’s quirkiness.

Tara

I honestly loved my four years in America. And I had another opportunity to be back there again. But coming back to Europe, I lucked out again. And the Celtic Tiger was booming. And I got a role as head of Executive Search and Selection with Price Waterhouse Coopers. And I will say Morgan Stanley and Price Waterhouse Coopers were my two favorite cultures as organizations. When I look back now probably didn’t fully appreciate them and the time, but still, I got a huge amount of freedom, a huge amount of latitude to scope the role as I saw fit. And I realized that that’s actually part of my values as well. The independence, the freedom, the fairness, and equity by which they acknowledge people, et cetera. Yeah.

Lyssa

May I interrupt you just real quickly? Because you said a couple of things that I think I’m, um, fascinated by. One is not appreciating it when you were there, but the reality of the culture and how important that is. How has that really translated into the work that you do with organizations and teams? Because I know teams is a huge part of the work that you’re doing.

Tara

Well, culture is a huge discipline and it’s a thing that I always attend to with teams, um, and with organizations. And of course, values play a really significant role in terms of how a culture is played out in an organization or on a team.

Lyssa

Are there particular values that are most useful to a healthy culture?

Tara

Well, I think you would always encourage an organization to, and or team, to adopt their own values and have them niche the purpose for which they exist and the mandate they’re trying to serve. And of course, there are. And one, actually, guest of mine (Game of Teams Podcast) said there are four values that you will see played out again and again. And, um, it would be customer centricity and customer, um, focus would be a big one. Trust and integrity would be another. And then openness and honesty.

Lyssa

That transparency piece.

Tara

Every organization and team would like to think that they build their own and they do. And a lot would be primed on those four. I probably am. Bastardizing.

Lyssa

What’s the fourth one? Cause you had said, um.

Tara

What’S the fourth one? What am I thinking? What’s the fourth one? Care.

Lyssa

Care. Thank you.

Tara

Yes, some people talk about and care can look up, be transposed as respect, trust. But care is a really big one. And um, then other teams have their own, like mine. My own personal values are freedom, fairness, they’re uh, my two hot ones. And I would say creativity is um, another one and fourth. And um, if I’m not really living out of those four, then I’m misaligned. Um, but I don’t know if you want me to return to the journey.

Lyssa

Yeah, no, I’m sorry. I was just fascinated by what you were sharing and so yes, please. You were recognizing the value of those organizations that you had worked in.

Tara

Yeah, and I guess I suppose to speak to that. I think what many of us are not really primed about in our formative education is how important culture and values are. And a lot of people talk about the work or they talk about the doing, but they forget actually that the climate and how people connect and relate, et cetera, is so important. So back to my story broadly. I was sitting in Ireland and the SCC came down pretty heavy on accountancy burns recruiting. So I said, oh gosh, what next? And I did an MBA, and through the MBA it became, uh, very clear to me that the area and interest was sort of psychology, organizational development, the human dimension of change. And so I remember sitting in a cafe, uh, in London and a lady said to me, you’d be very good as a coach. And I had no clue what the word was. Never heard of it, had no idea. And so I investigated a little, not a lot, because that would be my style. And found, uh, myself in Colorado studying with Newfield, and it was ontological coaching. And that was where I really realized, AHA, this is something I’m really fascinated by. And I guess it married with, how do we help people get really in touch with who they are, what they’re about, and how do they then connect into the relationships they’re having with themselves and others? And then into the organizations and the teams they live to be more at ease, purposeful, etcetera? So that became my mission because I had felt kind of out of sync in a lot of ways with the organization I was in. Happy on those two cultural levels, but not necessarily happy with what I was doing and being in them.

Lyssa

Yeah, I really heard you say that there was a sense of I appreciated the monetary benefits, but I was a bit dead inside, as I think, how you named that. How did you come alive through that coaching training?

Tara

Well, how I came alive was kind of appreciating, uh, how the epistemology works and how the human works. And how if we could just get under the hood of ourselves, we could start beginning to cultivate a richness and a fulfillment and tap into things. So I came alive with this idea that more of us could be more at ease and more peaceful if we brought ourselves to places like coaching or mentoring or psychotherapy or other talking therapies to support what’s getting in our own way and what could we do to shift. And so I think I came alive there. I got really inquisitive, really acquisitive in terms of the kind of books and courses I took. So I did ontological coaching. I did Gestalt coaching. I did Nancy Klines, a Time to Think Coaching. And then in 2014, I did team coaching. And I found that another word. I love the messiness of teams and kind of knitting all of that together and the complexity inherent in a team. Not just by the members alone and the personalities and all their histories. But then the work and connecting that and making sense of all of that. So I really love that work. So now I find myself really engaged in individual coaching, executive coaching, mostly at board level and senior executive level. And team coaching, and mostly again at top team level coaching

Lyssa

Brilliant. Brilliant. What a fascinating journey. Everybody does have such an interesting map of their, uh, progress towards where they end up in this moment. Uh, it’s just fascinating. As you were moving from a beginning coach, you’ve taken this course. You’re like, yeah, I think I’ve hit on what I’m going to enjoy for quite a while. Maybe not forever, but for quite a while. What was that journey then towards MCC? Like, what drove you towards an MCC? I don’t know. I’m going to just stop talking.

Tara

I think initially, what drove me towards it was getting it. What I was immediately met with in the pursuit of it was being it.

Lyssa

Oh, I love that. It’s true though, right? There’s this driving. Like, I want to have it. And then there’s this. Oh, it’s going to take a bit more than that.

Tara

Absolutely. And I was extraordinarily fortunate. I had a mentor Coach, and the guys at Janet Harvey and I absolutely loved the process. So I guess I fell in love with Coach.

Lyssa

She was one of my mentor coaches, too.

Tara

I should just have so much respect for Janet. And she helped me really equipped myself with the idea of the being of MCC, uh, and MCC’ness, and claiming that for myself, claiming my own authority in it, as opposed to, what do I do now, Janet? Or what? You know, all the ways, the technical way that we think we’re going to master this. And I think I had a very wobbly three-legged stool, so I was very if I call it fixated on competency, um, and mastering the ICF competencies. But I was less indexed if you will, on the idea of partnering and presence. It was in those two areas, that I really had to develop this idea of what would be looked like if you actually partnered with your client?

Lyssa

And what does it look like when you partner with a client?

Tara

I think you have to go back to basics with the ICF definition and really trust that the client is already whole and resourceful, and wise and they can figure things out in your presence. I think the idea that I don’t have to work as hard and, um, or harder than the client, um, was quite the learning for me to back off and to genuinely be in. And I didn’t really know what that meant, stands for the client. I really didn’t know what that was. I felt it was a little jargonistic. But that idea of where are you now? Client? What’s happening now? Moving with them as opposed to being two steps ahead of them or two steps behind. So I really, really, I, uh, guess, immersed myself in a three-legged stool and, um, equipped myself to be more present to myself than the other and to be curious, um, about what might be missing if there was, to partner and really think about that and what that might mean for me. And one of the ways there are some tips, I would also think sometimes I think we can get really attached to all the content a client is saying.

Lyssa

And like, the story, the details.

Tara

Totally, and I’m kind of listening now just for energy. What words really springs out to me that I could be curious about to see? Am I picking something up and being curious about that. Or noticing the terminology client just takes a deep inhale and moves backwards.

Lyssa

What just happened there.

Tara

Yeah, exactly.

Lyssa

Well, and I think that really speaks to what you mentioned a minute ago, which is not working so hard, like, not working so hard to figure out what’s the best next question, but rather fully being present and just noticing what is actually happening in this space with two people. What is that inhalation of breath? What just happened there? What is in the silence? Um, what are you hearing yourself say that is important to explore further or acknowledge? Right? Like, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Tara

Absolutely not. Absolutely not. I heard myself say to a client on Friday in a very noisy cafe, and I wouldn’t be encouraging people to try and coach in a very noisy cafe.

Lyssa

What?

Tara

But I heard myself say to them, and what’s your process for doing this today? I don’t think he’d ever heard that question asked of him. It was me demonstrating partnering. Maybe I’m going to lead you to some kind of process and go, no, what’s yours and how would you like to explore this?

Lyssa

Yeah, it’s interesting. I was reading, um, a research paper recently on and it was for psychotherapy. It wasn’t for coaching specifically. Um, but I think it applies perfectly. The difference between outcomes with clients leading versus the therapist leading or the coach leading right. And what the outcomes were. And I mean, it’s pretty interesting just how you can see such a process shift with the agency that a person feels when they have that empowerment that a coach can offer by asking the questions, but not telling the answers.

Tara

Yeah. And how invidious the seduction trap is when clients come, what do you think?

Lyssa

Uh, what would you do exactly? You must know the answer.

Tara

Totally. Or it’s even, uh, more invidious than that. I don’t have the right question. And then you’re tripped into, what about this? No backup back up.

Lyssa

Well, and I think that’s a really interesting question, too, because I think that is sort of, that’s weak language. It is part of that evolution of letting go of our expertise. And this seems to come up in almost every single one of these interviews, is that everybody in some form or another is learning how to let go of that, uh, need to know. And to really, um, be present with the person that’s in front of them. Um. What allows you to do that, to be that present with another person?

Tara

I think you have to change your relationship to value. And shift the relationship, um, you’re in with value. Because I find, uh, a lot and I do mentor coaches as well, I find a lot of coaches think that to give value, they need to demonstrate expertise, or to give value, they need to bring and drag clients through a process. And, uh, I think if you re relate the value of presence, uh, and space, and that space to think and think for yourself may be prompted by one question, three questions. But I think stepping off the pedal stool and thinking, I must ask the brilliant question or the best question, um, having all these superlative, I think, is important. I often will say, okay, that might not have, uh, landed as a question. What about this one? Try this one. This works.

Lyssa

Is there a better question that I’m not asking?

Tara

Yeah, totally. Or what’s the question you’d ask yourself if you were in my situation? That’s the thing. And it may be a trap that I find coaches get into expertise of value.

Lyssa

Yeah, I think that’s a huge part of it. And I love that you stated it like that, because I think that is a very thoughtful, but also somewhat intentional actionable sort of intention right. Of, uh, what is my relationship with my own value? Because until we do that work, of, like, my value is determined by you liking me, you thinking, I’m great, you being successful. Until we can let go that we are in that sort of trap of now I’ve got to work really hard so that you can do all those things like me be successful or whatever. And I mean that’s great. I guess, um, I liken it to this. Like, if I’m building a chicken coop, I want your expertise. If you’ve done it before me, please tell me how much wood I need to buy and, uh, how I need like I need the design, layout, the schematic, so that I can gather eggs and chickens can be safe and all that sort of stuff. But when it comes to most of the things that our clients are working through, it is never the surface topic they tend to bring forward. It really isn’t the over fullover-fullschedule. It’s like, what’s driving you to take on so much? Right? So that being present with somebody else in that way. What is something about coaching that you thought when you started, but that is shifted through time with your experience? And if you don’t like that question, you can tell me what’s the better question?

Tara

No, it’s a great I’m thinking I think those two thoughts earlier, the fact that I never really appreciated the impact of my presence and the energy, et cetera, et cetera, and the impact of that. So I wasn’t attentive to my way of being, might not be serving. So if I batter somebody with questions, which I have, I’m a very able questioner. I don’t mean stacking questions now, but just the speed at which I can, can be very alienating. Just to be really conscious of sensing and being, uh, curious about what might be working, or even asking the client what works, what they need, et cetera. Um, I think I really learned the competency coaching client agreement about which I became really good because I just realized how important it is to really remove all the noise and the clutter and to get at what is meaningful, what’s at cause, or at risk here. What is it so important to you that you’d really love to spend some time chewing over. And being with, um, the concerns that clients have. And then, as much as I used to say to Janet, I was a bit clunky trying to book in that and going, what does success look like and what we need to address. But I think there’s a lovely cleanness about that. And I really, um, liked the arc of a coaching conversation. Then when you do apply the competencies, because we’re not dancing around for hours, getting really clear, actually. Something is that cause for me, something is a topic about which I have no idea what I really want. But broadly, I have a sense that it’d be this, and I have an inkling that I need to address this. And then other stuff surfaces. um, so I think the coaching competency number three and getting really good at that, the agreement, uh, is something that, yeah, I really appreciate. I think I was overly indexed on questions and powerful questions and trapped by the seductive nature of that. 100 best questions are 100 anything.

Lyssa

Yeah.

Tara

Sometimes the simplicity of “what’s that that’s? “.

Lyssa

It’s all you need. Yeah.

Tara

Yeah, what else?

Lyssa

Well, and it’s funny as you say this, because I hear from people… You listen to a lot of coaching calls, I’m sure, as you’re doing mentoring. I know I do also. And I’m continually, um, reminding people that agreement setting is coaching. What do you think it is about? And I find it with facilitating client growth also. What do you think it is about those two competencies that has people kind of like I don’t want to really dive into that as much. What do you think that’s about?

Tara

It’s really a really interesting question, and I absolutely concur with you. I think I was allergic to those two.

Lyssa

I know I was.

Tara

Like I remember saying the word I used to keep saying to Janet. It was clunky. I felt as if I was being belligerent in my fact finding and my discovery in that first question. And then I was being maybe a little trite in the what are you going to do now? When I was kind of feeling the awareness? Is it when it is? But how do you materialize the awareness to actually do something different with yourself? So I had to reframe my relationship with those two. And really fall in love with this idea, if I could really help clients see the value of getting something meaningful that would be sustainable over time and maybe in different domains for them, that would be helpful. And the more I practiced, the more I got with that, the more that became evident. What was the other thought? I, um, had the other thought. Um, I have a lot of mentor coaches who think it as a collapsed expectation when I do the coaching agreement, then I’ll start coaching, and I say, as soon as the frame opens, if you’re working on Zoom, or as soon as you meet your client in a cafe, noisy as it is, you are coaching, you are in relation. And I remember nearly having a fight with somebody about this where I was a mentor, and they were saying and I said, no, that’s a beautiful opportunity. They yawned. They yawned in your face. So that’s good, what is that?

Lyssa

What’s chosen up right now? Yeah.

Tara

And they were waiting for the, um, yawn to finish.

Lyssa

And then they needed to direct the conversation towards something lively so that the client could get out of whatever that experience was they were having.

Tara

Yeah, absolutely.

Lyssa

Yeah. It’s so funny because I really struggled with those two as well. And I think I, um, love this idea that you brought forward. I think there is a lot in coaching… I’m going to throw this out here because I’m curious what your thoughts are, but I think there’s a lot in coaching where, through the process of developing an appreciation, um, for Agreement setting and for facilitating client growth. And I have to tell you, I struggled with Agreements setting, but I really struggled with facilitating or 9, 10 and 11 at that time, but facilitating client growth, because it felt so parentified. Like, what are you going to do? When are you going to get it done by? How are you going to hold yourself accountable? It just felt very parental. Um, and I remember talking to one of my other mentor coaches, Jan Berg, and she said to me, “What do your clients think? ” And I had never even asked that question of myself. Yeah, right. I don’t know what my clients think of it. So I started asking what my clients thought at the end of the coaching about some of these things that I was feeling uncomfortable about. And 100% of them were like, oh, it was great, which was like.

Tara

I know, Jan, it’s fabulous. I love Jan Berg, but I also found that it’s that piece about you are responsible for your life, client. You are responsible and accountable for what you choose to do from here. And I think it’s facilitating. That is what we’re doing. We’re not making them do it. We’re facilitating that. And I think the other thing that I loved when it was done to me, when I’m being coached, is it kind of makes me sit up and go, oh, God, what am I going to do? How am I going to get this distracted? Who could I ask for support? Because I’m thinking, this is all mine to solve.

Lyssa

What, internally, do I have to support myself? Yeah, whatever that is.

Tara

Absolutely. And I think, uh, personally now, I think of them as beautiful bookends.

Lyssa

Uh, I as well. I appreciate your perspective, though, so thank you for sharing that, because I think those are two competencies that most people overlook the most. Because everybody really enjoys asking all those questions in the middle and evoking awareness. And all that. I often think, if you don’t support the client to prime the direction, then how will you even know? You could have a fabulous conversation. It could be really impactful. But how much more impactful could it have been if it was actually what the client really wanted to explore? Because sometimes I think we, um, explore things that the clients like, yeah, that was really good. I hadn’t thought about that. But they would have had maybe more of what they needed if they had just been asked what they wanted to do. What is something that you discovered, um, about yourself on this journey that was surprising?

Tara

I think it was gifted to me by Janet, and I’m not sure I’d fully appreciate it myself, but my intuition. And honoring that, um, and others have said it to me. I work with colleagues on a supervision program, and they’ve said, Gosh, your laser-like and you get at the root cause so ably and quickly. So I have a good knack and sense intuition, and I don’t often honor that in me. So just trusting that and then what I am good at, which I loved, and I was disappointed that the ICF took them away as a competency. But I used to love competency six and the old manul direct communication. Because I would then use that intuition to inform my direct communication. And it worked. Not that I was, uh, right. I don’t mean it worked that way, but it really oh, yeah, that’s a possibility. I wonder what we can do with that. And here’s what I’m sitting with. Here’s what’s got being activated in me. I wonder what’s going on with you planned.

Lyssa

I think it’s still available to you in the new competencies under shares, um, without attachment.

Tara

Yeah, it is, but I just I’m. Calling out, like.

Lyssa

Yeah, I hear you, but I would just say, I can’t even imagine that that wouldn’t still be super beneficial for your clients. Because I think that we do have that perspective right from outside of the attachment, uh, to the situation where we have that experiential, instinct that’s showing up for us to share lightly, you know not with attachment, but lightly to share with the client. So I imagine your clients are so very much benefiting from your direct communication.

Tara

It hasn’t stopped me. Let’s put it that way.

Lyssa

That’s awesome. Um. Let me try this again. If the seats were flipped and you were asking yourself a question, what question would be useful for you to be asked at this moment?

Tara

It’s a lovely question, I noticed just even in me. And I wonder, uh, if this is how you’re experiencing me. I can sometime, with the first question in my history, I think it was a bit long winded, but then in terms of the coaching and the domain of coaching, I can sometimes give clipped answers. And I’m wondering, is there something about which I’m not speaking that you’d be really curious to learn? So that was my question.

Lyssa

Is there something about you that is not shown on the surface that we would really benefit from knowing about you as a human being?

Tara

Well, I think yes, I think I can come off as you know, direct, um, quick, analytical. Uh, and I, um, am completely soft inside. Uh, like, I have a center and a sensitivity. But I’m not sure many people meet first. They meet the hard, driven, determined, clever, me. Certainly strong background, back, soft belly. I don’t think people know that of me.

Lyssa

I will, if it’s okay for me to share an observation with you, I have only experienced the strong back, soft belly piece of you in today’s conversation. So I haven’t felt any of this clipped, analytical, pushing away. Just as an outside observation. That has not been my experience of you at all. Um, I’m curious, what are the things that you are really focusing your attention on now in your coaching? Like, where is your energy being drawn towards?

Tara

I think a lot of my energy is definitely still drawn to team coaching. And not perfecting it, but getting comfortable with communicating what it is, helping clients to understand what is and could be. I still think there’s a lot of confusion around team coaching and clients and team coaches themselves, and then there are others that, what the hell is that? Why is it important to have a definition of it? Well, I think it is because I think, uh, we can get ourselves confused if we’re believing we’re going to get this and then we actually get that.

Lyssa

What is your definition of team coaching?

Tara

Yeah, so I believe that my definition, and it’s still evolving, but I think my definition of team coaching is enabling and quipping the team to pull out their strengths in service of the purpose they say they’re in serving clients for or stakeholders for. You know so that they can collaborate, and co-create together. And I try and champion that in my work. And so what that looks like then is helping a client to get really clear what’s important to us. Why do we exist? What are we here to deliver? What are our expectations of each other? What are the relational quotas that we need to work on the elements that really will, uh, help us? Like trust, respect, concerns, moods, appreciation. Um, how can we really drop the armor that so many team individuals come with and really get on board with this idea of teaming and working together on a few things that only we can do together. And what we have to let go to do that? Honestly, often it’s about team members really getting to know each other, like knowing each other’s strengths. Not just a nice to know each other, but really knowing. What’s the contribution that each member wants to make, and really calling out derailing behaviors, getting really good at doing that upfront, and then finding out each personal interest. And then moving into the team space when reviewing the team and being willing to say what’s working, what isn’t working, and helping the team to foster optimism because it’s so easy to be denigrating, shoeing away, et cetera, but to really encourage because it’s not easy work, it’s tricky work. And then being proactive, what are the few things that we want to dial up and move forward? And then I think it’s about also sitting in your context and being really clear how the system is enabling or disabling this team to work and then getting ultimately, by doing all of that psychological safety and team identity and delivering outcomes that really matter. That’s a heavy agenda.

Lyssa

Yeah, it’s reminding me sort of like family systems thinking without the family, but the same sort of processes of like, how are we going to be together? You know what? I’m even hearing the agreement setting. How are we going to be with each other? How do we create safety so that we can say to somebody that didn’t land so well, or I have a different idea, or let’s hear all the ideas and not just the one extroverted voice in the room, or whatever. And I really appreciate that sense of like, there’s so much more to it than just the goal at the end of the we have to meet this goal how, right? How do we want to meet this goal? How will we be with each other as we do that?

Tara

Yeah, I think it really is getting very clear what’s our why, who are we? And then how and what, but the speed at which teams go to the how and what and forget the why and who, but I do genuinely, um, employ the individual. Now, there are team coaching competencies, thank God, but I was employing the individual competencies that set down by the PCF to support my coaching. And I did also wrap my team coaching with some facilitation and some educated pieces, too, because sometimes the teams are just not there, but they self identify and I’ll help them by offering what I offer. Um, so when you say, Where is my it’s focusing on getting a way of speaking that in a way that is clear and compelling as it is confusing.

Lyssa

Well, and I really appreciate also the fact that it really takes us back to where in the earlier part of our conversation around the value of the culture in which you are working and how that impacted. It impacts your capacity as a team to be successful, but it also impacts just the way you show up as a human being with other human beings when the culture of your organization supports a healthy team.

Tara

Right? Absolutely. And just being aware of that, to be curious about how the system may be preventing, uh, the operation of this team.

Lyssa

And that really has me kind of curious because I, too, have worked with teams. I came from a therapy background, though, so I’ve done a ton of family systems work. But one of the thoughts that I’m, um, always curious about when I’m observing team coaching or doing any kind of team coaching is if you’re working with, like I heard you’re working with the executive and C suite teams, these higher teams. What I see often, though, is that they’re not doing the teamwork and the smaller teams are doing like the teams at the lower levels are doing the teamwork. Uh, but then they don’t have that infrastructure. So how does it support and serve an organization to really have the C suite and the upper directors and executives be in team coaching?

Tara

How does that serve? That’s a great question. First of all, I do actually think that there is, in the way, in the world we have, there are some reasons to think of a leadership team as being a team, a genuine team with some clear, critical, chunky, interdependent goals that they can only work on together. I do think that’s true, because otherwise they’ll be a group and they’ll just be against their functional remotes and they’ll keep that sort of siloedness of them. But I think when you do bring the material of team coaching to a top team, what is beautiful is that it ripples down, or you can support it being rippling down, or, indeed, you can think about the idea of a team of teams. But I think the languaging is really helpful when people get clear that, oh, gosh, it is smart that we don’t assume what our stakeholders want to us. It’s good if we ask them, isn’t it? Yeah, that might work. And it’s helpful if we think about not just having a purpose of words on wallpaper, but actually a purpose that’s meaningful to us, that’s consequential, that’s clear, about which we can get aligned and gosh, wouldn’t it be really good if we created our own culture and started thinking about the kinds of behaviors we’d love to see exhibited more and more? And then how about actually being very smart? And, I mean, I’m using smart deliberately about the few must win battles we say that we must win together, finally, which I don’t think a lot of teams do a lot of. And, in fact, I think it’s fairly barrel across organizations, is learning together, how do we give each other feedback? How do we speak and share what we think the other could derive some benefit from learning? How do we learn as a collector?

Lyssa

Yeah. And I think it takes a degree of courage, uh, to receive, um, feedback that isn’t always positive. Just through the years, my own relationship with feedback has shifted. I think that’s part of the MCC journey. Also, my relationship with feedback is completely different. I used to be like, I don’t want it. I do, but I don’t. And now I’m like, bring it on. Which is a very different sort of perspective to be in. And I think that it takes that, um, to your point, maybe you need to work one on one with somebody a little bit in the team also, so that they have the capacity to hear feedback without personalizing it and actually get the value.

Tara

Yes. I think you’re speaking of very important. I too in my MCC days. I remember Janet asked me, what might you be sitting on or thinking about? And I said, My fear of getting feedback is crippling me at the moment when I first started. And then I shifted my relationship to feedback. And I welcomed challenge. I welcomed critique not of me, but of what I was doing.

Lyssa

Yeah.

Tara

And I really hungered for it. I was delighted to receive it. So I think that’s what the gift of mentoring is. If we can help our mentees and our coaches to shift their relationship to feedback. Absolutely. Because otherwise, I think we can get into a very sort of collusive, homogenized state.

Lyssa

Um right. And nobody wants to rock the boat, and nobody wants to hurt anybody’s feelings. But that’s the thing that’s so hilarious. Right? Like, why should your feelings be hurt because somebody asks you a question or disagrees with you?

Tara

And a lot of it, honestly, is just not practiced. We’ve been schooled to get the right answer. We haven’t been schooled to really question and be curious.

Lyssa

It’s kind of like the mindset with Carol Dweck’s work and the idea of, if I can’t do it perfectly, I’m not going to play. Or, oh, this is a puzzle, and I’m going to figure it out. Right. There are two very different ways of approaching a challenge. And I agree with you I think there’s this sort of tension with hearing anything about myself that I might not have seen, a, mainly don’t see, or B, I don’t like about myself, so I try not to see it. Right. And it’s one of the reasons I really appreciate what you, um, did a little bit earlier, which is kind of sharing sort of like this is sometimes people experience me this way. I mean and in fact, through that transparency, I have, uh, none of that experience of you, which is so funny right. Is we name and just are transparent about our own self and our own experience of ourselves. Then all of a sudden, we’ve shifted. If, um, it was even there, which I didn’t feel, it certainly isn’t afterwards. Right.

Tara

Um, you know, that was born out. I came from Newfield, where all emotions and having a very extended palate of emotions were accepted. What I find curious in coaching, and especially with my mentees and coaches, is sort of a reluctance to be with emotions that are maybe seemingly unsavory, like anger, guilt, jealousy, hurt, sadness. And it’s like all of them are informative. They’re in motion. They’re about experience. So welcome them.

Lyssa

Yeah. They teach you something. What is it that we need to learn from them? Yeah, it may kind of go a little bit, I think, because coaching has been so thorough in “no counseling. ” Like, you’re not a therapist. You’re not a counselor. And so I think what people have done is said, well, emotions must be the venue of therapists only, so we cannot talk about emotions. Which I think is hilarious, given that we’ll talk to our best friends about it. No problem. Right. And we’ll get curious with our best friends. So maybe start playing with your best friends. Like, if they get emotional, get curious with them instead of align with them or fix it, get curious with them. So you can start that practice of what might be uncovered through the emotion. Versus just like, I don’t want to have anything to do with emotion. Uh, because I agree with you. I see that, too. The client will say something like, it’s scary and overwhelming, and the coach will be like, so then, by the end of the conversation, what would you like to talk about during this conversation? You know, like, what would make it successful? Just totally stepping over what the client just offered. And I think it is that discomfort that the individual also has, with maybe the role, but also with their own sense of those emotions, since how many times have our clients come to us with our stuff floating in the space? Right. And it’s like, oh, what would I do? I don’t know. Right. Uh, we are mirrored sometimes by our clients.

Tara

Oh, totally. Totally.

Lyssa

Yeah. This has been such a pleasure to have you on the show. I will be posting in links, um, below so people can get a hold of you through LinkedIn, go to your website, all of that stuff. I’ll also put a link, um, into your podcast because I know you have the Team of Teams podcast and I think super exciting. And I think a lot of coaches are really excited about working with teams. And I think that would be a great podcast for people to hear. So I’ll be pointing people in the direction of your podcast also. As we’re coming to a close, though, this is my question of this season. If you were writing your autobiography, Tara, what would you title it? And we don’t need an explanation or anything, but just what’s the title of your autobiography?

Tara

At 58 years of age, one of my big hungers is learning. And I’d have to say, Still Not Done.

Lyssa

Still Not Done. Beautiful. I’m so happy. Thank you, uh, so much for being here today on the Coaching Studio. I have absolutely, um, enjoyed your presence and this conversation.

Tara

Thank you. Thank you so much.

I hope you enjoy these lively conversations.

If you do, please hit that subscribe button below for notifications of upcoming episodes. I plan to roll them out regularly, so thank you again for being here, and I look forward to “seeing” you on the next episode.

Please share with the people you think may enjoy meeting real coaches and experts, making an impact in the world, getting to know them on their journey, and discovering what wisdom they would offer you about being a better coach!

Other Podcast Episodes

To discover more about this podcast, check out what we are about.

Are you a coach making a difference in the world of coaching? Are you interested in being on the show? Click here for more information about becoming a guest.

Lyssa deHart, LICSW, MCC

Lyssa deHart, LICSW, MCC

Host

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!

Lyssa deHart Coaching participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates affiliate program. The hope is to earn commissions by linking to Amazon and help support the website and the podcast. This means that whenever you purchase from a link on this website you will be taken to Amazon, and we receive a tiny percentage of the purchase price. We thank you for supporting us in this way. Our Privacy Policy.

You can also support Lyssa in the production of the podcast and her YouTube Videos by buying her a coffee. Every little bit helps, and Lyssa loves her coffee!