The Search for Clarity

Unlocking Leadership Potential: The Transformative Art of Coaching skills with Julie Starr (Part 1)

June 01, 2024 Richard de Kock Season 1 Episode 6
Unlocking Leadership Potential: The Transformative Art of Coaching skills with Julie Starr (Part 1)
The Search for Clarity
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The Search for Clarity
Unlocking Leadership Potential: The Transformative Art of Coaching skills with Julie Starr (Part 1)
Jun 01, 2024 Season 1 Episode 6
Richard de Kock

Unlock the secrets to becoming an authentic and effective leader with our latest episode featuring Julie Starr, a luminary in the coaching world and author of "The Coaching Manual" and "Brilliant Coaching." Julie shares her profound insights from over two decades of experience as an executive and leadership coach. Listen as she demystifies the art of coaching, revealing how this powerful tool can transform not just leadership but everyday communication and relationships. Julie dispels common myths and highlights how true coaching skills fosters insight, clarity, and growth through supportive, insightful conversations.

Join us as we explore the pivotal role of inquiry and self-awareness in successful coaching skills. Julie explains how managers can harness the power of simple, open questions to cultivate a safe and trusting environment where authentic self-expression can flourish. Delve into the importance of self-reflection for leaders, and learn how understanding and sharing personal values can create a more collaborative and genuine team dynamic. This enlightening episode is packed with valuable tools and strategies that will help you enhance your leadership capabilities and foster a culture of authenticity and collaboration within your team.

You can also watch the episode on Youtube: https://youtu.be/1sYDBhNHj_Q?si=yMEAmP7EvVcvcrl_

Contact Julie or access the materials discussed through the below:

Julie Starrs Contact Information:
Website: 
www.Starrcoaching.co.uk
www.learnstarr.com

Youtube Channel
https://www.youtube.com/c/StarrconsultingCoUk

Email:
info@starrcoach.co.uk

Authors Page on Amazon
https://amzn.to/3KjydXP

The Search for Clarity:
Youtube Channel: https://youtube.com/@thesearchforclarity?si=ISQgIOAojPJIxMOf

Executive & Leadership Coaching with Richard: www.coachingwithrichard.co.uk

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Unlock the secrets to becoming an authentic and effective leader with our latest episode featuring Julie Starr, a luminary in the coaching world and author of "The Coaching Manual" and "Brilliant Coaching." Julie shares her profound insights from over two decades of experience as an executive and leadership coach. Listen as she demystifies the art of coaching, revealing how this powerful tool can transform not just leadership but everyday communication and relationships. Julie dispels common myths and highlights how true coaching skills fosters insight, clarity, and growth through supportive, insightful conversations.

Join us as we explore the pivotal role of inquiry and self-awareness in successful coaching skills. Julie explains how managers can harness the power of simple, open questions to cultivate a safe and trusting environment where authentic self-expression can flourish. Delve into the importance of self-reflection for leaders, and learn how understanding and sharing personal values can create a more collaborative and genuine team dynamic. This enlightening episode is packed with valuable tools and strategies that will help you enhance your leadership capabilities and foster a culture of authenticity and collaboration within your team.

You can also watch the episode on Youtube: https://youtu.be/1sYDBhNHj_Q?si=yMEAmP7EvVcvcrl_

Contact Julie or access the materials discussed through the below:

Julie Starrs Contact Information:
Website: 
www.Starrcoaching.co.uk
www.learnstarr.com

Youtube Channel
https://www.youtube.com/c/StarrconsultingCoUk

Email:
info@starrcoach.co.uk

Authors Page on Amazon
https://amzn.to/3KjydXP

The Search for Clarity:
Youtube Channel: https://youtube.com/@thesearchforclarity?si=ISQgIOAojPJIxMOf

Executive & Leadership Coaching with Richard: www.coachingwithrichard.co.uk

Speaker 1:

A big, warm welcome to the Search for Clarity. I'm your host, richard de Kock, and today we are now in Technicolor. You'll see that we have a YouTube channel and if you want to check that out, if you're on the normal podcast platform, there'll be a link in the transcription for you to hop on over and have a look. We've rebranded the podcast, we've relaunched the podcast after a long sabbatical and we are back stronger than ever. So looking forward to some really great guests and continuing our journey of searching for clarity.

Speaker 1:

Our topic today is a really exciting one. It is unlocking leadership potential through the transformative art of coaching skills, and we've got a phenomenal guest to help us on that journey, and her name is Julie Starr. She is a thought leader in the coaching industry. She has published a best selling book called the Coaching Manual, and the book that we'll be focusing a lot on today for leaders and managers is Brilliant Coaching, and Julie's also written the Mentor Manual as well.

Speaker 1:

If you haven't read any of these books, as a manager or a leader, I highly recommend you read the Brilliant Coaching Book. It is highly practical. It's got some brilliant tools for you to apply immediately in your workplace to help you grow and strengthen these skills of coaching and helping you and your colleagues transform. Julie's got 20 years of experience as an executive and leadership coach. She owns the company Star Coaching and she has transformed the lives of many leaders and people across the globe, so she's got tremendous experience, wealth of knowledge, to share with us today. So, without further ado, welcome Julie. It's an absolute pleasure to have you on our relaunched platform.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, lovely to be here and lovely to be part of the new, refreshed version.

Speaker 1:

So, yeah, very excited for the conversation, yeah exciting. So, julie, you know we've discussed a few things before about what we chat about today. We really felt this imperative around coaching and the skill of coaching in leadership, and I think I mean you want to tell us a little bit more about what your company does.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so for probably over 25 years we have been working in organizations some quite well, organizations to make these skills of coaching accessible in the everyday conversation. So I think what the coaching industry has done quite artfully over the years is they've kind of wrapped and packaged these life skills, these conversational skills, these skills of how we think we add value in the conversation and how we can create a different style of conversation. They kind of wrapped and packaged those and called that coaching, and the exec coaches have kind of partitioned that off as a skill. But essentially these skills are everyday life skills that can empower all of us, even whether you're a manager or a leader or not, because they're essential skills to communication, interaction building, relationship building, rapport and influence. So yeah's, that's what we do generally. We teach managers and leaders how to coach and we do it in a really fun, simple, um, you know, hopefully engaging way and so I think that's probably a good place to start is what is coaching?

Speaker 1:

because we hear it all the time and I think there's been some great movies. I mean I was looking it up to try and see what the biggest influences on my perception of coaching was. And there's the Rocky, there's Rocky Balboa and there's the Mighty Ducks yes, and of course, jerry Maguire. And prior to training and coaching and studying, coaching I mean it was really my view was hey, it's a personal cheerleader or a friend or a self-help guru or a motivational speaker that you have in your pocket, that you could just phone up and get them to help you with whatever it is that you needed help with at the time. What is coaching and what are the common misconceptions of coaching that you find?

Speaker 2:

So I'm going to, as always, try, try and keep simple. That's a huge question, simply because it sort of depends where you pick up the thread of the question. So, as you pointed at um, the field of sports coaching has its distinct style of coaching, which is where one person is completely focused on the other to increase their performance. And there's quite a lot of tell, there's quite a lot of process, there's quite a lot of protocol involved. There's kind of a lot of diktat in terms of what somebody might tell you to do not do, regimen routines, stuff like that, and that is absolutely a form of coaching. I think, as over the last kind of 30 years that I've been involved in the coaching field, what I've seen it develop into and distill down into is a style of conversation, a style of one-to-one support, and it doesn't need to be one-to-one, but essentially it's mainly one-to-one support. And it doesn't need to be one-to-one, but essentially it's mainly one-to-one support that enables an individual to transition, to make progress towards something that's better. And I know that sounds a little bit vague and a little bit generalist, but if I make it any more specific than that, you know, if I were to say a coach can help you with your goals. The floor is your goals and even just unpacking the subject of should we have goals, do we understand our goals? Sometimes our goals are spurious and conditioned by the thinking of others, and you know we have this idea that you know, in the workplace especially, we get our ladder up against the wrong wall because our thinking is conditioned by what success means to other people, what performance means to other people, what quality means to other people. So, essentially, what a coach is doing is helping you in formative inquiry that helps surface insight, clarity, awareness, understanding and then supports you to employ those insights, those ideas, those discoveries. So it is a supportive orientation, it's based on a sense of interdependency, it's based on a presupposition that if I create the right conditions for you, you can create your own solutions. It doesn't have to be all your solutions, but you can learn to think and act for yourself.

Speaker 2:

Leader, because it takes them out of this kind of parent-child relationships that we tend to develop in organizations, where I know I tell you you comply and I start to get ticked off and frustrated, potentially because it feels like I'm making all the effort and you're following instruction and as soon as I reduce my effort or reduce my energy into that situation, then your performance suffers or you start to sit back Because actually, if I'm acting like a parent, you're going to act like a child or a young adult or a temperamental teenager sometimes. And those managers and leaders that get frustrated with that like, why can't people think for themselves? Why do I have to do everything? Why can't they just get to this for themselves? Why is it always down to me?

Speaker 2:

Quite often what we see is and we can demonstrate how they are the source of that system, because they have orientated in a certain way that has created a certain response. So if you're managing me like that, I think that's how you want me to act. I think I wait for you to tell me and I want to please you, and so that's the dynamic that gets it. And that's the dynamic that gets it. And for the talent in the organization, for the latent potential, for the people that are aspirational and want to go, go, go and kind of wantspace to grow, to develop, to evolve. You know this kind of glass ceiling idea.

Speaker 1:

And I think we discussed a little later. But you sort of offer a flexible approach, because I know a manager listening to this or a leader listening to this would be like, yeah, that's all fair and well, but you know, some people just need the direction because, they're unable to actually do the task and you talk a lot about a flexible approach to sort of gauging where and when to apply the direction versus apply the coaching, so to speak.

Speaker 1:

So you know, looking forward to uncovering that in a minute. I think you kind of uncovered why the context in leadership, why coaching is so important. The bottlene's terms a really pivotally important success factor for leadership. What kind of things, what kind of challenges do you think leaders have today that are probably going to be exasperated over the next couple of years that coaching is really going to need to take a front seat to try and help them navigate. Take a front seat to try and help them navigate.

Speaker 2:

Yes, the challenge for leadership, leaders and managers has never been so great. You know, I've been working in organisations for so long now and I've seen this compliance culture work begin to fragment, begin to not work. My formative experience was working in large-scale change programs and I've seen various ways in which organizations and large-scale change programs trying to adopt structure and control and build quality into the protocols build quality into the protocols as the world has changed and COVID is part of that and the tech is part of that the challenge for managers, this ability to be generalist, this ability to support people that might be working remotely, this ability to and manage multidiscipline teams, people's own appetite and aspiration shifting and shaping all through that time, what people expect in the world of work. You know people being more demanding generally for their own experience within work. You know, now you've got tech and AI layering through that, the need to have people aligned, coherent in groups, and grail of empowerment, which a lot of organizations pay lip service to and never actually find routes to integrate into the environment.

Speaker 2:

We absolutely need this for innovation, for entrepreneurial spirit, for us to be start to be more challenging. So you need great people that that act responsibly in situations, that act on their own initiative and know how to think. That, you know, can be aligned by a set of principles and values that create consistency of response, whether that's customer service, whether that's problem resolution, and that we can only get that through an interdependent structure. This old independent thinking from managers and leaders, you know, fragments very quickly under your eyes.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely so. I mean what I'm hearing is the world's getting more complex. We need people to be able to think for themselves. That's you know, that's how we're going to be able to, you know, get people to navigate themselves through complex change throughout an organization which is shifting against many different new demands, new emerging trends, new pressures, like you know, new AI, new technology transformations and.

Speaker 1:

I think what I'm hearing is it's really a critical aspect for agility. If you're wanting to be an agile organization and quickly adapt and quickly evolve, you need coaching in order to get people to think for themselves and be able to act for themselves without that bottleneck dependency for instruction from a central manager.

Speaker 2:

That's a great point, and it's one that I haven't got to myself. But absolutely, agility, yeah, that's a great point.

Speaker 1:

Agility. Yeah, that's a great point. So how I mean, I know, when anyone's navigating the vast seas of leadership, you know authentic leadership is a really important topic. How does coaching help leaders discover and leverage their own authentic leadership style?

Speaker 2:

own authentic leadership style.

Speaker 2:

So let's just first start with this authentic word, because it's one of those words that gets banded around as kind of a bit of a buzz phrase and put in competency frameworks and things, and yet it's actually misunderstood.

Speaker 2:

You know, we think, yeah, we all have different associations with that word. So authenticity is about me aligning with me. So it isn't about aligning with you or aligning with the corporate values or aligning with the objectives of a situation. It's about me being true to myself and having the comfort to express that. So, rather than it being adulterated, so rather than my conversation, my language being adulterated, perhaps by professional speak, adulterated, perhaps by professional speak, buzzwords, things, things I think will sound great in the um conversation, because that's what you know, my boss likes this phrase, or you know, whatever, whatever I think, wherever I'm saying something or acting in a way that has a strategy behind it, and it can be a really simple strategy, like I don't want to say there's a problem here because he's going to get annoyed or she's going to get annoyed and so I'll talk about something else instead or I'll give a different perspective.

Speaker 2:

But actually there's a real issue. And authenticity means I know my truth, I speak my truth means I know my truth, I speak my truth, I know what I feel, I am comfortable in sharing that. And the link to coaching comes from this element of inquiry within coaching and the ability to raise the self-awareness of the individual. So when I am coached, when my manager is coaching me, they are asking me effective questions simple, open, effective questions. So what's important about that? What else has happened, what's the consequence of that, what needs to happen, what's your sentiments around this as a solution? And the more comfortable I get with your style of layering those questions during a conversation, the more I start to trust this process, the more A I will find what I really think.

Speaker 2:

And sometimes people you know need need, um, some support to be able to feel comfortable in, in going into that reflective space and and having a pause in the conversation and thinking, okay, what's the most important?

Speaker 2:

Or what, what's, what's the number one issue here? Um, so, and I need comfort that your, your irritation, your frustration isn't going to trample over my ability to think, but when I'm given space to think, when I'm given the sense of comfort to think, I can surface what I do know, the insight that I do connect with and I can share that, and then that becomes an authentic self-expression. So you can see, this isn't a one-stop do connect with and I can share that and then that becomes an authentic self-expression. So you can see, this isn't a one-stop. This doesn't happen with a magic wand overnight. This is something that is in the relationship building that says my manager trusts my views, is interested, respects me enough to ask for my view and I feel comfortable and safe to express that view. And then something in the whole system relaxes, which is, you know, the tension that I've been holding to try and impress, to try and say the right thing, to try and get ahead in the conversation, to think, well, what does he want me to say?

Speaker 1:

Or what somebody else said.

Speaker 2:

Completely, completely. So that's why I use the word unadulterated, because you know you being authentically. You is the unadulterated version of you, and that's sometimes difficult to find when we are conditioned by our corporate environment, conditioned by our corporate environment. And this is why it's so lovely to be able to give managers and leaders these skills, because you start to de-layer, you start to cast away all these old affectations and behaviors of language. And well, if I don't say that just relax, it's a less is more type of conversation.

Speaker 1:

Well, you've definitely given me a different angle. I was, I was going for the leader themselves there, but you've um, you've illustrated that the application of the coaching enables everyone to be authentic in the fact that you're holding a safe space to you, being you speaking what's on your mind, without um, without bias, without guilt, without um. You know all of these things, um, which is clearly a great outcome you've you, you so I've.

Speaker 2:

I've misread your question.

Speaker 2:

Obviously there is a really important and this is why people love these coaching skills when, when they acquire them, integrate them, realize the potential of them for themselves as a manager and leader, to use these, these behaviors, they relax because a lot of our time is is helping managers to work less hard in the conversation.

Speaker 2:

So, as a manager, I come to you, know we might have a one-to-one or it might be we're talking in a meeting.

Speaker 2:

It might be about a project situation or a you know some situation of change or challenge. And if I'm operating from the coding, from the mindset see a problem, fix a problem because I think that's your expectation of me, that everybody in the room's expectation of me is managing the meeting, then I'm going to start to effort and my questions are going to be to understand the problem, form a quick synthesis of what a solution might be, start to explore options and then give an answer. Basically, if I think my job is to help you, if I'm willing to play a game that says let's just tease out what the thinking is here, what the thinking around the room might be, let me facilitate other people to think, to comprehend then something in my system relaxes because that duress of having to see a problem, fix a problem or have all the right answers or be infallible in my judgments, that relaxes. So me being me, me allowing myself to be me, is more available.

Speaker 1:

To add a layer on that, I think from something I've from myself, the journey that I've been on, which I think adds to it, as well as the. By putting these things into practice as a leader, your self-reflection, your muscle grows stronger, and so you start to pick up on your actual values, you start to become more aware of these things.

Speaker 1:

Right. You start to become more aware of who you are, what you you value. Like the point you made about speaking up where you know it. If you're being authentic, you would speak up if there was something being said or done that you didn't agree with.

Speaker 1:

Some people need to know their values in order to be able to strongly stand on them, and there was something I got from your books as well is that that self-reflection is pivotal, for before you can start getting that from others, you, as a leader, need to understand yourself, to be able to understand your values, to be able to understand yourself, to be able to understand your values, to be able to understand, to be able to hold the space for yourself, so that you can then hold the space for others, so to speak.

Speaker 2:

um, I thought it was another really, really great, completely, completely. And this is why um, it's really useful for anybody going into um middle management, senior management, executive leadership has at some point experience of being coached one-to-one by a trained, professional coach, because those conversations are hugely formative towards helping that manager and leader understand who they are, how they are, because the conversation is so intensely focused on them in a way that manager as coach, you know manager using coaching skills to layer through some of their conversations, but not all of their conversations, because not all conversations need to be coaching conversations. But having that distilled experience with somebody that can really focus and create the strength of inquiry that helps them reach those deeper levels of self-awareness and self-understanding and comprehension, those connections that get made to that sense of true self I don't think are broken. That's self-realization that you have where you think ah, this is important to me. I will not negotiate on this as a value because this is me.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, I love that.

Speaker 1:

Auth that you know. Authentic leadership, simple word. We've ended up finding a whole bunch of different angles and perspectives of it that are, you know, all immeasurably valuable. And that's just the wonder of language right being able to see these different perspectives et cetera.

Speaker 1:

So there you go Wonderful session with Julie Starr. Don't worry, this is only part one. We still got part two to do and that we'll be covering off in about two weeks. Uh, let's just recap where we're at. So we've covered, um, the definition of what coaching is, along with its many misconceptions.

Speaker 1:

Really important to get in order to start applying coaching skills effectively is to know what it is and what it isn't. We talked about coaching versus directing, which is another very important point, and explored some of the challenges in modern leadership today and why coaching is so important within the context of these challenges. We also spoke about the authentic leader and leadership with authenticity and looked at a lot of the importance around self-reflection for leaders in being able to be effective coaches be effective leaders as well. So next, when we focus on part two, we're going to be focusing in on the actual skills, the actual application of a lot of the things that we spoke about today and do stay tuned for that. We'll provide updates to that in all social media channels and I hope you enjoyed your search for Clarity today and the relaunch, the relook, etc. Please do provide comments on what you'd like to see, any improvements that could be made and, yeah, looking forward to seeing you in the next session. Hope you're all well, take care. Bye, we'll see you next time.

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