Mid-week Live Coaching: Manoj
Inspiring others takes a lot of greatness, and you can’t do that when you’re still living in your smallness. In this mid-week live coaching episode, Adam Quiney sits down with business coach Manoj Chugani to guide him out of that limiting place so he can do great things and teach others to do the same. They talk about how he is working on empowering businesses to magnify their impact through their business and why it is important for him to play a bigger game. Join Adam and Manoj in this ride of a coaching session and learn how you can start to wade through a mind that is going a mile a minute and find stillness and being in the moment to see through your goals have better transformation.
Listen to the Episode Here:
Mid-week Live Coaching: Manoj
We’re in a conversation with Manoj Chugani. I love how Manoj and I got into a relationship with each other. For me, Manoj represents a great deal of possibilities. His willingness to say yes to something that would require him to fly across the globe eight times in a year so that he could get the transformation and the ability to support people that he wanted is truly remarkable. This is a cool conversation and I know I say that about all of the conversations, but that’s the nature of my job. I have a lot of cool conversations I get to be in. First of all, Manoj is a man with a great deal of brilliance. If you followed my work at all, if you’re familiar with the spectrums of being, brilliance is one of the qualities that I love working with and have a great deal myself. If you don’t know about the Spectrums of Being but want to, let me know. Send me a message. Email me at Adam@AdamQuiney.com and tell me you’d like that. I’m happy to send it your way.
Manoj has a great deal of brilliance and you’re going to learn a couple of things in this conversation. First is the complexity that brilliance can get wrapped up in. I often think of it a little bit like John Nash as played by Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind. It’s almost like the brain starts making too many connections and almost creates false positives. It can become this swamp that’s almost impossible to wade through. There are going to be a few times in this conversation where it’s almost like I realize, “I have no idea what we’re talking about. I can’t keep following this.” I’ll bring that into the space rather than trying to keep up. If you notice yourself feeling like you’re trying to keep up, that’s a great thing to notice in terms of your leadership. Rather than trying to keep up with people, the opportunity in our leadership is to say, “I noticed I can’t keep up with you. Can you slow down?” “I’m having this experience over and over. I cannot follow you. Would you be willing to slow down or be with me?” “What is there for us to do with that? It might be me.”
The human thing to do is go like, “I feel stupid.” We don’t like feeling stupid so we rush to catch up. That’s not what a leader does. What a leader does is they take their experience and stop making it meaningful, but they presence it. In making it not meaningful, we allow it to still exist and then we put it into the space and say, “What do we need to do with this?” At first, I’ll let him go for a fair bit of time and then I’ll start to stop him. I’ll start to pause him a lot. What I’m doing is I’m shortcutting his process. He tends to get up into his head and then spin in the conversation. I start to give that less space and start to bring him back sooner to the question I’m asking and pin him down. That’s the second thing you’ll notice.
The third thing you’re going to notice is that in this conversation, we get to a point where I notice that one conversation we’re having about is like, “What’s the thing out there you want to address?” There’s this point where I realized like, “We have to talk about the conversation we’re having right now because that’s not working. The coaching conversation we’re in right now is all wacky. We have to bring our attention here first before we can go any further.” You’ll catch about midway through that it’s almost like a combo breaker. I presence that. You’ll see me do a lot of work to have Manoj get present to his experience as opposed to his thoughts about his experience of which he has a lot.
Finally, two other things, you’ll notice there’s a great deal of asking the question over and over again. Often, one of the things that I train coaches early on because it’s not the way we work on a day-to-day basis is to check-in like, “Did they answer my question?” What happens is we’ll ask a question of someone, they’ll say a bunch of words that seem like an answer to our question but have nothing to do with it or are only tangentially related and don’t answer what we’ve asked them. A powerful coaching question is, “Did you answer my question? Do you remember what the question was? What is the answer to the question I asked rather than what you’re saying right now?”
Fourth and finally, you’ll notice at the end, as we often do, creating specific practices for Manoj to take on. In our debrief, I speak to this. It would be easy at the end of this conversation to be like, “We’ve done enough work. This is hard ontological lifting.” It’s taking energy from me to keep pulling Manoj back and pinning him to where we are, and it’s taking energy from him to do that too. We’re going against the patterns that he’s created and my desire to collude in those patterns with them and that requires something of you energetically.
At the end of a conversation like this, the easiest thing to do is to be like, “I lifted that weight twelve times. That’s enough. I’m good.” Instead, we’re pushing that extra three. We’re making sure at the end that we even get specific actions. Otherwise, this is going to get wrapped back up into his head and there’s no change that’s going to happen from that place. This is a great conversation. Notice where you find yourself in it. Do you find yourself confused? Do you find yourself following along? What is your experience? See if you can distinguish that from how you feel you should be feeling in this conversation.
How was that, waiting for your turn?
There are no coincidences because whatever you spoke about leadership, leadership flows in one direction. It’s like a garbage up and gold down. I’m getting triggered so it resonates with what I wanted to speak about. It was cool. Thank you.
Share briefly what was it getting yourself enrolled, meaning getting yourself to a yes for that training? What were you saying yes to in terms of the travel and all of that?
For me, my journey working with a coach started way back in 2008. I did a program with Robin Sharma. It was in Canada. That was my first time there. It made a big impact on me. Because of what was spoken out there, all the top CEOs and the top athletes have a coach. I came back and I started working with the coach. It was the best decision. At that time, I had an office in Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Spain and France. I was struggling to manage all those different offices. It was a good decision because I was able to work from home. My kids were young. My daughter was born that year. I was able to spend time with them. I was able to work from home in shorts, a t-shirt, and a pair of flip-flops. It’s the new norm now, but at that time, it was not. I was able to do that in a few months.
From that point of view, working with the coach was a good decision. It was also bad timing because this is when we had the financial crisis and that had a big impact on me. If it wasn’t for my coach, I probably would not be married to the same person. My wife has been an incredible support for me but it was my coach out there who kept me sane. I still have a smaller version of the same business. I was able to save that. I still live off of that. That’s still there. That whole journey about what a coach did for me inspired me to become a coach.
At that time, I was looking at business coaching. I became a business coach in 2013. I had access to all the tools, systems and all that, but I still felt something was missing and this is working with my coach. I then got present to the ICF Leadership Coaching. I saw that something was missing in my practice. Having the tools, the systems, and working as a business coach, there was something else missing. It was through Mindvalley I discovered Litvin. For me, he’s probably one of the best coaches that I’ve seen in this world.
One of the first videos I watched was of you being coached out there and that was inspiring. I said, “I would never be able to do this with my wife in the same call.” It was confrontational and edgy. I got curious about this. I made it a point to be at his Intensive. I came out there and that’s when I met you. I spoke to you. I said, “I have to speak to you because how the hell did you agree to do that call?” I don’t know. That was normal. That’s when you recommended AC, Accomplishment Coaching. I didn’t ask too many questions. I did superficial due diligence. My wife is doing the program. She asked me, “Did you fill up all the questions?” I said, “No. I put my credit card.” I put whatever was there. I signed in because I was like, “Hell yes.” It was life changing.
The only regret I have was I didn’t give it 100%. I have another business. I’ve always got too many things to do at the same time, which is what I want to speak to you about. I didn’t give it as much as I could. I still got a lot out of it. I would look forward to flying out there. It’s no fun traveling economy. Dealing with the jetlag, I would be on 3 or 4 hours of sleep. I did my yoga and my meditation, whatever I could to keep awake. I try keeping away from the tea and the caffeine.
Were you going every month? Were you traveling? Did you do their program that was four times over the course of the year?
No. It was still eight trips, but it was every second month.
There must have been something you saw for yourself to say yes to that, as opposed to like, “There’s this online course.” What was it that you saw or got present to? What inspired you to be a yes to that?
It was a leap of faith. I watched Rich Litvin coaching you guys and I said, “I want to coach like him or coach like you guys.” I spoke to Bea as well and then you introduced me to Dawn. I spoke to Dawn out there. She was the final push and then I spoke to Hali, “Let’s go through the motions. The decision was made.” Before doing that, you were kind enough to give me two calls to challenge me. We had one in October and one when I able to sign up. I stuck to that commitment. As soon as I finished talking to you, I reached out to her and put my credit card down and I said, “Okay.” It was a leap of faith.
Do I have any regrets? No. If I have any regrets, I didn’t accompany you on the mentor coaching program because what I got present to was I see myself as a business coach with ontological skills. Christopher, the CEO of AC, challenged me. I said, “You may see it that way but I’ve been a business coach for seven years. That’s what I want to work on. This is an extra skill that’s going to help me work with the leadership teams that I coach, but I am primarily a business coach.” I have been working on that. That’s where I am.
A business coach with ontological skills.
That’s my goal. I would like to keep working on my ontological practice. I haven’t done much of that because I’ve upgraded my skills as a business coach. That’s the next chapter of my life.
You, Manoj, often are a bit of an inspiration for me. Part of our job as coaches is to be in a conversation with people that gets them present to what’s possible in their lives if they were not stopped by everything that stops us. That’s not like, “This person is busted, therefore.” Everyone is stopped by whatever stops them. We all have our context, our blind spots. You’re often an inspiration for me in those conversations with people.
People will be like, “I live in Canada. I’m coming down to the States one weekend every month.” I’m like, “Let me tell you about a man I know named Manoj who, from four conversations, said yes to this. Can I put you in touch with him or can I share a story with you or something like that?” It’s a beautiful model for what it takes to say yes to possibility. I’m sure there are a million good reasons not to do that, to not choose that, and yet there you did because you saw something impossible. It’s cool. What are we going to talk about here? What’s going to be the conversation that someone watches you in and then comes to you and be like, “How did you do that? How do I coach like you do?”
One of my biggest takeaways from doing the Litvin Intensive in London, in 2017 when you were there, I got present and I said, “My purpose is to let go of my smallness and own my greatness and inspire others to do the same.” This is where I am because the coaching program I did in 2019 was in service of working with larger businesses. What’s happening is I still feel my smallness is getting in the way. I still seem to be attracting a lot of prospects and leads from the smaller businesses. I’m okay with that, but what’s happening here is I can see how it’s getting in my way. I know with Accomplishment Coaching, what was clear is that we are not supposed to show up as experts.
In business coaching, at least the methodology that I’m certified on, there is a certain level of competence and expertise in that. What happens is when I’m coaching or when I’m speaking to prospects from a smaller business, how it shows up is a bit of arrogance on my part where I call them small. There’s a certain comfort level. There’s that hierarchy, which I don’t want to be coaching from but I noticed I’m coaching from. When I’m working with them, I create that hierarchy in my conversations. On the flip side, the segments that I want to work with are the larger businesses. I feel small when I’m speaking to them. When I’m speaking to them, it’s the opposite of that. I show up unconfident, a bit nervous, a bit clumsy.
These are the big people?
The bigger clients that I would like to work with. I’m curious about that. What the hell is happening? It’s automatic. I want to know what’s underneath that. This is one aspect. I’ll bring in another aspect, maybe they relate or maybe they not, so you can help me distinguish it. It’s also this thing about asking for money. I am looking to grow as a coach and make a bigger impact. The reason I’ve chosen bigger clients is that I want to work with businesses that are making a difference in this world. The way the world is today, it’s only the entrepreneurs who are going to step up and solve problems. If I can empower them to step out of the smallness, on their greatness, and magnify that impact through their businesses, it’s what I want to do and be rewarded for that. This is the underlying purpose. That smallness is showing up because I’m still asking for money as I would with smaller clients. That hierarchy is showing up out there as well.
Something that happened where I have a context, at least in my reality, when I get leads and prospects from India, there’s always that tussle, the pricing is concerned. My context is the dollar to rupee conversion always goes in a tailspin there. Because of the pandemic and how appalling the situation is for the daily wage earners for the migrant workers, I said, “These small businesses cannot pay what I’m asking for. If I want to contribute, what would’ve it look like?” I’m in a conversation with some people to create a group coaching program where they pay something as little as $300 or less a month for a program that we will charge $1,500 or $2,500 a month. It’s a ten-month coaching program. I’m willing to do this for free. They pay this and the entire amount will be donated to a nonprofit that I volunteer for. Those conversations have gone smoothly. There’s been enrollment because I got my coach to say, “I won’t charge you for the IP on this. I’m there. I’m in. I will support you with this. No charge at all.”
What’s important about what you’re telling me?
What’s important is it’s not about me. When I’m focusing on the difference I want to make, it’s effortless. There’s flow, connection, and enrollment. In all the previous conversations, I’m making it about me. I’m making it about how I am doing about my worth and all that. I’m present to that. This was a new discovery for me because those conversations have been effortless when it’s a contribution.
What was important about what you were telling me?
I’m not focusing on myself. When I’m connected to my purpose, I’m willing to make a difference. I’m okay to enroll others. I’m not there in the picture. There’s no focus on me. It’s about focusing on the client, the difference you can make for them, and the difference I can make for the nonprofit. I’m a conduit. The spotlight is not on me.
Why is that important? I’m not asking that question like, “So what?” More like, “I’m curious. What about that is important?”
What about that is important because there was no smallness or bigness, nothing on that coming up. My stops were not there. What’s stopping me is the money conversation, feeling big or small when I’m speaking to a prospect when it’s about me and the client. In this case, it’s not about me. It’s about the client, how I can help them, and how I can contribute to the nonprofit. In my small world, this would be the biggest contribution that I made.
I heard a couple of things, but I want to check in with you. What would you love to leave here with?
Some clarity on how I can play a bigger game. I want to raise the bar. I want to make a bigger difference. Clarity on that and getting present to the automatic stops when they show up. What do I do?
With Manoj, what I’m present to already is that this is a brilliant man and can see a great deal, which is awesome until it’s a problem. In that conversation, at least for me, you might check in with yourself and ask, “How much of that was I following along with?” There became this point where I was like, “Why are we talking about this? What am I listening to?” Not from like, “This is wrong. I’m bored, therefore we should talk about something different.” More like, “I got lost in all of the conversations.” That’s where that question of like, “What’s important about this stemmed from?”
It’s worth noting that we don’t have anywhere we’re going to yet. We’re still at the point where we’re setting like, “What is our destination?” What’s next is to start to get clear on that. What does a bigger game look like for Manoj? That will allow us to pare away a little bit of the conversation and focus on what matters. To bring that back to you, Manoj, what does playing a bigger game look like? I get the sense of it, the concept, bigger game. If you made that real for me and brought that into something concrete, what would that look like?
What I’m getting present to is if I was working with my ideal client, my ideal client would be clear on he or she wants to do that business is making a difference. I’m working with clients who are a contribution to this world. For me, it’s like, “How do I empower businesses to realize their vision for a better world?” For me, it would be businesses where there’s a clear connection to purpose and a clear connection to the team. These are businesses that could be in the range of $10 million, $50 million, $100 million, $200 million. It could be the teams of 10, 50, 200, 300 people as well. It’s led by a humble leadership team. It’s about using the business as a way of making a difference. If I was coaching about 15 or 20 of those kinds of businesses, I would have group coaching programs and some of them would be a contribution to India, Africa. I don’t know. I haven’t decided that yet.
You’re doing perfect. I’m appreciating you. Do you remember the question?
What would that look like?
What do you notice about your answer to that question?
I started talking about what my practice would look like.
None for me.
There’s stuff I noticed. I wanted to see what you could create some altitude and say, “Oh.” I noticed it’s sprawling. Here in the west coast of Canada, we have a city called Vancouver. Some of the suburbs are sprawling. They’re all over the place. There’s no rhyme or reason. You’re like, “What was even the intention of this? It seems the city is like kudzu, it grew out.” That’s what I noticed about your answer. I’m like, “There are 50, 200, 400 people. They may be doing this. There in India or maybe Africa or maybe all over the place.” What is the concrete thing? If we were able to have you play a bigger game by the end of this conversation, what are you doing? It’s like, “Everything,” which would be a bigger game, for sure. Before we go to trying to change that, I want to invite you to check-in and be with that. How is that for you? Seeing that, how is that?
It’s confronting because I can see how my fears, my insecurities, wanting me to hold on to the past. I’m still playing safe because going for what I want would mean choosing. This is a pattern for me because I want everything. In the end, what happens is it turns out to be scattered focus and scattered focus then turns out to be being busy. It’s activity and not productivity. Choosing is scary.
I’ve noticed that I can relate to a lot of this. It’s not an unfamiliar place for me to be. What I saw in my own life was that choosing everything is choosing nothing. It’s the same. There is no choice. When we choose everything, you haven’t chosen something. We could zero into that. We could have a coaching conversation about your relationship to choice and all of that stuff or we could have you practice choosing something at the moment and then work on the thing that drives up.
Where we started this conversation was that there’s this relationship between someone being smaller than you or bigger than you, “I’m more competent or I’m less competent.” Top dog, bottom dog, whatever. It sounds like that’s in the way of creating the next bigger client. Now we’ve got this other path, which is this struggle, this challenge, this fear or resistance to choosing any one thing. We’ve got two directions we could go in, which do you feel called to move towards?
It’s connected because I’m transitioning into the larger clients. I have a few of them. I don’t have enough of them. I have more of the smaller clients. It’s reasonable because for a few years I have been invested in working with the smaller businesses so momentum is generating those leads, which keep coming to me from the smaller businesses. There’s not been enough effort put in working on the larger businesses. As a result, what happens is I then complain that I get more of the smaller clients because I haven’t chosen or made that intentional choice that this is who I am. As coaches, we work with clients, and we tell them, “What is your sandbox?” I’m not choosing a sandbox, I want this.
What do you want?
What success would look like for me is I will be coaching 10 to 15. I don’t want to go to twenty because this is a lifestyle choice. It’s 10 to 15 midsize businesses. What is a midsize business? A midsize business is a leadership team of ten. The leadership team could be 5 to 15 people, that’s fine, but it could be a business that’s got about 20 up to 200 or 300 people. This is also a midsize business. What do I mean by a midsize business? It’s not small. It’s not the large Fortune 500 businesses. It’s in the middle.
I noticed that there’s a lot. It feels over here your mind is like, “Ugh,” “What do I mean by that?” and there’s more conversation. Is that how it occurs for you?
I’m most present when I’m speaking slowly. When there’s a lot of conversation, I’m not present. I’m in my context and my thoughts.
That sounded from your head you like were maybe taking what I’d said, put it into your brain, and thought about it from a brainy place. I’m asking more of this conversation we’re in now. How does it feel to you? What’s your experience of being in this conversation right now, your lived in, “in this moment” experience?
It feels familiar, but it’s also confronting to admit it on an interview like this.
What else is your experience?
My experience is this happens to me when I feel caught out because it’s coming back to what we distinguish.
Do I have your permission to keep interrupting you?
I know that it’s a little annoying and I get that. I keep getting caught out. Let me speak to everyone else first. Part of what happens in coaching is we’re looking at what someone wants in their life and how do we move them towards that in their life? The other thing that can happen is that the way they show up in their life starts to show up in the coaching conversation. What we’re doing is reflecting how someone is being at the moment. That’s what I’m doing with Manoj. I notice that a lot of this conversation is a dialogue with his brain, which as we can all tell, hopefully, you can tell that it is brilliant in there but it’s a morass. There are threads. This goes to that, and this goes to that, goes to that. We could lose ourselves in it forever.
I noticed that conversation doesn’t seem to be moving us anywhere. We’re dropping down into one more layer and taking a look at what your experience is right now. This is for you to listen to as well, Manoj. You haven’t heard that other stuff as you’re talking to them. When I asked him what his experience was, he described that it was familiar and he started to talk about how he felt about that. He wasn’t describing the experience itself. If I said to you, Manoj, if you asked me, “What’s my experience?”
My experience was I felt exhausted and tired. I’m not saying this is how you feel, but that’s the experience I have, “My experience is I don’t like feeling this way. I often notice I felt that way in the past,” which is less speaking to my experience at the moment and more speaking to how I feel about the experience I’m having. Can you get that distinction? I can explain a little better if you need me to. I’m going to ask you a question before your brain is like, “Got it. Let’s put this into the brilliant calculator.” Check in with yourself. What is the experience you’ve had so far? Not how do you feel about it, not, “In the past this,” or “I often know this means that,” but “What is the experience I’m having at this moment?”
It’s familiar, draining. It’s justification. It’s also a classic cop-out that keeps me from making the choices I need to.
Let me pause you because it happened. Did you guys catch that? A classic cop-out is not an experience. A classic cop-out is an evaluation of what I’m experiencing. It’s an analysis of what I’m doing. I am doing this because it allows me to cop-out. Do you notice that, Manoj? All we’re trying to do now is separate your lived experience at the moment from your brain story about it. I don’t even know where that’s going to lead us but I do know that it’s going to allow us to be situated where we are a little bit more and we can start to take the next foot forward. You’ve got some judgment about this. The experience I have is I’m feeling a bit drained. I’m feeling I’m justifying a lot of stuff. Can you plug in? Is there any other experience in this conversation that’s showing up for you?
My head feels blank in making decisions or moving forward in this. It feels familiar and when I’m in the situation where my head goes blank, I freeze. I don’t take action.
That’s a prediction or something out of the past?
When I’m here, this is what happens?
Let me check in over here. My experience is a little bit of confusion, fear, concern like, “Is this conversation making sense to anyone else?” I’ve got some of my own performance in the space. I can feel and I’m present to that. A little bit, my experience is I have a half-smile that’s present in my being that’s enjoying both being in this with you and watching. It’s almost like I’m watching you get out of that little hamster wheel and you’re like, “Totally,” and you get back in it. Hold on. I’m present to that. Part of my experience is a desire to get onto that wheel with you and the energy it’s requiring of me to keep not doing that. That’s my experience at this moment. Having shared that, are you present to anything else in your lived-in experience?
In my previous coaching conversation, spinning is something I do all the time so that’s what’s happening now. It’s being the hamster on that. What happens is, I get lost in analyzing or at least analyzing too much. That’s what’s happening out here. What else is happening? That’s it. I’m having to articulate what’s happening. My headspace has cleared up.
What do you think all of that is about?
From the coach training, it is a way to keep me safe, but this is my head talking. I feel this is a way of keeping me stuck and I complain about being stuck, but this is a way of keeping me stuck so I stay safe and I don’t take action.
First of all, I acknowledge you. I love that you caught yourself, “In my training program, I know that, but that’s totally from my head.” It’s like when someone is like, “I’m doing something for my fear,” and they’re like, “Why do you think you’re doing that?” I’m like, “In this textbook from Freud, it clearly means that.” There’s none me in that. That’s way up in the stands. It’s interesting. In this conversation we’re having, we’re asking what do you want? What do you want to create? What’s showing up is a lot of analysis, a lot of justifying, explanation, feeling drained and feeling blank. What do you think that is designed for? If all of that was somehow created or put together at some point, what do you think all of that is designed to protect you from in this conversation?
Before I answer that question, can I tell you what came up for me before you ask the question?
What came up for me is a familiar place where I come to in my calls with Christopher. This has come up before as well because what has happened in this conversation feels like a cloud has lifted. I can see my shenanigans have disappeared and what I need to do is plain and simple. I have defined who my ideal client is. I have an action plan. I need to go out and do it. The lack of a plan or not knowing what to do is not the challenge. Where I see I get caught in is this fogginess that comes in my head, which is to answer your question, what is it protecting me from this fogginess when it comes in my head? It is protecting me from taking that step because taking that step would mean being on this show and being vulnerable.
What is the step?
Go out there and do it.
I got an opportunity to speak to a group.
I’m going to let you say anything you want. I want to check and make sure you’re answering the question, which is what is the step for you to do now as opposed to what is an example of something that happened in the past that is totally distinct. They sound similar but when we talk about the past, that’s not about what is there for you to do from here to move forward now. I want to make sure you’re answering that question.
I’ve worked the plan out with my coach. I need to work on the plan. That’s it.
What is the step?
My commitment is to reach out to the organizations where I can find my ideal clients, get in there, have the conversations, do the webinars and do the presentations. That’s it.
What is the next step? You’re doing fine. For everyone else, Manoj is doing perfectly. He’s doing amazing in this conversation because we’re getting them from every single side. He’s like, “You got me again.” Sometimes this is what it is to be a coach. It’s to keep asking the question until the answer is there. What is the step? I heard a bunch of things that there are to do inside of a plan. What’s the next step?
A simple plan is having conversations with one business owner every day. I’m discussing and sharing with them what I do with the intention of asking them about speaking engagements or prospects who might be interested in coaching. That’s it. It’s a simple step at the moment. I’ve been doing it and it’s effective.
How is it going?
It’s going very well.
Is there anything more to have you playing big or as you’re taking those steps, you’re already there?
For now, I’m there, and where this thing about big or small, it’s a question of managing at the moment when it shows up. As we were taught at AC, maybe do a clearing before I get into situations where I feel like I may be triggered. When I’m triggered, I reflect on that. I take that to my coach.
What had you brought up, “I need to play bigger and let go of smallness,” when it sounds like you’re already in action and now that we’ve gotten through all the smoke, you’re already in action, and you’re doing everything there is to take. What had that be the request you brought into the conversation?
Because of my survival mechanism, I don’t know how you will distinguish it for your audience. Whatever I do for my survival mechanism, it’s never good enough, to put it in perspective.
Don’t put it in perspective. Let me pause you. I’m going to speak again to the audience. There’s a funny thing that happens in the coaching profession, which is, a foundation of this work is coaches should work with coaches. We’ve got to do more of our work than anyone else. One of the other things that couples with that is there’s a lot of needy, desperate coaches because it’s hard to build a business. We don’t know how to do that. These people get into the industry, and after one year, they’re like, “I’m going to be a coach’s coach.” They decide to coach these people who are desperate and needy. What they don’t understand is coaches are the worst clients. This is not about you Manoj, I promise. I include myself in this.
We’re sophisticated. We have a fancy language to talk about this stuff and our ego has grabbed all of our training. It’s like why a lawyer does not get put on juries. As a lawyer, as a member of the BAR, I cannot be selected for a jury, because I messed that whole process up. That’s what coaches do when they’re being coached. We’re like, “From my survival mechanism, because of my training, ergo, the money conversation.”
Stop all that because what it does is we’re coaching ourselves, which is putting our fingers in the machinery. It’s a little bit of what we’ve got going on here. Manoj, I am curious if you set aside everything you knew, all of your training, and we’re like, “From an honest place, what had me bring that, ‘I want to let go of my smallness?’” What had that be the thing that was there for you to bring, given that you’re in action and you’re doing this stuff?
I noticed that I was on a call with four other entrepreneurs. These were large businesses. I felt small in that conversation and I was a coach. This was a group coaching opportunity I put my hand up for and I felt that I didn’t do as well. One of my conclusions was, it was how I showed up.
If there’s anyone reading who’s like, “This should have gone this way, that way, or this is the way I thought it would,” this is how coaching can be. There’s a trend that we have to keep our eye on but at the moment, you’re all over the map. You’re doing your best. These coaching requests got triggered because you were in a group with four other entrepreneurs and you felt you showed up in a way that was small. There is a different way you’d like to show up. If you were to show up a little more aligned with how you want to show up, what would have been different? What would we have noticed?
When I put my hand up for a similar program and they were smaller businesses, I showed up more confident. These were bigger businesses so I made myself small. I felt like there was less connection. Because I felt there was less connection, I started analyzing, I started beating myself up. I don’t know if I showed up small, but I felt small. How I would like to have shown up is no hierarchy. Meet the person where they are, and be there in service of the person.
It sounds like there’s this ranking that happens inside your big beautiful brain which is the moment someone shows up in front of you, it’s either they’re smaller than me or they’re bigger than me or there’s that Goldilocks person that’s on par with you. You’re keeping score constantly and one of you will have hierarchy over the other one.
This is where it gets a bit tricky and goes down a slippery slope because the moment I see the person is not as smart as I thought, I elevate myself in my mind, and this is what I don’t like.
I’m going to pause you. We don’t want to go into why you don’t like it. You’re doing great. How am I doing intellectually over here?
Fine. We’re grateful for this. I’m feeling vulnerable on this, but I put my hand up for this.
There’s this ranking. You’re the Jason Bourne of who’s smarter, bigger, and better or whatever the labeling is. There’s like, “I can see that person. They’re here. They’re there. These people, I have some that I can give to, the people that are bigger.” What is the story that plays out once you realize they’re above you? What’s the conversation? Try to keep it succinct if you can?
Am I good enough? That’s it.
I’m guessing it’s because I’m not good enough?
How do you determine not being good enough? I’m guessing it’s not, do I give my kids enough presents at Christmas? Relative to them, I’m guessing there’s some other measure of being good enough so what is that?
I analyze and come to a conclusion. I make an assumption.
There are many different ways that we can make that conclusion. I can be like, “I’m fitter than them, therefore, I’m better than them.” I’m guessing that’s not your calculus. Is it like, “I’m not good enough because I’ve not made as much money?” Is it, “I’m not good enough because they have more people?” What is the measure you’re using to determine good enough?
The difference between the previous group and this group. The previous group is all women. This is all men. I don’t know whether it’s a man thing because mine is bigger than yours shows up. Maybe that’s there. That could be a financial thing or a knowledge thing. I’m not going down the financial path here, but it was more of a knowledge thing. The question was, “Did I flaunt how much I know to show that I’m good enough?”
It sounds like the calculus used to determine if you’re good enough is money and knowledge. It’s good to see this because the more we can nuance and see, we can start to push. We don’t have to put our focus on certain things so not good enough is the broadest. It’s like, “Is that person better or worse than me?” If better, then this. If worse, then that. We’re getting a little closer. Money or smarts? Money or knowledge? Let’s get a little closer. Was it money or smarts with these four people?
For me, what’s coming up is, “I won’t feel as valued.” It’s a money thing. I won’t be as valued if I’m not in the same network.
We’ve gotten a little clearer. You’re around these people and the calculus happening is, and it’s not that it always happens this way, but at least in these situations, they’re better with money, they’ve got more money, they’re better at making it, or whatever.
It’s an assumption. I don’t know these people.
It’s 100% but so is everything. We’re always operating with these assumptions and that was what you felt. From that assumption, “They’re better than me because of more money,” what did you then do? What’s the compensatory mechanism that shows up?
For me, it is to use knowledge. I use that as my shield. When I don’t get an opportunity to display that, I feel vulnerable, and I feel diminished.
It’s like, “You might have more money than me but let me tell you and demonstrate how smart I am, as bouncing off.” What are the ways that you ensure that gets communicated? How do you make sure they get that you are this knowledgeable guy?
By doing exactly what you’re not supposed to be. I show up as an expert or consultant, which you’re not supposed to do that much.
Hold on because you’re about to editorialize yourself. Show up as an expert. What are some of the ways you show up as an expert? If we let this be totally perfect, as opposed to what you should, shouldn’t do and what I’ve been trained.
I do more of the talking instead of asking the questions and maybe they were reserved. I see the silence as them judging me. I feel that I make it about me and not make it about them. I’m all the time making assumptions on how I’m being judged rather than being in the moment and being of service.
You went down the path of what you should and shouldn’t be doing or the right way to do this. I’m going to bring you back here to where we’re looking at. As a practice outside of this conversation, I honor your heart and your dedication to your work. I get that it’s hard for you to let yourself be exactly where you are because you’re like, “I should be doing this and I should not be judging people.” There’s all of what you should be doing and it comes from this beautiful good place where you want to be of service but I noticed it has you five steps down the road no matter how well intended that is. It keeps you from being where you are. Do you get that before I say more?
I’m going to invite you to notice that happening. You know a great deal more than most people. As soon as you notice what you should be doing, I invite you to let go of that and practice being where you are. Where you are at is intimidated by the amount of money these people have made. From they’re trying to compensate by expressing and demonstrating a whole lot of knowledge. For starters, I would suggest even sitting with that, “That’s what I’m doing.” It probably works in some places. From that, it’s understandable and makes all the sense in the world. We’ve got to show up as an expert and do more of the talking. Any other stuff that you can see you’ll do when that dynamic is present for you?
When I’m uncomfortable, then I go out of my way for them to like me.
How do you make them like you?
In the sense of, I try to use humor.
I love your sense of humor.
If it’s not funny, it’s not serving me yet.
You’re doing it right there. Do you catch that? I’m doing it wrong, so I’m like, “Why do I have headaches?” It’s because I keep punching myself in the head. Using humor is a good one. I’m well acquainted with that approach. Anything else you can see?
Clearly, it’s not authentic.
Now we’re getting into the editorializing?
What do I do? I tend to use humor and lightning. That’s it. I find ways to add value by, “I have this tool. I have that tool. I know this. What about this and that?” What I would equate to the peacock dance.
Provide a bunch of value and give them a ton of tools. A couple of things and I want to create some practices with you before we wind down. This makes sense, first of all. Can you see how this makes a lot of sense? The way things are set up, not how they should be, but the truth of the world, at least as some are better, some are worse. When you’re around the people that are better, what there is for you to do is to prove how you’re equal with them.
One of the ways you do that is to give them tools and demonstrate knowledge. Can you see how the way you described business coaching at the start of this conversation is a perfect fit for that? It’s like, “Whether it’s not just to be with them, give them a bunch of tools and expertise,” which then like, “I get to be on par with them. I’ve got something to contribute.” The other thing I want to invite you to consider is the experience you are having with them of being less than.
Imagine if that was the same experience everyone else around these people in their lives was having. Imagine that it’s not just you. I’m not saying this is even true. Let’s imagine that possibility. Imagine that they’re creating this with everyone. Everywhere these four entrepreneurs go, people have this experience of being less than. Imagine everyone is doing the same thing you’re doing, trying to scrabble up so that they get purchase and can then be back on the same level with these people.
Some powerful feedback I got from a mentor-coach some time back was when she said, “What if what you were feeling was simply a reflection on what you’re trying to feel?” Getting present to that. Maybe what I felt was not what I felt, but I may have been reflecting on what they felt. If I’m creating this ranking, I could be making them feel diminished. To what you said, I never thought of how it would be for them to get present to be more empathetic to how people feel around them.
The risk here that I’m present to is that the part of you that’s trying to feel better about this and doesn’t want to be in the discomfort. It’s like, “Maybe it’s their stuff and I don’t have to worry about feeling diminished.” I’m going to assert it’s both. Your stuff is here because you’ve got that hierarchy and it’s their stuff. What I want to invite you to take a look at is to imagine you’re the only person in the world willing to share this dynamic. Imagine you’re the only person in the world that’s willing to be like, “I feel small relative to you guys.” What do you see that might make available for them?
That’s the same thing you’ve given me perspectives I never had. It would be perspectives they may never have had.
They might have a new perspective. Anything more specific than that?
If somebody came up to me and I’m impacting people like this, I’ll go, “I never thought of that.” I’ll be more conscious of it and make it a point to see that people don’t feel that way in my presence.
Imagine, everyone in the world is doing exactly what you’re doing with these people, trying to scrabble up for purchase so that they’re on the same level. That’s going to be exhausting. You’re doing the same thing. Not from wrong, but like, “That’s the dynamic that exists.” Do you think that there might be a benefit to them breaking that up? Would it possibly allow them to earn more money or have a bigger impact in the world or anything along those lines?
I love this quote. “These powerful people don’t think less of themselves. They think less about themselves.”
How does that relate to the question I asked you?
Some of the most powerful people I’ve met, one thing that stands out is how comfortable they made me feel, how humble they’ve been, and what a joy it’s been to be in their presence.
All I’m asking you is, can you imagine if people got present to that impact? “People are trying to scrabble up for purchase to be on the same level with me.” If you acknowledge that over here and you didn’t make it mean anything to them, but they got to be with someone who is able to say like, “I noticed I’m trying to scrabble up for purchase to be on the same level as you.” They got from that to start to see like, “I didn’t realize that that’s happening everywhere.” They got the opportunity to see that. Do you think that might impact their ability to impact the world and the amount of income they might make?
This thing is about empowering the team because if everybody is scrabbling to get the extra purchase to be around them or do something to them or be equal to them, it’s draining. It’s not empowering. It’s disempowering. To have a team, to be surrounded by people like that and have a counselor like that, it doesn’t fit my version of an ideal client.
What do you think there might be for you to practice with all of this?
The first thing is managing myself here because I do not have to compensate. What I’ve got through this is that awareness of how to compensate for me to use Ken Blanchard’s SCORES. It was another demonstration of how I use knowledge to show how smart I am, so I’m present to that.
What do you think there might be to practice?
What is there to practice in this is be in the moment. It’s self-awareness. I know I tend to do this, “How do I manage it at the moment?” That is there to practice, but I know it’s going to show up.
What would help you in doing that?
Post-it Notes before I get into a meeting. Go out there with a quote like, “Be yourself.” That’s it.
First of all, the water we swim in is hard to see and it’s harder to see when we’re up against our fear. When I’m swimming away from a shark, it’s hard for me to be like, “Water.” I’m less likely. In the face of that, the more pointed our practices and the more specific it is, the better it is because it cuts through a lot of the fuzz and the chaff. What is hard to see is, the best of times, a little more specific and easy. You said Post-it Notes, but a lot of that to me felt vague. How aware of this at the moment are you? Do you be like, “I’m doing it right now. Here it is.” Is it more like you see it after the fact?
I would say it’s half and half. On the days when my well-being is taken care of, I’ve meditated, and done my yoga, it’s much better. At the end of the day, I’m tired, then I’m more likely to succumb to the automatics.
It sounds like one practice for you might be simply noticing this more. Would you agree with that?
Is that something to put on a Post-it Note? Is that the thing you’re thinking about putting there or is there something different?
That’s it. It’s a sign saying that dogs know there are visitors coming. The same thing. I know that this is going to happen, so just be aware.
What are you going to be noticing showing up for you?
I’m going to see if I’m doing the peacock dance.
I love that you’ve got a name for it. What do you see in my practice when you do catch it? If all you did was notice this, awesome. If you wanted to go a step further, what do you think might support you in practicing when you do catch this happening?
Just pause, take a few deep breaths, do quick mindfulness, feel my fingers, awareness of breath, or something to get out of my head and get grounded in the body.
Is part of what you wanted to create with these people was more connection at the moment?
How can you practice that when you notice this showing up?
I will be vulnerable and I’ll be open to sharing what’s going on for me.
No one is going to force you to do this. Even in putting a name to the thing, then allows it to be a little more clear in the moment, you don’t have to choose it. What you said was like, “When I catch this, I might even just share it. I’m trying to do my peacock dance for you. I just caught that. How was this for you? Did you like my peacock feathers?” How do those practices feel? Did they feel like they’ll create something different for you?
It’s good because, at the end of the day, you lead by example. By me sharing what’s going on for me, it will provide the space whether they take it or not. It does give them an open invitation to do the same and that’s connection. By letting yourself be seen, you let others be seen.
You create the clearing for seeing. I’ve got two other practices for you. The first one is I would invite you to be in the practice of what’s my experience at the moment versus all that other stuff. You might set an alarm on your phone every 30 minutes, every hour, every four hours with the question, “What is my current experience?” All you’re doing is separating all of your brain from the experience in the present felt experience. You can take that on as a practice and start to deepen that muscle to discern it. In a lot of ways, that’s the gift you have for people.
I asked you about your experience and when I noticed you were struggling a little bit to distinguish that, I shared, “Here’s my experience.” I could make it meaningful. “I’m scared that people are watching and I’m scared that we’re doing the wrong thing and I’m annoying Manoj.” I could create that as meaningful, and then try to not let it exist. Instead, I can just share it like a gift and let it go. “That’s all there for me. I’m not going to let it dictate what happens next, but it’s there.” The other thing is a book you might appreciate and enjoy. I’m not sure if you read it. It’s Getting Naked by Patrick Lencioni. Have you read that?
Yeah. It’s on my shelf.
It might be worth reading. Have you read it or is it just on your shelf?
I have read it and I’ve listened to it.
Reading it through on the heels of this conversation might provide you a lot because that whole book is about what we’ve been talking about, which is showing up and like, “I don’t know.” That’s my strength for you. In a lot of ways, that’s my gift to my clients that sometimes they’re like, “Adam, who the hell are you to tell me what to do? What I need is a team of CEOs.” On the one hand, I’m like, “That’s fine if that’s what you want, but if you’d like, I can answer that question for you and tell you what I can bring.”
I don’t have your stories about the world. When you tell me, “Adam, you know how it is. It’s got to be this way.” I’m going to go, “Why?” I’m going to ask you questions like a child would that are going to invite you to explore your assumptions rather than propagate the assumptions you have with you in collusion. That’s part of our greatest gift for people. It’s the willingness to be like, “I feel dumb right now.” “Are you clear on where we’re going?” “No.” “What should we do?” For the record, I felt dumb many times in this conversation.
You are a brilliant man, Manoj. I want to finish by acknowledging you, and then we’ll do a bit of a debrief. For everyone reading, anything you noticed shows up in this conversation, it would be awesome if you’d share it in the comments so that we’ve got a little juicy to talk about. It’s fine if you don’t want to do that or if you’re like, “I noticed nothing.” Great. Before we go to acknowledging you, anything left for you, Manoj, to have this conversation feel complete?
I am more than complete. Thank you.
The first thing I want to acknowledge you is your intellect and brilliance. It’s super present for me. One of the things I love is working in a partnership like this with brilliant people because it’s so easy for me to get into the morass, the brilliant maze of thoughts and this leads to that, leads to that. One of the things I love about it is how sticky it is for me. It’s compelling. I can probably figure that stuff out with you better than most people. It’s like, “My work is to keep stepping out.” Not trying to make sense of it, but to honestly own that it doesn’t make sense to me and then ask the dumb question.
I acknowledge you, one, for the brilliance and two, for the gift it is for me, the inspiration it is, and the call forward it is for me to get to be with that. I get that you’re a coach committed to the deeper path as opposed to the path of just giving people tools. I get that there’s a part of you that’s like, “You don’t know Adam because I like to give people tools.” That’s great too, but I can tell that we wouldn’t be having these conversations. You wouldn’t be working with an ontological coach if you didn’t want to also create some more foundational shift. Beyond just helping people better move past the obstacles that keep showing up in their life.
Third, Manoj, I acknowledge you for your playful wit. It shows up only a little bit in this conversation, but I can feel it in your heart and I’m present to it in your soul. I imagine a cheekiness to the way you can show up. From a willingness to look dumb or wit can be the archetype of the fool. The fool can get away with saying stuff that no one else in the village can say. When people that are brilliant are willing to be in the experience of feeling a little dumb and can bring some playfulness, those people change the world. I’m not calling you a fool. I’m just acknowledging you that you possess much like I do you that same gift. I honor that in you as a coach. It’s a beautiful thing to bring to people. Let’s shift to a bit of a debrief. Anything that’s present for you where you’re like, “I noticed this,” or “This was my experience,” or anything along those lines to share.
I have to acknowledge you for how great a coach you are in being able to do this. It’s a typical conversation when I get into an interview with a coach and I’m spinning because that’s how reality occurs for me. That’s how much I live in my head. That’s why mindfulness and yoga help me because it has helped me get more grounded in the body. For me, when I feel that we’re moments in this session on how you challenge me on the lack of clarity of what a bigger game would look like, that was an uncomfortable space because I haven’t given it too much thought.
The reason I haven’t given it too much thought is because it’s scary. When you asked, “Should we work on this or should we work on that?” Somehow, I got lost out there, but what I’m present to was that feeling you left me with because in the process of letting me off the hook, this heaviness that I feel in my head lifted. When that lifts, this is simple stuff. It’s the next step and the next step. When I’m in this frame of mind, it’s easy for me to take action. What happens is when I’m in that fog, I unnecessarily procrastinate and complicate.
Christopher said, “I’ll sign you on. The condition is no new courses because what I’m not good enough has been good at the seminar and the next program.” I was always looking at, “What’s the next program I can get started on tomorrow?” That’s there all the time. What I got from this was when the clouds lifted, I got this clarity and peace and there’s no anxiety. There’s no, “I have to rush somewhere. I’m running out of time.” It’s just being in the moment and what the next step is. That is priceless.
I love what you said about anxiety. I believe anxiety is the brilliant person’s way of addressing fear. It’s trying to solve fear in the future. If I think about it enough, I can come up with some solution to a fear that has not yet manifested. What it achieves is it puts us up into our head, and then we’re not in the felt experience of our fear. It puts our fear on pause or it’s like a painkiller for it. Like any painkiller, you require a greater dose to manage the same amount of pain. Because you’re not moving the fear through your body and you’re not willing to feel it, it increases too. It spirals out of control.
I find the same thing you do when I’m willing to be in my felt experience, especially when it’s fear because I don’t like that. When I’m willing to be with that and be like, “What it seems like there is for me to do right now is feel and be afraid,” that tends to move through my body, and then it becomes easy. It’s like, “What’s here for me now?” We can let go of all of the managing the future. It doesn’t mean we don’t plan stuff out, but you and I are reliable for that.
We’ve got the next twenty years planned out, give or take. Mia says, “I noticed how hard it is to coach and be coached. I’m present to that myself and present to every quality of being. Every way of being is challenging in its own way. I’m present to the challenge of brilliance, the challenge that brilliant people face, the challenge of working with brilliance, and the challenge of allowing ourselves to be coached as brilliants because we want to help.” We can see so much. It’s like someone cutting my hair and I’m holding the hair for them to try to be helpful and getting nicked by the scissors.
From that, what I’m present to is how challenging it is to surrender and to trust the process. Not from any reason other than that. Even our desire to support and help can become a hindrance. There is, at least for me, safety in helping people because I still get to have my finger on the levers a little bit. Mia says, “You guys are my brothers.” He thanks me. I appreciate having you with us. Mia is also brilliant. Leo says, “A beautiful coaching session on both sides. Mastery displayed by Adam. Vulnerability and courage from Manoj.” Thank you, Leo. It’s great to have you with us.
The other thing I’m present to is the importance of creating practices at the end, especially with a conversation like this where it’s easy for us to a little bit pin you down and get you to a specific place. It’s like not wanting to do the last three reps of the gym. We’ve done some hard ontological work here. You and I have been worked. That’s how I feel. It would be so easy to be like, “We did it. Good session.” When I was present, I was like, “If we don’t get clear on some actions, this is all just going to get wrapped back up into the thing.”
It’s pushing all the way to the end of the finish line rather than patting ourselves on the back, “It was good enough,” and letting it stop there. I want to say to everyone, thanks for reading. Thank you, Mia and Leo. Bernie, thanks for showing up and saying hi. Robin, thanks for being with us and a whole host of people that stopped in to say hi. If you’re reading the podcast and you’d like to take the courageous step to be in these conversations, you can email me at Adam@AdamQuiney.com. Manoj, you’re a coach on your side of the world and do work in leadership and stuff like this. If people saw something for themselves in how you showed up or want to be in a relationship with you, how do they do that?
They can reach out to me at ConnectedBusinessCoaching.com and there are my contact details, so it’s all out there. We can take it from there.
You’re on Facebook too?
Thanks, everyone. Take care.
- Manoj Chugani
- Accomplishment Coaching
- Getting Naked
- Facebook – Manoj Chugani
Manoj’s purpose is to make a difference one business, one leader at a time. Manoj works with entrepreneurs and high performers across the globe who are committed to playing a bigger game and taking their business from “Good to Great” in a joyful and fulfilling manner.
Being a serial entrepreneur himself, Manoj has owned multiple businesses with an international presence, managed teams across different countries and cultures, worked with clients ranging from Multi-Nationals to SMEs. Feeling alone and frustrated in dealing with the challenges of running a business in multiple locations, he decided to invest in working with a coach. This journey was transformational and inspired him to become a coach and make a difference in the lives of other entrepreneurs just as his coach had done for him.