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Leadership Coaching with Marie Gervais

George Grombacher August 18, 2022

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Leadership Coaching with Marie Gervais

LifeBlood: We talked about leadership coaching, how to help people bring their full selves to work, creating a positive and productive workplace, and tools to get started, with Marie Gervais, transformational leadership coach. 

Listen to learn how to become soul enhancing versus soul diminishing!

You can learn more about Marie at, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher


Marie Gervais

Episode Transcript

Unknown Speaker 0:00
Come on

Unknown Speaker 0:11
Bob Leffler. This is Georgina. Time is right, welcome today’s guest strong apart from Maria Ave Maria, are you ready to do this? Yes, I am. All right, let’s go. Marie is a Ph. D. C T dP. She’s a transformational leadership coach. She is the CEO of shift Management, Inc, the author of the spirit of work and the host of the culture and leadership connection podcast, right, we’re excited to have you on tell me a little bit about your personal lives more about your work and why you do what you do?

Unknown Speaker 0:42
Well, my, my personal life is I came from an arts background, music, art and drama, grew up in a family of immigrant parents who really wanted to give opportunities to their children to, to excel in the arts. And then I moved from there, into working with supervisors and managers in industry, highly technical professions, with a lot of stuff happening in between there had four children who are now adults married and have multiple talents and speak multiple languages and have all married somebody from a different race, religion and or culture or all of the above. So it’s been it’s been a great journey. And I’m happy to have experienced all of it, even though all of it was not always what I would call easy.

Unknown Speaker 1:29
Well, I appreciate that.

Unknown Speaker 1:32
Often stuff really easy. All right, not frequently.

Unknown Speaker 1:39
Is that just because we have plans in our mind for how something’s gonna go, and then we just, it just never quite goes that way? Well, there’s apparently a Jewish saying that man plots and God plots and barely God is the best suppliers. So I don’t know. I don’t know if that applies for your listeners. But it’s like, you know, stuff happens. And you just, it’s how you respond to it. That makes the difference. Whether you become more resilient, or whether you become discouraged and downtrodden, and smaller and constricted as a result. Yeah. And whenever there’s people involved, probably easier if we were just living out in the wild on our own Marine, we were doing our own thing, certainly we’d encounter resistance and animals would try to eat us. But anyway, but when we’re in a workplace, and we’re trying to get something done, and doesn’t always go that way. But it strikes me that with your work, you are helping to position people to potentially better navigate the human experience. Exactly. Yeah. So my all of my businesses dedicated towards increased workplace happiness through improved leadership ability. And they improve leadership ability comes from a focus that is blending the spiritual and the emotional in a way that’s practical for the workplace. And that people are unexpectedly delighted by what they can find out.

Unknown Speaker 3:00
Learning to regulate your own emotions makes the decisions that you make and the way that you interact with other people so much better. And when you understand that you have purpose, and other people have purpose, and that you need to lock into that, in order to speak to them effectively and work effectively with them. It also makes your job easier and more enjoyable.

Unknown Speaker 3:21
That seems like everybody would, would would want and desire that but there’s probably nothing that everybody really wants to desire. So spiritual, delighted purpose.

Unknown Speaker 3:32
I personally and emotionally regulated, you know, identifying and naming your emotions to releasing the emotion around the story. So that you can actually bring yourself to the situation instead of putting your own bias or your own triggers, in the way of of that particular context.

Unknown Speaker 3:49
And also, being able to see the best in people comes from having that, that piece of emotional freedom. So then you can move to the spiritual, so what people would want to do, and a lot of mindfulness practices are extremely useful. But people will go oh, I’m just, you know, practice this mindfulness thing, but they haven’t cleared the stuff that’s underneath. First. And so then when they reach up a problem at work or in their lives, if they just default to whatever their their trigger was, and they can’t move to that place where they’d really like to be, it’s kind of like a hot air balloon, you know, with anchors on it. And so your your understanding of the world can you know, and the way you want to go and your your goals and your design your you know your your highest desires and being altruistic and practicing different virtues, all that stuff’s like the hot air balloon, but it can’t rise, because the anchors of all the things that are triggering you in your life are holding you down. So until you learn to lift those up. You can’t fly your balloon. What a wonderful metaphor that is.

Unknown Speaker 4:50
And we probably all experienced that trying to through training to put more air in the balloon thinking that that’s going to help us run

Unknown Speaker 5:00
eyes, and it probably does. But what’s really keeping us tethered? are that it’s it’s, it’s, I don’t want to call it junk, but it’s a lot of the junk that we’re bringing along with us.

Unknown Speaker 5:12
Yeah, yeah. So, but the thing is, it’s all possible, it’s possible to just using really simple techniques possible to release that. So you can say, Oh, I’m feeling really frustrated right now. Man, this makes me I’m just so irritated. What’s going on with me today is irritation, accept that I’m feeling irritated in this moment. And it’s a simple thing, take a breath, gone, simple thing. So those types of techniques can really help people. And then they can come, they bring a more holistic self to work to work, or to their family, or whatever it else else is that they’re doing. And they start to tap into really their highest nature. And they can kind of make this better, what can I how can I contribute? How can I show up, and before that it can feel really false. Even going out and doing a lot of things that would on the outside look really good, might be motivated by a strong desire to be get approval from other people. You know, which isn’t isn’t a motive that’s going to that’s going to get you there. You know. So it’s like that combination of the two that I think, I think that is what sets my training and coaching apart is being able to apply those two things in a practical way. I also have theoretical frameworks to help people with it, which I explained in the book, the spirit of work.

Unknown Speaker 6:24
But that it’s also how to use it with case studies type thing. Yeah, what makes sense to me, certainly, I know that I can point to a billion times in my life where where I’ve fallen into that trap of being frustrated, or whatever it might be, and then having that spill into all these other interactions, or behaving in a way that I think other people want me to be behaving.

Unknown Speaker 6:48
And that’s doesn’t result in happiness or delight for probably anybody know, are people coming around more to this? And started since COVID.

Unknown Speaker 7:01
Since COVID, it’s been crazy, crazy. People really, they just, just to give you an example, by pre COVID, I would talk to people about you know, training, and they would just go okay, how much they Well, they would get to the How much does it cost very quickly. But before that, they go, okay, you know, what are the what are people going to be able to to learn? And will they will they be able to fix this problem, that problem, this problem? And if not, then, you know, like, there was that kind of sort of really boxed in thinking. And then they would call me go, you know, I hear that you offer training for managers. And, like, I just wanted to tell you that I’m having such a rough time with my life right now. And I, and I just feel really purposeless, and I’m not sure where I’m going Is this my second or third midlife crisis, I hadn’t even met them. And that’s just like, people who are saying stuff like that on a regular regular basis, I’m a bit concerned that we’re going as sort of the

Unknown Speaker 7:50
outward constraints of the pandemic start to go down. For a lot of people, I’m concerned that people just go move backwards a bit to where they were before and get into this, I’m too busy, I can’t think I can’t breathe.

Unknown Speaker 8:05
Nothing matters and disconnect state in that disconnected state that we were before. But, but I will probably get another crisis happening until we do face up to and start just becoming more integrated in the way we approach things. It’d be a very human thing to do to fall back right to our old patterns and habits. So

Unknown Speaker 8:25
there would be also human though to transform, both of them are human. Oh, for sure. For sure. And

Unknown Speaker 8:33
so it’s interesting. It’s like, okay, now that I recognize potentially what’s possible, and I’m, I’m in the mode of thinking about it more about my emotions, and recognizing and then moving past those triggers.

Unknown Speaker 8:48
But straw poll to fall back into old habits and old ways, how best balance that I guess, looking at the opportunity, as no, I can change this. And when I start doing this, that it’s going to help other people too.

Unknown Speaker 9:03
It’s more actually, there’s a step before that, which is to accept that. That’s where you were at, but you’re feeling stuck, and then to identify,

Unknown Speaker 9:11
how’s that feel? Where’s that located in my body? What image is that? You know, again, just to have something that you can identify with it. And often we’re thinking if we just through willpower, we can force ourselves into a new habit, but that doesn’t that only works for a short period of time, because willpower is a limited resource. So I mean, you can develop a willpower muscle and some people just are amazing at willpower, but that doesn’t mean they’re still getting to their goals and working with a microbiologist right now who has achieved amazing goals and still can’t get going on her business because

Unknown Speaker 9:47
she just wants to force herself into places and she does and then she fell flat on her face. So when she has started to think well, I can I

Unknown Speaker 9:57
where am I feeling with this right now? What’s feeling

Unknown Speaker 10:00
resistance, we’re on this path of what I want to do today is causing me the feeling of resistance, then use a few of the tools to calm herself down and think, what’s my purpose for doing this and connecting to that spiritual peace, then she just moves into it without worrying about it, when she’s worried about it, she goes, I better take another 10 Time management courses.

Unknown Speaker 10:21
That’s what I need to do is just, it’s just get better at managing this time thing. Yeah, and it’s never about time, time management isn’t about managing your time, it’s about recognizing that you have multiple aspects of who you are in something, it’s not being fed. So

Unknown Speaker 10:37
you mentioned image, tell me a little bit more about that, about thinking about image? Well, images are really powerful ways to, to move in your life, both to identify obstacles and to move forward, and we all have them. But some people

Unknown Speaker 10:54
tend to use them more than others. But when you start relaxing into this idea that you can feel something and you don’t have to judge it. Or that you could be in a place in your life and that it’s alright that you’re there, you know, that you can accept that momentarily, then oftentimes, an image will come up or a story will come up. So you might get a story from your life that comes up and go, Oh, yeah, this thing happened to me, you know, this three months ago. And yeah, it still bothers me now. So that that would be the story. So then you can you can detach from the story. I mean, I can’t describe it all now. But you can detach from the start within a minute or two. So then you still have the story in your mind, but you don’t have the emotion triggering you. And then it has a domino effect on other similar incidents in your life. So that means you don’t have to go into trauma, you just, you just make a little adjustment to that story. From the image side, often the image will help you to sustain your, your transformation. So an example of

Unknown Speaker 11:55
one of one of the clients that I that I had was give you two examples that used image one was, this was a woman who, who felt that she was really blocked in what she was doing. And the image that came in front of her with a black brick wall. That was like, completely there was there was no way through it. And interestingly, there were, you know, you she could go on either side, or she could have climbed over top of it. But she insisted she wanted to go through the black wall. Eventually, after a couple of sessions, what happened is the black hole became a sort of a gray mass, and then it became a cloud. And then she could park the clouds by doing this. And let the sun in and see the the the rate the blue sky. And that’s when she suddenly knew what she needed to do to keep to keep moving forward, not just suddenly, but it became apparent that what she’d already done it was working. And what within that next step was. So that metaphor, whenever she was feeling stuck, she think, is this Blackwall gray cloud? Or am I moving to the place where I can actually park the clouds with my fingers? Right. So that was a lovely, that was a lovely metaphor, another person came up with an idea that a safe place that he had gone to when he was younger, where he it was like an island people often have these like islands where they’ve gone swimming. And so they they’re swimming, and then they’re drying off on the rock and, and they feel like all right with the world. And so just going imagining that safe space can be really, really helpful.

Unknown Speaker 13:21
For people. I haven’t image when I first started doing this work about four years ago, that my business was a beggar that was sucking me dry. And that could that was always hungry and never could be fed. And then at at end the business transformed into a wizard who had magical powers and could and and, and focus and attention and was able to move forward. So whenever I am stuck in something I say, Is this a bigger moment? Or was a wizard moment? And

Unknown Speaker 13:53
you know, it just clears everything up? So I don’t know if that helps with the image. But

Unknown Speaker 13:59
does it make sense? It does. Thank you, I appreciate that. I think

Unknown Speaker 14:06
I know how powerful an image is. And it can, when we’re in the thick of it, and feeling like we are overwhelmed or in some insurmountable challenge or task, being able to pull it back down is super helpful. You know, when meditating, if you have your, your, whatever the term is, if it’s a mantra or something that can pull you back to your center or your north. That’s that’s an extremely powerful and helpful thing. So and it can sometimes be a physical object too. So for example, if you’re meditating, you have a candle in front of you, and you’re feeling distracted. You open your eyes. The candle reminds you to come back to the moment right. So yeah, sorry, what were you going to say? As as you’re going into companies company says yeah, we would love to have you come in and help our managers because for whatever reason

Unknown Speaker 15:00
I imagine that some, when you’re up in front of them or meeting with them, they’ve got their arms crossed, and they’re not interested in some are very engaged right away. How do you help people to? If they’ve never gotten? I don’t want to say that they’re not in touch with their feelings, but

Unknown Speaker 15:18
to engage in this kind of work, if it’s not if it’s a foreign concept to them?

Unknown Speaker 15:23
Well, I, I don’t speak to them, like I’m speaking to you right now. So, you know, basically, I say, so what do you want to see change? What would you like to be different? And usually, it’s things like, Well, I would like my managers to communicate more effectively, or I’d like them to deal with conflicts or like them to take initiative for, I’d like their teams to be more accountable. Right. So I’d like to reduce our, our attrition rate or late late people coming late to work and nothing’s being done about it so that they have something like that, that they want to fix. So then you then you say, Well, you know, what have you already done? And how did that work out for you? And how urgent is this? And how important is this? And so you get into that till you get the stories from them. And then once they have given you a few more stories, you see what I do I have a training program, I have coaching, I have a combination of of them both and and what I’ve found since the pandemic is that people are just really out of control emotionally, and they’re just anxious and stressed out. And they go, yeah, totally. Right. That’s us. And I also in this training, and also in the coaching, I teach people to regulate themselves and others so that they can be more effective, using the techniques and strategies that are in the training and the business tools that they would not think of using if they were completely out of control, either shut down, or, or completely anxious, or flying off the handle getting mad. If they can regulate that, then they can use those strategies so much more effectively. And that so that’s how I would speak to people about it. Got it? Yeah, I imagined that, that the problem that they’re experiencing, has probably been persisting for a little while. And yeah, it’s just now come more things. Yeah, more to the fore. And then when I’m working with people in training, then often I bring up I don’t say, Oh, you need to, you know, tap into your, your spiritual self? Because they would, it would just be foreign to the context that we’re working in. But I’ll say so, you know, what is important to you in this? What, what gives you a sense of purpose? And what do you know about what your where your employees want to be in the next year or two years? Or, you know, what’s the, you know, that kind of topic? Or can you assign it can if you did this, these five sign offs, I am supported at work, I feel that I can I can speak in my opinion will be listened to, I can I can do my best to help other people, I have the tools I needed. If you if your employees can sign off on that, then good is good. And if they can’t, would you be willing to talk to them about what’s missing? And that gets them right into the whole that whole spiritual piece without saying, oh, you know, that and then they go, Well, how do I do this? When I feel so anxious and worried? Then we go, Well, you know, do you have a morning routine? And you’re done? Do you jump out of bed and they go straight to work without eating or having a glass of water and you haven’t haven’t settled yourself? And you’re like, what, what do you do right? To prepare yourself before you go? And when you think about your crew? What’s what comes to mind you’re just thinking, this person’s a jerk and this person irritates me Are you thinking this is a quality I love this is a quality appreciate. Our team is really good at this. We you know, it’s so then all of those pieces about how you can you can be intentional about saying, you know, I want to I want to be contributing to soul enhancing actions rather than soul diminishing actions, that then that conversation can come up. And it doesn’t it’s it feels much more natural.

Unknown Speaker 18:53
I love it.

Unknown Speaker 18:55
That makes sense. Beautiful. Well, Marie, the people are ready for that difference making tip. What do you have for them?

Unknown Speaker 19:03
Well, I think the difference making tip was what I just referred to before, which is to say, you know, am I doing thinking?

Unknown Speaker 19:09
Am I thinking am I saying or am I doing something that’s soul enhancing or soul diminishing?

Unknown Speaker 19:15
And so soul enhancing is expansive. It promotes innovation, creativity, happiness, connectedness. And so diminishing promotes shutting down and constriction. Think about a dictatorship that, you know, doesn’t allow their citizens to do anything constricts them. Everything is gray, there’s no color it there’s no disconnection and fear. So is you can choose to be thinking and saying and doing so on hatching actions, rather than soul diminishing. And you can look at the end of the day and say, well, this this day was more diminishing. But tomorrow’s a new day, I can start over again and accept that that’s where I’m at right now. So you can you can continue to use it. It’s quite a use. It’s quite a useful concept and becomes a daily practice for people just like a gratitude practice.

Unknown Speaker 20:00
Well, I think that that is great stuff that definitely gets a Come on. Free. Thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with you?

Unknown Speaker 20:09
Well, they can go to my website, which is Shift And they can also go onto Amazon and get my book, which is the spirit of work, timeless wisdom, current realities,

Unknown Speaker 20:20
where they get a lot more things to us and practical ways to apply them and reflection questions. And I’d love to find a workplace that wants to use the book for a lunch and learn or, or for sort of a, you know, a staff, a staff retreat, because it’s got lots of things that people can benefit benefit from. So if they want to contact me, they can contact Marie at shift And I’m also on LinkedIn, under Mary survey.

Unknown Speaker 20:46
Excellent. Well, if you enjoyed this as much as I did show or your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas, go to shift and check out all the great resources, go to Amazon and pick up a copy of the spirit of work. And then think about consider having Murray in to your organization for lunch and learn or training to figure out how to help everyone get a little further down the road. Thanks, Kim Marie. Thank you, George. And until next time, keep fighting the good fight. It’s we’re all in this together.

Transcribed by

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