Coach FEATURE: Julie Johnson MCC

Julie JohnsonWe continue to meet our fellow coaches, get inspired and build coach community with our "Meet the Coach" features! This month we meet the lovely Julie Johnson MCC.

You may also have noticed that Julie is also one of our new guest authors this year, and you can see all the articles for her column "Heart to Heart with Julie" here >>

About Julie Johnson, MCC

Lives In: Hilversum, The Netherlands

Company: JJC (Julie Johnson Consulting)

Type of Coach: Team, Executive and Leadership Coach

Describe your coaching business in one sentence: Here's the official description: Julie Johnson Consulting specializes in the development of today's and tomorrow's leaders. We help leaders, their teams, and their organizations achieve higher levels of effectiveness and productivity.

Basically, I help motivated people be at their best.

Meet Julie

QUESTION 1. What one book should every coach read - and why?

Co-Active Coaching is superb. Reading it is like taking a bubble bath.

I especially like the chapter on the three levels of deep listening:

  • Level 1 is listening with my own agenda in mind - egoistically satisfying my own needs - definitely not coaching.
  • Level 2 is where one is 100% focused on the other person, with all other thoughts being 'poof '- gone! And after reading about Level 2 years ago, I couldn't imagine what Level 3 could be - Level 2 was already so profound!
  • So Level 3 includes Level 2, but also includes noticing what is going on with yourself and between the two of you. It means using yourself as a tool in service of your coachee.

QUESTION 2. Which website do you visit the most?

I confess that I am going to Linked In a lot!

I meet new people all the time, and I find it helpful to know something about them before meeting up. Plus, so many people are changing jobs and companies, never a dull moment!

QUESTION 3. Whom do you admire most and why?

I can't state one person, as that would insinuate that I admire all others less, which isn't the case.

I'll settle on one who is top of mind at the moment - my daughter. When she was in high school (in The Netherlands, where we live) and starting to think about college, she and I took a trip to the USA to visit schools. I just wanted her to make an informed choice about which country to study in. She sat in on classes, ate in the cafeteria, visited dormitories and attended extra-curricular events.

She returned home a transformed woman, super determined to make it happen. She spent the next two years preparing for and applying to schools. It was a huge part-time job: getting the best grades she could, taking SAT exams, writing essays, taking a leadership role at school, volunteering in the Philippines, teaching English at an elementary school, washing dishes at a local restaurant etc. etc. She succeeded and is now very happily studying in North Carolina.

QUESTION 4. What's your vision for your life? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

This question is VERY timely, as I've been quite busy coming up with the answer.

I'm 64, and have been officially coaching for 27 blissful years. Earning ICF's Master Coach MCC designation, and becoming a certified coach supervisor have been huge learning experiences. I LOVE my work, and have so much energy that sometimes I can hardly contain myself!

And my company is a boutique supplier of coaching services to organizations, many of them (but not all) multinationals.

A few months ago I found myself spending a lot of time 'puttering around' - not my usual 'productive' self. I was wiping the already-clean kitchen counter, reorganizing already-well-organized drawers, etc. But it was actually super productive, as I was in the process of figuring out how to spend the rest of my 60's. And I decided to commit to a big project - scaling my organization. I want to have more impact on more lives - many of whom I will never meet! Watch this space!

QUESTION 5. What is your "big project" at the moment? What are your Top 3 Goals at the moment?

While my big project is mentioned above, sub-goals include:

  1. Continuing to innovate, especially given the quickly emerging new needs of clients.
  2. Continue with my own coaching practice, as I am a member of my own network.
  3. Continue doing pro-bono work - my sweet spot is helping people 20 to 35-ish with their evolving careers.

QUESTION 6. What has been your favourite coaching moment so far?

I’ll never forget a coaching session I had years ago with a leader in the shipping industry – a rough and tumble environment. We were working on his coaching leadership style. He asked me to be tough on him, to challenge and not hold back. I agreed, and wondered when opportunity would present itself.

Well, it did, in a very surprising way. We were discussing a behavior that he would repeat often with one of his direct reports, that was negatively impacting her performance. I asked him, "How do you think she might feel when you do that?" His answer had nothing to do with feelings. Interesting. I let him speak his mind for a bit, to see where it would go.

Finally interrupting, I said, "OK, but how do you think she might be feeling?" He responded with a new direction, but it still had nothing to do with feelings. Now THIS was interesting!

I asked a third time, "But when you do that, how do you think she feels?"

Amazingly (I could hardly contain myself), he went in a third direction that had nothing to do with feelings! He was clearly not answering the question.

OK, no more Mr. Nice Guy! I held my hand up like a stop sign and said, "For the FOURTH time, how do you think she might FEEL?!"

His eyes got as wide as saucers, the silence hung heavy, and I didn't know if he was going to hit me, walk out, answer or what!

He turned his gaze toward the window and took a deep breath. Then more silence. Finally, he proceeded to generate seven or eight really good ideas about how she might feel when he behaved in that way.

In this case, it was very challenging for my client to shift gears to think about feelings, much less talk about them. Yet this conversation - and his eventual answer - ended up creating the foundation for his motivation to change.

QUESTION 7. What are your Top 3 favourite coaching tools and/or resources?

  1. SBI (Situation-Behavior-Impact) model for feedback exchange - profound.
  2. The Seven-Eyed Model for coaching supervision.
  3. The Three-Layer Model for Deep Listening (see my answer to question 1!)

QUESTION 8. What do you love most about being a coach?

I love that coaching is a way of helping people without doing things for them. THEY analyze their challenge. THEY come up with a solution and new insights. THEY take action.

If I would do these things for them, I would be creating an unhealthy and unnecessary co-dependency that is NOT helping them be the independent, fully capable and resourceful person they are.

QUESTION 9. Tell us a secret about you...

I once (when living in Norway) completed a 560 km (347 mile) bike ride from Trondheim to Oslo. It took me 27.5 hours including breaks, riding through the night in June, when it never really gets dark. I remember 'taking care of business' in the bushes, and mistakenly having - ahem - touched some nettle (ooowie!), which made a few of the following hours on the bike saddle... difficult!

QUESTION 10. If you could change one thing in our world, what would it be? And how would you go about it?

Teach everyone the benefits and basics of coaching, so that a lot more listening and top-quality conversations would take place in this world.

It's all about scaling, and getting coaching to people who can't afford to pay for such an experience.

Julie Johnson

LEARN MORE about Julie here:

Visit Julie's Website here >>
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