On Values and Authenticity – A Conversation With Dr. Joe Oliver

In this episode of OnCoaching, we're thrilled to welcome Dr. Joe Oliver, founder of Contextual Consulting and a leading figure in acceptance and commitment therapy. Our conversation delves into the significance of values, offering a perfect restart after our three-month break.

Transcript

Hello, my name is Zoltan Csigás, and this is Zoltan Podcast ON COACHING. In the series. I'm talking with internationally renowned coaching scientists and coaches. We explore their personal and professional insights on the science of coaching, and on the helping professions. Are you interested in how they got close to this profession? Are you curious about the new frontiers they are exploring right now? Join me and listen to the conversation, inspiration, and some fun is ahead. Hi, Joe, thank you very much for being with me today. Today's guest is Joe Oliver, who is the founder of contextual consulting on SOC professional, a clinical psychologist and a CBT. Therapist. Have I missed anything? From this very brief introduction? Hi,

Dr. Joe Oliver:

Zoltan. Thank you very much for having me. No, that sounds about it. Yeah, that's a couple of my key roles within the university. And also in contextual consulting letter. There are other bits and pieces but that I think summarizes my least my work life up relatively well.

Zoltán Csigás:

Thank you, me, I support a one beach or peace from your non work life that you would be willing to share something that we could put in here immediately as something super unique about you.

Dr. Joe Oliver:

I'm a dad of two kids who are three and five we live in London was kind of a Philly international family. I'm from New Zealand. My wife is from Canada. We Yeah, we're all located for the moment in London. But that may well change in the future. But we'll see. So that's us. Yeah, we're fairly active family, with my wife being from Canada is very interested in why and anyway, it's snow. So we're very excited to be going on a ski holiday, which is very shortly to take the kids skiing. And one of the the real joys of danobat Parenting is doing these kinds of things with kids. So much fun, just about anything with kids is, well, not anything, a lot of things can be a lot more fun with kids there. So that's been really exciting. Just with them, watching them experience the whole snow environment through fresh kid eyes, I love that it's amazing. I can really be into

Zoltán Csigás:

that we've been funded with tours row, my kids are a bit older, they are just seven and 10. And we love hiking and going out to the nature and one of the they are very different. And they are out there. And they have very different reactions to nature. So one of them is really, let's start with every flower and admire it for four minutes. The other one is right. Okay, where he's going next interesting adventure, the things that I can follow or whatever. So, right, like I can really relate to that. Yeah, it's having kids around makes things a lot more fun. Yeah, I don't even know why I'm not working with kids. But it's a very different than a very long story. And, yeah,

Dr. Joe Oliver:

yeah. And I mean, some things are fun the kids are, but some things are not as well suddenly kind of adds a different dimension. But yeah, it's definitely fascinating. So what's interesting watching them kind of like you say, just how kids respond and just illuminating things that I might not see. Or maybe I've forgotten about, or, you know, sort of interact with the environment like at the snow, like I've seen this before, I know this, but I forget what it's like to throw myself down on the ground and make our snow angel or have a snowball fight or just, you know, jump up and down. And just the sort of the fun of it all stuff that's novel and new. This so

Zoltán Csigás:

this tendency was you I made sure that's yeah, something really close to me. Let me ask one more, you know, between professional and personal questions, do use your professional identity coming up in your family settings, they will get yourself some time doing therapy, this kind of stuff? Of course not therapeutically inspired intervention. Have you ever caught yourself doing that? Sometimes I get the question. Do you coach your kids? And then when? The course Yeah, that's

Dr. Joe Oliver:

interesting. I'm laughing because I feel like if I only ever anytime do that my wife I get beaten over the head pretty quickly. No, no one wants to kind of I guess why is that it's the sort of professional thing if you start engaging with someone, or some sort of weird, professional way, it's not really authentic. With, especially with the kids, I feel like myself, my wife spent a lot of time trying to understand or make sense of or this is going wrong, like how can we do this differently. And I guess, you know, some of my, of course training and comes into the play. I also my wife's a teacher was a teacher. She now works with me that she's got a lot of experience in working with kids. So we sort of, you know, did a lot of that sitting down and figuring things that yeah, I feel like the benefit for us is the two of us coming together. coming up with ideas. I never feel like I'm coming at it saying this is what we should do, or this is the answer. It's never like that. It's like, oh, maybe this would work. Or we could try this or she just yesterday said she'd seen this really cool video on Instagram from a child expert is like, Oh, that's a really good idea. We should try that. Yeah, that's the kind of thing but yeah, I feel like people sort of assume As people are like us, if we're therapists or psychotherapists, that somehow we're doing this all the time. Like that thing. Do you ever get that you go to a party and introduce yourself? And people say, Oh, you're reading my mind? I'm sure you get that?

Zoltán Csigás:

Well, it's good to know that there are other normal helping professional people out there.

Dr. Joe Oliver:

You and me were normal. Absolutely.

Zoltán Csigás:

Thank you very much for this. And there was two things that really caught my attention as you were speaking, and the first one is that you said, when you get to therapy, perhaps I'm not quoting you for like, is that it? It may look, vignettes are not authentic, that kind of relating to the person and how I met you. The whole life family first. Antonette was one of your thought videos around he and I really loved your very spontaneous and authentic presents. In that video, I don't know whether it was recorded for 100 times. So I know the things behind the video. So I guess I have someone, you were really there, I could really see you that was mine visually see you as a person. And that's how the whole topic of authenticity came to me. When when I have the opportunity to talk to you, how do you see authenticity as an ingredient in a helping profession. And if you have to add that to pre talk, we talked about view not being a coach, but you're more of a more therapist, and I'm coming more from the coaching profession, and as curious on your baggy on authenticity as our element of the helping relationship. So you'll see that I

Dr. Joe Oliver:

think it's really, really important. It's, for me to be able to show up in front of my client and be authentic. And of course, authenticity means a lot of things right? In the ways that I can show up and be authentic. Authentic doesn't mean for me, in a professional sense, being completely transparent. That's not necessary. And probably a lot of senses would be really unhelpful. But there's, I feel like there's an alignment in terms of a whole lot of things coming together, which are my own personal values, my own actions and behaviors as they show up in a session, then the kinds of things that I talk about, and mention and describe, they all kind of come into that sphere authenticity, a lot of that can be, I would say, responding authentically to the person in front of me being letting my value shine through to a degree, often to a large degree, being there as a whole person and in front of the person. I feel like my own experience of being on the other side of either coaching or therapy is that it's something I really look for. And I'm really kind of quite sensitized to if I never get a sense of someone's being inauthentic, then it just puts me off really quickly. I don't want looking for someone to tell me about the whole life, I just sort of the sense of this alignment is in place, they walk the talk that they're you know, they're good person, they're there for me, they're going to help me and that they there's a sense of their values coming to the fore as well.

Zoltán Csigás:

Through, I still frequently hear the word transparency associated with authenticity, you coming up with you and being aware of your damn roots firmly. So this is the thing that I'm going to commit video vulnerabilities and being out there in front of your clients showing up as a vulnerable person, your perspective saying that authenticity is more of an alignment, and having a strong future? is these are my words having a future, that not showing of everything to your client or professional partner? That's a really different approach. I haven't really seen that. So I haven't really heard that previously. And I really like this Alang. My next question, so that is that, can you imagine yourself having different kinds of witnesses for different clients? Very different, however, still very authentic presents to where in one of them, you may have an x value shining through with another one having a y value coming through?

Dr. Joe Oliver:

Absolutely, yeah, I think that is a really important ingredient. Good sessions, better coaching will be the theater, the person to degree can adapt themselves to fit with the needs of the client. It's really an interesting interaction, because I'm saying that it could sound a little bit like an inauthentic or I start acting or portraying myself in a different way. But that's not what I mean. And which is to say, like when that alignment is in place, that I have my clear values, and I had my clear sort of sense of how I want to help this person. And there are maybe some different behaviors I need to do or different kind of facets of myself or different ways I need to interact. So in some situations, I might need to be much more front footed with the person much more direct and blunt, honest, perhaps giving them say for example, honest feedback on their behavior, say that's happening live. And there are other times that just really inappropriate or just really unnecessary. Say, for example, where someone just needs to spend a lot of time perhaps reviewing an experience or not unloading but sort of making sense of the net situation. The behavior for me needs to be a lot more stepped back, containing listening and reflecting But I feel like there's both authentic write about, it's still me, still me with a strong value of wanting to be as helpful as possible to the person. And then my goals get manifested a different way. And then the kind of behavior sort of show through differently. People need different things at different points that maybe even during a meeting, I might need to kind of move things around a little bit.

Zoltán Csigás:

Absolutely agree with that, and were honest, is not a big in all of it, but really caught my attention, as I was reading books and and started to attend courses, the importance of values behind your presence. And this was one of my questions, all, in general, and for you is an AC T expert, is that content manager or set of values? In your presence? Is it just like playing with a number of different balls to win one or two, or whatever? What is what seems to be necessary or fitting the client? Am I quasi transplant ensuring all of them at the same time fully work with, with a bigger repertoire of your own way? Because one more thing for my assumption is that as we get older, and hopefully wiser people get more complex form of psychological perspective. And my guess is that we may have more and more more values integrated into ourselves. I don't say you have a clear question here. That's what I'm realizing as I'm trying to, because I might have thinking of getting less values as we develop in our lives. So most polyfoam foundation more clarity, where we're getting more complex and complicated, with more and more legs on which we are standing.

Dr. Joe Oliver:

That's like 20 questions in one they're not with

Zoltán Csigás:

my mentors told me that it's a good thing to ask many questions, because your audience then will find an old one. All right.

Dr. Joe Oliver:

That's interesting. One of my supervisors told me Don't ask him any questions, just ask one of the time and I never listened to that always asked lots and lots of questions. I feel like I'm sort of slowly circling around on the point I eventually want to make and sometimes I get there, and sometimes I don't, or one thing to say it's a peculiar thing. So it's the acronym AACT. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, the community has chosen to pronounce it as act rather than AC t, which is a bit odd, because most other approaches use the letters spelt up, it's a little bit deliberate, because there's sort of the word act points towards this piece, which is helping people to be less stuck and take action towards chosen ends, typically values, as the direction of the therapies is a bit odd. But anyway, just as a point, but you're right, it's values is a really strong, hallmark feature of this approach. And it's asking lots of questions like really getting down to meaning and purpose, and probably some quite deep questions for people often, what do they want from life and what really matters to them. The funny thing about the word values is that there's of course, lots of different ways that our culture uses values, that uses that word, it can mean all sorts of things. Of course, we have family values, we have corporate values, and you know, we have societal values. And then we have these x values, which is similar ish, but different. And then different pieces that are linked to a behavior. And you could say that there to be helpful to be influencing our behavior. So that's to say that it's a bit you can maybe use the metaphor of a compass. So a compass provides us with a direction and we pull our compass out in a given moment, then it says, which, if I want to hit West, then I need to go in a west direction. So right in this moment, it's saying this is it's going to influence my behavior. So to move west and move in this direction of values, compasses, in this particular moment, I want to respond with authenticity, then this is my, the kind of behaviors that I'll do like, you know, right now, as I'm speaking with, you could say, I could choose that and say, you know, authenticity, as it happens is a value of mine, for a lot of reasons and the things that will be influencing the answers that I give how I talk with you and interact like right in these moments, rather than being a really abstract thing that's distal. And you know, there's sort of pie in the sky. values from an act perspective really influenced me kind of in terms of moment by moment. Someone wants to ascribe the great with grammar, but its value is best described as an adverb, which is a verb, you know, the action, but it's describing an adjective for a verb. So describing the quality of an action, rather than me saying, I want to be authentic, you know, this is grand value. It's like, what about right now here, as I'm speaking with you, Zoltan, I want to be authentic, I want to act authentically. I want to you know, I think to myself, let me think what that would mean for me, right in this moment, that then my behavior would be shaped up and influenced in that way.

Zoltán Csigás:

Thank you. I really love this on the spot approach, because it makes it more tangible and usable. Honestly, in any of the settings that actually mentioned. Let me get back to the bunch of questions that I've asked together because they had starting to make more make more sense. As we were talking, you mentioned that lots of types of values, but these actionable values. Let's Let me call them this will play a key role in how you work with act. You see, I'm getting into the community. So thank you very much for teaching me how to use it, how to pronounce it properly. How long does it take for people? I know there is no such thing as an act as an average client. But how long does it take for people to get closer to their values or to identify them? People will say when I'm when I was in Vegas, for example, in corporate programs, organizational development, where they will last long sessions where we try to identify corporate players?

Dr. Joe Oliver:

Well, it's a good question as to whether it's possible by rough rule of thumb would be, the more complicated the situation is, the harder it will be to identify values. My experience in coaching is most of the time that the people when I've been coaching find it relatively easy to identify values, which is to say, they describe a stuck situation or problem or a place where they want to do better, a straightforward question to say, like, in this situation, what matters most to you? What's most important? What's your purpose, I find, oftentimes, people will come with a bit of nudging or a bit of time for reflection without identify what's really important. Sometimes it might need a bit of shaping up and considering and you know, someone said straightaway, every quick answer, I might want to just dive delve in a little bit, given a little bit more space to reflect, perhaps, you know, maybe an exercise or some more questions. I've also found that the more complicated is, the more thorny, the more stuck they are, which is to say, the more more of the emotional content is wrapped around it, the more painful it is, the harder it is. So in my work as a therapist, if I was working with, say, people who have had, you know, really long painful histories and difficult stuck problems that have gone on for years, if not decades, values will be incredibly hard. Often, these are folks who have never been asked to values questions, life's never afforded them the opportunity to even think about what they care about, just hasn't been there. So asking them the first session, you know, what do you care? What do you care about? What are your values that will say either a really quick answer, or I care about my family, or I care about my friends, or just a thin answer, or they'll say, I don't know, that's usually kind of like a, my sort of my metric as it were the emotional part. Like if you're really diving into values, territory, you kind of know you're getting there, because it should be less kind of dry and dusty, I had that image of kind of sitting around and talking about corporate values, it's like all I can think of anything more boring. It's got to be done, though, right. But that's a different exercise, that's people trying to kind of come together, you know, too often a branding and maybe a marketing or it's an issue in terms of like a directional piece. But the bit that's harder is the personal attachment, the emotion is often missing. Of course, it is right, if we're talking about a big, you know, corporation, for example, but good values exercises when the individual is invited to really connect with their own kind of emotion feeling. And I've seen some really nice exercises, when people have done corporate values, exercises, tied it together with the individual's own values, giving him some space for discrepancies, of course, but also identifying the overlap. And that's when people can really get behind a group set of values. And that's when they come really powerful. That's powerful. Because it's theirs, it's there had to have shared ownership over it, it really matters to them, they have skin in the game, as it were. And that's sort of hallmark is when it gets emotional, that's when you know, you're in the right territory. Thank

Zoltán Csigás:

you for saying that. And as we were thinking, I was thinking about the depth of verge here. Because my impression is that, that we may need to go into the to the full depth, you know, to neck deep understanding of what values are, but something more workable, like to leave if I can use these being underwater again. Am I right with this? So in order to be more in order to help our clients, we don't need to get the coolest and most detailed understanding of their values, but something which is only workable in the moment. Definitely

Dr. Joe Oliver:

yeah, and it can be a lot of depth to it, but it might not be super long, deeper, right? It's kind of sounds like a bit pejorative, like deep is good or not shallow was bad. I sort of, you know, those sort of questions like just asking people helping them to orientate in terms of what matters and what they care about. What they want to stand for in a situation really helps people plant that flag and have a sense of the things that in this particular situation what they want to do, but also how they want to how they want to act, how they want to behave. People often my experiences and I say that for myself, personally too, I find it really rounding but I have my values clear and well articulated, I'm just thinking this current example where I was while ago I was invited to a a talk at a conference I was really busy and I was flat out and lots of things to do and just imagine all the time that go into it and I was also a bit nervous about it as well it was kind of like a you know it's a group of people who I know quite well and I sort of thought oh gosh what if it all went wrong and you know stand up there and forget my kind of what I'm gonna say blah blah blah and I've got nothing to say anyway no one be interested blah blah blah. I'm too busy right? I'm just kind of hold on a minute stuff gamer. I was coming close to like just avoiding it. kind of creating some of the email excuses. I'm too busy. Then, for whatever reason, something triggered me to think about a values thing like, which is to say like, is this important? Like, is this something that matters here. And as it happened that was just kind of this thinking I've been going through, which was a rereading this book about belonging to a group, and it's been pretty influential really liked it. And it was something important that I wanted to say, in this group, which is about how do we as a group, consciously and deliberately set up a good way that people can belong, all sorts of people can belong, like, it's not a kind of like in group out group, and that we can work towards a shared purpose. And I suddenly realized, actually, this is really important to me, I do want to say this, I feel like I want to say this in this space and, and had my kind of little bit of drop of the influence into the progression of this group. And then something changed. And all that kind of sort of mind, chatter just sort of just eased off a little, it's still there, it'll come back, I'm sure it's closer I get to it, but it just kind of eased. And I was like, Yeah, this is something he kind of doesn't matter to me, I sort of kept my chest because it was a good sort of feel, and it was a bit of a spaciousness, then I saw on the basis of that I accepted the invite started kind of reading about and I started to get quite excited about it, I was like, oh, cool possibilities here. And I could say this, or we could do this, or this is going to be a bit of an adventure that I'm going to go on here. So that's maybe an example of the ways in which that valuing piece can can be really useful. Thank

Zoltán Csigás:

you very much this codes, professional one is the one I really liked in the unfortunate URL dining is that this so this way, venues are more contextual, and more fluid for me, because I don't need to have just a single set of let's say, these are my three values, and then everything should be under them. In a corporate environment where we have, you know, mission, vision, by values, whatever I'm smoking that well done. I'm not being too serious theory. So the flexibility that a value or something that is important can be important just in the here, and now where I can refine it right now may not have been aware of it, let's say, you know how four years ago, so let's say that I'm hearing from your story, this gives me a bit of an expertise in approaching the whole idea of working with values, that I shouldn't be looking for the structural element of a person's personality or whatever. That's one thing. And then the personal side. And I'm just grateful that you shared this very personal experience with me. And it's nice to hear that other professionals have their mind chatter on as well, and that we are not invincible to these thoughts. Because I frequently get the question that okay, you are teaching such stuff and you are coaching people around those topics, we bet that you don't have those thoughts. Well, I tried to be authentic all the time, as well, whenever I have different kinds of chairs, and different kinds of disturbance about myself or my work. It's simply good to know that I'm not alone. Right?

Dr. Joe Oliver:

Yeah, very welcome. Isn't that interesting is one of the kind of like the key things, I think that sort of connection, tech sort of humanity, when we hear about other people's vulnerability or insights. And I think that's probably a really key part of why authenticity is so important to me. Like to be able to just have said, so many times in my life, when I've really benefited from other people's authenticity, even just what you're saying, they're like, I connect much more with you, it's like, feels okay to kind of have all this stuff on the inside, or it's like really soothing thing, to hear that other people, just the same as me, for the most part. Other people have struggles other people's have minds, other people have things that they'd rather not have. That's part of the human experience. You know, so authenticity for me drops out of that. And I guess that's the kind of makes me think, you know, the act, acceptance and commit, that's the acceptance, but which is I kept up with it I really liked which is that perhaps we don't need to go through life trying to get rid of stuff, or the problem is not my busy worrying mind or my flight with emotions that I don't like, it's that maybe I could accept or rather breathe into hold and have and allow those things to be there. Because they, that's who I am. That's part of being human. And I do that so I can do the things I care about, don't have to spend all my time fighting and not, you know, trying to think positive or trying to be happy all the time, where that's just, that's hard. It's a hard battle.

Zoltán Csigás:

And as I understand that, then, in the moments, when I'm just accepting my struggles, that I can get an insight into the permissions for the resources that I may have beneath them. Just holding my struggles, helps me to free up space in my mind, to experience by my other parts, my other inner dialogues, my other, whatever else that is the struggle,

Dr. Joe Oliver:

right? Absolutely as good wherever. Yeah, there's so much like, I feel like society is geared up. Western society, at least has sort of geared us towards the sort of ideal, this sort of happy happiness, the sense of, I don't know peak well being and it's kind of like has this sort of package in that store. Whereas this absence of all the gunk or the yucky stuff, so called right, if you say this is good, then inevitably that's saying this stuff is bad, it's just means that all the bad stuff gets such a hard rap, like difficult feelings or parts of ourselves that maybe you've got actually not easy but important messages to convey, or you know, things that we actually could benefit from really listening to, you know, taking the message from. So, rather than trying to have this sort of aspiration of unity or having a lot of happiness is the word I use or sort of this one kind of sense of well, being whatever that is, genuine well being, I think, can be a real incorporation of all aspects of ourselves. And

Zoltán Csigás:

at least three, so as you were speaking, on the street, your room is new and the new world came up. So, first, I will just get back to this because the first one was called non judgmental attitudes, or the perspective you are outside and CO non judgmental, it is, that was one of your first sentences that formatting things are put into the box. So this is the ideal. So anything, what is not an ideal to be against? It shouldn't be bad, exactly like this, the non judgmental approach. And what I was starting to think, as we were talking is, how do you deal with people, clients, who have strong internal doctors, non permissionless blockages, choose your word, do not do certain things, like, don't be happy,

Dr. Joe Oliver:

I think it's one of the key parts of any coaching therapy relationship is understanding those pieces. And probably the more complicated issue is more of those things are going to kind of come up, I've sort of got my hands together automatically, without thinking about it, like it's a form of not, because these things often sort of represent not sadness, like a kind of bind, or a blockage stoppage where things aren't moving forward. And it's nearly as if there's different aspects of fighting against a movement forward. You know, usually by virtue of the person sitting in front of us, it sort of suggests, hey, they want to change, they want to improve their life. And yet, they might do lots of behaviors that are completely opposite of that. There's a whole catalogue of things that could represent that not talking, not opening up not participating, not doing their homework, not doing any change, not expressing the feelings authentically, all things that get in the way of, of that block, there's a lot that can come into that there's one part is there's a values piece in that. And I think everybody nice values, pieces, not one that sort of starts to set any judgment about the correct way to do things, but perhaps a value that set kind of like a course or direction where both of these parts could come to some agreement say about wanting to move towards greater equanimity, for example, I use that word like or greater well being or without a kind of sort of predefined destination about where that comes to this, you know, the auto space is reminds me a little bit of family therapy, right, good family therapy, the very first thing you want to do is kind of listen to each of the aspects that are happening, like hear their perspective, like what's going on, and then kind of gradually kind of bring the perspectives together and unify them in a shared direction that they're all happy with. And I get a lot of blockages for people can represent that was a part of them inside an aspect of themselves, that maybe is weary is scared or threatened is doesn't want to change, the kind of part of a good coach and therapist is really understand that, because it can be frustrating, intensely frustrating when a client says I want to change, ba, ba ba, ba ba, it's like, oh my gosh, how many times we've talked about this, in the past, it does the exact opposite. The trap is to go is to push against that resistance and push back and trying to say, but you've said this and you want to change and you know, of course, you know what happens, then it just gets even more resistant. So the key I usually find is to get some exploration get their perspective shared, like, tell me about what's happening now, what are your concerns? What are your fears? When What do you truly want? What are your values, instead of listening to that different aspect and different parts that have a sense of self? And it's a bit of a metaphor, right, that there are different selves in us. But I think it's a useful metaphor. And you know, not just act, it has lots of different therapies. Ta Of course, talks about this loads, and is probably lots of stuff actors stolen, maybe.

Zoltán Csigás:

I love the word of influencing or

Dr. Joe Oliver:

getting inspired, inspired. Yeah, absolutely. Hugely, I

Zoltán Csigás:

think it's, I think it's a good thing to be inspired by great cause. Without that humanity would be reinventing the wheel in every second year. So exactly that steal from the let's be inspired by good stuff. So I'm

Dr. Joe Oliver:

hugely reassured that the that we do that, I wouldn't be very worried if it was just continual reinvention. So I feel like there's that kind of really interesting pieces is really looking to understand all these different elements and be like a facilitator. So you understand, to a degree, how each of these parts functions, how she does aspects, ourselves functions, what they want, where they want to get to, and then kind of bring together like a unifying direction that could be a value could be shared value between the

Zoltán Csigás:

two. One of the things that keeps Coming back to this we are talking is the being a coach and or a therapist? I'm just curious on your approach to the boundaries of these professions like therapy coaching, counseling, from your perspective, what is the is there such a thing as a key differentiator between these roles or between the professionals? When you will just stop and say, Hey, I need to change my heads? Absolutely,

Dr. Joe Oliver:

I think I feel like I'm a bit of a funny role, and that I do move between the coaching world in the therapy world and having training backgrounds in both worlds, and it means I can move backwards and forwards. And I don't think that's always a particularly helpful thing. I think often for the managing that boundary thing, it's much more straightforward if a person is located in one or the other. But you know, life is not so straightforward, right? A lot of people move backwards and forwards. And that's often a good thing. I think that the the knowledge and skills from each area are hugely, enormously helpful across both. So you know, when I've seen coaches working therapeutically, their ability to understand things like values to be focused to be genuine warmth, and action orientated is hugely beneficial. And also, you know, for therapists working in a coaching world, having had eyes on some of the more developmental stuff, for example, or knowing kind of you know, this when something is tipping maybe into something a bit more serious, or maybe some mental health issues, it can be fantastic. How one separates that out is tricky. But I think a really key part of that is from the outset, having a real clear contract with the person, and then get an understanding about where they want to get to and what they want to do. I think, for example, some of the problems for a psychologist or therapist or psychotherapist, doing coaching can be often that they don't stick to that, because they know they can go into other areas, but they don't stick to the contract that might not be appropriate, even if professionally, they could, that might not be the appropriate thing to do. The other kind of flipside, of course, is for coaches, when they start kind of coming up into what territory that looks like, maybe there's going to fall out of this skill set your expertise, or indeed out of the contract that have agreed with the client in the first place. I guess that's things where things may be looking a little bit more serious, perhaps maybe that it's maybe relating to more sort of mental health issues, that there might be the kind of things where some outside expertise is needed. Having said that, though, I also kind of it's not black and white, I think it's nice to have a little tolerance for some of the gray area. And that and having some good place to discuss with someone else where that gray areas where the parameters, I think is always enormously helpful. Sometimes it's real danger, I think when people pull back too quickly, where they might have been able to stay with the person just a little longer, that might have been helpful. And of course, you know, staying with the person too long can be productive as well.

Zoltán Csigás:

I'd really like your thoughts on on contracts. And my first I'd like to say that my school around psychology was TA and for me, the contractual nature of Chile was very inspirational. And I think that really fits my way of thinking, in general about the role like that could kind of very broadly, I'm not a quid pro quo person, but I just I really just like to have a clearer understanding of what's going on. And that's really the essence of offering a contract with my clients. And so I really like that we are on the same page with contracts. As a therapist, what would be your recommendation for coaches? What are the five things to look out for? This is a boundary you shouldn't go over there, that other things that we don't use to be very aware, not to go there, which is definitely behind the groin area. Of course, when someone is, you know, seeing Napoleon in the cold and joking here. So there are certain very obvious behavioral patterns that may call for extra things. Yeah, he says the very, very obvious things. Yeah. Is there anything that you would recommend us to take a look at?

Dr. Joe Oliver:

That's the you pointed to the key problem there, right. Like when, when it's obvious, everyone knows what to do. It's when it's not obvious. That's the thing that becomes trickier, tricky, because things change for a person, they might they will likely fluctuate week to week, they will, maybe even within a session, they might that degree of kind of seriousness can change. Usually, the kind of things I'd say to watch out for is getting a sense of the impact that something is having in one's life. And whether it's being attuned to things like the impact of anxiety, the impact of low mood, and then the impact of things like that sort of cluster of things around that sense of self personality stuff, or self esteem that gets can be really impactful, connected, all of those things would be the impact of trauma, whether that's a recent trauma the person's been through or a serious or perhaps accumulation of complex traumas. And so again, that's it into that gray territory because I think a lot of times coaches can be enormously helpful with stuff in there The contract can identify either that we're going to work on a particular issue here, and we know about this stuff over there. And that's okay, that can sit there and remain there, the Hallmark features I would say is when it's time to get in some additional help or do something else, is when that stuff over there starts to become much more influential in the person's life. So when problems start to impact over, over more than a period of a few weeks, when it starts to impact on multiple domains, so you know, someone might be describing some anxiety at work, and suddenly they're describing anxiety at home with their friends, you know, when they wake up first thing in the morning, and it's been around for a long period of time. Those are the kind of times I'll be saying started looking, it's looking like it's a little bit more serious. And it might not be something that just sort of eases with time. Of course, lots of things do, right, you know, give it a few weeks or a couple of months and things ease and life changes and pressures shift. But if it doesn't, then those are the times where it probably is likely to be beneficial to get someone else into get a second opinion, perhaps very hard to notice a difference. That's why I think lots of coaches, of course, ask this question, that's a really important one, and to get the right correct answer.

Zoltán Csigás:

But for me, what is inspiring in what he was saying is the tumbling nature of the signals that you didn't say that, okay, you should pay attention for these kinds of roids, or these kinds of contexts. But when we know message was pay attention to the strip, in the presence of your clients, whenever something is, but an issue is getting into getting a broader impact on the lives. So this is not a point like something that we still pay attention for, when something changes, or the nature of the changes that the client is experiencing. Yeah, that's the word I was looking for.

Dr. Joe Oliver:

That's a good way to put it. Yeah. Like that used to looking for that set of experiences located in time rather than just a slice. And I think, Gosh, I bet you're gonna catch me on a bad day, then you would think, Oh, my gosh, this guy's got all sorts of things going on. But you know, speak to me the next day things have moved on. And the fine is then chronicity. They're kind of length of

Zoltán Csigás:

where you were into question. Because they always like to ask about your pain relief staying in your area, instead of favorite thing that is that something is very common thing, what is very close to your heart, either in Act, or in therapy that you would consider as your sweet spot in what you are doing is something that you could share with us, there's

Dr. Joe Oliver:

probably two pieces. One is it's kind of the threads that we've been talking about is one is is authenticity piece, this message that act not only act but that I feel is kind of like the antidote is being received in society today to this constant desire and need for self improvement and betterment and health and well, you know, happiness, things are changing, right? You know, like, there's been such an evolution in terms of approaches and ideas and therapies, which promote, sometimes for better or worse, but this idea that as you are as okay, you don't need to fundamentally change. That doesn't mean that are kind of odd things that people aren't going to improve on and try and get better, I'm sure with this sort of sense of real deep level, self acceptance, warts and all, as a human being You're welcome, still welcome within the human race, and lots of caveats and railroad exceptions, blah, blah. But that kind of message that comes out is so important. And I feel like one of the things I'm really interested in is promote that how do we promote and have technologies that allow us to increase the sense of belonging to our groups, you know, whether it's kind of like, just you and me talking now, or whether it's I talk to my family, or whether it's my talk with my colleagues at work, or there's other professional groups I belong to, or, you know, my community, and the bigger and bigger groups that kind of go out what's How can we bring people together and allow the for the sense of belonging, whilst at the same time, belonging doesn't mean that people have to be homogenous, all exactly the same, but a sense of like, as you are, you're welcome. There's no need to fundamentally improve, and I don't know, world events, that everything that goes on, there is a need for us as a species to find those ways, those methods, those technologies to do this. So we can, as a species, have a sort of a global sense of togetherness and moving forward. I don't know what that's going to do. Maybe it's an alien invasion. That's the thing that we need to be confronted with to finally bring us together, that I hope it's not something quite so threatening, but methods that allow us to belong legitimately and genuinely, I think are really important. That matters to me.

Zoltán Csigás:

Thank you. So authenticity, and belonging and love. Thank you very much. These are, these are wonderful, closing words. If you allow me to say that, thank you very much for the conversation for your time and for everything you have shared. I really enjoyed the conversation.

Dr. Joe Oliver:

Thank you so much for having me on. I really enjoyed it too. And I've really enjoyed your thought provoking questions. And yeah, it's been a real pleasure talking with you today.

Zoltán Csigás:

Thank you. Thank you for listening to on coaching podcast, where I have curious conversations with verging on coaches and researchers. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to rate us and subscribe. I also invite you to visit Zolt engaged with John where you can access more resources regarding the coaching industry where you will

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *