December 15, 2023

Life & Existential Coaching – A conversation with Yannick Jacob

In this episode of OnCoaching Zoltán Csigás talks with Yannick Jacob a coach, coach-trainer, speaker, and a professional who integrates positive psychology coaching and an existentialist approach. The conversation covers questions about professional boundaries, client relations, existential approaches, and a lot more.

Transcript
Zoltán Csigás:

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. Please, welcome, I'm so glad to have you here.

Yannick Jacob:

Really nice to be here, I really enjoy the connection. Right? We've had many laughs already in the few brief moments that we've that we've met. And it feels very human to human. And so I guess every dialogue is being a guest on each other's podcast in a way, right? I think whenever two people are in actual dialogue, like in a conversation where you exchange ideas, it's not an interview, right? And then well, yeah, I like that metaphor, I think it's rich.

Zoltán Csigás:

Absolutely, thank you very much like oh, like always being the guest. You know, what, what resonates me immediately is that I just finished reading a book around anxiety, I won't be able to quote the title, it was about hacking your anxious brain or something like that. And there was a, there was a quote, that I really loved it or an analogy. And it said that you can imagine anxiety or anxious people, as if they are not accepting the their roles in the moment. For example, you know, someone who is over co trying to overcome for his his flight, by taking a look at the weather or criticizing the style of the pilot or whatever, they are just not accepting their role as a passenger. So that's what came to my mind, I really enjoy being a guest in certain roles and accepting the boundaries or the expectations for roles. I think. Now, it seems we are always we are almost having a topic here. Right? Right at the beginning,

Yannick Jacob:

I think that already opens a bunch of existential doors for me, which is, you know, my my dominant theoretical and philosophical lens on coaching.

Zoltán Csigás:

And before we go there, let me stop you just for a second. And of course, I would be just curious, and how did you get into this field? So how does one one, how did you end up in the domain of existential psychology because it seems like, you know, as from a naive perspective, it seems like the thing for the old people I know. Because I know that this was judgmental, and I said it provocatively directly, and they didn't mean to hurt. Like, we usually don't start there. So they're my curiosity. That's how, how did you end up? Yeah,

Yannick Jacob:

yeah, I hope I'll stay in the field for a little while. But you know, existentialist love thinking about time and time has a special place in our hearts and in our thinking, so I recently turned 40. So hearing that, you know, I still appear young, I still feel young. But whenever we have around birthday, it does bring up questions around identity and about who we are and where we came from, and where we want to go. So it's nice. I do still feel young. So it's nice that it's that it appears so as well. How do I find my way into this? Well, how do I start answering the question? I think everybody is already an existentialist in many ways. What I what I hear, one of the things I hear most in when I when I train existential coaches is oh, I've, I think I've already been an existential coach, and I just didn't really have the language for it. So these are human issues. This is a human philosophy is philosophy, about existence about what it means to be alive in the world with other people. And I think anybody who reflects on the human condition on what it means to be alive on what is this, where is it going? What are we doing here? You know, big questions, who am I? If I like to ask these questions, I felt I've kind of felt drawn to these questions for for a very long time. So, I guess once I, once I found the, the terminology for it was at a time when I had studied positive psychology, did a master's in positive psychology. I got in touch with coaching. I had I had an interest in becoming a psychotherapist or a counselor because I liked it. depth of the conversation. And I studied psychology, and then I study positive psychology. So through positive psychology, I found that coaching exists. And I immediately was so attracted to it, because at the time positive psychology is the study of what's right with people, right, and strength and resources and positive emotions and hope and love and everything that could go well. And so, I felt I needed more than that the parallels to coaching were immediate, right? What positive psychologists study, coaches try to create for the clients or with their clients. And we agree, I wanted to go a lot deeper than that, when I studied positive psychology, I found coaching really connected with coaching, I thought, like, I have the freedom here to do what I want. And, you know, it's a bit less restricted and regulated, and it felt felt very exciting. But then I felt a lot of positive psychologists were maybe a bit too positive. And while there's immense value in looking at what's right with people, I needed an approach to coaching that would appreciate and acknowledge and work with life is often shit. You know, it's difficult, it's hard, it's challenging, there's lots of anxiety, right? There's, there's conflict dilemma paradox. And it's difficult just to be alive, it's, it's tough, you know, there's, there's a lot of challenges. And that kind of anxiety doesn't go away that existential one. So we need to live with that. So I found my way, it was an old mentor of mine. Who said, you should have a look at that course. Because I was looking for something that would integrate coaching and therapy in a meaningful way. That would be I would be able to work across the range of the human experience, and not just across a very limited part of that range. And that's how I found the existential framework. And it's now it's my home, because I was able to integrate all of these exciting bits from other parts of psychology and philosophy into a framework that people innately understand once you are translated from the complex philosophy into everyday life experiences.

Zoltán Csigás:

Oh, thank you. When did we even in that there were a number of things, which I can agree with. So I love the depth. And I could I can share your concern about certain people being too positive. And I immediately found a few, you know, three key areas what I would love what I would love to explore with you, because no one one of the things you've said is that, that that positive psychology or what you've learned about it was not as deep as you want it to go. That's, that's what I understood and that you that you love, the existential framework for enabling you to go wherever you want. And wherever, whenever you have that, immediately have a question of okay, but what are the boundaries of the profession? So what is the one? On one hand? How do you define yourself? So I do on the coaching side, have you on the faculty side? Are you are you a coaching psychologist or? And how do you present yourself towards your clients? Because I think that's, that's an issue that most of us, or a lot of us are facing these days. And I think that's a key issue for our profession. On how to I mean, both are all of these helping professions on how to relate to each other? So what's your position on that?

Yannick Jacob:

Yeah, where would you like to start as a few questions on the table?

Zoltán Csigás:

Well, one of my old mentors told me that sometimes it's okay to split out lots of questions and your clients, we just find the most appropriate one for them to. Yeah, let me whenever I would be. So my focus will be I will be interested in your opinion on on how do you present yourself? So what you said that the existential framework is your home now? How do you like to present yourself towards your clients? What is your what is your frequent flyer for your clients?

Yannick Jacob:

Yeah, let's, let's let's talk into that. Thank you for the curiosity. By the way, I knew I was excited about talking to you because you dig and you throw a bunch of questions on the table, I sometimes do the same, and also sometimes do the same in the coaching room. And part of me is like, bad coach stack questions. And then another one is like, well, just, you know, throw some curiosity out there, see what see what people do with it. So I think, let's talk about how I present myself and then we inevitably will get to the, to the boundary of how far how far can coaches go, right, because it's a it's a question that I that often appears in supervision and also given that, you know, existential coaching. Half of our literature was around existential psychotherapy because at the time Under the study this, there wasn't really much written about existential coaching. So given that the depth of the questions, it's quite profound. So these are, these are important questions that can be difficult to draw the line between coaching and therapy. So

Zoltán Csigás:

I just need to add a personal Perella that I have a similar experience right now because No, I'm an upcycled is by background as well. And no, I'm, I'm in a post graduate course for becoming a counseling psychologist, because I just like to have the papers to do whatever I need to do when some of my clients want to go deeper. And what I'm experiencing as a counseling psychologist is that a number of 404 tutorials are coming from the clinical field. And they are teaching us clinical concepts. And I'm like, okay, hey, guys, I came here as a coach to learn a bit more, and be more of a counselor. But now you are giving me the clinical level knowledge, though? How should I draw my boundaries, that's why I'm interested in what you may be learning.

Yannick Jacob:

Now, likewise, similarly, in during my training to be an existential coach at an MA and existential coaching at the New School of counseling and psychotherapy, in London, under me funders and Monica hanaway, we had so many different trainers on the course. And I don't think there was any of them that weren't therapists first. And the people who wrote the books, they're all therapists, and then they've become coaches, or they're still both and they're right about it. There is a new generation with me, Danny funders in think analogous Jerome as well, there's a few few of us now, who are not coming straight from therapy. The question when you have a therapeutic training, the question of how far can you go is less important one because you do have the safety of the training, and you can go to places that are therapeutic, maybe with some appropriate re contracting, but people with therapy backgrounds don't have to be so worried about is this now therapy because if it was and I'm not properly trained, it could become risky, could become an ethical could become, you know, something where you shouldn't be opening. So how far can we go to me always comes down to how far am I willing and able to go? And that's? That's a continuous question. I think every coach needs to ask themselves and there is no one answer, I know that I can, perhaps, hold more, more space at depth, then perhaps a performance trained coach. The level of training experience that I've got, allows me to be comfortable at a place of depth. I think it depends a lot on how resourced your clients are to engage with this. Because what I asked a lot of coaches on on my podcast, as well as anonymous podcasts coaching engaged, which I get to host ask a lot of people with strong background in therapy, how do you see the difference? And what I hear more and more is, it's not so much about the approach, it's not so much about the technique, or the way that you hold space are the content sets that you're working with the methodology. It's more about who the client is. So ask the constructivist coach, for example, what do you do differently? And they say I don't do anything differently, but the people who show up, they're different people, right? They're all they're not in a deep hole, figuring out how to get out that they're not deeply hurt trying to heal something. Talk to Simon Western yesterday, your talks about the wound itself and the Celebrate itself, that therapists tend to work with the wound itself, although not exclusively, whereas coaches more often work with a celebrated self, you can be a Sarab therapist working with a celebrated self, you know, you can be a therapist and have a deep conversation with someone who's very, very high functioning. So at this point, I don't think there's a big difference between accidental coaching and existential therapy. Me funders and recently told me that there's a It was great to see her because she embodied it at some point she got into therapist mode, and she just kind of slightly leaned back and her voice got softer and her whole body got softer. And there was a different quality of how she helps space in when you're coaching I think you're more leaning in you more you know there's there's a different kind of energy to it. So that's I've always found that super interesting because that line is just so blurry.

Zoltán Csigás:

Thank you for raising these the, the power of the client or the presence of the client because I think we rarely talk a lot or very rarely talk enough about the clients although we are all in the helping industry but whenever we are curious about our profession, theories about coaching or therapy or whatever I think the literature I'm reading, or most of it I read was more interested in, in the professionals themselves to coaches, therapists, whatever. And the client side just being the object of of the stuff we're doing.

Yannick Jacob:

Relational. How could it? How could it? You know, how could it not matter?

Zoltán Csigás:

Yeah, so I'm not saying that they haven't read relational stuff, but I do sense that there is a bigger focus on on on us. And I really love and the other part, the client side is really presented. And I've never really heard about this definition or this couple in between coaching and therapy, which we'll be using the client as the the defining aspect of the relationship. There's

Yannick Jacob:

there's another element that of time, I asked. There's a Mexican colleague, Mexican existential coach and existential therapist, yaki Martinez, great guy, I found out that we wrote a book with the exact same title, but his was in Spanish. And I didn't Google mine before, before I published my book. And, yeah, his was out in here earlier. So I was a bit sad about that. But he's amazing. So I went to see him my wife is Mexican. Next, like, next time I went to Mexico, I said, Hey, you know, we should meet. So he kindly invited me, I did a podcast with him, I asked him, where's the line between, you know, at what point is it therapy? And his answer was so incredibly simple. He said, If it's six sessions, it's coaching, if it's any more therapy.

Zoltán Csigás:

Okay, then I was done. I was told to do therapy all the time.

Yannick Jacob:

And I can see because he's working phenomenologically. Right. So and it's difficult to see where the difference is, then when you work in this kind of way really bracketing what you think, you know, really tuning into the client's experience, and allowing new meanings to emerge from that kind of exploration, I can see why he would make that kind of simple line, I'm not sure if six is maybe the great number there. But like, I get the idea that if it's a more short term intervention, then it would be coaching and if it's longer term, you do go into more depth, there's certain things that are so complex that it really takes some time to unpick it. And that he would then call it therapy. I mean, it's a it's good to line as any I guess.

Zoltán Csigás:

Yes, and, and I just love this last line of yours, that we can have a number of different lines. And, and as long as we don't have one single line in which we all agree, we will always have a certain, you know, tenderness around the boundaries of these healthy professional standards. And I think that is a good thing. On one second, it could be a challenging thing on one hand from legal, ethical, whatever perspectives, but on the other hand, I think it's a good thing to have these gray area because it could help for clients to to cross that boundary without extra level of anxiety, as it may be, it may be helping helpful for them to stay okay, I'm just getting to cater for the coaching or another type of helping relationship, because sometimes, that's my impression, sometimes going to therapy may still be stigmatized, maybe a stigmatizing relationship for certain people. And I'm glad that this is shrinking, or I mean, the fundamental is not as big as it used to be. But it is still challenging from a social perspective, certain people.

Yannick Jacob:

Yeah, yeah, I wish it was not because it really is an exploration of self. And if the stigma wasn't there, I think a lot more people would know themselves a lot better. And that's why really, for a while, I was really concerned about coaches, entering deep terms, without the therapy training, because I felt um, you can, with best intentions really do some damage when you do deep psychological work. Because your unconscious dynamics, they do show up. And if you're not trained to be aware of that. You're in regular supervision, you've done your own work. So you see how you bring yourself into these relationships. Your past trauma is going to show up your relationship with your parents is going to show up your relationship with other people. Nobody's going to find their way into the room. And that can be tricky, but I've kind of changed a little bit on that because I think under the guise of coaching clients can do work that otherwise maybe they would have never done. Right. So it's a good thing if somebody opens up some of those doors. So I think And as long as when everybody's got different lines, it's right. And when we talk phenomenologically, there's an experience of knowing I cannot tell you where the line between my coaching is, and when therapy begins, but I can tell you what the experience is when I start feeling that I'm out of my depth, and that it might be better for this client to work with someone else. And that's when I when I feel that way. And I often talk about that with clients in the beginning, especially when it's the client where feel this could, this could go into therapeutic realms very quickly, and that might not be the right person for them anymore. I say, hey, at some point, I might get that feeling. And at that point, my body's telling me that, you know, maybe it's better for you, if you work with someone else, you know, it's not for me, it's really for you to get the best possible service. And so we contract that there is a boundary, even though we don't quite know where exactly that is. And it's a good

Zoltán Csigás:

thing that you have the training to go a bit further to go further than classical coaching whatever, hole doesn't matter how we define what coaching is, and you will make my my concern for our coaching profession for so for the profession of coaching is that there may be colleagues who get clients who would like to do this deeper work, but the coaches may not have the proper training for doing that. And whenever their gut feelings, those coaches gut feelings, may be still saying that, okay, this is a nice thing to have, they may be on, on territories where they shouldn't be, and perhaps their gut feelings may not be giving them the proper signals. Because to be able to read your feelings, you need to have your own, you know, not to say truthfully, that your own shit sorted out. Sometimes your gut feeling may just be the presence of a parallel process with your client or something entirely different than just the gentle reminder of your competency boundaries. So

Yannick Jacob:

I celebrate that so much. Thank you for putting it so beautifully. Because I once I remember the moment when I have learned that common sense is not actually that common. And intuitions, everybody has their own intuitions. And I remember it bothered me when I met a coach who said, I'm an intuitive coach, never read a book on coaching, never done any training, they just do work. And they do it intuitively. And they do what feels intuitively right. And I knew at the time, there's something about that that is that is that is unknown. It's not that it's not okay. It's not that it's necessarily dangerous, but there was something that bothered me about it. And over the years, I learned why because we have these parallel, we have these intuitions based on something that comes from our unconscious. And if we're not paying attention to that, then it'll just take us away, and it'll do something, and we won't notice that it's happening. And so we can unconsciously really guide someone or direct someone towards a certain outcome or direction or take control or get caught up in power dynamics, and be completely oblivious to it. And so that's, that's tricky.

Zoltán Csigás:

I absolutely agree. And I just have to think brackets, that's one of my favorite consequences is games from the Bernie approach or from transactional analysis games we play and that they those are unconscious stuff. So I may be even inviting you to be a part of my play as a coach, and if I'm unlucky, or if we are both are lucky, you may you can find the ideal role to be played in my job. Or we can just go create a new jam together, which should be fun. With all the irony, I can say. So I absolutely agree. And you know, when, as we talk about all this, I just have in my mind, the first question I asked, but you haven't done so I will eventually

Yannick Jacob:

send that there was a good link actually. Absolutely.

Zoltán Csigás:

That. So how do you present yourself? Or how do they find your stuff for clients? We know these things in the background. A

Yannick Jacob:

little while ago, you said that this is relational, right? That it doesn't have to be coaching can be a transactional process. You know, we can guide someone through the GROW Model of practice or Oscar or whatever other process model and make progress and our relationship dynamics don't actually matter that much. I think coaching is deeply relational, but that's my coaching. Right? So when I present myself that question can also only be answered in relation. One question I love to ask in my own podcast is Well, you find yourself in a dinner party, how do you introduce yourself? And so I've asked it a bunch of times until somebody said, Well, really depends on who's at the party. Like, yeah, of course it does. I mean, who am I talking to? What kind of parents do they make? What do I already know about them? Right? So if I don't know anything about someone, I might just say, I'm an existential coach, because it very rarely fails to start a conversation. Right? And that really is what coaches want, if we are sharing that. Why do we share that? Do we share that because we want the client? Do we share that because we want to help people? Do we share that because we want to make a good impression? Do we share that just as an exchange, a very early mentor of mine, very first person that I explored to maybe become a therapist with, he's told me that piece of advice, if you do become a therapist, you find yourself at the dinner party, and they ask you, Hey, what do you do? Do yourself a favor and lie. So, you know, he just wanted to have a nice evening and not have other people feel on the backfoot and on defense and think that you're going to be psychoanalyzing them. I'm quite open, I'm quite transparent. When I say I'm an existential coach, usually people say, Oh, that what's that? Right. And then I can talk about something that I'm passionate about, which is the human condition and the work and, you know, the intimate relationships and the privilege of being part of people's journeys and asking big questions. You know, just by that I'm opening so many doors, that somebody who talks to me can take and have an interesting conversation that's likely going to do something in some way, raise some interesting questions, have an interesting conversation and have a good experience. Maybe ask themselves some new questions, open some philosophical doors, I always enjoyed making people think. And now I say, inviting people to think, or helping people think and we don't necessarily want to make them think I used to make people think, but it's, we can't. But it opens up a space. Right? So when I say existential coach, that's helpful, because you know, I can, I can do that in a bunch of different ways.

Zoltán Csigás:

What's your so what is your experience? Does your introduction as a dinner party or on your web page? Does it feel to your clients as well? So do you? Do you find more people coming to you who already have existential questions?

Yannick Jacob:

Yeah, so that there's a mix, right? Depends on where your clients come from, I don't have a client system, like a system in place, where I know this is how it works. This is how I generate leads, I was always a bit in tie these processes changing a little bit now as we're scaling the coaching lab, and I kind of have to figure out some some marketing principles and how to reach a broader audience. But like, for the longest time, it really didn't matter so much to me, I, I did what I liked doing. And through that conversations happened, and relationships were built. So when trained coaches, not even existential coaches, but just general, there was always a few people who either referred someone or asked to do some work. You know, for many, many years, we did a thing called pop psychology, we just we went to the pub every Tuesday evening, and talked about some psychological topics, was a former professor of mine. And then there was a community around that. And it was just a nice community where people could just come in and talk about psychology, they were interested, as I started kind of more branding myself as an existential coach and really owning that label. As I produce more content and wrote the book, now I've got a presence, right? So if somebody is Googling something along the lines of existential coaching, I'll probably come up. So that allowed people to just kind of go and find me. But really, when you're in a conversation, they don't need to have seen anything online or read anything or have any context for you. If you find yourself in a conversation, and you have an interesting conversation, I'm naturally quite big picture, I'm going to ask bigger questions, I'm going to zoom out, I'm going to explore, I'm curious and dig a little, you know, I like that. It's not just coach to Nick, it's also who Yannick is. So when I find myself talking to people at an event or at a party, or it's some sort of social gathering, then there might be doors open that somebody really would like to explore further. So occasionally, I find myself saying something along the lines of like, you know, Hey, have you ever considered working with someone on this? Because like, you seem to seem to be a lot of doors open for you, you know, you know, there's help out there. And I'm not necessarily even thinking about me being their coach, I'm thinking about who would really benefit from coaching, you know, and then they might want to know more, and given that they already have a relationship and you already presented yourself as somebody who's credible and who they can trust. stole who they may be like, then it's easy to say, Well, can we work together? Yeah.

Zoltán Csigás:

Has it ever fail? I mean, you introduce yourself, at least I'm sure Coach big questions with whatever. Has it ever yielded a negative result? I mean, a client shutting down and saying, No, thank you. No, I'm not interested in the depth of my life. I just like to, you know, to dance as much as I'm doing right now. And now we just need to get rid of the stupid as both. So maybe again, I need, you know, two more points on my whatever, whatever skill? So,

Yannick Jacob:

of course, yeah, of course. I mean, that happens. I had some agency work with a coaching agency from New York that were working with, like smaller tech startups. And I wasn't branded as an existential coach, and it was a bunch of people that just wanted to get to the next level of promotion. And they would stop thinking very early. In my, like, my perception, you know, they're just like, I don't know, what do you think that is? I don't know. And then I stopped thinking about it. I'm like, Well, that's very interesting that you stopped thinking that, you know, and sometimes somebody would take the invitation and realize, oh, yeah, no, I do stuff. I could, I guess I could explore this more. And maybe you need to help them how, but some people they're really just not that interested in. That's, that's okay. I mean, when I was younger, I was more passionate about really wanting to open that up for people. But you know, I've come to learn that you can't really if people don't really want to, when you can, or you can ask all the right questions with somebody isn't one, two, they're just going to dodge the questions anyway. And if I find myself working harder than my client, that's, that's not gonna work.

Zoltán Csigás:

Yeah, well, that's not gonna work. Do you have any other you know, one liners? So do you have a tool or whatever? Yeah, feel free to say no. What do you do when, when you have the curiosity, you see that? Okay, those doors are almost open. But your clients just says, No, I do because of fear or whatever. So what do you do with the island? No.

Yannick Jacob:

Yeah. So my

Zoltán Csigás:

guy, I don't know what

Yannick Jacob:

whatever. Think it's this, this two things, right? That I find quite elegant. It's, it can be one of the most elegant challenges is the challenge that comes from pure curiosity, curiosity. So when you're just like, Oh, that's really interesting that you stop thinking there. Or it's just like, well, here's an observation. It's not like, I want you to keep thinking, I want you to think at a deeper level, but just like, I'm not attached to where you're going to be taking this, but I'm really curious. If if somebody isn't appreciate that curiosity, Curiosity can be really challenging, right? hearing something like that might be a huge revelation, maybe, maybe you would, maybe that person regarded themselves as a, as a very effective thinker. And all of a sudden, they're faced with the reality of this person's experience, have you not thinking very deeply? Now that that's a reality, not because it's necessarily the truth, but it's that person's experience, and you cannot really take that away. So being faced with that, especially if it's delivered in a relationship where you know, this person is on your side, and this person is friendly towards me, this person is committed to what I'm committed to, and trying to help me, and then you hear something that you really didn't want to hear. But it's delivered from this innocent curiosity without an agenda or an intention, you know, other than to help you. That's so powerful. And I think that's just beautiful, right? So I in my wrote about this recently, in my in my written contract, I picked up something from a very early coach of mine that I was working with, who wrote that coaching, I changed a little bit, but he wrote something along the lines of coaching may be challenging, you know, as we leave familiar shores, and he learns new learning can be uncomfortable. And the coaching journey might be challenging, and at times, I might be the voice of such challenge. Rather than I am challenging you, I might be the voice of something challenging for you, and know that you're facing. So you know, that coming from Curiosity is, is maybe not a one liner, but the paying attention, paying, following your curiosity and paying attention to what's happening right in front of you. Right, here's my observation. I think it was Eric DeHaan who said or wrote, I think he wrote it somewhere, that my job and I'm paraphrasing a little, I reckon my job as a, as an executive coach is to hold space and occasionally share an observation. That's really all that, that he does, you know, at least, that's, that's what he said. And I can I can see that having having seen him coach, you know, you share an observation and observation doesn't mean that it's a piece of advice or a suggestion or that you necessarily want them to go anywhere with that or that you have an agenda. It's just a noticing something that's happening, either in front of me for you, or that's happening between us right now. And if I'm curious about that, that's, I mean, you can't really go wrong with that. Because if it's not helpful, they're just going to move on. And if you're not too attached to it, because you don't actually have an agenda, then you just go do something else. But I think it's worth checking.

Zoltán Csigás:

I absolutely agree. And again, I say like a number of things, but you have said the not having an agenda. I think that's a thing that we all should be working on throughout our whole careers. But because that's a very hard place to be. But that may be my supervision so quickly, that I can frequently find agendas in my mind. And I have to actively, you know, kick them outside from the from my own thinking space just to be there and to be formed to be there for my clients.

Yannick Jacob:

It's not any, it's how do you navigate having them so that they don't influence the how you work with that client? Right?

Zoltán Csigás:

Thank you for saying that. Because this is what I really wanted to say out loud. Because in a number of coach trainings, I do the ones that I've been doing, or I've been holding, as a tutor, we have the saying that you shouldn't have an agenda. But it seems like nearly impossible, it seems like the Mount Everest, you know, whenever especially new up coaches, with all due respect to hear these the like, Okay, what will you do that I just have the agenda of pushing them through global or I have an agenda of getting hired through another session, or I have an agenda of making money. So these are all agenda,

Yannick Jacob:

items doing it wrong, I noticed I have one I'm not supposed to. They told me I can't have any. And then they feel like bad coaches, I see that in supervision all the time.

Zoltán Csigás:

Yes. And immediately just catching them their own selves having something can derail their attention, which eventually leads them to be bad, worse coaches than they were two minutes ago. But I think teaching people teaching coaches or helping professionals that not having an agenda is not about not having an agenda. It's about navigating your or managing your agendas properly. I think this is a pinching that I don't hear frequently. So I'm so glad that this came up. So thank you very much for for voicing that and and the no way one other picture in my mind. Not at least agreeable. But let me give him a shot at it. So when you said that curiosity is a song intervention, and I couldn't agree more. And when it is, three event is given or provided with, by via, by person, we strongly towards you who is on your side that were your words. So this could be a very strong thing. And I agree. And fear is the thinking stricken. So whenever I focus, whenever I give one of those big questions to my clients, I always wonder whether they are just recalling from their memories of what they've been thinking about themselves around that question previously? Or are they just creating a new piece of themselves in the moment? That is always an interesting question for me. So whether new pieces of selves or new pieces of things are being created? Or are they just you know, brought into the reflector of the coaching space? That is always really interesting for me. And I don't know why I'm sharing this, but I, I, I would love to believe that when you give these abovementioned curiosity with your warm heart and your being on the same side as your client, then the new pieces of identities are being created on the spot and they are not recalled or not just reflected on or that just brought up from the past. Yeah, I just wanted to say that because for us

Yannick Jacob:

that that brings up quite a bit for me because bringing yourself into this relationship right is risky in some way. The stereotypical psychoanalyst or therapist even would not give any of their personality away. You know, they would wear plain clothes and not have any personal pictures around. And they would not be on social media and they would not show their values and their beliefs. And that's important if you work with what's being projected onto you. Right, Freud found that clients would project all of these things into him, whether he's like, strict or warm, or like, you know, but he would just work hard to be quite neutral. And I think this neutrality is still by many people to be this holy grail of not having an agenda and almost not being a person so that you can work with what's being projected onto you. Because what people project onto you when they don't know anything about you, is super interesting, because it says way more about them than about than about you, how they perceive you, because they read all these things into you. And they come from their own mind, not from who I am. So that's helpful in coaching, it's very different because most coaches, now they are on social media, they need to be in order to create business, they show up in conversations with a lot of character, they want to connect human to human. And there's many forms of therapy also that where the therapist really connects Irvin Yalom is beautiful writing about showing up human in the therapy space. So but whenever we do that, we lose the ability or the position of working with those kinds of predictions as effectively as somebody who does that. So I think whenever we bring ourselves in and have that kind of human to human relationship, we might be creating something, for better or for worse, right? Because if we believe in someone's potential, they can feed of that belief and start believing in that potential themselves. It's a very powerful thing to be met with someone who's for example, coming from an NLP frame, you know, if with a basic tenant of it, what if one person has done it? Anybody can do it? What an amazingly powerful belief. I don't agree with it. But what an amazing belief to be met with, because that's so attractive. The other bit that brought up for me is, are you familiar with the internal family systems, and I'm assuming you might be ifs, I really like ifs, as a framework to work with the there isn't one self, there's multiple selves, there's a whole symphony of selves, and there is a self with a capital S that is now really trying to tap into, and coaches will probably know that self with a capital S, because at that point, coaches tend to just need to lean back and let that client do their work. You know, sometimes we need to work a little bit harder with interventions and questions and processes. Once we tap into that self, that is, with all these beautiful sees, and competent and creative and compassionate. They just do the work, you just need to let the client do their work was on the receiving end of an ifs session, my my first kind of real ifs experience. And I had that experience that you were describing. I thought, wait a second, am I tapping into a part of mine from way back? When? Or am I just making the shop Shut up right on the spot? You know, maybe I want this part to exist. So I'm just thinking it into existence. And I couldn't quite tell the difference, whether there's, you know, that the process works in a way that it's quite a meditative state. And it was there with my eyes closed, and there was imagining, imagining, or picturing tapping into, or was I actually creating something on the spot, you know, and so I could never quite be sure whether there's something really there or whether I'm just making something up now that's supposed to help me. And if it helps, maybe it doesn't matter. But that really resonated with what you were asking earlier.

Zoltán Csigás:

And this is a long shot parallel, but I I just love the neuropsychological thought that your brain just receives signals, or just works, which signals electromagnetic whatever. And from a biological perspective, there is no difference between the signals of reality and the signals of your, of your imagination. And like, that seems like kind of a weak evidence. But it seems like an evidence that we can just think of new identities, do whatever's for us. Because even on a biological level, that that's what we do. We just, we just use our minds, brains, whatever. And I know that I'm not using proper terminology this year, but but I just simply love that picture that I can come up with whatever I want. So unfortunately, I won't be able to run as quickly as the volume a gold medalist because I would love to, I cannot dream that out. But

Yannick Jacob:

you can improve, but you don't have the kind of anatomy to beat Usain Bolt. No offense.

Zoltán Csigás:

I think I'm almost this, there's a chance that I'm even taller than him because I'm two meters tall. Already very long legs, but my coordination and the and of course my muscularity is not up to this. So

Yannick Jacob:

well, that's often the question. Right? Can we I mean, there's a much larger question there around. Well, determinism and freedom, you know, do we have the freedom to be whoever we like to be? Like, I'm a late millennial. So I think our generation many in our generation has been told that you can be whatever you want to be. And I don't think that's true, right? So there's certain limits, limiting belief. Exactly. That's, that's what you know, coaches like to tell you. Yeah, we're laughing. But there's a very serious aspect to it, because I think a lot of coaches get trained from that philosophical perspective that anything is possible. And I think that could potentially be quite harmful. Because when you start listening to some coaching gurus, that shall not be named, then anybody can do anything, and you just need to pay the right coach, tons of money, and then they unlock something in you with their magic. And then you can do whatever you want. It's just, well, there's biological limits, and some biological limits that we thought were limits on not actually limits, but they're either might not be limits in the future, or they are limiting beliefs, and their religious beliefs. But there's certain it doesn't mean that you like, what I sometimes say to students that come to coaching is imagine somebody walks into your coaching office, and says, I want to my goal is to win the 100 meter Olympics. And you look at them, and they rolled in in a wheelchair, and they have no legs. How do you respond to that? What's going on inside of you? Well, if you say, right, let's get to it. You know, are you colluding with someone and their delusion? And if you say, that's crazy, you're not like robbing them of their life's purpose. And if he's, I'd like to say, Tell me about that time, maybe I want to show up congruent and authentic and essay. I notice you have no legs. Talk me through how that might work. You know, and even if I believe that they are indeed crazy, I want to give them the benefit of the doubt and first really listen. And maybe they have a plan. And Oscar Pistorius did it for

Zoltán Csigás:

him in my mind when you when you brought up the difficulty.

Yannick Jacob:

But even if somebody is coming in with arthritis and HIV positive, and they got lung COVID, and they also have no legs, and they want to become a NASA astronaut, and their 69 celebrating their 70th birthday next year. Just that's not just just you're not going to go to the moon, man, that's just not gonna happen. But it doesn't mean that they can't find meaning and purpose in the journey that they're opening with that

Zoltán Csigás:

they could get. So I think this is kind of a goldmine where we got through right now because on one hand, I could just start to argue with the with the specific cases, which could lead me to the question of how the use you know, irony or dark humor, coaching or pharmacy you can go to tell me Oh, no. You can always go to the more like, like, like cattle or free food for the other. So

Yannick Jacob:

yeah, interesting part of the mind that just opens that's creative ways of going to the moon. Yeah, I get that.

Zoltán Csigás:

That's my way of coping with certain situations, sort of tensions that I sometimes I find things things humorous that my clients or my peers may not, but I think I'm usually pretty good in hiding the dark side with my humor. So perhaps we will edit this part out and if you're hearing me saying these days, it means that it hadn't been.

Yannick Jacob:

I think there's a big point of connection, right? I mean, dark humor or anything like that is similarly risky. It can really create a strong bond Because somebody just resonated with that, and they get it and they laugh, and you have a great moment, and, you know, it builds some some really strong, or it really breaks the relationship because they're like, Whoa, what a fucking weirdo. So I have a, I have a sense that you can probably read people to an extent that went to bring that out or not. Yeah,

Zoltán Csigás:

I have the illusion that I'm pretty good at it. But I can clearly remember one time when I was when I didn't get to a coaching pool for medium sized company, they were asking for introductory videos, and I just drugged up a mildly humorous thing about about yours. And I was very quickly making the video and I was just still feeling it. And I was like, Okay, on this video, you can see that I have bigger ears. And that's because it's all about listening to you. And it's something like that. And then it's pretty

Yannick Jacob:

light hearted humor. Yeah,

Zoltán Csigás:

I think it would work. And if we just show my, my human touch, and sometimes I am, I do use humor in my sessions, the positive whatnot. And then two weeks later, I got a feedback from the HR guy who by when you personally and he just told me that the very introduction zone he was, was not at the level of professionalism we were expecting. So I was like, I guess I know which part you are referring to. But they agreed, so I got it. Since then,

Yannick Jacob:

doing the HR guy. Did the HR guy have big ears? No. He does have a point. But do we really need to take it like that's why I like coaching because it it tends to be more human?

Zoltán Csigás:

I agree. I absolutely agree. And then, so let me take another shot at the end the line of thought that you brought in and what I what I really liked is that you mentioned that there may be biological limitations, innovations in whether we want to get do we or do I want to get an astronaut? Like let's say, at an older age of age around 40, I think we we don't really have a big chance of becoming these astronauts because, well, you haven't been a fighter jet pilots. Or tell me if you have been so

Yannick Jacob:

some things you don't know about measles? Now, not that kind of fighter jet.

Zoltán Csigás:

But they picked up the word of biological and and what about social or, or environmental, you know, conditions that we may be facing? And I think for me, it's an interesting question. As I got my, my basic training in my MA, I had a number of classes even I did a specialization on social psychology that the whole the whole big leaps can you make? Or how big leaps? Can you encourage? Yeah, with your clients from a social perspective? Because they I can agree that certain biological boundaries, they may not be demolished? I think so we have, you know, just a handful of Oscar Pistorius is in a generation who will win an Olympic gold without legs. That is possible that it functionally be infrequent, but how many people can really you know, steps through their social boundaries, I mean, coming from poverty or having no leadership experience, and then becoming a global CEO or whatever, or coming from a minority group and then ending up in sight loss remedy, whatever. I'm just wrapping up, whatever.

Yannick Jacob:

So where does the determination come from? I mean, how did they grow up so that they had this incredible drive to succeed? You know, so and I think many coaches particularly focus on these high profile coaches, lots of visibility, focus on these incredible success stories and they inspirational, but they also create a false sense of what's possible. Yes, possible, likely not possible.

Zoltán Csigás:

And that's where I would like to get back to your existential background that, that. So what would the your inner existential coach, tell me about breaking or overcoming social or role related boundaries? complicated question. I know where I'm just curious, what what are the existential psychology say about these kinds of changes? Yeah.

Yannick Jacob:

So you, you referenced my website earlier? And what does it say on the website? And on the website? It doesn't actually say, existential coach. I mean, that isn't the address, right? Existential coach, but really, the first words you see is choose life. And I've I see selected that carefully. Nothing to do with Trainspotting, that the dark reference to that. Maybe some people still know that. But it's really because existentialists emphasize choice. And there is a particular perspective on choice that it's, it's beautiful to have choice, but also, we must choose. So Sartre famously said that we are condemned to be free. Soren Kierkegaard talks about the dizziness of freedom. Now freedom is hailed as this amazing thing that everybody should be striving for. But do you give someone too much freedom, and they suffer? You know, there's so much anxiety because every choice I make excludes all of the other choices that I could have made in that moment. Even if I reverse the choice and make a different choice to choose something else, I can never ever go back in time and make that different choice back then. So you have no idea, it's impossible to know how things would have turned out if you made a different choice. So no wonder some people are paralyzed. And if you're lucky, you just paralyzed over what lunch menu, choose from the lunch menu, and you despair, you know, but some people despair over choosing a career choosing a partner, choosing which degree to study or where to go to school or which country to move to, you know, there's big, big life choices that many people find themselves paralyzed over and not doing anything. Well, rather, choosing not to do anything choosing not to choose, as you're saying that is, as well, it can have detrimental effects and impact on people's lives. So choosing and choice is huge, goes together with taking responsibility as another conversation there. But coming back to what we've been where we came from, you can to what extent can you choose who you are? Right? The I think it was James clear, wrote about habits who, who wants said that every choice I make is a vote for my identity of the person I want to be. And unless there's a lot of truth in that, when I decide to be a more truthful person, then I can choose every single moment to be as truthful as I can. There'll be certain dilemmas there. Because you know, but I can do that. And then over time, I might find myself becoming a truthful person, as somebody who speaks the truth, want to speak their truth. But if I choose to be more extroverted, and I'm an introvert, I see people who have attempted to choose themselves into being an extrovert. And they ended up constantly exhausted. Because maybe you're just not, you know, maybe the way that you're wired, maybe some part of our wiring cannot be untangled or changed anymore. It just our psychic apparatus has formed. And then at some point, certain areas have formed, they will not go back, you know, Gabor Matta who I really, really love. He talks beautifully about trauma and about his own trauma. He has the story where he came back from from a trip in his wife forgot to pick him up from the airport. So it took a taxi was flying first class, you know, it was really a very comfortable experience. But his trauma from getting abandoned as a young child of like three or four, his mother gave him a way to save his life in war times. But because his mother abandoned him, and he hadn't capacity to understand that, still, now that he's in his 70s, it still gets triggered. He didn't look at his wife all day long. And only set his used to be a week. And now it's only the rest of the day, you know, but he's still affected by that experience. Maybe it cannot fully be healed. So there's this idea that I keep running into, that at the time was quite challenging for me as a coach, because as coaches, most coaches believe that we are in the business of change. We're helping people change and transform and become different people, ideally, maybe not just do things, but maybe also, not just what do you want to do, but who do you want to be? And more and more I hear this idea of maybe, maybe we don't actually change, maybe we just find a way back to ourselves. And that's a powerful idea. Under all these layers of conditioning that we gather up throughout our lives. Maybe there's some core that we can lean into. Maybe we don't need to eliminate our weakness, maybe we can lean into some of our weaknesses. I just wrote about that in one of my Nuggets, I I observed my brain at work. And it was just doing all of these things at the same time. There was like 20 different tasks that I started kept getting distracted, was kind of a productive session, because I've done like 2030 tasks. But you know, that's it was not what the productivity experts tell you. And for years, I've tried to create more focus and more discipline and just force myself to do it the right way, the normal way. And at some point, I realized, well, that's just not how I work. And some of my work I do when my brain is firing on all cylinders, people will have noticed that in this conversation, right, we touched on so many different things. But I learned how to bring things back together, you know, and I wouldn't have forgotten your question around, how do I present myself and I'm able to hold a lot of information that helps me my coaching. But it's not linear. It's not the linear kind of work in some clients will not like that about my coaching. And so this question around, do we really change? Or do we just find a way back to ourselves, is a super interesting one that really challenged me as a coach, when I started to really think about that.

Zoltán Csigás:

And if I can get, thank you for sharing that, and I can really relate because that's it took me half a year to realize that. And I'm not the only person. I, once I was tasked with doing one of those productivity trainings, because I used to work in an all day company and, you know, one of the sessions I was like, Okay, it's not a you have to come jump in and do this kind of thing. And I was like, okay, but I've never done that kind of training before. But they were like, my bosses and my colleagues, they were like, okay, but you are a seasoned trainer, you can do that. It just one day, you go there and you do your stuff. And I was like, Okay. Now one thing that I learned the stuff that I tried to apply for myself, and I realized it okay, that's not me. I cannot get things done. Not with the big GTD, I was completely failing in that. Because of my wiring. And when I'm not forgetting my question, as well, because I, I was interested in in jumping social limitations. That was one of the and I don't want to get back to that exactly what, but as you were talking about getting back to ourselves, then a real challenge that I'm seeing is that society or the road is really pushing an idea about what happiness says, or what your life should be. So, so about happiness, ideas, we are constantly fed by ideas of what happiness or what a great life should be, I mean, own a Ferrari drink, you know, like a problem. Let's delete this, whatever. You know, just don't put up any websites. If I'm not subscribed, if I'm not paying for them, there will be you know, tons of ads, whatever. And the big challenge is that if I get back to my course, for whatever, there's a chance that it may not be fitting the big social expectations that I'm facing. So what should I do in those cases? I mean, should I just be happy in my own case? Why nots looks like a nice, nice choice for me. What is the level of compromise? I may be making? And I don't have a specific question for that. I just wanted to bring in the social level to a conversation. As you as you are coming from the from the brain from the rewiring, and from the from the individual perspective, I just like to give the dysfunctional slide

Yannick Jacob:

in this beautiful image of this young girl sitting on the train, and it might have been photoshopped. I don't know where the statement originated, but she's looking at this poster next to her that's saying something along the lines of in a in a in a modern consumerist society. Just being yourself is a rebellious act. And I love that because we have all these ideas implanted in us. And some of these ideas come from advertising, some of ideas come from science, some of these ideas come from our primary caregivers, some ideas coming from our friends, from philosophy from early, influential teacher, but we've grown up with all of these ideas about what's right and what's wrong, and what's a good way of living and who am I right, this this question of who am I is such an prevalent one in existential practice? And because how do we make choices other than on the basis of who we are our values, our beliefs, our worldview? You know, What's your concept of identity and self? And how does that help you make to guide you in making choices? And really, when we think about it, and when we look at people and how they form? They're all an illusion, but it's also not an illusion, right? When your parents tell you, you're smart, you might think that you're smart. And you might become smart, because they've told you that if somebody is giving you a certain idea of what happiness means, or every bus that drives past gives you a certain image, even if it's a perceptual, even if you don't have time to actually look at it, your brain will pick up imagery very quickly. And there's all these powerful images now in advertising. And our generation grew up with TV, and there's tons of it, you know, then there was a time a beautiful time where YouTube didn't have any advertisings. Now, there's lots of it. And even if it's just a few seconds, you know, advertisers get clever, it does affect you, and these messages that are there. And they're an illusion, because they have been fabricated, because they're there, they are real, and we take them on. So then really, some clients come into the space where they think, Oh, my God, everything I am is an illusion. And that's very scary. But at the same time, there's so much potential in there, because then, well, now you got an with that awareness. It's scary, it's an uncomfortable place, it doesn't feel grounded, you know, but now there's potential because with that awareness, you are now in a position where you can start challenging certain voices, maybe this isn't the value of mine, mine, maybe it's a value that I've always just never questioned, it's a value that I've been given. Like, my mom is a strong believer in fairness. You know, I've, I've taken that on for a very long time, never really questioned it. And at some point, I started wondering, Where's the sense coming from? Why do I get angry when I see injustice? You know, why do I step in and do things when I step into something that I think isn't fair? You know, why do I have a overwhelming urge to, you know, sue this or that company, and then never do it? But, you know, it's like, that really gets to me, and like, ah, that's because that's been instilled in me. And I know, I could probably let some of that go. And I probably have let some of that go. But I think this process of questioning who you are, what messages you've been given, some of them, they will probably never leave some of them you consciously choose to lean into, and others you can drop because you realize that's a story I've been given. And how many clients in coaching have I met, where intellectually, they know what they're feeling doesn't make any sense anymore? With what they know now. But emotionally, it's still there. Emotionally, they're still in a response. That's a difficult space to be in.

Zoltán Csigás:

Absolutely agree. And that, you know, as you are, as you're speaking, that I can bring in the whole nature versus nurture idea. Yeah.

Yannick Jacob:

It's been in the room this whole time, right?

Zoltán Csigás:

Because if I'm taking a bit of a radical approach, then everything I believe about myself is somehow instilled in me. No, as I said, the sentence, I can, of course, immediately think of things that I that I have thought about, that I've told myself about myself. But I think the ratio of messages that we are being given versus the ones that we are giving to ourselves is, is far from being equal. So that's why I love all the helping professionals coaching, therapy, whatever identity works, because it helps the process itself helps us to make a decision whether I would like to keep certain things regardless of their origins as mine over there, I would like just to throw them away. And yeah, I think so I just wanted to say that the whole, the moment where how we got connected was around the the question of identity. I think that's that's how we started our conversation. Before this recording.

Yannick Jacob:

Yeah. And it was, I heard your conversation with range Delta. Yeah. that I wanted to reference them earlier, because we mentioned the kind of traditional coaching or, you know, the kind of performance coaching Ryan that would call it first generation coaching. And his third generation coaching format is just to be to be with each other, lingering for violin in German, its German colleague lives in Denmark, but like, for violin, lingering, just being there with someone holding that space being together. These questions are there, they will come up. I mean, you can start asking those questions and I think there's merit in with some clients to really offer something from the coach's expertise. have like, what kind of questions are you interested in? I like to see what questions emerge and maybe pick up on the questions that are underneath the surface that seem to be connected to what they bring into the coaching space. Because in coaching spaces people bring in well, even how do I get a promotion? Or I want to be a better leader? You know, there's so much there. I mean, there's likely to be something around what's your relationship with authenticity? What's your relationship with responsibility? What's your relationship with freedom? What's your relationship with uncertainty and not knowing? What's your relationship with, you know, absurdity, and meaning and purpose, you know, all of these big philosophical themes, they're there. But it comes into the coaching room with quite a tangible, practical question. And I think learning to spot what sits underneath and maybe offering, offering a sense that there's a bigger question here, here's a theme that I'm picking up. It's not me bringing it in. It's not me making somebody go all philosophical. But it's just me making a link based on something that I'm seeing, you know, what I'm picking up and correct me if I'm wrong, right. But I'm get curious about this. So I say to a client, and then they have an invitation to, to have a conversation at a different level where all this practical, tangible things which we will return to, will probably resolve itself in some way, that's the client is usually well capable of making these kinds of links. And it's not necessarily better to work bottom up than to work top down. Now, you can start with setting very clear goals around what kind of leader you want to be. But you can also start with what does it mean to you to be a leader? Now, how does that relate? How is this relationship formed? And I had a beautiful question from another podcast that was on gear recruiters asks, Where in your story, do we need to begin to understand the person that you are today? Oh, that's a great question. Or just to open not just for a podcast, but also for a coaching engagement. When you meet a person, you ask that kind of question, how amazing Dr. Simon Western mentioned earlier, just this very present, because we just talked on the podcast yesterday, he asks very often. So what is your desire? And you don't really hear that question a lot, especially not in the coaching context, right? And then people kind of disrupts the normal conversation that they might think they're going to have with a coach, and they really need to think about what what does desire actually mean to me? And what the hell do you mean, and he usually just doesn't respond, you know, and then they, they often go somewhere, where it's very, very useful conversation to have it's different conversation, and it's a different entry into doing work.

Zoltán Csigás:

And so as I'm listening to you, I have an evil inner voice talking to me. So, let's invite him. Because you are really exploring some really deep ideas, moments where we can invite your clients clients to flourish, and really to go in to connect with the deeper selves. And my evil question is that are all our clients capable of doing that? And of course, we previously talked about limiting beliefs, whatever. But, you know, my big more fundamental question is around culture validity, or, you know, cognitive complexity, let me focus on certain aspects of, of this not really well researched question of coachability, because some people thought they stamped on this. Let's put some points on that, though. Do the existential work of whatever tools we are using for deeper connections, do these work with them? Don't you need a certain level of entry point emotional maturity, cognitive complexity, human means? So when you go to work on your side, what do you do when they

Yannick Jacob:

are not there? So I have not met anyone where I thought, Well, I haven't had anyone in the coaching room, let's say that didn't with a willingness to go there. wasn't able to. I am biased in some way because people who seek me out or people who somebody suggests they might want to work with me. It's, it's already a biased sample. Right? So it's much more likely that I meet someone who wants to go on that kind of journey. And also coaching is it's an it's an investment. Right? So I've done some work in I'm charities in East London when I was still living in London, they were kind of workshop style materials. They weren't going deep in the kind of philosophy. But it was with a with a with people that you would maybe picture. If you think about someone who might not have that capacity for complexity, I think then it's the job of the coach to offer these questions up in a way that they have access to it. Drop all the terminology, drop the complexity, ask simpler questions. I mean, there's philosophy books for kids. One is called I think it was the Y machine or something like that this, you can ask young children quite complex questions. You know, you just need to package it in a way that they have access to the question. You know, and even if they don't grasp all the complexity of paradox and dilemma, take some time to wrap your head around paradox to difficult context, concept to grasp. But when it shows up, and you find the right metaphor, for example, there might be an element of psychoeducation, or of, you know, putting something on the table, you know, well, one part of me wants that. And the other part wants that. And now they're fighting lens, no, no, I have this inner conflict. You know, I want to belong, I want to fit in. But at the same time, I want to be me, I want to be an individual, I want to be special, and everyone both things at the same time. And they don't go together. No, I want to, I want to be free to choose whatever I want. But I also don't want to be anxious about my choices. So I kind of want to add, it's comfortable following someone on holiday, I'd love to just do what people are doing and just kind of go with the flow. You know, I don't want to make a lot of decisions. While I'm on holiday, make so many decisions on holiday, I don't really want to make any, you know, so. But you know, we have that conflict. And so if you find the right example, or you see the example in what your client is bringing, so it seems that, you know, you want this and you also want that, and they don't seem to quite go together. And if you reflect something like that back, there's no complexity in it. I mean, there's a lot of complexity in it. But being faced with the experience of wanting something and at the same time not wanting it. That's that's the experience. That's the paradox. So it's there, I don't think you need to be super switched on to grasp that experience.

Zoltán Csigás:

Thank you. And I really appreciate that you, you found sorry for saying that I have found a good? Because that's what I was expecting. I was curious on how on how you how you get where he was, I think I think we should really have to believe Whoa, whoa, of judgmental I am. Let me be judgmental. And I think we as helping professionals, we must have the belief that our clients are capable of, of getting somewhere. Yeah,

Yannick Jacob:

yeah. And there's no

Zoltán Csigás:

reflect back to the whole idea of, of boundaries between coaching and therapy and whatever. Because this could be a defining line again, that in service certain people, or I could imagine having a definition, which would imply that someone is in a therapeutical need, where they may not have the capacity or the ability to be able to do certain stuff, for example, to think or to think clearly or to make decisions in you know, let's call it rational manner. Because they may be engaging without level of reality, which is not really there at all.

Yannick Jacob:

Yeah, and there, there are certain what what is it like I'm thinking about I mean, willingness plays a big part, right? Does somebody actually really want to and you asked that question earlier. You know, what happens if somebody just says, I don't know, and they don't want to think any further than that? Well, I think sometimes, I sometimes bring the example of the car mechanic who loves to work on the 1967 Corvette in the back. But sometimes somebody with an old Ford Vauxhall comes in needs the exhaust pipe fixed and it's just just doing a job. You know, it's not deeply passionate work. It's just sometimes you just use your skills to help somebody get what they want. And it might not be what you what you want for them. But it's what they want. And so sometimes it's just a job. And that's okay. It can sometimes be a bit frustrating when you feel there's so much more that this person could be doing if they were willing to get a couple of levels deeper, but I can only invite them I can only reflect back that there's other doors open. And if they say they want to and then they just don't I can reflect that back again. You know, you say that you want to go there but you seem to not whatever gentle or not so gentle words you Need to say that. But if they don't want to, if they'd rather do the career progression thing without actually asking questions around who they are as a person, I think they're limiting themselves. I think some people need to think about who they are as a person in order to progress in their career. But plenty people really don't, they just need to work on some time management and create some new habits. And then I may refer them to another coach who really loves to do that work. Or I just do the work. And, you know, increasingly now with you know, more reputation and being a bit more privileged in terms of how I can work and choose to work with more and more choose to work that really excites me. Because I know, that's where I do my best work. But there's definitely been a time where I just said, Yes, because I needed the money. And I could do the job, and all that, so that's okay, I think that's absolutely okay.

Zoltán Csigás:

And, on one hand, I just like to highlight these things, sometimes it's just absolutely okay to do the job and get paid. I think that's, that's part of us being professionals, when sometimes it is really just putting aside all our stuff, and then can get the things that and the other thing that I can just really refer back to the previous part for conversation that, that sometimes our own, even our own positive beliefs about the clients can become more agendas. And sometimes it may be a challenging thing to find the proper balance between an encouraging challenge or a bit of fun extra push that you may give to your clients and, and between, you know, being on your own train of thought and boosting your client to something. And we might wake, I think that we must be careful about fun finding our own boundaries, in our own best journey or enthusiast about our clients about the work we are doing. Because sometimes overexcite, so even extended time can be bad.

Yannick Jacob:

For sure, and that's this call for supervision again, right? This therapists have done a lot more work usually right on themselves, that they need to be in their own therapy, supervision is mandatory, there's a lot more years of forming involved. There's plenty of bad therapists out there, don't get me wrong, there's some atrocious stuff that I hear about, oh, my God. But you know, coaches may have done that work, too, and many coaches do. But that's why I think supervision is such an important point, if you want to get to that next level of maturity, or mastery or progression development skills. Because you need to know how yourself is coming into the room, if you are too excited about the client's potential, you might either be really influencing the work in a way that you don't really want to take responsibility for, it could be potentially harmful when that person feels they should be more than they actually are. And they were quite happy with what they wanted to do. And then all of a sudden, they have this, you create the sense of lack. And I know some coaches do that consciously. And some do that purposefully, you know, to create a sense of lack in the client, that they're meeting for a consultation so that it's more likely that that person signs up for the coaching. And some do that with absolute best intentions. You know, I want that person to be their best self. I want them to raise their bar, I want them to be the best they could possibly could so that they can die without regrets and but that person might have not signed up for for that. And also you might create some unrealistic fantasies around what's possible, depending on your physical philosophical stance of what's possible. We discussed that right? Is anything possible? I, I remember, I've been very, in my psychology, undergraduate, we were studying the Swedish twin studies. There's like, no, like 20,000 50,000 like, a ton of monozygotic twins, like I collected, you know, they're exactly the same genetic makeup. Yeah, you've probably familiar with this, but the audience might not be in the separated at birth. And they grow up in different cultures or environments, even if it's just down the street. It's a different culture, different values, different ideas, different parents, parents have completely different genetic makeup. And then they found all of these similarities, sometimes of how they liked the tea. You know, so there's this super interesting parallels of, of twins that have grown up completely separate, which often is used as an argument for Well, a lot of things are determined they are and you make up and so I came out of unit versity with the belief that roughly 50% across the board, it has nothing to do with how we grow up and what we have been given. You know, that's, that's part of our genetic makeup, I think we can still form, I think we can still transcend some of our genetic makeup. I mean, we've transcended many people have transcended eating meat, for example, or eating any animal products. And that's not natural, you know, evolutionarily. So we've been conditioned that way, and then people unconditioned themselves. So we can break through of some of these. But then also, depending on your stance on addiction, for example, well, is that an illness? And you cannot really do anything about that? Or is that a choice, and you just need to want it harder. No, and often, it's very complex. But I think it's important that coaches ask themselves, these questions of what they believe about the nature of change, and what's possible, because inevitably, they will bring their own ideas into the room, whether they bring the ideas in, or whether it comes through by how they ask questions, or how they listen, or what the body does, when there was with a client.

Zoltán Csigás:

I just simply get stuck with the question of is anything possible or what is possible? So I'm going to actually just play around that. But, you know, I've been throwing you a number of questions. And we've been talking for a long time now. And let me let me reverse this a bit. And let me just ask you that. What is the question that emerges for you from all of this conversation? Because I'm pretty sure that you, you may have something going on extra in your mind. And for those who are just listening to us, there was an interesting facial expression.

Yannick Jacob:

Yeah, it was just kind of the, the expression was, I'm, I've been in relation here, right? Just kind of vibing with your curiosity. And I'm aware that I haven't asked you a lot of questions, but it feels like a really good exchange, nonetheless. But as you asked me that question, for a moment, I went kind of inside. And that's where that facial expression came from, like, Oh, let me take myself out of this for a moment and just really listen inside instead of just, you know, dialogue, back and forth.

Zoltán Csigás:

And it's absolutely okay, if we would take the next time you were asking me the questions.

Yannick Jacob:

And yeah, that's, that's what I thought might happen, right? That maybe I'll just, we'll just bounce off each other. And if I were to start asking you a bunch of questions, I think we have a whole nother conversation. We could switch it now. Right? Because I'm curious about a lot of things around not just about how you think about things, which you know, you share generously, but also how you introduce yourself, and how you navigate some of these challenges. And how these questions come into your coaching room. Because you, you probably have a lot more expertise, you train therapists, right? I'm not a trained therapist, even though a lot of my trained

Zoltán Csigás:

therapist, I'm just abstractly just with stone to be finished specialization in counseling psychology, and of course, a number of tools. And things that I've heard, not Gotcha.

Yannick Jacob:

So that means you dug deeper, the better means you dug deeper in the therapeutic space, then then probably I have and from from also from probably a different perspective. So maybe let me Yeah, good. So

Zoltán Csigás:

I would say that, let's say you that to our next session, and I would be happy to share all of those. And I would need to get a bit more extra preparation. Because that's one of my things,

Yannick Jacob:

really talking about you, you don't need any preparation, I would need to prepare a bit more because I would want to have at least a couple of curiosities based on, on what I know about you or what I've learned about you.

Zoltán Csigás:

When I, when I asked the question of when when we, we walked around the topic of creating sales or reflecting stuff, I, I really think that I'm so I'm very I'm a very spontaneous person. And I just know that I can, I can speak to things that they've never previously thought about. And sometimes they do regret or I have, I have to be honest, because sometimes they're just like, very spontaneous to say things like, Okay, that should have, I shouldn't have said that, especially in a live setting. You're on a conference or whatever, of course, will age and I'm not so much older than you are. I'm just 42 So I have the answer for everything by Douglas Adams. So So I have, I have quite a good set of reflections on stopping me from from saying those things. But I know I just have an impression of Oh, so many good things that we should be exploring. So I need to find some, some pre generated answers. And he was saying, this is one thing that I already didn't get to take. So I won't prepare anything. But I think that we should just go and find a nice closing for conversation right now. And I would be really happy to have another one, where you will be asking a bit more of the questions, but we wouldn't be dropping the general framework of having a conversation and not just being in a war and detail you will, whoever we call ourselves in these settings. So my question is, what what is the thing that that that you are thinking of right now? What would be your your closing thing? That's either something which is an essence of the conversation or the thing that is really missing from it? From your perspective? Oh, I love that question. So

Hosted By

Zoltán Csigás

Executive Coach
I am a Coach, psychologist, podcaster and Official curious person. Supporting you in reaching relational leadership mastery.
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