Tuning Leaders In Through Transformational Conversations

Have you ever listened to a piano that was off-key?

The Pianist could be trying their best. Yet, whatever they do it won’t sound right. Until the piano gets re-tuned it was always be that bit out.

Sometimes people are a little off-key.

There’s something that isn’t working. We can all know it. But how do you get them tuned back in?

When a leader is off-key it affects them and their team.

In this episode of The Unified Team I spoke to Michalina Buenk. Michalina is a Coach who works with leaders on career and leadership transformations.  

She has a very different style to the way I work. One I dubbed the piano tuning style.



Tuning Leaders Through Transformational Conversations

[00:00:00] How do we join with others to achieve and experience more and get in flow as a unified team? This is the question we ask each episode in the Unified Team podcast. Here’s your host, Rob McPhillips.

Michalina: I change people’s lives through deep conversations, and that can have a very different perspective, view, impact, or way that it shows up to anyone that works with me, that talks to me. I believe very strongly, very firmly in a reason why we meet. Why we talk, why certain things come to place and show up and why we notice things at certain points in time and where those things can lead us.

Michalina: So for me, it’s never really about being very prescriptive or very marketing [00:01:00] like, this is your transformation A to B and this is what you need to get to B and then there is C and there is a C and D conversation. That’s not me. What I do is I take a person in front of me and I have a conversation.

Michalina: That conversation unfolds a lot of the things that are meaningful and that are needed for the person in front of me. And this is why I believe that I can make the bold claim of I change people’s lives because they’re ready to hear, notice, and do something with their lives. And there is always a smaller or bigger change that comes out of that.

Michalina: In marketing terms, if you want to classify what I’ve just said, I’m a leadership coach. Coach who also cares about the career. For me, everything is underpinned by purpose. So if you find purpose, everything aligns, everything else is meaningful, fulfilling, and you can carry on with whatever it is that you need to do here in a way that’s right for you.

Michalina: If we need labels. That’s the label. But if you need a transformation, there’s no A to B [00:02:00] marketing. There’s a deep conversation that really matters and you need it at that point. 

Rob: Which I think is really the way that we’ve evolved. For me, conversation is the most natural channel. Absolutely. 

Michalina: Absolutely.

Michalina: That’s the basis. And whether It happens over a platform, social media, day to day conversations, some other forms, it doesn’t really matter. The content that matters. It’s that exchange of energy between people and everything else that they bring to the conversation and the relationship.

Michalina: And it’s just fascinating. You can’t really put that in a box in any way. At least I can’t. I don’t know. Maybe you tell me differently. Yeah, no, 

Rob: I totally agree. Typically. What are the kind of problems someone has when they come to you? What is the transformation that they’re seeking? And is the transformation they’re seeking what generally turns out to be?

Michalina: I think the answer is already in your question there. Very often we think That we have a problem called x and it turns out that it sits somewhere completely different. And we’re looking at symptoms, not the causes, or not the why’s behind other things. So [00:03:00] coaching allows you to dig really deep and really look at and examine and reflect on all this.

Michalina: stuff that you think you have a problem with, or you think are your goals versus what’s really going on for you. The clients who I work with at the moment come with all sorts of things they all come under being a leader or a manager or people manager in a large or medium organization. They all think that they have goals and ideas.

Michalina: And this could be going solo as a consultant, this could be getting a promotion, it could be going back to the role they’ve missed out on a while back. It turns out it’s a lot deeper and a lot more meaningful than that. A client who wants to leave the organization he’s worked for 15 years, actually what he really truly wants is not to go solo as a consultant.

Michalina: He can do this without my help. But he needs to find a way of going through a divorce. The current company he’s at, and that is a lot deeper than, and not that easy for him to actually go through. And [00:04:00] that’s why he needs my help. Someone else talks to me about wanting to go after the role that she missed out on, or she left, or she walked away from a few years back because she thought she couldn’t deal with the politics and the toxic environment at that time.

Michalina: Turns out there’s. lot about finding out who she is, what she wants and what her values are, to then create a role she would be truly happy in. Someone wants to talk about their strategic skill set and what is it that they’re missing? Why aren’t they being seen as strategic players in their organization?

Michalina: There is a lot more to that than this. It’s a whole set of thinking and approach to what they do that needs to be looked at and examined and checked whether it’s still fits and whether it’s them or whether they’re trying to be someone they don’t truly want to be, and they self sabotage. So that’s just a few of those things that I’m dealing with at the moment with people.

Michalina: Someone comes to me to say, okay, I’m ready to leave, but I don’t know what’s next. I need to go. I’ve been with this business. I’ve had the most amazing career that [00:05:00] I could not care less. about at the moment, 20 years. I’m closing a chapter. I want purpose. I want something meaningful. Turns out she knows what it is.

Michalina: She’s known for 20 years and what she wants to do is absolutely incredible. She just needs someone to hold her, to help her, to make it. real and to make it happen. So there is no A to B. They, the, what you come with and what you actually want to work on and what you need are two very different things, sometimes three different things if you start looking deeper into it.

Michalina: It 

Rob: really resonates. There’s some research that most people who want to leave their marriage, it takes them about six years from really knowing to actually doing it. What you’re really saying is that we all get stuck in our own head. And we think we need permission.

Rob: We think we need reassurance. We need something from someone else. Some of the time it’s because it’s just in our head. And when we talk it out, we make it more real. When it’s out there, we can deal with it. 

Michalina: So there is this internal dialogue. That happens all the time. We’re very used to it. We don’t even recognize that it happens.

Michalina: [00:06:00] We just think that’s our way of seeing reality around us, which is not true. Then there is the element of permission. Then there is an element of being very desperate to have labels for everything to try to understand, because if we don’t have labels, it’s so difficult to actually be creative and honest and real, we like navigate through labels because it’s easier.

Michalina: So we need to call it going solo. Becoming a consultant. We need to call it starting your own business or we need to call it whatever it is, or the example that you’ve shared in around marriages, there’s so many labels around economic, social, and other perspectives that need to be taken for. The reason that people need.

Michalina: A coach is because they need to be helped. They need that space and they need an honest place where they can think forward and then they can organize their own thoughts and think forward. There is a lot around, so what is and isn’t therapy and deep coaching conversation. Very often a deep coaching conversation will draw from the past, will circle into the things that [00:07:00] mattered and shaped you and impact you in certain ways to then help you go forward.

Michalina: So those lines can be very much blurred and you pick and choose what you need to create a story you want going forward. But I think overall it’s about having that safe space that it’s okay to start and then. How do we do this? 

Rob: Totally agree with that. It’s on my mind because my little rant today was about lots of therapists become they see everything in their school of therapy.

Rob: Coaches see everything in their way. 

Michalina: Yes. You did mention it this morning. 

Michalina: Yeah. When you 

Rob: look at therapy, no therapy is more successful than others. There are maybe like slight differences. Generally, they’re about the same success rate. And, but the one key thing that determines success, it’s not therapy itself, but it’s the warmth and the trust that someone, that the therapist can create.

Rob: It’s someone that they trust. And from our interactions, I can see that you have that kind of comforting warmth, nurturing. 

Michalina: I can totally make you cry if you need that, Rob. Let’s just be clear on this. But thank you. 

Rob: [00:08:00] Yeah so I can see that’s what people are looking for. That’s what they need.

Rob: It’s to make that kind of transformation is a jump and it’s a jump that brings on all our insecurities and our doubts. 

Michalina: Absolutely. And. It’s a bit of a cliche to say that you need to trust and like the person you work with, but you absolutely do. You can have the most amazing qualifications and experience if it doesn’t work for you too in co creating that safe space for you to change your life.

Michalina: It’s never going to work. No one really cares about the amazing websites and marketing and accreditations and qualifications and experience and everything else. They just want to feel whether you get them or not. And there’s this lovely phrase. Meet someone where they’re at it’s actually very difficult to do, but the person who has enough skill set and experience and intuition and everything else can find that moment where you can align and build something together.

Michalina: And it’s not about if it’s a relationship with me, it’s not about me, knowing where you’re [00:09:00] going and telling you and here’s the best way and here’s how to avoid X, Y, and Z and you will be successful. Couldn’t be further from it, but it’s about you trusting me that I will challenge you and I will care for you and I will hold that space so you can grow.

Michalina: Very often we’re so used to being told what to do and how to do things, being told to follow other examples and just fitting them in somehow and making something meaningful out of that. And when someone says, but what do you want? It can open a flood of tears. Just not being rushed in a conversation can be transformational.

Michalina: When someone have. has three minutes to think about the answer to the question you’ve just asked. It could be transformational. You can’t put this in the marketing material on LinkedIn or anywhere else, but I’ve seen this truly powerfully happening in front of me. If it comes to working with me, I found a way in my own personality not to judge people.

Michalina: I level the energy levels. So the person is who’s in front of me [00:10:00] and I allow things to happen. And it’s one of those things that you need to feel. You can’t describe, you need to experience. So you know what I’m talking about? I find that this truly helps because this truly propels someone forward.

Michalina: And who am I to tell what’s your B or C or D is? You don’t know that yet. But what you need is that step to go feel empowered that you can, that you could fail, or you could succeed, or you could embarrass yourself, or you could be loved, or you could, whatever it is that you fear, whatever the outcome at the end of the fear is, you could do all those things.

Michalina: So for me, I think it’s about leveling up that energy exchange, if I can call that. Very often I work with people who are, who navigate different cultures. National cultures or organizational cultures where they always try to fit in and belong, but they don’t really feel that in, in different ways.

Michalina: And because I’ve got this multicultural background, I can understand where they’re floating and what’s happening and say, hang on a [00:11:00] minute, that’s the next boy you need. This is the next step, but then figure out where you want to go from there. And I think it helps. Because the more multi perspective you’ve got in life the easier it is to be creative because you can say oh i’ll take that and i know that works and by the way i don’t know what do i call this but if i take this and this from my past i can be empowered fulfilled creative and do everything else and you know as coaches or therapists we use all those big words and all these amazing jargon you know if you’re a And you need this, and you need that.

Michalina: No, no one talks like that in real life. They just go, I haven’t got a clue. I can’t figure this out. I just don’t know. And I’ve very recently heard someone say that, don’t know is the best answer you can hear. And I absolutely and truly support it because that’s where things going to start to change for you.

Michalina: So if you, if there is something you don’t know, you should be really pleased to 

Rob: go to that place. It’s the sign of a great breakthrough. Like I always think confusion confusion is. is like in between what you knew and a transformation of what you will know. [00:12:00] It’s leveling 

Michalina: up. That’s a really nice way of putting it actually.

Michalina: And there’s so much choice, there’s so many possibilities in that. Why is confusion need to mean something negative? There are all these labels again that come in and just going back to your point around so this type of therapy has these answers and this type of coaching has these answers and all of that.

Michalina: I think there is a bit of ego of a professional carrying out certain Ways of working with people. I think we need to constantly bring ourselves back that this is not about us. We lend in certain experiences, energy and knowledge to help on a journey, but not to change it. It’s not about us. It’s not our success and it’s not our ego that needs to come in and it’s an ongoing journey there.

Michalina: But equally, it’s good to try out different things and pick and choose those bits that we need. And then to your point around the confusion there is. So many things that just are. They’re not negative or positive. We make them to be negative or positive. And if we just reframe certain things, and if we just look at things differently, so much can happen.

Michalina: And I see [00:13:00] that very often in conversations, where sometimes, if you want to describe it, nothing really changed. The events are still as they are. The stuck, being stuck or being confused. It’s still there. The choices are still the same, but the person leaves the session going, everything’s changed, but you can’t explain what it is.

Michalina: It’s that way of thinking, feeling, looking at things that’s changed. So back to the transformation. The word transformation can be quite frightening if you trans translate it to in, in, in certain languages. Transformation can mean leaving everything you know behind. So that’s threatening.

Michalina: So why would you do that? If you use the word change, there is so much cognitive load and emotional load that comes with it. But if you just change that word, and if you just look at things differently, everything can change in a way. 

Rob: Yeah. I think we always want to change circumstances, but often what we really need to change is 

Rob: perspective.

Michalina: That’s right. But if you tell someone you need to change your perspective, they’ll go, yeah, of course I do. And I’ve got my own opinion. Oh, yes, everyone has one. So back to labels and back to words, but [00:14:00] really listening and asking questions that in that moment can shift that energy level for someone.

Michalina: That’s key. And this is why I love coaching and this is where I think it works. And for me, this is where empowerment or leadership truly sits in those moments of feeling that a change is possible, that the mindset is there and unlocks something, I hate that word unlocks. Because it’s such a marketing coaching word.

Michalina: Oh, unlock your power within. If you were to truly really use those words, yes, that’s what it comes down to. 

Rob: It’s like authenticity. Authenticity is something that is so important. It is something that you can use all the time. And yeah, people have so much used and abused it that it’s it now, it, you like, the word I really want is authentic.

Rob: I know people have so much connotations with it. And yeah, there’s certain words that are so powerful, but. We have to avoid them because they’ve been, they’ve lost some of their meaning. Oh, they’ve 

Michalina: been beaten to death. Absolutely. Sometimes when I say, Oh, it’s about being authentic. I immediately go, Whoa.

Michalina: And these are the 10 or 20 [00:15:00] things that can be said about this. Take it back now. But again, it’s about co creating that space of someone in front of you, and using the words that are right for them. Really listening deeply to how do they express themselves, using those words, bringing that insight and reflection back to them, to really truly for them to find their own way.

Michalina: It’s not about me and my way. I can swear all along. My grandma used to say that if you swear you actually change reality because it’s magical. Because your emotions change, your mindset shifts, so reality changes too. And I love that. But if I told you that, or if I swore in front of you for 10 minutes, you’d be like, She’s not for 

Rob: me.

Rob: Can you say that again? Your grandma said if you swear, you change 

Michalina: reality? Yes. Yes. So if you use swear word, your world around you changes after you’ve done that, because there is magic in that swear word, because you release your emotions, you change your mind, so you can deal with the world around you in a different way, so it changes reality.

Michalina: Isn’t there a lot of depth to that? 

Rob: There [00:16:00] is, and there’s actually research to, to evidence it. No! Yeah no, because people who swear feel less pain, and it’s because they release that tension. So there 

Michalina: we go. I’m. I honestly, I claim that was my grandma. That’s what she told me. Whatever research was done. I don’t know it was my grandma.

Michalina: So don’t take it away. 

Rob: That’s great. And I think also like the whole taboo about swearing because like my mom would always, don’t swear, what that’s doing is it’s constraining and it’s what’s wrong with a swear word. It’s in the vocabulary. So why not say it? 

Rob: But then we have all these kind of taboos and I think that’s probably really what you do is people are programmed with all these kind of taboos. And they’re constrained of, you can’t do this, you must do this, you must do this. And what you’re really doing is opening them up and freeing them to have a more authentic, a more true, real 

Michalina: experience.

Michalina: I think that’s a lovely attempt of putting a label on this. Yes. But that’s okay. Yes, I think it’s about creativity in shifts that you want to make. Do what you want to do on [00:17:00] purpose, with purpose, aligned to this. Then find the right tools that work for you. Make the right shifts that will help you to get there, but not because they are right by someone else’s standards.

Michalina: Whether it’s cultural conditioning, economical, social, or organizational, or hierarchical, or whatever else, but do it the way that works for you. So I think that’s what what truly matters and what truly is important, when the meaning can happen for you. And once you have that, and you feel that, and you understand that, you can align all the other resources.

Michalina: And then you just need a bit of holding here and there around. If you have those little wobbles, and you doubt yourself, and you listen to your inner critic and everything else. How do you make sure that the change is sustainable and in a way consistent without taking away the fun of it? No one says, Oh, you need to do the same thing for the rest of your life.

Michalina: So there’s a bit of leadership, self leadership, a little bit of empowerment, a little bit of shifts in perspectives and creativity around what you want to do and a whole host of other [00:18:00] things 

Rob: too. I’m really curious. So what I’ve noticed and I do, I look for patterns. So I do use labels and things because what I try and do is from each individual is to make up a pattern to identify what’s universal.

Rob: So, when I talk to someone and talking about relationships, a question most people have, but they won’t say until they kind of trust and they almost all say the same kind of question, but with different phrasing, which is, am I broken? Is it me? Am I unlovable? Is there something wrong with me?

Rob: This is where I identified that relationship we have. We’ve been given a frame for relationships that doesn’t work. And that’s why most relationships, more relationships fail. By fail, I mean that they don’t work as people expected them to. People take relationships not working as a failure for them and they take it as a sign that there’s something wrong with them, and it plays into an insecurity and a doubt they’re somehow broken.

Rob: Is there a question that you see as a kind of a common thread? Reflecting 

Michalina: on what you just said I don’t recall a question that would be a common thread amongst the people that [00:19:00] I’m thinking of now, and when I think about what they bring to sessions with me. But I can see a version. of that sort of feeling of unbroken coming up.

Michalina: So you’ve made me think here very deeply. They do bring different versions of it. There isn’t a question that comes up that would sum up that pattern. What I would say is there is a need for validation that it’s okay to be different to what it is that’s been programmed to people that comes up in a bear with me I’m replaying some of those conversations in my head now.

Michalina: And it’s quite interesting, you’ve said that there is a definition or a pattern of relationship that’s been given to us, and if it doesn’t work for us, it’s broken. I wonder what you would call that pattern, or what is it specifically that you would label it as? Because across cultures, and I work with people from four different cultures at the moment, there is So many different layers to understanding things and defining things and I wonder whether what it is that you want to share actually translates across those cultures.

Michalina: So [00:20:00] what do you mean by a definition of relationship that doesn’t work? Do you 

Rob: mean why the relationship doesn’t work or? Okay. So we learn about relationships. So if you look at 70 percent of our neural pathways are laid down. By the age of seven. So basically after that, we have this kind of map of the world and we think we know it even if we don’t.

Rob: And that’s where most of our, so I call it like the human operating system. And that’s where most of our problems and our conflicts come from something that was in there, there’s like a bug, if you look at how we learn about. relationships, most of it is from fairies stories or Disney films. And it’s the princess meets the prince.

Rob: And so we get what I call the four myths of the fairy tale, which is there’s one out there for me. If I meet the one and I’m beautiful enough, or I’m gallant enough and charming enough, they’ll fall in love. If the love is true, we’ll live happily ever after. So what people expect is that they shouldn’t have any problems.

Rob: So when they, so they go into a relationship and five years later, they’re got children, they’re fed up with each other and. They’re like, if he really loved me, he wouldn’t do [00:21:00] this. If she really loved me, she wouldn’t do this. And so I go maybe they’re not my one. And so rather than and so they think the problem is them.

Rob: They’re not lovable enough. They think the relationship that they haven’t chosen the right one. And it’s the same in teams as in like project Aristotle from Google, when they analyzed the makeup of teams, they were thinking, okay, we need to have the right blend of introverts. We need to have these people and these people.

Rob: And what they found, it was nothing to do with that. It was psychological safety. It was how people interacted, not who interact. And so in relationship, the differences that like, like my favorite quote is Dan Wile always said, when you marry someone, you marry a set of problems. If you didn’t marry this person, you wouldn’t have these problems, but you’d have a different set.

Rob: I love that. So 

Michalina: that’s, I’m not a marriage counselor. I wouldn’t even want to dare to talk about that sort of stuff. I’ve got loads of anecdotes from from my friends and family and everyone else, but there is, there’s quite a few interesting things in what you’ve. shared. So in terms of this whole one for me, [00:22:00] happy ever after Disney model, I think that comes a lot from religion and from ethical standpoints as well.

Michalina: So forget Disney. I grew up in communism. I didn’t watch Disney fairy tales until I was older than seven. So that sort of came later, but there is a bit around how life should be. And there is. Christianity or whatever your religion is that gives you that model of how things should be and is driven by something a lot bigger than you and so you need to comply with this because otherwise you’re broken.

Michalina: So this is why I wanted to get into that definition of how do you understand that. There is a lot around ways, social ways, of living in community that dictates how our relationships should be and so you’re broken if you don’t comply if you’re different. So there was a bit about that. My husband is from South Africa and he grew up in an enclosed religious community as a white family around problems with apartheid and longer.

Michalina: There’s so much culturally and socially and religiously that they took on as a [00:23:00] family around how life should be. I grew up in communism and then capitalism that started emerging and how different that was and how different Christianity is. is there. So there is a lot there on that front. I think we all tend to go, if we don’t comply with external norms, we are broken.

Michalina: We don’t know who we are and what we want. So we try to fit in with different approaches. When it comes to relationships that we think in those absolutes around one forever, and if it doesn’t work, it’s me. At work, I think it’s a lot easier because we go if it doesn’t work, I’ll go and find somewhere else.

Michalina: And there is a lot more empowerment and a lot more choice. And I think choice allows us to be more confident and empowered and change jobs and change cultures. But going back to the point that you mentioned around the the research and around how we interact and how we, who are the people and how they bring that additional element of culture and co-creation together and that space that works and makes the two of you better then.

Michalina: Some of parts of the two or the [00:24:00] three or whatever, I think there is a lot of learning there where we need to be very creative in how we put people together to work together and towards what and what do we want them to achieve and giving people freedom to actually make those decisions. So there are two different things around those relationships, conditioning and what do we want in a workplace?

Michalina: Which 

Rob: comes back to your point about intention, intentionality and starting with purpose. Absolutely. 

Michalina: And I think there is a little bit about consumerism of work as well and how we change things. And technology has changed our lives massively. The way we grew up and what we were prepared for is very different to how we live our lives.

Michalina: now. And being in a global village and working in global teams changes things completely. We were probably growing up in situations where anything that was different as in not good enough or less than or maybe a bit suspicious. Whilst now we work in global teams and we have to navigate all those things for a common purpose.

Michalina: Our parents didn’t have a clue what it was all [00:25:00] about when they were in the workplace. And now. the rise of short term contracts and working on assignments and freelance work and starting businesses. None of that socially or economically was possible 20, 30, 50 years ago. Now is, it’s very easily accessible.

Michalina: So it’s about, so what’s the purpose? What’s the intention? What do I want out of it? What do we collectively want for this particular project? What’s our common outcome that we want to work towards? And so then we need to start thinking about the set of tools, set of problems, set of skill sets, and they’re called people, and then how do they interact towards that one thing?

Michalina: Not forever, not in absolutes. but for outcomes for common goals. And I suppose if we then take that and we go back to your point around relationships one forever, we could say, okay, so throughout your life, you look for a father for your children. And once you’re done and they grown up, that’s it.

Michalina: The project is done, right? Consumerism of marriage. And then you look for a partner to travel the [00:26:00] world with for the next 10 or 15 years. That’s it. And then you look for someone to retire with and have someone to be buried with. I’ve heard this once as an expression that someone was looking for someone else to end their life, to be with to the rest of their lives and be buried with, because they didn’t want to be buried alone.

Michalina: Maybe that’s the answer to, I don’t know. I don’t even want to touch that sphere, not my area of expertise, but if we play around with those approaches, absolute versus creative, I suppose we could talk about that, but we need to be mindful of religious, cultural, social, economic conditioning and everything else.

Rob: Definitely. I’m really interested in, I’m fascinated by the idea of what it must have been like growing up in, in a communist environment, and then suddenly everything changing, yeah, can you share anything about that? Can 

Michalina: you share a child or early teenage years, and then that sort of how I was uncovering those things and influences throughout my life obviously I wasn’t an adult when [00:27:00] all of this happened, it was my parents, 

Michalina: it’s an interesting one because only as an adult you discover what impacted you and shaped you and where it comes from when you start reflecting you don’t understand that at that time. I remember, and that everyone was supposed to be the same. Everyone was supposed to do the same thing. There was a script and a plan, you just needed to follow it.

Michalina: It was very easy. It was all about being super resourceful around how do you get food on the table? How do you make sure that your kids have shoes and clothes and go to school? But we all had this pattern to follow. It was all very simple. I remember my parents saying that they were brought up in deep communism and then life changed.

Michalina: They had absolutely no work skills whatsoever, because the job was given and you worked in the same place for a whole year, their whole life. So for us, they had to figure out how to do themselves to then tell us, Oh, it’s okay to choose the job you want to do, who do you want to [00:28:00] be? Oh no, it’s okay to say you want to do this or that.

Michalina: So they had to learn a lot to then bring us up. I remember that everyone was happy and everyone had the same thing. I don’t recall jealousy in school because someone had better clothes or better shoes or there were no gadgets or computers or phones or anything like that. So it was very easy in a way.

Michalina: We were all poor. We all had jumpers made by our grandmas from older jumpers. We all knew what to do and how life was a lot simpler, but in a way. When you then grow up and actually, there is competition, there is choice, there are new things you need to deal with. There is a million more decisions to make than you thought that you had to as a young teenager or adult.

Michalina: That was all very frightening later on. Then you started seeing those differences in the society when suddenly people were very rich. So if they, so there’s this saying around if someone is a rich capitalist, surely they must have stolen their [00:29:00] first million. So there is no other way. You have to steal to have more than other people.

Michalina: Because all honest, hardworking people have jobs that are given to them. And so life goes on da. So all that cultural conditioning then stays with you. And you’ve got all those massive beliefs about things. Obviously that’s how things are, right? And then you end up with capitalism. and a different way of thinking where you go, whoa, okay, this is very different.

Michalina: And by the way, there’s a religion and philosophy and everything else that goes with it. So yeah, just a few nuggets 

Rob: there. That’s fascinating because I can see a direct, how that kind of, it must have been a struggle from your teenage to young adult lives of coping with the choice and coping with that change.

Rob: And it seems that a direct parallel between what you now do for other people. 

Michalina: Hey, tell me more. That’s interesting. I think there is always the link. Sometimes we are aware of it and sometimes not. One of the [00:30:00] things that very recently discovered about myself is that one of my greatest strengths that I’m really proud of is that I can make something out of nothing.

Michalina: I can be extremely resourceful and nothing will ever faze me. I will find a way. And I was talking about it and reflecting on it. And it was quite interesting that my friends play that back to me that’s how they see me as well. But it turns out that stops me from having an abundance mindset, because I’m so used to having scarcity mindset as a starting point, so I can go with my resourcefulness.

Michalina: That I can’t skip that point, I can’t have an abandoned mountain, because I don’t know what it’s like. Everything that I know is scarcity first, plus resourcefulness, but then creates amazing things. And I suppose And that’s just a bit of a, about me, but what I do with the people who sit in front of me is I truly listen to what they bring, what patterns come up, and then just help them understand those.

Michalina: It’s not about my interpretations on those things, but [00:31:00] bringing them back alive to the conversation. Very much what you’ve just done with me, that you see a pattern and an impact. Of course, there is always one. Sometimes we’re not aware of where it comes from, but there is. And with my husband, he had a very different upbringing.

Michalina: He experienced a lot of different things that I didn’t even know existed. I remember as a teenager, I only only ever knew one black person. And it was incredible. And my mom was friends with him and they worked together. It was incredible. Such a completely different, fascinating culture and way of living and stories told and everything else.

Michalina: For him, it was very different. It was half society and constant struggles and changes and what’s right, what’s wrong. A world that I never really knew or understood. Yeah, so much there. 

Rob: I think, like, when someone gets in a romantic relationship, for the first time, what they’ve grown up in a world that they thought everyone else was like them.

Rob: And then suddenly, they go into a different household where they’ve [00:32:00] got, someone with completely different culture and experiences, and ways of interacting. And I think. I think that’s what relationship does, is that our differences, if we’re able to, this is my thing of disagree without drama, so that if we’re able to learn from each other and share each other’s perspectives.

Rob: Then we can broaden and we can overcome our own blind spots. 

Michalina: A hundred percent. I agree with that. But it’s hard work and it’s daily from the point of, so hang on a minute. So do you catch a virus? If you walk without slippers on, from that sort of level of problems and you Google it. So do you, or do you not?

Michalina: Cause in my world, they say this and in your world, they say that I’ve got millions of those type of conversations to what’s the right thing to do offer five cookies. Okay. Bye. to five people you invited or for the whole cake to those five people you invited, what’s the right thing to do, I think, again, I’m not a marriage counselor.

Michalina: Oh, it’s not my, it’s not my bag. But for me, there’s a lot [00:33:00] around cultures that work that influence how you think and who you are and how you change and the masks that you put on. Because you try to fit in different organizations and cultures. And there are different ways of doing things and different expectations.

Michalina: And you suddenly, you may be a high performer in one and suddenly an underperformer in another. And you go, hang on a minute, how is that possible? Because the set of expectations and influences is such that it’s not for you. Yeah. And you need to go somewhere else to find a way for yourself to feel good.

Michalina: And then again, wherever you go, you take yourself with you. So is it you or is it the circumstances? So there is always this play around what’s happening internally, what’s happening externally for you. But essentially, if you give yourself permission to test and try different places to see what it’s like to feel what it’s like to be under certain influences from that organization.

Michalina: In terms of, what the reward looks like performance goals, achievements progression, and everything else you [00:34:00] want to who are your type of people that you want to work with? Are they there? Are they not there? And how they impact you? And, How do they help you grow as well? Do you want to be a superstar in one team of monists and underperformers?

Michalina: Or do you want to be the one who’s got a long way to go amongst truly amazing things, the people who do amazing things? So there’s a lot of questions and balances that you need to go through when it comes to that. So yeah, with those relationships, whether they’re personal or work ones. There’s so many things that need to align for you to fit in and feel good But as I said, you always take yourself with you wherever you go.

Rob: Yeah, that’s the common thread. You touched upon something that I was I had in my head to ask and that is success and value are really about context. And there’s some contexts that you’re succeeding and there’s some that you won’t. So I’ve noticed there’s a clear delineation between who I [00:35:00] can work with successfully and who I can’t.

Rob: And. I first came up with it is I think some people are power seekers. They want to dominate. And then someone else phrased it for me as they’re people who want to be right. Whereas I find I work with truth seekers, people who want to get to the root of what it really is. And she rephrased that to people who want to get it right.

Rob: Because the people who want to get it right are willing to change and they’re willing to adapt. They’re looking for the perspective that’s going to help them help everyone succeed. Where’s the. What I call the power seekers are looking to be right and they’re looking to fit everyone else to make them right.

Rob: So Who do you find that your work resonates with best and is there? Instances where of the people who it’s not who you don’t gel with and you don’t Have as much success with 

Michalina: that’s an interesting question It reminds me of my philosophy studies 20 years ago And those questions around, so are there absolutes?

Michalina: Is there an absolute love, absolute truth, absolute this or that or the other, or do [00:36:00] we make it to be as such in relationship to ourselves in some way? So you just brought that back for me. I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it from this perspective. It’s an interesting challenge. If I think about this from psychometrics perspectives and all those tests that we can do to try to understand a way how we show up and how we relate to others.

Michalina: So all my tests will tell you that I’m there to support others, but influence drive focus on performance achievement and completion of stuff. So that would imply ego and that would imply people who would follow, and I would. lead them or drive them in a way, but equally the tools that I use. mean that I take a step back and I drive or influence through questions, but they do the work so they are in a driving seat.

Michalina: So I’m changing their power dynamic in a way. So it’s really difficult to answer your question. I don’t know. All I can tell you is [00:37:00] that I wouldn’t work with everyone. You will need to come to me and have a conversation with me. And I would know whether we’re right for each other or not. And you would know that too.

Michalina: I’m very much a hot and cold person. There, there is no, maybe that doesn’t work neither for you or me. So if that helps, perhaps, then you tell me what you’re hearing and how would you categorize this? Labels are more your thing than mine. But I think there is a bit about honesty. Cause it’s not about me being successful.

Michalina: It’s about what successful means to you. I know what. I consider a good session. I know what my goals are for you as my client. But they don’t matter if you have taken what you need to have taken from it from that conversation from that session. So there’s that ego balance of, I can put that aside.

Michalina: It’s not about me, my success. It’s about your success, my success can be looked at differently. And then, again, if I coach as part of a job. [00:38:00] HR job and organizational context that’s different versus one to one tailored conversations to what it is that you need. I don’t know. You tell me what you’ve picked up.

Michalina: I’m fascinated. 

Rob: Yeah, it makes perfect sense because I think. So I can relate to when you talk about, you were talking about, I can’t remember the exact words, but getting on someone’s levels that you’re listening to them. So for me, the way I think of that is when I’m talking to someone about relationships, all I need to do is listen to them.

Rob: I need to let them speak about whatever they want to speak about, because the very words, when I listen, it’s someone’s drawing me a map of what’s going on in their head. And there I can see immediately their blind spots and I know, okay, you need this, and that’s how it works for me.

Rob: That’s the metaphor I have or the visualization. But what I do is. I take individual experience and I strip the individual out of it so I get principles so minus I abstract and I find this, my biggest [00:39:00] struggle is being relatable, when I’m writing is that because When someone tells me something, this is why I see patterns quite quickly, because I’ll hear something and I’ll go, okay, it’s that.

Rob: So over and over again, I’ve seen relationships and I was going, okay, it’s that. Hang on, this is the same as this, even though the circumstances look very different. But I strip away the emotion and I look at the structural logistics of it. So it makes perfect sense. That I get to see patterns and I classify things as patterns.

Rob: And I think, okay, here’s the universal pattern where and then I can look at someone and I can say, okay you’re doing this and this would help. Whereas you 

Michalina: fantastic for a counselor because that’s essentially your job, right? You need to help someone make sense of what’s going on. So it completely makes sense.

Michalina: You your ability and your talent is totally aligned with. What are you doing? The next thing for you is teaching. Just put it in books and share with the world so they can learn from you. 

Rob: That’s the idea. There we go. Yeah, no, 

Michalina: sorry, I 

Rob: [00:40:00] interrupted you. No, no problem. Yeah 

Rob: and part of that comes from me, so like my, what I was talking about today, I’ve never really belonged to a group because of my own experiences in growing up and my own decisions, so I’m good at analyzing, but where, so where we contrast is you are right in it. You are really empathic. You are feeling the emotion.

Rob: Whereas, I understand emotions and I understand what emotion someone’s feeling, I’m looking at like the logistics. If we change this, you can change your emotion. And. I think that where you are is you’re right in the emotion and you’re feeling it and you’re really getting a much, a rich understanding of where someone is.

Rob: And your, the visualization that comes to me is it’s like more like music for you, that you’re listening and it’s like a symphony and you’re, and I can imagine like a piano tuner and go, hang on, that’s a little bit off. 

Michalina: Yes. I love that. Thank you. I needed to hear this. Fantastic. This is why we’re talking today.

Michalina: That’s my [00:41:00] takeaway. Love this. Yes. So if I describe it in, not in coaching terms, therapeutic terms or anything else, but in my own true way of how I see it is that I can tune into what it is you are saying and feeling. I can see through all of this.

Michalina: I’d like to be able to say that there is a bit of a gift there where I can see past and through and I can feel it with you, but still be objective to you. Yes, using your analogy, I can find you in different things. I can filter your emotion and help you change them. So I don’t tell you what needs to happen.

Michalina: You do it yourself. I just impact the right. things at the right time and the change happens and the shift happens, the things come up in conversations that very often comes out in tears and grand words and realizations and shifts and some those so called aha moments and sometimes in silence that’s so [00:42:00] profound and so incredible.

Michalina: Did you feel like you’ve just had a cathartic experience because it just shifted something and you can’t even explain what it is? So yes, I tune in. I can feel what you feel, but be objective enough to say, and here’s the way, but you do the steps. You come out of that and you change and you felt and the shift happens in you, not in me, in a way.

Michalina: Yeah, that makes perfect sense. But I’m loving the whole tuning the piano. Yes, I did play the piano for eight years. Hated it.

Michalina: But this whole tuning thing completely makes sense. Cause you just know which part where just doesn’t quite adapt. So the whole feeling of the symphony or the sonata or anything else makes sense or doesn’t. I how do you sell that, Rob? Tell me, how do you market that? That’s not coaching conversation.

Michalina: Is it ? Yeah. I, 

Rob: I think I think there’s maybe something in that piano, but see, I see. I think like what the point I was trying to make to today in my post was that I think people, [00:43:00] when people are making a transition. They feel, doubt, insecurity. And so they get, they become an ICF coach or they become a trainer or they become a mediator or whatever.

Rob: And I know coaching and that there’ll be like, everyone needs a coach and they’ll give you this framework. And people will then go out and sell themselves as an ICF code. And that’s a commodity. And your coach my coach, however we do it, we’re going to do it individual. And it’s your own thing that you need to sell. You need to, there’s your essence that comes through and you can do it in a mode, but it’s your essence that is the key and that’s the individual element and that’s what we need to, and it’s part of what you do is have the confidence to step into that.

Michalina: And this is why this profession is an art and this is not the process. You can throw any AI at coaching that you want, it’s not gonna work. You can throw any [00:44:00] processes that you want, or accreditations, or scripts, or anything else. Yeah. Maybe it helps someone somewhere. I don’t know. I’m not going to make round statements, but the true essence of change for someone, call it transformation is the, is walking along together on that journey that needs to happen.

Michalina: But you’re doing the work. And it’s hard and it needs the right person with you. And we back to the conversation around, it needs to be the right counselor, the right coach, but not the techniques and accreditations around it. These are tools. And yes, go out there and get the best tools you can.

Michalina: I’m very keen on having the best tools in my toolkit, but it’s me and my ability to be an empath, to use my intuition, to see through and beyond and listen so deeply as no one else. Listen to you before to then say, okay, and these are the combinations of tools I’m going to use to do this one particular thing for you, but you do the work, by the way, not me.

Michalina: Yeah, we can call [00:45:00] it in this way if we want to talk about true essence of relationship of the two people for a purpose, for an outcome of some kind of a change that again, changes along the way, because it’s a process. It’s really hard to explain in words. The best thing for me is when someone says, Oh yes, I know I’ve had coaching, I get it.

Michalina: Then you know that you need to feel it rather than listen or read or explain it. So very often what I would do is say, Hey, come and have a coaching experience session with me. Feel it, experience it. And you tell me what the value of it is for you. And you tell me whether this is what you’re after.

Michalina: Because you don’t know. You come in with symptoms. I tell you these are the causes. You think this is the goal I’m working towards, you end up with something completely different and you’re happy. How do you marken that? Again, back to experience and the essence. 

Rob: I think, the problem is an experience is, it’s diminished when you try and translate [00:46:00] into words.

Rob: And. Yeah, it’s one of those things that you have to experience, to be able to, yeah, to understand because you can say the words. And I think this is why one of the questions that puzzles me is, so my daughters are in their 20s now and I see, There’s stuff that I didn’t see when I was 20, but you see when you’re older and you’ve been through it and you’re like And they’re like, yeah dad Life’s different now And Yeah, it’s just and I think there’s something that people have to go through the experience before they can learn the lesson completely 

Michalina: completely and you know that it’s a wonderful thing that you guys are talking and she’s still listening and she’s not telling you to go away.

Michalina: She just says, it’s different now, dad. I think you’re already a winner that you got to that place. I can see the massive changes with my daughter who’s 13 and what she needed last month and what she needs today. I still don’t know whether today I’m going to have a child or a teenager. Just don’t know.

Michalina: I just need to deal with it as the [00:47:00] day comes. But yes, when you think back to when there were toddlers. You didn’t stop them from falling. They had to learn to walk. Every time they fell, you would be like, Yay! You fell! Look what you’ve learned! Off you go! Back around that sofa again! Go cruising and learn!

Michalina: It’s the same as when they’re older, and the same for people. Sometimes you need to experience those things. And that sort of brings us into A conversation about trauma, how do you explain to someone life transformations if they’ve never felt any traumatic experiences? I don’t think you can. I think everyone needs to go through whatever trauma is for them to understand the value, the gravity, the impact and everything else to then say, Hey, and I value this and I’m grateful for that.

Michalina: So I’m grateful. I don’t think we, we should be avoiding anything, living, feeling, going through it and learning from experiences. Yes, absolutely. 

 It really comes down to what is life about? Is it about the outcome or is it about the [00:48:00] journey?

Rob: And yeah, I think you’re right that we have to, it’s about how we navigate through all of those things. 

Michalina: That’s my view. That’s my thing. I’m happy to be proven different, if there is a different way, if there is a different app, I’m happy to try it, test it, feel it, try to understand it, but the way I see it as I am now, at nearly 40 that’s what it is.

Michalina: Live through it and find your own way, navigate it, learn it, use tools, but live through it. 

Rob: I’m 

Michalina: loving this whole psychotherapy moment here. It’s I’m learning so much about myself. Thank you. 

Rob: When someone’s making that transformation, what’s the barriers that they face?

Michalina: There are two things. There are two things. One is this constant self doubt and inner critic and this pattern that drives you. Call it the paradigm, call it a belief system, call it whatever you want, that programming that goes, Whoa, this is so different to everything you’ve done before.

Michalina: You’re so not doing this. So that’s your internal conversation, but to the people who matter to you in your life. And they’re [00:49:00] not going through that change, you are, so suddenly you’re different and it’s threatening to them because it changes the story and the context. So these are those two battles that you will be having as you are changing yourself and it’s hard and it takes time.

Michalina: And this is why you keep going back to a coach or a therapist because you can’t just go, okay, so here’s a download, I’m going to insert a new program and we’re done. doesn’t work this way, because there’s that ripple effect of changes that need to be addressed too. 

Rob: Yeah, it’s because, I can’t remember where I heard this yeah, I it was another conversation I had with Tony Walmsley, and he talked about in football, you’ve got kind of, 11 players, and he was talking about Liverpool when they took Mane out.

Rob: It just changed everything because the whole dynamics and everything. So in a team, or in a work environment, or even a home environment, when one person changes, it changes the dynamics for everyone. And when people haven’t consciously [00:50:00] changed, chosen that change, if they’re not excited about the change, they’re threatened.

Rob: And so when I look back, my journey started, I had a gym, and I was looking at why don’t people stick to their diet? And then knowing in the nutrition and why don’t people stick to their diet? Why don’t they stick to the thing? And I ended up. Go into therapy and I ended up rather than selling gym memberships, I was doing therapy.

Rob: And it was but what I learned was that people start a gym because of a relationship problem. Either they’re thinking of leaving, they think their partner’s cheating or something like that. There’s usually something to do with a relationship. And then in about three months, that problem’s passed.

Rob: And so they no longer want to go to the gym anymore. But so I can see a direct thread right back 30 years ago. Yeah. So when everyone changes, so how, when do you see that successful? And when do you see someone being held back by those, the relationships around them, there’s going to be a natural resistance.

Rob: This is how I see you. I don’t want to see you different. Why are you changing? Like lots of people talk about this. They go into personal growth for, they start a business and they [00:51:00] become more successful. It’s why lottery winners are less happy after because they no longer have the relationships.

Rob: They don’t fit into the new set and yet their role, like it changes their relationships so much that they can’t really maintain them. So what do you see and how do you see when it’s successful and when it isn’t? 

Michalina: I think again, it’s two things. It’s adaptability and communication, because if you change for yourself, By, by yourself and you don’t communicate what has changed, you will suddenly have very different expectations that have never been communicated and you’re right there in a, rift and grating and all you get is fights, misunderstanding and you start drifting.

Michalina: And there is a bit about adaptability of the other person too. It’s almost if my husband is on a diet, I’m on a diet with him if I like it or not. I will moan. I will not be happy. But I have to adapt to his diet. Simple as that. But again, I am not here to give marriage advice. But couldn’t be further from it.

Michalina: But when you and when you at work and [00:52:00] you change one team player, you need to be very mindful of what culture and environment you want to have. And then you bring in the right people driving those changes, raising standards. influencing behaviors, and it spreads. You can be inspired by those new team members, you can be in competition with them, you can learn from them, you can, whatever the relationship you go into with them is, but if you’re adaptable, you take something from it and something positive.

Michalina: So very often what I see is that when team members are changed in teams, it’s usually underperformance are Managed out in some way and you bring in new superstars, you need to be very careful what type of superstars you bring because they will have an impact on everything else, but the success of the team will come from those other people successfully adapting to those new relationships.

Michalina: So whether it’s you and your husband or whether it’s a team, it’s how do you adapt to those changes. And then if [00:53:00] it’s you going for a coaching and you’re changing, it’s about unfortunately. People around you and they adaptability because they will drive you back to now don’t be stupid, this will never work.

Michalina: Of course, she said this and that because you’re paying her to do that. And we’re back to square one. So it’s about that adaptability. So what I would suggest is that people have those conversations in their relationships before they attempt coaching or therapy because You they need to be with you in that, basically.

Michalina: Yeah. 

Rob: Yeah, that makes sense. And I’m guessing sometimes there’s a subtext. Sometimes there’s a change that we want to make. And I’m wondering maybe subconsciously or not, whether they were already looking at changing those relationships. Whether there was a relationship issue. 

Michalina: It’s an interesting one.

Michalina: I focus very much about work and work context. Yeah. Yeah. But very often problems happen from relationship with your boss. And, you can talk about leadership or the right behaviors all day [00:54:00] long. There is so much stuff happening that are shocking still and will be that you almost need to lower the standards and deal with the basics.

Michalina: First, so very often you want a different job or you want to be successful because you’re not in the relationship with your boss who you’re trying to change and they won’t. So if we take that as a starting point, and I’ve seen this a few times, is that then you need to be very clear on what relationship you actually want first.

Michalina: And if this is the root cause of your problem, what can you do about those? And what does it tell you about you before you deal with, and now I want a new job and I want more money and I want this promotion and everything else, because maybe you don’t want a promotion. You just want to run away from that person you work for at the moment, but we back to the symptoms versus root causes conversation.

Michalina: Yeah. Sometimes what I see is that. You can have the most amazing job and take a bigger remit and go from one region to the other and add another one and have a global [00:55:00] role. But actually, when you distill the problems that you’re running away from is the way, what your parents put into you and how they taught you about life, career and success that you’re struggling with because you’re trying to match their expectations and have the career for them.

Michalina: So you actually get their love and attention and approval and everything else. And this is a really hard one. And this sometimes creates that tension around is this coaching, is this therapy? And what’s the ethical standpoint? What, which way do you take here? So I’ve found myself in this situation and I needed to be very clear that these are the things that I can help you with.

Michalina: This is what I’m seeing. But if you want to explore those areas a bit deeper, that, unfortunately, that’s not me ethically. I cannot help you with this. I’m not qualified. I’m not prepared. I wouldn’t be able to help you to the level you need. But if we talk about these bits, yes, absolutely. And we can do this.

Michalina: [00:56:00] Sometimes it can open up a lot of different avenues there. But yes, you’re right that you can actually trace it down to conversations and relationships with certain people. Before you start talking about goals and achievements and success and everything else, 

Rob: it reminds me of that. I think there’s a book.

Rob: I think some like general or something. It’s make the first thing you do make your bed. That’s the same thing. Deal with what’s in front of you. Deal with what’s in front of you. Make that the best. And then Start to move on rather than try and move away. 

Michalina: Because again, you take yourself with you.

Michalina: So you end up with the same pattern, the same relationship of your boss or whoever else. And until you deal with it, our minds want us to relive all those patterns to find different solutions. 

Rob: How did you go from young Michelina to where you are now? What’s the most significant experiences? What’s the, influences that really moved you to where you are now and how you see the world as you see it?

Rob: Wow, how 

Michalina: much time have we got?

Michalina: Oh my goodness, that is such an interesting [00:57:00] question. The first immediate response is there’ve been a number of massive shifts in my life that pushed me to the edge of understanding and coping with stuff and taught me a lot of the things that are, I find now very powerful and helpful to others.

Michalina: But in the same way, since I was very little to just about to turn 40, I’ve always been very open and I’ve always reflected on stuff. So it’s a continuous process of what’s that about? Questioning, reflecting and learning. So as much as there were powerful shifts, there’s been this continuous journey.

Michalina: So if I talk about my journey of How I ended up being a coach is I’ve had quite a few careers and in each of them I’ve reflected what is it that I really love here. What what’s my skill set and what, what works, why are people drawn to me? Why am I successful in those things? So I started out as a journalist.

Michalina: I love people’s [00:58:00] stories. I loved writing. When I moved to the UK 18 years ago, I couldn’t do that. I tried writing feature articles for Polish media in London, but that was a short lived dream and it stopped. I then thought, I love business and I love people. And I literally back then Googled, what jobs could I do if I loved those two things?

Michalina: And I was like, HR, what’s that about? I reinvented myself. Firstly I couldn’t be, I didn’t believe that I could do this, so I reinvented myself around being a teacher. I thought, okay, so I’ve learned English in very quick, just over a few years to a level that I’m good at. People started asking me, how did you do this?

Michalina: Can you teach me? I said, yeah. Here’s what works. So I reinvented my career to teaching English as a foreign language to beginners and intermediate learners. I then found jobs in language schools and then I looked at recruitment of teachers going, what the hell is going on? We can do this a lot better.

Michalina: Until someone said, yes, [00:59:00] how I’ll give you a job. So I ended up in recruitment. of those teachers. And then from recruitment, I was like, I’m a lot closer to this HR thing that I liked a few years back. And I went into HR, looked at journalists, then I found myself being good at solving problems and helping managers solve theirs.

Michalina: So I ended up in employee relations, dealing with the dark side of people. Where you always deal with the hardest stuff that will test you in a way. So I built my career around that and then after a while I realized that the reason I’m successful and I can work with anyone and I can make anything turn around or almost anything turn around is because I coach.

Michalina: And people start to say, oh, you should be a coach. I’m like, what’s that? Oh, okay. So it’s like a Socrates used to do. I studied philosophy in Poland, and then I studied business management in the UK. So I started putting things together into patterns and I thought, okay, I can do something with that. And that’s how I got into coaching informally and then starting seeing that.

Michalina: I don’t know [01:00:00] what I’m doing, but they get the results out of it. Hey how do I get a qualification for that? And I did, and I qualified and I can now call myself a coach, but it’s very much about what happens. In those deep conversations, it’s not about accreditations and it’s not about the tools.

Michalina: It’s about how you use them that matters. So back to my openness, my empathy, my looking for people and everything else that’s always been there. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that I’ve gone through, that I didn’t go through traumatic experiences in life. I did. My twenties and thirties were very traumatic.

Michalina: And my biggest realizations and learnings come from those moments. And the ability to tune in to what people feel and go through on a deeper level, I suppose comes from that. Because it’s not about preaching or teaching, it’s about understanding and it’s very different. So I hope that answers your question on different 

Rob: levels.

Rob: It does just lead to one question is, in those [01:01:00] most traumatic times, did you have someone who you could have a conversation with who helped you through it to see it? 

Michalina: Sometimes I did and sometimes I didn’t. And it was about that constant reflection. What is really going on here for me? And I think that.

Michalina: There is this ongoing conversation. So what do you pay a cultural psychologist for? You just go there to talk, right? The cynical mind will ask. But sometimes you need someone to hold you and to talk because you’re not able to have the level of reflection or insight on your own that you would do with the help of someone else.

Michalina: So I very much see this as a way of sharing the skill set that I’ve got with people who need it, because perhaps they have different one to me, but they need the one that I’ve got. So it’s almost sharing a gift, if that makes sense. 

Rob: Yeah, no that’s perfect. It’s like at Christmas, we all give gifts.

Rob: And it’s a way that we show love and it’s the way that we feel that we’re loved and someone thought of us. I think life is really about, [01:02:00] we all want, we can’t be ourselves without having someone you couldn’t really be yourself without someone to empathize and to coach and to have those conversations with.

Rob: So it’s. It’s there’s a, like the fabric of life, it needs all of it. And we need the problems in order to I learned that to come to terms with what’s wrong, like what is wrong, because that’s the context that gives you something to do. And so in the same way. I think what we really need is to reduce the friction in being able to give gifts, and take gifts.

Michalina: And take it. Yes. And it can be very hard to take something from other people if you’re a giver. Totally. Yes. I like that. I think essentially what you’re saying is that it’s all about being relational. with things and people at the same time. We can’t express ourselves if we’re not in a relation to something else.

Michalina: So it’s quite interesting. There’s no absolute, this is you and this is your authentic core and this is this or this is that. It’s relational. It’s [01:03:00] continuous. I like that. I like that very much. 

Rob: That’s really what I see is if we can ease the relationships to create that trust and the communication and less of us in it and more of our gifts, then I think that’s how we make the world a better place.

Michalina: There we go. That’s your utopia and the perfect state and all of that. And yes, that would be fantastic. 

Rob: I’m 

Michalina: an idealist. Very clearly.

Michalina: But hey, we can strive towards it, right? 

Rob: That’s what gives us the purpose, or me anyway. 

Michalina: There you go, back to purpose, everything starts and 

Rob: ends. Thank you for sharing your story and your gifts with us. Thank you for having me. It’s been fascinating, 

Michalina: I’m glad you say that. Thank you very much for having me.

​Thank you for listening. Please like, share, subscribe, and leave a review so we can spread more flow and unify teams. If you’re on LinkedIn, please connect with me, [01:04:00] Rob McPhillips.

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