The Access Point : Being Coachable (w/ Lena Nelson)

This is the podcast adaptation of the eighth episode of The Access Point! This one’s all about being coachable. Special thanks to our incredible guest host, Lena Nelson! Part of the Living Corporate network, The Access Point is a weekly webinar preparing Black and brown college students for the workforce. If you’re looking to jump-start your career, this is content you want to follow. Subscribe to us today!

Check out full episodes of The Access Point, video included.

Connect with Lena on LinkedIn.

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Mike (00:40): All right, everyone. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome to The Access Point which is part of the Living Corporate network. We are really excited to be here with you guys. So first, let me just kick this off by giving you an explanation of Living Corporate, if you’re new here. Living Corporate is a writing and podcasting platform that is dedicated to exploring and celebrating underrepresented identities in corporate America. So, if you are one of those people, you are definitely in the right place. As a collective, Living Corporate represents a broad spectrum of beliefs, cultures, and identities. And we know that all of our differences shape our perspectives and experiences in corporate America. Living Corporate wants to engage with other voices that often go unheard and have conversations out loud. So, Living Corporate is for everyone. But specifically we also want to focus on black and brown people because, those are our people. And so, The Access Point is, is, is from Living Corporate. It is very much so in line with all of that. And so, Brandon, would you tell us about The Access Point?

Brandon (01:50): Oh sure. Thanks Mike. Well, welcome to The Access Point first and foremost, which is part of the Living Corporate network. The Access Point is our weekly web show where we strive to bring y’all real talk that will prepare you for the workforce. While our content is for everyone, we’re focused on preparing black and brown students, just as yourself, for future work. Every week we’ll have an incredible guest to help discuss the topics at hand. And this week, this week we have Ms. Lena Nelson. How you doing Ms. Nelson? How you doing?

Lena Nelson (02:19): Good.

Brandon (02:19): What do you do for a living? What brings you here today to The Access Point?

Lena (02:23): Perfect. My name is Lena Nelson. I’m a young professional working in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. I’m a senior associate at a digital marketing organization called, Red Ventures. Essentially, what we do is marriage of the analytics with the creativity. So, someone with my background, I actually went to undergrad in finance, so very different than what I thought I was doing when I graduated five years ago. But, exciting and really allows me to pivot and just have a stream of feedback loop. That really goes to that theme of being [inaudible 00:02:58]. So, to your question of why I’m here, I really find it as a very foundational skillset to have and to need. And it’s really benefited me as a person and I really just want to create an opportunity for dialogue to talk about my experiences and how I can be helpful for others.

Brandon (03:19): Nice.

Mike (03:20): Nice. Yeah. Well thank you for being here. We’re really excited about this. So, if you are a follower of subscriber you might know Brandon’s face, you might know my face. We’ve been on several of these before. We are hosting this conversation with Lena. And so Lena, we’re so thankful that you are here with us. So, yeah, so we have some questions for Lena, but if you have questions for her, make sure you drop them in the chat, or use the Ask a Question’ feature, and also get your people over here. Like there are people who are watching, there are people who need to hear this, and there are some people, let’s just be real. Like, we need a distraction from this election, at least for the next hour. So we are going to get you out of here on time, so that you can check that out if you want to.

(04:10): But if you were looking for a distraction or, you know, somebody who needs a nice distraction where you’re going to learn some great great stuff and some great content, please, please, please share this link. And don’t forget to follow Living Corporate. So let’s jump right in. So the theme of this is about being coachable. And I think this is one of the most important things for any young career professional. Simply, because, I argue that the college degree today means less than it ever has. So you’re not just going to show up on day one and like, I got a Master’s in this, and they’re like, oh, great, we’ll, listen to you. So, first, why is it important to be coachable in your opinion?

Lena (04:54): To your point. We used to always joke, when I worked for a financial institution, we would hate majors in finance. Like, hate them. Like, they come with these preconceived notions of like what the job was, and what they could do to be successful. I really loved people who had that mindset of just being a sponge and soaking up that information. I, growing up was really into sports. So I was a huge soccer fan. I don’t know if anyone knows, I love me A Ham, Brianna [inaudible 00:05:23]. They were my [inaudible 00:05:25]. So it was one of those things when growing up.

Mike (05:28): [inaudible].

Lena (05:28): Exactly. What made me very excited. And one of the themes that I had from coaches where, you’re very teachable, you’re very coachable. And may have not been the best athlete on the field, but I could receive feedback, and iterate off of that feedback. And I think that’s really what the value of being coachable means. Is just being able to be open to receiving feedback, asking for that feedback, but not just stopping with receiving it, but actually doing something about it. And so, how can you improve how you can come better when you receive that? That feedback.

Mike (06:02): Yeah. Side note, do you like the English Premier League?

Lena (06:06): I am not really in to…

Mike (06:08): Okay.

Lena (06:09): Men’s soccer. So, I will say that I am very like equal pay, for equal work, but I am very into women’s soccer. I will scream every four years. As well as I attend a lot of the local games whether it’s Washington Freedom, in the DC Metro area, or even [inaudible 00:06:27] . So, super huge fan, probably one in like 1,000. But [inaudible 00:06:35].

Mike (06:34): Wait. Listen. Listen. The Houston Dash. The Houston Dash is my squad now. Like I am. So my Premier League team is Arsenal. So if you are an Arsenal fan, shout out to everyone who’s an arsenal fan.

Lena (06:48): He’s a hot [inaudible].

Mike (06:48): It is.

Brandon (06:48): It is. It’s been a [inaudible 00:06:50] tale.

Mike (06:51): It might for a while, but we are on the up–

Brandon (06:52): It’s Arsenal. Come on [inaudible 00:06:55].

Mike (06:55): Hey, you know what? Arsenal’s women’s team is very good as well. So, just, you know, I love that you love soccer. It’s actually funny and when you talked about coaching, it made me think of this. Nick Saban is the, I think he’s probably the best college football coach ever. And he says this thing that I love. And he says, «It takes what it takes». And most of the time, the it, is you learning. Yeah. Brandon, were you about to introduce the next question?

Brandon (07:26): Oh, no. Yes I was. Sorry.

Mike (07:29): It’s okay.

Brandon (07:29): So what are the signs that you look for in yourself to show that you’re not willing to be coached? Sorry, let me read that question one more time. I think I didn’t say it right. What are the signs to look for in yourself that shows that you are not willing to be coached? Yes, that’s [inaudible 00:07:44].

Lena (07:47): I guess I view this question as, I guess, flipping on itself. If you’re not, self-aware, it’s very difficult to come to terms with someone giving you feedback. So if you’re not ready to receive feedback, I think it’s very plausible that you’re not going to do anything when you get it, whether it was requested or not. I think of it in the same way as like being ready for an adventure, or do you have all the tools in your toolkit to truly go through that project that’s laid before you, if you do not have that step one, of just like being ready for it to happen. I really feel like you’ve already closed yourself down and it’s already to the point where it’s no longer impactful.

Brandon (08:31): Is there a point to where you could open yourself up to be coachable? Like, for example you may have that revelation one time, where people are just brow beating you on. Hey, you need to get ready to do this, need to do this. And then you just have that revelation, like, oh yeah, I need to listen to them. So when, at what point does it become to where you want to be coachable? From not being coachable, to being coachable?

Lena (08:53): Yeah. So I would say this, if we’re looking at like being in the workplace, the first time I realized the importance of it was my peers were promoted before me. So it was just one of those things of like, what are they doing and what am I not doing to get to that next step? Obviously, there are other aspects that the comparison standpoint that may not be correct in making that assumption. But I think a really great check-in time is whenever there’s mid-year reviews, or whenever there are opportunities where it’s more constructive that you received that feedback from a party from management. I think it’s really interesting when we’re in undergrad or when we’re still in school, is we have that regular feedback loop. That goes away once we graduate in the real world. We get graded on essays, we get told that that project was not great. We need to see X from you on this. When you enter the real world that just disappears. People just expect you to figure it out. And I think that’s when you started thinking through, oh, no one has a book that tells them how to do this. They’re actually asking the questions that will give them the tools to be aware of the things that they can do to move forward. Does that answer help answer the question or?

Brandon (10:07): Yeah, it does. It is also [inaudible 00:10:10] a great follow-up question. When should you start being coachable, wanting to be coached? So you said we get the constant feedback loop. We saw it in your papers, and we saw it in our work. When we step into the real world, it’s like, we’re really on our own. So should we start day one? Should we find mentors, which we did in another episode on The Access Point, we talked about mentors. So we would go and look for coaching, do we want to look forward it immediately when we get to the workforce? Do we want to find those people to help us, day one, day six, day 20, 90? Where should we started finding the person that wants to coach us?

Lena (10:44): So I will say you should do it as soon as possible. I would say for me, I lucked out, in which, when I joined my first internship, I had another black woman in the office look at me and say, get out of my office. Why don’t you have a notepad? And like, that started that moment where she was a mentor, but I know when we talk through mentoring and coaching, there’s that stream of where that person could be, whether they’re a sponsor, whether they’re a coach, whether they’re a mentor. Or really what’s advantageous for her, is she gave me that foundation to start receiving that, even though I didn’t request it.

(11:19): I think, I find some of the most impactful interviews that I give, are when at the end, the interviewee looks at me and is like, Hey, can I get some feedback on how that went? What are ways that I could improve on that? What are ways that I can look ahead to the next interview that I have, that I can put my best foot forward? That leaves a really helpful impression for me, because at least, at my organization, being coachable is a very important skillset that we’re looking for. And which that’s like an unspoken item that I’m checking off a list of like, oh, so they’re ready for this, and they’re already seeing how important this is. I want that person.

(11:57): And so, I think even as early as before you can get into the door, just having that mindset of how do I optimize myself? How do I get better? Is just, I guess, more so a lifestyle, than just a point in time.

Brandon (12:10): Okay. Well [inaudible 00:12:10] are you going to say something? Because I had a great follow-up question, which is one of the questions that is on the list.

Mike (12:17): No, go ahead. Ask it.

Brandon (12:17): So, you talked about finding a coach and you say as soon as possible, as soon as you get into the work force. Now, the next question is how many coaches are ideal for you to have?

Lena (12:32): It depends. I don’t know if there is, I feel like that’s, much a cop out. It depends. don’t know if there is an answer to that. I know for me, I have had as many as three coaches, you know, at one point in time.

Brandon (12:46): At once. In one time?

Lena (12:46): One topic, you know. Like, I’m really looking for feedback, whether it’s the right therapist or my performance coach to, if it’s my manager in our developmental sessions. To my peers that I’m like, Hey, can you look at how many times I use a filler word? Just having people from different aspects and different perspectives give me that help, that I could have to help flesh out that person that I can be. So I don’t know if there is a proper amount of people in your life. I think it’s more of the quality of that feedback you’re receiving and the quality of that coach, than the amount that you have.

Mike (13:28): It’s quite [inaudible 00:13:28] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. So, like, what is the ask like? If you were interested in getting feedback from somebody, what’s the best way to ask for that feedback?

Lena (13:47): I think the best way to ask for feedback is to be specific. So rather than be like, can you see how I performed on this call? Or can you give me feedback on this presentation? Do you have a specific instance that you’re really looking for? So, Hey, can you please give me feedback on the amount of filler words? Or, Hey, I’m really looking at how I can be more influential with a partner, and leading them through my story. Hey, does my story makes sense? Am I having a beginning, a middle and an end? Just getting that really specificity and that feedback, really helps people give it, because it’s why you ask it, is typically how you will receive it.

Mike (14:27): I love that. I love that. How you ask it is how you receive it. Yeah. I mean, like for me, this is home, because this is something that I have wanted to do. I’ve tried to do at every single position that I’ve ever held. Like, I told you guys before we started the show, I had just started a new job. And I have been spending the last two weeks just reading, and learning, and talking to people, and asking them like, how do I. Even though I’m in a director position where like, the decisions are kind of mine to make, but I want to learn like, and pay homage to like what was done before me. So I think being coachable is like for me right now, it’s extremely relevant, like extreme, extreme relevant. So, I have a question. So, I think from a management perspective, it seems like jobs would love coachable people. So, other than asking for feedback, what are like the top three things a person can do to show their manager, or their boss, their director, that they actually are coachable?

Lena (15:40): And so, actioning off of that feedback, thanking them for that feedback, and the reciprocation on the feedback. So I would say the most important way that I feel good when I give someone feedback is, that they actually did something about it. Like that they showed improvement that they’re working towards, that they’re making steps in that direction because it feels as if, oh, it’s like, you heard me, you care. And then, the next thing is to be grateful for it. I think there is a balance that you have to have, and maybe we can go in deeper discussion of understanding the person who’s giving you that feedback, because not all feedback is something that you should accept. And really asking those questions of understanding how do you implement it, is really important because if you’re not active in that discussion, you can either make an assumption and go in a totally different direction and spin your wheels. And not really even got to the crux of what that feedback involved.

(16:41): And then, I guess reciprocating that circle is just, each one, teach one. So like giving that to someone else, like being an active participant. And I would even say this is like being a really good team player also, of just giving that to your peers. You can give feedback to your manager, you can give feedback to your direct reports. It’s just making sure that that’s a continuous discussion. Because people, I always see it as similar to, if we’re playing sports, you’re only as good as your team. And so, if there’s someone lacking an aspect of your team, you want to make sure that you can work with them, help bring them up to speed. So that you’re all at the same level.

Mike (17:19): Love that. I love that.

Brandon (17:22): All right. So we have a question. The question is from Benita, of [inaudible 00:17:25] on The Access Point, she said, what are the reasonable timeframe to see change, and implement the change, from your coach?

Lena (17:35): Once again, gonna go with the cop out of, it depends. So I think it really matters. It really [inaudible 00:17:43] and I’m not, I don’t want to sound on like deaf ears. It really matters of what type of feedback it is. So is it as simple as, Hey, the way that you are stressed, everyone else can see that. It’s not good for the rest of the team to feel as if they’re stressed as well. Like that’s something that maybe you need to nip in the bud quickly, because that’s impacting other people. That’s impacting how you function as a team and you really want to be cognizant of that. I think a really helpful way of thinking through it is, talking to your manager or someone that you trust. So whether that’s a mentor, or a sponsor of, I guess, less a sponsor, but more of a mentor and a coach that can help you prioritize that feedback, and what you should really hit first. So like if you have received all of this content, how do you help stack them? That is part of your manager’s job is to help you stack, how you proceed through that feedback. And what’s the most important.

Mike (18:39): Hmm. Yeah. Great answer. Yeah. So real quick, I want to go back to something. So first, thank you for the question Benita. Anybody that’s watching, feel free to ask questions, ask more questions. We are here for you, so yeah, definitely feel free to ask more questions. But in the previous answer you said that you should not accept all feedback. When do you reject feedback?

Lena (19:10): I think especially being someone like being a black woman in the workplace, some of the feedback I get is just off the wall. Like your tone was too aggressive. Like you didn’t say that to Jacob. Like, it’s like, that’s just point blank. You know, you have to understand and discern when it feels that there are dog whistles and or if they are getting at something that’s, but tell me more. So like the way that I help discern if this feedback is helpful, or if this feedback is valid, is asking questions. So, can you give me an example of when this happened? Can you give me an example of the impact? Can you give me, like, just really press on how, and what is the implementation of how you’re showing this issue, can really help get at the crux of, is this just your personal feeling or is this something that’s actually not helpful for my career?

(20:04): Obviously, there’s a bunch of disclaimers around that. If that’s your manager, I think you’re in a tougher position. I think we’ve all had instances where we have managers that do not feel as if they’re supporting us or really looking out for our progress as a person. And then that’s when you really have to start thinking through what are other coaches you can get outside of your manager, and who are people who are either peers to your manager or above your manager, and who can help give you feedback, and could be in those rooms to really talk you up if they aren’t doing that already for you. So I definitely think it really depends. And normally that gut feeling where you’d feel as if someone is not really telling the truth, or that they’re really coming at you out of left field, you’re normally right. Because we have to contextualize everything, and who we are, whether that’s our gender, our race, or even our sexuality, are even prior to understanding and implement that.

Mike (20:59): Hmm. Yeah. I love that. Yeah. I had a situation like that a while ago, where somebody was like, Hey, can I give you feedback on something? And I was like, literally, you just watched somebody else do this and you didn’t pull them aside and give them feedback. No, I do not accept that. I will not accept that. I love that. Discern. Hey, if it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it is not a chicken, it’s a duck. It’s right. I love that. Love that.

Brandon (21:34): So there was another question. So, we see every day on LinkedIn and these other companies say, we want to [inaudible 00:21:44] themselves as a career coach. So, the question then becomes, do you need to pay for coaching? Do you want to just hire somebody for coaching? And if so, what’s a reasonable price for it? Like, do you think it is as needed? Is it keeping them on retainer? Like, should people go out and see professional coaching? And if so what’s the price point you think is reasonably acceptable?

Lena (22:07): Yeah. I think that’s an interesting question because I’ve never paid for coaching. That being said, I have paid for someone to review a resume, to write a cover letter, to help me interview. And if there is someone who has a skillset that has them predisposed to help you with that issue, I think to patronize them and to pay them what’s due, like not everyone is there to give free labor. I think it’s very important to pay people what they’re due. I think it really comes to the value that you see fit. So, is this a trusted source? Are there reviews of this person? What really can they show for the progress and the value of their performance coaching? I also think a similar way of looking at this is, I see it as a benefit. When you’re looking at an organization, when you’re comparing, not just what the salary or the benefit package is of the organization.

(23:04): I think it’s a similar question of like, are, do they look to coach their employees? Do they have a lot of learning development in the organizations to help improve their employees? I would value it in that same sense as if it’s healthcare or a raise. So, in that sense, no, I have not paid for it. I really couldn’t even give you a price point. It would be like asking me what a gallon of milk is. I legitimately don’t know, because I’m lactose intolerant. But it’s more of a question of where you place value, is important if it’s valuable to you. And if you can afford it, go for it. Who am I to tell you that’s too expensive or too low?

Mike (23:45): One thing I’ll say on the topic, it’s like, I’ve never paid for coaching either. With LinkedIn and the internet, I just want to tell people be careful because it’s a lot of pseudo experts out there. There’s a lot of people pretending. And like, just because somebody has a large following and it looks like what they’re doing, it looks like they know what they’re doing. Not everybody. You really need to vet that person. If you’re gonna pay you. Look, I don’t even pay for LinkedIn Premium. Like there’s so much free content online. YouTube, The Access Point is free.

Brandon (24:28): Shameless plug. Shameless plug.

Mike (24:28): Right? Like, notice that like Living Corporate, like shout out to Living Corporate does not charge you for this, for any of this content. So you have all this free learning that you can do before you pay a person. So my advice to anybody is to figure out what’s free. And also sift through those people before you buy a course. Like obviously, I won’t say it, but I have friends that are faking it ,and have hundreds of thousands of followers online. Like not even playing, like faking it, straight up faking it. Duping the world. So don’t pay for these coaches out here.

Lena (25:09): Exactly. Networking and collaboration.

Brandon (25:11): Networking and collaboration. Yes.

Mike (25:14): Network and collaborate. So, let me ask you this, from your experience, what is the toughest piece of feedback that you’ve gotten to your career? And I actually would like to ask this of you and Brandon. I want all of us to go. So, you go first, Lena, what’s the toughest piece of feedback you’ve gotten?

Lena (25:38): So I received feedback to care less, which I think is very, so the only reason why I feel like you don’t give this feedback to normal people. I think there was an aspect where I cared a little too much. Like I said, I’m in marketing, I was in finance. We are not saving lives. So like there was an aspect where I had a coach who looked at me and he was just like, you need to really understand, and have perspective when you approach these problems because you are giving 100% to every problem, and that’s not sustainable, and you’re not doing well for your mental health. That’s how I burned out in my other organization. And it was coming to those agencies where I’m I was burning out here. So, I would say mine was careless, but I also felt like that’s normal feedback that most people. I guess, it probably was impactful for me, because it felt very personal. Which felt a little out of left field, but it definitely understood.

Mike (26:30): That makes sense to me. I know some people who could afford to care less.

Brandon (26:35): I think for me, mine was that, I was too argumentative. Coming. This was basically my first go out of school. I was young, cocky, thought I knew it all. I went in there, I was learning regarding engineering. And what I noticed was, I didn’t know, I knew that I didn’t know a lot, but the things that I did know, I knew well to the point where I could talk to other people and show them the ropes, as younger individuals as well. So, when it was time for me to get my performance review, and talked to my coach and so they said, yeah, you argue your points and your are too definitive in what you’re thinking, be more open-minded. And be more accepting of other thoughts and other people’s work as well when you’re doing these type of things, because you don’t know everything. And once I learned that, a whole door possibilities opened up for me. I realized that, I was making my self close-minded, because, if you thought, if you think you know everything, you actually don’t know anything at all. I think, I’ve learned, through my experience and my career.

Mike (27:43): Yeah. my most helpful piece of feedback is actually, we’ve talked about him already, but it’s actually a Nick Saban line. Again. It was not given to me by Nick Saban. I was horrible at football. But I tend to like, not necessarily over-complicate, but when I’m thinking about a solution or when I’m thinking about, like solving a problem at work, I come up with the solution that is normally appropriate for like five years down the road. So like, if we’re trying to find a way to engage with a certain group of people. I’m like, we can have a whole conference where we all go to Atlanta, and everybody has matching sneakers, and hoodies, and we can get Daymond John. And this guy, one of the people that I worked with at a school that I was at, before I just switched jobs, he would just look at me and say, do simple better.

(28:39): Like, everybody wants to go for the slam dunk, when really you just need to make the layup. So just do simple, better. And for three years, every time I started going there, he’d just, do simple better. Like, as a matter of fact, he bought me a t-shirt that says do simple better on it. Like it’s in my car right now. I should’ve worn it. But yeah, that’s the most helpful piece of feedback for me. But it was tough, because I’m a big thinker. And so for a while, I was like, you just trying to hold me back. Like I’m trying to create these outcomes over here and you telling me to do what’s basic. I don’t do basic. But for me, like in the long-term, that’s been so much more helpful because, now, I can break that five-year vision down and say, oh, here’s what we can do year one. What can we do year two? So, so let us know if you’re watching, let us know in the comments what’s the toughest piece of feedback that you have ever received in your career is? And we’re gonna move on to the next question. We gonna move logistics are key. Yep. [inaudible 00:29:42] step up, that’s right. Yeah. So, what do you think in your opinion, Lena, what’s the long-term impact that being coachable and receiving feedback would have on a career?

Lena (29:56): So, I did some research. So I did some Googles. And at the same time, I did not go to school for this. I have only lived this ,but a lot of really interesting articles and case studies around the correlation leadership and coachability, as well as promotions and coachability. But I would really boil that down into being someone that can improve, tends to get you a lot further than someone who’s very stuck in their ways. And so, I would say that’s, from the way I look at my career is, I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. I have no idea what that job is. I felt like as a kid, I used to be like, I want to be a CEO.

(30:46): And I’m like, that seems like a lot. Like, you know, now it’s like, I want to have a good work-life balance and feel impactful at my job. And one of the ways that I feel impactful is feeling as if I’m growing. And so, that’s the way I see coachability, is like, if I’m in a space where I’m not getting regular feedback, I tend to plateau. And all of a sudden my work product suffers, and either it’s a discussion of where I’m going, or who’s firing me. And so, I think it’s very helpful of understanding what drives you, and how that feedback can help you grow in that direction that you want to go.

Mike (31:23): Yeah. I think that’s a great point because when like the dilemma of any manager, or director, or CEO is to hire talented people. And in my opinion, when talented people are not stretched and pushed via coachability and feedback, then they get bored and they look for the next project. And I know for me, I consider myself talented at what I do, and when I’m not being pushed. And when I’m not, when I don’t have an opportunity to up skill or increase the responsibility of my role, I will leave a job. Like my resume will show you, I will leave for a more exciting and challenging opportunity. So I think that’s key. I love that.

Brandon (32:14): All right. So the next question that we have is, what are the steps that an individual needs to do to prepare themselves, to have a career coach? How can you get yourself ready? How, what steps do you need to take? Do you take a mental break to get yourself ready for positive and negative feedback? Do you need to go on a vegan diet or something? Do you need to exercise? Something. Anything. You know, I’m just saying to do something, to get themselves mentally, mentally ready, for somebody to really break you down, and it builds you back up. And what [inaudible 00:32:52] a person needs to take?

Lena (32:55): So I feel like in a lot of commercials of like weight loss, they’re always like, what’s your why? And I think it’s in a sense of feedback of like, what’s your why? So like, how do you define success? What is success for you? What will help you get there? And I think why you want to get there? I think those are very important to have in the forefront of your mind, because while I said, you have to be able to discern the feedback you’re getting. There are also going to be feedback that’s just going to be hard, and it’s going to be gut wrenching. And it’s going to make you question like, who I am, do I know who I am? And two, do I even want to do this? And so, making sure that you have that why frame of mind, and front of mind, can really help lead you to make sure that you’re able to receive that. Have that open mind and the lack of ego to really go towards it.

Brandon (33:50): Now you brought up ego. Your experience with egos, so not just what you personally, but just in a general sense, how detrimental is your ego to being coachable?

Lena (34:02): I would say, having an ego could be detrimental to you having your job. So, like, I think there are some aspects where like, you will need to check your ego. Like you need to be in a framework that, regardless of how much experience you may have on X subject, you don’t know anything, and you should come in that perspective, are willing and able to truly learn and gather in that space. But I think not having an ego is extremely important in being coachable and having feedback. I think it’s similar to, on a sports team. Like typically the star athlete that has the ego will be knocked down a couple pegs, after a loss, or after not receiving feedback from their coach. So like, I think it’s very important to check yourself, and to really recognize where that’s stemming from. And normally you have an ego in somewhere because you’re trying to hide something. So like, how can you help understand where that’s being drawn from to help address it?

Mike (35:02): Hmm. That’s good. Leave ego out of it.

Brandon (35:09): Ego will be bruised. Apparently.

Mike (35:13): I think that’s like a great piece of advice for a lot of different areas of work. Ah, man, I know during the first COVID shut down, I mean, it seems like we’re going to have another one. But during the first COVID shutdown, I was working at a school that, you know, we had built; I built the remote program, the remote learning program for that school in August of 2019. And we had no, obviously, like we didn’t know the coronavirus. We were just like, let’s see if we can do this. And the first thing our leadership said was like, we should have no ego about what we figured out. Because number one, we don’t know if it’s going to work next time. And number two, like that’s just not the way forward.

(35:59): And so, that’s a great piece of coaching for anybody who’s listening, that came from Lena. A golden nugget, which is leave your ego out of your job, because it can cost you your job. I’ve seen that happen in a couple of places with people, people’s ego costing their job. So, before we hit our next question, I do want to, because you talked toit in the last question, Brandon. It was about preparing yourself to have a career coach. I will say that even with the existence of like, so I just want to give a quick plug to some free resources. Obviously, like YouTube and Google, but there’s a Slack channel called, Career Comments. It is the largest active Clack channel. I believe on the platform it’s more than 3,000 members. And it’s run by a company called Teal.

(36:52): There’s so much like peer coaching that goes on there. But if you’re not looking for peer coaching I realized we were like, be careful who you pay, but let me give you some people that you actually can look to to pay. Obviously, Tristan is one of them. Tristan is a career coach. Tristan Layfield, who you’ll hear on Living Corporate podcasts also. He’s a co-host of this show. And somebody we had on the show, which is Julia Rock. She is also a phenomenal career coach, and a sneaker head and she’s from Houston. So, just a lot going for her, but there’s some great career coaches out there. And if you need connections to any of them, hit us up, and we’ll be more than happy to connect you to somebody where your money will be well spent.

Brandon (37:41): Most definitely.

Mike (37:45): Are you gonna hit that next question, Brandon?

Brandon (37:47): Sure, sure. Can negative feedback from a person coaching you have an adverse effect on your career? Can someone give you, can someone intentionally give you the wrong advice, or lead you down the wrong path, where they jeopardized your career in the immediate term? And if you’re somebody that doesn’t really do any self reflections, you may take that advice, and it is actually negative towards you in your career. It can adversely affect you in the years to come.

Lena (38:18): No, I think it’s really interesting. So I’ll tell a quick story about how this has impacted me, or impacted me. When I worked in finance you were to give information, but not to be heard. And there was opportunity where we were on a partner call and I spoke up because I knew the answer. And directly after that, I had feedback of like, don’t talk unless you are spoken to. Like, we do not care on what you say. Like it was, it was very aggressive. Kind of like, that says a lot about the culture of that institution. But I think for long aspects of that feedback is I was afraid to use my voice. So I was only going to bring up facts if I knew they were 100%, right. Which is quite rare that you are 100% right on anything.

(39:08): And as a result, I would say receive feedback of you’re too quiet in meetings, or it never really feels if you’re engaging with us in meetings. And it wasn’t that I was afraid. It was just more of, I didn’t want to be incorrect and I didn’t want someone to lash out again. So I think to your second point there, Brandon, it’s really important to understand how it affects you because that can feed into that imposter syndrome. That can feed into some of the more ill gotten impacts to your mental health, and physical well-being long after that feedback was received or given. I think another thing or way of looking at it I’ll say yet again, as a black woman, you have to be very careful of who people are, and what their intentions are. And that’s just the way that, like being in spaces that are predominantly white, I’m constantly questioning about what is my rules of engagement.

(40:02): Like I can’t enter the world the same way as I don’t know, Sarah can. So like what, how are those different and how am I perceived differently? And how can I approach that situation in the best way that I can? But I would say that that’s another aspect that you have to be very careful because the feedback that they may be giving you could be colored by the privilege, and the space, and the place that they are in their lives of like, oh, just speak up. And it’s like, all right, cool Jeff. Like, you know, like that’s not helpful. What are the tactical ways that I can get at that? And I think that goes back to that point that I was making. I’m just making sure you’re asking those questions. That you’re understanding not only what they’re asking and telling you, but also if they have suggestions of how to actually go about doing the thing. Because it’s very easy to tell someone like speak up, but like, what are the tactical ways that I can insert myself in a conversation, outside of me owning that meeting? So I hope that answers the question. I was a little rambly there, but a [inaudible 00:41:05] is the way that I perceived that.

Male Speaker (41:12): Awesome. I was on mute. That’s great. That’s a great answer. I love that answer.

Brandon (41:15): Yeah. Great answer. Yeah. Yeah. Mike, you want to take [inaudible 00:41:19]? Actually, no.

Mike (41:21): I think we’ve actually gotten to all our questions.

Brandon (41:25): Oh right.

Mike (41:26): Yeah. Which is great. Yeah, so you know what, it’s election night. So I think we actually can end a little early. And truly like Lena, you have, dropped some major, major gems on us. And like we just figured out like a couple of weeks ago, that we can clip moments. We can use this, and like just like videos. So we’ll probably be doing that and sharing them on social. But speaking of social media, where can people find you, and more about you?

Lena (42:01): So, I do not have a non-personal social media. I think the best way to find me will probably be LinkedIn. And so, that’s just [inaudible 00:42:09] at LinkedIn. It’s probably the best place to engage in that conversation. If there is an opportunity, once the world opens up again, if the world opens up again, I am active in the Charlotte community. So always looking for ways to connect. And so, if there is a world where I’m in Houston, I’ll be sure to look up both of you, to have like a [inaudible 00:42:33] conversation. And I would definitely open that up for others that way.

Mike (42:37): Oh yes, most definitely. Great. Great. Yeah. So if you’re looking to connect with, they’re looking to connect with you, Brandon, where can they find you?

Brandon (42:46): They can find me on Twitter @GhostFaceSigma. And I’m also gonna post them, post my LinkedIn in the chat in just a second.

Mike (42:54): Okay. Yeah, same. You can find me on LinkedIn. You can find me on Twitter @Justmikeyates. Also remember to follow Living Corporate on Twitter and all the social medias at LivingCorp_pod. Check out Living Corporate everywhere you can. Make sure you give it a follow so that you know, what’s coming next. Lena, thank you so much.

Brandon (43:17): Thank you so much.

Lena (43:18): Thank you for the opportunity. This was fun, and very new,.

Mike (43:24): Yeah. Thank you everybody for watching. Really appreciate it.

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