Your transformation PODCAST

Creating Synergy Podcast

I

Ep. 7 – Leadership, Team Coaching and the Neuroscience of Change – with Amanda Sheedy

Intro:

Welcome to Creating Synergy where we explore what it takes to transform, whether you are transforming yourself, your team, your business, or your community. We’ll connect you with insightful and challenging leaders who share their stories of successful transformations to give you practical ideas for your own journey. Join us for another insightful episode of Creating Synergy. 

Daniel Franco 

Alright, welcome to Creating Synergy. Today we have a beautiful lady called Amanda Sheedy, otherwise known as the change whisperer. I love that and we’re going into that a little bit further. Amanda believes everyone has more talent and capability than they can imagine. And her calling in life is to help these people with a path and the courage to overcome what she calls the Mental Brick Wall. Amanda is a mother of two beautiful girls, young girls, wife to a very supportive husband and a reluctant dog owner, we’ll get into that as well. She runs her own consulting firm as a leadership and development coach, and she is also a change specialist, hence the change whisperer. She previously held roles across many industries such as defense, senior roles across many industries, such as defense, banking, utilities and mining. And she’s now working with many leaders across various industries to help them through team coaching, one on one coaching, and she guides these, these businesses through change as well. Amanda is what she calls a neuroscience nerd, and I love this, and delve into this a little bit further. And she loves getting into the neuroscience about how we’re wired and how this influences our decision making relationships and habits. But ultimately, Amanda helps people recognize their barriers and helps them achieve through breakthrough moments and empowers them to lead themselves through work and life. Welcome, Amanda.

Amanda Sheedy 

Thanks, Dan. Thanks for that really uplifting intro.

Daniel Franco 

Is good, is good. Yeah. Well, it’s a lot to talk about today. Change whisperer, start off with that first. where’s, where’s that come from?

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah, I’m just feedback from clients who I have done work with. And I get called a lot of things. But…

Daniel Franco 

All good.

Amanda Sheedy 

Oh, yeah, good, but change whisperer was one that sort of like, has come out of all the work that I’ve done, particularly with one on ones over the last, one on one clients over the last few years. So and I suppose it’s really the essence or the nuance of coaching, you know, where you’re, you’re not telling people what to do. But, you know, you get them to, you provide opportunities or you provide almost you present doors for them to open if they choose to.

Daniel Franco 

Yeah.

Amanda Sheedy 

And providing encouragement to, for them to change. So there’s always that guidance. And they sort of, you know, get to the end or get to the outcome and assign “Oh, wow”, you know, I, I didn’t think I’d be able to do that. So it’s almost a little bit changed by self.

Daniel Franco 

Yeah, that’s, yeah. That’s the beauty of coaching in it.

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah.

Daniel Franco 

So you definitely not the dog whisperer then.

Amanda Sheedy 

Oh, yeah. So your comment about my reluctance. So we’ve recently added to the family with, with Charlie, who’s an… he’s a nearly five months old Border Collie. So, very active and

Daniel Franco 

Tearing up a backyard.

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah, look, it’s not too bad. But my husband’s always, Matt’s always had dogs, you know, around him, sort of being on a farm. And we used to look after my father in law’s dog Chloe, who was a border collie. And she was old. She was about you know, 12, 15…

Daniel Franco 

So, a bit more time.

Amanda Sheedy 

So yeah, I mean, she was just happy to like, you know, sit down and sleep all day [inaudible] yeah, yeah. And so, I suppose over the last couple of years, and my girls are a little bit older now. You know, Abby is 12 and Alex, Alexandra is 10. There was a lot of pressure to get a dog but Knowing the work involved and knowing how active Border Collies are [inaudible]

Daniel Franco 

Because we all know who does the work, [inaudible]

Daniel Franco 

Charlie? a boy [inaudible]

Amanda Sheedy 

Charlie, Charlie. Yeah. So now everyone’s we’ve had Charlie now for two months. Everyone’s very smitten with Charlie, so…

Daniel Franco 

Yes. I know what it feels like. I’ve recently got a young puppy as well. Freddy his name is. Charlie and Freddy. Welcome to the team. Right. So just getting into it. Tell us a little bit about your journey. How did you become the change whisperer? How did you get into coaching, team coaching, all that?

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah. So team coaching is really interesting. And I’m looking forward to the conversation talking more a bit about that, but I, I really, I started my own business four years ago. And it was something that I’ve been planning to do like I’d wanted to, I had wanted to start my own business for some time. And it probably took me two years to leave the organization i was working for from the moment I thought, yeah, I need to, I need to start developing and putting an exit strategy together to when I actually did leave. And at that time, I was doing a lot of change work. So I was the change lead for two big transformation projects and had already, and I suppose had been working in change for a number of years. But it probably was never called, you know, 20 years ago, 15 years ago, it wasn’t really called change management. But really that’s, that’s what it was. And I got really interested in doing over that time, particularly probably my last two years working in corporate with a specific focus on change. I got really curious about why did some people seem to embrace and move toward change more and, and others didn’t? So why did some sort of like resist and move away from it? And why did others you know, take the opposite sort of path and embrace it and move towards it. So I got really curious about that. And then I got curious about well, of the people that resisted change, what prevent, we know, why did they resist change? What was, where was that coming from? And, and ultimately, at the end of the day, you know, there’s always going to be resistance to change and people, people resist change. It’s sort of part of the natural change journey. And really all you can do is change practitioners is really reduce, reduce that level of resistance, or minimize it as best as possible. And so I was really keen then to, to start exploring more about, well, how to do, you know, how do I work with people to reduce that level of fear, reduce that level of resistance, and get them to see the opportunity towards the opportunity.

Daniel Franco 

Embrace change? So we’ve talked before, and you have a long history in defence is an area that you’ve worked in.

Amanda Sheedy 

My first job.

Daniel Franco 

Your first job.

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah.

Daniel Franco 

Is that, has that shaped you into thinking that way?

Amanda Sheedy 

Well, you know, I’m probably biased because I think everything shapes you…you’re holding, but you know, what you experience is, you know, your values, perceptions, how you perceive the world is based on your experience and environment. So absolutely, I mean, I, I have this thing I say, you know, I run away or run away and join the airforce when I was about 17, grew up in a small country town, didn’t see any opportunity. And I think that’s, you know, that was probably it always been a key driver for me is that I like to seek opportunity. And if there’s no opportunity, then I start to get restless. And so, I’d plan to leave home from I think, since I was about 12. I was planning as to where I was going to go, what I was going to do.

Daniel Franco 

Where [inaudible]

Amanda Sheedy 

[inaudible] in Quorn in the Flinders Ranges.

Daniel Franco 

Okay, cool.

Amanda Sheedy 

So, you know 1300 people and, and you know, the military was just, just made it so easy. You know, it was literally like they [inaudible] well, but they just did everything for you.

Daniel Franco 

Yeah, so that’s true.

Amanda Sheedy 

You know, like you didn’t have to think, you didn’t have to save up live. It was literally like a bus pulled up at the front of your door, you got on, they took you away, and they paid for everything. And so that’s how easy it was, you know, and I wanted to see the world, I wanted to explore all different places and see different things, as you do when you’re 15, 16, 17 and the airforce provided, you know, a completely different view of the world. And I did about eight years with the Air Force. So I was a what they call a signals operator and in which, which is also known as you know, signals analysts in the intelligence world. Well, so that’s probably where my love for process first comes in because I did a lot of analytical processing. And so yeah, I often say to people, I’m a process diehard from way back. I think that’s because I think there is a process for everything.

Daniel Franco 

Yeah. there is a formula to everything.

Amanda Sheedy 

There is, but that doesn’t mean I think when people hear the process, they, you know, what that gives them is certainty and we like certainty. But, you know, often, you know, process for me now, process is not linear. In fact, I think it’s better when it’s not, or you get a better outcome when it’s not that for many people and you know, many clients I work with…

Daniel Franco 

[inaudible] I guess, linear means [inaudible] really almost, doesn’t it? So [inaudible] whereas when it’s zigzagging, it allows growth and opportunity and mistakes and testing and trying is that your ID?

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah, I think you know, process gives people comfort because they think they know what’s going to come in, but, you know, particularly with change work, and particularly, you know, when you’re coaching for change, you know, you might start off with a, with a plan of this is how we’re going to progress forward. But sometimes that’ll, that’ll digress or you know, emerge into something. Something completely different. So…

Daniel Franco 

So, what, so breaking all that down, what does change mean to you? Like what you, there are people who think change has, is just a process they, you know, as in follow the bouncing ball, and we’ll get through change. We will often discuss the changes so much more than just a process. Can you explain that?

Amanda Sheedy 

I think change, yeah, changes…So what isn’t change? Changes, changes is not, is often not a process. And I think that’s probably where, you know, organizations can get into a little difficulty with managing change. So it’s like, Where’s the change methodology? Let’s implement a framework and let’s implement, you know, change process, and they look to you know, well, what course can we send people on? And what three-day course can we send people on? And when they come back, they’ll know about changes. [inaudible] Yeah, and, and I think that’s probably where a lot of people’s thinking goes when it comes to managing change. And that’s probably 10, 20%. So I think having a process and a methodology about, and again, it gives, it gives people that certainty of knowing, well, if we’ve got a methodology, and these are the three steps to implementing change, then and as long as we follow that bouncing ball, then we’ve got it nailed. But the missing or the gap for me is the conversations of change. So because, when you’re looking at any change, at any level, it requires usually a high level of human change, not just processing system change. And so if we’re talking about human change, then we’re talking about thinking and behavioural change. And if you look at a change project, and if you look at the benefits that are associated with any change project, and if you look at that, as you know, the overall outcomes and benefits of a project there, this is 100% of what we’re delivering or what the outcomes are, 70% of them usually are realized through the human change. Yeah, we’re only a very small portion is realized, you know, if we do nothing else, but just change the process and the systems we might realize 20, 30% but if we’re really wanting people to change the way they behave, change the way they think to realize 100% benefit, then what are you doing about that?

Daniel Franco 

Is that through, is that other 70% things like communications like using it, the moment you increase comms, you generally have more buying or understanding or transparencies is that…

Amanda Sheedy 

Well, I think when, I think communication plays a significant part in getting people to understand, understand the change.

Daniel Franco 

So comms is almost like a low hanging fruit to a good place to start?

Amanda Sheedy 

My response to that would be rather than is comms the low hanging fruit, I think it’s more the conversations of change is more of the low hanging fruit. You know. And I, what comes to mind when you say that is, you know, in my experience, we’ve all had the townhall conversations, are the leaders standing up and communicating, you know, the purpose and the vision of the change…

Daniel Franco 

Is not very [inaudible] personable? Is it?

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah, yeah. And I think what happens is that you get low engagement. And then because most times people have made their mind up about the change before they come into the room, consciously or sort of like non consciously, it’s just how we’re wired. And then what happens is that they’re looking for evidence to support what they believe is true. So if we’re implementing a new system, their mind and their thinking goes back to when did this, when did this happen last time and what, what my experience with that. And so I think it’s more about, you know, the term I use ‘the conversations of change’. So, you know, what are people? How are people really going to feel when they come into the room? And what’s likely to be triggered for them? And is it going to be a positive experience? Or is it going to be a negative experience? And how do we really talk about that and address those fears in a very transparent way, as best as possible, or as much as we can? So we’re not always, and I think this is, you know, leaders go in with expectations that they need to have the answers all the time. And, you know, they’re not going to have the answers all the time and nor should they.

Daniel Franco 

So do you think that’s why people resist change? Because they haven’t had that conversation? Is that, you know, a big part of it or?

Amanda Sheedy 

So, I think we get into which is another reason where I sort of, the path I went down with understanding why do people resist change, and I looked at the neuroscience to give me some, some answers here. Or to give me some answers into put a bit of sense around it. I’m a big person for sense-making. And I find if, you know, if I can make sense of it, then I can explain it to others. And then usually, you know, if people can then put that into perspective for themselves, then they’re able to go, “Okay, that’s why that is” and, and, and move forward. So it’s sort of like the question is the question that comes to mind when you talk about resistance is, are we wired to resist change?

Daniel Franco 

And are we?

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah, good question. And it comes up many times. And it’s a question I’ve asked myself, and I think the tendency is to say yes, like, you know, because it’s, we, you know, as we there’s a lot of resistance to change. But I think you need to look at then, you know, our reward and threat system. So, you know, we, as humans, we scan for threats. Times a second. And, you know, without consciously knowing that we do, and we’re very good at picking up on those, you know what triggers are threatening us.

Daniel Franco 

That’s the fly off [inaudible]

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah, well, it can. It can. It’s sort of like, but we, we then look to, you know, and our brains are wired to keep us safe. So whatever we perceive as a threat, whatever triggers a threat, we’re likely to go what I call to into the cave.

Daniel Franco 

Okay. So the instinct is to resist, but once we’ve got more information, we’re more open to coming around.

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah, so this sort of depends, then I do have more of a growth mindset, or do you have a more fixed mindset? So? [inaudible] Yeah, so it’s like if you can, if you can picture, you know, so we’re constantly scanning for threat five times a second, and then and we’re constantly exposed to all this information. So if you think about a change that maybe you’ve, you’ve been recently involved with, or you currently managing, and you imagine that you communicating this or you’re talking to a large group of people, which is my comment before people have already made their, as soon as they get that email with a heading, you know, Town Hall discussion on implementing new system, you know, they’re immediately going that’s immediately going to trigger either a threat response for them. So, immediately gonna, you know, think about well, where have I experienced this before? Maybe they haven’t experienced it before, maybe it might trigger uncertainty for some of them.

Daniel Franco 

What does this mean? Yeah.

Amanda Sheedy 

What does this mean? What does this mean for me?

Daniel Franco 

What’s in it for me?

Amanda Sheedy 

Um, I think it’s that classic, you know, there are many rules of the brain. And one that was a big game changer for me was the auto perception or what I call the auto perception role. So, or cognitive bias, you know, so we see, we perceive the world as we believe it to be, not how it really is. So how we perceive the world is based on our own experiences, values, habits, you know, it’s like if I had a room full of people, and I got them all to draw their version of the Easter Bunny, I would get, you know, multiple different versions of what they thought that Easter Bunny look like, depending on what their experience has been. It’s no different with anything else. And so, you know, I talk about, you know, people, people will be triggered. And you know, if that is that trigger is deemed to be a threat, then I’ve got to keep myself safe. So what do I need to do? What do I need to do to keep myself safe? Now, the pull towards the dark side, if you like, is 10 times greater to move towards, you know, away from threat than what it is to move to embrace it and to move towards it.

Daniel Franco 

Moving towards creates risk, I guess, and uncertainty and…

Amanda Sheedy 

Well, I think, if we then overlay fixed and growth mindset with that, that thinking, you want people to have a growth mindset, particularly with change because there is a lot of uncertainty and there is, you know, there is a degree of risk. But you want people to be comfortable with that, you know, you want people to be, you know, there’ll be a, there will be a, you know, a level of complexity or ambiguity with it. But you want people to still be able to feel that fear and do it anyway. So, feel the fear, but still have that resilience to be able to embrace it and move forward or have the courage to be able to still progress forward with it and not go into the cave. But the pool inside the cable, the pool, the dark side, you know, like I said, is 10 times greater then, you know, then what it is to move towards?

Daniel Franco 

Yeah, absolutely.

Amanda Sheedy 

And the other reason why that’s important to know for any change is because, if they start to move towards, you know, go deep into the cave, go, feel that pull towards the dark side. They’re not listening. They’re disengaged, they then start to seek out evidence to prove what they believe is true. Is that perception of how they see the world? Yeah. So you know, when you are having those conversations of change with people, you want them to be on the doorstep, you know, you don’t want them to start moving into the cave or moving too far toward the cave, because then they won’t have their listening ears on, you know.

Daniel Franco 

So, I guess the two keywords in all that for me was perception and, and habit, I guess. Comes out of that is that the experiences and the growth and the development and whatever downs that these people are up to, these people have had to help them create a fixed growth mindset, the learnings they’ve got from their parents, whatever that might be, has created now, a perception in their mind of a threat, a potential threat. And the reaction to that is a habit. Is that correct?

Amanda Sheedy 

It can be. You may have a habit of thinking in a certain way. And hence why change is so hard. This is a reality. You know, I think this is why any change, any changes, this is what you’re up against. It takes a niche.

Daniel Franco 

in an organization when you’ve got so many different dynamics and, you would know this better than anyone, being the team coaching expert, I guess, when you’ve got so many different dynamics of upbringings of growth of development of people’s backgrounds as well, your country, city, whoever it might be, everyone’s got different ways of thinking. Couple that with some change in an organization, it’s becomes very difficult.

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah. So if you, you know, if you’re changing manager, you’re thinking, why is this so hard? This is exactly why.

Daniel Franco 

This is it. People are difficult.

Amanda Sheedy 

And everyone is different, and everyone’s triggers will be different. And they’ll be, you know, everyone will have different priorities about what they value and what they don’t value. And that will come, that, that all gets brought into the room, that all gets put on the table, whether they consciously are aware of it or not. So and that’s, so that’s why change is so hard.

Daniel Franco 

Is that, that’s why like, changes is a journey, I guess, it’s not something that can happen overnight.

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah. But, but it’s interesting. You know, I think if you look at Kotter, you know, one of his, the first step is create the urgency. And there’s no, no better example than what we’ve just been through.

Daniel Franco 

Yeah, absolutely.

Amanda Sheedy 

Where we’ve seen businesses change overnight. You know, it’s sort of like if the urgency or the need to change is so great, then a lot can be achieved in very short time. But I think what we’re talking about with a lot of change that a lot of it is visionary. You know, so whether it is implementing a new system or implementing strategy, sometimes it’s 12 months away. And we don’t always have the answers on day one, where, you know, with the response to COVID, and the recent shutdowns, you know, it was that didn’t happen overnight. And there was a rule urgency around that, you know, safety, is so that you look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and that sort of like safety is you know, like, is…

Daniel Franco 

Number one.

Amanda Sheedy 

is number one. And so, you know, I think that’s a really good example of when the purpose is really clear. And the urgencies is you know, is right in front of you businesses were able to, some of them were able to relocate overnight.

Daniel Franco 

Yeah, it’s amazing, continually happens that way. You know, in that light, for example, when the blackouts happen when, in a time of chaos, everyone bands together.  And we make decisions so much more quickly than what we would have. The 16 signatures that might be required to get something through no longer required, because we just need to make it happen. And it makes you wonder why we ever exist in a world where 16 signatures are required?

Amanda Sheedy 

Well, I think it’s I think what you start talking about then is just a common purpose. Yeah. And I think when you start looking at, you know, and Amy Edmondson is a really classic for this. She’s got a really good TED talk on…

Daniel Franco 

Is it, Amy

Amanda Sheedy 

Edmondson…so why, why are we really good in a crises? And you know, what unites teams in a crisis. And it’s that common purpose. Yeah. And when that’s very clear, I think you can get changed really quickly. But a lot of times it’s not. We look at day to day sort of change in business. It’s not, and I think like I said before, it’s very can be very visionary. And I think that’s also when we go back to having those talking about those conversations of change. I think there’s, I see a lot of reluctant leaders, particularly in the early days of implementing change, getting up and wanting to talk to people about it. You know, if I had $1 every time a sponsor, sponsor said to me, I’m, I’m happy to tell me whatever you want me to do, and I’ll do it, but I just don’t want to get up and talk in front of a room full of people say, well, that’s not gonna be that helpful. You know, I’d be, I’d be a billionaire.

Daniel Franco 

Yeah, Jerry Seinfeld. It says a really great joke about that. I’m not sure, I’m like going into jokes. He says he goes, the number one fear in the world is public speaking, number two is death.  So if you are in a funeral, you’d rather be in the casket than saying the eulogy. And it’s just, it’s, it’s very funny when you think about it from that perspective.

Amanda Sheedy 

And so, you know, I think that’s probably what the end? Yeah, it’s one of the fears. You know, there are many fears in change. But I think from a leaders perspective, it’s that, it’s so important to engage, you know, before, before the change happens long before the change happens. And I think there’s this reluctance because they aren’t, they don’t have that clear purpose or vision, then there’s this reluctance to get up and speak very authentically about, about the change in the early days. And it’s so, and for me, it’s such a missed opportunity. You know, because I think, you know, as a leader, you don’t have all the answers, but together you do.

Daniel Franco 

So, as a leader is that one way you believe is a quick win to help change businesses or to help businesses through change, and people through change? Because often when, when change is introduced within a business, people go into their shell a little bit, they stay silent, they kind of just do what’s required and don’t really buy-in. How do leaders get that buy-in, how do they grow [inaudible].

Amanda Sheedy 

Really interesting question. And I’ve done a fair bit of work over the last probably 18 months within sort of like, under the leading change sort of umbrella, which again, it’s very broad, but I think it’s a tough gig as leaders because, you know, one, you need to be comfortable with not having all the answers, but a lot of leaders sometimes, you know, just because you’re the leader doesn’t mean you agree with what’s coming, doesn’t mean you agree with the change, or there may be some uncertainty. You know, no doubt it triggers some of your own threats and feeds as a leader, but I also have this belief that it’s not just the leader’s responsibility to implement the change. I think it takes it’s the change of village it takes, you know, a whole village to implement change and change is everyone’s responsibility. You know,

Daniel Franco 

So the leader’s role is to leave that village though, isn’t it? Like it’s to inspire people through change and help them to understand the purpose?

Amanda Sheedy 

I think one thing that I have, one thing I’ve been working on, like over the last, the last 12 months is what are the tools, thinking tools can we give leaders to help them transition their people towards the change and that is develop awareness and develop awareness with self themselves first. And then develop the awareness of others, meaning they’re people on the team, and it’s been touted as the new change superpower self-awareness.

Daniel Franco 

Yeah. Self Awareness is the superpower altogether, isn’t it?

Amanda Sheedy 

Well, I think what we saying when we if we look at it through a change lane, it’s like be aware of what your own triggers are. Because I think it’s, I think one of the key things for leaders when leading changes that they need to be seen as being confident leading others through change, being themselves and leading others to change, because their people will look to them. You know, and so I think for leaders, you know, it’s very helpful if they know what their own triggers are, what is likely to trigger a threat response in me? Is it not feeling valued? Is it potentially falling out of restructure, and I don’t belong here anymore? And then to start having those same discussions, you know, with their people in their teams. So what is likely to trigger a threat response in my people around me? And why is that helpful as a leader, because if I know that, then I can better prepare them for the change that’s coming. And I can help to minimize the resistance and provide more certainty as much as I possibly can.

Daniel Franco 

Absolutely. And that creates trusting relationship, essentially, if you can communicate your fees, I guess your trigger points with your people, or your team or your community or whatever it might be, that automatically creates a trusting relationship. There are some certain leaders in the world at the moment who are just not doing that. We’ve seen them on TV a few times, I won’t go into it, but ones in Australia and New Zealand aren’t too bad, but ones overseas seem to be losing their people in droves, just purely through lack of poor leadership and not being able to handle what’s come their way.

Amanda Sheedy 

And I, I tend to swap out whilst trust is important, I tend to swap out trust with respect. Because I find particularly in the, in the work environment, like you’re not always going to like everyone that you work with. And so, and I think still associate, I like someone with trust. So I’ve got to like them to trust them. But if again, it’s like, you’re not always going to get on with everyone, and you’re not always going to like everyone. But does that mean, you know, you shouldn’t be able to work with them? So if you say or do you respect that person? Then most times I get a responsible “Yeah, I respect them”. And so then, it still creates, I respect them, you know, so if you respect them, then how do you need to be working with them?

Daniel Franco 

Yeah. I may not like what he or she is doing. But I respect the decision that they need to make and respect their position in it. Yeah, absolutely.

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah. And so, so I find sometimes swapping out trusts for respect, gets people just, and again, it’s, you know, just to get them to think in a different way. Let’s reframe it and look at it from this way. So it gets people moving from that, you know, a way of getting into the cave to moving to something.

Daniel Franco 

So how do you in all your one on one team, coaching stuff? How do you grow these leaders? What number one, what a number, what are some of the key areas that you see pop up over and over again, with your leadership development coaching? Because, surely there’s some patterns that you would say you love your process, you love your data, I don’t know that. These are some patterns that you see pop up over and over again? That, I guess when people listen to this, they go actually, and this is where the self-awareness keys, actually that’s me, that’s something that I’m doing or something that I can work on. Is there anything like that that you can?

Amanda Sheedy 

So I think what would be useful here and what sort of resonates when you say that for me is that with a lot of my executive, in my executive coaching, so my one on one coaching I do with leaders, the probably three most common themes or outcomes that they want to change when they first come see me is “I want to be a better leader”, “I want to be better at change” and “I want to be a better communicator”. And during the first session, it’s always “so tell me what does good look like for you? With all those areas?” “What is it specifically that you want to be doing different in six months time?” And quite often, the responses? “Well, I’ve just been given this feedback from a 360-degree survey” or, you know, “I’ve had this feedback from my manager, and, and they’ve told me I need to be better communicator”. And it’s not until we start to unpack that, that it’s like, well, what does leadership mean for you? You know, not what someone else wants you to be. But what does it actually, what does good leadership look like for you? So what I find is, people become so consumed, or leaders become so consumed about being what someone else wants them to be, and not who they truly are. Because, you know, leadership means many things and there’s many different styles of leaders, but which one resonates with What is your own unique style of leadership that you want to bring to the table and put out there?

Daniel Franco 

It’s such a powerful question going into the neuroscience of it. Oh, do you think that approval addiction, I guess, of wanting to do what other people want you to do, is that come from? Again, the same perceptions and growth and learning that the world has taught you?

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah. So it’s that this need to please? You know, and I see a lot of passive defensive cultures. I see a lot of passive defensive individuals [inaudible].

Daniel Franco 

So what is that look like? What is it? So can you just touch on that?  What is a passive defensive style?

Amanda Sheedy 

So what I see a lot of in my work with individuals and teams, across organizations, is that over time, we’ve created a work environment where employees consistently told what to do. So when they’re consistently told what do and then get into trouble if they go outside of that, then what we reinforce, is an environment or a culture or an organization that follows the bouncing ball. That doesn’t, certainly, doesn’t create collaboration or creativity.

Daniel Franco 

So, do this, because it’s always been done this way…

Amanda Sheedy 

Do this, because it’s always done this way. And for those that do go outside, or you know, if you like, start to stray from that they’ve gotten into trouble. And so it’s like the system, just bringing them back in and going, no, this is the way we want it done. And so what they lose is their own sense of identity, they actually start to lose their own sense of purpose, connection with value, and they start to lose their own their confidence in their own ability. So my opinion doesn’t matter. The need to check in all the time, and I see a lot of organizations reinforcing this type of thinking all the time.

Daniel Franco 

So, are leaders created in the same way? Because [inaudible] a young new up and coming leader, emerging leader goes into a new role and has what is known as an aggressive leader, I guess, a red, red red leader? Does he or she then become passive or defensive? Or is that again, personality type? Is it? Is it a moulded by the environment you’re in? Or is it a personal thing, along with the environment that you’re in?

Amanda Sheedy 

I think, the environment definitely has a significant impact on how you think and then how you behave. And so you know, it’s not uncommon and, and I’m sure you know, you’ve seen this many times where you have a new leader or a new a new employee comes to the organization, they’re very engaged, that came to make change, and they start down that path, they get some resistance, but they’re able to bounce back, and them keep moving forward. But it’s like what they’re up against, you sort of get to that 12-month mark, you know, sometimes earlier, but they get to that 12-month mark, and they either stay, or they’ve been conditioned to actually fit in with the rest of the organization. So it’s almost like they’re swimming one way and the organization serving the other way and they keep pulling them back in, pulling them back in. So I think it takes again coming back to that, you know, change I think we underestimate the power or the pool of the overall system or the overall organization. All the system that the organization works in, and so you’re not uncommon, uncommon that how we show up when we first start working on as an organization 12 months later, we can look completely different.

Daniel Franco 

Yeah, see that time and time again. So going back to the executive thing you asked the question, so change, how do I become a better leader? How do I manage change or become better change? and the third one was how do I communicate better? And you ask the question, “What does leadership look like to you?” To me, that sounds like the lightbulb moment? That sounds like the moment where whoever you’re working with will now start thinking differently about what it is mean to be a leader. So would you say it’s a really good place to start for anyone who’s looking to take on change or journey or journey or go on the self-awareness development journey in asking “what, what do I want to be when I grow up?”, “How do I want to be seen, to lead people? “How do I want to? How do I live to my own?” “What are my own values?” You know, what was a good place to start for people who might not go down the coaching journey, but some good starting questions that they could possibly ask themselves?

Amanda Sheedy 

You look, I think we start to get into a bit of personal brand here, as well. And so for many, for many people that show up at my coaching table, you know, and for many leaders that show up there, they, you know, they’ve only ever identified with the organizations that are working for. And so, you know, what anchors them into the ground? What’s, you know, what keeps in centre? What keeps them focused? And so what are your strengths? What are you really good at? Not what, and what do you what energizes you? So I think, you know, the work I often do with people when they become just focused on what everyone else wants them to do, and and lose, lose sight of what is my what is my purpose? And what energizes me, it’s, well, what are your core values? And a lot of times people don’t know. You know, they think they need to be aligned with the corporate values. But you know, your own personal core values can be can be very different. And then what’s your strengths? And like I said before, it’s not always, you know what someone else keeps telling you good at, you know, it might be something that you don’t have words for at the moment. It might be something you know, what what do people come and pick your brains about all the time? What interests you were curious about? Yeah. Because it’s often getting back to those, those core areas of well, what are your personal values? And what are your strengths that help people-focused about, you know, what is my unique value and contribution that I offer then I can put on the table?

Daniel Franco 

So for anyone listening, I guess, the question is, what type of leader do I want to be? What are my core values fundamental? What type of brand identity do I want to represent?

Amanda Sheedy  

And that’ll be different for everyone.

Daniel Franco 

It will be…

Amanda Sheedy 

That’ll be different for everyone.

Daniel Franco 

And I guess you come in with that journey by helping them understand you know, you talk about being the change whisperer and whatnot, is that how you go about it, you help them unpack that on your coaching journey?  And teams as well. I mean, teams is a whole different dynamic.

Amanda Sheedy 

Teams are very interesting and I, I have done a lot of studying coaching teams over the last probably two years and have been very fortunate to study with Professor David Clutterbuck and Master Coach Tammy Turner. And team coaching is is a very new discipline to coaching. But the outcomes are so significant. It’s like, I think they’ll always be a place for one on one executive coaching. But it’s like if you can imagine you’re working with one person one on one, the momentum you create, you know, maybe, or the progress forward, you know, might be 10, 20%. But when you’re coaching that person and the whole team of eight or 10 people, the momentum you create is 10 times greater, because ultimately you’re getting them all to, you’re getting them all to think and move together in the same direction

Daniel Franco 

And holding each other accountable.

Amanda Sheedy 

…at the same time. So, they all, their development and growth is all happening ultimately you want them to develop and grow and move together at the same time. But the complexity comes with when it’s one on one coaching you’re managing, you know, the one relationship or the one person you have in front of you. When you’re coaching a team, you’re managing the dynamics of, you know, if it’s a team of eight, you’re managing 64 different relationships that people have just in that group of eight teammate. And of course, I think the other big difference with…

Daniel Franco 

It is actually an amazing  [inaudible] you don’t ever think of that. Do you? 64 different relationships with a team of eight? Eight times eight. Make sense.

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah, exactly. But the other big difference with team coaching is that you’re not only coaching that team, it’s like what makes them a team? Who else did, who does that team serve? Because they are part of a bigger system. And so, you’re then coaching them within that system. So they have people, they report, they have teams, they have stakeholders, they have customers, how do they interact? Is part of that system?

Daniel Franco 

I’ll leave that to you, I think. So, when you do all your work with the executives, you do the one on ones, and you can see that 20% increase. When you do the team coaching with an executive team. What are some of the benefits that you would see come out of that for the organization?

Amanda Sheedy 

I think, to answer that, probably need to look at when do I get called in to do team coaching? And it’s usually because there’s a dysfunction. There’s a dysfunction in relationship with the leader and the team, the team and the leader, or certain team members.

Daniel Franco 

Yeah, you really get caught to high performing team.

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah, um, and so there’s usually a problem that, you know, you’re brought in to help solve and most times, you know, it could be their newly formed team. And so they’re getting used to the dynamic of coming together and working together. Or, you know, the latest having trouble. The leaders having trouble engaging with the team, or there’s some conflict, there’s some level of conflict. And so, what team coaching is not probably, it’s not team building, it’s not facilitating, it’s not team learning. It’s actually being able to manage those gaps in between those relationships with, with all those members. So, in calls out, I think this is probably one of the most important things. There’s a lot of things in teams that need to be discussed, that aren’t being discussed, and so coaching helps facilitate, helps, I suppose open up those conversations in a safe environment and allows that to be, you know, allows it to be it, allows that to be thought of and discussed in a very, in a very safe way.

Daniel Franco 

Creates transparency almost across the team.

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah, it does. And so if we, if we look at problem solving, if we look at creativity, we start to then look at, well, what makes them a team? What are those dependencies that bring them together as a, as a team, where they are better as a team than what they are on their own? And it’s not uncommon that we find sometimes, you know when I asked the question of what, what makes you a team, getting back to that, what’s that common purpose? Sometimes there is none. Sometimes they’ve been brought together as a team because, you know, well…

Daniel Franco 

They’ve been told to.

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah, oh, because just from a structural perspective, these are the direct reports that report through to the leader, but what unites them? And sometimes they don’t, you know, it’s not uncommon that they don’t know what unites them.

Daniel Franco 

And this leads us back to purpose yet again, doesn’t really. What, what do we want to be as a team? The same question that you’re asking the leaders?

Amanda Sheedy 

Well, I think when they don’t have that purpose, we they don’t know what unites them, you know, you start to get conflict. You know…

Daniel Franco 

Because everyone’s got their own opinion.

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah. And by simply and that’s when silos start to start to happen, you know. And so I think by just asking that one question, you know, that whole discussion comes out of that.

Daniel Franco 

It’s powerful.

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah. Yeah.

Daniel Franco 

Thank you very much for that. It’s been very, very insightful. Before we go. Got some rapid-fire questions that we’d like to ask just to put you on the spot a little bit. Nothing too, out there. One question I always ask, because I’m very interested, I’m a big reader. What is one book you’re reading right now?

Amanda Sheedy 

So, I’m reading right now ‘Your body is your brain’ by Amanda Blake.

Daniel Franco 

‘Your body is your brain.’

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah. So…

Daniel Franco 

What’s that about?

Amanda Sheedy 

It’s about somatic coaching. So, it’s about the fact that we actually when we make decisions when we think and make decisions, we use our whole body, not just our brain. So our brain is part of our whole body and, and you…

Daniel Franco 

Stop and gut feeling almost.

Amanda Sheedy 

Well, yeah, yeah. And, and I think from a, I bring this back and look at it from my own coaching work and through a leader, leaders lens. I think when we show up in our everyday interactions in that in our habits, you know, a lot of our behaviour is expressed in the way we hold ourselves.

Daniel Franco 

Yeah. Actions speak louder than words is that the old saying.

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah. So yeah, so it’s about, so I have a particular interest in this. And bring a lot of this into my coaching work. So. So, that’s what I’m writing.

Daniel Franco 

Yes, that is great. I’m gonna pick a copy of that for myself. So what, out of all the books that you’ve gift or you’ve read or you’ve recommended, or whatever, which one would you say is on top of your list for recommending to people or gifting to people?

Amanda Sheedy 

Hands down, ‘Dare to Lead’ by Brene Brown. And I have to say; I wasn’t paid to make a comment knowing about…

Daniel Franco 

There is an envelope getting pushed underneath the table right now.

Amanda Sheedy 

Having you know, I looked, I have been using Brene’s work, and I think I’ve read every single book of hers for many years…

Daniel Franco 

Yeah, I think everything you’ve touched on throughout this chat today is really come back to vulnerability and being out there and having a conversation, what are your trigger points and all, yeah, definitely comes back to Brene’s…

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah, but I particularly like, I think, why I particularly like that book and I refer to it, to probably nearly every single leader I coach at some stage of their coaching journey is because it just does it so well. It just, The Dare to Lead, you know, book you feel like it really takes the research and then looks at through, you know, looks at it through the lens of, you know, what does this mean for me as a leader? And so I think, you know, getting back to what we were talking about earlier about, who am I as my own leader? You know, if you wanting to find out more, then definitely recommend reading it.

Daniel Franco 

Yeah, great. So now one thing on your bucket list right now. Well, just one thing on your bucket list, I guess. Once COVID is over…

Amanda Sheedy 

Um, one thing on my bucket list is to go to New York.

Daniel Franco 

Might be a while.

Amanda Sheedy 

I’m hoping that’s going to be next year. I have a milestone birthday next year, so I’m hoping that’s [inaudible].

Daniel Franco 

Congratulations, [inaudible].

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah, I know. I’m 30.

Daniel Franco 

Yeah, exactly  [inaudible] Perfect. If you had one superpower, this one I didn’t prepare you with if you have one superpower, what would it be?

Amanda Sheedy 

Listening to understand.

Daniel Franco 

Oh, that’s huge. Yeah, because often we listen  [inaudible] replied early. Yeah, that is a superpower. I love it. My favourite question. What is the best dad joke?

Amanda Sheedy 

Ah, okay, so I have to confess I did, I did prepare a little bit for this one. I don’t normally do dead jokes. A lot of my jokes I couldn’t repeat. So, to take my dad joke and I had to look for inspiration from my 10-year-old daughter Alex for this.

Daniel Franco 

This is gonna be good. I know Alex.

Amanda Sheedy 

Where are French fries made?

Daniel Franco 

Where a french fries made?

Amanda Sheedy 

Grease.

Daniel Franco 

Brilliant. Brilliant. Good job.

Amanda Sheedy 

Thanks, Alex.

Daniel Franco 

Thank you, Alex. Thank you, Amanda, that’s been, been really great chatting to you today. Very appreciative. Where can we find you? What can we do to contact you?

Amanda Sheedy 

My website probably is where I’ve got all my contact details. So it is just Amanda sheedy.com.

Daniel Franco 

We’ll put that in the notes os the podcast. Excellent. Amanda sheedy.com. Thank you. So you’re available for team coaching and one on one coaching.

Amanda Sheedy 

Yes.

Daniel Franco 

Excellent. And obviously helping businesses through change, especially now.

Amanda Sheedy 

Yeah, I am. I do a lot of change. Change consulting. From a strategy perspective.

Daniel Franco 

Yeah. High-level stuff which is great. Beautiful. Thanks again, Amanda.

Amanda Sheedy 

Thank you.

Daniel Franco 

Bye, bye.

Outro:

Thank you once again for joining us here at Creating Synergy. It’s been great spending this time with you. Please jump onto the SynergyIQ Facebook page where the discussion continues after the show. Join our mailing list so you’ll know what’s happening next at synergyiq.com.au. And of course, don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast and if you really enjoyed it, please share it with your friends.

Meet our Host

Daniel Franco

Daniel Franco

Daniel has a passion to help people shift their lives and businesses to another level, regardless of their current success. His pure enthusiasm and joy for creating long lasting relationships is paramount to the success of our Clients and SynergyIQ.

Get In Touch

Creating Synergy Podcast

Listen Now!

Your Transformation Podcast