This video is a part of a series of valuable and short videos on consulting done as an interview between Rocco Luongo, founder and coach at GoRocco.Pro and Jason Bell, a seasoned leader with a long career. At the time of this interview, Jason was finishing up his Master’s degree in Organizational Development and exploring options for developing consulting as a next-stage career choice.
In this video Jason and I discuss what my ‘Superpower’ is. This is a question I use with all of my coaching and consulting clients. It’s a simple and fun way to get people talking about their strengths. There are many books, podcasts, and articles written about ‘Strengths-Based Coaching’ and I am a huge believer in it.
Getting people focusing on, and developing their strengths, rather than focusing on and working on weaknesses, is a powerful technique which boosts creativity, happiness, and effectiveness. This means faster, more durable improvement for you and your client. Full transcript follows:
Jason Bell: Well you’re an easy interview in that like just your first answer gave me a lot of other questions I was going to ask you so here’s here’s an interesting one, what what’s your superpower in consulting? What sets you apart?
Rocco Luongo: My superpower is the ability to get intensely present and deeply connecting with my client.
JB: Intensely present and deeply connecting?
JB: How do you do that?
RL: Lots and lots of practice . . . [laughing] you’re looking for a like a bulleted list of what are the steps of getting deeply connected?
JB: Well tell me what you want.
RL: Sure well it is truly a superpower and I say this honestly this sort of like asking Yoda how he does it. It takes a lot of work. It takes an intense understanding of how your brain works and how your body and brain are interconnected and then ultimately realizing that there actually is no difference between your body and your brain. The connection, the distinction between those things as man-made. Your body and your brain and your feet and your digestive system are all part of you and you need to understand when your body is telling you something it’s a reaction to something your brain is doing.
RL: So when you feel a stress inducement or a compulsion to speak before you do it you need to become what Eckhart Tolle says ‘The Watcher of your Thoughts’ you need to sit above your thoughts and the greatest indicator when your thoughts are leading you to speak compulsively or to block you from connection, the greatest indicator is how your body is reacting to it so sometimes it’s a feeling of a pit in your stomach, for some it’s stress in the chest, some people feel it in different places but when you feel it, the truth comes from your body and your mind tries to trick you.
RL: So you have to learn to be the watcher of your thoughts, let your thoughts come and go like ripples on a pond (Shunryu Suzuki) and it’s kind of a state some people call it ‘Zen-ness’ some people meditate for it but it’s basically being able to recognize that you watch your thoughts and that your thoughts can be damaging and you should put them away and get intensely present and deeply connect to the person you’re speaking with so that you can pick up on the cues of them not watching their thoughts. And those are the spots where you have to play the long game, collect the dots in a longer line and don’t react to each data point.
RL: So there’s a piece of presence of patience and also just deciding that I’m going to be intensely present right now and do it so that’s a that probably sounds weird but you can read Eckhart Tolle or Shunryu Suzuki and a number of great sources of how to do it and then you have to start doing it. Then you have to become your own coach. You have to be able to recognize that you have these same programs that you run to and how they manifest and how you speak and act and engage with people and then you’re able to recognize it in others without drawing their attention to their own lack of presence.
JB: It’s deep. I wrote a lot and it’s funny a couple of these spoilers, I want to come back to because there might be some connections to some things that I’ll ask you later.
JB: I already wrote down ‘don’t react to each data point’ that’s sticky for me.
RM: The trick there for me is that often we are so programmed to provide value instantly, that we get something we realize it, and we want to feedback and Heisenberg principle, you cannot measure something without changing it you want to change it as little as possible. That goes through having a stoic face, a neutral body position even micro expressions, like a slight raise of the eyebrow when someone says something shocking, can change the way that they say something. In general, especially if someone hires you for high dollars, I charge thousands per month for only a couple of hours per person. So they want to impress me and I have to be ready to not sink into that honeypot because we’re all prideful humans and so I have to be stoic and be very mindful the slightest micro expression, change a slight tip of the head, a slight tick of the mouth can change what they’re going to say next. So to listen deeply and connect deeply and try to affect the conversation as little as possible so that they can get down into what really matters. I said earlier we want to get that data point and then feedback get the next data point and feedback because we feel like that’s efficient what Covey said interactions between humans are not supposed to be efficient they’re supposed to be effective, and so what you need to do is gather all of those points and form a line and see what this is really about and resist both the reaction to speak and sometimes it’s just because we don’t want to forget oh **** I don’t want to forget this and so there’s the level of just developing your memory for it. Anyway is that what you do?
JB Know like yeah if like I learned this one a couple of years ago if I wrote there’s something I know I wanted to say at some point but I don’t want to interrupt you just do that. [Crosses fingers]
RL: Yes and it’s funny where did you learn that?
JB: Erin, my wife.
RL: Very good I’ve seen lots of people who do that and I’ll tell you that’s a great skill I do it similarly I go like this [touching index fingers to thumbs] with my fingers and what I’ve realized is that actually does come back to a level of connection, sort of connecting and closing an energy loop through your body. There’s a lot of value in doing that you close your fingers together it completes a kind of an energy cycle and it helps you resist that physical urge, so whatever the reason behind it is, I’ve seen lots of people do that and that’s that’s a technique I use as well.
JB: And yet ironically I did interrupt you sharing that point of how to not interrupt.
JB: So, awesome this is high-value.