After a difficult couple of years, I think we all need a bit more mental resilience. I was pleased to catch up with #HaltonHour Twitter chat regular, Ray Smith from Insight Leadership Solutions.

Ray is a Leadership Coach who helps business leaders define and achieve their success. He works in the Northwest area including North Wales, Shropshire and Cheshire. Ray does quite a lot of work around mental toughness and resilience and I was really interested to hear his insights into executive coaching.

Photo of Ray Smith from Insight Leadership Solutions with text overlay #HaltonHour Features Raymond Smith

#HaltonHour Video Interview with Raymond Smith, Insight Leadership Solutions

In this video I chat with Ray about:

  • What a leadership coach does
  • The commitment required when being coached
  • The difference between a coach and a mentor
  • Goals and when a goal is not a goal
  • Psychometric testing and mental toughness
  • Team building and working together effectively
  • Seeing the penny drop moments
  • Why Ray started coaching
  • The difference between coaching and counselling
  • How to connect with Ray

Watch the Interview with Ray Smith

Connect with Ray Smith

Connect with Raymond Smith at:
Web: https://insightleadershipsolutions.co.uk
Twitter: https://twitter.com/insightlsl
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/insight-leadership-solutions-limited/about/
Email: letstalk[at]insightleadershipsolutions.co.uk
Call: 07593 362919

#HaltonHour Features Raymond Smith – Transcript

Transcribed  by otter.ai

Jan Kearney
Hi, in this edition of HaltonHour Features I’m chatting to Raymond Smith. Ray is a Leadership Coach at Insight Leadership Solutions and he helps people and businesses take control of their success, and really tackle commitments and get things moving along. I had a really interesting chat with him. So have a listen and let me know what you think.

Jan Kearney
Hi, Ray. Welcome to Halton Hour.

Raymond Smith
Morning.

Jan Kearney
Would you like to introduce yourself who you are, what you do and who you do it for?

Raymond Smith
Well, I’m a leadership coach. And I work with people to help them take control of their success, understand how to manage challenge, tackle commitments, and boost their confidence. I work with a variety of people from all walks of life, all sizes of company, public sector, private, private sector. So it’s a case of if people want some help to improve their effectiveness, or confidence or deal with management issues, if they’re struggling to work with, to sort of deal with staffing issues or even if it’s an individual, you know, trying to get to grips in their professional life, you know, I can help them.

Jan Kearney
Right. I mean, you mentioned leadership and leadership coaching, I mean, that that gets quite, I mean, it’s really, really broad, isn’t it? Because it can apply to any stage in life and in business, and for professionals? Is there any particular person or business type that you really enjoy working with and have and because you enjoy working with them, you have really fabulous success and transformations.

Raymond Smith
It’s been hard, to pin down. If you when he talks about business, people talk about having their own niche, sort of focusing in an area. And I think that that works for some people, but as it as a leadership coach, I can work with, with anybody really. And to give you an understanding of some of the clients I work for, you know, I’ve worked with senior leaders in health boards. I’ve worked for senior police officers. I’ve worked with nurses, I’ve worked with GPs, I’ve worked with business people work with first line managers, people new into a management post. Really, as a as a, as a coach. I use the person’s expertise to help them. I’m not a mentor, although I do do mentoring for some people if they ask it in a specific area. But as a coach, my role is to help people get the best out of themselves. So through basically what we’re doing now having a conversation, getting to know them a bit better. I use some techniques, basically just questions to help people understand themselves better. And from that point of view, I could work with anybody, I tend to focus on service industries, rather than production type industries. Although there’s no reason why I couldn’t work with a production manager, if somebody wanted some assistance, because again, I’m using their expertise. And like I said, the diversity of clients I’ve got, which is on my website, they can see quite a few different categories of testimonial, I’ve got quite a diverse range of people. It illustrates the point really, and I know some people have said to me, Well, you know, you need to focus on an area, you think, Well, yeah, that’s fine, you can. But if you do, you can miss out not being able to help people. And the thing about coaching, which makes me do it, is I like helping people. So I’m always prepared to have a conversation with somebody. And most of the time, I mean, there’s been a couple of occasions, I kind of have written myself 15 creatives a coach, where, for a couple of reasons, two or three people have decided it wasn’t for them, which is fine. Because the thing is about taking a coach on, we will hold you to account for your own decisions.

Jan Kearney
Yeah,

Raymond Smith
You know, it’s not us, it’s not about us as a coach, it’s about you as the client. So if you, you know, if you ask us to undertake something to coach in, I’m very clear when I can when I stand with people and contract with people, that they are giving full consent to the process. Because the other thing is about being a coach, I’m pretty good at understanding body language. And I can usually, usually tell if somebody isn’t fully committed. And I can sort of see through things. So it doesn’t take me long if somebody says, Oh, yeah, it’s fine. Okay.

Jan Kearney
And when I did my coaching training, several years ago now, and one of the things we did was like, you’re on a scale of one to 10, How committed are you? And so when I come back with all eight and half. Well you’re not committed, you’re not committed and want the 10 You’ve got to be committed to the process. And if you’re not committed to the process, and you’ve got to find the stumbling block, I’ve been here. So it’s a fun, fun way of yeah, get getting into people’s mindset. I mean, you mentioned then, about mentoring and coaching. So for you what, what’s the difference between the two? Because I know, I know, a lot of people don’t get those two things mixed up. And I know, for me, they’re very different. So what’s your interpretation on that?

Raymond Smith
A mentor is somebody you turn to for help. So there’s quite a lot of, for example, people out there who call themselves a business coach. To me, that means they will help you grow your business. They are people who are experienced in running businesses, and they will come to you and help you develop your business and help you get your marketing straight to get your accounting in place, make sure you’ll be everything you do is legally accurate, and all this kind of thing. So it is about advice giving it is about being taught something because you’re turning to them for specific help in an area of work. Where on the other hand, a coach is somebody who will help you understand where you are, help you understand yourself better, and then help you to move forward to achieve what you want. Now, there’s a health warning on that in that once people understand what they actually want, sometimes I find that they don’t actually want it.

Jan Kearney
Yeah,

Raymond Smith
Which sounds silly, but if you want something you have to give up certain other things. And quite often the killer question is Well, if you do achieve X, what are you prepared to go without? Or if you did achieve X, you know, what is something that you you, you would be prepared to do less or something? But quite often people are focused on the want rather than the loss, and if the loss you know, giving something up or stopping doing something is greater to you than the goal, quite often then people refocus their goal and think, Well, I don’t really want that. Okay. Because I do find quite often with clients, they will come to me say, I’ve got a real problem with x. Okay. And, to me, it’s a case of, yeah, fair enough. You’re calling it that. It’s like, I’ve got a problem that’s called Jeremy. Anything. Okay. And really, the problem is called anything. So we need to prattle, we need to tackle the dog, not the Jeremy, if you see with me,

Jan Kearney
Yeah.

Raymond Smith
Very often, it’s about peeling the problem away. So I always refer to it as a metaphor of onions, in the sense of you sort of peel away the layers, and eventually, you get to the right one, and you get to the nub of the problem. And at that point, people suddenly realise, okay, that’s, and then you can start working with them. And very often people just label a problem, because it’s convenient to package it up in that way, because it’s more palatable. And like I said, there was a health warning with coaching, I do say this to clients, and we do have a bit of a laugh about it, but it’s quite serious is, I’m not responsible for taking you where you want to go. Because it’s not what I want you to go, or what I want you to do, which which one you want to do, and you’re employing me to help you get where you want to go. So you know, if you end up somewhere you weren’t expecting that’s a case of Well, that’s a that’s a decision you’ve made? I, I haven’t maybe I would have made you do it or told you to do at all, or whatever, you know,

Jan Kearney
it’s not, it’s not down to you to tell them what the goal is. It’s down to you to hold them accountable to get there, isn’t it?

Raymond Smith
And it’s about constructing the goal, because quite often, you know, I was just saying, you know, people think about an object moving objective. You know, a very good life coaching example is dieting, you know, the sense of oh I can’t lose weight, I really want to lose weight. Yeah, okay, well, what’s the goal? Well, I want to lose weight. No, that’s not the goal.

Jan Kearney
That’s not the goal

Raymond Smith
That’s the method. What do you want? And, you know, it’s quite well, you know, good and holiday in six months. One are good in trunks, obviously, or bikini, whatever you think. Right. Okay. So that’s the goal. Losing weight is part of that. You know, and then building round everything about that, to make them understand it’s the, it’s the whole thing is the experience that we’re working on the outcome,

Jan Kearney
The outcome.

Raymond Smith
So I put, I prefer to use outcomes rather than goals, really, because it’s, it’s a bit broader, and you can attach more to it. And I think the more real, you get it for somebody they buy into it.

Jan Kearney
I think that’s a big part of it. I mean, you touched on something that I know I’ve worked on with, with my coach in the past. And it is, knowing knowing what the goal is, because quite often, you think you know what the goal is. And it’s not where you want to be. So I know with my coach, she calls him smart with a heart goals. So it’s not just about a goal. It’s the why you want to be where you want to be. And quite often what you think where you want to end up isn’t where you want to end up when you’re looking at the why’s, what the reason is behind that. I know you’ve you’ve mentioned a few times, on your website and on Twitter, and when we add a chat at Halton Business Fair that you use psychometric techniques. I mean, does that help delve into the whys? why people want to be where they want to be?

Raymond Smith
Yeah. Yeah, they do. I mean, there’s two priorities. I mean, just to take you back to that issue, all the goals. One, one word are quite often avoid using and coaching is why? Because it’s more about justification. And sometimes people can get defensive.

Jan Kearney
Yeah,

Raymond Smith
So I do find that it’s best avoided unless absolutely necessary. And I think the issue people know about smart goals, which is great. But I tend to think Smartees in the sense of you also need to think of emotion. And you also need to think about environment. Because you need to bear in mind your SMART objectives, SMART goals, smart outcome is fitting in the world of everybody else’s. And I think having an awareness of that as well. connected with how you feel about things will make it more likely for you.

Jan Kearney
Yeah, so that’s the with the heart side of things. But

Raymond Smith
yeah, going back to psychometric share, these two are used primarily uses mental toughness, which a lot of people, you know, think, look at me and think, you know, to train people to do pro athlete events now, but I didn’t think Well, no. But, you know, having a degree of mental toughness does help athletes because it’s more than just about fitness. And I think the research has been around about mental toughness in over the last sort of 20 years, has proven beyond all doubt, because it’s oceans and oceans of academic proof out there, talking about it. And it’s about resilient, personal resilience and grit. It’s about how you can bounce back, you know, when dealing with problems, or how you react to yourself, when you’re faced with adversity, being cool under pressure. As well as having that determination to keep going in the in the face of sort of rejection. So I partner with an organisation, again, local to me and that they are really the global leader in this product. And it’s a very simple online test takes about 10 minutes, quarter of an hour something like that, results pretty much instant. And it talks, it measures your control. It measures you know how you look at your controlling your own life, it looks at how you control your own emotions, it also looks at commitment, and what your attitude is to goals, and achievement. And it also examines challenge and how you feel about taking risks, or not taking risks, and how you learn from experiences. And then finally, it’s also then looks at confidence. So that’s about looking at confidence in yourself, and your interpersonal skills. So it’s a very rounded tool very cost effective as well. But as a coach, it gives me very quickly, very deep insight into a person that ordinarily would take me a few sessions to get to the bottom of and the questions are quite good. So the fair thing is, you can’t trick it. Because there are some psychometrics, you soon work out. That’s what it’s doing to answer this way, you can’t do it that it doesn’t work like that. So I’ve had a lot of success with it. So we we can look at people finding out about themselves to understand or, and usually, we end up working in a specific area. And quite consistently people will see the report because they get one which is focused towards them. And I get one which is focused towards me and they sort of look at the report, read it, read it through and think yeah, that’s me. I’ve yet to have somebody who said that’s definitely not me, you know, everybody says it. That’s me. I mean, that’s the main one I focus on and the other one I do is a leadership measure, which looks at leadership style. So again useful for managers, or recruiters trying to understand that we recruited somebody specific, they can get a certain type of person if they want so and again, you know, it looks at goals it looks at motivation its how you engage with people. It’s about you know, how, how you reward people, you know, how you motivate people. So, it’s all basic management skills. And again, you know, the very detailed report very quick report that comes out because of the way the questions are research proven. So, very cost effective tool if you’re looking to build a team of management team. So, if you bring the two measures together, which some people do do, you are creating significant personal insights. And of course, if you want to, you could we can actually structure the tools so that if you want to assess who will team, you can assess the whole team and up, identify where your strengths or weaknesses are. So one example is, for example, a sales team where I know there was some issues with sales performance, and some of them were actually struggling with the concept of a goal, which for the sales team

Jan Kearney
That’s a bit worrying

Raymond Smith
It is a bit worrying. So there was some work to do around understanding well, okay, this is how we need to this is what we need to do to get people to understand

Jan Kearney
Yeah,

Raymond Smith
What we need to do.

Jan Kearney
So, I mean, that that was actually quite interesting about bringing the the The two sides of it together. I mean, where would you come in as, as a coach, then doing that, if you’ve if you’ve got a team with these two, I would imagine quite in depth reports and data is that something you would work individually with each person or just on the management of the team for that group of people?

Raymond Smith
Well, initially, what I do is I sit down with the whole team and get to know them, and try and understand what they’re trying to achieve. Because usually a commissioned by, you know, HR, lead, who, you know, thinks they understand where the business is going. You know, sometimes they don’t, for various reasons. And, you know, sitting down getting to understand the management team, first of all, from that the coaching can take two ways. One is that you give people individual coaching, because it’s about individual performance. But a growth area now is team what is team coaching or team building as used to be called.

Jan Kearney
Team building

Raymond Smith
Yeah, where it’s about getting people to work together more effectively. And I think the thing is, is if you do use some of these psychometrics, it gives you something firm to work on. So as the coach, I would know who to ask, what questions of which person to say, well, you know, the person one is going to weakness, that particular person to another weakness, they’ve got a different one, and you’re trying to get the blend, right. And the thing is, with, with mental toughness, the opposite is mental sensitivity. Usually, people who do have mental toughness in the highest scale, tend to be more successful. Only. Insofar as that it’s, they’re more determined, and they will prepare to, to push forward, if you like, a deal that were mentally sensitive people, although there’s many examples of of those characters, characters being successful, too. The danger is, if you’re more one way than another, you have to be aware of that otherwise, that will cause a problem. So if somebody is consistently mentally tough, usually, their interpersonal skills aren’t very good. Which is the sensitivity side. So it’s about awareness. So it’s a case of, okay, so if you general type is tough or sensitive, when you need to be the opposite, you need to know that because you then need to switch. So I then spend time working with people to get them into role. And we normally think of characters where, you know, they’re, they can perhaps see themselves stepping into the role. And I think some of the exercises I do with people sort of walking the shoes, helps them understand how others see them, and how others want them to be for the role that they’re doing. From that point of view, it’s very good. Going through the techniques, help people then understand what’s expected of them. So I think the real key to this is understanding yourself, because you can go through like, you know, switching and switching your role, switching your personality, to the situations because really, you’re tailoring yourself to the situation and the audience you’re working in, which is what it’s about, and in so doing does make you more effective. But it’s all about personal insight. And that’s one of the reasons why I pick the name of the company.

Raymond Smith
Yeah. Which I mean, we never talked about this right at the very beginning, which is what I normally talk about it was how did you get into the coaching role and what you do now?

Raymond Smith
Well, it’s been a chance really in the sense of that. I had some feedback that I wasn’t very good at communicating with people, which I thought, I’m not sure about that. Okay, fair enough. I’ve always been reasonably popular I thought in life. And I was, it was suggested they should go on a course in NLP. And those don’t know about it. Neuro Linguistic Programming is a form of understanding the mind psychology. I must admit, it was a huge awakening moment in myself. It was a really amazing journey. And they ended up doing two years with studying the subject. And part of it. Part of that journey was some coaching. And I then realised that and thought, Well hang on. I’ve actually been doing this without realising it. So I Then I had an opportunity to do a coaching course. So I got myself qualified as level seven coach, which is postgraduates highest level, you can do unless you want a doctorate. And then I started my coaching journey, which is what 15 years ago, I’ve spent my time doing a lot of work working mainly in public sector areas, because that’s where the clients were. And it’s, it’s just about, as I said, start the discussion. It’s about the experience of helping people. Because, again, I’d really I know, it’s very corny, but I get a real buzz on helping people because you can actually see when you get to a point where somebody is, suddenly has that realisation, you know, through the questioning, or the experience of working with me about where they are, and what we want to do, you can see it, it’s almost like as a light bulb pops out of their head, because

Jan Kearney
a lot of why I do what I do. And it is and it’s not corny at all, is that when they get that aha moment, and the penny drops, and you see it, the whole face lights up. And it’s like, that’s, that’s my buzz. That’s what I get also a bit sit actually seen. And it was one of the reasons because I don’t coach, but I did coaching training, which helps me when I’m working with people I work with on the online visibility and stuff to get to that point with what you actually want out of this, and because most people don’t need to be everywhere, and they need to, and that’s not what they want. It’s not what they want. So I’m getting that penny drop moment is absolutely. For me anyway, that’s the buzz, the buzz I get out of it. So no, I don’t think it’s corny because I’m there with you. from a different angle. But But there you go. But

Raymond Smith
I do see people’s physiology change when you when you start coaching and because this is what I’ve seen in the discussion, you know, some of the training I’ve been doing, I’ve done over the years, and certainly working with clients over the years. You’d have coachee will be extremely clever if they can get a coach, because we can see through most things. And if we if we think there’s, you know, we think there’s something going on, we’ll just keep we’ll just keep digging with with questions, because we’ll find out this. At the end of the day, absolutely critical thing about a coach, if you’ve got to have somebody that you absolutely trust, it’s kind of safe environment, it’s a safe space, you know, it’s completely confidential. Up for that point of view, they’ve got to fit because if they’re not prepared, if somebody doesn’t feel that trust, and doesn’t feel comfortable, then they’ll do themselves a disservice because they have to open up they have to, because sometimes you get to a question where somebody will say, I’m not ready to answer that. Okay. Fair enough, in fact that, you know, sometimes we uncover things that people aren’t quite expecting that reveal that it’s holding them back. And it can be some sometimes I’ve had to refer people for counselling or therapy where we’ve uncovered something.

Jan Kearney
And they say, Isn’t it between coaching and counselling? Because you’re not a counsellor? That’s not what you do. You’re a coach. But again, it comes down to the peeling the onions, doesn’t it? And the layers?

Raymond Smith
Yeah,

Jan Kearney
it’s from a personal point of view. It has it’s been an absolute journey with coaches, and then between the coaches and bouncing back into with various forms of, of therapy. You do you hit that block where that there’s something a lot deeper than you know, that you need to get out, sort of get rid of the crap.

Raymond Smith
Well, I think the thing is, you know, counselling will help you understand where you are coachable, what coaching take you for where you

Jan Kearney
want to be. Yeah. Well, it’s just popped up say we’ve hit half an hour that it’s gone again, no where. So before we wrap it up, is there anything that you want to bring up because I know we’ve sat here and we’ve had a chat? Is there anything in particular that you want to mention?

Raymond Smith
Not really Jan. I mean, the thing is, I’m quite happy to talk to people as I said, there is quite happy to talk to anybody if they think I might be to help them. So I mean, I offer a free no obligation first meeting, you know, we can do it on Zoom or we can do face to face, I’m happy the way I mean, I’m based in in Chirk, North Wales. So I mean, I cover sort of North Wales, mid Wales, Shropshire, Cheshire, up to past yourselves and up to Warrington, quite happy to travel to meet people, or we could do it on Zoom, we can sort something. And all I would say, if somebody, there’s a real issue, I think of people not being prepared to admit that they need some help. And, you know, if you look at all these major agencies, particularly around sort of mental health agencies, and the like, where you know, it’s accepted, it’s okay not to be okay. It’s true. But it’s also saying that our coaching if people are reluctant, sometimes to admit they’ve been to a coach, because they don’t want to see that, you know, they don’t want people to think they really couldn’t manage or struggling or whatever. But to me, it’s about the most coaches would agree, it’s positive, that people actually seek help to help them move forward. And I think society needs to be a bit more understanding of people say, yeah, it’s a good thing, celebrate it, rather than criticise it. But the fascinating thing about this is people will come to you, and so we’re not telling them anything, okay. But anybody around them, after they’ve been coached, will see that the different and they know that haven’t gone to bed one night, and then woke up a different person, that they know that their friends and close colleagues will know that they’ve been talking to somebody or they’ve done something on they’ve been on a course, so you can’t hide it. I mean, what I tend to tend to find is people who are, you know, people who have been coached the, you know, after the experience very, very different, in a good way. Because it’s, it’s what they want

Jan Kearney
self awareness, isn’t it? You know, it’s on that journey to, to knowing yourself, doing the best for yourself as well. I think people see that as quite selfish when it when it isn’t, because when you’re improving yourself, you’re also helping others around you. So it’s,

Raymond Smith
yeah, it’s, if you look at more, if you read any sort of autobiographies, biographies of successful people, you know, it’s quite usual to see, you know, somewhere in there, you will see that it worked with a coach, at some point.

Jan Kearney
Yeah.

Raymond Smith
You know, just illustrates the fact that these really successful people are really successful because they’ve got good people around them, helping them improve themselves.

Jan Kearney
Exactly.

Raymond Smith
So if you’re interested in improving yourself, I’m quite happy to have a conversation, if anyone who is watching is interested in improving themselves, I’ll be happy to have a conversation.

Jan Kearney
Right, so we’re gonna have to wrap up because it shouted at me. Where can people contact you?

Raymond Smith
Well, they can either give me a ring, my numbers 07593362919, they can send me an email, which is letstalk@insightleadershipsolutions.co.uk Or indeed, on the website, have a look around and complete the form, which is insightleadershipsolutions.co.uk I’m on Twitter. Regularly regular participant in HaltonHour The handle is @InsightLSL if you want to follow me and drop me a DM be quite happy to set up a conversation. And if you want to connect with me on LinkedIn, you can find me on LinkedIn we’ve got a page business page for Insight leadership. And we’ve also got also got my own profile if you want to connect me so reasonably approachable and anywhere on social media.

Jan Kearney
Fab, and I’ll put all of those links underneath the video as well.

Raymond Smith
All right. That’s great

Jan Kearney
Well, thank you so much for thanks for giving us some time this morning to have a chat. It’s been really insightful. How corny is that?

Raymond Smith
Thanks for the invitation Jan, really appreciate the opportunity. It’s it’s been a very good experience.

Jan Kearney
Okay, well, okay, speak to you soon. Ray. Thank you.

Connect with Raymond Smith

Photo of Ray Smith Insight Leadership Solutions with contact information overlayed

Connect with Raymond Smith at:
Web: https://insightleadershipsolutions.co.uk
Twitter: https://twitter.com/insightlsl
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/insight-leadership-solutions-limited/about/
Email: letstalk[at]insightleadershipsolutions.co.uk
Call: 07593 362919

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Photo of Raymond Smith with text overlay Video Interview. Ray is a Leadership Coach who helps people take control of their success, understand how to manage challenges, tackle commitments and boost their confidence

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