We believe that being a life coach is really similar to being a superhero.
Each life coach is unique, like a superhero. They all dedicate their whole life helping people. Each with their own personal origin story and a special “superpower” they use to help others.
Most often, their superpower is first their greatest obstacle, and once they go through their own personal metamorphosis, they develop a skills to help others do the same. They uncover a truth that was within them all along. They transmute their flaws into their greatest strength.
Whatever it is, it’s a transformational process extremely similar like that of a Superhero.
And just like with the Avengers, we went on a mission to find all the unique life coaches with huge potential from all around the world and bring them together as the Earth’s Mightiest Supercoaches.
David Neal is one of the coaches we found and we did a little interview with him. He impressed us with his honest and direct approach to coaching. Here is what he said.
Meet Life Coach David Neal:
Name: David Neal
Pillar: The Mind
Who is this coach for: For anyone who wants to get out of victim mentality and attain happiness.
How they can help: Find weak aspects in the character, acknowledge them and tackle them head on.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these Pandemic times?
My family has been quite fortunate, everything considered.
We are lucky to live in Australia which is geographically dislocated from the rest of the world.
This allowed us to control movement in and out of the country. This coupled with large expanses of land meant the spread of the pandemic was slowed and traceable.
I have deep empathy for those countries still tackling the weight of damage caused by the pandemic. Many of them are demonstrating true resilience in their fight.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your clients? Did it affect you at all?
The pandemic prompted us to accelerate certain portions of our longer term strategy. Simply put, the reduction in projects, that is our normal breadwinner, influenced us to develop a substitute capability in the form of online courses.
These courses have been incredibly successful to date, as they have allowed us to provide services to an international market.
The online courses were the right fit, at the right time.
The team rallied in a highly focused manner towards developing these capabilities ahead of schedule.
The online courses kept us relevant and also demonstrated our competence in the areas we aimed to specialize in being leadership, personal development, resilience, change management, conflict resolution, improving confidence, etc.
In essence the pandemic forced our hand and prompted us to fight for relevance, which we did.
Our clients and our team could not be happier.
What are the biggest lessons that you learned in this pandemic?
We all need to fight for relevance, by demonstrating our competence.
When the environment changes, we must change with it. It reminds me of Demings quote, “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.”
Wishful thinking is not enough. It needs to be backed up with planning and action. The coronavirus pandemic demonstrated this acutely.
The evidence is in who is left in the commercial landscape, post pandemic.
Some played it too safe and lost their relevance. Others overcompensated and committed to changes that pressured their fragile systems.
The ones that got the balance right are here to tell the tale and are now likely postured to capitalize on emerging opportunities as markets turn back on.
Tell us about you, your career, how you started with your coaching career?
Coaching emerged as an interest of mine during my Military career, Infantry Officer, where I was required to engage with all manner of different organizations and people in order to achieve mission success.
It required that my interactions with people were customized and contextualized to the person to whom I was engaging with, as well as setting the conditions to be able influence them and inspire them. Rank did not provide the most reliable mechanism for influence over others.
I found myself testing different approaches and concepts throughout my entire military career, particularly when I was involved in training and education roles.
I found that a one size fits all approach did not work to achieve the most effective results. Therefore, I would spend significant time trying to build rapport with the people I worked with, whilst seeking to learn what their drivers were, what values they subscribe to.
These skills would later form the foundation for my coaching role within The Eighth Mile Consulting.
What was your biggest obstacle that you had to overcome in your life that made you who you are today?
One of the biggest challenges I faced was one of identity as a result of my medical discharge, and subsequent transition from the Army.
I look back now and realize that the things that helped me tackle this personal crisis were:
1. Measuring one’s success via the legacy they leave.
2. Defining one’s identity by their values as opposed to their position or title.
3. Understanding the distinction between a casualty and a victim.
Casualty: Someone who is trying to rehabilitate an issue but is still acutely aware that they need to find a new way to provide relevance.
Victim: Someone who is caught in a self perpetuating loop of destruction and self rationalization.
4. The power of understanding and making better choices, however small they might be.
Choices include such things as: who you associate with, where you invest your time and resources, and the effect your actions are taking on others.
The Coaching Style:
How do you innovate with coaching your clients?
I would surmise that my team and I are a little different to many coaches out there as most people come to us for ‘a compass, not a cuddle’.
In essence, our coaching rests around a fundamental belief that a victim culture and mentality does not serve anyone well. It only leads to regret, resentment, and roadblocks.
As Jonathan Clark says, “at some point the blame game stops and the accountability starts.” We believe in making people stronger, as opposed to safer.
I personally spend significant amounts of time working with my clients to identify those areas in themselves that might be lacking or holding them back, acknowledging their existence, and then tackling them head on.
Technologically, we have created a suite of online courses that can be supplemented with individual and group coaching sessions in order to achieve this effect.
The courses have been very successful in promoting self paced learning in our clients.
What’s unique about your coaching approach?
Everything I do has most likely been done before, probably by someone smarter.
I think where we find our relevance is by explaining subjectively where we went wrong.
We are not afraid to explain our own personal failings and the lessons we learnt.
We place great weight on learning from the past, instead of recreating the wheel. More often than not, I have made mistakes that might be relevant to my client. I am not scared to impart those lessons to them.
What benefits do your clients get after working with you?
Our strength lies in our ability to customize a tailored solution that suits their needs.
We subscribe to the notion that “good friends will tell you what you need to hear, not necessarily what you want to hear.”
In this regard we provide objectivity at a level that is rarely seen in today’s world.
Do you use any specific tools to be efficient with your clients?
We use a myriad of different tools and mechanisms to achieve the effect we are after including: Individual coaching, group coaching, online courses, face to face workshop facilitations, as well as larger scale projects.
If you had a super megaphone that, when you speak into, the whole world will hear your message, what would you say?
Shut up and listen.
Listen in order to learn.
Learn in order to be wise.
Be wise to improve the world.
We should rather seek to be correct, instead of right. Being correct is based on an endless pursuit of learning and the hunt for the truth, being right is letting ego get in the way and trying to beat someone else.
One works, one doesn’t.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned in your life?
Life is not about seeking happiness, it is about committing to the behaviors and choices that will later lead to happiness.
In essence, happiness is the byproduct of hard work and commitment to one’s values.
Your final thoughts?
Life, and leadership, is not about you. It is about finding your place in the world by surrounding yourself with the people that matter, and then demonstrating your worth via your values.
When you lay there on your death bed will people describe you in the way you describe yourself?
Will people objectively measure your time on this earth via the values you subscribed to?
Will you leave the world in a better state than you found it?
If the answer to these questions is “No!”, you might want to reconsider your trajectory and the choices you are making.
Where Can You Find David Neal?
If you are interested in getting to know more about the work that David Neal is doing, the best place to do that is at https://eighthmile.com.au/online-leadership-course/. In there you will find most of his work and courses.
If you want to shoot him a direct message and ask him a burning question in context of his coaching, than you can take your chances and send him an email at [email protected]. It was a pleasure having this interview with him.