Find Life Coach | Meet Scott Moniz: How to Embrace your Underdog to become a Leader?

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Scott Moniz is one of the coaches that we found this month and we did a little interview with him. He is an Underdog Leadership Coach and he impressed us with his ‘one of a kind’ approach.

Scott has the ability to make you lose track of time when you hear or read his words. However, for his coaching he practices silence, to let his clients do the talking. It’s in those moments, when his clients feel an unconditional and judgment free environment where they open up and express themselves fully, without being interrupted, that the magic happens.

He follows the ICF Core Competencies for his coaching which include: active listening and powerful questioning. He is almost like an artist with his coaching, managing to balance the relaxed and serious state based on what the present moment demands to allow his clients to reach their desired results.

But the greatest part about him is that he is fully open about his own story. He tries to inspire his clients to also be fully open with themselves so they can find redemption, confidence, and a way forward as leaders of their organizations, families and life. Here is what he said.

Meet Life Coach Scott Moniz:

find-life-coach-scott-moniz

Name: Scott Moniz
Pillar: The Spirit, The Mind
Who is this coach for: Anyone who feels like an underdog and wants to find confidence, redemption, and feel empowered to move forward as a leader.
How they can help: Through his 5 step framework and using various “tools” like Active Listening, Intuition, Calculated Risks, Empathy, to name a few.

First of all, how are you and your family doing in these Pandemic times?

It has been tough, that’s for sure. The nature of remote work and previously working a high producing, senior role in the IT industry was difficult. Giving “110%” in my career has been so detrimental to my family to the point of neglect. I valued things I did not have in my early life: money, title, fame.

This led to living life in a way that devalued and ignored who I am at my core. All of the stress got to me and I had a “coronavirus” scare. I ended up in the emergency room on Christmas Eve and struggled a lot with having to “cancel Christmas”. Christmas was always big for me and my family, so this was very difficult for us.

Thankfully, all was well, I just pushed myself too far and had a bit of a mental break. Oopsie! But, we had a wonderful makeup Christmas in February!

Through the pandemic and in my journey towards being more authentic and real, I have realized truly how much I love and miss family and how much full time, demanding jobs were interfering with this.

I have been visiting family more often, spending time dancing with my niece, having more lunches with mom and I feel we are all feeling more fulfilled in our familial life.

How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your clients? Did it affect you at all?

I think we are seeing this global shift. I am working with people trying to transition into IT or career change in general. A lot of them are fed up with failing education systems, harmful work culture, and this notion that they need someone to take a chance on them. It really shows the state of work in our society for me.

The fact that tenured professionals with a wealth of wisdom and skills are sometimes reduced to begging for a chance. I like to say a lot of my clients may feel a case of the UNs. Underappreciated. Underpaid. Undervalued. Unheard. Unseen.

The pandemic has pushed the IT industry to the forefront with its attractive salary, high demand, remote-first companies so it’s interesting to watch. A lot of the people I work with at the moment are students breaking into IT and career transitioners who are feeling this push to better their lives and work-life balance.

I think the pandemic is showing a lot of people that technology can be very powerful and that remote work is possible. No more commutes. No office politics. Quiet time. More time with family. I feel there’s a new found sense of freedom this flexibility can bring and that sometimes people can stagnant and long for change, challenge and new stimulus.

Bear with me here, but I feel some have become uncomfortable with “being comfortable in the uncomfortable.” They want something more than they currently have. They feel they are worth more. They are starting to see what other opportunities are out there. It’s a lot of fun to watch, hell, I even transitioned from tech to life coaching. Never would’ve called this 5 years ago.

What are the biggest lessons that you learned in this pandemic?

Family means everything to me and I had the power to better everyone around me.

Not being able to see my mother and sister during the pandemic, having to arrange medical tests, having to check in more often, remote family meetings, cancelling Christmas. I learned that we should cherish our time with those who love and support us because time is a finite resource.

My family deserves my energy, my family deserves my time, and I have the ability to choose for myself where my time and energy goes and who I choose to give it to.

My career is important, but I no longer feel loyalty to a company. Companies come and go, jobs come and go.

If I had to sum it up it would be doing my best to limit negativity and avoid distraction in a non-destructive way so that I can conserve energy and spend it and time on the things and people I value.

The Origin:

Tell us about you, your career, how you started with your coaching career?

It’s been an interesting journey that’s for sure!

I lost my father when I was 7 and this meant a hard life for our family. Throughout the years, we had our struggles, but my mom and sister were my rocks. They did everything they needed to do to ensure I could have a good life, even when I would disagree or push back. Sometimes I knew best, but a lot of the time they could see things I couldn’t.

My journey has taken me from video stores, to my first “marketing job” as a carnival games operator. “Roll the ball, that’s it, that’s all! Only 5$ to play!”, to my teenage years where I was a “rocker”, wore black, had spike chains and was bullied quite a bit. But, I had friends amongst all different crowds and loved people despite some of them acting downright awful.

During my high school days, I worked full time at McDonalds. This was tough, but I did what I had to do to help support myself and my family. High school, take a bus over to McDonalds, do my work in the study room and then work.

I ended up missing a lot of morning classes and dropped some of them along with the Art Program due to some very unempathetic and unsupportive teachers.

However, I had two very impactful teachers during this time, my high school gym teacher and my English teacher. I never felt judged by them, I always felt respected, empathized and cared for. They listened and I know I cried in front of one of them at least once. To this day, I am thankful for knowing them. These are some of the unsung heroes of our society.

At one point I was faced with a big life decision: $40,000 per year salary as a McDonalds Store Manager or going to college.

This meant money, it meant helping my family, it meant relieving pressure, but after discussion with my mom, and her encouraging me towards higher education we came to a compromise. I would work for 6 more months, save up, and then attend college.

I did just that and years later graduated from George Brown College with Honors and a degree in Computer Programming and Systems Analysis. This launched my IT career – I was excited!

I spent a lot of time in the industry, rose quickly and was admittedly a bad leader in moments. I’ve made my mistakes, but I truly know in my heart of hearts, I was trying to come from a good place – my approach was just less than ideal.

However, I feel our past is just that: our past.

I learned quickly and adapted and I continued with my IT and leadership journey. I knew at my core all I wanted to do was help some of these younger professionals and underdogs realize their TRUE potential. I loved to “take people under my wing” and did my best to be a good mentor and role model for those working underneath me in the corporate hierarchy.

I was always proud when someone got promoted, or got a raise. I loved sharing and celebrating in that excitement!

As time went on, my mental health started to wane and hold me back. Even though on the surface I seemed calm and well put together, even though I was a high performer, I was battling so many demons alone: self doubt, lack of confidence, anxiety, depression, fear of judgement and they would rear their heads often. It was exhausting.

This is when I took one of the scariest steps in my life. I swallowed my pride, realized I needed help, and I enrolled in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Psychotherapy. It wasn’t as bad as I thought, in fact, it was a very positive experience and I started to understand myself more and more with each session.

Through therapy, medication, self reflection and various techniques and mental work, I started to feel validated in who I was as a human being.

I started to become more aware of myself and my propensity for empathy and understanding. I started to become an observer of people and drawing all sorts of parallels. My mind literally felt like it was exploding.

I was learning as much as I could about anything and everything. Symbiotic relationships, mutualism, clown fish, aquariums, psychology, mental health, communication skills, leadership, digital marketing, reward systems, networking, addiction, dopamine, you name it.. and if I haven’t read about it, I most likely will.

All this new knowledge helped me feel a sense of rebirth and enlightenment.

We often see these concepts literally, but I believe them to be metaphorical. I really did feel like I just found this increased awareness and that I was a new person. I started to value wisdom over intelligence and I started to try and bring this wisdom to others.

In dealing with my own trauma, my own sense of self worth, my own lack of confidence and a feeling of being “fake”, I started to break from the cages holding me back.

I found I was better able to empathize and understand others and how they feel and communicate. I describe myself as an empath and it was hard to watch others suffer with self doubt, reluctance, hesitation, and desperation.

I saw and felt the entire spectrum of human emotion and in it, most of the time I could relate this back to a piece of my life. All I wanted to do was help, but I’ve learned some people may not want help. This is where coaching as a career came into play: I get to help people that truly are needing and wanting change in their life.

I started to become more open, sharing my story – not for pity or sympathy – but to help others who can relate.

To help others who truly want to talk about mental health, work culture, leadership and not just pay lip service. I will not agree with everything someone says unless I truly feel that way.

I started to take risks, I started my own practice, I started to decline interviews from big companies I would have given anything to be interviewed at 5 years ago. Some may call it crazy. “Why would you decline those?!” And the simple answer is: it’s just not right for me at the moment and I would prefer to have that position go to someone whose dream is to be there.

Currently, I am focusing on my ACC (Associate Certified Coach) designation through the ICF (International Coaching Federation) and continue to be inspired by leaders in tech, workplace culture and coaching.

There are so many names I can add to this list, but some standouts are: Adam Grant, Preston Junger, Julie Andersen, and Elizabeth Bentley. I feel these people resonate a lot with me and hold the values of empathy, understanding, empowerment and inspiration close. Time with them has been a pleasure.

I am also hugely inspired by the clients I work with, because I often watch in awe as they start to unravel their thoughts, come to profound realizations, and take actions to better themselves and their lives. Coaching works and it’s amazing!

What was your biggest obstacle that you had to overcome in your life that made you who you are today?

I think this is clear in my story, but definitely overcoming the death of my father and the lack of good male role models in my life.

I think I accepted the concept of death very early in my life, but, every once in a while something comes up that brings all the emotions of this event rushing back. Notably, “I like to move it, move it!” by Reel 2 Real because my father would dance and based on his poor English this became “I like to movie, movie!”.

I’m actually listening to it now and overall it’s a happy memory. I try to focus on that as opposed to some of the sadder ones.

Not having these role models in early life led me to be very confused by what society says a man should be. From a young age, I was taught to be caring, empathetic, say please and thank you and then when I got into the real world and had to deal with some of the male bravado, the messaging around how males “should” act, the inability to openly speak about feelings or do so at the risk of being bullied and called names, the internalization. I started to become very confused about who I was and how I should act and I started to question everything about my very being.

I think some of this messaging can be so harmful for the younger generations and breaking away from it has been pivotal for me. I now accept that I am human and that includes feeling and expressing a wide range of emotions regardless of my gender or age.

It’s hard to name my “greatest” obstacle as I feel they are all interconnected and where I am now is a culmination of overcoming all those obstacles. Tongue in cheek here, but my greatest obstacle has been seeing these obstacles as learning opportunities and a chance for growth. I will continue to face them, but absolutely one of the bigger ones was the loss of my father and the domino effect that has had. I appreciate it now because it has made me the man I am and I am proud of that.

The Coaching Style:

How do you innovate with coaching your clients?

In my first free 1 hour call, I am raw. I tell my story. I hear theirs. I take notes on some very important topics, I watch their energies, I watch their emotions shift, I watch a smile turn to a frown, I watch their eyes pop to the top of their head when they’re in a deep thinking state and most of all I shut up! When they are telling their story, I push my tongue to the top of my mouth, I drink tea, I resist the urge to interject and interrupt. I don’t always succeed, but I try to be very aware of this.

When I am open and honest, I receive it tenfold and when I provide these underdogs and/or leaders with something that I feel society seems to lack (objective perspective, active and empathetic listening), I watch as they laugh about some of their most intense struggles!

We sit in deep thought. We smile together. We laugh together. We unravel some of the societal messaging that has them feeling like they are not enough, we plan actions together, we plan accountability together and most of all, we celebrate together.

I’m not one to shy away from the range of human emotion: rage, hate, anger, sorrow, anguish, pain, calm, love, joy, happiness. I feel these emotions are a reaction to stimulus and when we start to understand them and learn the difference between how we react from emotion vs how we behave, we start to gain perspective and shift our mindset.

In my sessions, I literally watch as the gears turn and the emotions of anger, sadness, hopelessness bubble up and are redirected into deep thought, work ethic, challenge, then eventually to laughter, relief, even joy.

This process can be so helpful when applied to just about anything in life: relationships, finances, family life, careers etc.

I follow the ICF model that lists active listening and powerful questioning as pillars. I firmly come from the belief that my client knows what is best for them and I use my wealth of experience to help them to understand themselves as a whole human being who can impact their own lives.

Although my focus is on leadership, it’s very interesting because I feel that my sessions usually lead back to using a holistic approach to increase self awareness, build confidence, and bring the client into the present to take steps NOW that will build the future they want.

In terms of the various exercises I use, I tend not to lean too much on assessments, paperwork, and a more clinical approach, but prefer creative exercises that act as a catalyst to thought provocation, deep thinking, open discussion and realization. I focus on the client, the moment, and just go with the flow.

I’ve done everything from “spirit animals”, to “values”, to “inspiring people”, to “cooking up soup”.

I employ an understanding that based on someone’s experience they may frame or relate to something differently. If I know they’re passionate about football, I may tell them it’s 4th and 1, then ask “What does that play look like if you’re just trying to get that 1 yard to move the posts?” If they like rap, I might refer to a Kendrick or Eminem lyric and we laugh. If they like flowers, I will ask them what their version of “sun” and “rain” would be.

It’s all about being present with the client for me and meeting them on their terms and where they are.

What’s unique about your coaching approach?

I think I’m tough in the best way. I will challenge my clients. I will push them to think. We will dig. I will let them sit in their discomfort and feel it. I will point out the energy shift. I will point out the sadness, the darkness, I will relate to it. I do this because I know it passes and then something happens… we smile or laugh together.

I truly give them a lot of my being. They are here devoting something which I hold very dear to me lately: time. If they are willing to give me hours of this precious commodity, if they put that faith and trust in me as a coach, I feel it is my DUTY to give them every ounce of value I can.

I am currently the best version of myself and tomorrow I may be worse or better, but I will strive to improve and learn, then I will rest. I sit there and watch recorded sessions. I take notes. I iterate on my process. I am a helper. I am a mentor. I am a coach. I am a cheerleader. I am a critical thinker. I am a visionary. And I know that others have this in them once they are able to connect to their core values and live a more authentic life. My clients are all so powerful.

My practice takes a certain resilience, it takes a certain willingness to work, it takes a certain dedication, but I get results.

I am a product of therapy and understand how much being able to openly talk in a judgement free zone can benefit a person. In fact, I know next to nothing about my therapist and she has been one of the most wonderful positive forces in my journey!

I also study duality and I embrace that in my practice. There are moments where I am laughing and light hearted, but there are moments where I am dead serious and doing my best to ask powerful, impactful questions. I bring challenge, I bring rest. I bring passion, I bring calm. I bring seriousness, I bring humor. I feel very strongly that when we start to understand these concepts and their arguably subjective nature, we start to understand there are two sides to every story and we start to become better at empathizing, analyzing and making good judgement calls.

What benefits do your clients get after working with you?

You’d have to ask them! But, if I had to venture a guess: Self confidence. Realization. Inspiration. Empowerment. Redemption. The understanding that failure is necessary for change and that is okay. That failure is only failure if we do not learn from it. The power of deep thought. The power of sitting across from someone as they drink their tea and actually having a platform to let it all out. Cry. Scream. Laugh. Think. Spend the entire session venting. I got you!

With every powerful leader, mom, dad, student, immigrant, with every underdog or leader that has become an amazing person through their challenge and adversity, there seems to be one common thread: They are doing their best with what they know.

They fail. They pick themselves up. They try again. They learn. And they don’t stop trying. They do whatever it takes to survive and push forward.

Do you use any specific tools to be efficient with your clients?

A “wheel of life” assessment is a good place to start when someone is just feeling “stuck” or “trapped” and is unsure of what it is they actually need to work on. It can really open their eyes to areas of their life they did not know was dragging them down.

I follow the ICF model, and picked up bits and pieces from various coaches that I feel has made my practice fairly well rounded. A lot of it is intuition. I don’t speak to every client the same way. Some are more casual, some are more serious. It’s about reading the zoom (See what i did there?).

My framework looks a bit like this:

1. Introduction: A light hearted introduction. Let’s chat a bit, we don’t have to go into coach mode immediately. This can be very inviting and promotes social safety in the space. At a point where my intuition tells me it’s go time I tell the client I’m putting my coach hat on. I literally tell them this and we’re off.

2. Goal Setting and Exploration of Goals: What are your goals for this session? Focusing on one that they feel is important for this session. Followed by exploration of these goals, what do these mean to you? How do you feel this improves your life?

3. Successful Outcome for the Session: What is a successful outcome for this session? We discuss what this outcome would mean and why this outcome is important to them. There’s a certain light that flashes in their eyes when they actually discuss the results of obtaining this goal. It can be inspiring. THIS is my reason. THIS is why I want this. THIS is why it would make me so happy.

4. Exploratory Phase: Deep thoughts, deep exploration, thought provoking exercises, tough open ended questions that start with “how” or “what”. How do you feel about this? What does that make you think of? You have mentioned a few words a few times like doubt, and stuck. Can you tell me more about that? Consent and social safety is so important in this phase. If I am employing an exercise, I always explain the exercise in detail, I explain why I think the exercise would benefit the client, and I ask for consent with an open ended question: How do you feel about this exercise? More often than not, client’s agree, but when they do not I don’t take it personally. I say “okay, understood” and we move on. This is the bulk of my session and in fact I speak very little during this phase.

5. Wrap Up: We chat about the session, learnings, takeaways. We discuss possible action items, we touch on the successful outcome, the client reflects a little. We create something to move the client forward like a little game, an activity, a very small step. We discuss accountability. Sometimes there is a ton of brilliance and celebration here and sometimes there is an outcome of “We did a lot of discovery today and it sounds to me like you’ve learned a lot!”. Client’s sometimes realize they just need to relax a bit more, or rest a bit more, which can be celebrated as well! These are very difficult conversations and having an understanding that we will not be able to solve complex interconnected issues in a single session is very much understood.

To sum this up, a lot of my “tools” are not really what you would expect. They come from more of an internal position: Active Listening, Intuition, Calculated Risks, Passion, Empathy, Confidence and most of all SILENCE.

Imagine having a conversation with someone who talks 95% of the time? I think some may look negatively at that because our lives can be so hectic and sometimes we feel we may not have time for discussion. Honestly, in coaching some of my best calls my client talks 95% of the time. Sometimes I feel I’m not even working because I’m sitting there watching them slowly unravel their thoughts. It is so interesting!

A lot of my clients are people who feel those “UNs” that we mentioned, and when there is finally someone willing to sit, can truly listen from a non judgement state and give themselves fully to the moment, something happens I cannot adequately describe. I mean it’s the lightbulb moment. The sparks in their eyes. The vocal realisation of “….huh, never thought about it like that”. If you’ve seen it, then you know.

I don’t live for these moments, but they are definitely the cherry on top of the long winding journeys that happens throughout our calls. The closest I can come to describing these moments are: “Pure magic”.

The Impact:

If you had a super megaphone that, when you speak into, the whole world will hear your message, what would you say?

I can’t affect the entire world. It’s why I choose to primarily work 1 on 1. If I had to take a shot it would sound something like:

“YOU have the ability to change your life. YOU have the ability to choose what you will and will not accept. YOU can set BOUNDARIES. YOU can be the gatekeeper of your own domain. YOU determine your self worth, that is why we call it SELF worth. It will be difficult. There will be challenges. But in your heart of hearts, YOU know what you are. What will YOU… {pause for effect, silence is powerful} …CHOOSE to do?” Then I would put it down, wait, and have one on one conversations with anyone who needed additional insight.

Honestly, there is so much messaging out there in the news, in the media, on our devices, from our friends and all these things have their place, absolutely, but wading through it all alone can be so daunting.

I truly believe that sometimes we just need to sit with someone who will listen, sometimes we just need to talk, sometimes we just need to think and sometimes silence can prove itself to be a real thing of beauty.

What is the greatest lesson you have learned in your life?

See, I understand this question. We are seeking insight. But, I think outside the sphere.

Some of us tend to look for silver bullets that will take out all the little demons in our lives causing us anguish, pain, and dissatisfaction in one fell swoop. What I have learned is that they are all very different beasts and they may require very different approaches.

Building the life we want will take time. It will take effort. It will take a lot of consistency, work and self reflection. It will take inspiration, empowerment and support.

I tried to do everything by myself because “pride” and based on my dungeons and dragons campaigns, I learned that fighting a slew of monsters on our own rarely ends well. Everyone has their strengths and contributions and a solid support system is key to succeeding in our life campaign. (Sorlock Celestial if you’re wondering!)

The old saying “it takes a village to raise a child” rings true for me and it has taken multiple villages and communities to raise this child.

To boil it down, I think a lot of it comes down to mindset. Framing our challenge and adversity, the past, present and future as learning opportunities and having a support system who can rest with us, console us, teach us, and assist in moving us forward when we are ready is absolutely paramount for a healthy happy life.

Your final thoughts?

I am humbled and honored to be included in your publication. It takes a village to raise a child and I would just really like to thank everyone who is reading that is on a similar path because I feel we may share the same values.

I’m also thankful to everyone who has supported me on my journey, my mom, my sister, my mentors and my partner. Without them, I would not have been able to find the courage to find my purpose.

I’ll leave you with this final thought: Our story is ours and we get to write it. Thank you for reading mine.

Where Can You Find Scott Moniz?

If you liked this interview and you would love to connect with Scott personally, go and schedule a FREE 1 hour discovery call with him here.

If you like to get a glimpse of his coaching, make sure to check his TikTok or connect with him on LinkedIn. It was an honor having this interview with him.

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I help people upgrade their Spirit, Mind, Body, Heart to become the best version of themselves! After 10 years of writing, coaching and collaborating with top coaches from all around the world I have learned the best secrets to help you unleash your full potential! You can be a Superhuman! Write me at [email protected] if you have any direct question! Much Love!