Renee DeAngelis

In today's episode, we speak with Renee DeAngelis about the responsibilities facing a coach, fear of the unknown, and sitting with discomfort.

Renee DeAngelis:
And so I think it's really all about being uncomfortable. And I don't know if balance is achieved. I
think that balance is achieved by testing things out and potentially falling, but when you break
through it's the craziest most awesome feeling in the world.

Jeff Hunter:
Hi and welcome. I'm Jeff Hunter and you are listening to Coaching in the Clear, the podcast
committed to help you learn about coaching. Coaching is more popular than ever, and we
believe that sharing in-depth personal conversations about coaching experiences is the best
way for you to learn whether coaching is for you and how you can get the most out of your
coaching practice. We are especially interested in how people use coaching to unleash their
potential while creating market leading big change businesses. Coaching in the Clear is a
production of Talentism, a business dedicated to helping the world's most ambitious leaders
achieve their ultimate goals by systematically turning confusion into clarity. We send out a
weekly newsletter called the Sensemaker where we offer our latest thinking about issues
affecting big change companies and their leaders, as well as provide other helpful content to
enable you to unleash your potential, learn more and sign up at So Renee,
thank you so much for joining us today on Coaching in the Clear, my first question for you is
how did you come to use a coach? How did you get to the place where you decided you wanted
to use a coach?

Renee DeAngelis:
Well hi Jeff. Thank you. Coaching came to me through an acquisition and merger involving
private equity. And so we were merging with another company that did the same thing as we do.
And that's when I met you and your team and we, there are a lot of intricacies to those types of
deals. And so we met and we decided to, that having a coach would help me navigate through
some of the challenges with what happens with a transaction like that.
Jeff Hunter:
Great, and just say for the audience, that was a very successful transaction. So congratulations
on that and has helped you build an amazing company. So tell me a little bit about what you've
learned about coaching and how you experience it. You came to it pretty new and I've really
enjoyed our relationship and the opportunity to coach you. And I've seen you grow a lot through
that process. So tell me a little bit about how you've experienced it and what you've learned
about over time.
Renee DeAngelis:
Oh my gosh. So much. I think the, I mean, overall I think coaching is this opportunity for you to
become the best version of yourself. And I, one of the biggest takeaways I've had is I had often
lead a team and managed a team and run a company, grown a company a lot through this
instinct that was deep inside of me. And I think working with you, I've been able to put a
framework together around it and language around it that not only I can use, but also my
colleagues and people I work with can use, so it's been a sort of common, we've created a
common language. We've been able to all learn together through using that framework. I also
think that throughout my whole life I've always had a coach and I think, I truly believe coaching
is not really a one-dimensional thing. You know, as a coach, as a person who leads a team or
leads a company I find that I learned just as much from the people I'm working with or coaching
as I do, hopefully help them as well. So I feel like it's for me and either seat or either hat that I
wear, I feel like it's a, there's a lot of growth and opportunity and an opportunity to master
something and a lot of opportunity to learn something new.
Jeff Hunter:
So I'm going to let the audience in on a little thing. So one of the things I love about our
conversations is you are not only an expert and a professional in the world of climbing, you're
also an enthusiast and you’ve spent a lot of your time, free time such as it is, there isn't a lot,
climbing and so I'm always trying to impress you by bringing up climbing references. And you're
always very patient with me as I stumble my way through that. And that's been a very cool
dynamic in our relationship, but one of the things that I've found when I'm coaching people is
there's usually some area of their life where they pursue excellence. It's not always in their job,
but there's some area of their life where they push themselves and they're testing themselves to
really uncover what they're capable of. And I not only have seen you, I mean, we've talked
about climbing and what that means for you, but also I've seen that in the world of your work, is
there some way you can connect those two things for me? Like what it's like to climb versus
what it's like to lead?
Renee DeAngelis:
Oh my gosh, there are, it's all the same. Well, first of all, I want to say, I'm not an expert climber.
There are so many people who are way beyond me. I think I'm, I have a deep love and passion.
I've been climbing for so long It's almost embarrassing, cause I should be a lot better than I am,
but I love it. And that's the wonderful thing about this sport is that at any level you can enjoy it,
but there's so many parallels. I often, you know, when you're climbing you are, well actually let
me give you a story. Back in 2008, when I was just with planet granite, which is the company
that I was part of and helped grow before we had the private equity merger and acquisition, I
went to climb El Cap and the actual El Cap in Yosemite. And I remember standing at the bottom
of the route and looking up and thinking, oh my gosh, I am, how am I ever going to do this? It
looks really steep and long. And during that time we were in a really busy growth phase at work.
We were opening a new gym. We were hosting a national competition. I had a brand new team
of people that I had just assembled in anticipation of this growth. And so it was really crazy at
work. And I just thought, I looked up at that rock and I thought, well, if I can get through all of
that, I can get through this climb. And you just kind of tackle it one pitch at a time. And I think
that, that's what we did in that moment at our company is that we just slowly crept up the, you
know, indoor climbing version of El Cap to accomplish all the things that we had to do. And so I
think the, you know, when you're standing on the top of it, or when you're through, you've got all
your gyms open in your past, all the competition and craziness, you feel that same sense of
success. So I think an overall sense that is, there's so much similarity and I've always loved it.
And it is, you're constantly pushing yourself. And if you feel like I'm always driving myself to
excellence both at work and in my personal time, and there is no one thing, but I think I'm fairly
lucky that it is so similar and there are so many overlaps.
Jeff Hunter:
One of the things I've experienced in our conversations and it's really helped me sort of
formulate this in my mind. So Talentism is constantly talking about goals and unleashing your
potential. And because people talk about potential in different ways, it's sort of this mystical sort
of thing, right? Like it's always out there, it's never achievable, etcetera. And so that can make it
sort of squishy for lack of a better term. And so we talk about potential is as potential does, like
you gotta keep pushing the boundaries of things to figure out where your potential is. And yet
the thing I, the very little I know about climbing, and I appreciate your humility so much in
describing that, but of course, relative to me, you are an expert. So we'll continue to use that as
your rep for now. But one of the things that, the little climbing I had done earlier in my life is that
sense of how much to push yourself because pushing yourself beyond a certain limit actually
could be dangerous. And yet, if you aren't willing to put yourself in a position where you have to
figure something out, or you have to make a big move you know, then you'll never really know.
You won't know what your potential is. How do you think about the balance of those things?
Again, both in climbing and with respect to the excellence you're pursuing at work.
Renee DeAngelis:
I don't think that you really know unless you try and you have to be okay with falling. I mean,
that's really what it comes down to. And I think in climbing and in a work scenario, you have to
be okay with being uncomfortable. And I have often told people, I work with that well, when
you're climbing the first person up the route or the pitch is lead climbing, and that's a little more
scary because the higher you go up your place in gear, clipping into a gear as you go up. And
you fall to that last piece of gear that you have clipped and that's called lead climbing. And it's a
little bit scary cause you fall a little bit farther than if you're following, if you're the second person.
And so I think that when I'm, when you're leading a team or helping someone get through
something, I think you have to be okay being uncomfortable. You've got to kind of be on lead
and push yourself and navigate the unknown. You don't always know where you're going, but
you do know, you know, where you want to end up, but you don't necessarily know how to get
there. And so I think it's really all about being uncomfortable. And I don't know if balance is
achieved. I think that balance is achieved by testing things out and potentially falling. But when
you break through, it's the craziest most awesome feeling in the world. You know, that's when
you tap into your fierce, when you've tried something, you've been on the edge of, I don't know if
I should go forward or not, and you go forward and you are successful then it is, it's just the
most amazing feeling out there and confidence building and everything that goes along with
kind of becoming the best version of yourself.
Jeff Hunter:
One of the things, so you just use the word fierce. And as you know, I've got a sticky on my
computer that says, find your fierce. I learned so much from the people I have the good fortune
to coach and from you, I've learned a lot about courage. And so I've got this post-it that says,
find your fierce because that's something you were talking about with yourself and I've seen you
exhibit it. What have you experienced in coaching with regards to helping you find that fierce?
Or do you think that’s just something you have and then coaching is playing another role once
you have it?
Renee DeAngelis:
Oh my gosh. I think that finding your fierce is something you always have to work on. It's not
that you have it and it stays with you. I feel like I lost mine for many years and Jeff you've been
instrumental in helping me find that and helping me really make sense of how you do that. So I
don't know if that's really answering your question, but I think that it's something that you, it's
easy to become complacent. I guess, it's easy, I think as a female to get knocked down and to
start to not believe in yourself. And so it takes, you know, I have appreciated you as a coach
because you have been dedicated to knowing that I know how to tap into that and helping guide
me along the way and how to do that, how to find it and what it looks like when I have.
Jeff Hunter:
Okay. So you provided an opening. I want to pursue this a little bit. And because it's actually
something that's deeply meaningful to me, and it's also a scary topic to talk about. And so I just
want to put it out in the open, which is, as you know, I coach a number of female founders, a
number of female executives and something I'm asking them during the course of this podcast
is about my blindness and about the privilege I have as a straight white male and about what
that does with respect to whether I can be an effective coach for somebody who I don't share
their experience, because I do have so much privilege. And you and I have talked a fair amount
about this, about your experience being a female executive and for you it hasn't just as far as
I've understood it, it hasn't just been being a female executive. It's like you're sort of a trailblazer
in a lot of different areas in climbing as a very male dominated sort of sport. At least that's where
a lot of the attention goes to. And so I would just love anything you could tell me or tell us about
what I need to pay attention to or think about with respect to being the best possible coach for
people who don't have my privilege, and I don't share their experience.
Renee DeAngelis:
Well, I think that you, one of the most important things is doing the work and it feels to me like
you do, do the work. You're always asking questions that sort of stop our conversation. And
when you're able to say, well, you know, wait you know, I don't know the perspective you're
coming from and you kind of recognize when you might be coming from a place of privilege.
And so part of that is to be, I think it's absolutely possible, but it, but the coach has to be
someone who is humble and open and willing to do the work, to learn what coming from a place
of privilege means. But I guess that's it for now. I’m trying to think. I mean, I think that it's just,
you know, I kind of think of it as we're in this together, you've been helping me and I, you know, I
hope that you've learned a perspective from me that maybe you didn't have before and the other
women that you coach, but I don't, it's sort of, it's just a journey. And I think that if you have the
relationship where you can be open and honest with each other and have the conversations,
when, that it is a start and, you know, I don't really have a... I just don't think there's a blanket
answer to that because every, not every coach is going to do the work and get educated on
what it means to be coming from their perspective.
Jeff Hunter:
Well, that's great. Thank you. Okay. So tell me if you could change one thing, two things,
whatever it is, I don't want to put an artificial limit on this, about what the people who work in the
corporate world need to know about what they can do better to create an environment that
unleashes the potential of their employees. What would it be?
Renee DeAngelis:
So what would it be to create the environment that would unleash the potential of the
employees? Well, I think, I mean the first thing is create a culture in which that is able to thrive
and have a huge ear to listening and learn how to ask really good questions.
Jeff Hunter:
Good. So what would be a really good question?
Renee DeAngelis:
Hmm. Well, I think if you asked anyone that I work with, they will tell you that I am very good at
asking questions. So I think a good question, if there's maybe not one good question, but I think
that I don't pretend that I know everything. And so it's trying to, when people come to me with
challenges, questions, you know, help me get through this. It's being able to ask them a
question that helps them think critically about the situation so they can learn to come to a
conclusion on their own or get to a conclusion together. If you don't know the answer is either.
Jeff Hunter:
Yeah. So the thing for me, and we've talked about this a lot. So, you know, I have this belief,
like, we're all confused. Confusion is this thing that's happened to us as a species. Like it's not
some people are bad and some people are good and some people are confused and
unconfused and stupid or lazy or whatever. It's like as a species, we have this interesting sort of
thing where we're able to create lots of complexity, but we don't necessarily have the right mind
to deal with the complexity that we've created. It's over constantly and confusion about what's
happening around us. And then I think great leaders and people like yourself come to it with a
sense of humility about the fact that you're probably missing something. And because the, I
think of things like, and again, this is something we've talked about. I think of it like the, you
have lots of tools at your disposal to achieve your goals, but the biggest, most important tool
you have is your brain. And so what you really want to do first and foremost is be like a
craftsman of your own brain. You want to be excellent at using that tool. It's not the only tool
you've got, but it's a really big one. It's a really important one. And because the brain is giving us
consciousness and giving us awareness and all those things, it's almost sort of like we're inside
the tool itself as opposed to separate from it and looking at it and saying, oh, how could I use
this better? And so the first thing is to understand that we have a lot of agency in any situation to
be able to step back and say, okay how, you know, what could I do better? How could I
improve? And then the question to me, the single point question that continues to help people,
both reinforce that humility, as well as ask a productive sort of inquiry to help you move forward
is what am I missing? Because I think we're all missing stuff, right? It's just constant. And it's
both just a reality that our brain can't possibly process all the information that's flowing into it. It's
also our reality that our brain makes all sorts of unconscious distinctions and biases that we
aren't even aware of. And so we're just sort of dealing with what another part of our brain has
already led us, sort of, deal with and coming to a place of humility and saying, what am I
missing to me is the question that sort of, you know, sort of unleashes that moment to explore.
And I've in our coaching I've seen you do that well
Renee DeAngelis:
I agree. I think this is a great example of what I was, when we were talking earlier about sort of
what's the value I've gotten out of coaching is so, you know, as soon as you started talking, I'm
thinking in my brain, of course, yes, the best question is ask, what am I missing? I don't
immediately go there. And I go to my gut instinct in this intuitive of, you know, I'm asking
questions to help people think critically about something. And so I think just, I want to, I don't
know if this is making sense, but it's just like, I'm pointing to the framework that you all have put
together as a way to talk about this as a way to maybe formalize how and speak about how I
would go about coaching someone or how I would go about creating that environment that
people can become their best selves and is, yes, you're right. That is the best question, is what
am I missing here and getting to that through a series of questions. So I don't know if that
makes any sense.
Jeff Hunter:
Yeah, yeah. I think it also connects back to the previous question, the previous thing we were
talking about around privilege, I think if more people with privilege would just ask themselves
that question, it would create a space and an opening to really learn. I think every again,
something you and I have talked a lot about is power grades privilege, and that we're all
somewhere in a hierarchy somewhere, and we all have bosses and we all have somebody who,
you know, people are more powerful than us and less powerful than us. And especially when
we're an executive, there's a lot of people who are less powerful than us and how we show up to
that experience with a sense of humility and yet being completely focused on our goals and not
losing sight of that, holding that tension is just so incredibly difficult. And one of the things I've
always loved learning from you about climbing, etcetera, is that dynamic tension that you can't
have arrogance as you're working towards the summit. And yet you have to be laser focused on
the summit and knowing that, you know, there is an end goal you're trying to achieve. I've
learned a lot from you about thinking that way and thinking through that. What do you think
about, so one of the things I'm pretty curious about is how you create a really great organization,
an organization in your case. You know, ELCAP runs these incredible climbing gyms and I've
always loved hearing from you how important it was that people walk through the door of the
climbing gym and they find a safe place to try something extreme and something important to
sort of unleash themselves on the wall if you will. And so when I think about all the details you
and your team cover in the myriad little things that have to go right. So somebody has,
somebody, one of your customers can only pay attention to one thing. You can only pay
attention, like, okay, have I picked the right wall? Am I clipped in? Am I going to do this as
opposed to like, wow, this place smells or whatever it is, how do you think about both holding
high standards for just a lot of little things, while at the same time being incredibly open, that a
person who's helping you achieve that goal isn't having a good day or is, you know, they, today
just, they made a mistake and in the mistake is affecting a customer. And so you care deeply
about that customer. You care about their experience. You care about that employee. How do
you think about being a leader and a manager in the midst of that tension?
Renee DeAngelis:
Well, I think it helps in our, in my particular world that we, there's not a lot of separation from our
team at work and the community that we work in and our personal lives. So if we are all, you
know, I can speak to myself, I work here. I, but I'm also part of the climbing community. So
there's a tremendous amount of accountability and ownership that I have on a personal and
professional level just every day, whether I am stepping into the gym to work, whether I'm
stepping into the gym to climb, or even if I'm out at a local crab, local crag, climbing crag. I think
that it's on one level, that's, it's a lot of weight on your shoulders. But on the other, I think it
makes that tension a little, it eases that tension because it gives the sense that we're all in this
together. And, you know, it's not just when we're talking about safety in the gym, for example,
it's not just on us to ensure safety, it's on the whole community. It's on every climber who walks
in to make sure that if they see something that potentially might lead to a mistake that they're
speaking up about it, whether to our team members or to that fellow customer member guest.
So I think that it's a little bit, I feel very lucky that it's a little bit easier because we care deeply
not only about the experience and not only about the safety but the people in the community.
And we've really, haven't, you know, we've had our success by building great communities and
having a good culture and having a great vibe when you walk into that door. And so we're all
part of it, whether you're working or whether you're there for fun.
Jeff Hunter:
That's awesome. Okay. So what if you're managing someone and you, as their manager, see,
they have so much more to give. They have so much more potential in them, and they're just for
whatever reason, at least the way you're perceiving it is, they're not bringing it. They are just,
something's going on. And there's a pretty big gap between your expectation and your
experience. There's confusion. How do you approach that? Thinking as much as a manager, as
a coach in that moment to try to unleash their potential?
Renee DeAngelis:
I mean, how do I approach it? I mean it's a very, I feel like it's a long road and that starts with
understanding what's going on with that person. So it's the question you asked, what am I
missing here? Is there something, you know, have we missed a skills assessment? Is there
something going on in the person's personal life? Have they performed previously? And there's
suddenly a change in performance? I just start by asking all of those questions initially. Yeah.
Jeff Hunter:
Yeah. So you talked a little bit just to connect to this. So to tie some of those together, you
talked a little bit earlier about culture. You're talking a little bit about performance, about
potential and you went through a merger and mergers are always interesting experiences
because they take two organizations filled with incredible well-meaning people who are trying to
achieve something. They may even be trying to achieve the same thing, like incredible climbing
gyms, but they have different cultures. They have different behaviors, they reward different
ways of making sense of things. This was really your first time going through that experience.
What have you learned about that merger and about people and about cultures and unleashing
in the midst of that?
Renee DeAngelis:
Well, so we've actually now gone through two because we, so we merged with earth planet
granite merged with earth treks two, almost three years ago. And then just this past December,
we also acquired another, a third climbing gym company called movement. So we have been
putting together, stitching together and creating a new culture out of all three brands since
January really. So my experience with that is, I mean, it was really eye-opening because when
planet granite and earth treks first merged, we very much viewed each other as wow, we're the
sister companies, they, you know, we knew each other. I would always call up that team and
ask questions. How are you doing this? Or, you know, what software do you use, etcetera? And
we would collaborate on a lot of things when we were two separate companies. And so the
merger seemed like it would be easy. It, you know, of course all the puzzle pieces are fitting
together, but when we actually dug into it is, the companies did things drastically different. Not
that one was any better than the other. It's just, we then realized very quickly, we needed to
figure out how to take the best of and create new. And so what I've learned about people is that
there are, you know, I think the success of it depends on people being really open to change
and open to new ways of doing things. And I think it also, it was also a lot of conversations with
people of, do you really want to, you know, be part of creating this new thing. And I think as
leaders, it was really important and it still is very important to cast a vision of where we want to
go. And what does that look like and how we get there is important, but where are we going to
get everybody, you know, on the bus and are in the boat and rowing in the same direction. And
that has been incredibly hard to do. And I remember you telling me that creating culture when
you've gone through a merger takes years and years. And I am definitely, we're three years into
it and yeah it does, it's a lot of work and that's a long road.
Jeff Hunter:
Yeah. Culture is one of those things. I think it's, first of all, it's one of those words that's thrown
around a lot and a lot of people do. And yet it's typically, it's very difficult to sort of define it. We
have a particular way. We define it as you know, we've talked a lot about that. But the thing that
strikes me is when you're going through any sort of integration, cultural change associated with
that integration, and it doesn't even have to be two companies, it can be two teams. It can be
you know, two people then you're really dealing with this thing. That's interesting about human
beings that we all think one thing about ourselves, we believe something about ourselves as
true. That may not be true. In other words, if you go to two, if you go to a person and you say,
would you be open-minded to doing things in a better way? They'll say yes, almost universally.
I'd be like, yeah, of course. And then, but what both the data and the experience shows is the
answer is probably no. Most people are very deeply grounded in these unconscious biases,
ways of working habits, procedures. We just get used to them. And our mind really attaches to
them as a way of like making sense of the world that when someone comes along and one
contacts, the conversation says, would you be open? Then the person says, sure. And when
you actually put them into the change process it's a radically different thing. And how you work
with human beings through that, again, you're trying to achieve a goal. It's very interesting,
especially in the private equity context, you're operating in where there's, it's not like, you know,
15, 20 year horizons, it's 5 and 7 year horizons, and you got to integrate a lot of stuff. Improve a
lot of things, go through a lot of change, open a lot of gyms, do all these things all at once. And
you're dealing at the end of the day with human beings and human beings, some like change,
some types of change. Some don't like change and you as a leader, have to take them through
that. And one of the things I believe that it's just so important for anybody who's listening about
how to unleash your potential is to understand that you yourself are probably the thing that is
standing in the way of that. It's you, you're saying authentically. And I don't think people are ever
lying when they say, yeah, I'm up for the challenge. And then later when they struggle with a
change or a similar challenge, then you'll hear them, you know, sort of blame others and say, no
I was up for the challenge if it had only gone down this way or whatever, but if you put them in a
safe space and you really take them through that, it often is that no, it was easy to say the
change you were open to change and it was actually very difficult to do. And that's why starting
with the premise that people are confused as opposed to bad or good, where, you know, stupid
or lazy or smart or dumb or whatever those sorts of models are frames we put in our head to
make sense of things are just not productive, but knowing that people are confused and getting
them to clarity can take a lot of work. I think is sort of the center of it. And I've seen you go
through that and work through that. Yeah.
Renee DeAngelis:
And I don't think we're there. I mean, it is such a long process because there's layers of
confusion. There's you know, I think we, it's creating that safe space. I think you mentioned you
touched on it when you said that. I think it's creating a space where people do feel that they can
express something and be heard and that there aren't consequences to it, but it has also been a
lot of conversations about what does a merger and an acquisition mean. And what does, you
know, it means that we're probably not going to be doing the same thing, because we've got a
whole new blank slate of way to, for me, it was this opening up to create an experience that
would transform our industry and I, for both team members and customers walking through the
door. And I think that getting everybody on board to do that meant letting go of how you did
things in the past, and it's still difficult for people, and you can see it on their faces when
something is challenging, the way things used to be. And we're slowly getting through all of that.
But I hope that it's been a great learning experience for everybody involved, but it has been so
many conversations on so many levels. And it's every person in the company from top to bottom
has to go through this. And it just takes someone with a, I mean you almost have to set your
kind of step outside of yourself to be able to view it. And trying to, I think for me, one of my
biggest challenges has been, and learning experiences has been, how do you encourage that
behavior across departments, across the whole company and at many different layers. So it's
been a journey and I'm incredibly thankful that I have a team of really talented people to help me
along with it because it can't, you know, it shouldn't, it can't fall on one person to be
spearheading all of it.
Jeff Hunter:
Yeah. And I think what makes it especially difficult is when I talk to people about the leaders I
work with and, you know, anybody who occupies a position of leadership probably has some
level of celebrity associated with them. I don't think that's a good thing, by the way. I just think
that's natural for human beings to take a look at somebody who has more power or privilege
than they do and say, oh, wow, there must be something unique or special about them in my
experiences. Like, no, usually there's not, we’re all just human beings. We're all confused. We're
all sort of working our way through a lot of stuff. Some people have particular talents and given
those talents or give them luck, they end up in a certain place, but, you know, tomorrow the
context could change and it could be you and you could be the right leader for the time. And so
it's really just about constantly being in pursuit of you know, as we've talked about the, your big
four, but to understand that when you're in a position of privilege or power, that you've got these,
as we've talked about psychological keys to the kingdom because you can hire people, you can
fire them, you can promote them, you can demote them, you can give them status, you can give
them membership or cast them out. You can give them the security, or you can diminish that
security. And to me, that's such a critical, important thing everyday to understand like how
important it is to be in that position of power or privilege, and treat that with humility and treat
that with a level of like, understanding that if you are as a leader, confused or having a hard day,
that's going to have a big ripple effect and that's going to really impact a lot of people. And I
know a lot of leaders almost sometimes get defensive about that. Like, you know, that's not fair
or whatever. And I sort of feel like use that celebrity metaphor. It's the, you know, the celebrities
that complain about the paparazzi and I'm like, okay, got it. But it's the reality. People want to
see pictures of you. So how are we going to deal with that? And the thing I've experienced
working with you, and again, so many other great leaders, as the times you're most connected
into that humility, the time you're most connected into that, like, okay, I may be missing
something. Or if I'm asking people to change, I've got to sort of start there myself and be the
change I want to see that courage of going first. Being first on the, you know, being first up to
the pitch is really the, one of the biggest, most important parts of leadership. And I think you've
exemplified it really well.
Renee DeAngelis:
Well, I think when you were talking about, you know, people basically being walking around,
being confused, it is courage. And I think it takes courage to lead and to set that example. And I,
but I also want to, our job is to help people make sense of things. And you've said that often,
and I think if we can't do that, then you know it's recognizing when we can't, but I think a lot of
people, something that's been on my mind lately is a lot of people are thinking about, you know,
I want a mentor, I want a mentor at work and I, you know, I need this to develop and what is the
difference between mentorship and coaching? And I think that is, you know, as a coach, you're
helping them make sense of things. And, you know, I'm not really sure, I’d love to know your
thoughts on that, but I'm kinda, I don't really like the idea of mentorship because I don't want to
create another person like me. It also assumes that I have some, you know, as a mentor, the
mentor is this person on a pedestal that the other person is trying to be like. And I think that it
wasn't, it's not about that. And it's about I don't know, like showing people these, showing
people courage and strength and vulnerability and how to bring that all into the workplace and
how to make sense of things. And I think that is, I don't know, that has been helpful to me. I
don't know how I don't know. I just kind of wanted to point that out.
Jeff Hunter:
Yeah. I think it's very, it can be very easy to confuse management, leadership, mentorship,
advisory, or advice and coaching, and because they all sort of play in the same arena of human
potential in certain ways. And so when we talk about it, we think about leadership as painting a
picture of the future. You want the organization to create and developing a sense of trust and
meaning with the group, with the organization, so that they'll actually want to be inspired to go
there. Whereas management really is a discipline associated with achieving goals through the
work of others. And so, and then with regards to advisory, when you get advice from someone
or you hire an advisor, they're there to give you an answer in my opinion, as opposed to a
mentor, which is there, who is there to show you a path, because hopefully they've done it
before and they can show you a path, but it is your own journey. Whereas a coach, I think when
a coach is excellent is really there to help you just make sense of things. It's an externalized
sensemaker for you at the end of the day. I don't think they can inspire you to be somebody
different than you are, nor should they try. They should help you become the fullest, most
authentic version of yourself. And that has to do with helping you uncover the very confusion
that blocks you from the potential you seek. And the, you know, the excellence you seek. So
they play very different sorts of roles. And of course somebody can be all of those things, but
not at once. And I think there's a lot of people who get very confused by this as they're trying to
be coach and manager at the same time. There's a, at least in the way we think about
management coaching is a huge part of being an excellent manager. But at the end of the day,
a coach has just one goal, which is to unleash your potential and to help and do that through
helping you make sense of the world. A manager has a different order goal, which is to, you
know, achieve a bunch of work through the effort of others. And there are times where coaches
can be very patient and take long periods of time in order to work things out where a manager
may not be able to, they may be in the midst of a triage situation or something else. And then
with respect to what you were saying about what you were saying about mentorship, I think it's
wonderful that there's lots of studies on this. And one of the reasons I'm such a big proponent of
putting more women and people of color and transgender people and all sorts of different
people in positions of power is because I don't know, I think human beings often have to see it
before they can be it, and they often have to see a leader or somebody who's excellent do
something for them to think, oh my gosh, I'm capable of that as well. And so one of the reasons
I love working with people who aren't straight white guys, although I work with plenty of straight
white guys too. And you're all great if you're listening to this, but I, because I feel like that's how I
can help multiple generations unleash their potential because they can see somebody being
great, who's like them. And human beings just at a DNA level are very much like that. That's not
about we're inculturated that way or anything. We're very, from the time we're born, we're very
sensitized to physical attributes of others. And so if we can see people and behavioral attributes
of others, and so if we can see people like us succeed, then we become inspired and we think,
oh, that's the opportunity of myself. And so again, if those people, if they gain power are doing it
in a way that is humble and profound in a way, frankly, like guys like me, haven't done a good
job of I think the world will get better. And it's one of the reasons I absolutely love and I'm
incredibly grateful for working with people like you. Not just that you're a fabulous female leader,
but you're so fierce. And to see, to have people around you be able to see that and carry that
message into the future, I think is just incredibly exciting.
Renee DeAngelis:
Well, thank you. I hope that I can leave that impact on the world.
Jeff Hunter:
I think you can. All right. Well, Renee, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it
very, very much. I've loved our conversation and really just incredibly grateful.
Renee DeAngelis:
Thank you for having me, Jeff.

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