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“Grow Stronger, Work Smarter, and Live Richer”

Episode #1078: In this episode of the Arete Coach Podcast, Brent O’Bannon, an International Coaching Federation (ICF) Master Certified Coach (MCC), Executive Coach, GALLUP Certified Strengths Coach, Workplace Training Coach, Human Potential Expert, Keynote Speaker, Amazon #1 Best-Selling Author, and CEO of Strengths Champion Solutions, discusses the power of focusing on strengths versus weaknesses and the difference between therapy and coaching. During the conversation, additional topics are discussed including Brent’s books, Selling Strengths and Balance Matters, the importance of addressing emotions and listening, and Brent’s goal to help his clients “grow stronger, work smarter, and live richer.”

About Brent O’Bannon

Brent O’Bannon is an International Coaching Federation (ICF) Master Certified Coach (MCC), Executive Coach, GALLUP Certified Strengths Coach, Workplace Training Coach, Human Potential Expert, Keynote Speaker, Amazon #1 Best-Selling Author, and the CEO of Strengths Champion Solutions.

Through Brent’s expertise as an executive coach and human potential expert, Brent helps businesses, leaders, teams, and organizations achieve excellence. Brent’s vision is to champion strengths for global excellence by training 10,000 Strengths Champion Certified coaches. Brent has facilitated more than 27,000 one-to-one coaching sessions and has spoken more than 700 times to over 350 organizations. Brent has been coaching for over 28 years and he uses his background as a Licensed Professional Counselor, EAP Consultant, Master Certified Coach, his MBS in counseling psychology, and GALLUP Strengths Coach certification as a source of wisdom and insight to help his clients “grow stronger, work smarter, and live richer.”

Key highlights

Defining the difference between therapy and coaching

Timestamp 03:45

Prior to entering the executive coaching field, Brent served in ministry and helped others as a counselor. After deciding to shift careers and begin coaching, Brent needed to change the way that his community saw him and his services. He chose to no longer accept insurance as an executive coach and also outlined in his coaching contract that he was not providing therapy. However, while he draws the line between coaching and counseling very clearly in his coaching, Brent does use his skills as an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) when doing “employee assistance program training.”

To focus on your strengths

Timestamp 11:58

One of Brent’s personal mantras is “what if we focused on what is strong versus what is wrong with us?” Brent shares that when people focus on their strengths, they grow stronger. In growing stronger, they also acknowledge what weaknesses they have and can identify themselves as “flawsome,” meaning that they can embrace and recognize their flaws while still believing that they are awesome “even with those faults.” After becoming stronger and identifying strengths and weaknesses, individuals with a strengths focus can then apply these strengths to their careers. Brent explains that learning and applying strengths is “like a rocket going to the moon,” in terms of helping people excel in their careers.

Powerful questions and reflection

Timestamp 23:41

In Brent’s coaching, he likes to use questions unique to the strengths of each client. For example, if a client has positivity as a skill, he will ask “what would a fun strategy be to you for life balance?” If a client has a strength in context, Brent might ask, "what is an example of a success story from your past that energizes you?" Another strategy that Brent uses in his coaching includes reflecting his client’s quotes back to them. Brent shares an example of a client who had an employee who was “driving” them “crazy.” During the coaching session, Brent told this client, “you’re driving me crazy!” Brent’s client looked at him “and burst out laughing.” He explains that “she had this mindset shift… Now she’s seeing herself in the shoes of the other person that was driving her crazy.”

Handling emotions as an executive coach

Timestamp 31:12

When asked what current practices in coaching are misused or untrue, Brent explains that while there is a difference between executive coaching and therapy, many coaches tend to be “too intellectual” and fail to allow “the emotions to come up appropriately in the coaching sessions.” Brent also states that sometimes people in the coaching field are actually better at consulting or speaking. He explains that “when really you're the one that likes telling the stories all the time, maybe [coaching is] not a good fit for you. So instead of trying to call yourself a professional coach, call yourself a consultant because I know many people who call themselves a coach and they don't know how to ask good questions. They don't know how to listen well, and a true professional coach listens deeply.”

Moving beyond the models

Timestamp 35:48

Additional advice that Brent has for being a high-impact executive coach is to move beyond the mental models of coaching. He shares that sometimes coaching will go outside the model and that it’s important for coaches to stay present, be in the moment, and stay grounded. Brent states that “learning how to be authentically you, with your own strengths, and your own way of being is important.”

Money mindset

Timestamp 44:42

When asked about Brent’s earliest time when money was important to him, Brent shares his “money mindset” journey. He shares that in his early 20s he didn’t know he could be entrepreneurial, but that his money mindset has grown since then. Severin shares his own experience in learning how to price his services early in his career. When asked about tips he would have for those looking to expand their money mindset, Brent shares the importance of reading books, listening to podcasts, and discussing with others topics regarding money. He also notes the importance of investing in his own skill development. He states that “when I started paying more for my own coach and I started paying more for other services to train and develop, I think that's when my money mindset took a big leap… I can give that value and be paid well because I know what it's like to value someone else's work and pay them well."

Finding the balance

Timestamp 51:59

Brent shares that “well-being” is very important to him in terms of finding the balance between his personal life and career. He explains that “putting your oxygen mask on first is something” he “learned the hard way.” Early in his career, he learned the importance of investing in his relationships with others as well as taking care of his own body. He shares “I could not be playing the long game in a career without putting the oxygen mask on first. And to me, that is something very important for a lot of us in the work world.”

Download the transcript

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Transcript_Brent O’Bannon_Podcast #1078
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