Episode #1097: In this episode of the Arete Coach Podcast, Virginia Knudsen, an Executive Coach, former Vistage Chair, and CEO/Founder of BOAR—a courageous community that encourages and creates personal and professional greatness—discusses her journey to executive coaching from the banking sector, her journey of becoming a young mother and entrepreneur, and her passion for helping others and the importance of caring for people as a coach. During the episode, Virginia discusses her powerful personal mantra, the importance of being a lifelong learner, and the powerful questions she uses in her coaching.
About Virginia Knudsen
Virginia Knudsen is an Executive Coach, former Vistage Chair, and CEO/Founder of BOAR, a courageous community that encourages and creates personal and professional greatness. At BOAR, Virginia helps executives and business owners seize the opportunities ahead of them and fulfill their personal potential. Through her CEO Mastermind Groups and executive coaching, she helps business leaders develop their skills, live courageously, inspire others, be role models, and connect and learn from other business leaders.
Virginia uses her unique skill set that she has developed over the years in her roles as a CEO, entrepreneur, executive vice president, and COO. She is a former Vistage Chair of 7 years and a former Vistage member of 7 and a half years. Prior to her consulting and coaching, Virginia was the Senior Vice President and Regional Manager of First National Bank of Nevada. She was the SVP of Nevada State bank and the EVP and COO of the Bank of George. She obtained her master’s of science degree in organizational leadership from Regis University and was awarded the Glass Ceiling Women of Distinction Award by the National Association of Women Business Owners in 2009. In 2021, Virginia also became a Certified Fierce Facilitator.
“Caring about people”
As Virginia’s success as a former Vistage Chair is discussed, Host and Curator of the Arete Coach Podcast, Severin Sorensen, asks “to what do you attribute your success [as a Vistage Chair]?” Virginia shares that although she was told that finding and enrolling members in Vistage groups would be the hardest part, she did not experience that. She shares that starting her Vistage groups wasn’t “difficult.” Not because she was a “great salesperson,” but because of her care for others. Virginia explains, “I think that it’s about caring about people. I think it’s an abundance mentality versus scarcity mentality. When I go in to meet with a new client, I’m not going in to see if I can get them or sell them or get them to join my group. I’m going in curious to find out who they are, get in relationship, and see if I can provide value in that moment.”
“So what? Now what?”
When asked what personal mantras or rules guide her “decision making or perspective on life,” Virginia shares her own mantra of “So what? Now what?” She shares that she has learned that “if something goes wrong or [she] makes a mistake,” she has a tendency to “go from zero to homeless.” In using this mantra, she gives herself more grace saying, “that happened, wasn’t optimal, what did I learn from it and where am I going?” This mantra helps her stay focused on the “bigger picture” of her goals and aspirations.
Coaches: the “keepers of secrets”
Virginia shares that as a coach, she is a “keeper of secrets.” She elaborates on this and states that coaches are “the place that people can go to say anything to.” In being a keeper of secrets, she asks her clients powerful questions such as, “how is this behavior in alignment with who you say you wanna be or where you have shared that you wanna go?” She asks this question and others from a place of non-judgment and privacy so that her clients can find alignment between their goals and behaviors.
Forgiveness and freedom
When asked about a lesson she wishes she would have learned earlier, Virginia discusses the power of forgiveness. Virginia shares a four-step process that she uses to “forgive and let go.” She explains that she has learned that “people have a tendency to behave the way they were taught to behave, the way their parents behaved, and their parents before that. And transformation is about changing the family tree on the things that didn’t work…” In using this four-step process, Virginia shares that it has helped her “breakthrough [her] limiting conversations and beliefs.”
Being the boar
Virginia shares that the animal that would best describe her superpower as a coach would be the boar. She explains that after an encounter with a family of boar, she learned that “the boar is an animal that’s fearless and headstrong,” often used to symbolize “truth, courage, and confrontation” and uncovering “what lies beneath the surface.” She also shares that boars “respect their senses” and are “very family and community oriented.” In applying this to her coaching practice, she explains that the biggest takeaway is on the symbolization of “truth, courage and confrontation” which is seen in coaching as “being willing to confront what doesn’t work in ourselves and others to help them and ourselves be our very best.”
“You are enough”
During the conversation, Severin asks, “I want you to compare your life right now with what your life was as a young mother… what would you tell that 16-year-old today with your wisdom, as you’re thinking about that difficult road ahead?” Virginia responds with the powerful statement of, “you’re enough. You’re actually more than enough. You have all the tools you need to be whoever you wanna be.”
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