Still Curious S1E5 - Gail Reichert

Gail Reichert00:00

What I'm trying to do is to get them to go, " how come I'm thinking that, and is there something else I can think?" A lot of what we say to ourselves is just repetitive, dramatic story, and it's bullshit. It keeps us safe. And so we've got to be careful as facilitators that we don't dismantle stuff that keeps people safe because that belief, that rule for them might keep them safe outside of the room.

I do challenge and a lot of the times I challenge by reflecting back what they've said, cause normally in a conversation you'll either get people going, "yes, yes, yes", or they'll go, "no, here's an opposing view". They won't get, "here's a mirror, have a look at yourself". That's what I try and do, always validating people's perspectives and going as far as I can to protect people's mana and their sense of self.

Danu Poyner00:51

You're listening to the Still Curious podcast with me, Danu Poyner. My guest today is Gail Reichert, who has a consultancy practice called Leader's Edge, which specializes in designing and facilitating effective, personal and organizational leadership development that raises consciousness and develops emotional intelligence.

Gail is based in Auckland, New Zealand. I first met Gail when I went through one of her leadership development programs a few years ago and found it to be one of the most personally rewarding experiences I've had in a structured learning environment. In this episode, we discuss what made that experience effective and how to create a safe and engaging space to participate,especially when some people may start out thinking this is going to be bullshit.

We discuss how Gail gets us to examine the rules we carry around inside our heads, the importance of unlearning and what it means to have an undeniable experience. We find out why Gail gave the two finger salute to professional teaching, discuss a life journey that connects teaching to accounting, heavy industry and improv comedy and what it's like to live without imposter syndrome.

Gail also talks about the difference between working with children and adults, the most satisfying light bulb moments she's witnessed in her clients, what new leaders struggle with most and what it means to be programmed with possibility. There's also a moment where I get 30 seconds of free therapy.

It's another surprising conversation full of the usual endless tangents and memorable insights. I enjoyed reconnecting with Gail and I hope you enjoy the interaction. It's Gail Reichert coming up right after the music break on today's episode of the Still Curious podcast.Hi, Gail. Thanks so much for coming on the podcast. How are you?

Gail Reichert03:00

I'm good thanks Danu. Yeah, really good.

Danu Poyner03:03

That's good to hear. I guess you've had a rich history of partnering with people in organizations to evolve emotional intelligence and consciousness in leaders and aspiring leaders and team members.

What does that involve?

Gail Reichert03:18

It's a big question. So at the moment, what I do is I design, develop and run leadership programs and organizations that help people increase their self insight and become better leaders. Alongside of that, I sometimes get asked to take coaching assignments with individuals in addition to that.

But the moment I also help some colleagues with some stuff that I can do from my home office, which is some thinking and writing work.

Danu Poyner03:47

Oh, lovely. That sounds like an interesting mix of things. Can I ask you a little bit about this idea of people development? One thing I like to do is to ask people how they would explain these kinds of concepts to a 10 year old version of themselves.

How would you explain people development?

Gail Reichert04:05

People development. Let's put a ring around that and say people development and organizations. Because I think that's where my life has been spent. That's been working with business organizations people and organizations. So what does that mean?It means helping them become aware of how they're thinking, of how they're relating to themselves, how they're relating to others, how they get tasks done in an organization.

I think most of the work that I do is centered around getting to know yourself, understanding and being aware that you are the thinker of your thoughts.You're not your thoughts. No one else gives them to you. You create your own thoughts and if you create your own thoughts, you can change them. And a lot of what the role of a leader is being conscious of what they're thinking and helping other people to become more conscious of what they're thinking and therefore what they're doing.

Danu Poyner05:01

That's a very powerful idea. I think the idea of being able to take that awareness and then change the way that you're thinking your thoughts, that's it can sometimes be a surprising idea. Part of the way you frame your approach, I understand, is that no amount of intellect or courage or knowledge or even motivation can make up for a lack of emotional intelligence.

Why do you say that and how did you arrive at that understanding?

Gail Reichert05:28

I think that there's someone, probably someone else wiser than me that said it first, but because I'm a voracious reader of other people's material and thinking, "why do I say that?" It's that Emotions drive behavior? That's the essence of it.

And people can be really intellectually smart, but if they're not aware of the emotional impact they're having on others, then they won't be very effective as a leader. They won't be very effective even as a team member, as an individual contributor in the workplace, if they're not aware of the impact that they are having on the emotions of other people.

So emotions have such a huge impact on how our physiology operates. If you think about stress, stress is just emotion on overload. It's nothing other than neuro transmitters racing round your body that are created from the emotions that you're creating in your body in your response to the environment.

Danu Poyner06:27

It's certainly a lot of emotional overload going on just at present. I think, this idea of having an awareness of how you're impacting others emotionally has gotta be really important for leadership and particularly people who are new to leadership at one of the groups that you're working with.

And I think one of the things you work on is helping new leaders learn about what leadership is. And often I think these are people who've been promoted to leadership because they were good at doing something, but now they have to shift to a mindset of getting things done. So that's a process through people exactly. And so that's a process you've seen many times, I assume. What can you share about that process and what you notice about people going through that learning?

Gail Reichert07:13

The process of shifting from being an expert and to being a team leader?

Danu Poyner07:17

Yeah. That's right.

Gail Reichert07:19

Quite often it's an eye-opener when people come from that position of expertise and they realize that they've got to stop getting their sense of self from what they personally achieve.

They've got to put their ego aside and develop a whole new skillset, which is about helping other people do the best that they can. And if I think back to the way, for instance the leadership program running at the moment, that concept comes up before they've even come into the room.It's pre-work understanding that you've got to stop that.

Not, you don't have to stop the drive for achievement, but you've got to redirect the drive for achievement, from self to helping others achieve. That quite often involves letting go of some ego stuff, being the expert.Which is something that needs to be unlearned. You learn as much as unlearn when you become a leader.

Danu Poyner08:19

That's a very interesting idea, that idea of unlearning I'll come back to that. I've got a few things to ask you about your practice actually but let me zoom out for a bit and just and ask you how you came to be interested in this line of workand how you became curious about that?

Gail Reichert08:36

About leader development? I don't think it was a conscious effort. How did I actually get into it? I wasn't, the first half of my working life was spent as an accountant and eventually a chartered accountant and which seems a bit of an oxymoron with what I do at the moment.I was a good accountant and I liked it. I enjoyed it but it didn't light my fire. But if I backtrack, even before that, before I started studying accounting, I actually trained as a secondary school teacher. And as a result of that, when I was in the accounting profession, I got involved in doing staff training.

And I think that was where that sort of picked up my love of teaching and training and helping people to develop. So that's where I first became exposed to the concept of leader development was when I was working with Ernst & Young many years ago.

Danu Poyner09:36

Was being a secondary school teacher plan A? Was there a plan A?

Gail Reichert09:42

No, there was just a random set of decisions that got made through my life. Really. How I came to go to training college was that I came through commercial course at secondary school.

And so I didn't have the academic background to go to university, but I did have the background to go to teacher's training college.And I had two teachers, husband, and wife who mentored me. They were commercial teachers and they suggested that I might like to try teaching. So I applied and the I got on because I'd only just turned 16 years old.

And so I did my two years at teachers training college. And at the end of that, I'd discovered how independently I thought.And I had come up against the let's just call it the 1950s mindset of people at training college in those years. And we reached an amicable decision that I would not continue with teaching.

Even though I was, I loved it and I was really good at it, but I just couldn't stand to work in that system.That was so constrained. And so I left there and at the same time I'd started studying accounting. So I just carried on doing it. So that was like accidental, although it was a seminal moment in my mind and my life, I guess when I stood up against the system and said, no, two fingers salute, I ain't going to work with this sort of stuff.

Because I could see that the patronizing nature of education back in those days, which was teacher knows best. And the students weren't related to as human beings, they were related to as units. And it was just such an antithesis to my value system that, yeah, I went, no, I can't do this.

Danu Poyner11:27

That's a big moment. Do you remember when you made that decision or had that realization that you were going to give the two fingered salute?

Gail Reichert11:36

Yeah, it was actually at the end of a meeting. I'd been off on teaching section and there'd been something really weird happened in terms of when I was giving my critic lesson that pointed to a collusion between the teacher at the school and the observer from training college, which set me up to fail.

And when we debriefed on that and I was told then they didn't see that they could award me my diploma to graduate from training college that I thought if I'm not going to get my diploma, what's the use of carrying on because I'm not going to go back because I'm good enough as I am.

And actually the moment that it happened in the classroom was one where I'd been given a topic to teach when I introduced it to the classroom. The students in the classroom said, "Oh miss, we've already done that about two months ago. And so it was impossible for me to follow my critical lesson, my lesson plan.

So I did what any good teacher would do, which was said, okay let's revise and see where you're at and get you on doing the activity. And then I was marked down for that. So it was just asinine, really. It's like never argue with a fool because people might not know the difference.So I just went, I'll get out of this foolish place, get under somewhere where I can be human.

So.

Danu Poyner12:55

Accountancy.

Gail Reichert12:56

Yeah, actually I, yeah, I enjoyed it. It was good. And I started working and heavy industry was my first job at New Zealand glass manufacturers. Yeah, so it, it was really interesting.I found that interesting because, I was working with all sorts of professional and trades people in that environment and it was great.

Danu Poyner13:14

This idea of finding things interesting is really, I guess what curiosity is, and it's an interesting trait to have, to be able to find things interesting. What role do you think curiosity plays in your life? Do you think about, is it an intentional thing or is it more of a, an unconscious thing?

Gail Reichert13:32

I think it's, I think for me it's innate. I think as a family myself and my brother were both raised in an environment where knowledge was valued and encouraged and curiosity was encouraged.And I think that's just, I'm just insanely curious about everything and concerning. Optimistic about everything.

Yeah, it's unconscious more than anything.

Danu Poyner13:59

Has following that curiosity ever led you to something really surprising or got you into trouble?

Gail Reichert14:08

Um,

Danu Poyner14:08

You don't have to share.

Gail Reichert14:09

It's just yeah. Where my thoughts are going is that, there's a lot of conversation now about imposter syndrome.

And I've never, ever been struck by imposter syndrome. I've only ever gone. I don't know if I can do it. Let's say yes.And find out where it stops. And I've found myself in life sort of turning around and going, gosh, looking into the past and saying, I didn't know I could do that. And so I don't know where that came from.

I don't know whether that's innate. I have an idea that from memories, from, like being a little child that I've been put on this earth is someone who has a really strong sense of self.And I could be barraged by people calling me names as a little kid, and I still just look at them and go you're stupid, and it would be like water off a Duck's back.

Yeah, one of my earliest memories is of being teased by kids. This is when I'm, probably three or four being teased by neighborhood kids and just thinking, well they're stupid and letting it roll off of me.

Danu Poyner15:14

Wow. I guess a lot of people would give a lot to have that kind of confidence. You mentioned being an independent thinkers is a term you used before. Do you remember the first time you realized that and had that way of understanding?

Gail Reichert15:28

I think probably that instance I'm talking about.If I reflect back over my life, as that was me independently thinking that I don't care what you say, you can do whatever you want, but also I think I just praised my parents and the way we were brought up my mother particularly. Bless her, she's still alive at 96.

Her role was to raise independent people who were capable of making their own decisions.And we were, even from the time, I think the first time I realized that I was going to have to make choices for myself in life. When I moved from primary school to secondary school and I had to make the choice of what course I was going to do.

And that was leftover to me.It's like my parents kind of went well, you know, more than we do. We don't know much, we're not university educated. Both of them finished school around, 14 or 15, something like that. They went, we don't know what you should do. You should do what you want to do.

And I didn't really have any problem with that. I think probably because of the way it'd been raised up until then making decisions for myself with school.

Danu Poyner16:33

Yeah, I must say I've had a similar kind of experience myself. My parents are always about letting me make my own decisions, which is mostly great.

I've loved that. Sometimes it gets me into trouble and means I take things a slightly longer way than I need to possibly,

Gail Reichert16:50

That's the rich variety of life. That's how you get all the ins and outs of it.

Danu Poyner16:54

Absolutely. So coming back to emotional intelligence then, which you placed at the center of a lot of things, do you see there's a connection between emotional intelligence and curiosity and learning?

Gail Reichert17:05

Well developed emotional intelligence. Because if we just placing emotional intelligence as a big blob in the middle. Are you talking about low or high emotional intelligence? I'd go, the presence of reasonably well-developed emotional intelligence makes taking on new concepts and learning new things easier.

I think because of particularly in the, if I think in the leader development area, because it's not it's, what do I want to say? It's not knowledge because anyone can read a book and, find the frameworks that I use and understand all of the theories behind it and read the research behind it.

But it's the experience of having to integrate that into your life? That creates good, solid learning for a leader. It's the conversations they have as a group. It's the activities that we put them through and learning what I call an undeniable experience. So you have an experience and then we do a debrief and go, so what happened there and what did you learn and what would you do differently?

So, The curiosity, yeah. If someone's not curious, the likelihood of them having a love of learning is pretty low, and maybe love of learning is curiosity.

Danu Poyner18:21

That's an interesting idea. I hadn't thought about them being in essence the same thing.

Gail Reichert18:26

I think they are because a lifelong learner as a lifelong curious person who wants to know, how does that work?

How is that person thinking? Why is that happening? Even just looking out the window and going, why is that history gray when it rains and getting curious about, how come society is letting that happen? Whereas other people can just look at that and go, oh, that's terrible. End of story.

Danu Poyner18:53

Is everyone curious naturally? Is curiosity something we have to a greater or lesser degree? Is it something you can learn? If someone's not curious, can they become curious through good facilitation?

Gail Reichert19:07

Yeah. And my thoughts are going to, if you think of little children, they are just, little bundles of curiosity from the time where... little children, we were curious about how does it work? And when kids get to two and they go why, why, why, why, why? And they drive their parents crazy. So where does that curiosity go, would be one of the conversations I'd like to explore. People who don't retain that sense of curiosity as they get older.What is it that has cooled or diminished that curiosity of childhood?

I don't know because I've only ever been curious either a seeker of experiences and a seeker of knowledge and wisdom and how could things be?

Danu Poyner19:49

I don't know the answer to this either, but this is partly why I'm doing this podcast is to have lots of conversations and see what I can find out.

My working theory is that we all start curious and then experiences. We have tend to beat it out of us in various ways. But I'd like to think that it can be reignited and that those who still have it need to be treasured and learned from but that's my working idea.Would you like to share any examples of what you do in the room, in those kinds of facilitated sessions?

Gail Reichert20:21

Yeah. Yeah. That's interesting because one of the questions you sent through to me that I don't actually have right in front of me, but it was like you were talking about, because you've been through a program that I've run and you were talking about how quicklyyou hopped on board in terms of going, I think this is going to be okay as a learning experience.

And you wondered how I did that?

Danu Poyner20:47

Oh, maybeI can put some context around that then. Yes, I have been through one of your leadership programs and I'm someone who probably has some natural aptitude, I guess, for relating to other people and synthesizing things, which means that I gravitated naturally towards

leadership type situations in the past without being a formal leader. But I guess your workshops really gave me an opportunity to bring a lot of that into a conscious level, like you were saying before. And you've given me concepts and vocabulary to think with, and that's really helped me to be more intentional in the way that I interact with other people, but to zoom out and go back.

That's not what I would have expected to have from a program like that. I've found that there's a lot of defensiveness and cynicism that people often bring to group a work exercise is something certainly I do. And I know personally, when the butcher's paper comes out in workshops, it's usually time to run for the hills.

And I think that many people suspect that group workshops are going to be at best, some kind of well-intentioned bullshit. And certainly when I facilitate workshops, I find that's quite a palpable energy that's coming off, people that they're defensive when they start.I think it probably took about only 15 minutes in your workshop for me to drop that defensiveness.

And I actually can't remember why that was, but I guess I just wanted to ask you about that defensiveness and how people come to the space and just what your thoughts are about that.

Gail Reichert22:28

I think that's interesting cause I like I wouldn't label defensiveness. It's something that I anticipate from people. My intention is to build trust and rapport, not just between me and participants, but between participants in the rooms because the learning doesn't just happen from me, it happens from the interactions and the conversations that people have with each other and the explorations they do, especially in an adult learning situation.

So my focus at the start of a session, it actually starts way before then. So when I walk into the room I was thinking back, you know, I can I say, I always do this. I almost always have a pretty good idea on who the people are in the room, what the backgrounds are. And what they might be there for, how well prepared are they and have possible connection with me before they actually walk in the room. So they're not walking into the room meeting someone that they don't know, they feel like they know me so that they've had, they might've had some sort of email conversation or they've heard something from me so that they, there's a human to human connection there.

And then my preparation starts before I get in the room that day and I actually call them the energy of everyone who's there. And in a metaphysical sense and just try and connect with everyone so that in the wider field I've actually got the group together before they walk in.And then as they walk in the room, especially pre COVID, it was always eye contact, say, hello, shake hands. And I have a big smile and genuinely be pleased to see people there because I wouldn't have a job if people didn't walk in the room. And I never know what magic they're going to bring in the room, but there'll always be something special about every person that comes in there.

And there's a lot of things that I do, right at the start of the session that is about making sure everyone is connected with everyone else. Just skills of my craft of facilitation. That's what it's about. And I'm pretty fearless when it comes to being at the front of the room.When one of the trainings I've done that has allowed me to be as fearless as I can be is improv comedy.

When I studied with Wayne Jackson and his crew improv comedy, which is about being in the moment and you just accept everything that comes your way and you do something with it and you move the story on.And so my experience of being in the comedy feast with a whole group of people, young people that I didn't know, this is, when I was like 20 or 30 years older than them being handed the storyline of a theory tale and having no idea what the story of the fairy tale was about, but having to be a bit player in that and going, I'm not going to die.

Just to get on and do something. And so that's what I think enables me to be relatively unarmored at the front of the room. Like when I'm there, I'm just there and there's no pretense. I don't defend if I muck up, I go, sorry. I did that bad. I don't pretend that I've got all the answers because I don't, I've got a lot of questions, but I don't have all the answers.

Danu Poyner25:47

I'm now remembering some of the things from the room and yeah, people bring really surprising interpretations of what, like you got 30 people, who've all gone through the same experience, but they've had 30 different experiences and interpretations.

And I just I recall if someone will say something about what they've experienced and then I'm picturing the way that you respond to that and you have questions. And it's now that you've mentioned improv comedy, I am thinking of it as receiving like a ball that you've been thrown. And then it's okay.

Yes, and and what do I do with this now? Is that what's happening?

Gail Reichert26:25

That's kind of what's happening, but also if you think back to the work that we do in the program on beliefs, the beliefs that I bring that are deeply embedded in me that everyone, what people say makes sense to them, even if it's a complete curiosity, or piece of weirdness to me, it makes sense to them.

And so I need to acknowledge and validate that and that's really what I try to do. And all of my interactions in the room, is to be nonjudgmental and be curious about how come they've got that position. How come they've had that experience? How come they're saying those words. Isn't that really interesting?

That's happened for them. Gosh, how did I, what did I do that made that happen for them? Or what did I not do that made that, if it's a good or a bad thing, is this something I need to change because that's happened for them. And sometimes it's true. Sometimes that's nothing to do with me, always validating people's perspectives and going as far as I can to protect people's mana and their sense of self.

And you will never find me mocking someone in the room. You'll never find me. Never say never. I was going to say making them wrong occasionally I have, and I, and it usually ends up badly for me and for them. The best thing I can do is just make a space for people to play it.

Danu Poyner27:47

I think that's probably what loosened me up a bit in that space as well that this is a safe space to play, but it's also not just accepting everyone's perspectives as being it's nonjudgmental, but that it's not accepting everything as being equally valid.You are pushing and probing a little bit on why people have those.

Gail Reichert28:09

. Yeah. I do challenge. I will challenge. And a lot of the times I challenge by reflecting back what they've said or some of the questions that I learned through studying in RP, you run linguistic programming who made that rule?If someone says you should do that.

And that's cause what I'm hearing them as saying that they've got a rule inside of them that says this is the right way and this is wrong way, but they would never have examined. That's they don't even realize they've got that rule running. So by asking that question you know who said, that's the way, that it'll shake them into going, you know, they go, well, it has to be, you know, and even if I just sit with that and smile at them, they'll go away and think about it.

And I don't have to say anything more because normally in a conversation you'll either get people going yes yes yes or they'll go, no, here's an opposing view. They won't get here's a mirror. I have a look at yourself and that's what I try and do.

Danu Poyner29:10



It's very powerful that. It does make you think that a lot of what you're saying might actually be more, it'd be a need to examine it.

Gail Reichert29:18

A lot of what we say to ourselves is just repetitive, dramatic story, and it's bullshit. It keeps us safe. And so we've got to be careful as facilitators that we don't dismantle stuff that keeps people safe because that belief, that rule for them might keep them safe outside of the room, but it might not suit them as a leader.

And so we've gotta be really careful and really respectful about how we think.

Danu Poyner29:47

Yeah, that's a really important point. I think just sticking with the improv and then the performance idea, there's that talk of people having scripts and sometimes the experience of finding yourself scriptless can be really anxiety inducing.

And so there's a tension between holding up the mirror, as you say, and then not yanking out the rug, I'm mixing up all the metaphors, but does that resonate with you? Do you have any thoughts?

Gail Reichert30:15

Yeah. I don't want to pull the rug out from someone because that just takes them off their foundation, which is not what I'm trying to do.

What I'm trying to do is to get them to go, how come I'm thinking that, and is there something else I can think. Because if I pulled the rug out from under them, that means that I've got a position of I'm right and you're wrong. And that is not the game I try and play. I don't always succeed by the way, sometimes I do hold firmly to, I'm right.

But generally, what I'm trying to do is to have people reflect on how they're thinking, what they're thinking.So it's more philosophy than anything else, I guess.

Danu Poyner30:55

Yeah. I'm picturing a couple of exercises that we did, and there was one where we had the room divided into quadrants and people had to go across to the opposing quadrant and convince people to do something to join their team.

It was fascinating that exercise because it really brought out everyone's scripts, or beliefs really, and traits quite quickly. And it was really hard. And even though you thought, oh yeah, I know how this is going to go, it didn't and it didn't succeed. So I'm curious to hear more about what that's like for you, but also you mentioned before about the undeniable learning in those experiences. Sorry, undeniable experience. There's a temptation, maybe , for people in those exercises to dwell on what happened rather than what they can learn from that, or take from it.

How do you approach moving people from talking about what's happening to that learning and applying?

Gail Reichert31:59

People need to go through the reflection before they can get to the, so like what happened? I don't know if you know the debrief segments, but it's what happens?So what now? And so I just, in that particular instance you're talking about, we do that activity in the first workshop and again, in the third workshop, so people get an opportunity to replay it if we do it, if we get together in person. And that's where they get to apply it.But it's if you give them an undeniable experience like you head standing around the circle where, even the different approaches of the different quadrants to the task at hand, It becomes undeniably apparent that the types, the stereotypes, which is what they are, approach the challenge differently.

And once people have seen that and they've experienced it, they can't unknow it. And so it takes time for people then to process it and go, can I remember the other quadrants around the circle, because they'll always remember their own stuff. But then what can I do about it? That will come to them at different times depending on how the relating and how many different styles they have around them.

Trying to come back to your question, is how do I get them to get out of the knowing and into the doing, I think is what the question is. The whole thing is just running so fast in my head and so it's knowing that, especially after the first workshop, when they come back to the second workshop and people have to go, this is what I did with what I learned.

And once that ritual is set up, then people are thinking about that and upcoming workshops. So they, oh, I've got to come back, girl's going to ask me, what did I do with what I learned? I'd better either think of something I've learned or make it up. And I don't care which one it is because the brain can't tell the difference.

So you can tell me a story about what you did differently or tell me what actually happened. I actually don't care, but you've given thought to it. And once that thought process has started, then your lenses through which you see the world have changed.

Danu Poyner34:05

I think we should talk about the approaches then. Cause I think you're working with a variety of approaches. There's the disc and there's the emotional culture deck and you're a narrative coach and neuro-linguistic programming, you mentioned multiple brain integration techniques.What's your learning process? How do you decide what to take and from these different things and put them together?

Gail Reichert34:28

Yeah, really good question. I, kind of hoped you, weren't going to ask me. Like, you know, how have I learned, why have I learned some of those things?Why have I gone through those studies? It's because I've had an introduction of some sort and it's rung true for me. Like my learning process is quite deeply kinesthetic.

So it's got to make sense to me. I've got to be able to imagine me doing something different and know what it feels like to be able to go wholeheartedly into a learning experience.And for instance, when I see GS2 learning about narrative coaching, for instance, then I listened to an example of an narrative coach conversation and it just really resonated inside of me.

And so I thought, yeah, I'll go and learn that. Turns out I actually haven't used it that much.It's one of those things that goes in the kitbag and it might get pulled out every now and then.

Danu Poyner35:21

I guess what's interesting about it is that they are so different. There's some of this sort of narrative stuff combined with neuroscience.

And I guess the reason I'm asking is It's early in the podcast, but one of the things that's already come up as a theme is how people take something they learned from one area of life or experience and add it to another area.And what that's about, that synthesizing. So it just strikes me that there is a real diversity of approaches.

And I'm just curious about how you came to find all those things and smashed them together.

Gail Reichert36:00

Let me talk about the things in common. I guess the first kind of level of knowledge or first coat that I put on was NLP neuro-linguistic programming.And that is just, it's talked about euphemistically.

It's a study of excellence. So how do people do what they do? It's helping people understand how the beliefs drive their behavior. How you take on and process information and what that means for you and how you can relate to other people with that blah, blah, blah.That is very closely aligned to multiple brain integration techniques. Imbert came out of two NLP master practitioners wanting to dive a little bit deeper than to the kinesthetic side of NLP processing information.

And so those two are aligned and multiple brains, Imbert, is when it first started out as a coaching approach and it has more of a therapeutic coaching approach then an organizational coaching sense, although I have used it in an organizational sense very successfully. Narrative coaching is aligned with that and that you're looking at storytelling and in relation to time.

And if you check, the theory of narrative coaching is if you change your story, you'll change your life. And narrative coaching is about taking the stories from the past, finding a pivot point and creating a new story. So it's working with timelines that, in common with the NLP, what else have I studied?

Conversational intelligence. I think I was drawn to that because of the neuroscience aspect of it. And that kind of acts for me as a backdrop to the kinesthetic sense, I checked kinesthetically, does this make sense? But my head is always wanting knowledge and conversational intelligence gavea lot more of the neuroscience behind what's happening in terms of emotions and conversations.

What else have I covered everything?

Danu Poyner38:02

The emotional culture deck is probably the only thing we haven't touched on there.

Gail Reichert38:05

Yeah. Okay. Emotional culture deck. So that kind of pulls everything together.So that works on the principle that emotions drive behavior in organizations, emotions are happening.

People experience emotions at work every day, but back in the last century emotions were meant to be left at the door. But we know that the current neuroscience coming out says that an emotional culture exists in an organization, even if it's one of suppression.And if you want to impact behavior in an organization, then you need to be able to acknowledge emotions because the emotions are what drive behavior.

And so the emotional culture deck is a very simple tool and it's a very easily adapted tool that helps people surface and talk about emotions, both desired and undesired emotions.And that helps leaders to connect a bit of what the teams that helps teams connect better with themselves, helps them create the culture in which they want to work.

Danu Poyner39:12

It's a very powerful idea. It's still feels like a slightly radical idea, even in 2021. And I'm thinking back to your comment about the 1950s mindset in teaching before. Have we moved past the 1950s mindset in education?

Gail Reichert39:27

I don't know whether I'm qualified to answer that because, let me frame it this way.

So some of the work I do currently is with a special school and I work quite closely with the principal of a special school. She's older than me, so she's definitely out of the 1950s, but she's probably in the 2030s now in terms of where her thinking and where she's trying to take her school, she won't be there for that long because she's way overdue for retirement.

She talks to me about the teachers that she has coming across now who still have this mindset that's that is they have to control the classroom. They have to control the students. And it's something that I found very hard to grasp, although having a father who was in the military and he was a military policeman, I actually had command and control in my DNA.

I found that very easy, but I also realized that if you make the environment exciting and motivating that you all have your control issues go out the window, cause people want to learn. Children want to learn. They want to have a good time. For the most part, they want to be acknowledged and validate and enjoy.

And so I think, yeah, I think education, and this is an uninformed view, but I think education is probably on the cusp at the moment. There are probably significant numbers of teachers coming through who get the inspiring, motivating culture that is possible to create in the classroom.

But there are others who are still fear-driven and think that, if they lose control, children won't learn, which, in my view, it's the complete opposite. But as I said uninformed in that.

Danu Poyner41:19

Have you had a workshop facilitation situation where you lost control?

Gail Reichert41:26

Where I've lost control of myself or I've lost control of the environment?

Danu Poyner41:29

Of the environment.

Gail Rei