Julia Holloway

Julia Holloway: Balancing yourself for constant change, authentic connection and meaningful success (#13)

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Our guest today: Julia Holloway

As a woman, I’ve made it a quest for the Feisworld Podcast to identify influential women my listeners can learn from. I’ve encountered many female leaders in and outside of work who have so much to offer other women (and men). However, their stories are not always readily available. There are projects such as the The 3% Conference that are challenging the shortage of women’s voices in leadership positions. I hope to become part of this movement by promoting women as guests on my podcast. As other podcasters have also noted, finding women to be guests on the show can be difficult. I have come to that conclusion (sadly) as well since launching the Feisworld podcast in October 2014. I will keep searching for and finding these women with compelling stories to contribute.

One such woman is today’s guest, Julia Holloway. I sparked a friendship with Julia Holloway a few months ago. Unlike some of my other guests, I have not known Julia for years but our connection was obvious and immediate. At the time, I was seeking advice from women who were experienced balancing a full-time career and a business of their own. In this world where women often take on more responsibilities at home and at work than men, it was not an easy search for me, and imposing an hour-long interview on them seemed like a lot to ask.

Julia Holloway was very kind to let me into her world and conduct an interview about her professional life.

Julia Holloway is a strategic distribution consultant at a leading US provider of annuities and insurance. In addition, she runs a company called Julia Holloway Consulting where she focuses on business consulting and leadership coaching for corporate and individual clients. Julia’s company will be the focus of our discussion.

Those of you who have contemplated starting companies of your own are in luck! We won’t go into details on how to set up a company. There are plenty of tools and resources online for that purpose. Julia will help us understand the multifaceted nature of being a consultant and a coach, and what she finds most rewarding in her practice as well as how she overcomes challenges.

In this episode, Julia explains the Five Coaching Elements integrated with Tai Chi movements in a workshop she calls “The Alchemy of Awareness“:

“If you create a bigger architecture of awareness with your body, mind and behaviors, that gives you a broader access to yourself and to the world. Furthermore, the more you can ground your awareness, the more choices you have.” – Julia Holloway

Awareness is not only meditation or the constant struggle to control your mind. Julia teaches her students about their mind and body connections. Topics and exercises in her workshops involve questions such as: What is awareness? How does it come to you? How does the brain function?

Julia also introduces the Learner/Judger™ mindset created by Dr. Marilee Adams:

“Learner/Judger™ mindset distinctions allow people to shift from blame-focused questions that impede success to solution-focused questions that facilitate it. Whether we ask Learner or Judger questions frames our thinking, listening, behaving, and relating. This is why we focus on our mindset first. The goal is to build a more resilient Learner Mindset.” – Inquiry Institute

Julia’s mind-body workshop is part of the Julia Holloway Consulting and Coaching practice. I further invited her to help us understand the connection between business and therapy.

Coaching (as part of therapy) has changed significantly over the years. Instead of only focusing on people who are struggling with improvement, coaching today thrives on enabling peak performance.

To deconstruct the approach for personal coaching, Julia reveals the trajectory of a typical engagement – a process that is about helping people unlock their own potential so that they can approach problems with the tools (and sometimes the answers) they already have. It is a facilitated coaching process rather than an event because what’s presented on the surface often isn’t enough to achieve the goal.

I couldn’t help from asking Julia about her daily ritual and meditation method. “Meditation is about letting go your thoughts. You need to lose yourself in the body, whether through Tai Chi, Taekwondo or other practice that works for you.” Julia also keeps a gratitude journal to capture a daily dose of happiness that makes her feel eternally grateful.

Before closing the interview, I stumbled upon a favorite moment with Julia, when she offered advice for women, regardless of their age, rank and industry. Please make sure to catch that minute 48:45.

“Remember that making lateral movements is an option, so don’t worry about getting up there too fast.” – Julia Holloway

Julia’s home and her office (where we conducted the interview) felt like “chick heaven” to me. I was sipping on a cup of delicious Oolong tea and surrounded by gorgeous blankets, pillows an other decorations that look as if they came straight from the most-loved items at Anthropologie. Only later I found out that many of them were designed and handmade by Julia. I was impressed by her artistic talent and self-expression.

Do you enjoy this podcast? If so, please leave your comment below and share the podcast with your family and friends. Your support will keep me on track and bring many other unsung heroes to this podcast.

Show Notes (Times Are Approximate):

  • How can we have more meaningful conversations? [7:30]
  • Julia’s Tai Chi Workshop: The Alchemy of Awareness [8:15]
  • Learner/Judger Mindset exercise (inspired by the book – Change your Questions, Change your Life by Dr. Marilee Adams) [11:10]
  • My own fascination around why Asian philosophy is practiced more regularly by people outside of Asia [14:15]
  • Julia’s quest to feelings that led her into the practice of Tai Chi [17:30]
  • The Commonwealth School – Julia’s memory from her high school [19:30]
  • Julia’s company: Julia Holloway Consulting and Coaching [23:30]
  • The difference between corporate vs. personal coaching [29:30]
  • The trajectory of a personal coaching engagement [31:30]
  • “You must enlist trust from client and provide feedback in order to understand the goal” [38:00]
  • Julia on her daily ritual and meditation [40:30]
  • A happy accident that reminds me to slow myself down [43:30]
  • Julia applies her coaching practice at a law firm [45:30]
  • In closing, “What’s your advice for women – regardless of their age and rank at the company” [48:45]

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Transcript

Intro 0:00
Welcome to the FES world podcast, engaging conversations that crossed the boundaries between business, art and the digital world.

Fei Wu 0:17
Hello, ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to episode number 13 of the face world podcast. This is Faye Woo. As a woman, I made a quest for face world podcast identify other women, my listeners can learn from. The truth is, I have encountered many female leaders in and outside of work who have just so much to offer to other women and men. However, the opportunity to hear from many of them isn’t always readily available. There are organizations projects, however, such as the 3% conference that are constantly challenging the shortage of women’s voices and leadership. I hope to become part of that movement by promoting women as guests on my podcast. It is recognized, however, by many podcasters out there, especially the most influential ones that lining up women, as guests on the show is a pretty difficult task. I’ve come to the conclusion sadly as well since launching my podcast in October 2014. Often due to scheduling constraints, I have less female presence on my show than I would like. But please stay with me as this is going to change over time. Well, for example, Today, my guest is Julia Holloway. I sparked the friendship with her just a few months ago. So unlike some of my other guests on the show, I have not known Julia for years, but our connection was obvious and immediate. At the time, I was seeking advice from other women who have experienced in balancing a full time career and the business of their own. In the hectic world we all live in today where women often take on more responsibilities at home and at work than men. It was not an easy search for me and proposing an hour interview on them seems like a lot to ask. Julia was very kind to let me into her world and conducted an interview on her professional life. Julia is a strategic distribution consultant at a leading us provider of annuities and insurance. In addition, she runs her own practice and company called the Julia Holloway consulting, where she focuses on business consulting and leadership coaching for corporate and individual clients. Julie’s company will be the focus of our discussion today. Those of you who have contemplated starting a company of your own are really unlike today, we won’t get into the details of how to set up a company. There are plenty of tools and resources online to help you establish the type of company you want. Julia, however, is here to help us understand the multifaceted nature of being a consultant and a coach. And what she finds to be the most rewarding in her practice as well as how she overcomes some of the challenges. Julie’s home and especially the room where I conducted this interview felt like a chick heaven. It must have been the most comfortable interviews I’ve experienced anytime, anywhere. Julia made me a cup of delicious, alone tea to sip on the entire time. And I was surrounded by gorgeous blankets, pillows, and other decorations that look like as if you know they just came out of the most loved items from anthropology. I only later to find out that many of the items were actually handmade by Julia, I was very impressed by her artistic talent and self expressions. So make sure you go to my website at FES world.com feisworld.com. Take a look at the show notes, tools and other resources. I have also included pictures of the interview room ie Julie’s office. Without further ado, please welcome Julia Holloway.

You know, there was a moment that I recall after our last conversation and it’s just how like honest and transparent you were like how comfortable you are you might not even notice that interest. You know, I feel like in this today, a lot of times when we talk to people for the first time. Granted THERE’S SO FUNNY there’s always alcohol influence that you can’t connect until you go to a bar and bar has never been my theme and I can really hear people I get frustrated. Last, I think last Thursday, I finally got together, somebody from my old company initiated like we all kind of flooding into other agencies, let’s all come together as a love fest. That’s that was actually the name of the event. And then I showed up, I remember this gentleman, I love working with John, he’s like fe, he pointed out, it was so loud. He’s like, I gotta hear all about the podcast. I said, I’m more than willing to tell you three seconds later, we’re just swamped with everybody all showed up at the same time. And that was the end of that conversation, you know. So it was just so fast. And a long way to tell you that I really enjoyed our last session,

Julia Holloway 5:40
I did too. And I felt this immediate connection, I came home to my husband, I said, Oh, my God, I just met this angel. Oh, it’s really amazing. When I went to coaching school, that was one of the key ingredients, about all the people who ended up in our class together, which was this idea of, of how can we actually have meaningful conversations with people and find people where you can just skip all of the pleasantries and just jump into, you know, whatever they’re working on whatever they care about, whatever has meaning. And that’s a really a pleasure to just even with you to just skip all the other stuff and just jump right in.

Fei Wu 6:25
Yeah, in the workshop you mentioned is that the Tai Chi workshop is that something in addition to that,

Julia Holloway 6:31
so I taught a three day workshop with a friend of mine, in October, and we called it the alchemy of awareness. And what we did is we took Tai Chi elements, which is often called sort of Qigong, chi gong makes up a lot of Tai Chi, when you strip away when you separate it into its basic building blocks. And what we did is I took five different coaching elements that I work on with my clients, and integrated them in with the Tai Chi movements. The idea being if you could create a bigger architecture of awareness, both with the body, and with what you’re working on in your mind and your behavior, that that gives you a broader access

Fei Wu 7:25
to yourself and to the world. Yeah, exactly. I

Julia Holloway 7:28
mean, the idea being that the more you can ground, your awareness, the more choice you have. And a lot of times, and you know this from Taekwondo, but a lot of times people think of awareness is only meditation, they think about it only as a way of controlling their thoughts. And that is such as our yoga. You know, those are sort of two common practices people think about, and I wanted to be able to take some more generalized body work, and then show people how you could access some of these principles in a different way.

Fei Wu 8:04
This is a really interesting, I want to answer that we nationally, the right into Tai Chi, what are some of the building blocks, kind of not to steal your syllabus, but give people a sense?

Julia Holloway 8:18
Well, what you’re doing in general, and I think it’s, you’re taking a choreography or a set of movements or practices, and you’re doing them as a lifetime practice or discipline, so that the item doesn’t have any intrinsic meaning anymore. It’s really just a gateway or a framework to, you know, practice, whether it’s strength building, or awareness, building or breathing. So what we ended up doing in our workshop is, we started with a few different components. One was a little overview of the mind and body connection, and giving people an awareness of how important those two connections are. Then we talked a lot about awareness itself, what what is it? Has it come to you? What are all the different avenues for building awareness? We talked a lot about the brain, and how the brain is constructed. And there’s so many books on being able to change your neural pathways, and there’s a lot of literature on it. So I wanted to give people an understanding of what happens automatically in our brains and in our bodies, and how we can practice ways of slowing those down and creating more choice. And then we worked on the learner judger mindset was, so that’s a really fun concept. I’m doing another workshop on it on Tuesday. It’s work by a woman called Marilee. Her name is Marilee Adams, and she wrote a book called Change your question It’s changed your life. Yeah, so the recommended reading that’s in my ads, right? That’s one of my recommended books at BU as a very simple set of concepts. One of them is how do you distinguish between being in your judging mind versus being in your learner mind. And that runs throughout a lot of Buddhist texts. But she takes a kind of into the everyday world for most of us. And she talks about the idea of your, you have two paths that you can choose, you can be in a judger mindset where everything is defined by risk, or what’s happening with the other person or blame or fault. And that tends to be often our, our left brains at work or analytical brains, very westernized approach. And what is it like to make a choice and being more of a learner mindset, so that when we’re up against obstacles or decisions we need to make or in relationship, or thinking more about how we can open ourselves up to learning and be more curious. And the way she does that is by thinking about the questions you ask, when you’re in a particular situation. So are you asking yourself whose fault is it? Or who’s responsible? Or who’s to blame? And a lot of times, especially with women, we blame ourselves? Or can you switch your thinking, be more curious? And if you’re more curious, you might ask yourself, you know, what can I learn? Today, when you were coming here, I was really nervous. And my thought, Oh, my God, what am I doing? I don’t even know what a podcast is, you know, and I got very nervous about it. And I thought to myself, No, this is what I’m learning. I want to learn about a podcast, I want to get to know Fe better. And so what can I learned from the experience, and it changed, you know, my whole mindset about it. And when you’re working on those principles, what’s fun about the movement in the Tai Chi principles, is it gives you an avenue to create broader awareness. When you create broader awareness, you have a little millisecond to change your thinking, potentially, to snap yourself out of the judger.

Fei Wu 12:34
You know, what’s interesting was, this is something we didn’t get a chance to catch up on. I’ve always been fascinated by how Eastern culture somehow is more regularly practice by Westerners. And we actually talk we as in, you know, my family, my friends in China, and I talked about this, and if you go to China today, or other parts of Asia, people were very, can be pretty frazzled, you know, day in, day out, work, work, work, work. And even, you know, and then we thought to ourselves, and a lot of the books about tai chi spirituality are written in English, better explained by Westerners. And I’m just so thrilled to, to know that it’s been not just explained, but also practiced. And, you know, how do you do find that fascinating?

Julia Holloway 13:27
Well, well, I do. And it’s also really fun because I practice Tai Chi in two different schools. Then the school where they’re more serious martial artists. It’s a more complicated levels, of course, it’s taught by two Chinese masters, all of the most of the people in there, they, they can, sort of telling you the benefits, but they’re really into the martial arts aspect of it. And the other class that I take in Somerville with Peter Wayne, he has stripped away a lot of the choreography and built in more accessible components. Those folks approach it. They want access to the eastern but but they use words to be able to define what all the benefits are, if that makes sense. Whereas the discipline Chinese way, there’s no talking about what the benefits are. You just apply yourself. And when you apply yourself to the discipline, you get all the miraculous benefits, but there’s not a lot of verbalization of it.

Fei Wu 14:41
i This makes perfect sense to me. Because there’s so much more that I learned about my country, my culture, when I was here, and you know, I’m 31 I’ve been here for half of my life. And it’s just it’s so fascinating and I look back upon when I was in school. One of the frustrations I lived through I mean, just like psychologically and also, as you know that, for instance, going to see a shrink taka do shrink in. In China even today, it’s getting a little better, but for the longest time was considered very uncool, like something that you didn’t do. Whereas over here the questions that the teachers and whether a Tai Chi teacher or school teacher will ask their students, how do you feel? How does that make you feel? That was such a foreign question. When I was first approached that way, I had no idea how to answer that. I was very uncomfortable being approached with those questions, honestly, only at home because my parents were more westernized, they would approach me with that. But then from a professor, a teacher outside of my home, it’s interesting.

Julia Holloway 15:47
I’m glad you’re saying that, because when I went to coaching School, which was three years ago, wow, well, let me back up, I started my career as a lawyer. So I was always much more on the left brained, analytical thinking side, and that’s the way I grew up. That’s how I went to school. So when I got to coaching school, I was interested more from an analytical perspective, how to help people change. And the program is all about self development, because you can’t be a good coach, if you don’t work on yourself. And I can remember in the first module, talking about feelings, and I said to my colleagues, why would I want to feel I don’t have any understanding of why that is relevant. In any way. And I mean, I’m saying that with the straight face. So even in this country, in most of the worlds, I think we frequently there’s not a lot of talk about feelings. And I kind of made it my quest to say, well, feelings, what are those? Why do we care? And that’s what led me into the body work with Tai Chi, because I couldn’t verbalize a lot of my feelings. I had to work through my body awareness first to figure out what I was feeling physically as a gateway to being able to name my feelings. So it’s interesting. We share it, we share that in common. So maybe that’s both countries.

Fei Wu 17:22
Exactly. A digit growth Massachusetts. I,

Julia Holloway 17:25
I did I grew up in Cambridge. Oh, wow. So I haven’t gotten more than four blocks from where I grew up.

Fei Wu 17:34
Is a beautiful area. I don’t know, I probably wouldn’t want to get out either.

Julia Holloway 17:37
Yeah, I think in some ways, it’s a little bit of a distorted view, because there’s a whole world and country out there. And not everybody approaches things the way we do here. So it’s, it’s good to see what other people do are doing.

Fei Wu 17:52
Yeah. I’m really curious about your Commonwealth experience. Because let’s just say it, it’s I’m interviewing with a few people from Commonwealth school. Oh, you are i No one leaves. Oh, no podcast. If you still remember him? I think he is. He was also a lawyer. I mean, he still is,

Julia Holloway 18:12
yeah, just a wonderful person. Yeah, he’s

Fei Wu 18:14
really funny. And I’m fascinated. I think it’s a such an interesting school. And recently, I was able to coach, a young man, he’s only 15. And his mom hired me to teach him Mandarin over the summer. And because he, by the time he entered into sophomore year, he was going to take Mandarin for the first time. So when I coach him during the summer, I had no expectation. Somehow he was able to almost have a very basic conversation during lesson number one, and I was just stunned. And, and I said to his mom, I said, he’s a genius. You know, how could he do this? And did you hire somebody else? And she said, No, you just, he locked himself in the room is when he did so. And that he is one of many examples of the kids I encountered at Commonwealth. And, you know, I don’t know what it is. And then I know it’s very difficult to get in. It’s like the it’s a number. It’s the number one school

Julia Holloway 19:14
when we laugh. I don’t know why, you know what other people would say I certainly wouldn’t get in now. I mean, when I was in high school, the school was founded by Charles Merrill. And I graduated in 1981. But there was a group of us and they were all girls, who came from divorced families. Grew up in Cambridge, there were three or four of us. And we all went there on scholarship, and Charles marrow out of his own pocket not only started the school, but he underwrote the education of so many people. If you know he wanted to go there, I mean, he would he would help your family. Pay It was a different place in the sense that there was still the emphasis on intellectual curiosity, and a lot of rigor around doing things a certain way and applying yourself. But I don’t remember sort of the competitive nature of, you know, what college do you go to? And can you get into the school or not? It was such an unusual place that it kind of self selected in a lot of ways. And I’m happy to see that the school is doing well. I mean, it’s, it’s figured out how to survive after Charles Merrill. But what comes with that a bit is having to market itself and appeal to parents of kids and figure out well, why would they want to go there? Well, it’s because you can go to a great college. For the kids, it’s really I think about being around other kids who are curious, which is that same word we keep coming back to.

Fei Wu 21:00
Yeah, curated curiosity, and a welcoming nature had been the theme for my podcast. Wow, that’s great. Yeah. So you guessed it, even without having the listening and to listen to all of them. And it just fascinating, because the people I choose are, I think they’re very different lawyer, you know, you know, in financial service, agency advertising, but then I realized all the people I might interview have this, like, fundamental thing that personality and nature about them, which was a curiosity that you mentioned. And I am, you know, last time we didn’t talk about, there are a lot of things we couldn’t cover last time is your business practice, you know, and strategy in concert strategy, strategic consulting, and also coaching. So I really want to expose my audience to what you can do there as well, your philosophy and behind behind your practice. So

Julia Holloway 22:04
So do you think your audience, do you think a lot of people understand the role of coaches? Or would that be helpful to talk a little bit about the coaching business and how it compares to consulting? Or does it fit with therapy?

Fei Wu 22:19
Yeah, I would love that. Because I think there’s a lot of misconceptions associated with coaching. And, for instance, some people associate that with the Tony Robbins type of style, right? And going to seminar, but there’s something very unique about your practice, and that you’re a woman who works. So I love that about the fact that you’re working now. So a lot of what you do is not just in a theoretical level, but also very practical. And so yeah,

Julia Holloway 22:52
maybe we can go back to that idea of sort of growing up in, in a more disciplined analytical world, right. So you go to a school like Commonwealth, you go to college, you go to law school, you practice law, you go into business, again, a lot of left brained type activities. For me, a lot of the more intuitive, put that pillow behind you artistic work, was suppressed. And I think, deep down, I understood that being successful as a person and a business person. And either my personal or my career was really going to hinge on behavior, and relationships, and emotional intelligence, all the, quote, soft skills. I think one of the things that happens is when you’re young, and you’re striving, you can go a long way, based on just working harder and getting better and producing more. And you typically hit an age where things start to reverse themselves, and you start to realize, Wow, I can’t quite get where I want to with just the hard skills. And you hear a lot about soft skills, but you don’t quite know what it means. So I made a decision to work on a number of fronts. One was my own mental health. You know, how can I be happier? What did that mean? So that was about traditional psychoanalysis and therapy, which I didn’t know anything about that. And I’m laughing when you said that you go into shrinks and China is maybe not as accepted. I, I didn’t know one other person who’d ever been to a therapist, or if they did, it certainly wasn’t talked about. So that was my kind of my first toe into how I could make change. In my own life therapy, to oversimplify tends to look backwards and to look at your past as an underpinning for what’s going on with you. Now, what was interesting to me about coaching, which, by the way, is a brand new field, it’s literally just changing every month. So over the past 10 years, coaches were, was a small little field that kind of grew out of therapy for practical purposes. And it was used for people who were not performing well, who were who needed help. So it was, you know, more prescriptive from that perspective. Over the years, it’s changed. And now what’s happening is that people want to perform their best. And so coaches are coming in for high performers, not just people who are struggling. So, you know, coaching is, is goal oriented, and it’s based on creating change, but it looks ahead. It looks a little bit into what your, how did you grow up? What’s your value system? But really, it’s about how do you make change going forward. And to contrast that with consulting, I also became very interested in organizational development, team building, those were the soft things that happen in business, that aren’t necessarily about what product you go to market with, or how fast you are, how much money you make, but it’s the day to day workings of how you actually get stuff done. And that was really interesting to me. So I like the intersection of the coaching and consulting work, because that’s how you can help individuals, and orgs and teams change. But, you know, there’s a lot of people who may need therapy as a another factor, you know, to help them break through some stuff, but you can make a lot of progress. On the other two fronts,

Fei Wu 27:12
is your practice come was kind of equally divided between personal coaching and corporate coaching, or

Julia Holloway 27:22
so, for one thing that might be interested, interesting for, for viewers, there’s been a lot of stories on NPR about coaching. There are a lot of coaches now. And so because it’s a little bit more competitive, you’ve got to figure out what’s your marketing strategy and how you’re going to get clients. So when I went to coaching school, I always had it in my head that I wanted to, you know, help leaders in organizations. And the challenge is, in order to get the corporate work, you’ve got to practice. So you ended up getting a lot of individual client answers a way to practice your skills. To be honest, the pay is what the corporate clients, but a lot of times, the assignments, those people don’t really want to change. They want to change at a surface level in terms of what the business context is. So in some ways, that private paying clients who don’t always pay a lot, usually they’re up against a pretty major transition they need to make and that work can be really rewarding.

Fei Wu 28:30
Very interesting. Yeah. I completely understand what you mean by that. And, you know, I, I feel like what is the personal coaching structure? I feel like you’re very, you’re, if I just like, take a step back and what I was wanting to join a consulting group, it was called Zapier, now Zapier Nitro, and it was 22. And don’t consider myself a girly girl. But when you stare a two by two matrix and racy diagrams all day, you’re just thinking to yourself, like, Oh, this is so dry and boring. Now, fast forward eight years later, these are sort of the schema and structure that still helped me day in and day out. And it’s a set of skills, a lot of people graduating with a degree in marketing, communication, get thrown into just agency world don’t have a set of skills. And I see that as a theme, you know, and even though the way we talk I night, didn’t I know that you have a you have a schema, you have a way of working with your clients that is so such a unique approach. And in my mind, I was thinking that will equal equipment, you know, kind of equal to guaranteed results versus just talking at a high level. So I’m curious how you work with individual clients, and I think a lot of people on my podcast, as of now the audience are, you know, people from consulting agency lawyers. I wouldn’t surprise me a lot of people are seeking for individualized programs,

Julia Holloway 30:03
so it helps to just talk a little bit about the trajectory of a coaching engagement to give you a sense of kind of what’s involved. Yeah, because it’s probably somewhat of a similar methodology to a consulting engagement. And maybe I can highlight along the way, you know, when you know, it’s going well, then you know, when it might not be. So just to contrast in a consulting, engagement, you know, somebody’s hiring you for a certain expertise, often. And you may be balancing the idea of selling your advice, so to speak, or a process. And either teaching it or bringing into an organization, or working with them to get a set of results. So in coaching, the methodology that I use from the school I went to, which is called the Hudson Institute, the underlying premise is that the client has, the client has the answers. So in therapy, to again, use that, to compare and contrast, the therapist is often held up as someone who’s got more answers than the patient. And the relationship is there’s a wall, an artificial wall between the patient and the therapist. And so right off the bat, you’re not equals the coaching engagement. The idea is that, that that we’re equals there isn’t this, there’s a professional boundary, but it’s not the same sense that I have some answers that I need to impart on you. And if you could understand my way, then that’s going to help you. The process is really about me helping you unlock what’s going on for you. So I can maybe give you an example of a 30 year old young man who I’m coaching, who’s been stuck in some jobs he doesn’t like, and has just gotten to a dead end. So he’s, he’s not working. He’s a very talented, handsome, well spoken guy. And he just ended up hitting a bunch of dead ends. And so he’s not, he’s not in a very good way. No, so the first question that I want to work with him on is, well, why why do you, you know, how come you’re stuck? You know, what are the? What are the benefits of being stuck? And so what we do is we try to unlock what’s going on for him? Because only He knows the answer, you know, I don’t have the answer. So I work with him to identify, you know, what’s going on with him. And over two or three sessions, we get a little bit of a general background on what’s going on for him. And then we try to get at the underlying change goals. And often the process is like peeling an onion, what someone presents with isn’t often really the goal. So for instance, he has a lot of beliefs about networking, a lot of beliefs about what he should be doing. And so we’ve got to dig through and find out what assumptions are you making about yourself, about the market about the people you’re meeting with. And so then we, the key is to get a really exciting, meaningful goal to work on. And that can take a little while that can take half the engagement to actually get at what’s going to move you to make to make a change. So

Fei Wu 33:56
I think every engagement is different. Every every person, every client is different. What? Typically, on average, how long could someone expect? A change? Or how long is the program for typically,

Julia Holloway 34:10
typically, you contract with a client for eight to 10 sessions, they can run anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half. That’s just kind of typical. And, and to make an engagement work, it’s all about the contracting process at the front end. So if we’re not clear what you’re what the person needs or is working on, then there isn’t going to be enough sort of momentum or traction in the relationship. So you spend a lot of time making sure you understand what you can do with the client and what the client is up against.

Fei Wu 34:50
This is so fascinating, and I you know, the way I look at your coaching, compared to sometimes you know, in a corporate culture is that you never insisted on yourself. This is, this is something I feel like, as you mentioned, the methodologies, the client has the answers, but you unlock on cover as a process and very similar to I think facilitation and consulting is a very tough job to do. And it sounds to me that process is really helping the client to be who they want to be, versus, for you to kind of build a structure and a theme around them, force them into a certain corner. So it’s, it’s, it’s really I can, I can tell like, it’d be very rewarding that way.

Julia Holloway 35:41
Well, it’s fun, because it’s a paradox. I mean, you know, on the one hand, we can’t make much progress, if we don’t have a relationship. So you’ve, there’s got to be trust. And that’s why a lot of times in a more traditional corporate environment, it’s hard to really get at that level of trust. Coaches are often perceived as being brought in by management. You know, the coach works for the client, the coach doesn’t work for the company, but still a company is, it’s like a three way relationship, what you what you’re looking for, is to build trust with the client, and then I’m gonna put a pillow behind you, oh, no,

Fei Wu 36:23
I would just, I just had to have this, like so far in this room.

Julia Holloway 36:29
But then, but then the trick, and this is where the Tai Chi work comes in, and the awareness, and the body work can be very helpful, because what happens, somewhat similar to therapy, is the client will often replay a lot of what is going on, whatever the goal is in the coaching relationship, and you’ve got to be able to give, I hate the word feedback, but you have to be able to say, what’s the impact that that’s having. So if you have a client who’s consistently late, or, you know, won’t go there with you, oftentimes, those are the very issues that are holding a client back in whatever you’re working on. So you’ve got to be able to enlist the trust, and you’re on that client side. And then you have to be willing to give the feedback and also follow your own intuition, and play some hunches with the client about what what might be going on.

Fei Wu 37:30
So to for people to learn more about your practice, personal or professional, what is the best way to go about it now? Like how they follow you and learn more as you’re taking on new clients?

Julia Holloway 37:45
Well, that’s a that’s a good question. You know, you and I have had some great conversations about marketing and how that applies to this particular space. And it’s a really interesting question of, of creating a balance of putting out there on the web. So on my website, Julia Holloway, consulting.com. Starting a series of blog posts about what do I want to say? And what are some of the key themes? And what’s meaningful to me? And what am I working on? And what do I care about? So I’m beginning to build up that little library. And then for coaching in general, there’s probably a lot of misconceptions about coaches. I’m sure there’s not there are a lot of not so great coaches out there. And then there’s some amazing ones. So for people to do their research and to ask around, and referrals are the most important piece. No,

Fei Wu 38:45
wonderful. Yeah. And I know that we could have a feeling that you and I can talk forever. And I want to respect your time. And again, I think I mentioned this the moment I walk into your house, I was surprised, but I guess not. Yeah. Surprised and just beautifully decorated. And before I leave, I’ll try to find little corners when we take a picture. Hello. I sense that you are someone possibly with a daily ritual. I wonder how you go about your day do you meditate?

Julia Holloway 39:21
Great question. We could probably we could probably learn from each other. You know, I was attracted to Tai Chi originally because it it wasn’t meditation for so those of your listeners out there who find meditation a little intimidating. I gotta do a daily Tai Chi practice. So that’s something I do every day, where I’m using my body to build awareness and now the goal is really to think about that Observer Self and kind of get out of your own head. You know, meditation is about letting go have your thoughts. And part of the challenge there as you stay up in your head when you’re doing that. And so I think a practice like yoga or tai chi or Taekwondo or something where you almost lose yourself in the body. That’s what I’ve been focused on. And I saw, I don’t meditate, I have it every year, I say, Okay, this is going to be the year I do my meditation practice. I do practice breathing throughout the day stopping feeling my feet. And those kinds of things. How many times a day do you typically practice? Oh, well, I catch myself just in brief moments. And then I do have a practice every night before I go to bed. I wouldn’t call it a gratitude journal, but I do jot down. You know what happened to me very briefly, and I try to keep it positive. What are the things that I’m the happiest about?

Fei Wu 41:01
Nice? Yeah, I think that’s very important. And just to capture a little moments in life, and, and that also gives you an opportunity to kind of pause and think of what happened in that day. Or if you skip a day, then you know, something recently. I, you know, this is kind of a happy accident, I guess that I didn’t realize how much I was rushing through my life. And I consider podcasting. You know, I’m taking my time I drive to my friend’s house and do this. But there’s, but I always know that I discredit like how much I do on a daily and weekly basis. Part of that is also taking care of my mom whose English isn’t very proficient. So grocery shopping. So one day anyway, there’s a scar on my forehead right now. I think that’s like a waking moment. That’s a Taichi waking moment. And I still look at it every day. So a month ago, I finished personal training. And I was rushing to see a movie. And I was rushing myself the whole time. And making sure I was there on time communicate with my friends. And the moment I opened up the, but then I realized I had to eat something just like I had five minutes to coordinate everything. And my friend was calling me, I just felt this urge of let me just get into Panera get my smoothie. And I was picking up my phone and slammed the door and ran into my forehead. And so it’s funny that moment, I was like, Oh, I thought it was so much worse than I really was. And I just No, no big deal. I went to the emergency room, everything’s fine took a day off. And then I spent the time and ever since then for a month, I thought to myself, I need to slow down. And every morning hits on my forehead, I look at it, and I’m having this conversation. I’m talking about your daily ritual, it’s it’s part of a reminder, for me to slow myself down. And to appreciate moments. And, you know, I stopped appreciating, I start having time to really think back of anything at all. And I wonder if you slow yourself down? And

Julia Holloway 43:10
well, I know you must have hit your third eye. So let’s say something exciting is going on there. Oh, yeah. I mean, we are I mean, we are awesome. We all do we all do crazy stuff, or we’re not aware. And then you know, something will happen. And you’ll be reminded that you do you, if you don’t slow down, your body will slow you down in some other way. So you want to look for the signs, in terms of little things like that. That’s that that was your, that was your own signal to yourself to do it. Yeah. And you know, sometimes you have to build the discipline in and then sometimes you just have to listen. And, you know, I get excited, I want to do everything all the time. And I have more energy now than I’ve had in a long time to do lots of things. And sometimes you just have to trade them off and slowly just have to.

Fei Wu 44:00
Very true. Very true. And would you have an upcoming workshop this Tuesday you mentioned Yeah,

Julia Holloway 44:08
so I’m doing a workshop with a team inside a company. And I’m actually taking a piece of what I did at my Tai Chi workshop. And I’m putting it in a business setting. So I’m going to work on the distinction between learner and judger. And it’s a group of lawyers. So it’s going to be very interesting to take the work and actually strip it out from the body piece. And we’re going to be a little bit more in our heads but to work with them on how they can catch themselves in that judger mode. Super analytic mode. And what are the benefits of asking more open ended questions and being more curious in their work?

Fei Wu 44:52
Awesome. Yeah. I suppose seeing this as a corporate engagement. Yes. And yeah, shop. Yeah. Okay. So so I would love to be able to The observed one, if you could keep me posted either. Sure, you know, sure. I’ll

Julia Holloway 45:05
share the slides with you. You can at least look at those for sure. Wow, awesome.

Fei Wu 45:09
Yeah. And so funny because I didn’t realize that you were a lawyer until I really study your profile. And I was real quick. I will. So funny. I can talk to you all day. And I was done with a workout the other day, and I saw another young woman, just rush, she looked, again, very frazzled. And she’s like, Oh, I go to Suffolk law school. And you know, being a lawyer is really tough these days. And this conversation happened a few weeks ago, seeing there’s so many lawyers and for young lawyers, it’s tough to find jobs. And I said, But if you say, hey, you know, my name is Faye, and I’m going to interview one of my friends, who’s my age graduated not long ago, and I’m so glad that you are doing this for lawyers. And it just my opinion, personal opinion, that that’s a group that they need this training, I think more so than anybody else.

Julia Holloway 45:59
Yeah. Well, I couldn’t agree more. And I’m laughing because I think, well, you know, how do I? Well, I struggle in taking a lot of the body work that I’m doing, and being careful to sort of preserve my corporate credibility, and figure out ways to kind of sneak in these other lessons, you know, so that if I’m talking about awareness, you know, how do I get them to stay with me on what all the benefits are? So I’ve got to kind of have to package it in a way that, that they can, that they can see how different kinds of thinking so we’ll stay up in the thinking brain, what the benefits are. And if I could sneak in a few awareness exercises with them, that’s what I’m going to do. Awesome. What’s

Fei Wu 46:53
your age range?

Julia Holloway 46:54
Oh, that’s a good question. I think it’s a span. I think it’s a span of some fairly senior folks. And some younger folks coming up through the ranks. Great. Yeah. So it’ll be interesting.

Fei Wu 47:05
That’s awesome. Wow, this is great. And my last question, if you have more horse, it this is, you know, the theme we painted at the very beginning is advice for women. And I do that when I interview like 22 year olds, I let me tell you the things I wish I knew when I was your age. And you know, one way to ask the questions, what would you say to your 20 year old self, 30 year old self? And what’s a general more generalized sort of feedback for women, regardless of their career stage, or you no industry at the moment? There’s so much I want to share, but I’d love to hear from

Julia Holloway 47:46
Oh, such a great to great coaching question. They know, these are the kinds of questions we need to ask ourselves. I, I wish that I had trusted by intuition. And that I was more than I was more comfortable on. Being able to translate what we would quote call soft type skills, or more feminine type skills. I think that I buried them for so many decades, and now I’m excavating them all. And it’s so exciting. And it makes me so much better as a business person. And it makes me happier as a person, man, and that’s true of men and women, but but women in particular, I think, really, really suffer when they live on their, you know, complete analytic side, it’s almost like you’re cutting half your half your body off. So that that would be one. And the other thing to remind everybody about is that we all get very caught up in linear progress in a career or a life, you know, how much money do I make? Am I having kids yet, you know, all these things that we do. And from my vantage point, it’s more like traversing a mountain back and forth. It’s not a straight climb. If you can remember that a lot of times, you can make a few lateral moves along the way, and you’ll save yourself from, you know, falling down the ledges too fast. It’s a lot safer, and you’ll preserve a lot of your energy. So no need to try to get up there too fast.

Fei Wu 49:31
Yeah. Thank you. If the audience couldn’t see it, I was ready to jump up and down. i You couldn’t possibly give you the right answer. Oh, no, that absolutely. I just love talking to you is because you somehow you can actually get the words that I want to say out of me that I wouldn’t be able to articulate those two areas and as a woman, you know, 30 And I couldn’t agree with those more.

Julia Holloway 49:56
You thought well, you’re an old soul. So yeah, you just have to talk from you know that deepen your your sales and experience because you know the right stuff to do.

Fei Wu 50:06
Thank you. Yeah, this is so awesome and so fun to listen to more episodes of the face world podcast, please subscribe on iTunes where visit phase world.com that is f e i s wo rld where you can find show notes links, other tools and resources. You can also follow me on Twitter at face world. Until next time, thanks for listening

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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  1. […] standing history with the Commonwealth School, interviewing a few graduates including Van Le and Julia Holloway on Feisworld Podcast.  Both of them are actively involved in the Alumni Committee at Commonwealth […]

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