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184. What My Most Successful Clients Have In Common

About this Podcast

Ep. 184 – Every year since 1935 and coming up on December 9, football enthusiasts gather around to see who will win the esteemed Heisman Trophy. Only the best of the best even make it on the ballot. But underneath, there is even more instilled in the heart of a champion that sets them apart.

The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the player who not only displays outstanding athletic abilities but embodies qualities that make them a true leader on and off the field. These qualities, often hidden beneath the surface, are what count in the selection process for this award.

And just like for these athletes, there are also some hidden qualities that my most successful clients display.

In this episode, I’m going to share with you six qualities that set my most successful clients apart. I’ve been so inspired by these qualities that I try to embody them myself in my own journey.

Or watch it on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/6Yzj-2qHLZc

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Episode 184 Transcript:

Ramona Shaw [00:00:00]:

This is episode 184 of the Manager Track podcast. And today, in this episode, we’re gonna talk about 6 very specific things that my most successful clients have in common.

Ramona Shaw [00:00:12]:

Here’s the question. How do you successfully transition into your 1st official leadership role, build the confidence and competence to lead your team successfully and establish yourself as a respected and trusted leader across the organization. That’s the question, in this show provides the answers. Welcome to The Manager Track podcast. I’m your host, Ramona Shaw, and I’m on a mission to create workplaces, where work is not seen as a source of stress and dread, but as a source of contribution, connection, and fulfillment. And this transition starts developing a new generation of leaders who know how to lead so everyone wins and grows. In the show, you’ll learn how to think, communicate, and ask asked, confident, and confident leader you know you can be.

Ramona Shaw [00:00:56]:

Welcome to this episode of The Manager Track podcast. I’m excited to dive into this specific topic about what my most successful clients have in common. I recently got back from a longer stay in Switzerland. Some of you may know and not know. But, I’m back in my home office, which feels really good, or my usual setup, which I’m excited about. It’s interesting how much more focused and, motivated I am to work here, not just because it’s less intense with the time zone differences and less challenging on that front, but also just because it’s all my things in the place that I like them and my setup is as I like it to be. Gosh. Humans are creatures of habits or at least I am, it seems.

Ramona Shaw [00:01:42]:

But that aside, as I was sort of wrapping up my time overseas and reflecting also on the year so far. It occurred to me that I have some very successful coaching clients that I’ve worked with this year, and they have some common traits. There’s some patterns that I see with them that sets them apart, that makes that make them more successful or that I am also learning from. And I realized that the way that I show up in my relationship and my engagements with my coaches that I wanna embody these these different traits more because I can see how if they are. And so I did a bit of a self reflection on how well am I doing on those common traits. And I encourage you do to do the same. So as I was thinking about what they have in common, 6 specific topics came to mind. Six observations is what I noted down.

Ramona Shaw [00:02:37]:

And, you know, listen to them with a open mindset to think, okay. Let me understand and learn, but also then take a step back and think for yourself, how well are you doing? And if you wanted to just be 10, 20% better in each or any of those 6 aspects, what would need to change for you. How can you dial it up a notch? Because I promise you, if you do, when you do, you will see a greater return on your upfront investment in relationships or engagement or even just work projects. Okay, I hope you’re curious by now. I’m gonna dive in, and there’s somewhat in a deliberate order because a coaching engagement also has a order to it or there’s a structure to it. In the very beginning of a coaching engagement, we have 2 main objectives. On one hand, we wanna get to know each other a little bit. So I usually ask some broad questions.

Ramona Shaw [00:03:34]:

I try to better understand how is their mind working, how are they thinking about their challenges, their goals, their work overall, their life in general, their energy level. What are some of the things that they highlight or patterns that I detect as they respond. So I get to know them. They’re also doing the same with me, trying to figure out what kind of coach I am. And if they’re new to coaching, then oftentimes, it’s also figuring out what coaching is in the 1st place. The 2nd objective then is to set clear goals that we can track, we can refer back to, but we can also measure at the end of, a engagement an engagement or when we achieve a certain milestone. So that happens in the beginning. And what I notice for my most successful coaching clients, what they do until this is point number 1, is that they are very serious about owning their part.

Ramona Shaw [00:04:31]:

They’re not showing up to a coaching engagement or a coaching session thinking that the coach will take charge and will just tell them what to do, and they’re sort of passively participating. They will own their part in terms of I’ve already reflected on or I am reflecting on some of the things that I wanna get out of this. I do have specific questions. I know that I have a very specific or unique set of circumstances or context that is relevant for you to have. So they’ve done some thinking, and they also know up front. They’re find out or decide for themselves early on that as much as they give into disengagement and invest in it, that is how much they’re gonna gain from it. It applies to the way that they show up during the call, if they show up at all. Right? Are they rescheduling when it’s inconvenient, or are they taking the time slots very seriously? And only reschedule if there’s no other option available.

Ramona Shaw [00:05:35]:

It applies to showing up in the 1st place. It applies to how they engage in the conversation. Are they thinking ahead. Are they bringing up things without even me prompting? Are they questioning things as they’re saying it? Are they’re reflecting on what I’m saying and how that applies or doesn’t apply to their situation. They also then own their part in between the sessions. I will get to that in a little bit more because I made that its own unique unique point. But what they all have in common is they’re taking it seriously, and they own their part of the coaching engagement. They know that this is, a two way street.

Ramona Shaw [00:06:19]:

The second thing that I noticed early on in a coaching engagement with my most successful clients is that they’re vulnerable. They will share things that didn’t go well, during between sessions or leading up to a coaching engagement, they will say things such as I struggle with this or I have a really hard time with that, or I’ve received feedback or have asked for feedback and this is what I heard. They are also in tune to their emotional responses. They may say, here’s something that really drains me, or this is something that I find frustrating or I wished wasn’t there. And, I realized that’s not helping. They may say things such as, I realized that this is fine for now, but I need to become a lot more confident or assertive or directive or decisive in order to succeed in my next role. And in order to be promoted into your next role, those senior leaders around you wanna see you demonstrate the skills that will be required at that next level. Right? So you have to demonstrate those skills needed at the next level already now.

Ramona Shaw [00:07:33]:

And if that feels uncomfortable or there’s challenges or uncertainties or doubts or just isn’t dislikes of it, then those are things to pay attention to. So vulnerability and emotional awareness or awareness overall, that is the 2nd factor of the things that distinguishes my most successful clients. The third part is that they self reflect. And gosh, as a coach, this makes my heart sing. Right? When someone says to me, I’ve been thinking since our last conversation about this thing we talked about. And I realized that this shows up also in my personal life, or I noticed the same trade with my kids, or I started to figure out where this is coming from. I remember back when I was a child, this and this is what I learned. Or they may say, I realize this is a cover up.

Ramona Shaw [00:08:30]:

I’m angry, but what I really notice or realize is I’m worried. Like, I’m worried or I have some kind of fear underneath the anger, the frustrations that I have. So this kind of self reflection where they’re deliberately thinking about what we talk about or what’s going on for them at work. In the midst of the busyness, we all have busy lives, and my coaching clients have very busy lives. But they make time to reflect. This could be in the shower. It doesn’t even have to be a sit down with a notebook or a journal and a pen to write it down, although highly advised. But sometimes these things happen in the shower, happen on a run, or happen while we’re driving.

Ramona Shaw [00:09:18]:

But they take note. I will write it down. Some of them send me a Slack message because we use Slack to communicate in addition to email. Or they just sent me an email to say, hey. I wanna capture this. It occurred to me. And that keeps the dialogue going. And you can tell that this their brain is working in the background to absorb and to absorb what they’re learning or reflections that they have based on our conversations, and it starts to change their perspectives and their viewpoints.

Ramona Shaw [00:09:49]:

And that is where real growth will come from. What works, what kind of mindset works at this current level or has worked for you up until now is not going to be the same that will make you successful in your current role if you’re new or in that next role that you’re aiming for. Sometimes it’s huge, and it’s that we have to take on. If you’re moving from a corporate environment into a start up setting, a lot of it will feel very different, and you quickly realize I have to adapt and change my perspective, my expectations, my assumptions, in order to be successful here. But sometimes it’s gradual shifts of what you think you need to do as a leader at a director level is not what you’re going to be doing as a leader at a VP level. What you were doing as an IC and how you were looking at your work and your productivity and your results is not going to work as a leader. It requires a change in your approach and viewpoint. And the you’ll adapt to this way faster if you’re reflecting on things that are going well and and things that are challenging.

Ramona Shaw [00:11:03]:

So that is number 3. Number 4 is they don’t just know what they have to do, they also know how they have to do it, especially when it comes to growth areas. Oftentimes I hear people say, oh, I know I need to get better at presenting, or I need to get better at being more confident, or I need to get better at delegating work. I need to get better at giving feedback. I need to get better at recognizing my team. Great. This is a really good start, but that is not where that conversation should end or that thought process should end. Because once you know what you need to do, you’ll have to think about how you’re going to do it.

Ramona Shaw [00:11:56]:

And my most successful clients will always tie these 2 conversations together. They will recognize, oh, this scenario I need to do something. I need to engage my team more, and they immediately start thinking about how am I going to do this. Let me come up or let’s together come up with 3, 4 different ways. Let’s then experiment to see what sticks or what the team, resonates with in order to create that stronger team engagement. In high level conversations where you just scratch the sir the surface, we might know what it is that we need to do, but we don’t get to the how. And then we’ll end the call or a conversation or we might close a book where we realized, oh, this is what I need to do. We close that book, and it never goes anywhere.

Ramona Shaw [00:12:43]:

Because if the how is not clear at that point, the chances are really high that, you know, your work starts again or you’re opening up your laptop or your computer again, and you’ll be bombarded with information and with tasks. And this little insight that you just had just evaporates into the air, never to be tackled or seen again. So combining the what with the how in any of those conversations is really important. It’s a key factor here as well. So that was number 4. Number 5, they optimize for results, not for comfort. My clients hear this often. When it’s a conversation about what you want to do, and it’s like, well, I want to do that because it it’s comfortable or it’s easy or because that’s what I feel ready for.

Ramona Shaw [00:13:41]:

Like, okay. That’s 1 conversation to have on think path or option to look at. Now if it’s not about what you’re comfortable with or what you’re ready for, but you’re deciding first what’s the result, what’s the outcome you want to have, and then you decide on the actions that will lead to that outcome as a second step. As we’re diving into that option or we we build out that path, we’re not trying to optimize for comfort or for feelings, we’re optimizing for the outcome. For example, I want the performance of my team member to increase. I want them to take accountability for their work. I want to persuade my senior leadership team to give us funding or headcount for this particular project. Okay.

Ramona Shaw [00:14:34]:

What do you need to do in order to improve the performance of your employee or build stronger accountability or get approval for this project. What are the things that you need to do? And at that time, we don’t care how you feel in the process. Now granted, in a coaching conversation, we’ll talk about the feelings too, and we talk about how to make that feel better for you by changing our ways of thinking about it or changing our perspective or assessing what is actually that you’re okay with from a values perspective, integrity perspective. Right? That is a really important aspect to consider. But we’re not avoiding things because we have doubts, insecurities, discomfort, fear that is holding us back. Part of the coach’s role is to eliminate those things or diminish that part of it so that you achieve the results that you alone might not be able to get to. So my most successful clients optimized for results, not for comfort. And then the fine the final factor here is they follow through more so than other people.

Ramona Shaw [00:15:42]:

Now no one I’ve ever worked with or encounters, including, obviously, including myself, has a 100% follow through rate are all the things we say we’re going to do. Yet my most successful clients follow through more often and more consistently than others. When they say, I’m going to have this conversation with my boss. I’m going to check-in with this, employee. I’m going to schedule that meeting or that lunch. They will do those things, and then we’ll block out time to make it happen. Now sometimes it doesn’t happen for varied reasons, and they’ll come back and they’ll own it. They say, oh my gosh.

Ramona Shaw [00:16:26]:

You’re not gonna like it, but I didn’t do it. Right? It’s totally on me. They won’t blame other reasons, other people, or circumstances for why they didn’t do it. They will totally own it. And at that point, I will always ask. Now 2 weeks later or a week later, is this still something you wanna do? And if they say, yes, I still wanna do it. Like, okay. By when will you do it, and we’ll just reset that commitment.

Ramona Shaw [00:16:52]:

And I hardly ever will day at a 2nd time around not follow through on it. So their follow through ratio is really high. So I’m gonna recap those, like, 6 points one more time. 1, they take it seriously and they own their part. 2, they are vulnerable and emotionally aware. 3, they self reflect. 4, they know how and not just what they should change or do. They optimize for results and not comfort.

Ramona Shaw [00:17:25]:

And then last but not least, they follow through at a higher rate than others. Those are the 6 factors that my most successful clients and most effective leaders have in common. Now some people that I work with in the beginning, they may struggle with follow through, or they may not self reflect because this is totally new. This is a muscle that they haven’t really used or or habit that they don’t really know how to go about. They may not have that sense of emotional awareness yet. But through the coaching process, weak tackle all those things. They learn how to do those things. And when they develop those skills and habits, Those will last.

Ramona Shaw [00:18:03]:

They will continue to be able to know how to self reflect. They will come be able to continue to develop stronger emotional awareness. They will continue to optimize for results, not comfort, even after our coaching engagement ends. And the things that they learn as side products almost in a coaching process are as important and valuable ask the actual goals that they’re pursuing in the coaching engagement. Okay. So that’s important to know. If you feel like, oh my gosh, I give myself low scores, I’m not a good fit for coaching, know that that means the opposite. This means you could really benefit from coaching to not only progress in your goals, but also to develop in those 6 different factors here that I laid out.

Ramona Shaw [00:18:52]:

Okay. I know I keep saying final point. One more thing. I am often in awe and so impressed by my clients. This is, like, one of the most amazing parts of being a coach is how much I get to learn from my clients. And when my clients come to conversations, group conversations or individual conversations or sometimes offline asynchronously, and they share insights and self reflections with me. I’m so often impressed with how clear they are, what’s going on, how self aware they are, and how much they are learning through the process. And it inspires me to do more.

Ramona Shaw [00:19:32]:

Because one thing that they will not use as an excuse is that they’re too busy of people who manage companies, of people who manage big, large teams, people who are involved in a number of different companies and side projects and hobbies and have a very full and rich schedule. And it is never and not having time to do any of this is never an excuse. Day consistently make the time to show up and do this work. So it’s not a time issue. Okay. So enough said, I hope that on one hand, you find this thing, but 2, also that you give yourself a bit of a self assessment on how you’re doing in these 6 different aspects. If you wanna learn more about coaching or coaching looks like and what it could be for you, then check out the show notes. There’s a link to schedule a call with me directly.

Ramona Shaw [00:20:24]:

We’ll identify some strategies specifically applicable to you and talk about coaching programs and services as well if you’re interested and seem to be a good fit. That is it for today. I wish you a great week. I’ll be back next Tuesday with another episode of The Manager Track podcast. Bye for now.

Ramona Shaw [00:20:43]:

If you enjoyed this episode, then check out 2 other awesome resources to help you become a leader people love to work with. This includes my best selling book, the confident and competent new manager, which you can find on Amazon or at ramonashaw.com/book and a free training on how to successfully lead as a new manager. You can check it out at ramonashaw.com slash masterclass. These resources and a couple more, you’ll find in the show notes down below.


1. How do my successful coaching clients demonstrate ownership and dedication to their coaching engagements?

2. How does owning one’s part in a coaching engagement contribute to the overall success of the coaching relationship?

3. How does self-reflection contribute to personal and professional growth and help individuals uncover underlying fears or concerns that may be affecting their performance?


  • Schedule a free strategy call!
  • Learn how to turn your 1-on-1 meetings from time wasters, awkward moments, status updates, or non-existent into your most important and valuable meeting with your directs all week. Access the course and resources here: ramonashaw.com/11
  • Have a question or topic you’d like Ramona to address on a future episode? Fill out this form to submit it for her review: https://ramonashaw.com/ama



Grab your copy of Ramona’s best-selling book ‘The Confident & Competent New Manager: How to Rapidly Rise to Success in Your First Leadership Role’: amzn.to/3TuOdcP

If this episode inspired you in some way, take a screenshot of you listening on your device and post it to your Instagram Stories, and tag me @ramona.shaw.leadership or DM me on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/ramona-shaw

Are you in your first manager role and don’t want to mess it up? Watch our FREE Masterclass and discover the 4 shifts to become a leader people love to work for: ramonashaw.com/masterclass

Don’t forget to invest time each week to increase your self-awareness, celebrate your wins, and learn from your mistakes. Your career grows only to the extent that you grow. Grab your Career Journal with leadership exercises and weekly reflections here: ramonashaw.com/shop

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