In this episode of Creative Chat Cafe, Zef and Sondra host Handy Luigi, an entrepreneur and finance man who regularly uses virtual meetups to share tips across the entrepreneurial world about leadership in business and marketing. Mr. Luigi will discuss his work in this virtual connection of ideas as well as what inspired him to get involved in this world. In addition, in celebration of Father’s Day, we ask Mr. Luigi about his role as a father and how it influences his career.
About Our Guest:
Handy Luigi focuses on developing solutions for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and improve their leadership skills. As a Certified Coach from The John Maxwell Team, he has worked with top financial services companies such as MetLife, Prudential, PacificLife, and, most recently, New York Life. Though he is a French-speaking native of Montreal, Canada, Handy currently lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut with his wife and kids.
Some Key Points of Discussion in this Episode:
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Table of Contents (click on the minute timeline for the specific content):
00:47 - Greetings & introductions.
02:01 - In this episode.
02:38 - Handy Luigi - Certified Coach with Team Maxwell.
03:44 - Utilizing tools to connect with like minded people.
07:20 - Leaders ask questions.
12:02 - The importance of influence in leadership.
13:46 - How to leverage knowledge with life experience.
15:17 - How coaching plays a role in leadership.
17:43 - Leaders provide value.
20:10 - Genuine leadership skills provide value.
22:17 - Show recap.
23:10 - Creating the balance in business and life - a father's perspective.
26:08 - Handy's leadership inspiration from dad - sense of humor in leadership.
27:26 - Sondra's leadership inspiration from dad - be a great listener.
29:14 - Zef's leadership inspiration from dad - lesson in humility.
30:40 - Let's get connected - contact info!
SONDRA: One of the questions that I ask people is “what do you want to learn?” and the other is “What do you want to teach? What do you want to offer other people?” And those should be fun questions and I’m trying to set the tone for the group and say, “this is what we’re about.”
ZEF: Well you’re doing a great job. What I’m doing as well these days with clients is sending a long list of questions because then you get to see a better quality of people coming into your network. Correct me if I’m wrong, Handy, but I’m sure in your coaching sessons and training sessions, when you ask the right questions you get the right people with the mindset or attitude that you’re looking for.
HANDY: What I can share is that coaching is about asking questions. A good coach is someone who knows how to ask the right questions. One of the things in the business industry right now is that a lot of people are teaching and giving information. But the ability to ask questions to become more aware what’s going on, that’s the first skill of coaching.
SONDRA: You can tell what somebody understands about the conversation by the caliber of their questions. I’ve definitely had educators that said, “your questions are proving to me that you’re not paying attention and we’ve already covered this.” But good caliber questions should keep the conversation going and show you are paying attention. The best questions come from when you’re really understanding the situation. So Handy, as a leadership coach, in what areas are you looking to make the most impact?
HANDY: Well, you know leadership is a big word that means a lot of things. So it has to come in a practical setting, so I’m looking to make an impact in a very practical way. I think that’s the most important thing is that people walk out of a session, of a talk, with some practical steps that they came up with. That’s the other second step. Get people used to thinking a little bit more than when they’re on their own and accept and develop ideas that they would not develop if they were on their own. So it’s really to come back with practical steps that can help them. Leadership in a simple way for me to define it is the ability to deal with people, the ability to influence people. Whether you’re at work, you’re at home, you’re at church, you need leadership skills. You want people to respect you and you want to have a voice and a say.
ZEF: If you don’t mind me asking you Handy, I know you trained in the John Maxwell coaching program, but other than him, is there another coach or mentor that inspires you?
HANDY: Well I focus on John Maxwell because of his perspective. I focus on him right now especially if I have to deliver program content and something specific. But what we really do is really go back to life experiences. One of the mistakes I made as a coach was taking John Maxwell stuff and taking knowledge and spitting back up knowledge. What I’ve learned, that’s very valuable, is that you have to take that knowledge and tie it back down to life experience. Regardless of who you’re taking it from, it has to tie back to a real life experience for you to teach or coach on it, or else it’s garbage and has no impact.
ZEF: So Sondra let me ask you this, if there was one person that inspires you to be somebody that should be guiding instead of telling, is there a mentor or coach personality that you kind of look up to or are inspired by?
SONDRA: I guess I have to go with who came to mind first and I’m sure that there are others as well if I sat down and thought about it. It’s out dear friend Super Julie. She’s definitely one of those people who has shown me the importance of coaching. I actually came to her once…when I had someone throw me under the bus and tell someone not to work with me right in front of my face. Super Julie was awesome and said, “well, you can use it as a coaching opportunity. Do you want to be the one responsible for potentially helping this person learn from their own mistake so they don’t do this to other people in the future?” And I thought this was a nice, fresh perspective. I ended up not coaching them because, well, I had that choice. That’s an excellent point to make: you are not responsible for coaching everyone. You have to pick the right people. And some people are not in the place to be coachable.
ZEF: Handy, if there was one leadership tip to help folks out there, life-style entrepreneurs or business owners, make a difference in the way they lead others and how they manage their business, what would that be?
HANDY: Number one I would say you have to have a purpose. A real purpose. You want to solve a problem and you want to become the best at solving that problem. It has to be clear in your mind who are the people that you are trying to help. It’s all about focusing and being honest and being genuine.
ZEF: Let’s talk about Father’s Day!
SONDRA: So Handy, we know you’re a dad, so this is your month! Congratulations! We want to know, how do you, as a dad, balance the weight of being both a father and having a career? Do you have any personal stories of triumphs around this theme of being a dad?
HANDY: Not a story of triumph, but maybe two points. A person once told me, “You see how intense you are when you’re doing XYZ. You need to become as intense as a husband, as a dad. Sometime’s we’re not balance. We’re very intense at work or or at church or very intense at one activity and the other ones are falling off. But you have that same quality, you know, it’s you. So what you have to become is as much as we push to be good at work, as much as we work to be good at what we do, you have to have that drive to do the same for your kids. I forgot my second one.
SONDRA: I think that is a triumph. You kind of led into it like “Oh I don’t know if it is a triumph,” but for a lot of people that’s not really achievable. They never reach that point that it is just as important for them to be there with their family as it is important to be their for their work. I’m not a guy, I’m not a dad, but I do know that in American society father’s roles are supposed to be the fighter. You’re supposed to be able to bring home bread for everyone, but you also have to be there to break bread. So kudos to you for finding that!
HANDY: I can say that having kids does help you. It’s a challenge, but in the end in helps you. It’s a challenge put in there to make you better. It causes you to move out of your shell.
ZEF: So Handy, we talk about Father’s Day coming up, leadership. So what is one leadership trait that was inspired by your dad?
HANDY: Definitely his sense of humor. Because what happens to for example, managers. You have a person that was in a position then moves to a position of management, they have to develop leadership skills, but they’re always using authority. They’re always uptight. They break the connection and nobody wants to deal with them. Nobody cares about your title. So having a sense of humor, I think, is a way to keep your kids listening…keep everybody listening. That’s what I learned from my dad. He had a great sense of humor and it allows you to stay connected with that person to see you have a real person in front of you.
ZEF: What about you, Sondra? What’s one leadership trait that you think was inspired by your dad?
SONDRA: My dad is a really great listener. To me, that is one of the greatest aspects of being a leader. I think it’s also really important to not only apply that to other people, I do think that one of the best ways of being a leader is to lead by example: Walk Like a Leader, Talk Like a Leader. When I used to get tests back, he used to ask me if I thought I did my best. He didn’t tell me that I didn’t do my best. He didn’t tell me that I could do better. He just wanted me to be honest with myself. Did I do everything within my power to do my best on this assignment? So, it’s not only learning to listen to other people, but also learning to listen to yourself to find where your strengths and weaknesses are. So when you do become a leader in the workforce, you can pay attention to where you need help filling those gaps and make it easier to fill them for you.
ZEF: One thing, a leadership trait that I learned from my dad is the word humility. He was the general manager and he was in some corporate positions. And because he was raised in a village, he had all those non-urban upbringings so he understands humility. So he always said to me, “no matter how successful you are, if you’re in a suit in a nice chair, big oak table, whatever…always make sure you know how to get off that chair and be relatable to other people. Sometimes you need to be modest, be humble. God can give you and God can give it away from you."
Thoughts and Tips: