choice Magazine

Beyond the Page ~ A Coaching Journey through Body Intelligence with Jennifer Zach

September 19, 2023 Garry Schleifer
choice Magazine
Beyond the Page ~ A Coaching Journey through Body Intelligence with Jennifer Zach
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Welcome to an enlightening conversation with our esteemed guest, Jennifer Zach, founder of Zach Coaching, LLC, a dynamic coaching practice established in 2009. Her extensive expertise spans coaching, public speaking, and learning facilitation, all infused with the skill of somatic awareness.

Jennifer's overarching mission is to empower individuals and organizations by integrating mind-body awareness into their leadership journey, fostering personal and professional growth. With over a decade of experience, she stands as a trusted guide, aiding countless individuals in achieving their potential.

Jennifer's innovative approach seamlessly melds holistic coaching techniques with the science of somatic awareness, crafting transformative experiences that drive lasting change. As we explore the captivating realm of body intelligence and delve into the crucial role of the vagus nerve, which transmits a remarkable 80% of data from our body to our brain, Jennifer will be your insightful companion.

Furthermore, she will navigate us through the intricate process of recognizing, discerning, and harmonizing with our body's sensations. Emphasizing the importance of conducting a comprehensive body check before coaching sessions, she highlights its power to enhance co-regulation and presence, ultimately fostering deeper connections with your audience.

Throughout this episode, Jennifer shares her profound insights into the mind-body connection, offering a wealth of wisdom for both leaders and coaches, inspiring us to evolve into more effective leaders and embrace more fulfilling lives.

Stay tuned for Jennifer’s forthcoming book, “Somatic Awareness: Leading with Body Intelligence,” set to launch in Q4 2023. It promises to further illuminate her groundbreaking contributions in this field, making it an invaluable resource for those seeking to unlock their full potential through somatic awareness and mindful leadership.

Watch the full interview by clicking here

Find the full article here:   https://bit.ly/BTP-JenniferZach

Learn more about Jennifer here

Jennifer has a special gift for our listeners:
Explore your inner world with a coach who values your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Join this FREE exclusive 30-minute Somatic Awareness Demo to ignite hope and guide your path to greater inner peace.

Grab your free issue of choice Magazine here - https://choice-online.com/
 
In this episode, I talk with Jennifer Zach about her article published in our September 2023 issue.

Garry Schleifer:

Welcome to the choice Magazine podcast Beyond the Page. choice, the magazine of professional coaching, is your go-to source for expert insights and in-depth features from the world of professional coaching. I'm your host, Garry Schleifer, and I'm thrilled to have you join us today. In each episode, we literally go beyond the page, the printed page of articles published in choice Magazine, and dive deeper into some of the most recent and relevant topics in impacting the world of professional coaching, exploring the content, interviewing the talented minds, like Jennifer's, behind the articles and uncovering the stories that make an impact. choice is more than just a magazine. For over 20 years, we have built a community of like-minded people who create, use, and share coaching tools, tips, and techniques to add value to their businesses and, of course, what we all want to impact our clients and their lives. In today's episode, I'm speaking with keynote speaker, author, and consultant, Jennifer Zach, who is the author of an article in our latest issue “Humanizing Healthcare ~ Courageous Coaching at a Crossroads.” Her article is entitled “Keeping Healers Healthy ~ Coaching the Whole Leader in Healthcare” A little bit about Jennifer, she's the founder of Zach Coaching LLC, a dynamic coaching practice launched in 2009. Her expertise spans coaching, public speaking, and learning facilitation, all of which incorporate the skill of somatic awareness. Jennifer's mission is to empower individuals and organizations to unlock their full potential by integrating mind-body awareness into their leadership journey. With over a decade of experience, she has become a trusted guide in helping others achieve personal and professional growth. Jennifer's innovative approach combines holistic coaching techniques with the science of somatic awareness to create transformative experiences that drive lasting change. Through her work, she's inspired countless individuals to become more effective leaders and live more fulfilling lives. And stay tuned, Jennifer's book, Somatic Awareness Leading with Body Intelligence, launching in the Q4 of 2023, so soon you can tell us more about that which promises to further eliminate her groundbreaking insights in this field. Jennifer, thank you so much for joining us today.

Jennifer Zach:

Thank you for having me, Garry. I am delighted to be here with you and our listeners.

Garry Schleifer:

Yeah, I am too. I am too. So right out of the gate, why did you choose to write for choice?

Jennifer Zach:

Oh my gosh, I chose to write for choice because choice represents the profession of coaching. I've been a subscriber for many years, and coaching is an industry that captured my heart, you know, in the early 2000s, probably 2004, 2005, and that timeframe and, it was by chance that I read this article about coaching who knows, it might have been in your magazine and I'm like, wow, that's me, that's a thing, that's something I can do with my gifts and I have to know more about this. And so I enrolled in the world's first coaching school, Coach U, and have benefited from the expertise in your magazine to help me grow as a coach, going from an HR data person into the world of coaching that I love.

Garry Schleifer:

Well, and I want to touch on something we talked about earlier, before we started today, and that is your mission. You just exude excitement when you talk about your mission. Now, we mentioned it earlier and there are pieces in what we said, but tell our audience what you're so passionate about.

Jennifer Zach:

Oh, what I am so passionate about is getting somatic awareness into the hands of our leaders. I believe it's an essential leadership skill, especially for our time, where people are so challenged right now and living in fear. So somatic awareness provides a way out. Provides a way out of that fear and movement towards curiosity, where we can really begin to solve problems and relate well to one another and being effective collective, versus when we are in survival mode, when we're feeling threatened all of the time, the blinders go on and we can't see past our own survival, and that is that's not good for business, it's not good for relationships, it's not good for our collective. In the 90s, we had emotional intelligence. That came about as an essential leadership skill and to me, somatic awareness is the next leg of that. Somatic awareness really helps leaders take their EQ to the next level and what they're doing is really leading themselves, first by applying somatic awareness and then taking that into their teams and to the organizations to create cultures of psychological safety where good things happen.

Garry Schleifer:

Well, you're going to have to give our listeners your definition of somatic awareness.

Jennifer Zach:

Yes, I am happy to do that. So soma is the Greek word for body, so it is body awareness. Essentially, it's tuning in and noticing our physical sensations, and the cool thing, I think, is that sensation is all of us, our first language, because we didn't come into the world knowing how to speak, but we had our sensations that alerted us to our needs, our need to be held, to be fed, to be changed, whatever it is, and so it's within all of us and like dormant and people they generally what's somatic awareness? They don't know. When I explain it to them, they're like oh, oh, yeah, I know what that is? I've had that, I've been in the grocery store, I've realized, wait a minute, I'm forgetting, but I don't know what it is. And you know the fact that you're aware of this is somatic awareness. Yeah, and to take that into the business world, an example would be you know, none of us enjoy difficult conversations. But you know, in the midst of a difficult conversation maybe you feel your heart begin to beat quickly. I had a client recently tell me that they noticed that their face got very, very tense. Well, if you can notice and name that, then you can neutralize it, you can calm the nervous system down. So if you, for example, if you notice your heart beating quickly, then there's various techniques that you can use, like seeing and sensing is one of them when you look around the space that you're in, you find something pleasing. Calm the nervous system down so that you can carry on that conversation from a place of curiosity. We can't be curious and judgmental at the same time. So keep that conversation going and in a constructive direction, by leading with curiosity, because we feel safe enough to do so. When we're, when that heart is beating out of control, we are, we're in fear and we're not going to be as effective. But, the six-second rule is key here, because you got to notice that, those physical sensations before the body gets flooded with stress hormones. When that happens then we all know we've all had this experience where it takes a while for those hormones to run their course. Then we get stuck in a spiraling stress storm, and it's not always pretty.

Garry Schleifer:

Not at all. Well, thank you so much for that definition because you know we all make assumptions, and one of the things I'm learning and coaching is always to asked the client, so how do you define X, Y or Z? And I'm sure there's multiple but, and so we're going to get to the article. I know we're nowhere near the article right, and we are, because it's all the context and the background for the article. But I talked about in your bio, about body intelligence, so is it, It was E, e, ei, was, EQ is emotional intelligence, so is BI, is that a thing now like, are we going to start seeing more about that in coaching?

Jennifer Zach:

I'm making it a thing.

Garry Schleifer:

That's what I wanted to hear. I kind of had the feeling you're making it a thing trade market, trade market Okay.

Jennifer Zach:

I will yeah. Yeah, when I first submitted my first book proposal. The people that I submitted it to they're like well, we look this up, we. You know we don't find anything related. Well, no, because I'm the only one talking about it in the business sense.

Garry Schleifer:

Oh, and you should probably put it on Wikipedia.

Jennifer Zach:

Oh, okay, I want to learn more about that.

Garry Schleifer:

Well, Wikipedia is an online community-based dictionary.

Jennifer Zach:

I know what it is, but I don't know how to get something on there.

Garry Schleifer:

Oh, I don't either, but I'm sure it's easy. Google it, as I say to my 91-year-old mother when she asked me well, how do I do this? All I say to her is Google it, and she goes whatever.

Jennifer Zach:

Great suggestion, Garry. Thank you.

Garry Schleifer:

Yeah, like hey, if you created it, own it, but make sure that you own it and no one can take it away from you in a way. I don't mean to be competitive, but I also mean be proud of this thing that you've birthed, that you've created, right? So let's get a little bit into the article and I want to quote the very very first statement in that. Let me get my article up here and let's riff off that, as they say.

Jennifer Zach:

A ll right, sounds good.

Garry Schleifer:

Health. What isn't changing in the global healthcare picture? New technologies and treatments are developing nonstop. Emergencies happen at any moment Worsening mental health, health, work healthcare, workplace shortages, supply chain issues, funding gaps, and more contribute to the sweeping changes occurring across the healthcare industry. And you know, to your article we don't hear that it's helping the leader, right, they're just getting more and more and more stuff dumped on them. So tell us about how you see the approach to a healthy executive.

Jennifer Zach:

Well, I have had the privilege of coaching a CEO of one of our local hospitals for years. She is phenomenal. I often tell her if I could clone you I would. She led our hospital through, you know, the pandemic and she was just a solid presence that created safety within the organization, that helped, you know, keep the care providers feeling safe. She was, she was a lighthouse. I'm going to use a metaphor she was a lighthouse in our community and in that hospital, and she, she was grounded. And not to say that she didn't have storms, my goodness. She had a lot of storms, raging, as all leaders, especially in the complex history of healthcare, but she stood tall and she let her light shine. And, that's what somatic awareness can do, can do for leaders, and that's part of the reason why I'm so passionate about getting it into the hands of leaders, especially in healthcare, because, you know, the stakes are so high. We're talking about human life here.

Garry Schleifer:

On both sides the leader and the big good.

Jennifer Zach:

Absolutely, and it's essential that the healthcare leader be healthy so the organization, the people in it and those serving their patients can be healthy. And that's also why I'm a big proponent of executive healthcare to mention that in the article, and it's just a great way for executives to be very intentional about their healthcare and, interestingly enough, I find you know just as many people who don't know what somatic awareness is don't know what executive healthcare is either.

Garry Schleifer:

Yeah, well, give us an example of what she did that made her this lighthouse, and awareness of her body intelligence.

Jennifer Zach:

What she did is she stayed committed to coaching. She kept what she called a 60-day goal list, so kept it reasonable and worked within that, and she practiced somatic awareness. And you know, for each person that looks a little different. You stay curious, you practice, you find what works for you and so she could be in a, say, high stakes meeting. And if she felt her temperature rise ? She could proactively use the seeing and sensing, or she could repeat a mantra to herself they kept helped her stay curious and present and not fall victim to being hijacked by her amygdala.

Garry Schleifer:

Yeah, wow. The word that comes up for me is body sensation. And so what does sensation have to do with attending to the leader in their entirety?

Jennifer Zach:

Oh yeah, because, it's you know, the body knows first and we have what is called it's a vagus nerve, and what say that again it's vagus nerve like Las Vegas, sounds like it, but not entirely like. So it's a nerve that runs from the base of our brain down to you know, you know, or got level throughout the, the trunk of the of the body, and this is where we get things like gut feeling. People know again gut feeling. We speak the language, but don't necessarily put the dots together. So, um, vagus means wandering in Latin. So yeah, and that's how this nerve got its name, because it wanders throughout the various organs that we have, and thus we get 80%, 80% of our data. You know that sensational data. It's traveling from our body to our brain. Only 20% is going from the brain to the body. So the body truly does know before the brain, and we can leverage that if we're paying attention, if we notice. I call it um notice name, neutralize, and you gotta notice it, and you gotta do all of that within six seconds otherwise you're gonna get flooded, yeah, but the more people practice it, the more curious they are, the better they get at it, because then their window of tolerance grows. And I had a you know another woman that I worked with and she, just, she said it's everything, it's everything not to have to carry around that terrible pit in my stomach. And she called a resetting.

Garry Schleifer:

She said I could reset any time and because she was practicing, she was noticing, she was naming, she was neutralizing, and then she could carry that throughout her day and then she was more confident as a result and then had more patience and more curiosity because she wasn't stuck in fight, breathe and self-protection mode wow, that's, and I know that we talked about the six seconds, but six seconds is just a noticing, not the rest of it, but it sounds like it all as you, if you, if you choose to notice and practice, you can, you can help make that a full cycle, make it a lot quicker and I'll bet the majority people have the same, or usually the same, feelings all the time. Is that, would that be true?

Jennifer Zach:

in terms of like a, like a pit yeah, like a pit in the stomach.

Garry Schleifer:

That person you talked about more than likely has that on a regular basis. So they do this somatic practice of and say it again, notice name, neutralize, right, yes, right, and just rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat and then yes, then okay, yes, there'll be other sensations, but wow, this is so, so interesting. I'd heard about somatic awareness and somatic coaching, but this is so much deeper. Thank you so much for helping us and our listeners understand this at a different level. I mean, I'm absolutely so. Now I'm sitting here right and I'm thinking, uh-huh, okay, so as I prepare for my coaching calls, what about a body check? Oh yeah, right yeah well, you say oh yeah, but I'm just learning, right, right, there's so many things to do, but number one is to you know, for me is to notice distractions. So I like my you know stuff away from my desk, I have my book ready and make a few cryptic notes. Not a lot, it's just a thing, it's a um, is that's? That's not somatic, what is that? It's about writing and just kinetic, I need something, and you know it's goes back to school days, I guess. Uh, but now that I think right away, uh, the somatic awareness, like I'm sitting here right now thinking, okay, so what's my body telling me? Am I, you know, and it's telling me to sit straight like, continue to be engaged, breathe, right, that sort of thing right, I'm not fight, flight or freeze here, right, because I love what I'm doing with the interviews and interviewing you and that sort of thing, and it's so much learning. And there's a part of me that says, okay, am I asking the questions our listeners want to hear? So there's that fight, flight, freeze sensation. And then I just notice that and then I pull back and I go, okay, what's the question I want to know? Because usually the questions I want answered are the ones our listeners want.

Jennifer Zach:

So, yeah, yeah, excellent, you're practicing it right there.

Garry Schleifer:

Awesome. Okay, I graduated.

Jennifer Zach:

And I'm a teacher guru and on the other side of that, because and this is the thing too where it gets into team the co-regulation because you feel safe. That helps me feel safe so that I can also be present and answer your questions from my heart and stay connected to our audience, versus being caught up in my head and what's really keeping me disconnected would keep me disconnected from from our audience in how I deliver my answers.

Garry Schleifer:

Well, and that's a really good question, I was going to ask you how do you create that unified, healthy team of leaders in healthcare? And I guess you start with yourself, sounds like, right, and what else? How do you create this healthy team of leaders?

Jennifer Zach:

Well, just remembering that, you know, our actions speak louder than our words.

Garry Schleifer:

All right, that old reminder, got it.

Jennifer Zach:

Yes, so really being diligent about practicing and modeling, like the leader that I referenced as a lighthouse, I mean, she did that. She was present, she was there for the need and she also worked hard, I think, to take care of herself, because we can't burn the candle at both ends and be effective, especially in healthcare. That is just a bad idea. And so and I've had a number of clients too that's what I love about somatic awareness, that's so accessible. And I've had leaders tell me that they come to the coaching call. Yeah, I've been teaching this to my team, and it's great, we're getting along great. And, I had one leader, she was so sweet. She says to me, she says my team loves it because now they can say anything to me and they don't have to worry about me, reacting, interesting psychological safety. That positions her very, very well as a leader to make a difference, because her team feels safe talking to her. They are going to let her really know what she needs to know, you know, and she'll be able to hear it, um, and respond to it effectively so that good things can happen, change that needs to happen can happen, and not getting stuck in the spiraling stress storm of, you know, being wanting to be right more than in right relationship with other people.

Garry Schleifer:

Yeah, Okay. I just saw something really funny around all this somatic awareness and especially care. Yeah, doctors and nurses are constantly asking where does it hurt? Tell me what's going on, ba-ba-ba-ba. What we're doing is we're turning the tables and saying okay, leader, what's going on your body, right? That was just on dummy. How is that turning the tables on it. That's funny.

Jennifer Zach:

That's awesome.

Garry Schleifer:

Yeah, great insight and it works and yes, thank you for reminding us, lead by example, right, and I had that happen so many times in my life. And a reminder to just you know, be the leader, right, and we're all.

Jennifer Zach:

And we are, and we have to be intentional about it, because we can't take people any farther than we've come ourselves. So we've really got to stay curious, practice be compassionate. Self-compassion by Christine Neff. That book is one that I recommend a lot to people because if you can be compassionate towards yourself, it opens your capacity to be compassionate towards others. That builds empathy. That's the other thing with somatic awareness. The more in tune you are with your own physical sensations, the more empathetic you can be, the more in tune you can be with with other people. You can tell, you'll learn to tell, when they are coming from a place of fight-flight-freeze or curiosity. And if they're coming from a fight-flight-freeze another leader that I worked with in HR, she was able to stand in the heat because she was practicing her. You know, when somebody showed up and very, very upset, you could recognize this person is in fight-flight-freeze. Anything that I say right now they're not gonna hear. And, so she would, you know, table a conversation for another time. They come together when everybody had a chance to calm their nervous systems and ideas would come to the table. They hadn't been there before. Really good ideas.

Garry Schleifer:

Yeah, yeah, when you drop that facade, if you will, or that defensiveness, and you become empathetic and then you become more open and None of this stuff's gonna kill us, people like what are we defending, right, so crazy?

Jennifer Zach:

Yeah, yeah, but we're wired to survive. So that is the thing too, that we, t he amygdala is just doing his job. It can't tell the difference between a real and perceived threat, so it's, we got to stay. You know, keep in connection with a prefrontal cortex, have that in the driver's seat, and have the amygdala they've listed in writing shotgun.

Garry Schleifer:

Yeah, well, you're gonna love our next issue after this, healthcare one, because it's about neuroscience and the brain and the body and, and, and so yeah, I'm looking forward to that. Jennifer, thank you so much. We're gonna wrap up how. What would you like our audience to do as a result of the article in this conversation? Tell us about your book.

Jennifer Zach:

Please read the book, and also start now. You can start small, but start now by noticing, paying attention to your physical sensations. And, you know, I invite every listener to take part, and Garry will be sharing a link that I have set up for folks to schedule totally free 30-minute Somatic Awareness Demo when you can really experience somatic awareness and begin to make a plan to how you can bring that into your life and your leadership, because another thing that I've had many leaders tell me they come to the call pleasantly surprised that you know what this is helping me with my personal relationships too.

Garry Schleifer:

Yes.

Jennifer Zach:

Well, we talk about the whole person.

Garry Schleifer:

The whole person.

Jennifer Zach:

Yes.

Garry Schleifer:

Thank you so much. Yes, and I think we've given some ideas at least I have some ideas that I voiced about presencing myself and checking not just my breathing but my body, any sensations, before coaching call to help me be present, because that's one of the things that is a little bit more difficult for me when I fly from one thing to another and coaching call to another is presencing so and so what's the best way to reach you, Jennifer?

Jennifer Zach:

The best way really is is the link that you're going to be sharing where they can schedule a demo, and I'm also very active on LinkedIn. They can follow me there and listen to. I've got videos and clips from my po dcast of leaders that are practicing somatic awareness and their stories, and, of course, I also have a website, too, and that is Jennifer- zach. com. And keep an eye out for my book, and we're very, in a very exciting phase right now, picking a hover oh, the fun part. The fun part, yes, and so I've got. I've got proposals out to three publishers and hopefully one of them will pick it up and if not, I have my ducks in a row to self publish, if I need to, before the end of the year because, as I said, my mission is to get this skill into the hands of our leaders.

Garry Schleifer:

Awesome, and our coaches? And our coaches are, and through our coaches how's that? Yeah, through their bodies. Thank you so much for joining us for this beyond the page episode. Really appreciate your insights.

Jennifer Zach:

Thank you, Garry. I appreciate the opportunity to be here and be able to talk with you and share information with our with our listeners and everyone.

Garry Schleifer:

Take that test or meet with Jennifer. That's it for this episode of Beyond the Page. For more episodes, subscribe via your favorite podcast app. If you're not a subscriber, you can sign up for a free digital issue of choice Magazine by going to choice dash online dot com and clicking the sign up now button. I'm Garry Schleifer. Enjoy the journey of mastery. Thanks again, Jennifer.

Jennifer Zach:

Thank you, thank you.

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