Updated: Jan 30
Ed Evarts 00:02
Welcome to be brave at work, a podcast devoted to helping you take the next step in your workplace. Each week we'll be talking with real people with real stories about things that have not been said or done or have said or done in their workplace that required bravery. Let's get started. Hi, everyone. This is Ed Everts, and I'm the founder and president of Accelerace leadership development. Welcome to be brave at work a podcast devoted to helping you take the next step in your workplace. I hope you'll listen to our past podcast conversations and if you'd like to hear past episodes, go to be firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe to our podcasts and learn some valuable lessons about bravery at work. (skipped to introducing the guest) I'm really excited to introduce on be brave at work today. A great guest working in multiple recruitment startups. Our guest today Larraine Chang has had her own startup where she wears three hats Headhunter facilitator and executive coach for headhunting. Larraine and her staff are building up capacity in artificial intelligence and data science search for executive coaching. Her staff and Larraine focus on an individual level to help leaders become the best leaders they can be. And for facilitating they do strengths-based team development, with an emphasis on workplace well-being that teaches managers how to embrace coaching mindsets, and they work with our clients to lead in constant change with an appreciative mind. And that's never easy to do in a world that is constantly changing. Larraine, welcome to Be Brave At Work.
Larraine Chang 02:18
Thank you for having me, Ed.
Ed Evarts 02:20
We are thrilled that you are here. And I did a very light intro of you at the start of our conversation. And I think our listeners would love to hear a little bit more about what you have done and how you currently interact in the marketplace. Sure.
Larraine Chang 02:33
Thanks, Ed. I'm still actively working in recruitment. So two thirds of my time right now, it's has been shifted to doing more work in coaching and facilitating, and training. And it makes my day when I see my clients, trusting me that they can have the critical moments in life, especially in leadership transition getting handled, and very niche positions tackled. And you know, I'm also being part of a high-performing team when I'm facilitating and delivering those training workshops.
Taking ownership and building trust
Ed Evarts 03:08
Well, you use a very important word in your introduction, which is trust. And trust is such an important part. I think in any relationship, whether it's personal or professional, but certainly in coaching and leadership and in training, etc. Is there anything that you do special that would be good for our listeners to hear on building trust or creating a trustful relationship?
Larraine Chang 03:31
Yes, I think the most important thing in building trust is, you know, you take ownership of what you do. And nowadays what I do, it's a very subjective business, whether it is headhunting coaching, or training, for example, the other day, I was just sharing insights on my LinkedIn as usual, and I think one of my clients could identify himself in my post. So he thought that I was kind of like talking about him behind his back, so to speak. So he was a bit shocked, right? And I'm like, no, no, no, no, no, even though that I'm not referring to you, but I own it. And I want to apologize if I make you feel bad. But you're one of the many people that I talk to, and you are not the only one.
And I'm just sharing my insights of my work on social media, and of course, without disclosing any names, because that would be just a no-brainer. But I was not referring to you, but I don't know whether it's a good thing that you can identify or not. But, you know, I realized that you know, my, that post might have actually sent out the wrong vibes. So I just like publicly and say, You know what, I've taken it off. And I, you know, I kind of like rephrasing my intention to make it more clear. And then I immediately got more reactions. So I think the trust is, you know, you do your own best to take ownership of your communication and actions and you learn from it. And without worrying too much about how you're going to be perceived. Yes, you cannot control everybody's reactions, but you take ownership. And that's how you can become authentic.
Ed Evarts 05:06
Well, trust is such an important part of any relationship. And there are psychologists who are way more sophisticated than me that have done research into them. Trust is a core behavior, it is the foundation of behavior that exists. And I just want to point out something you just mentioned in your story, which was when the person called you to say, Hey, are you talking about me publicly? And you said, No, it is not you. But you also said, but I own it, right?
So instead of being defensive or argumentative, with the person saying, No, it's not you, why would you think it's you and, you know, try to escape ownership, you also said, but look, I own it, it was not intended to reflect you, but I apologize if it had the impact that it had on you, and you took it down. And that's such an important self-awareness capability. And such an important part of being brave at work, right is to also own what it is you're thinking and what it is that you're doing. And it sounds like, you know, for you, Larraine, that this is a very important behavior on your part.
Larraine Chang 06:03
Yes, I thought actually, it would be a great sharing to bring on a podcast, like Be Brave at Work to talk about, oops, I wasn't looking very good at that particular point, but I own it. And I learned from it. And then I was like, Humm... What's my tone, a bit too edgy, probably need to learn from it. So I didn't learn from it. And I own it so.
Bravery in Recruitment
Ed Evarts 06:24
Well, again, it's a fantastic point for our listeners, because we do live in a world, unfortunately, where, especially in the news, a lot of people avoid or take the fifth or, you know, try to escape blame or be perceived poorly. And to be brave at work, to be a great leader to do the great work that you're doing, you have to recognize that you're not perfect, and every once in a while something may have an impact that you didn't intend, you know, they call it adverse impact. It's something you didn't intend, but the impact was something that you didn't anticipate, and you have to own it, and you have to move forward to work on it. And I'm curious, Larraine, you know, some of your work has to do with recruitment.
And recruitment, of course, is a period of time where people have to show a lot of bravery, I believe in respect to reaching out to the marketplace and presenting themselves to people they've never met, and talking about themselves in positive ways, you know, even, God forbid, saying marketing themselves in those types of ways. And, you know, I'm wondering what your experiences have been with clients who are recruiting themselves and you know, where bravery plays a role.
Larraine Chang 07:26
The bravest thing that my clients can do during the entire process is to be transparent with the candidates about what they're going to face when they got into the job. And I've seen my clients getting really great results after being so honest and transparent about the difficulty and the challenge that they expect Kennedy will face and they want to kind of like prep themselves as well, that, you know, I would have wanted to make the situation better. But this is it that we need you to help us to handle it. And this is the tricky, tricky parts. Can you handle it? And then during the conversation, both parties will realize, okay, is this a challenge that I want to take? Is this a challenge that they can take? So as a give-and-take the conversation, and I've never thought of using bravery to describe it.
But I think bravery is the right word to be, you know, transparent and vulnerable. Just like you know what I did a few days ago, you know, you are not shy, you're not trying to avoid telling people that, hey, we have a tricky situation for you. And we need you to handle it. Because in the past, most of the clients were like, no, no, no, no, no, no, I don't want to scare them. And then they end up, you know, sugarcoating without intending, and then it just created the adverse effect that you just mentioned, because the candidate was like, Oh, I thought it was A, and then now you're showing me the complete opposite.
It's even worse because they would feel like they've been cheated. They've been deceived. But then if the employer is like, completely transparent, like, hey, you know, I'm hiring a senior role. And we're having a very tricky and challenging situation. This is actually what I need you to do. Well, if this is also the support that we can give you as well, can you handle it? So you're absolutely spot on at, you know, being brave and being kind of like transparent and honest, in any time showing enough vulnerability is very important, even in the recruitment process.
Bravery in Startup
Ed Evarts 09:32
Well, I think this is a moment that all of us and I've not done sociological work on it, but I believe all of us have encountered where we're asked a question or something suddenly becomes expected of us. And we know internally that it's not an experience that we've had or it's not a strong suit that we have. And we have this sudden question, which is do I dance and make-up and act like I know what it is or ask how to do it?
Or am I as Brene Brown would say vulnerable and transparent, to say, you know, hey, that's not a strong suit of mine. And it's sudden, and it's hard because, you know, I think it's probably 50-50, 50% of the people would dance and make it up and sound like they know exactly what it is the client needs and have done it many times, so forth and so on. And others would hopefully be honest.
And as you're saying, Be vulnerable and transparent to say, you know, gee, that's not something that I have a ton of experience with. And that said, I'm a quick learner, I can do jobs that are new to me and extend me from a capability perspective very easily, right, you start selling your capabilities to help hopefully satisfy what it is that they're experiencing. I mean, it sounds like that's the advice that you give your clients if they're met with B versus A, which they expected when they went in. Yeah, so this is something that I think all of us have experienced. And it's just like bravery at work.
Again, I've not asked everybody on the globe, is there a moment in the past where you wish you had done something different than you had done today. But my experience has been both as a corporate employee and as a leadership coach, that everyone that I've met, has moments where they could have done something differently in the past than they have done today.
And I'm wondering, Larraine, if you have an example or a story you can share of something that you didn't do in the past, where you could have shown bravery as well as other emotions. And now upon reflection, wish you had done a little bit differently. Is there a story that you could share with our listeners that might be of interest?
Larraine Chang 11:32
Yeah, and this has to do with my entire career pivot. Ever since I started my own startup, there was a time it was like two years ago when I was having impostor syndrome that I was not good enough in doing executive coaching. Because all my background in my entire life has been only in headhunting. And I would kind of like, got into paralysis analysis mode, where, oh, my goodness, how can I craft this perfect sales scripts on LinkedIn telling people that I have been pivoting I am I'm doing something new, or just like, you know, send a welcome message or hi message to someone that just been newly connected to me, right? How do I communicate that? Now, looking back, I have no idea.
Actually, I was pivoting because I was just doing it. I didn't even think that I was pivoting. And then I realized, hold on one second, a lot of people have been connecting with me only on the basis that I was a head hunter. So I didn't realize that actually, you know when I tell people that I do something different, a lot of people actually couldn't receive it or couldn't understand.
And then going forward, if you ask me this question, again, like if I was having enough support two years ago, I would just say, You know what, just go with it. Do with the AB test and tell people like, Hey, this is me. I'm doing something new. Because I've seen something different. This is actually why I set up my own firm because I was fed up with the way the corporate approach recruitment, there were a lot of undercurrents, there's a lot of time, it's more than just getting bums in a seat as we speak. You have to do a lot of strategic thinking and employer branding, and you know, getting out of the marketplace, and so on and so forth. And a lot of coaching training for internal employees is all interconnected. I should have just like go out there and send out a message and maybe I'll get more responses than I had like two years ago. If you asked me now I would have definitely get on with it and breathe. Like Brene Brown said it is not about the imposter syndrome is about like getting vulnerable and tell people that hey, you know, let me know how you feel about my work. So yes, are you searching a book on your shelf?
Ed Evarts 13:46
I am searching for a book on my shelf. But I was trying to think of an author's name who reminds me of something that you had just said, because this mentality of not good enough, is a significant influence and how we operate and where these potential moments of bravery can come up. And one of the defenses I create because we probably spend more time on why we shouldn't do something you shouldn't say something, and why we should. And on this podcast, we encourage people to spend more time on why they should say something to a boss or to a colleague, rather than think about why they shouldn't but one of the reasons we think we shouldn't is because we're not good enough, right? Who am I to say something? What do I know? You know, this person knows more. And the author I was attempting to think of is Amy Cuddy, who is a professor at Harvard University and she took the phrase "fake it till you make" and, now says, you know, fake it till you become it?
And everyone I believe has transitioned into something they've never done before. You know, even great sporting athletes and great actors and actresses all had their first role, right? I mean, Meryl Streep had her first acting role somewhere, right? Of course, she developed and grew into being one of the greatest actresses ever, but you know, everybody faked and I'm sure she probably says, from time to time, I'm not good enough for this role or I can't do it. But, you know, I believe if you know that you're good. And know that what you want to say or do is the right thing to do. You need to find ways to do it, right? And, you know, that's what we hope people hear this podcast, but this is not good enough mentality as you describe the example that you shared. And thank you for sharing it is a great example, right of how you can overcome it. Because I think today, you're more successful now than you were when you first started.
Larraine Chang 15:34
I hope so, fingers crossed.
Ed Evarts 15:38
I think you are.
Work it till You Make It
Larraine Chang 15:40
I think the way that I overcame my own impostor syndrome, okay, I only speak for myself, is that I work it till I make it. I don't believe in faking it. Because in my case, I couldn't fake it. Because I always was very scared that, you know, people might caught me out, may realize that, you know, I'm not good enough, I don't have the credentials, or they've had the training, whatever. So I work hard. I took like three different coaching training in a row in one year in 2020. And that's how I actually got my first coaching client. And then once you got your first ball, you just keep it rolling.
I mean, of course, over here in Asia, when you're doing executive coaching, it's not like doing recruitment where, you know, there's like a flock of business. And in reality, we know not everyone, is right for the coaching intervention, and I cannot coach everyone, but it's about a like you said, and very first beginning having the self-awareness of who am I as a coach, and who would be like a client that I can work with, it's more important than, Oh, my God, let's just like get out there and tell everybody that I'm in this business right now. So for me, I overcame it by working to make it and by asking myself every day, did I do a good job today, , that my coaching goal actually helps the other person become a better person?
Ed Evarts 17:06
Well, I think that's, that's a fantastic perspective, Larraine, and, you know, it reminds me of my transition from corporate to coaching. And I'd spent 20 years in corporate America, surrounded by a staff of 100 people, to a coaching experience of just me, right, no employees, no one else, it was just me, and how do I generate revenue as an individual when I had all these people who used to work with me at companies, etc. And, you know, I don't think I was ever asked, Tell us about the client you have had so far, when I didn't have any previously, right? there was a point where as an independent consultant, I had not had any clients pay me. And, you know, I love your message, which I think we want to share again, with our clients, which is, work it to you the comment, right, just keep working, and working and looking for these opportunities. And once you get a couple of them, now you have stories to tell, that you now can share with others about Gee, I was working with a client last year who did this or so forth and so on, to start building that business and building that caliber. Yeah, that capability that you're looking for, in order to be successful that so that sounds like what you have been doing and I'm sure like me, we continue to do it every day.
Larraine Chang 18:21
I can feel you, Ed. I can feel you everybody who have the transition will be like, Why do I get into this too? How can I do it? Oh, Jesus, I was anxious, we might get rejected will be seen as a scammer rolling game, whatever, that kind of thing too. You know what? I'm good. And this reason there's a value in what we do. Let me spread it out there.
Ed Evarts 18:44
So eliminate the not good enough mentality in your head and think more about, work it till you become it, right? Keep working it because if you're meant to do this, it's just a matter of time before it all kicks in, and starts to work for you. So Larraine, thank you so much for your time today and talking to us about bravery in the workplace. If our listeners would love to find out more about you. Where can they do that?
Larraine Chang 19:07
They can find me on Ascension Associates.com. So the full website address is www.ascension-associates.com. Even though I'm based in Hong Kong, I'm talking to people 12 hours behind me or half of me, so I'm good.
Ed Evarts 19:23
Like me, we are 12 hours apart. And I just, I love the technology. I spoke to a client, I guess yesterday who was in Paris, France, and like you, it's as if we're next door right? And here we are not literally actually halfway around the world from each other.
What's meaningful to others also benefits us
Larraine Chang 19:40
Oh, yes. And Ed, you know, before we go, I think the very last thing that I would very much like to share with you because you know you and I have also gone through the similar transition is also think about what we can do for the other person was meaningful for the other person that we're talking You so that it also benefits us. And if it's us, and then you just keep on working it, and then you're gonna make it.
Ed Evarts 20:07
Yeah, I have always accepted the belief that I wanted to be a giver and not a taker. And I give all the time, give, give, give at no charge to colleagues and clients or former clients who need help. And I do believe the more you give, the more you get. So, Larraine, thank you so much for your time today. It was great speaking with you.
Larraine Chang 20:29
Thank you so much ad. Love speaking with you.
Ed Evarts 20:32
And to our listeners. Thank you for joining us today and we hope you join us on our next podcast conversation as we further explore being brave at work. We also remind you to subscribe to our podcast at be brave at work and or download and listen to our podcast on multiple online platforms. We are everywhere. Do you have something to say yet or not saying it? Do you have something to do yet or not doing it? Now is the time to be brave at work. Have a great week.