The Successful Coach

Joshua Davies


Have you ever experienced having a conversation with someone but they felt like you’re blocking them?

Conversation architecture means every conversation is multiple possible conversations. It’s about constructing the most stable and mindful conversations.

Good conversation leads to outcomes that are better for both parties. Authentic and connected conversation involves understanding, responding, and incorporating other people’s needs.

It’s more of deep listening rather than magic phrases that manipulate people.

In the conversation, it is important that you feel heard but it is also important to listen and take what they’re giving you or taking what is in their head because if not, you will only get half the ingredients to cook up something successful.

A bit about Joshua:

Born on a Hawaiian volcano, Joshua has spent the last 20 years chasing curiosity and working internationally, with the last 15 based in Asia. He heads up Knowmium, serving as lead Conversation Architect, and training both non-profits and Fortune 100s worldwide in persuasive communications. With Knowmium, he studies the “how” of deeper talk— unpacking fossilized speech patterns and crafting new habits that build trust and collaboratively solve problems. Joshua is the author of Radically Remote (a guide to engaging virtual facilitating). In his spare time, he enjoys running (slowly) on Hong Kong’s trails, photography (less slowly), and reading more books than all the time left in the universe will allow.

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Joshua Davies 0:01

Seth Godin said, "Persuasion is the transfer of emotion." And that's really what we're trying to do there is we're trying to share and transfer a mental model. I'm listening to mental models. I'm trying to figure out the mental model they've got and how I can understand that better to get out of my model.

Doug Holt 0:17

Hi, everyone. I'm super excited to have my next guest here, Joshua Davies. We've been talking for a while offline, always having a great conversation. To give you guys a little bit of background here. Joshua was born on a Hawaiian volcano. He spent the last 20 years chasing curiosity, working internationally with the last 15 based in Asia, he heads up. Knowmium, excuse me they're, serving on lead conservation, student conversation, architect, and training both nonprofits and fortune 100 companies worldwide in persuasive communications. With Knowmium, he studies how to talk deeper, unpacking fossilized speech patterns, and crafting new habits that build trust and collaboratively solve problems. Joshua is also the author of Radically Remote, it's a guide to engaging virtual facilitation, and in his spare time, he enjoys running; he is a bit slow, he says. Still, I feel it is not. On Hong Kong's trails, photography, which I've seen, it's great. You guys should check it out and read more books than all the time left in the universe will allow. So what a great intro, and although I stumbled there, it's funny that we'll be talking about conversation architecture. So thanks so much for being here.

Joshua Davies 1:44

Thank you. Well, it is a bright early 5 am in Hong Kong. So if you're stumbling, it's bright and early for me. So I'm an early riser, but I'll be stumbling as well. So we've leveled the playing field to some extent with our mental capacities at this moment.

Doug Holt 1:58

Perfect. We'll stumble together. So Josh, one of the things you can talk about so many different topics and even in that short introduction, really doesn't do justice to some of the things you've done. But today, I want to talk about conversation architecture. First, let's set the pace. For those people like me, how do we define conversation architecture?

Joshua Davies 2:20

This is the advantage of an imaginary job title. You can define it however you want. It's either the world's most pretentious job title or a really neat one. It does stick out. I've got a friend and mentor, Daniel Stillman, his job title. The reason we even met is that his job title on LinkedIn was conversation designer.

Doug Holt 2:44

I love it.

Joshua Davies 2:44

So conversation architects have similar ideas, with no offense to architects, we're not trying to steal your term there. But it's this idea that every conversation we have in, in the workplace, at home, etc., is multiple possible conversations. It could go this way, and there are all these structural pivot points; there are all these places where the conversation branches off. And when we get to the end of a conversation, we feel almost inevitably that it got to this place, because "Oh, well, that's just where it was going to get to." But the reality is, most conversations, again, they're multiple conversations, choose your adventure. So what conversation architecture is all about is trying to understand the underlying structure of conversations and construct much more stable ones that lead in a very positive way strategically to better outcomes for both people in the conversation. So it's more about conscious awareness of the conversations so that we're, again, not manipulating the conversation by any means. But we're much more present and mindful in the conversation and able to have that conversation in a way that leads to a better direction for both.

Doug Holt 3:51

I love it. So when you think about that, we talked about persuasive language people think manipulation, right? and things of that nature, like okay, he's trying to persuade me, he's going to sell me he's going to get into my head and be dancing like a chicken soon. Talk to me a little bit about the reality of that.

Joshua Davies 04:03

Yeah, it makes me laugh. There's always the danger that I deeply offend some of my fellow facilitar friends. We're talking about conversation, architecture; it has nothing to do with NLP. And by NLP, I mean, like, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, which is apologies. There's no science behind that. There have been no research studies in the last 30 years. It's built on Ericksonian hypnosis and things that went beyond that. So there are some language patterns and grades of truth they build on top of that, but largely, it's just magic phrases that will suddenly move people's minds and that kind of stuff. It's not about that. And the reason I would say that is because if you look at the research, and when I do training on this, there's always at least one person who's like so you're going to tell me the phrases that are going to get me that I can convince someone of something? Well, you can fool someone one time with phrases. But there's no such thing as their problem. If you make something their problem, it's going to be your problem next time. Whether you are completely Machiavellian or the most altruistic person on the planet, good conversation leads to better outcomes for both parties. Authentic, connected conversation involves understanding, responding, and incorporating other people's needs. It doesn't involve tricking them into temporarily agreeing to something, because even if they agree at the moment, negotiation or something down the road. if that's not good for them, it's not like a permanent filter that you've put over their brain. "Yeah, I still agree with that." It's not that it's so; it's much more about authentic communication and better mindful problem solving and deep listening than magic phrases to manipulate people.

Doug Holt 05:56

Yeah. When everybody's, to your point, when anybody feels manipulated, they walk away from a conversation feeling that they've been tricked in some way, shape, or form, that's going to forever color the future interactions right at the corporate level, or the interpersonal level.

Joshua Davies 06:10

It's buyer's remorse. I mean, you never wish to cause that. I mean, and it's even worse if they don't feel manipulated at the moment. But the next day they do, I mean, that's terrible. Now, that doesn't mean you don't use framing techniques. You don't use any linguistic things. And by framing techniques, for example, if I'm trying to listen to you genuinely, I'll take things that you've said, and I will use those in what I'm saying; that's not me, going, "Aha, I've taken your words, and I'm twisting them," it's me making sure that I've tagged what you've said, making sure that I have recognized it, brought it to the surface, checked my assumptions on it and shared it back to you in a way that says to you, Hey, I'm listening to you, and I genuinely understand you. So that's not manipulation, that's framing, it's choosing where I point the camera, it's not photoshopping the entire thing and saying, Look, it's a perfect sunset. It's not the real sunset; I pasted it in there. But you know, it's, it's framing. So it's that,

Doug Holt 07:08

I like that. In essence, we talked about people like our listeners. A lot of them, they're going to be coaches and high performers. Part of what we're talking about is framing and validating, right. So in communication, making sure that you feel heard. One that so I feel respected as well and the conversations are going on. You know that it makes it easier for you as the speaker to get your message across.

Joshua Davies 07:31

I think that's exactly it. I think that you speaking to coaching resonates with that, like, so I do a lot of executive coaching as well. And it's, you work with the ingredients that are there. Let's say, not a coaching conversation, but an influence conversation. If I'm trying to move someone's mind, you see, when people are first doing it, the first thing that they're trying to do is they're taking all the ingredients that are in their head, and they're just pushing them out there, and they keep doing it. And if they get a no, they just take those same ingredients, maybe add a couple of others from their head and push again. But what we always say is that if you've got the recipe for momentum for moving forward, half the ingredients might be coming from your head, but half the ingredients are coming from the other person's head. And if you're not taking what they're giving you, not taking what they care about what's in their head, you only have half the ingredients to cook up something successful. With coaching, even more of the ingredients need to be coming from the person you're working with. If I am the coach, I'm just putting all my ingredients on it. You and I both know that you might walk away with a coach; he was going, Yeah, that sounds like the right thing. But you come back two weeks later, and they're doing the same damn thing because the ingredients didn't come from their head.

Doug Holt 08:46

Love it. Yeah, they don't have ownership of it.

Joshua Davies 8:48

Correct. You have to transfer ownership. Nothing more important than that.

Doug Holt 8:52

And when you're talking about ingredients, I realized you're watching language cues as kinesthetic. It is auditory because you are using things I know you're way beyond that. I'm just trying to break it down to my simple mind of where in the conversation were you listening for?

Joshua Davies 09:09

I would say, way beyond me, there are just different approaches to the same thing. If your approach involves deeply listening to what is said and what's under what's being said, then you're set. I'm not here to call this method or this method better or worse than the other. We're trying to make people deep listeners who care about the person across from them, in terms of how I frame it up. I always think about mental models. So it's, it's to give an example of that. So I'm originally from Hawaii of al Qaeda, as you say on a show no, Bill, I just like me, it's a nice way to say I was born Hawaiian. That's neat. But here, like I was born in a volcano. Technically a lot of people were poured on volcanoes. It doesn't matter if they're extinct or not extinct. But anyway, it's again, it's all about framing, it's about the frame we choose. So I could say, "This beach is the best beach, why should you trust me? I'm a credible expert; I'm born in Hawaii." I could even say I could give you a data point supporting that 70% of people who live or aboard in Hawaii feel that this is the best beach. And I've told you something, and it's just telling. It's sharing my belief. And so many presentations are like that. It's telling expertise plus bullet points. So if I give that to you, what's going to happen if you're deciding that, whether or not to agree with it? You're going to take that bullet point, my expertise, that data point, and you're going to build a mental model in it. You're going to take everything that's your experience in your head, and you're going to build a model of that. And you're going to imagine yourself deciding your head before you decide in the real world. So you make it before you take it. And that's fine if you're already half agreeing with me. But if you're not nine times that attend, the mental model you build with your experiences is going to be different than the one I want to give you. So if I'm trying to persuade you and transfer this mental model, rather than telling you I've got to show you, I got to say, it's white sand, blue water, five kilometers long, used to walk on along as a kid, built sandcastles with my brother, swam all that the brain is both incredibly curious but incredibly lazy in some ways. It takes a shortcut, as you know, so if I don't hand you data points, you need to build a mental model. But instead, I hand you a mental model. Even if you don't ultimately agree with me, you'll try it on for size. And if I want to increase that power, I just pivot to you. And I say, "Doug if you were on this beach, what would you do there?" So it's no longer my story. It's becoming your story. And I'm transferring that ownership. Seth Godin said, "Persuasion is the transfer of emotion." And that's really what we're trying to do there is we're trying to share and transfer a mental model. So by the same token, when I'm listening, sorry, that's a long answer to a great short question, not living up to good conversation skills. But uh, basically, I'm listening for mental models. I'm trying to figure out the mental model they've got at how I could understand that better to get out of my model.

Doug Holt 12:15

I have to say, as someone passionate about learning, I've been studying the art of persuasion for going on almost ten years now. And I said it because that was probably the best explanation in a short time of what it is as far as the transference, right? If you get someone to have that ownership and try your model on, it's a completely different paradigm shift in such a short, simple way.

Joshua Davies 12:39

That's very kind. Well, it's from because we're, how to put it, we give lots of short training sessions sometimes. So it's how we can condense this idea down? You're not going to, Doug is not going to do an un-Doug-like thing. You might do it from a compliance perspective if I have authority. And I always say that so amusing when someone's like, "Oh, yeah, I can't influence them because I don't have authority." I'm like, "Well, if you needed authority to influence them, you weren't influencing seriously; you were using your power. That does not influence, okay? Because they're doing it because they have to, or they feel that it might be organizationally beneficial. They're not doing it because of this internal committed motivation." Doug is not going to do an un-Doug-like thing. It's again, stealing from Seth Godin. He says that "Marketing and sales really, it's getting people to realize people like me do things like this." I am a Doug. I do this Doug like a thing. If what I paint for you seems like a Doug like thing to do. And I let you try it on. You're like, "Yeah, that's the kind of thing Doug would do." Then you'll do it. And if not, you'll do it only if you have to, but you'd rather not.

Doug Holt 13:48

Yeah, no, it's very true. Well, when you're working with you, obviously, how did you get into this, Joshua? How did you come along this route and end up as a conversational architect?

Joshua Davies 14:01

Insatiable curiosity, just curiosity. I wish there's more complex. My undergrad was in mixed media art. So it's like going way back, it was communications of the visual, I did mixed media, like big video installations, but everything was obsessed with communication. When I was out there, I was later on just obsessed with different ways to communicate. So I did a master's in the science of education. So how do we learn things? How do we acquire knowledge? And it's all about how do we reach out to people and how do we move that, so it was just following a chain of logic which makes sense in retrospect, but at the time, it was just pure curiosity. I was sitting on somebody's couch in Bologna, Italy, a good friend of mine couch then, and they were taking a class on negotiation, and they had a textbook marketing for advantage. I didn't have anything to do that week because I was just on vacation. And I'm like, "Oh, this looks interesting!". And this is like 2002. I started reading through it. I'm like, "Oh, well, that's fascinating." And so it was just literally following a chain of logic that led from mixed media art to that. I wish I could say something that there was a science behind it in the advanced, but there wasn't just pure curiosity about how we communicate with each other a bit better?

Doug Holt 15:23

And then well, I think that's why most people end up with things, right. I don't think there are very few people that I've ever met, they say, "Well, when I was four years old, I've always wanted to do X," right? Or whatever it is.

Joshua Davies 15:34

I always love that. There are always really interesting people, though.

Doug Holt 15:38

They are. They're fascinating. And they're still passionate about it quite often. How did you go from that to getting into executive coaching?

Joshua Davies 15:47

Oh, that's a good question. So I was on this a while ago; I wasn't on the academic side for a while. I was a university faculty at Yonsei Seung Hwan University in Korea. And the area that I was teaching him was communications—so looking at persuasive presenting, looking at like mini MBA type stuff. Let's call an MBA the easiest way to think about it. It was in that sort of division, just as interested in communications there, and got pulled into the more corporate training space, accidentally. I led up through 2 masters because I was doing many keynotes and conference type events on Meijer research, which was about blended learning around presenting around that kind of stuff; it just got pulled into that. When I was in the corporate training space, it was just, and I didn't even know that coaching was a thing at the time. This is like a good 15 years ago. Just while we were doing work with clients, where it was more training stuff, it's basically like, "Oh, so would you like to do some executive coaching?" or "Do some presentation coaching or some communications coaching?" And this I'm like, "Oh, what's that?" "It's a one on one version of what you're doing here or a small group version" I'm like, "Oh, yeah, sure, why not." It was just the start of that journey I was just asked to do, and seemed like a good idea at the time. And it turned out to be a lot of fun.

Doug Holt 17:16

That's how I fell into coaching as well.

Joshua Davies 17:18

I'm really curious. Yeah. So how did you fall into it?

Doug Holt 17:21

These are great. So I started with athletic and sports coaching. And then I got, I'm an athlete, but I'm also a nerd. So I need to know how to, I want to know how to motivate athletes and clients. So I got into psychology; what motivates people to do what they say they want to do but don't do, right? So exercise, dieting, etc. This is 20 years ago, and that dovetailed and had been an entrepreneur, so I own businesses, and I'll get to the real reason. And so during that, I was mildly successful by traditional terms, financially, etc. And my clients started asking me, "Hey, can you help me out with this? You seem to know a little bit about that." And so it started turning into coaching. And I realized that I started experimenting with it. And as somebody was working within Santa Barbara, California, as we were talking about before, some people have some income there. So working with high net worth individuals, executives, celebrities, etc. And it just dovetailed into the world of coaching and betterment. I fell into it.

Joshua Davies 18:25

I think that's all of us. I think you labeled the word precise, is that, just like you, I'm a communications nerd, I want to understand what makes it work. It's no different from my buddy who owns a bike shop because he was obsessed with how do I fix this? How do I fix it? Not necessarily, even to the point of fixing it, but understanding how the gears work, how it all fits together, how it all goes. Same thing, but just in conversations, just obsessed with that. So you must have read the book Habit and be interested in some of that. I love that book.

Doug Holt 18:59

Yes. Absolutely.

Joshua Davies 19:01

Like BJ Fogg, BJ Fogg stuff on, like tiny habits and those micro habits and mini triggers and how we set those up? I'm totally with you on that.

Doug Holt 19:10

Oh, yeah, I am constantly reading and constantly looking for both the research and in the trenches of what I've seen work because there's, you know, I always used to joke around because I own my private wellness facility in Santa Barbara for 15 years, that it's the only job in the world where you torture people, they like you for it.

Joshua Davies 19:27


Doug Holt 19:27

Because you're making, you're making famous people, and some and mostly not famous people do things that they don't want to do at the moment. So you have these triggers, these psychological triggers, these ways to communicate to get them out of their head into their body or out of their body and into their heart, whatever it may be. And to get them to do what they truly desire, even though their ego or something else might be pushing them back in a different direction.

Joshua Davies 19:50

Absolutely. And to get them to do it outside of what we would call like a laboratory setting. It's like in the workshop or the coaching session. They might nail the conversation or be able to unpack it and be self-aware, but you put them out there again into the business or personal environment. And if they're not able to put it if they're, if they can only do the recipe when they've got like the head chef watching over them, they can't cook it yet you don't know the recipe yet. So it's about building in the habits so that they stick outside of that professional kitchen.

Doug Holt 20:26

I'm lucky, and I hope that all the clients that I've worked with can not only follow the recipe, but they can way outperform the chef.

That is the hope; that is by far the hope. At the very least, I always learn new things from them. So there, they're constantly teaching me things. I'm like, "Yeah, that's a great idea. Thank you." It's not the Picasso thing. Good artists borrow and great artists steal. And I always love that quote because it's not even originally from Picasso; it was stolen by him as well. Someone went back and liked going through the history of when that quote first appeared. Not remotely a Picasso quote, but it's really good. I just always like giving it to him because he stole that quote. Yeah, it's good.

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So when someone's thinking about getting into, they're in a conversation, right or a conversation of persuasion, maybe it's a coach to a client, or it's often for you, maybe it's an executive talking to their downline, what are a couple of things they could start practicing or being aware of now that they can just take away and apply?

Joshua Davies 22:23

Yeah, that's a good question. What's probably easiest is that when we are our core foundation that we always work on first, we understand where people are on the map. And I'll get to that one second. It's this idea of where we are on the conversation map. How can we move from one part of the map to the other consciously? At the same time, when we're moving, we need to take the other person with us and make sure they're coming with us. And then when should we do it. So the easiest way to look at it is like a conversation map, it's kind of like just a two grid. And yet, in the bottom left-hand corner, blocking and telling this is the vast majority of influence conversations and meetings, it's two monologues desperately in search of a dialog. Still, there's no actual dialogue; it's parallel speeches, no one's listening to each other. We're going `"Oh, that's a nice idea, but...", "That's a nice idea, but.." upper left-hand corner is all about understanding the other person. It's about what we might call pull. So it's just really about validating, understanding them. The bottom right-hand corner is pushed; it's about persuading and storytelling. Often, we try to go over to that push quarter; we're only over in that corner if we've got someone coming along with us. And if they're not coming with us, then we're not there, we're back in that blocking telling red zone. The upper right-hand corner of that would be the green zone, a co-creative path forward. So that's problem-solving and appreciative inquiry, where it's a mixture of what you're doing and what I'm doing. And we're building it together. So just understanding where you are on that little two is incredibly powerful. Because what most people realize quickly, even in half an hour of simulation, is Oh crap, I am in the red zone a lot. Or I keep trying to go into that push zone. But I'm not pulling them along with me because I haven't gone and validated and gone and tried to understand where they're coming from first. So it understands that understanding where you are on the map is one of the single most powerful things you can do because you'll recognize that I'm the one making myself stuck, more than half the time.

Doug Holt 24:39

Oh, yeah, I was just thinking I had an all-staff meeting for a corporation I run. I'm the CEO of, and I'm picturing you saying this. I'm picturing myself jumping all over this grid during the whole meeting going all over the place. Does that often happen to most people, or am I just special that way?

Joshua Davies 24:59

No. It's not; there's not a particular order that one necessarily needs to do these things in. It's more about whether we go together or not at all. Like I could try to go up in that problem-solving. "What if we did that green zone?" But if you're still sitting there going, "No, no, no," we're in the red zone. The lowest common denominator sets where the conversation is if I'm trying to influence someone. So if we're like, the lowest bar of communication is the red zone where it's just blocking. And, again, when I say blocky and telling, there's not always hate there. It's like a friend who's giving you advice. You're like, "I don't want advice," them giving you advice doesn't have ill intentions behind it. They probably have; they love you. They're great. But you're like, "I don't, I don't want to hear this." So they're telling you, you're blocking them. Neither of you is like animosity towards each other, but you're still in the red zone. So it's always set by that. So it's more about consciously doing it. For example, if I were doing sales, consultative sales would probably start more in that pull zone where I'm trying to be discovery-oriented. Still, like more insider challenger sales, where I'm trying to have the person, so constant of the conversation's sales goal is for you to go, yeah, you understand me exactly. Great. Insight-based sales are more to have you in that particular situation go, "Whoa, I hadn't thought about that yet," which is going to get it going more into the pull zone where I might surprise them a little bit. Neither is bad or good. But we always have to be checking in and making sure we're moving there together. So it's that kind of thing. Does that make sense? So it's you're not bad to be anywhere you are in your meeting. That's totally fine. It's more about how consciously you are moving with the collective group?

Doug Holt 26:51

No, it makes perfect sense. And you know, I could picture it somewhat in jest. But we look at the meeting structure. I would imagine that many clients, especially when you're working with fortune 100 companies or executives. I would assume that they've come to you because they've realized how we've done it hasn't been working as well as we'd like it to be.

Joshua Davies 27:11

Exactly. The single most revealing thing you could ever do with that conversation map is we do a lot in our sessions; we do a lot of live transcribing. You record this, we will be doing that, but with a transcription there, whether that's, so we use otter for that, but you can use 100 different tech things. There's also a Serato AI, looking at some of the sentiment and engagement patterns around it. So if you pull the words down, put them up there, and then simply get people to map it out. "Okay, where's where's the sentence going?" "Okay, they said that. How do you respond to that?" So the magic is in the pivots; the magic is always in the pivots. If you've said something to me, what do I do that you've tossed the ball to me? Nine times, that's what people do is they take the ball, they go, "Oh, that's nice." They just drop it. They just drop it and go back to what they said "Here's the ball, and I have let me throw this at you." And the followers go, "What about the ball, I just toss to you?" So you got two choices. I can take this ball. And I go, "Oh, that's interesting. Let me follow up. Tell me more". And I toss your ball back to you. Or I can take it and go. "Oh, you know, that's interesting. Well, this actually leads to something that I wanted to share. Would you mind if I give that to you?" Just showing how in those pivot points, we don't do that. We just drop it all tIs so incredibly revealing. It's an "Oh, crap moment," usually, which is a lot of fun to bring up to the surface. But then it's how we go beyond that.

Doug Holt 28:41

Well, I can't imagine. I mean, you have so much passion around this, and you're approaching it from such playful energy, it seems. Right. That's going to make it much more disarming, I would imagine, for the individuals you're working with.

Joshua Davies 28:56

It's for me, and I'm sure it's not the only way to do it. I need to emphasize that this is one way that I found work is playful, energetic curiosity towards "Oh, my goodness, what are we doing?" helps to lower people's filters of "Oh, I can't believe I just did that" removes a lot of the embarrassment. It's more like "look at what we're doing." Isn't this hilarious that we, as human beings, are sitting here we both have good intentions, neither of them, Well, not always. But let's assume that they do that collaboratively. We have relatively good intentions. We both want this to work. But we're not getting there. And it's just hilarious. To watch that I find that that's true in general and conflict, not to respond to things that we don't like, with curiosity and warm surprise, an inquiry as a starting point, I'm not saying that in a negotiation. You should never get stuck and never say no by no means. But how to put it, the phrase we use in the associations, and staff can always be difficult later. But once you are difficult, it's really hard to reel that back in. So it's, and again, this doesn't mean being a pushover or accommodating; it's responding with genuine curiosity. So "Oh, so that's, not how I said it. Tell me more helped me to understand", or, you know, if I need to sell this internally, so I know how that's going to land internally helped me to understand how you got there? What's the journey that led you to that destination? So that I might better understand how I can work with this and carry this forward in our firm?

Doug Holt 30:35

Wow. I mean, this is, so it's such a fascinating conversation. And does this what led to your current will talk to us a little bit about what led to your current business?

Joshua Davies 30:45

Oh, guys, yeah. So that went from the academic side, getting pulled into the more corporate side, my original plan was to go back and do a Ph.D. in this end up, I'm doing a second Master's in Organizational Behavior Management instead, I still really want to go back and do the Ph.D. I did like all the juries and all that stuff; it was all good to go. But then just got pulled into this and "I was like, Oh, you know, what I could defer. I'll try this on for a year, this will This will be fun". I just got obsessed with being able to play with this in the real world. We work with both nonprofits and NGOs on a pro bono level, but we also work with, you know, fortune 100. So, I mean, that's not because "Oh, we work with fortune 100". That's not an exciting thing. But it just sees at a very high level, and all these communications play out in a way that can positively affect a lot of conversations that can lead to a lot more because fundamentally, what we're talking about is powerful, positive, authentic conversations that lead to mutual benefit. It's not about Machiavellian, "I manipulate and take you over Haha," it's very much a positive conversation. So seeing people go out in the real world, try this on, not like on the academic side where I used to be where it's it's students, it's, you know, MBAs, it's that kind of stuff. And that's great. You get to know them over a semester, like, yeah, yeah, yeah. But it's not until, you know, maybe years later that you get to see it happening. Whereas here, it's very gratified to see people yeah, we put this into practice at our meetings here. And right away, it starts working. So it was mostly just that getting to play with a real-world testing bet. Is incredibly gratifying. It's a lot of fun to be able to test out and experiment in the real world. So that was it; it was just being pulled into it by that and gradually working our way up through word of mouth.

Doug Holt 32:39

And you say, ours, who is Knowmium, is it yourself?

Joshua Davies 32:45

So it's not royalty, we, I should emphasize that there is a team, but it is very boutique. And that's a nice framing of, say, small. So it's a handful of us, it's a handful of like core full-timers. Plus, we have like a, like many in the training or facilitation business. We have a number of associates and collaborators that we work with frequently. We call them collaborators and curiosity, meaning they've got their independent firm. Still, we collaborate on many progress projects because we have like minds in how we approach things. And like I always like to Yon chip chase studio D. So this is it's more out in the field of really interesting cultural anthropology ethnographic research. In sort of the if you wanted to know what his cell phone use, what his cell phone usage, like, in the foothills of the Himalayas, and how is it being used, you would go to studio D. But what I always liked about their model is it's entirely built associates. So it's project-based, so a project comes up, they have a trusted cohort of people that they know where they bring in, and they work with, but it's not like necessarily a set staff every time. So it's, so that's what I say we it's, it's the collaborative group. Plus, there's a core staff of full-timers. My good colleague, probably the first hire, was my good colleague, Robert Kinsel, who is a real one of he's gone to the World Championships of public speaking twice. But he's very much a toastmaster. So he's coming from that lens as well. And, Robert, if you're listening, I mean, that is by far, the best of ways, but it means we've got very different approaches to problems. So I love how that balances off each other.

Doug Holt 34:30

That's fantastic. It's always good to get insight from somebody different than you, right? Because otherwise, you're not going to see different talks about curiosity, you're not going to see different lenses, not going to see different filters through which other people view the world.

Joshua Davies 34:43

It's good to be a Venn diagram, where you've got that core where you overlap and see eye to eye, but you respect that part that doesn't overlap. And you're like, "Oh, yeah, that's interesting." "Yeah, we should probably do that." It's like, "Yeah, Robert, we should know we should probably do that. Yeah, you're right. I didn't think about that because it's not in my part of it's not in the overlapping circle that we've got for what we do". So yeah, that I completely agree with you, Doug.

Doug Holt 35:07

Fantastic. Well, why don't we talk about working with people in the way that you've done in the past? And going through and whether it be through the organization, whether it be a Fortune 100 company or NGO? What are a couple of obstacles that you see people facing when it comes to communication?

Joshua Davies 35:26

That's a good question. Do we want to narrow down the context? Because it's like, if we talk about any initiative, I'll no, I can generalize this, the easiest way to look at it is mindset toolkit, and organizational structure would be the easiest way to look at it. So the mindset is just the willingness to do it. The mental model, I mean, I'm not going to go into like, growth versus fixed mindset or anything like that. It doesn't have whatever frame you want to put it on. Do I have the mental wherewithal to understand the mental model that I'd like to embrace? Not just go? Yeah, that's a neat idea. But I could see that working for me. Second, do I have the toolkit? Do I have the ability, let's say negotiations, concepts like BATNA ZOPA, your best alternative, or zone of possible agreement? Do I have like systematic approaches that I can use, not saying that communication is mechanical by any means? But mental models often work around frameworks because there's so much information out there; these frameworks help simplify as you know, they help it's like the growth model and coaching. As simple as that is, and not saying that that's by any means. The perfect coaching model is simple as that is that little framework goal, reality, options, obstacles, and ways forward, helps to help put things in a way that we can understand them, and we can build web paths forward. But the last piece is that organizational structure. And what I mean by that is, if an organization tells you, oh, we care about innovation. Still, in no way rewards innovation, then they don't care about innovation. So you could give your every employee the greatest mindset towards it, that the habits that lead so there's that great book, the innovator's DNA, you could give them all the skills that lead to it, and all the mental habits that lead to it. But if organizationally, never actually support it, it's not going to happen. So it's that mindset toolkit instructor, and unpacking where the blockages are one of the first keys to moving things forward.

Doug Holt 37:33

I've never thought about that way. I've never heard of it. But it makes complete sense. When you're mentioning, we talk and have the frameworks. It's kind of like, if you're a master chef, you have to eventually learn the basic recipe before you actually exaggerate and go out there and cook and make these creations.

Joshua Davies 37:52

What exactly is at the same time knowing what's that phrase, knowing enough that we don't know enough, knowing that it's the recipe is just the recipe, or as it's been said, "The map is not the territory or Edward box." All models are wrong, but some are useful. So all frameworks are wrong, but some are useful. And that's also, by the way, a misquote. He's misquoted there. So all quotes are wrong, but some are useful. So I'm, you know, putting on.

Doug Holt 38:17

I love it. I love it. Well, Joshua, you've been so generous with your time, and I know you, and I could listen to you for hours on. But I also want to find out more information. Truly. I wouldn't say it if I didn't believe it. Where can they go? Where should they go to find out more?

Joshua Davies 38:35

probably easiest to connect up with me on LinkedIn, if they've got any questions about this, or on our website. The knowledge plus plutonium, which is maybe not the wisest combination, but anyways, it's the element of knowledge. They can go out there. We've got free books, a lot of free resources there. But if they have any questions, just feel free to reach out. I love having conversations on this topic with anyone who's out there.

Doug Holt 39:02

All right. Well, you guys, I will make sure that goes into the show notes and the website. So you can just one click reach out to Joshua. He's fantastic. And he can talk about many things besides just this man of many talents. So again, Joshua, thank you so much for waking up early and being with us today.

Joshua Davies 39:18

Thank you so much. I appreciate the invitation.

Doug Holt 39:21

Thank you for joining us at The Successful Coach podcast. Please hit like and subscribe so we can bring you more great interviews like these. Until next time, have an amazing day.

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