Great Leaders Have a Deep Understanding of Themselves with Tina Greenbaum
During How May I Serve You podcast episode 8 we sat down with Psychotherapist and Executive Coach Tina Greenbaum to talk about how she guides her clients towards becoming the best version of themselves.
Tina Greenbaum is a seasoned executive coach for thirty-seven years. She knows that the ability to think clearly under pressure and manage in higher pressure situations is what separates great leaders from everyone else. She worked with clients in Washington, New York, and San Francisco. Her first clientele were women with eating disorders. As she listened to them tell their stories, she recognized a lack of authenticity. “I hear you, but I don’t feel you. And if I don’t feel you, you’re not going to change.” At the time, no one treated eating disorders before. One day after taking a yoga class she reflected on how she felt while getting into a state of deep relaxation and wondered what if she could get those young women to do that, to help with their addiction? “All addictions are actually anxiety based.” She worked with actors, performers, and individuals who wanted to operate at a high level but didn’t know how. Through her education and practices, she devised a strategy for her clients to clear their mind and get into flow. “When that happens, people want to be around you because you’re being your most authentic self, working at your highest level.”
What kinds of clients do you work with?
Tina looks for specific traits in clients that range from performance and an internal desire to improve. She likes individuals with big minds, who want to be at their highest level, are willing to learn and put themselves in uncomfortable positions and have aspiration to impact the world; individuals who know that there’s more to grow and are willing to take on the challenge of personal growth and are self-aware and know they that they might have blind spots. “Everyone else knows your blind spots, wouldn’t you want to know them too?” A client could be in the organization doing well financially, but may not be the greatest manager, or could use people skills, communication skills. Her approach of mind, body, spirit, and emotion shapes her clients to be all that they can be.
Do clients find it difficult to approach you or is it effortless?
Initially her clients must feel that she has things that they want to work on. She recalled a client who was high up in the organization and doing well, but he was not happy, just angry all the time. Through her work she learned the real reason for his anger and lack of happiness. He didn’t feel respected, and he also wasn’t doing certain things to get that respect. Tina focuses on the nuances that won’t show up easily, but over time forms a pattern, and works towards discovering why some things may not be working. “This isn’t working, and I don’t know what it is, but I want to fix it.”
How would you articulate your coaching style?
What sets her apart from coaches is her psychotherapy background, which gives her an opportunity to understand people on a deeper level. Moreover, she is able to diagnose her clients. She knows when someone is depressed and would not benefit from her work, at the time. She specializes in anxiety. “I have a lot of training in trauma and all kinds of other skills that help me get into someone’s unconscious mind. And that’s actually where change happens.”
Due to Covid, are more of your clients coming to you with heightened anxiety?
Many of her high-functioning clients have reached out to her and expressed feeling distressed. Through her psychotherapy training, she is able to ask deep, probing questions. “What’s in my control? What’s out of my control? But first, she provides context to what was happening to many of her clients, and everyone else. The suffering of a tremendous amount of loss, brings grief, and that makes us feel like we have no control. Understanding the context of what’s happening can alleviate the pressure and lead to a solution. “Really good mental health is how flexible the mind can be. The only time in our existence that we have any control over, is the present moment.”
When you feel out of control what are some exercises you do to take yourself out of that negative state to a higher state?
Tina shares a recent example with Thomas. In preparation for this podcast, Tina made a mistake and took Thomas off her schedule. When he called half-hour before the interview, she didn’t panic. What was out of her control was the misunderstanding of taking him off the schedule. But what was in her control was that she had a half-hour to get ready. “It’s training the mind to quickly to see what the options are. And great leaders are able to see them very quickly.” Outside pressure causes the nervous system to react, but a great leader can feel something and still have the ability to act. When the nervous system is over its capacity for stress, “This is called the window of tolerance.” The job is to expand the window of tolerance to push through difficult and high-pressured situations.
Would you say that great leaders have more of an awareness of controlling that window?
Yes! Some individuals are naturally able to regulate their nervous system. But some may be impulsive and not know how they ended up in certain situations. “I’ve always been able to see the consequences.” Being able to control the nervous system takes work. Great leaders have a deep understanding of themselves, knowing their weaknesses and strengths. And they do it with relative ease.
If someone was looking for a coach, what traits should they look for?
“Have a conversation and see how you relate to them.” A coach could have a special skill but it may not connect with an individual’s needs. It's important to see how quickly a coach can assess a client’s issue.
What is a success story?
One of her clients was tasked to come up with a campaign for a sports department in three days. He walked into his supervisor’s office with anxiety about the task and the deadline. His supervisor said, “There are no emergencies in business. An emergency is when you take a loved one to the hospital.” That put things in perspective for him. Tina worked with him on how to be a better manager, coworker, and leader. Through self-evaluation he revealed that he feared people. The body gives us information. If someone is terrified, they are going to feel it. The first step is awareness. “That’s the bulk of my work. How do I get under the conscious mind, so that you can experience yourself differently?”
Are you currently working on any new projects that you’d like to share with us?
She has a program and a book called Mastery Under Pressure. She works on gathering high powered leaders who want to take their careers, their professional and personal lives to another level. And it’s for people who are struggling with weight issues. She has an eight- module program called Master Overeating.
Where can we find you?
To quiz your peak performance visit masteryunderpressure.net
How may I serve you?
“My goal is to impact as many people as I can in teaching these skills. [Connect me with] whoever you know might be interested in this work and is willing to have a conversation with me, we can go from there.”