Be bold and speak up. Be confident. Be charming. Be present. Be vulnerable.
In today’s podcast, we dive into the similarities between coaching someone on the art of seduction, and coaching someone on the art of just being better at work.
Transcript of the Conversation with Amber De Vos
Brian Washburn: Welcome, everyone, to another episode of Train Like You Listen, a weekly podcast about all things learning and development in bite-sized chunks. I’m Brian Washburn, I’m your host. I’m also the Co-founder and CEO of Endurance Learning. And today I’m curious if any of our listeners have ever been frustrated because their job is to help people get out of old habits and do things new or differently or better. And if that has ever been a tough nut for you to crack, then today’s podcast and today’s guest, I think will have some very helpful things to say.
Before we get to that, I do need to mention that today’s podcast is brought to you by Soapbox – the world’s first and only rapid authoring tool for training development. So if you have about 10 minutes, it will generate an entire training lesson plan for you. It is an award-winning piece of software, recently awarded the Training Magazine Network’s Choice Award for Authoring Tools. So if you want to know more information about that, go to soapboxify.com.
I am joined today by the seduction expert, Amber De Vos. Hi, Amber, how are you?
Amber De Vos: Hello, Brian. How are you?
Brian Washburn: I’m doing very well. I’m very excited to have this conversation because we’re talking about helping people breaking out of old habits and developing more successful ways of operating. Amber, like we always do with our guests – we like to just have everybody introduce themselves using exactly six words, kind of along the lines of our topic. So if I think of today’s topic of breaking old habits and getting into more effective ways of working, I would introduce myself by saying, “My old habits are just comfortable.” How would you introduce yourself?
Amber De Vos: I would introduce myself– if I may interject one tiny little seventh word in there – is that, “You have to be your best–” or “Be your best to attract the best.” Seven words, “Be your best to attract the best.”
Brian Washburn: Perfect. And so I want to get into this because your line of work is a little different than a lot of the guests who I speak with. So can you tell us a little bit about your work and the kinds of habits you’re helping people to change?
Breaking Habits To Help People Change
Amber De Vos: Yeah, absolutely. So, first of all, thank you for having me here. This is a real pleasure and an honor. You know, I love the, “Think like a champion, act like a champion concept.” I think that’s such a valuable way to approach life and any area of coaching that you could ever possibly want to be part of. And my particular area of coaching is dating coaching – which means that I like to help successful singles “go from clueless to Casanova”, as I like to say.
And so when it comes to bad habits, I would say the biggest bad habits that I personally help people break is mindset bad habits, right? So I think we all kind of have this idea that dating is supposed to be easy and someone that’s going to be our forever person just falls in our lap. And truly there are people who are lucky enough in life that that actually happens for. But for the rest of us, dating is a skill like anything else.
Brian Washburn: But that’s how it happens in the movies, right? So why can’t we have that?
Amber De Vos: Yeah, thank you. Hallmark and Hollywood (CHUCKLES) and all the channels that just tell us it’s all about the eye contact across the table, the sparkles, and the fireworks, and then that’s it.
Brian Washburn: Yep.
Amber De Vos: Not about how to keep it, not how to maintain the spark, not how to deal with rejection, disappointment, all of those things. And so I think a lot of people develop bad habits around dating because of disappointments and frustrations. You know, “I’ve tried this and I’ve done that and it hasn’t worked, so I’m just going to do this instead.” And a lot of the people that come to me, you know, the biggest questions they ask are: am I going to die alone? What’s wrong with me? Am I not lovable? And asking those questions without having the right answers in your mind is probably the worst habit that people can have around their love lives.
Brian Washburn: And it’s really interesting because it sounds like one of the biggest challenges is expectations that people have, right?
Amber De Vos: Mhm.
Brian Washburn: So when it comes to the mindset that people approach things with, it could be the expectations that they enter the situation with. So, you know– and like I said, you might focus on a very different area than many of my guests or many of my listeners when it comes to the subject matter that we’re talking about.
Amber De Vos: Mhm.
Brian Washburn: But the fact really is that you’re in the field of coaching and, you know, honestly, you’re working to train people to do things differently or new or better.
Amber De Vos: Mhm.
Brian Washburn: And so I’m kind of curious, what’s the most fundamental thing, or maybe you have like a top five list that you feel that anyone needs to keep in mind if your job is to help people change the way they’ve always operated?
Top 5 Tips to Promote Change
Amber De Vos: Yeah. And so full disclosure, Brian did send me these questions last night so I did prepare some answers. So I’m just going to go through my list because I love the idea of having the bullet point top-five.
1. Be Bold
So the first one I have is: be bold. So closed mouths don’t get fed, right? So when it comes to dating, when you see someone you want to talk to and you see someone you should be making eye contact with, or you are with someone that you are madly in love with and you are afraid to tell them – be bold and say so. Because, yes, some things don’t go in the right direction, but at least if you speak up and are authentic, you have much better results than if you keep your mouth closed.
2. Be Confident
Second, is to be confident. So most people don’t want to board a sinking ship. So what happens sometimes when we’re sitting across with people on dates is that we are sitting across from someone who is in the mindset of, “Dating is hard. This sucks. I hate meeting new people. I am so lonely. I just want a resolution without having to work for it.” It is repellent, it’s absolutely repellent. Versus when you’re sitting across from someone who has good posture, who loves their life, who has a job that makes them happy, they feel fulfilled in every area of their life except for love because obviously they’re on a date with you. It’s much more attractive. When you’re in between relationships, it’s very different than being lonely and trying to fill a hole.
3. Be Charming
Number 3: be charming. Be charming, not in that manipulative, conman kind of way. But be charming in the way that flirting is a way to make other people smile, right? Giving a compliment, acknowledging something you appreciate – letting someone walk away from you feeling better for having met you. It’s one of the most important skillsets you can possibly have. And some people think, “Oh, it’s going to make me weak,” “Oh, it’s going to make me, you know, smarmy, phony, whatever.” If you’re giving people genuine smiles, there’s no greater gift that you can possibly give. And especially when it comes to dating, you want people to be happy to see you, excited to see you. I can’t wait to see you.
4. Be Present
Number four is to be present. Listening is one of the most valuable skills you can possibly take on as a dater and a successful dater. It’s not just asking good questions, but listening for the answers. But not just open your ears to hear, but to truly understand who the other person is. Because we reveal who we are to each other very, very early on – very early on. And if we had better listening skills, sometimes we wouldn’t get into those painful relationships. And sometimes we would say yes to those relationships that otherwise we run away from.
5. Be Vulnerable
And then number five is to be vulnerable. It’s the hardest thing to do when you are in your romantic life, but being vulnerable is one of the greatest powers that you have. I mean, for example, me letting you guys know that I actually prepared these answers ahead of time is me admitting that, like, I don’t have all the answers on the fly, right? But at the same time, it’s who I am. It’s me being authentic. And some of you in the audience might judge me for just not being able to speak from the top of my mind. And other people might really appreciate that I was willing to let you know that I showed up prepared.
Coaching Tips from the Dating World
Brian Washburn: And I love having this kind of bulleted top-five list. And when we think of how to transfer some of these things into the workplace, obviously we don’t want HR issues, right?
Amber De Vos: Mhm.
Brian Washburn: So if we’re thinking of people who are either supervising people or coaching other people, I think all five of these things have relevance in the workplace, right? When we’re working with people to do their jobs better. The idea that, you know, be confident and be bold and speak up. How many times are people– whether you’re supervising someone or coaching someone or mentoring someone or trying to train someone – and you see somebody do something and you don’t want to make them feel bad, right?
Amber De Vos: Mhm.
Brian Washburn: You don’t want to hurt their feelings, so you don’t speak up. You don’t give them the feedback in the moment and they continue to develop to work along those habits. So you know, being bold, speaking up, and being confident in– “Hey, this is what I’m supposed to be doing.” I think is really, really helpful in that area. The idea of being charming I think in a work context can be reframed just a little bit, but you do need to be professional, right? You need to be yourself, right?
Amber De Vos: Mhm.
Brian Washburn: It’s really difficult to not be yourself and maybe that goes into the “be vulnerable,” as well. But I think when you talk about the five dysfunctions of a team, when you talk about anything else, when you’re talking about, “You know what? If I’m going to share some feedback, maybe it might help if I share a little bit about how I struggled with the same thing? You know, and I didn’t have all the answers when I was just starting out or I didn’t have all the– I didn’t do it perfectly the first time.”
And then, be present. You know, that is such a key piece to anybody who’s training anyone.
Amber De Vos: Mhm.
Brian Washburn: You can’t just go with your script and then just kind of move on. You need to be present to the people’s needs.
Amber De Vos: Right.
Brian Washburn: All five of these things, I think, have so much application in the workplace – which I think is really, really helpful because, you know, you have an opportunity to see people in a very different light than many of us see people. And I’m going to get to that in just a second, but before I get into that, it sounds easy, right? To have this list: be bold, speak up, be confident, be charming, be present, be vulnerable. And yet a lot of people are like, “Ah, change is hard. I don’t like change.” I think that is a cop-out, right. So if I was to win Powerball, that would be a huge change and I’d love it.
Amber De Vos: Mhm.
Brian Washburn: So it’s not just that people don’t like change. Maybe it’s that people don’t like having change done to them. Maybe it’s that people don’t necessarily like to change the way they’ve always done things. But you’ve seen what happens when people change. What do you think are some of the fundamental barriers that people themselves put in place that prevents them from being more successful or getting what they want?
Barriers That Prevent People from Being More Successful
Amber De Vos: Yeah. Sure. So just to touch on your previous point, how we do one thing is how we do everything. So finding your forever person or the person you’re going to give a majority of your time, your spirit, your energy to is literally the most important job interview that you can possibly have.
Brian Washburn: Sure.
Amber De Vos: So the skills that you can learn in dating, you can absolutely apply them to your business life and vice versa. So thank you for acknowledging that.
So to your second question, change is hard. The biggest obstacle that people have when it comes to change is thinking that it shouldn’t be hard.
Brian Washburn: Mhm.
Amber De Vos: That is why it is change. Comfortable is comfortable – like your six words, right? My old habits are comfortable. Well, guess what? If you are satisfied with what you’re getting, then keep doing what you’re doing to get what you’ve always gotten. If you want something different, you’ve got to change.
And so there’s the– yes, understanding that failure is absolutely a part of your process, it’s going to happen. Babe Ruth had the record for the most home runs – he also had the record for the most strikeouts. So he was willing to do what it took to get the results that he wanted. So you hear of so many success stories. I mean, you know, J.K. Rowling, who authored Harry Potter, she was literally living in her car when she penciled that book. She got rejected more than most people are willing to withstand. And she still had faith in what she was doing and understood that that’s what change looks like. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable. Sometimes it lasts longer than we want it to. And yet if you’re willing to do the work, the reward is worth it.
So that, and also the way to handle change, right? If you truly want to embrace changing your habits, getting what you want is to: one, get clear on your vision, right? So some people call it manifesting or the secret or whatever you have it. It is to get so clear on what you want for yourself, that you can smell it and you can taste it and you can feel it in your bones, in your nose, in your body before it shows up, so that it shows up, right? Because that’s how vision truly works – getting so clear on that. And that’s what our job as coaches are – in whatever field of coaching you are, is to get you so crystal clear on your vision, get clear on the bad habits and obstacles that are keeping you from it, and then kind of like doing that thing where the coach puts you out on the field, spanks your ass, and says, “Go get ’em,” right? Because we’ve got the plays, we’ve done the practice, we’ve done this – go out there and get what you want.
And then the second is getting really clear on what you’re not willing to settle for anymore, right?
Brian Washburn: Mhm.
Amber De Vos: Like you have your vision and what you know you want, but when you stay in your old habits, your bad habits, guess what? That’s you settling. It’s settling for mediocrity. It’s settling for frustration. It’s settling for disappointment. If those are things you don’t want.
If you’re comfortable, you don’t need a coach. You don’t need to work with someone to change your habits. Your habits are comfortable, so why change them? If you want something bigger – your vision, you have to be clear on what you’re not willing to settle for, and then understand those bad habits no longer serve you.
Brian Washburn: Yeah!
Amber De Vos: And yes, it’s uncomfortable, but that’s our job as coaches is to do for you.
Brian Washburn: Absolutely. And so is there a way that you found to be successful in calibrating people’s expectations around how hard change can be?
Creating Change Isn’t Easy
Amber De Vos: Yeah. So, you know, when I have my enrollment conversations with potential new clients, or when I’m speaking with my audience on Instagram, it’s really, “Yes. Like let’s talk about, you know, what’s been going on?” But then also talk about vision. What is it? So who is your dream partner? Where do you want to be in 12 months? You know, what is your daily Saturday? What are your daily habits? What are those things that, you know, get you guys excited? How does it smell, feel? Who is this person? How do you feel? Right. And I get my person so just entrenched in that idea and then step back and go, “Okay. So why don’t you have it now? That’s what you so deeply want. Why don’t you have it now? What’s in the way?”
Brian Washburn: Yep. My old habits are just comfortable, right?
Amber De Vos: My old habits are just comfortable. (CHUCKLES)
Brian Washburn: Yep.
Amber De Vos: But then the people who are coming to me are like, “I’m not willing to put up with that anymore. My vision is so precious to me that I am willing to do what it takes to get rid of those old habits.” And then I’ve warned people. Coaching is like this.
Brian Washburn: Mhm. Definitely. It’s not a straight line, right?
Amber De Vos: There’s no magic bullets. Sorry guys.
Brian Washburn: Yeah. Now you’ve worked with a lot of people in perhaps the most vulnerable aspects of life I can think of. What’s been maybe one of your biggest observations about humans, in general, in the work that you’ve been doing?
Does Everyone Want to Change?
Amber De Vos: Mhm. Gosh, that’s such a good question. First of all, it’s an honor to be that person who works with people in the most sense– one of the most sensitive parts of our lives, right? It’s our hearts and it’s– and honestly, it’s our sense of self-worth and value. I mean, obviously we should love ourselves and know how important we are, and to meet other people in the world to give us our sense of confidence. But the truth is that we absolutely receive the love and energy of other people and want to be able to give our love of energy to others.
Brian Washburn: Mhm.
Amber De Vos: So… Gosh. Remind me of the question. I’m so deep in that thought right now.
Brian Washburn: Yeah, no, what’s been– I mean, from where you stand, you’re able just to see people for who they are, right?
Amber De Vos: Mhm, yeah.
Brian Washburn: And I’m just kinda curious of, you know, what’s a big observation or some big observations you’ve had about humankind from where you sit?
Amber De Vos: Mhm. Gosh. I mean, there’s a lot of observations, but the one that’s jumping to my mind is that there are people who want to be healed and there are people who don’t. So the people who seek out coaching are the people who recognize that there truly is something they want for themselves, and they understand that there’s some blind spot happening. They just can’t see because it’s too close, it’s in the wrong angle, whatever. It’s that they’re willing to work on it and do the work it takes, face the uncomfortable truths, take the unconditional love, right? Because that’s what we do as coaches. We do love our clients.
And then there’s also people who don’t want to be healed. I’ve gotten on calls with people where they will complain about their dating lives and how this is happening out here. And that’s happening out there. And I say, “Hey, I got some solutions, some suggestions, some advice for you.” “Yeah, yeah, yeah. But it’s not going to work for me.” All right.
Brian Washburn: Let me know when you’re ready for it to work.
Amber De Vos: Let me know when you’re ready for it. And if you’re not, you’re not. Like there’s just– that’s how people operate. Those are the observations I’ve made – is that there’s some people who truly want change, and that’s what we’re here for. There’s some people who are truly happy in their complaints department. All right!
Brian Washburn: Now having studied change management, one of the principles that was, kind of, taught to me was we have to meet people where they are. You know, maybe they’re not ready to make the big change, but there’s some incremental changes. Is there anything that you have, you know, that helps you to meet people where they are?
Change Management: How To Meet People Where They Are
Amber De Vos: Yeah, I mean, it’s those five skills that I said before.
Brian Washburn: Mhm.
Amber De Vos: You know, just asking the questions that I need to ask by being bold, being present by listening to where they are, you know, being vulnerable myself. I mean, everything I coach, it came to me because of my own personal experience, right? Like, most of us become coaches because we were able to solve some sort of thing and that we want to be able to bring that information to other people and help them produce the same, if not better results.
Yeah, so it’s just really about being present, asking the right questions, recognizing when people are ready to be coachable and ready to invest in themselves and ready to make themselves a priority. And then also knowing when to step back and say, “You know what? This person is prioritizing mediocrity and comfortable– being comfortable in their old habits. And I just have to respect that.” That’s not my type of client, but that’s– I have to respect it.
Brian Washburn: Yep. One of the things that I find most fascinating about having this opportunity to talk with so many people is that I get a chance to speak with sometimes people who are outside of the traditional field of learning and development. And I think there’s so much that we can learn from people who are doing similar work, but outside of, you know, your traditional learning and development roles.
Amber De Vos: Oh, 100 percent.
Brian Washburn: I have a ton of other questions, but we might need to make this a part two–
Amber De Vos: Part two! (CHUCKLES)
Get to Know Amber De Vos
Brian Washburn: (CHUCKLES)–for podcasts. But before we go, I do have a few speed round questions for you, just to let our listeners get to know you a little bit more, if you’re game for that. Are you game for that?
Amber De Vos: I am. And I didn’t even prepare for this one so it’s true lightning round.
Amber De Vos: LinkedIn.
Brian Washburn: How about Facebook or Instagram?
Amber De Vos: Instagram.
Brian Washburn: How about phone call or text?
Amber De Vos: Phone call.
Brian Washburn: In-person or Zoom or FaceTime or whatever it might be?
Amber De Vos: Outside of a pandemic, in-person. (CHUCKLES)
Brian Washburn: (CHUCKLES) Someday. Someday we’ll get back.
Amber De Vos: Someday, yeah.
Brian Washburn: Do you prefer to read a book or listen to a podcast?
Amber De Vos: Listen. I’m a listener.
Brian Washburn: How about collaborate or work independently?
Amber De Vos: Oooh gosh. It depends on the project.
Brian Washburn: Probably depends on the collaborator, too, huh?
Amber De Vos: (CHUCKLES) Depends on the collaborator, too. 100%.
Brian Washburn: How about card game or board game?
Amber De Vos: Board game.
Brian Washburn: Do you have a favorite?
Amber De Vos: I love playing Greek Backgammon.
Brian Washburn: Fascinating. All right. How many couples would you say you’ve helped to get married?
Amber De Vos: (CHUCKLES) Ooh gosh, that is an excellent, excellent question. I’ve given enough mitzvahs in my life to make it into heaven.
Brian Washburn: (CHUCKLES) We’ll take that. We’ll take that as the answer. How about what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Amber De Vos: Boy. Considering that I’m in the personal development realm, there’s so much advice that it’s just juicy in my brain. I’ll say it’s Think and Grow Rich. Anyone who has read that book, read it multiple times. Anyone who hasn’t read that book and they care about their future, read it. Just nourishing your mind, the sense of abundance in every realm is probably the most important thing you can ever do for yourself. So.
Brian Washburn: And this may dovetail into this next question, but I’m curious about what is a book that everyone should read?
Amber De Vos: So if you guys want the abbreviated version, because I know not everybody who is out there in the world and has time to listen or read books, there on YouTube is a video done by Earl Nightingale that is a synopsis of Think and Grow Rich. It’s less than an hour and is one of the most powerful listening experiences you’ll ever have. So.
Brian Washburn: I love that resource that people can go to. How about let’s end here with any shameless plugs. Do you have any shameless plugs for us?
Amber De Vos: Shameless plugs. Well, yes. I’m on Instagram. You can find me on Instagram @the_seduxe S-E-D-U-X-E. And on there, you will find my quickie Q and A sessions, my events sessions, information about Masterclasses, helpful quotes and ideas. And you can direct message me if you have a simple dating question, or if you’re curious to learn more about, you know, what ongoing coaching can look like for you. And. I mean, I could be shameless for hours, but I think I’ll cut it there. (CHUCKLES)
Brian Washburn: Well, Amber De Vos, thank you so much for joining me today – talking about what you can learn from the world of dating and dating coaching, and bring it into the world of learning and development when we talk about helping people break out of old habits and develop more successful ways of operating. So thank you so much for joining us. Thank you everyone else for listening to another episode of Train Like You Listen which can be found on Spotify, iHeartRadio, Apple, wherever you get your podcasts. If you ever need some help with a training project that you’re working on, go ahead and give me a shout. I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time–
Amber De Vos: Thank you, Brian. Thank you, audience.
Brian Washburn: (CHUCKLES) Thank you. Happy training everyone.
Amber De Vos: Ciao!
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