Proof that you can be busy and still enjoy yourself came when Emma had two interviews in one day. Not only did it keep her off her phone, she also immersed herself in positive vibes by chatting to transformational relationship coach John Kenny.
24 fingers: Hi, John.
John: Hi Emma, how are you?
24 fingers: I’m okay, thank you very much. So, shall we kick off? What’s your favourite word?
John: I have difficulty with this. There’s a word I use a lot, when I just want something to say, which is badger. It is something I got from Eddie Izzard many years ago. I just go “ahh, badger”. But, then I thought “smidgen”, I like smidgen, it’s a good word.
24 fingers: What gets you up in the morning?
John: My alarm. Sunshine. I like daylight. That gets me up. I don’t have problems getting up in the morning. I’ve got a routine, I just like to get out of bed, get myself my protein shake and sit in the garden when the sun’s nice and just chill a little bit.
24 fingers: I can tell, you’re a morning person. So, what do you truly, honestly, think of social media? Go on, be honest.
John: It’s balance. These are balanced scales. I think some of it’s awful and some of it’s really good.
24 fingers: Much like life.
John: Yeah, it is very much like a relationship and relationships in general. Some of it can be really damaging but some of it can be really positive. For keeping in touch with people, and business-wise, I think it’s quite good. But I think obviously, there’s a lot of toxicity, abuse and stuff that also goes on, which is terrible. I think they need to get a grip of a lot more. But yeah, I think it’s like everything in life, it has its good and its bad stuff.
24 fingers: A game of two halves, as they say. Kindles or books?
24 fingers: Really?
John: Yeah, I like to get hold of my phone and just read, rather than pick up a book nowadays. Obviously it’s a lot easier to mark books I like, you know, when you’ve got your little things on here. I much prefer just to pick my phone up and have a little read of it there.
24 fingers: I’m the complete opposite. I like books all the way. What do you think is the biggest challenge to your industry right now? I was talking to a coaching person two days ago and she said something that really hit home. It’d be interesting to see what you think.
John: At the moment, there are a lot of people who are unsure about what they want to do. I don’t think there’s a lot of people out there looking for coaching until they get a little bit more stable and think about what they want. I think it’s about being taken seriously, some of, or a lot of the time because coaching isn’t a profession that is regulated. I speak to a lot of coaches that I wouldn’t speak to myself, as a coach, because they don’t have the background. They’re trying to sell people their personal experiences and I find that quite difficult to kind of stomach sometimes.
24 fingers: She was also saying that coaching is an unregulated industry. The quality barometer can be very varied and I’ve seen that for myself, personally. Interesting that you say that too.
John: I’ve had quite a few clients come to me and say, “I’ve started talking to this person and they opened me up on this” and I’ve said, “Oh no we don’t do that.” Why get someone into that space in the first place, where then you say, “Oh no, you need to talk to someone else about that”? That’s not what I do.
I can just tell you how to do this. I think it’s okay if you’ve got something like a property coach or, some other where they say: “this is how you buy and sell houses” or “this is how you can do this and this is how you can do that”, and have a kind of a very scheduled structure in place. You could sell that, from your personal experience, because you know what works.
24 fingers: Emotion is different, isn’t it? It’s people’s lives.
John: Yes, but with most coaching, whether you call yourself a life coach or not, it has a tendency to revolve around life. So, it would be great if you had some kind of certification to prove that you at least understand the process of what coaching is all about.
24 fingers: Million percent. So did you want to be a coach when you were growing up?
John: No. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I was growing up. I don’t even think I had any career advice or anything like that when I was at school, I don’t remember doing it. I didn’t do any work experience. I had no idea. I was very lucky when I found athletics. I wanted to be an athlete for about 10 years, but then when that didn’t pay off, I had no idea what to do. Then just through trial and error really, I got really interested in psychology and that kind of led me on this path. So, it took me to my early thirties before I started on this journey.
24 fingers: Interesting, and you just answered my next question. So your favourite word, let’s use smidgen. Can you use it in a sentence?
John: I like to put a smidgen of spice in my food.
24 fingers: Okay, now can you make it rhyme?
John: I might put a smidgen of spice on my pigeon. How about that?
24 fingers: Well done, John, well done. What advice would you give to your younger self?
John: Stretch. Depending how old he was, really. So definitely stretch, keep yourself supple. It’ll do you a world of good when you get older. And, get help, and it’s not your fault.
24 fingers: Very good. Understand that. What’s the best thing anyone’s ever done for you?
John: I think probably when I got turned on to coaching really. When I met a coach and they told me that I can change my story, and that led me on to the journey where I completely turned my own life around. So, I would say that’s probably the best thing anyone’s ever done for me, just say: “you can change this and you can be happy”.
24 fingers: Amazing. What’s been your career defining moment? You might not have had it yet.
John: When you get positive feedback, I mean that’s the goosebumpy stuff, I get. I did a documentary, I would imagine would be the thing that I’m most proud of at the moment.
24 fingers: So, you said that you were a morning person. Can you give us a time saver of the day?
John: Don’t spend so much time on that (mobile phone). Turn it off.
24 fingers: We have a rule at home that we don’t have phones on after seven. My son came up with that rule, which is quite unusual. “No mum, stop messaging, be off your phone.” That really does help.
John: I don’t take that advice, by the way. I have a tendency to pick up my phone. I work until nine most evenings, so I have mine on until nine, at least. But yes, I do tell myself, “you need to put this thing down, because you’re wasting your own time”.
24 fingers: If you won a big award of some kind, who would you thank?
John: What would my award be for?
24 fingers: Anything. Which one of your many achievements, John?
John: I would just say, I think it would be everybody, wouldn’t it? I’d thank my parents for turning me into the person, or allowing me to be the person I am today. Obviously definitely my wife, friends, and probably my coaches, actually. The coaches I’ve had. My athletics coach, unfortunately he’s passed away now. Definitely would thank him and the coaches that have helped me to find my way in this profession.
24 fingers: Genuinely, I never used to have a coach before and over the last 18 months, I’ve had a few. The difference it makes to my life, to have a coach, is just incredible. Because I think we’re all guilty of only seeing our limitations and a coach can really help to broaden your ambition, broaden your horizons, but then metaphorically give you that security blanket and a bit of a comfort factor, I think.
24 fingers: Someone’s got my back and they’re going to guide me through the process. They’re not going to do the process for me, but they’re there. The difference it’s made, in terms of what I can achieve, but also just believing in myself, is hugely incredible.
John: I would definitely add, I’d add my supervisor for my counselling, because she really, championed me really, and led me to kind of hold some kind of self belief about I was capable of what I was doing. She would definitely get a thank you.
24 fingers: I did a post yesterday on LinkedIn about the fact I was really scared of something last year and I got out of my own way out of my comfort zone. It’s the best thing that I did, and it’s the highlight of my week that I do now. If I’d have said no, if I’d have listened to that inner voice, I would never be doing what I’m doing now.
So, where do you see yourself and your company in 24 months?
John: I’ve got this idea in my head, which I won’t share with you now because it’s a little bit complicated. I’d like to be spreading the word of interpersonal relationship coaching not just around the UK but around the world. I think the message that I’ve got is massively important for people to hear. In a couple of years time, I’d like to be doing a lot more speaking and spreading the philosophy that I’ve got behind my coaching.
24 fingers: Go John! Where were you 24 months ago? Physically or metaphorically, whatever you prefer.
John: I was actually in Turkey, physically, two years ago. The business was probably not anywhere. I probably still hadn’t got my mojo together at that point, or my niche, I hadn’t kind of focused on where I wanted to get to. So, I was still figuring it all out then.
24 fingers: What’s an interesting fact about you?
John: That I used to be an international athlete.
24 fingers: In what field?
John: Sprinting. I was a sprinter, yes. I ran for Great Britain a few times when I was younger.
24 fingers: I definitely am not a sprinter.
John: I’m definitely not a runner.
24 fingers: If you could have a 24-minute Skype chat with anybody, living or dead, who would it be?
John: Jesus. I’d just like to know who he was. What his message was, what the reality of the situation was.
24 fingers: Interesting. What’s one word you’d like people to describe you with?
24 fingers: Hugely important. Would you mind taking a selfie for us? Brilliant, done. What’s your favourite Twitter handle, social media campaign, if you’ve got one? You must do, because you’re on your phone a lot.
John: I don’t actually, no. I’m not a massive social media follower. I put my stuff out there and I follow a few other people and you know, if something sort of pops up that I like the look of, I’ll like it, follow it, share it, whatever. But no, I don’t have a favourite thing.
24 fingers: Someone’s got to convince John. This is your challenge for the year. What’s one quote that defines your work ethic?
John: My favourite quote would be from Carl Bard which is: “although we cannot make a new beginning, we can start now to make a brand new ending”. Something like that.
24 fingers: I get that. What’s been the best part of your day?
John: So far today? Obviously talking to you and, when I did my cycling session this morning, my heart rate stayed really low, so I must be getting fitter.
24 fingers: Good. So you’re winning all round. Finally, anything to plug?
John: Loads of stuff. Obviously there’s my coaching, if anyone’s interested in coaching they can contact me for a complimentary consultation. I’ve actually just put together, with the help of a few other people, a membership site, so if you would like to know a little bit more about coaching, want to get involved in coaching, or not sure if you want a coach of your own at the moment, my membership site has dozens of downloadable coaching tools, PDFs you can have.
I’ve got some audio and video programmes on there. I’m going be doing some live Q&A stuff. So if you are in the market for a bit of coaching but don’t know if you can afford one, or not sure if that’s the right thing for you and you want to try it, then the membership site is a really good way to start. I’m running a special offer on that one at the moment, for just £39 a month.
24 fingers: Amazing. So, before I leave you, can you give us some advice, for anybody that’s in lockdown with somebody that’s driving them insane and they’re confined in a space, you know, in a physical space, but also a metaphorical space with somebody that they’re struggling with to get a good relationship?
John: Luckily enough, from next week you’ll be able to escape a little bit more. So, make sure you find some time for yourself so that you’re not under that constant pressure of wherever you feel you are, suffocation or disempowerment. But maybe the most important advice I give generally, would be that nothing is personal.
No matter how someone is treating you, they’re doing it for their own gain and for their own needs. You don’t need to feel like a victim, or that they’re aiming it at you, it’s just that they’re trying to achieve something, and if you can take a step out of feeling like a victim, or if you can take a step out of taking it personally, then that’ll relieve a lot of pressure on you to be able to figure out why are they doing what they’re doing, what are they trying to achieve from that, and whether you’re going to allow that to happen anymore.
Are you going to keep feeding them? If they are doing that, then I would suggest it’s quite a toxic and unhealthy relationship and as soon as you can you need to sort that out.
24 fingers: Thank you very much, John. That’s really helpful. Great as ever talking to you. Wishing you health, happiness, and safety through all of this.
John: Thank you very much and the same to you. Take care and be good to yourself.