Niki Vinogradoff

Niki Vinogradoff on realising the potential in ourselves and others (without needing wild hogs or Finland’s SWAT team) (#37)

When you think back to the best manager, teacher or coach you’ve had: what impact did this person have on your life? What did this person do to make this impact on you? Maybe they saw your potential and inspired you to live up to it. Maybe they gave you honest feedback and clarity about how to get where you wanted.  

I think this is what a good coach, manager, teacher, parent, partner and friend does for the people in their life. We all want people to see us for who we are and who we can become. Maybe you have someone in your life that does this for you. But even if you don’t, you can be that someone for somebody else. 

Today we talk to Niki Vinogradoff about what we can learn from coaching to be our best and to be that someone who brings the best out of others. 

Niki is a certified life and business coach who has helped over 150 small business owners. With a decade of leadership experience and thousands of hours of meditation, Niki brings a perspective to coaching that helps us to go beneath the surface in conversations. We go quite deep in this episode, discussing topics like inspiring people to be their best, why it is hard to change behaviour, handling stress and the importance of honesty. 

We hope you enjoy this thoughtful conversation with Niki Vinogradoff. 

You can connect with Niki via LinkedIn or his website

You can listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and Simplecast

Show Notes

2:18 – A sports coach who makes you push further than you thought possible.
4:19 – pushing people to perform better without being a dictator.
8:10 – getting better at leading yourself and others under pressure.
13:38 – managing stress.
15:43 – how to break free from stress.
18:50 – stress reaction is not useful.
20:51 – how can we change our habits and behaviours?
23:31 – change is emotional.
25:19 – how can we get beneath the surface to the values and identity level in a conversation?
29:19 – who am I and what do I want?
30:53 – be specific with your questions.
31:16 – how to let people find their own solutions.
33:24 – getting more clarity about what they want.
35:07 – being honest with ourselves about what we want.
39:16 – it’s not about finding the thing we love to do, it’s about the meaning we give to the things we do.
40:40 – being honest about yourself.
44:49 – honesty is not always simple.
48:02 – how to deal with our shame better to avoid needing to lie.
53:32 – how painful honesty opened up the relationship.
54:08 – connect with Niki.

Links to References 

Finish SWAT Team (known as “Karhu-ryhmä”, the Bear Squad)

Ice cold shower 

Mirroring Technique 

Key Quotes 

“I got a realisation as to how much we can push our limits.”

“He made us see that it was more than about ice-hockey, it was about who we are becoming as humans.” 

“He really believed in us and we could feel it.” 

“You will never have this experience again.” 

“I have meditated for 14 years and that has helped me with stability and awareness.” 

“The mind produce worst case scenarios…” 

“How can I stay clear minded in this panicky situation?” 

“Some people have made stress to be normal.” 

“When stress kicks in it sends a signal to our body that we are going to get eaten by a lion…a lot of cortisol and adrenalin to our body.” 

“You can see leaders under long term stress lose their energy.” 

“I don’t want to be stressed…is not a good goal…it means our attention is trying to get rid of something this puts it in front of us.” 

“If you don’t want to be stressed, then what do you want? I want to be relaxed and clear. What does this look like? I will be clam and speak clearly. Focus on that.” 

“A new habit can disrupt a stress reaction.” 

“Have the trust to do something completely against the mind and body in the stress situation: get relaxed into our body.” 

“Stop asking what to change and how to change it.” 

“The most common approach to change is willpower which is so ineffective.” 

“Change is emotional.” 

“Most people don’t know what their values are at all.” 

“When we are relaxed our subconscious can come to our mind.” 

“Be as specific about questions as possible as a coach.” 

“As leaders we don’t want to over-coach.” 

“Do they need clarity or energy?” 

“When you rationally know what you want and how to get there but you are not getting there: that’s frustrating.” 

“You find that their dreams and goals are not theirs at all.” 

“A sign that something is your goal: you have more energy and a sense of peace.” 

“People don’t say what they want because they think it is selfish.” 

“People are so scared to say what they want.” 

“People think they need to find the thing that they want to do.” 

“They see me in that way but that is not me. It takes so much energy to keep that up.” 

“If I tell her it is more important to me, if I didn’t tell her it was more important to her.” 

“Being honest to yourself is important because without it you cannot see yourself clearly and you get twisted.”

“I could have gotten away with it still but I decided to tell the truth because I knew that I was capable of doing something like that again if I kept it to myself.”

“It will hurt if I go and admit it, it will hurt a lot more if I don’t”. 

About the author

Divan and Mark are co-hosts of the Candour Communication Podcast where we discuss interpersonal communication and all the human stuff that gets in the way.