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Exclusive Interview With Guy Bloom - Creator Of Living Brave And Author Of Living Brave Leadership

Brainz Magazine Exclusive Interview

 

Living Brave and its creator Guy Bloom are a multiple award-winning powerhouse of bespoke leadership development. The book, the podcast, awards, clientele, recommendations and awards are showcases for excellence in executive coaching, team effectiveness and leadership development.


Guy Bloom

Who is Guy Bloom?


In answering this question I suddenly recognize that I have a great deal going on and in fact, if I stop and think about it might be a bit overwhelming, so please no one tell me! I am first and foremost a father, I have two incredible boys Milo and Hugo. Like all parents, I probably have rose-tinted glasses, however, they are extraordinary. Milo is super smart, funny, insightful, and determined, Hugo who is autistic sees the world through his own lens, operates at the moment, fully present with no need or interest in pretending to be anything other than his true self…completely present.


Their mum Tara is an inspiration to me, she loves the boys with a passion, provides a fabulous home environment of safety and nurture, she faces into the unknown and makes sure that there is certainty even when there is not. Also, she offers me a sounding board that keeps me sane. Then if I make it all about me….I recognise that I have an obsessive curiosity, it comes from having autistic traits myself that I have always just taken as being ‘me’ and realising in the last few years from outside feedback while learning about my son, that I clearly have.


I am the author of the book Living Brave Leadership, which focuses on the craft of Trust, Accountability, Bravery and Connection as a leader; I am working on 2 other books, one to be finished imminently. I have a podcast called Leadership Bites, that….and I feel the need to say ‘surprisingly’ is doing really well, it is in the Top 100 on iTunes in Management…with amazing guests talking about their lives, leadership and culture.


I am also a martial artist, and being a 4 x Hall of Famer, always makes me feel a bit like I am bragging, however, I have given myself permission to not be embarrassed by that. The martial arts have been a huge part of my life, giving me focus and the mindset of curiosity, learning and personal insight that shows up quite clearly in my work and life. The one thing amongst many that martial arts give you is an understanding that you have to be vulnerable to improve as there is always someone better at something than you and if you are not open to listening, you will not learn.


In terms of my day job, I specialise in developing leaders and teams, I am in the world, creating a brand and reputation around the work I do. This involves ensuring I stay at the top of my game in terms of my thinking, craft competence and drive to always deliver value. I am blessed to work with amazing clients where we partner on delivering deep learning and demonstrable shift into an organisation


Milo and Hugo

Can you tell us more about your journey and how you ended up where you are today? I would love to say it was a straight line of me knowing exactly what I wanted to do and how I was going to get there, but that was not the case. At the start of my life, I did very badly at school, at work and in personal relationships, there are two main reasons for this. The primary one is a really unhelpful family life with a dysfunctional set of circumstances and thus no focus or guidance as to school and how to approach life. The second one is that as I can now identify as having autism, I found certain situations very difficult, from simple things such as sitting still and focusing to making human connections that had meaning and value to others. This used to mean I always felt as if I was on the outside of any given situation looking in and not connected other than at an intellectual level. With this being true I always felt a bit isolated and others perhaps uncomfortable in my presence. These things on the surface seem to be setting me up to fail, in fact, they have enabled something else to manifest. I became a very good observer of behaviour and process. Navigating the complexity of multiple personalities at home in my youth, being badly bullied at school and not finding comfort with others in the workplace could have taken me down the wrong path. However, it became more and more apparent that it was giving me huge insights and capabilities.


As I moved through certain roles in the corporate world in Group Talent and Leadership roles the ability to navigate politics and enable others to see the way they can shift their own behaviour, thinking and approach to move forward, really became the bread and butter of my success. It was in many ways the culmination of my martial arts coaching, observing people to make sense of them and the need to make sense of the process behind behaviour that enabled me to operate at these levels. In many respect, I was clearly going to become a coach.

What is your business name and how do you help your clients?

My company is called Living Brave and that really sums up the point and purpose of my endeavours. It is focused on the question, “What would I/you/we do if we were Living Brave?” The focus of my work is developing leaders, teams and by reflection culture. I really think about it as being a leadership specialist. Within that single focus of leadership, there are three things that enable me to make a difference in this space:

  • Executive Coaching

  • Team Effectiveness

  • Leadership/Management Development

I think it is fair to say it is now firmly identifiable as an obsession. I realise that I am singularly focused on enabling individuals, teams and organisations to operate at a level of high performance, that makes a tangible, overt difference. However, there are lots of people operating in this space and with that in mind it would be fair to ask, “Why would we work with you?”. The answer I believe sits within a few factors. Approaching three decades of experience, means I come with battle-tested tools, techniques, insights and experiences that are able to truly reinforce, calibrate and challenge thinking and behaviour. The approach I offer is a combination of the knowledge and understanding that enables clarity on the ‘why’ a thing is true, and the tools and techniques that mean people are able to move to action through knowing exactly ‘what’ they are going to do. Finally, I think it is fair to say I have a particular style. I am forthright, however, I am also kind and caring in my intent, it is just that I believe that if I am truly going to enable an individual or team to make a difference, then there has to be a challenge and stretch to do this differently.


Guy Bloom

Can you tell us more about your Award Winning leadership programmes?

This is something I am very proud of, being able to offer programmes that have been held up to the spotlight of assessment and judgement and then found to be worthy of recognition, it really brings me happiness. I think it’s worth noting winning awards is not easy, you really must validate the quality of the outcomes. You can’t just have a bunch of ‘I really enjoyed it’ scores, those days are truly gone. The programmes I offer with my team are focused on executive coaching, team effectiveness and leadership/management development. Over two-plus decades these programmes have won awards that show us and clients that we are operating at the top of our game:

  • Momentum, Inspire & Empower - Future, Middle & Senior leaders

  • Catalyst – Senior Team Effectiveness

  • Velocity – Executive & Performance Coaching

I also judge on national awards panels, which really gives me a line of sight on what good looks like across the board. Winning awards is in many ways quite simple: be sure about outcomes in terms of Return On Investment (ROI) and Return On Expectations (ROE), get under the hood of the business so you have a real connection to the stories, beliefs, perceived and real barriers. Customise your approach, building on what you have proven to work, and ensure the senior team and line managers are turned on to the fact they have a role to play as advocates, role models and coaches. Then, of course, deliver great input that reinforces, calibrates and challenges mental models, tools, techniques and primarily behaviours. How hard can it be?

There is I believe a secret sauce: a deep knowledge of creating sticky content that transfers at speed to everyday usage, a talented delivery team who are able to hold space with the room when challenged and yet be able to connect at a human level. Technology such as our HABITude app nudges and embeds learning and finally a structured approach to embedding the learning so it lives and thrives after the delivery. I get very animated about these offerings. I have seen the impact, they bring to the individual’s ability to navigate their future, a team’s capacity to find balance with each other whilst owning their outputs and an organisation’s capacity to direct its culture rather than be controlled by it.

Tell us about your passion for your podcast Leadership Bites? It’s a good observation, I really am passionate about it. It started as something I thought I should do and called upon anyone I knew to come on, luckily, they did. Podcasts are quite an incredible thing, the ability to turn on a conversation with people from all over the world talking on topics that you are interested in, I think it’s a beautiful thing. It’s now over a hundred episodes and I have been blessed to have some truly amazing guests: Amy Edmondson, Harvard Professor of Leadership; Dave Ulrich, HR Guru; Major General John Evans, Commander Fort Knox; the list is just incredible. It turned into a passion for me when the podcast got big enough that two things happened. First, professors, navy seals and just amazing people said, ‘yes’ to coming on, so that became amazing. Second, this meant I have now had over a hundred conversations with just awesome people which have enabled me to learn, reflect and test my thinking and that’s been just incredible and a privilege.


So, I would definitely hope people check out Leadership Bites, and that it’s enjoyed and becomes a valuable asset for people. I have to say it has been just incredible when people have listened to the podcast before they meet me, that’s a lovely thing.


What is your goal for Living Brave?


I have a strong desire for the concepts of Living Brave to continue to reach wider audiences, it’s important for me on a deeply personal level. I have a strong belief that has come from seeing the value that it brings. I can get quite emotional when senior leaders, teams and talent within an organisation share the difference that these inputs make to their personal and work life. Seeing people living a brave life where they are able to generate, maintain and repair ‘trust’, be seen as ‘accountable’ and hold others to account, have the ‘bravery’ to work on the craft of leadership, doing brave actions and ‘connecting’ through contribution with their colleagues in the work they are doing. This is the game changer that motivates me to share with others. I have seen its power to be able to answer, “what would I, we, you do if Living Brave?”.



For more info, follow Guy on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, TikTok and visit his website!

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