Interview with Joseph O’Connor, directly from London, exclusive to IN COACHING

Interview with Joseph O’Connor, directly from London, exclusive to IN COACHING


Interview with Joseph O’Connor, directly from London, exclusive to IN COACHING (Electronic Journal of the Venezuelan Coaching Society) – Vol. I, No. 1, January-March, 2018

By Carola Rivas

A Coach Out of Expectations

The first international interviewer of IN COACHING is world renowned anthropologist Joseph O’Connor, renowned Master Coach Trainer and consultant to major multinationals, including British TELECOM, HP Invent and British Airways. O’Connor is one of the founders of the International Coaching Community, a community that has certified more than 12,000 coaches on every continent.

He is the creator of Lambent d Brasil and the author of 18 books translated into 21 languages. He is one of the most read authors in the field of NLP, including the bestseller “Introduction to NLP” in co-authoring with John Seymour. In Venezuela, her book “Coaching with NLP” written with Andrea Lages is a classic for professional or training coaches.

O’Connor is the creator of Systemic Audit, an advisory process focused on solving critical nodes in business systems. Our interviewee takes his skills as a world expert between Hong Kong, London, Singapore, Brussels, Madrid and Latin America with the certainty of the great experts.


There is an essential question that we should ask a coach of the international stature of Joseph O’Connor: What do you consider today as the most important challenges for coaches around the world?

Joseph O’Connor
Same as always. Help your clients understand themselves, recognize that “the world is the way it is” and focus on what each one can contribute. To realize that understanding and love is more important than being right.


According to your answer, what could be the contributions of coaching to the world?

Joseph O’Connor
If we look at the world right now, everything seems like a disaster, worse than ever. In that sense, we are probably the same as any other generation. The world evolves and we evolve with it.

Instead of complaining, we need to keep doing the best we can, as always. this is our role. This does not mean that we believe the world is right and we give our approval.

Coaches can not fix the world, we can try to fix small pieces of what we can influence. If we all did this, the world could definitely be in better shape.


So, how can we manage the expectations of our clients ‘clients’ coaching?

Joseph O’Connor
I do not know what the expectations of society are about coaching. I have the presumption that society is not interested in coaching. Even for me, clients do not care about coaching. They only care if someone helps them solve their problems, achieve their goals and live a happier life.

This is the basic problem of expectations. If expectations are not met, people respond with disappointment, this toxic mix between anger and sadness. They act as if other people are bound to live up to their expectations.

Even though the other person generally does not know what those expectations are. Even when your expectations are met, you are stuck in the foam of society’s expectations. Let’s forget about expectations! Let’s be open to the unexpected and the creativity. Do not worry about what society expects of us.


After decades of dissemination and expansion, do you consider that training has evolved?

Joseph O’Connor
Do not know. I hope so.

Coaching is not based on compiled models or tools. Its essence has to do with the sincere intention of the person to help others and be empathic with them.

It is based on the coach’s ability to ask the client questions, to ask himself if he could think about them. Latin America is no different from the rest of the world in this respect.


In our region, many training schools were opened, as a kind of explosion where there are some very good and some not so much. What is your opinion on this situation?

Joseph O’Connor
There are different coaching schools predominantly in Europe and Latin America, and the culture of people is different in each place. Colleagues need to be aware of this aspect. All countries need ethical and competent trainers. As co-founder of the ICC, this has always been our mission. To promote an ethical and competent exercise throughout the world. We tell people to “Join us!” If they wish.



“I do not know what the expectations of society are about coaching.I have the presumption that society is not interested in coaching.Even for me, clients do not care about coaching. They only care if someone helps them solve their problems, achieve their goals and live a happier life.”

“Understanding and loving is more important than being right.”

“Coaches can not fix the world, we can try to fix small pieces that we can influence. If we all did that, the world could definitely be in better shape.”

“If the coach and his client are involved in the fight for freedom, who are their enemies?
What blocks this change that the customer wants?
In most cases, the enemy is the habit.”

“The problem with public statements of incompetence is that others believe in them, because they do not expect you to succeed, they do not ask you questions, they reinforce your belief.”



Once we started the journey to make IN COACHING possible, the goal was to interview the iconic Joseph O’Connor. He is a key coaching reference in Venezuela, a whole generation of Venezuelan coaches have been trained under their academic precepts. Therefore, it was a challenge for the whole team to achieve this goal.

Thus, thanks to the perseverance of our director for the partner of Zulia Region and the Official Coach of Venezuela-Panama Leyla Suárez, we got the interview with Master Trainer O’Connor, a man who captivates each sentence and generates the necessary reflections to extend the vision of coaching and life.

Joseph, thank you for the time you gave us for this interview, and we wish to greet you warmly on behalf of all the coaches who make up the Venezuelan Coaching Society.


Carola Rivas

Leyla Suárez
Ricardo Aquino
International Coaching Community

To read the article as it was published in the magazine, click here (in Spanish)

To learn more about Joseph O’Connor:

The Unexpected

The Unexpected

The Unexpected – by Joseph O’Connor

Happy New Year!

Christmas and New Year are a holiday, and a very enjoyable one.
And…. as it is New Year, how about New Year’s resolutions?
Well, I will resist the temptation to devote this article to the futility or importance or success or failure of New Year’s resolutions.

Let’s talk about the unexpected.

When I was a kid, my parents would leave an empty place set at the dinner table at Christmas for the unexpected guest. Knife, fork and napkin were set, and the chair ready, in case someone called. My mother would make slightly too much food for the family to eat.
This place for the ‘unexpected guest’ is an old Irish custom, (still prevalent in parts of Ireland). A weary traveller might knock on your door looking for shelter. And the Irish, being one of the most hospitable people on earth, want to offer more than just shelter from the rain. (It is always raining in Ireland).
I didn’t really understand the idea when I was young; it seemed nice but pointless, and we never had any unexpected guests, so what was the big deal? Still, I remember this every Christmas.

It is a generous thought to want to have a guest to share the food.
At a deeper level it is an openness for the unexpected. When I Googled ‘unexpected guest’, the hits I got were mostly for something scary, (there is a famous murder mystery called ‘The unexpected guest’.) as if an unexpected guest was a bad thing.

The word ‘expect’ is derived from ‘ex’, meaning ‘before’, and ‘spect’ meaning ‘see’, so some thing is expected if you have seen it before, and unexpected if you have not. So it is new and let’s be glad the unexpected happens. We cannot predict what happens from one minute to the next, there is always the possibility for surprise. Life would be so boring otherwise.

Yet we spend a lot of time, effort and energy trying to control our environment, shutting out the possibility of the unexpected as if it were a burglar. What distinguishes a guest from an intruder is the attitude with which you meet them, (always providing they do not intend to cause to harm). A guest is not an intruder, quite the opposite, they are welcomed.

When the unexpected does come, we often try to diminish it, and we do this in two ways.
One is to say: ’I knew it anyway’ and if this does not work, then we fall back on the second option: ‘Well, anyway, it’s not important’.
A pity, an unexpected opportunity might go to waste.

Welcome the unexpected guest, there are many out there, waiting for a chance to come in. They have interesting and wonderful stories to tell and might give you the idea for a new adventure.  Have a place at your mental table for them so you can hear their travellers’ tales. As coaches, if we do this ourselves, we will be able to help our clients see the possibilities in their experience, there is a new year starting every day.

Here is a poem called the Guest House by the Thirteenth Century Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi.
It gives the deepest insight into the unexpected.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

To learn more about Joseph O’Connor:

Moral and Civic Education – by Andrea Lages

Moral and Civic Education – by Andrea Lages

Moral and Civic Education – by Andrea Lages

In my early years of school, one of my favorite subjects was called Moral and Civic Education.

Depending on when each reader lived his childhood, he will know what I mean.

For those who do not know, M.C.E. was a formal and compulsory subject in schools, which was intended to help educate good citizens, who knew their duties and rights.

But this goal I only discovered recently, at that time the literal meaning of these words never occurred to me, I simply loved to paint the cartoons of the comic strips, the Brazilian flag, and to talk about the daily facts of my city and country. This was much cooler than decorating the tables or learning about things that had happened and stopped happening hundreds of years before I even existed!

The other day, driving back to my house here in London, I watched people cross the street in front of me, and thought… how do the moral values of a culture or region directly reflect the everyday reality of an entire nation?

And I’ve thought of all the countries I’ve been to, which are dozens of them, and cultures in general, and how clear it is to understand which are those values established strongly from the cradle, in that culture of which that person did and of which he is a part.

An IVH (Human Value Index) survey conducted by the UN (The United Nations) showed that in the opinion of Brazilians, in general, what it is necessary to change in Brazil for quality of life to improve is, first, education, followed by public policy, violence, moral values ​​and employment. In the State of São Paulo there was a variation in relation to the national opinion, with moral values ​​first.

Most likely, if the same survey were done in England or in any other country, the result would be another.

And it occurred to me: This applies not only to countries, but also to each of the families and the citizens.

If we stop to think, we will see clearly how the values we experience (or not) in our home, influences our life in general.

I particularly have two very strong and unshakable values, one is respect, and the other is honesty.

I cannot imagine a satisfactorily happy life without the presence of one of these two values.

And analyzing my reality, I see how everyone in my house also adopted the same guiding values, just as I adopted the values of the other members of my family.

And in that I thought as I watched people cross the street… in the tranquility I was feeling, standing at the traffic light, with the glass open, and not even thinking about checking the mirror to make sure no one was approaching to rob me. And everyone around me was acting the same way.

The boy who appeared to be about 10 years of age crossing the street alone, with his school bag, talking on his iPhone, the executive with his backpack, who did not try to disguise the presence of a laptop, and the old man, who walked calmly on the street with his walking stick, not being hit by the other pedestrians, and not bothering to finish crossing quickly, just in case the green light turned red for him.

And I realized the main reason for me to love London, is because people and their values, build a nation and (regardless of the weather), build the quality of life they have. (I’m not just referring to London, but mentioning what I observed while thinking about it. Of course, I love Brazil a lot, however, for different reasons.)

Our values build our reality, as long as we are congruent with them!

After all, what good is it to value education if you’re too lazy to read a book?

Or honesty, if you’re happy when you get a little extra change and you don’t even consider returning the difference to the cashier?

Returning to Moral and Civic Education, and knowing that it is no longer compulsory in schools, what can each of us do to incorporate it into our routine to contribute to a more moral and civically satisfying society?

To learn more about Andrea Lages’s trainings in Brazil, please send an email to

Como tener un dia de 30 horas en 3 pasos

Como tener un dia de 30 horas en 3 pasos

Guillermo Mendoza

¡Quiero días de 30 horas!, es una expresión que comúnmente he escuchado entre mis desesperados clientes y también entre ocupadas amas de casa que quieren y tienen que hacer tantas cosas que el día normal no les alcanza.

Por Guillermo Mendoza



How aware are you really?

How aware are you really?

How aware are you realy? In our business at ilume, we work with Executives who tell us that their level of self-awareness is well and truly developed.
Very often a person’s self assessment is that they are ‘present’; for most of the time at work and home, that they recognise the importance of being so, and that their experience has brought this skill to life for them.
by Angela Neighbours



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