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Today’s guest needs no introduction! She is a cheerleader, mentor, adviser, leader, coach and friend.
Jill Poulton joins us today to talk Juntos, history and her real connection to Benjamin Franklin. Tune in live, or check out the replay, but do not miss this episode!
Barb McGrath 0:02
You are listening to a CJ tr podcast. Welcome to The Secret Life of entrepreneurs on 91.3 FM CJ tr, vagina community radio. Stay tuned to meet today’s guest and hear their story of what makes them tick. What drives them to succeed and their role in growing a thriving business community. The Secret Life of entrepreneurs chronicles the success and secrets of locally owned businesses and owners. Listen in live as we discuss their secrets and learn how they are making a positive impact in their community. You’re listening to your host, Barb McGrath, business leader, entrepreneur and founder of the get found on Google program. Let’s get started. Welcome. Well, just before I introduce our guest today, I want to make sure that everyone stays tuned in right till the very end, Jill’s got a little bit of a exciting announcement for us or maybe it’s not an announcement, but she’s got an event coming up. And I’ve asked her to talk about the event. So she’s going to give us the skinny on all the details coming up with Juntos talks. Hey, I got that right. Good job. I’ve been practicing punto all morning. And I didn’t get it right till Jill got here and taught me how to do that. Anyway, our guest today is Jill Poulton from Transformational Leadership. She’s an executive coach, a leadership coach, a supporter, a mentor, a leader, an advisor, a trusted friend. The list goes on and on. Welcome, Jill. I am so happy to have you here today.
Jill Poulton 1:48
Oh, thank you, Barbara. It’s good to be here. Very good.
Barb McGrath 1:51
Um, tell us a little bit about yourself in your business. Mm hmm. Who are you? Yeah, you come from where?
Jill Poulton 1:56
I’m a prairie girl. Yeah, yeah, I am. I’m born and raised here in Regina. And leadership is always kind of been my thing. You know, you hear lots of means or see lots of means about you know, don’t tell the little girl that she’s bossy because she’s a leader. You know, that was me, I was the little bossy girl growing up, well. I’m gonna like this conversation. And, and so anyway, as an adult, it just became something that was of interest to me something that I kind of got good at, not just in my world, but being able to share what I was learning and what I was doing with other people, because I’ve also had a bend for teaching. And then when I was in the corporate world, I was introduced to this idea of coaching. And I was given some qualities, tools and coaching tools that I was able to add to my leadership toolkit.
Barb McGrath 3:00
And being able to use those tools in meaningful ways really made a difference. Yes. in meaningful ways. Yes. So important, right to have a toolbox full of stuff that you can’t use.
Jill Poulton 3:14
Yeah, it’s useless. Yeah.
Barb McGrath 3:17
You’re breaching happened to you?
Jill Poulton 3:21
So yeah, when I saw I was in the corporate world for a number of years. And after the birth of my second son, you know, the world kind of the financial world changed, right? It was, you know, 2008, the mortgage markets took a a beaut made a huge impact on the, on the economy, and I was working for a bank at the time. And after my son was born in 2009, and then when I was when I came back in 2010, the world had changed. Anyway, long story short, saw the writing on the wall, made the decision to leave corporate, and because of my talents and success, my track record with coaching and training specifically in the areas of leadership. It was it was a good time for me to venture into my own leadership development practice.
Barb McGrath 4:10
Got it? Okay.
Jill Poulton 4:11
Yeah, so that was in 2011. And I’ve been doing it ever since. Got it.
Barb McGrath 4:14
Excellent. So, um, one of the things that I heard you talk about, as you were giving us, kind of your story, is being able to share share the value of sharing that story. Mm hmm. Right. And that’s something that I become acutely aware of, I think, in the last little while, because when you can share a personal or a passionate story with someone, it helps them understand your why so much more than if you just say, you know, I do this. Right. There’s there’s no story behind that. Is that something that you find yourself working on? How do you share your story? How do you help others share their story because again, that definitely helps leaders. How do you how do you do that?
Jill Poulton 5:00
Well, I tell you, telling stories or sharing stories was not something that I was accustomed to leaving the corporate environment. It was something that I learned as an entrepreneur. And I would, I would also say, I’m continuing to learn as an entrepreneur. Storytelling isn’t necessarily something that I come naturally by, so to speak, in the professional world, like I’m a storyteller in my personal life, but it’s not something that, you know, necessarily translated into my professional life as, as easily as I think it.
Barb McGrath 5:36
Could it great. So he see, that’s what’s interesting, too, yes, I’m the same. I can tell stories to family and friends, probably ad nauseum. And in fact, probably to the point where they wish I would stop. But when you bring that into the corporate environment, the work environment, the client environment, it doesn’t translate. And that’s something that I don’t know, I just personally, I find that very interesting. Doesn’t transpose. Any thoughts on why?
Jill Poulton 6:02
Yeah, because most corporate cultures are, it’s all about business. Okay. And it’s only been in the last decade that stories have, or this idea of storytelling has started to permeate the corporate culture. So traditionally, it hasn’t been part of, you know, the way of doing business storytelling unless you are specifically talking about marketing.
Barb McGrath 6:27
Jill Poulton 6:28
In marketing, yeah. Everybody knows that you need to tell some sort of story, right. But inside the corporate culture, not so much. So I think it’s still this relatively new idea that people are getting used to it. So it kind of falls into the bucket of those soft skills.
Barb McGrath 6:47
Right? Yeah. Which we’re running and
Jill Poulton 6:49
Soft skills don’t necessarily get the amount of attention that they deserve. Right. They’re, they’re not appreciated or valued to the same extent as some other skill sets. Right. Right. So I put the the storytelling in the story sharing in that in that bucket of soft skills. Sure.
Barb McGrath 7:07
Yeah. That makes sense to me. Okay, so 2008, your son is born, the markets have changed. You decided it’s time for Jill to go to gold on her own? Mm hmm. How did you decide what you wanted to do? What was your burning passion inside that said, This is what I need to do?
Jill Poulton 7:23
Yeah, that’s a great question. I don’t know if I necessarily approached it that way. Okay. Um, like I mentioned that, you know, I’ve always had this bend for teaching people and, and then that morphed into coaching. And it was just something that I super enjoyed doing. Like it lights me up when I’m doing those things. And it was also something that I was able to see a noticeable difference in the people that I was working with when I was in that place of coaching or training, right. And so when the time came to leave corporate that was it was a seed that was actually planted by a friend that I met through the Regina Women’s Network while I was still in corporate even before I got pregnant with my second son. She said, Jill, have you ever considered doing this on your like, for yourself with other people, because at the time other people outside of the corporation, were wanting to work with me, but they didn’t like me doing things, you know, outside the bricks and mortar of. And so anyway, so that seed planted in fertile soil, and it just started blossom and a mentor of mine in the corporate world. She left a few years prior. And she was doing this. She was doing it in Calgary, and I saw the work that she was doing, and I saw the joy that she was having, and that she was really able to create her own economy. And so I thought, okay, I can do this too. And what really solidified the, the possibility for me, was the same week that I handed in my resignation. Okay. My mentor at the time, mentor from a distance Jhansi Maxwell, oh, he launched his team, the same week, like we’re talking 48 hours apart. Oh, and I have been following john for years, and applying what he writes about and applying what he speaks about, not just in my own career, and in my own life, but I was sharing it with others. And so when he launched his team, the same time that I handed in my resignation, I was like, okay, they’re serendipity at work here. Right? And so I became part of his team, which gave me even more, more tools, more resources. And it also gave me a community of people like my tribe, right? And that that made a huge difference to so That’s that’s how it came to be.
Barb McGrath 10:02
Yeah. You know, that’s very interesting to me, because one of the things that I quickly learned when I became an entrepreneur is, yeah, in the corporate world, you talk about it being lonely at the top. But when you’re an entrepreneur, it’s lonely at the coffee shop, at the kitchen table, in your office, wherever you call home. It’s lonely. If there’s a problem, you got to start to figure it out and solve it. And not having that team, that tribe of people to immediately talk to that was really hard at first. And then I just started bending my husband’s ear all the time. And no, you have to listen. Right? But yeah, quite the same. So you know, I have to think that with john launching his team at that time, that must have just been fortuitous for you.
Jill Poulton 10:50
Oh, it was incredible. And, you know, at the time, we were, I mean, there was less than 1000 of us globally, okay. And, and we were like, 1000 1000 people globally. So we weren’t just sparse, we were spread out all over the place. And the only place that we were able to connect until our first conference was online, right? Okay. And even then, until I mean, today, here we are, nine, eight years later. And the john Maxwell team is now almost 20,000 people worldwide. Wow. So there are other people here in Regina. But, um, those first few years, you you know, like you said, You crave that human connection, that human interaction. And I was creating it, you know, as an extrovert, right. I was really, that was one of the things that I was missing tremendously from the corporate world was that camaraderie. And so I had this idea in my brain that rattled around for probably a year before I took action, and you use the word earlier, and it was the Junto. And so five years ago, I launched the Hoot this the Junto group, okay. And, um, and the only reason why I was able to do that is because I came across this website that was called meetup.com. And I was like, What the heck is meetup.com? That it was the answer to the question of, Okay, I’ve got this great idea, but how am I going to facilitate it? Because scheduling all these meetups was like, that would be time consuming to be plugging it into my website all the time. And like, it was just, it just was overwhelming administratively. So then, when meetup.com showed up on my computer, I was like, Hey, this is the answer that I need. And so I launched that November. I can’t remember what it was. It was the first Friday in November of 2014.
Barb McGrath 12:45
We’ve probably just passed that five just passed the five
Jill Poulton 12:48
Year mark and so and then the word Junto, it’s spelt it’s spelt j un t o. So people often say it’s Judo but it’s, it’s a Spanish word. So the J is pronounced with an agent Junto. And it translates together or gathering and the word because I’m not Spanish. I mean, you’re ready. I know. Right? Um, but the word was inspired by Benjamin Franklin. Okay. And Benjamin Franklin, if anybody’s familiar with his story, he ran a Junto group for like 20 years, it was Friday nights. It was a group of prominent men in Philadelphia at the time. And they would look at things like politics, business, economy, philosophy, I mean, anything that was required to create this new America. And anyway, and Benjamin, he organized this gathering every week, he would facilitate a dialogue through a series of questions based on a topic of that week. Okay, so the topic would be assigned in advance. Yes. And then people would and then the members of the Junto group would have to come and contribute to the talk topic. Now, he was pretty hardcore. And we didn’t have the distractions that we have today. And so he would assign people essays, and he, and this was this, like, it was huge. They would meet like for four or five hours every week on a Friday night. This was their life. And anyway, so I took I took about 10% of that created the leadership Junto, where we talk about leadership, entrepreneurship, and success mindset, because there’s so much overlap in those three areas. And those are the areas that I operate in as an expert. So I’m so every week, a lot of them a lot of the people that attend our entrepreneurs. And we have a topic every week I come prepared with a series of questions. Do we get through all of them? No, because it’s only an hour Exactly. But the conversation and the transformation that happens in the space of that hour. is actually quite mind blowing. Wow.
Barb McGrath 15:02
Yeah, yeah. And you’ve been doing it for five years. I do, like, weekly five years. 52 meetings a year, give or take a few summer ones. Yeah. It’s 250 meetings. Roughly. Yeah. topics. Yeah, right. Planning preparation. meetup.com doesn’t exist anymore, does it? Yeah, it does. Yeah. Yeah, for some reason, I thought it was gone.
Jill Poulton 15:21
They’ve gone through some changes over the years, because they’ve I think they’ve been bought, well, they were bought at least once, maybe twice since I started using that platform. But, but they’re still around. They’re still used. And in fact, the majority of people and this is an observation, the majority of people that use it are people who are new to Regina. So a lot of larger city centers are familiar with the platform. Yes. And they utilize it. Whereas in Regina, it’s still this emerging thing. However, I will say, you know, when I first started using meetup, there was only I think, maybe four or five groups, okay on it. And now there’s like, I can’t even count how many there’s so many. Yes, yeah. And so it’s fantastic.
Barb McGrath 16:05
Maybe that’s why I thought they were going because I know I used to get their weekly updates for everything that was happening in Regina. And it got to be too much. I couldn’t filter it down to you know, what might be of interest. And so I think I unsubscribed and there you go. All went away. So if somebody wanted to attend one of the Friday morning meetings, do they need to contact you? What do they do?
Jill Poulton 16:27
Yeah, well, so they can follow along on meetup.com. And just search leadership punto. And you’ll you’ll find us, J you and to J UN to That’s right. And, and then you’ll see what the topic is for that week, we always meet at 930 on a Friday, like 930 in the morning, we start I try super hard to start on time and keep it to one hour because we all have busy lives. And we meet at sweet bakery and coffee shop, which is
Barb McGrath 16:55
Jill Poulton 16:57
Right on the corner of Broughton college and in the private room. And so you just show up. Right, right. And just be prepared to meet some great people and have some really meaningful conversation and stretch your thinking.
Barb McGrath 17:12
Yes. So let’s go down that path. Because I mean, from the listener standpoint, how can you help me be a better leader?
Jill Poulton 17:21
That’s a great question. Well, I couldn’t I can’t give you a blanket answer. Um, because I would have to get to know you first. Yes.
And find out to do a live coaching session. That would be really super interesting.
Yeah, so I like to get to know where people are at. And where they want to be. Okay. Right.
A lot of the work that I do with my clients, we start with self leadership.
Barb McGrath 17:52
Mm hmm. Oh, and that’s, that’s the hardest. Right? yourself. You can lead others, but but leading yourself sticking to that? I don’t know. Diet exercise plan. commitments?
Jill Poulton 18:07
Yeah. Like it’s hard. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, if you can learn to lead yourself first, it absolutely makes leading others so much easier. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to bump into challenges and issues that I’ll tell you, you are better equipped, and you have greater fortitude to ride some of those challenges that come your way when you’re leading others. Exactly. So we always, always start with self leadership, then looking at leading others, and, and that leading others if that’s your one person team, or 20 people team, or if it’s an entire organization, right, we put that into perspective, based on who the client is and what’s happening in their world, right. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So there are basic leadership principles that we will look at first, and we’ll do kind of an assessment around. And then we figure out the game plan, right?
Barb McGrath 19:00
So most of the folks that you’re working with, then it’s obviously one on one work or your group programs on Friday morning. So they’re working one on one with you. And if you find that most people come and say, Jill, I want to be better at x, or do they simply come to you and say, Jill, I know I can do better. Can you help? Like, how, how do people approach you? What does that look like?
Jill Poulton 19:25
Yeah, it’s interesting, because I work half my clients are entrepreneurs. And so as an entrepreneur, most of them are like, okay, I want to be doing this with my business. But you know, I’m getting stuck. Yeah, right. And, or I’ve got the other half of my clients are in an organization, big or small business, and they’ve got a team of people, okay, and they’re looking at their team of people and saying, okay, either we’re not maximizing the potential or the performance with these people. And I need to do better, right or I keep I keep bumping into this wall. Okay, how do I, how do I get past it? Right? So they’re getting stuck. And a lot of it is stuck in their own thinking stuck in their perspective. And so we need to get it unstuck. Lots of times whatever the situation is. It’s a story that we’re telling ourselves, either about ourselves, or about the person or about the situation. And I’ll talk piece so we’re, you know, earlier, we’re talking about stories, right? Well, we tell ourselves stories all the time.
They’re not just necessarily stories that serve us. Well.
Barb McGrath 20:37
Yes. Right. In so many cases. They’re not even true stories. But their stories we’ve convinced ourselves, yeah, are who we are. Yeah. Because society told us our parents told us, you know, here’s the role we were supposed to play. And so yeah, these stories play over and over and over and our head, yeah. How the heck do you kick those out? Yeah.
Jill Poulton 20:58
So I act as a thinking partner. Okay. Right. So people will tell me what their their challenges are. And then, through a coaching conversation, which is very question based and curiosity based, I help expand their awareness to see what’s going on from different angles. Okay. Right, and to challenge some of their assumptions that they’re making either about themselves or about the situation.
Barb McGrath 21:25
Mm hmm. That’s very insightful. Jill, I like that. One of the things that I’ve always admired about our conversations you and I is, is a you ask insightful questions. But you ask such good open ended questions. So a leaders ability to ask the right question, or an open ended question, especially when there is any kind of conflict happening, you know, is really key. And I’m always great at making statements. My kids will tell you that. But being able to ask the right question, that’s a skill. Is that something that? How do you get better at that? Any, any ideas? That’s a great question. Because it’s, it’s something that I’ve had to develop.
Jill Poulton 22:14
So I’ve, of course, as a coach, when you’re going through coach training, you learn how to ask better questions. Okay. But I have to say, what has transformed my ability to ask great questions, was to focus on developing my listening skills. Yes, listeners. Yeah, yeah. And that started, even before I started coach training, you know, being able to listen, because I’m a talker, I just said, I’m an extrovert, right? So I like to talk a lot, and sometimes too much. And so I got some feedback one time, and I realized, okay, I need to do less talking more listening. And listening is more than just the auditory Oh, absolute, right. So I created an acronym. And, folks, here’s my gift to you today. If you got a pen and paper, write this one down. It’s lol See, it’s easy to remember. Because most people think laugh out loud. And I redefined it as Listen, observe and learn, ah, listen, observe and learn. So you’re listening to what’s being said and listening to what’s not being said. But then you’re also observing the the person who or the situation, right, and you’re noticing the cues, the body language, the facial expressions, the, the the tone, all that right, all the intangible stuff sometimes. And then you’re putting it all together. And, and you have to ask yourself, okay, so what is what is the deeper meaning going on? What is the what is the goal behind the goal? What is the message behind what’s being said? What is and and just learning to learn? You have to become curious. And so you start asking yourself these questions, and then you’re listening, and you’re observing for the answers. Right? And then sometimes you can’t, you can’t observe or hear the answers you have. Yes, question? Exactly. Right. And so lol has really served me so well, for so many years. Yeah.
Barb McGrath 24:20
And that makes a lot of sense. Um, one of the things that that I find is you’re having a conversation with somebody or you’re listening. We’re always thinking about how we’re going to respond. When we stop thinking about how we’ll respond and we actually focus on the conversation. It actually not that this is a bad thing. But it slows the conversation down because we’re not knee jerk responding to whatever the other person said. Whether it’s, you know, a conflict or just an everyday conversation. Yeah. By listening to you, and not thinking about what I need to say next. Yep. I’m much more engaged in the conversation. Right? And that creates a much more valuable and rich conversation that I can now learn from you. I will take lol and I will take it home and I will remember it and yeah, hopefully I’ll practice it.
Jill Poulton 25:17
You know, and to that point, you know, when we’re when we’re listening, and we’re thinking, Okay, what am I gonna say next? What am I going to do? You know, we’re very self focused when we’re in that mindset. Mm hmm. Right. But if I come and I’m with the intention of the lol the Listen, observe and learn. Where’s my focus? My focus is on you.
Barb McGrath 25:36
Yes, that’s right.
Jill Poulton 25:37
So we remove ourselves from the equation, and we become an participant of the equation.
Barb McGrath 25:43
Right? Is that right?
Jill Poulton 25:44
And so we’re able to serve people better from that. posture. Yeah. Then if we’re just thinking about, okay, what do I need to say? What do I need to ask? What do I you know, how am I great? Um, you’re just waiting for the next opportunity to talk and you know,
Barb McGrath 26:00
Exactly, yeah, it’s, oh, now it’s gonna be my turn. So I need something to say. And yes. We only have Oh, goodness. We only have a couple. Job. We only have a couple minutes left.
Jill Poulton 26:12
We knew this was gonna go by fast.
Barb McGrath 26:14
I was gonna ask you one more question, but I’m not so. Gil, quickly tell us how people can find you if they want to learn more about your coaching practice or Junto talks.
Jill Poulton 26:24
So, jillpoulton.com. That’s how you can find me. I’m also on Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn. I’m I get around online in a good way, and a good way. And so if you’re interested in learning more about Junto, I already mentioned meetup.com. We’re on Facebook. Now, Junto talks is a celebration of community. It’s an evening on November 21. at the U of R College Avenue campus. In the evening from seven to 9pm. We are going to be featuring six speakers from inside our Junto community. And they each have an incredible story to tell of how they faced adversity in their life. And they were able to transform that adversity into a gift.
Barb McGrath 27:21
Very nice. That sounds like a fantastic event. Yes, Jill, I have to wrap this up today. Thank you so much for being here. This was a fantastic conversation. And yes, we both knew it was gonna go so quickly. Absolutely. Ah, I will be back here on November 27. Two weeks from today with Wendy Turner Larson from Turner Larson consulting, and she’s going to talk to us a little bit more on this concept of connection. So Jill and I kind of started the conversation today. And we’re going to continue that conversation with Wendy, in our society. Now. I think it’s one of the key things that we’re all looking for is more connection. So Wendy, I’m really looking forward to that conversation. If you’d like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at barb@google girl.ca or you can reach out on Facebook and Instagram at Above the Fold Canada. Just a reminder, you can also submit your questions in advance of our live show on our Facebook page. I’m your host Barb McGrath, local business owner and Google girl. You are charged for your success. That’s supposed to be Remember, you worked hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.