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Welcome to our interview with Irene Ricotta, CEO at Vision Coaching, Team Member at Ethical Coach, and a Facilitator at the World Business & Executive Coach Summit (WBECS). Irene creates meaningful and powerful connections with people who are committed to making the world a better place.
I’m Bill Fox, Co-founder here at Exploring Forward-Thinking Workplaces. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Irene Ricotta today.
Irene, welcome to this forum and thank you for contributing to the questions that are at the heart of Exploring the Forward-Thinking Workplaces.
(Editor’s note: We shared our experience doing this interview with Irene in You Know You’re In a Bigger Conversation.)
Bill Fox: How can we create workplaces where every voice matters, everyone thrives and finds meaning, and change and innovation happen naturally?
Irene Ricotta: This is a great question. Based on my experience in the workplace as well as working as a coach, it’s possible for us to be open and curious to the true voice of people.
This creates an environment of trust that allows them to go deeper into the source of their own creativity, which is the foundation of innovation.
My old boss would ask us questions and was always open to suggestions. He put the mission of the company beyond his own personality. He acted from an “ego less” state. When someone acts from a place of no ego, this allows us not to just feel important but also to be more committed to making a contribution and taking responsibility for what happens. He was never rude or disagreeable when we made a mistake. He would just say, let’s try it another way. This open approach can allow people to express themselves in their own wholeness.
Bill: How do we get an employee’s full attention and best performance?
Irene: People must feel that we care about them and that they are important. The difference is not in the degree but in the choice to care. It’s not easy to be a leader. It’s not easy to be a coach. It’s also not easy to be an employee. Sometimes the difference shows up in the amount of responsibilities each person has. Therefore, it’s important to be open and authentic. Doing so allows them to be and do the same.
Acting with complete integrity as leaders allows employees to do the same, and this creates the space to enhance the level of performance.
Bill: What are people really lacking and longing for at work?
Irene: Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba talks about something he calls L-Q or Love-Quotient. We not only need emotional intelligence but also love intelligence.
We live in a society where gossip, criticism, and judgment are normal and more widespread than love. In this type of environment, people are longing for appreciation, recognition, acknowledgment, and love, which are powerful forces that people need. This is what is lacking in many workplaces. Bosses focus too much on control and don’t act like leaders. They push to get people under their control. They want to command and push people down.
These types of environment are not healthy for anyone — bosses or employees. Everyone is stressed. This doesn’t work in any place.
Bill: What is the most important question leaders should be asking employees?
Irene: How can we contribute and serve the world together in the best way we can? My heart was touched in a way that was incredible by Peter Hawkins, the father of Systemic Coaching in England. He helped me see that it’s not about me. I’m not a human being disconnected from others.
In today’s world, we need to start in terms of collaboration and co-creation. Hawkins’s calls that We Intelligence. I experience we connection with many people I meet. When we live from a space of this “We” awareness, responsibility and freedom arise to a level that is significant and unpredictable. While at the same time, our level of performance improves in the same unpredictable way. It is well beyond most people’s expectations.
When we operate in this way, we connect ourselves to universal wisdom.
Bill: What is the most important question employees should be asking leaders?
Irene: How can we help you to serve the world and your purpose, vision and mission in a better way?
Bill: What is the most important question we should be asking ourselves?
Irene: What is the best way for me to increase the collective awareness of “We” intelligence?
This is one of the questions I ask myself every day. I am part of that “We” intelligence and what is beneficial for me is beneficial for other people as well.
When you act from the place of no ego, you can’t hurt people. You can’t do wrong. It’s impossible.
Bill: Who have been some of the most influential people who have impacted who you are?
Irene: There have been many people but one of the most influential has been the man I fell in love with. He told me something that completely changed my perspective in life. He said, “Whenever you know the name of a human being or their story, this is not the true person. The true person is soul. The spirit of this person that is beyond the name and the story.” This was my first revelation about our true nature.
My father had a big influence on me and who I am. He was a teacher of freedom, and he always said to me, “Don’t do anything that will hurt your heart.”
There was also Attilio Piazza, who was a professor of Constellation and Communication in my first counseling course. He taught me to trust my heart and live from a space of freedom and sincerity. His trust in our creativity was so deep that he always was very happy whenever he saw that we were finding our true inner voice. I understood through him what defines a true spiritual Master. It’s someone who allows people to be who they really are.
Then there’s Richard Strozzi Heckler who is the founder of the Strozzi Institute and the father of Somatic Coaching. When having a conversation with him, it feels like our spirits are dancing together. I was able to see that he is connected with this Universal Wisdom and Power that he calls in his books the Mystery. Coaching from that space results in a completely different level of understanding and impact.
Candice O’Denver, founder of Balanced View Training, is another person who has had a big impact on me. Her language so innovative, pure and clear that it evokes the primordial purity of Universal Wisdom, which empowers all our strengths, gifts and talents to expand and flow in ease.
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