How can deep exploration lead to creativity and innovation? We talk to transformational trainer and coach Jazmin Medrano about the personal journey that led her to become a business trainer, the link between personal and professional development, and why investing in training is so vital for a company’s success.
You left a high-powered position in the music industry to travel the world. What was the catalyst for you to leave your life in the US behind in search of adventure?
I was feeling a void in my life and couldn’t explain what it was. After two months of feeling like this, I read a book which was the catalyst for me to deciding to leave my old life behind. That’s when I resolved to save money, quit my job, and travel the world. I knew there was more to life and myself than what I was experiencing, and I wanted to find out what that was. And in order to find it, I knew I had to get out of my environment and the particular conditions of my upbringing.
What led you to pursue a career supporting people and companies as a trainer?
When I was traveling, I knew that I wanted to find my true vocation and that I wanted to help people. At that time, my idea of helping people was, let’s say, helping starving children in Africa or helping women who had been victims of sexual abuse. I was thinking that perhaps I’d open up my own social enterprise, or something of that nature. Long story short, I realized that was not my path. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to help people, but I knew this wasn’t my way. When I decided to move to Berlin, I got involved in a lot of coaching and training courses for my own personal development, and through the course of these trainings I realized that I wanted to be a coach, that this would be my way of supporting and helping people.
But let me elaborate on this idea of helping people, because I think it’s important. A big misconception of trainers and coaches is that they are the ones helping the client, but I see it rather as creating a space and an environment wherein the client discovers the tools to help themselves. I really see my role as facilitator of that self-discovery: It’s as though I’m the medium enabling people to discover that they have the answers within themselves.
You’ve spoken at length elsewhere about the link between personal and professional development. How has your personal journey impacted your professional life?
In every possible way! Looking back, it was through my own personal transformation and facilitating other’s self-discovery that my professional life really began to change. I became more creative because I was letting go of limiting beliefs and patterns. And in becoming more creative, I had all these new ideas, ideas which transformed my professional practice. I came up with new concepts for projects; my entire process changed. I realized that I didn’t have to conform to fit the mould of other coaches, that I could experiment and do my own thing. Once I realized this, I didn’t need others to validate that I was good, which meant I could be 100% focused on serving my clients. You see, in getting to know more about myself and who I was, the natural by-product was confidence. The more confident I was, the more I was able to put myself out there in a way I was never able to before. I was able to say: This is who I am, this is what I do, this is what I can do. And subsequently, I saw that I got more traction as a coach and as a trainer.
So, would you go as far as to say that there is always a link between professional and personal development?
Absolutely! Because, in the end, regardless of the profession, who is the one executing the profession? Who is the one having the career? It’s the person! So, we have to ask: does that person know their talents, their gifts, their competencies? Do they have confidence? Do they have the ability to express who they are, to express their creative ideas? Are they utilizing themselves and their capacities to meet their professional and personal objectives?
If an employee feels unsure about who they are as a person, then their employer is not really getting the best of them, because they themselves don’t really know what they’re capable of. So, yes, not knowing who you are as an individual absolutely affects your professional life. Learning about who you are, what your fears are, what your limitations are, articulating them and working through them can have a massive impact on your professional life. You don’t have to travel the world to gain a deep understanding of who you are, but self-discovery is an integral part of personal and professional success.
Can you talk about what you see as the difference between training individuals and working as an on-site company trainer?
So, in my own personal work, when training individuals you’re often dealing with their personal stuff, whether it’s issues with their parents, their current girlfriend, their job, etc. Perhaps they lack confidence, they feel unworthy or they feel that they aren’t good enough; it’s very personal. Working in a company, for the most part, you don’t really go into the personal matters of each individual. That’s a big difference. But, again, who is a company comprised of? People! And no matter what anyone says, personal issues have a way of impacting employees’ professional lives.
When I go into a company, the entry point is always talking about work issues, but those issues often come down to something more personal, like not feeling valued. And though this has to do with the employee themselves, it’s also indicative of the internal-workings of the company and how it’s bringing up said feelings of not being valued to the employee. If you don’t look at the deep-rooted issues of why the company and its employees are functioning the way they are, then there is never going to be a real sustainable shift.
So, there are differences, but really it’s almost the same thing. With individuals, you need to go to the core of the issues. Same goes for a company: if you want to solve a problem, you need to go to the root of it, and start from there.
What do companies need to consider when they want to make a big change or want to do some major restructuring? What advice would you give?
Look at what is underneath: what was the driving force behind how things work right now, who decided on that model, and look at it from a holistic point of view. Everything is changing so quickly these days, so the more companies become aware that they need to look at the core of what’s holding them back, the more natural their path to success will be. So, the advice I would give companies is: look deeper. Look deeper into how things function and where it comes from. This will allow for more creativity and innovation.
Of course, there are companies who are looking for training who are already quite well-functioning, and they just want to be more creative and innovative. And this means that the approach might be different: In this case, the advice would be to be open to tackling creativity and innovation in a very different way. Because innovation doesn’t always look the way we think it will. It’s important to be able to do things outside of your comfort zone: that is where you’ll really see magic happen. If you want to change things, you have to do something that’s different.
Why, in your opinion, is it so vital for a company to invest in training?
When you invest resources into your employees, then your employees feel that they are of value. In the end, the people that are going to be making your company successful and profitable are your employees. So if you give your employees all of the tools that they need, provide them with the kinds of trainings that they need to do the best that they can do in whatever positions they’re in, they’re going to say: “Hey, I’m being cared for; I’m being acknowledged; I’m being recognized!” And when people feel acknowledged and recognized, they tend to be more fulfilled in their jobs and take more ownership and responsibility.
I know a lot of companies say: “We’re just starting out, we really have to focus on reaching our KPI’s or our sales targets.” These things are important, of course, but in the end, you have to look at what your priorities are. The way I see it, a company is like a family. The CEO’s or the managing directors, they’re like the parents, and the employees are like the children. So, I would ask: How are you treating your children? Are you feeding them? Are you giving them attention? Are you giving them the things they need so they can excel at what they do? It’s important to look at how you can nurture each individual employee, to allow them to blossom and grow so they can be a greater asset to the company.