Feedback Gives You Insight Into Yourself

Peg CalvarioSeason 3Episode 11


Peg Calvario talks about how feedback can give us insight into ourselves and how we can utilize it in our own development.


Peg Calvario

Peg Calvario

Executive Coach

Peg Calvario is an executive coach, leader, and consultant with experience developing top talent, navigating transitions into new career opportunities, and accelerating organizational growth. She is recognized as a trusted advisor who understands the business challenges that senior leaders face. In Peg’s work, she leverages her extensive business and leadership experience and ICF coaching credentials, along with a pragmatic approach to build on what is already working for individuals and organizations.

She’s also human and has had human experiences that inform her approach. When her daughter was diagnosed with a terminal osteosarcoma in 2003, she was forced to rethink her own goals with her business and life. Ultimately, she designed a strategy that led to her company’s pivotal sale in September 2008, a difficult time to sell a business. This personal experience left her with the desire and ability to help others deal with inevitable adversities and learn how to come back from difficulties not weakened, but stronger.


Troy Blaser (00:04):
Hello. Welcome to today's episode of Simply Feedback, the podcast brought to you by LearningBridge. I'm your host, Troy Blaser, and I'm excited today to have a conversation with our guest, Peg Calvario. Let me just tell you a little bit about Peg. She is an executive coach, leader and consultant with experience developing top talent, navigating transitions into new career opportunities, and accelerating organizational growth. She is recognized as a trusted advisor who understands the business challenges that senior leaders face. In Peg's work, she leverages her extensive business and leadership experience and ICF coaching credentials, along with a pragmatic approach to build on what is already working for individuals and organizations. She's also human and has had human experiences that inform her approach. When her daughter was diagnosed with a terminal osteosarcoma in 2003, she was forced to rethink her own goals with her business and life. Ultimately, she designed a strategy that led to her company's pivotal sale in September, 2008, a difficult time to sell a business. This personal experience left her with the desire and ability to help others deal with inevitable adversities and learn how to come back from difficulties not weakened, but stronger. Peg, welcome to Simply Feedback. It's so great to have you with us today.
Peg Calvario (01:28):
Troy. It's an awesome time to be with you, so thank you so much for inviting me, and I'm really delighted to be here.
Troy Blaser (01:36):
Fantastic. I just wanted to start with kind of our trademark question here on Simply Feedback, and that is, I wonder if you would tell us about a time that somebody gave you feedback, either professionally or personally, but we like to start with this. It helps us get to know you a little bit, but tell us about a time that you received some feedback maybe that had an impact on your life or maybe marked a turning point or something like that, if you don't mind.
Peg Calvario (02:03):
Oh my gosh. Well, I think I've, I think I've always received a lot of feedback, especially as a small business owner. I think the public can sometimes always give you that feedback. But listening to you just in terms of just the introduction, and thank you so much for that. I really just reflected on a time, which was back in 2008, early in the year when, you know, I was a member of a industry executive round table group, and I had a goal, a business goal, and that was I wanted to sell our family business, which was in the health and fitness club industry.
Troy Blaser (02:51):
Peg Calvario (02:52):
And at this meeting, I clearly remember being challenged, certainly by the chair of the meeting. And I was surrounded by my peers in my round table group who were not only industry colleagues, but they were friends and confidants, and they certainly knew of my own personal tragedy with the loss of my daughter. And so they knew I had this business goal, and this chair called me out in the meeting, and as he questioned me about how I was progressing on my goal, he leaned back and he just kind of gave me this view as if he said, Okay, you know, there's only one person who can sell that business. And he pointed his finger at me. Said, tell us now how you're going to do it. And he said, roll the tape. He said, and put yourself on YouTube. And that was a most challenging time, because he gave it to me with great care because he knew what was really important and meaningful.
Peg Calvario (04:10):
And at the same time, he challenged me to think out of the box. So that, and you know, and eventually, as we all know that, we went to settlement on September 2nd, 2008, 14 years ago. And if you can recall what happened in the days after, in September of 2008, many people thought I was probably one of the most successful business women. But I also kind of think, you know, the grace of God got me to the finish line. So yes. Feedback, it was tough to swallow, but extremely powerful
Troy Blaser (04:51):
That can be so helpful when, someone that we trust. It sounds like there was some trust there between the two of you.
Peg Calvario (04:59):
Troy Blaser (05:00):
To be able to throw that challenge down and for you to take it up and say, okay. As opposed to, you know, just veering off to say, well, I don't want to take a challenge that directly, you know, but you were able to step into that. Remind me if, I know, 2008 great recession, but I can't recall the exact months, but is, was it September?
Peg Calvario (05:22):
It was September.
Troy Blaser (05:22):
It was September when everything basically went down the drain. But you had settled right at the beginning of September. And so you felt quite relieved, I'm sure, from a personal perspective because you had been able to sell that business prior to everything going haywire.
Peg Calvario (05:42):
Yes, very much so.
Troy Blaser (05:44):
And then probably, I don't know, maybe, did you already know what the next phase was going to be for you after selling the business? Or were you left going, okay, now I've sold the business and now the economy is going into this great recession. Did you know what was coming next?
Peg Calvario (06:01):
You know, that's a great question. You know, if I wanted to give you the professional answer, but in all honesty, no, did not really know. I think that there are times where we all need, I'm going to say a little, kind of decompression from, you know, I always compare the sale of a business was, you know, the ultramarathon. So you're continuously, you know, having many, many hard days, so to speak, to a finish line. But there were certain things that I did know, and that was, you know, I really, I had worked with coaches, I'd worked with consultants, certainly had many trusted advisors throughout the years. And what I really wanted to do was really, you know, to design and create more meaningful work and really impact the lives of many people.
Troy Blaser (07:04):
You moved from a physical impact in the health and fitness industry to a more emotional and less tangible kind of impact as you're, have a chance to coach individuals and and help them along. And I was going to ask too, how long had you run the health and fitness business?
Peg Calvario (07:24):
26 and a half years.
Troy Blaser (07:28):
So it probably wasn't a light decision to come to that idea that it's time to sell and get out of it.
Peg Calvario (07:35):
No, it wasn't, you know, I think there are sometimes, especially for, I'm going to use the phrase small business owners, I think sometimes, you know, your business becomes so much a part of who you are and somewhat that identity that it becomes very challenging of, you know, when do you let go? When do you surrender and really pass it on versus, you know, holding on. And I think we've all seen way too many businesses that held on and, you know, the challenges that the owner faces or the family faces. Because then it's of no value.
Troy Blaser (08:26):
Yeah, yeah. I can see that. And ironically, you're now still running a small business that's very much a part of you, in fact, named after you, right. As a coach. I wanted to ask you about one of the aspects of your current business. You havW the women's Leadership Coaching Circle . Can you tell us a little bit about what that is? You know, how it works, what the objectives are?
Peg Calvario (08:51):
Well, this became, you know, a circle of women of all different ages. Initially when I started that I had this vision that I thought it was going to attract when, I'm going to say kind of mid-career women, and the first person who signed up was in her twenties. And the second person who signed up was 60. And I went like, Oh, and these circles really grew because it really became kind of almost, I don't want to use the word incubator, but it became a safe place for women with all different backgrounds, different ages, diversity of thought and perspectives to not only share and actually give each other feedback in some ways. But we basically would have, you know, a topic. And some of that started with simply a topic of the inner critic where sometimes women, women in leadership or women aspiring to, in their career feel that maybe they're not good enough, or they don't have the credentials or the experiences to get that promotion. Or maybe there's, you know, someone I recall vividly, someone who had to make a very tough decision of leaving a job and venturing out on her own. And then there, so it really became, you know, this almost like a think tank, giving people, especially women, time to think and do it in a very safe place.
Troy Blaser (10:48):
I love that. I think that's fantastic. You know, you talked about giving feedback and that sometimes it can, it can be so useful to get feedback from others outside of your field or your industry or, you know, your heads down in whatever it is that your main focus is of your business or your career. But then to get feedback from someone who really has fresh eyes on what you know, what your question might be, or completely different experience to say, oh, have you thought about this? And maybe, so I think that feedback opportunity can be especially valuable, like you say, in a safe place to be able to do that.
Peg Calvario (11:25):
Oh, absolutely.
Troy Blaser (11:27):
That's fantastic. So you've been a coach for a while now, since the sale of your business and working on coaching probably a lot of different people across different organizations. Can you tell us a little bit, in your experience, how do you incorporate feedback into that coaching experience? Whether it's formal in, you know, some kind of formal feedback gathering or informal feedback gathering?
Peg Calvario (11:52):
Sure. And it's kind of timely because earlier this morning in a coaching session, the leader came in, he said, ugh. His topic was all about feedback. And so I thought, wow, that's pretty timely. He knows was on my agenda later in the day.
Troy Blaser (12:20):
You were all set up for handling that topic.
Peg Calvario (12:23):
Definitely. And, so there are a couple ways in which I think to answer your question about feedback and a coaching session. So I think sometimes with, when it comes to feedback is, and this was part of our, a little bit of our topic this morning, was when you think about the word feedback, what initially comes to one's mind? And sometimes it goes back to this deep, back in our early days where we used to hear the word about constructive criticism And so sometimes there's this fear or apprehensiveness of giving feedback. And a lot of times you hear somebody say, well, I want to give the feedback, but I don't want to give it with a hammer.
Troy Blaser (13:20):
Peg Calvario (13:21):
Because when you ask someone, and this happened this morning, when I asked him could he recall a time where he got feedback where it wasn't really productive for him or it wasn't a positive experience, and he immediately recalled very early on in his career. And what struck me was, I thought early on in our career, sometimes, you know, especially for new college graduates, right? You graduate from college and you think you're, you know, you're like at the top of the world, and then you're quickly told like, be professional. Be professional or button up, or, you know, you got to be politically correct or whatever.
Troy Blaser (14:07):
You come to find that you're no longer a big fish in the little pond, right. You've moved into a bigger pond.
Peg Calvario (14:13):
Exactly. And he said that when he got this feedback, and it was pretty harsh, he said he immediately just, he said he put his head down and thought, if I want this job, I better do what he just said. And so that has kind of like, is still there. It kind of has a little linger of that experience. And so for him today, you know, one of his challenges was, I don't want to be the hammer. He didn't want to be like that old boss he had. So, you know, we really talked about, you know, what was kind of getting in the way for his own giving feedback. And some of this was just a block of fear. And that fear was really one in where he was afraid if he gave feedback, he could lose two of his top people.
Peg Calvario (15:18):
And so instead we looked at it from the perspective of, you know, what are his values and how does he care for his people? And where is the opportunity to grow and to develop, and what is his role as their manager? Is to really, to develop his people and to help them in terms of their own career aspirations. So anyway, that's kind of, I think, how it came out. One of the other ways I think sometimes when I'm working one-on-one with someone is to really be able to say, hey, are you open to feedback? Because that allows the invitation. As opposed to, hey, Troy. Here, I don't like that question you just asked me.
Troy Blaser (16:10):
Yeah. It can be challenging to be open to feedback. It takes some courage. And then like you say on the flip side, thinking about how do we give feedback to people? And that was certainly an experience for this individual that you were talking to earlier where that, you know, he had received that feedback in that was sort of harsh or came with a hammer. And that is even today, still affecting his ability to give feedback to these individuals that he cares about and wants to make sure that they continue to be there at the organization. They're valuable. You know, it's amazing what a lifelong impact or a career-long impact that can have down the road. So I wanted to ask you a little bit, you know, you timed the sale of your business well, right before the recession. You've been an executive coach now for a while, but are there differences that you see, I wanted to ask specifically about COVID. So, you know, prior to COVID you probably operated a certain way, COVID comes along, the whole world is in lockdown for a long time, and you have to figure out how to operate in that environment. But what shifts or what changes have you seen in, now from prior to COVID to today in the engagements, in the coaching engagements that you have?
Peg Calvario (17:37):
Well, that's a great question. In terms of my personal work. You know, clients that I work with that are local tend to have a preference where they would prefer in-person coaching, or sometimes in-person and virtual kind of a blend. And then of course, those that are, out of the area, certainly it's always been virtual. So maybe I was an earlier adopter of Zoom in some ways prior to 2020. And so that has kind of been a little bit of the shift. So for me personally, it wasn't necessarily a significant type of impact. However, one of the greatest challenges that many of my clients are facing is this whole, well, there are two. Two major ones. One is the hybrid workforce.
Troy Blaser (18:49):
Remote or in the office?
Peg Calvario (18:52):
Right. Well, or of the blend of, are are you being compliant, Troy? Like, you know, we have three days a week, but you seem to stretch it out. You only show up one day a week in the office, which again, requires feedback.
Troy Blaser (19:08):
Yeah. It's, so it's become another sort of point of enforcement maybe for some people.
Peg Calvario (19:15):
Yeah. Or it becomes, now it's a difficult conversation to have. Okay. And then there's, and then the other is the impact of COVID across everyone's life. Everyone's life has been impacted by COVID in some way, and in many different ways. And I believe that right now for many people, they're starting to really kind of experience that. And by that I mean, some people are still extremely anxious. Anxious about the pandemic, anxious about, you know, the long-term effects of COVID, the uncertainty is certainly part of that as well. And back to the thing about the hybrid and the return to work, you know, there are some that feel, that they are being somewhat discriminated if they opt that they don't want to return to the work because they feel, you know, a personal reason for not wanting to be there.
Peg Calvario (20:24):
For, you know, health or whatever types of personal needs. So I think there's a little bit of anxiety. I think there's some isolation that has impacted people. And so, you know, that's all like, kind of playing out right now. And that just seems to be what I'm seeing. I also do a lot of work on the career transition side. And so during 2020 and '21, my gosh, the volume of people I was helping in terms of, you know, landing a new job, and now when you get people who are now experiencing employment deployment, you know, they're getting laid off, there is a different type of attitude about that. You know, because they made it through the pandemic. And now they're being axed. And so, you know, that comes with a very different emotional response.
Troy Blaser (21:31):
It seems like that your work in career transitions is something that would've changed a lot because the workforce has changed so much over the course of the pandemic, you know, prior to, and it seems like maybe the balance of power has shifted between employers and employees a little bit. So now, you know, you're dealing with things like the great resignation going on, and people's level of satisfaction with where they're at compared to where maybe they think they want to go seems to be different today than it was prior to the pandemic. Is that true?
Peg Calvario (22:04):
Yes, very much so.
Troy Blaser (22:06):
Yeah. Well, so, you know, as you think about our listeners who are out there listening to our conversation today, and you know, not that you need to give away your secret sauce or anything like that, but do you have some advice that you could share with our listeners today in terms of, you know, your expertise? What would you tell folks?
Peg Calvario (22:27):
What would I tell folks? You know, feedback gives you sometimes the greatest insight into yourself, right? And we all think about, I can tell you who I am and how I see myself, but I sometimes am not aware of how others may see me. And so feedback is a great tool that can really help for your own personal growth and development that can really transcend from who you are today to really who you really want to become and be, whether it's in the workforce, whether it's in your family life or in your personal life. And so, you know, take advantage of the invitation and extend the invitation to others and create that environment where you welcome feedback and certainly, you know, tools such as, you know, LearningBridge's, you know, 360 are invaluable. And especially, particularly if you have, you know, a coaching engagement that can support you in your own professional development.
Troy Blaser (23:50):
I love that idea of understanding better how do people perceive me as opposed to what do I think I'm, you know, I know myself in a certain way, but how do other people know me and what are the differences? And being open and having that courage to say, can you give me some feedback? I want to understand better how you perceive me.Like you say, that can make a real difference in somebody's career, in their personal life, whatever it might be. It takes courage and, you know, sometimes even accidentally that feedback is delivered with a hammer like we talked about earlier. But, you know, that, there, I think there are still ways, even when that feedback may come in a harsh way, there are ways for us to stop and take a breath and sort of get over that initial stress response and say, okay, apart from the way it was delivered, is there some value in the feedback that came through, even if it was delivered in a harsh way that I should still incorporate into the way I think about myself? So, love it.
Peg Calvario (24:55):
Well, it's kind of like take time for self reflection, right? And I know you tend to climb some of the most beautiful mountains in the country.
Troy Blaser (25:05):
We do have beautiful mountains out here.
Peg Calvario (25:07):
Instead of always looking down to where you're placing your next foot, always, you know, embrace the incredible view that you can get at that vista. When you're on the mountain.
Troy Blaser (25:17):
I love it.
Peg Calvario (25:18):
Yeah. And that is what feedback offers us: A whole new view.
Troy Blaser (25:24):
Yeah. Well, Peg, this has been a wonderful conversation. It's been great to hear your thoughts and get to know you a little bit better, but if people want to know more, if they want to continue the conversation with you, what should they do? How can they get in touch with you?
Peg Calvario (25:41):
Oh, Troy, I loved our time together. It went by so fast. Thank you. I mean, you can always connect with me on LinkedIn.
Troy Blaser (25:50):
Peg Calvario (25:50):
I'm always there. Certainly would love to do that. And of course, my website, it's Peg, and my last name Calvario,.com. So thank you.
Troy Blaser (26:04):
Wonderful. Thank you so much again for joining us today. It's been a great conversation.
Peg Calvario (26:10):
Oh, loved it. My pleasure. Thank you again.