Is This How You Want to Be Perceived?

Diane HazumSeason 5Episode 3


Diane Hazum is an experienced Leadership and Executive Coach with over twenty years of experience. She emphasizes the significance of understanding how one is perceived by others, the impact of feedback on career development, and insights into professional development.


Diane Hazum

Leadership and Executive Coach

Diane Hazum is a Leadership and Executive Coach with over 20 years of experience in the learning and development space. Diane, an ICF PCC Certified Coach, specializes in executive and management coaching across diverse sectors, including finance, healthcare, telecommunications, and technology. Her focus is on helping management and executives realize their fullest potential within their organizations. Diane is dedicated to understanding the complexity of personal and professional lives and is dedicated to aiding growth-minded individuals in their journey of self-discovery and development. With a background in leading management development programs and a passion for emergent leadership, work-life balance, and team effectiveness, Diane brings a wealth of knowledge and insight. 


Diane Hazum (00:01):
Is this how they want to be perceived? You're being perceived as, let's go with my, my two things that I brought up. You're being perceived as nosy, not direct. You're being perceived as disengaged, not a listener. Is that how you want to be perceived? Not that I have statistics, but I would say generally speaking, people will say no. Who are your stakeholders? Is that how you want them to perceive you? And the answer's usually no. And then we sort of go from there.
Troy Blaser (00:32):
Hello. Welcome to Simply Feedback, the podcast brought to you by Learning Bridge. And I am your host, Troy Blazer. I'm excited to introduce our guest today. Our guest is Diane Hazum, who is a leadership and executive coach with over 20 years of experience in the learning and development space. Diane, who's an ICF PCC certified coach, specializes in executive and management coaching across diverse sectors, including finance, healthcare, telecommunications, and technology. Her focus is on helping management and executives realize their fullest potential within their organization. Diane is dedicated to understanding the complexity of personal and professional lives, and is dedicated to aiding growth-minded individuals in their journey of self-discovery and development with a background in leading management development programs and a passion for emergent leadership work-life balance, and team effectiveness. Diane brings a wealth of knowledge and insight into every conversation and and into our conversation today. Diane, welcome to Simply Feedback. It's great to have you with us.
Diane Hazum (01:42):
Thank you so much. It's very nice to be here. I'm happy to be here.
Troy Blaser (01:46):
Maybe just to help our listeners get to know you, I wonder if you could tell us about a time when you received some feedback in your life and maybe it had a, you know, it was a turning point in your career or in your personal life, but I wonder, do you have a story that you could share with us?
Diane Hazum (02:01):
Oh, there's, there, there are a lot of stories. I will say that in, in our younger times, when we hear feedback, it's something that really hits home. It's, it's a little bit painful. It's something that we're like, what? No, that's not me. And you have to kind of absorb it and think about it. And there were times when I've gotten feedback when I, I, I don't know if I actually reflected on it, but I reacted to it internally. I mm-Hmm. I was like, Mm-Hmm. This is something that I did not know about myself and I should really pay attention to it. And, you know, that kind of forms your, your future career. You keep these things in mind good and bad, and sometimes you never forget them and sometimes you don't remember too clearly, but you, the interest that you have and what was said is something that you reflect on.
Diane Hazum (02:52):
Older, you know, in later phases of my career where I already had a basic sense of myself, I was more inclined to listen to feedback and really reflect on it and decide, is it worthwhile for me to think about this? Is it more than one person? Was it a recency bias comment? Was it, you know, what's the background here? And sort of dig a little bit deeper. So I did, I was told at one point that I was very direct, which can be misconstrued. So the perception of directness could be misconstrued as being nosy. So I made very good, I, I really made an effort, I should say, to not appear nosy.
Troy Blaser (03:41):
Diane Hazum (03:42):
To be more gentle with my being directness. I mean, that's who I am. I'm not going to change. I know I'm direct. Some people handle it well and some people don't. So just being aware of my audience in, in that ability to be direct. And the other piece of feedback that I had gotten was, I'm a good listener, but again, that can be misconstrued. So I was aware of being a good listener and made sure it wasn't just, I'm disengaged. So I was careful about what that misperception could be, if that, if that makes any sense. So with those two later pieces in my, later in my career, I'm proud of those and I do cultivate those, but I also regulate them so that I'm not coming off as nosy and disengaged.
Troy Blaser (04:33):
Yeah, that's, that's a very interesting contrast. I like the way you compared earlier in our lives as, as younger individuals early in our careers, we're eager to receive feedback because it's still forming who we are or how we work in our career or interact with those around us. And then as we gain a sense of really who we are, and we've gathered that feedback and we, we sort of establish our own identities, then as feedback comes in later in our careers, like you said, it's a chance to be more thoughtful about that feedback. How does you know I'm going to hold this feedback? And how does that compare with who I know I am? And you mentioned a few different caveats as well, right? Is it just feedback from one person that is maybe saying more about that person than it is about me? Or a recency bias or things like that. So we can be more thoughtful as we are older and have a firmer sense of our own identities and we receive feedback.
Diane Hazum (05:30):
Troy Blaser (05:31):
Although I will say for me personally, sometimes I want to be sure that I don't verge into, well, I know who I am, so I'm not going to receive any feedback. Become that sort of, that grouchy old man who's just set in his ways and nothing is going to change. What I, I've been doing it for 30 years and it's worked so far
Diane Hazum (05:57):
I think that when somebody says that, when somebody says, I know that about me. And you don't see any sort of growing or developing based on them, no more questioning, no nothing, no substantiating it, no reflection. It's a disappointment because, you know they're not going to, not that they have to change, but to adapt to other people. If somebody said to me, oh my gosh, you're so direct. It's, it's off-putting. I would be working very hard at saying, oh, I don't want to put you off. That's like, exactly what I don't want to do, because that's not going to, I'm not going to learn anything. You're not going to talk to me anymore, et cetera. And so it, you know you're right. It's the type of thing where we really hope that people reflect on it. And I think when we're younger, we're more defensive and I'm not sure that we give it the do. But as we grow, we get, it sort of rolls into everything. It rolls into all of our feedback and all of the things about us, and we do think about it.
Troy Blaser (07:00):
Yeah. You mentioned, you, you run into people who maybe feel like they're set in their ways or don't need to change. What advice can you give to folks to help them not get too comfortable in who they think they are and then ignore the feedback? Are there things we can do to kind of be aware of that?
Diane Hazum (07:18):
Hmm. It depends on how stubborn the person is, as you said earlier. You know, I just want to, I just want to be like this forever. I think we go back to perception. Is this how they want to be perceived? You're being perceived as, let's go with my, my two things that I brought up. You're being perceived as nosy, not direct. You're being perceived as disengaged, not a listener. Is that how you want to be perceived? Not that I have statistics, but I would say generally speaking, people will say no. Who are your stakeholders? Is that how you want them to perceive you? And the answer's usually no. And then we sort of go from there.
Troy Blaser (07:53):
I like that. Well, you used the word change versus adapt. And maybe in some cases, the idea of adapting, it can turn the change into something that's an advantage or perceived as a strength because, oh, I'm adapting to what the world around me is changing. My environment is different today than it was 20 or 30 years ago. And so I can adapt to a new environment and it can become a strength because it, it can be something that I'm good at adapting, you know? And so adapting can be the thing that you've done for 30 years. Adapting well to the, the environment around you. And so if you're seeing it as a strength, now all of a sudden it's something that's desirable. Oh, I'm, I can work on that and, you know, be sure that I stay aware of my environment and adapt as needed to it.
Diane Hazum (08:43):
Yes. Yes.
Troy Blaser (08:45):
So you have had a long career as a coach, and I wonder, can you tell us a little bit about the types of problems that you've found that you're uniquely able to solve for your clients as you interact with them?
Diane Hazum (08:58):
Well, as a coach, I really don't help. I don't solve their problems, but I am more apt to help them to understand what it is they're trying to do. The, and I will say when it comes to feedback, the interpretation of feedback, the internalization of feedback, understanding what the expectations are, all of these things are normal. And happen often, if not every day. And is the pretty much the theme of what their careers are. How are they reacting? How are they getting this feedback? How are they interpreting it? How are they internalizing it? All of those things really matter. So that's usually what we're talking through. And it's usually the, it's, it's normally the theme now. It's not necessarily always about them. It could be they're trying to give feedback to their teams, or they're trying to give feedback to someone they're working with or someone who work whom they work for.
Diane Hazum (10:04):
It depends on where, where they're focused at the time. You know, it's the, the recency idea is very interesting because with coaching, you know, you have your session and it's not always about working on that one thing that you're trying to work on. The client will bring a different scenario, something that just happened, or something that's just said or something they need to say, their performance evaluations are coming up, or they saw somebody in the hallway and it didn't go well, or they had a meeting and they feel bad. It always comes back to, well, this is like, this is feedback, so let's talk about how you are handling this. What is it that you wanted to see? What do you want to be different? So it always comes back to the same thing. It's like this theme, even though they bring a particular incident to the table. It's, it's, it's important to loop it back to what they're working on. And most of that, most of the time it's their own career, their executive presence, their ability to influence and impact other people and the way the company's running.
Troy Blaser (11:12):
So do you find that this is a new insight to them to start to think about things in terms of feedback on a daily basis?
Diane Hazum (11:20):
Yes. Yes. For sure. For sure. They will often say, you know, somebody said that about me at one point, and I never really gave it much thought, but I know I can work on that. When you said something earlier that said the a adapt versus change. If they feel that they can still wear it, but they can alter it, that's so much less offensive and so much easier and so much less daunting than trying to quote unquote change, because frankly, they're not really going to change. They are who they are. That's what's made them successful thus far. So how can you spin that differently? How can you wear it differently? How can you see it and perceive it differently?
Troy Blaser (12:05):
Well, and I would say adapt also feels, kind of like you said, I can stay who I am, my core personality, but I have some flexibility to adapt in different ways where change as a word might sort of give me the idea that something's wrong with me. That needs to be different. That's the change as opposed to adapting.
Diane Hazum (12:23):
Right. When people get feedback, they feel like they're supposed to change.
Troy Blaser (12:27):
Diane Hazum (12:28):
When they get feedback from their manager or from their peers or their colleagues, and it says, you know, whatever, you know, Jane doesn't share information Well, for example Jane's like I do too. Jane's like in denial. Yeah, of course she is. Because she probably feels like she does. Well. Then you just walk through what are the expectations and how can you alter that. So yes, you're exactly right.
Troy Blaser (12:54):
Yeah. So as you engage with your clients, you talk about feedback. What kinds of changes do you see in their situations, in their interpersonal relationships at work as a result of the engagement that you have with them?
Diane Hazum (13:09):
I would think that they are more vulnerable. They're more empathetic. They work on their empathy. They realize things is not the way everyone else sees things. And that's the general change. They can be more motivated, hopefully. Sometimes it's a little demotivating, but I try to spin it into something that can motivate them, and hopefully they'll have a growth mindset nine times out of 10, somebody who's coming to coaching anyway has a growth mindset and is very interested in growing. So it's not a big leap for them to say, okay, I'm really going to try and work on this. And then we try to come up with some ways they can work on it. And ways that they can apply that adaptability that they want to see in themselves.
Troy Blaser (13:53):
I guess it could be a little bit, uh, demotivating though, that sort of, there's that initial wave of, okay, I came, I'm, I'm working with my coach. We have this initial inflow of information, and there may be a sense of, oh, I guess I've been doing it, or a feeling I've been doing it wrong for a long time. Right. And that could be demotivating. And so you are saying you can help them see, okay, well here's the course correction, here's the adaptation, and we're going to get to these results. And that can be, that's what the motivation is. But maybe it's that initial information, the, the feedback that can be demotivating. Is that kind of what you mean?
Diane Hazum (14:32):
Yeah. It, it, it can be demotivating. And I think what I said earlier is they have to understand that it's their strength and it's what's gotten them thus far. It's what's gotten them to the point they're at. And that's great. And at some point it needs to shift a little bit. Not necessarily a lot, lot, but I say, you know, like, what are your strengths? Let's talk about what you're good at. Okay. So you're really good at these things. Here's a couple of things that you could potentially grow around. Let's think about what good that would do you, what do you think that's going to change? And I also try to help them to normalize feedback. When someone is asked to give feedback, sometimes they're hunting. Like if I was asked to give feedback to somebody, I might think, oh my gosh, I have good things to say about this person.
Diane Hazum (15:18):
Now I have to dig and find some growth area that this person should have. And it's not necessarily a huge growth area, it's just something that the person, like when a manager is asked to give feedback on something, they give it or they don't. But if they give it, it's okay, I just got to get this done, or I really want to help this person to be more like me. And so that the feedback is, I want you to be more salesy in your approach. And that person's like, well, my role doesn't even require salesy. I said, it's okay. They're just reflecting. And maybe digging a little bit deeper on that with that individual too, I often say is, is a, is a good way to go with certain information.
Troy Blaser (16:02):
Yeah. And you can kind of help them parse through the feedback to say, okay, you've received this feedback, how much does it apply to you? What was the perception of the feedback giver? If they're hunting for something to say, just because they were asked the question. That's, uh, an important part of the process is to understand the feedback and, and how much it applies to the adaptations, the changes that you need to make.
Diane Hazum (16:24):
You know, so often I say, okay, let's review this feedback. They'll share the feedback, and I say, do you believe this is true?
Troy Blaser (16:31):
That's a great question.
Diane Hazum (16:33):
And they might say, well, usually they'll say, well, kind of maybe I say, well, okay, let's talk about what that actually means. Is it something that if you were different, it would change how you do work? Where is that going to affect you? And then we walk through, okay, that, that feedback is going to affect me when I meet with x, y, z stakeholders or when I come to the table and I have nothing to say because I'm intimidated by who's at the table. And Okay. So do you want your voice to be heard? Yes, I do. Okay. Well, let's talk about how that can happen. Let's think of some way that you can make that happen. Yeah. So yeah, it's important that they understand first if they think it's true.
Troy Blaser (17:15):
That makes a lot of sense. In, in your experience, coaching individuals, can you share an anecdote, a specific experience when you've seen feedback? Cause a point of inflection in somebody's career?
Diane Hazum (17:28):
Oh, that happens so often. Uh, okay. So yes, there was an, uh, an executive at Salesforce that he sort of already knew this, but he discovered that his approach could be off-putting, because it was very blunt and sort of snarky to a certain degree, but not, they didn't use that word. I'll use that word. It was sort, it was just blunt. And some people didn't react well to it. And of course he was, had already gotten pretty far in his career. But he wanted that VP title or the senior VP title or whatever was he wanted. And I said, okay, well, I want you to start to think about this and listen to your conversations that you have with people, and I want you to tell me if you are actually seeing this. And when they did see it, they will say, even today, I, it turned them completely around. They realized that they weren't empathetic. They realized that they weren't listening to the person near them that was talking with them. And it made a huge difference. And they feel like they've made this adaptation now that they can be empathetic, be less, less direct, be more of a listener, be more careful about how they approach people. So that person, it made a big difference and still does, I hear about it almost all the time.
Troy Blaser (18:50):
That, and it probably makes a big difference for the people around that. Executive, you know, ho hold on. What, what is this interaction that we're getting now that's a little more empathetic than it used to be?
Diane Hazum (19:01):
Yeah. Who is this person then that, you know, it's like a complete stranger. But they often do say too that they're working on this, this is something they're working on. They, they know about it and they share that with their, their team or their colleagues. They said this, so I have a coach and I'm working on this, and I, you gave me this feedback because they got it from their peers or their manager or their team, and I really, this matters to me and I really want to be different. And then they get the cooperation and sort of, uh, the effort made by their team and the people that they work with to help them be something better than they thought they were.
Troy Blaser (19:37):
So interesting the way you put that. We have kind of a motto, I guess here at Learning Bridge or a tagline, but we talk about receive feedback graciously and act on it visibly. And that's exactly like what you just said. You know, you tell the people around you, this is what I'm hearing and, and I'm working on it, and, and I'm going to try to do these following things, you know? And that makes such a huge difference because number one, you get the support from the people around you, but number two is if they know you're working on it, it, it helps them rewrite the narrative that they have. You know, oh, Troy is snarky and blunt all the time, but he just told me he's trying to change that, so maybe I can watch for that change to happen.
Diane Hazum (20:18):
Right. And he doesn't mean that. So my perception of him being snarky and blunt, he didn't even know that. And he doesn't think he's that way. And it's an interesting phenomenon. You, we talked earlier about the person who would say, I'm never going to change. I'm going to go down with the ship acting like this forever. Their perception will never change. They, other people's perception of them will never change because they've decided they don't care enough about anyone else's opinion to be different.
Troy Blaser (20:43):
That's a good point.
Diane Hazum (20:44):
I'm not going to accomodate you. But when you do share that you are working on something. People are much, they're happy and they're more accommodating than they'll share you feedback in the moment. Well, you know, you said you weren't going to be snarky, but guess what I just heard. You know, and, and then the person's like, oh, dang. You know, I didn't mean to do that.
Troy Blaser (21:08):
I'm curious, as you begin an interaction with, with, um, an executive, what are some ways that you facilitate getting this feedback to kind of kick off the process? Do you have some favorite methods or approaches that you like to use to help to start to gather that information?
Diane Hazum (21:24):
So yes. Usually they have some sort of tool that they've used that they'll share. If they don't, I will. They may have had a tool in the past, you know, disc or some other thing that they've gotten that's sort of given the some idea about themselves. And if I don't have any of that, I do a perception exercise, which I kind of alluded to throughout this conversation. Basically, the steps of it are ask a trusted colleague, ask some friends, ask some people in your life and your personal life how you are perceived. I also want you to write down how you perceive yourself. Let's see if those things match. And if they don't, where's the gap? And what do you think about that? And is that important to you? Now, most of the time people have gotten some sort of feedback from someone.
Troy Blaser (22:14):
It's already happened. Yeah.
Diane Hazum (22:16):
Yeah. Like, you are not a good listener or, you know, whatever that piece of feedback is. And they say, I've been told this in the past, I've been hearing it recently, but again, I say, well, let's verify this. Do you believe this to be true? Go ask somebody else. Like, find out if that's how other people are perceiving you so that you can get a little bit more information. I, I really like them to be able to substantiate what they're thinking. So if they just have a small piece, I was like, is that really true? I don't, like, I'm not really, I want to know if that's true. And in what context is that true? And why does it matter? And is it going to help you if you change?
Troy Blaser (22:57):
Do you ever find yourself going down the wrong track for a ways with a client before it turns out that it wasn't true? And you say, okay, well let's back up and let's find something else.
Diane Hazum (23:07):
Most of the time it's a piece of that. It's a piece of that initial thing. It's if they're not listening, if they're perceived as being not a good listener, what they're really doing is in their head, they're categorizing what they're hearing, they're going through their Rolodex, they're coming up with answers that they feel like they need to say. And we say, well, okay, then let's do things a little bit differently. There's usually a piece, it, it's never completely off track. Although that
Troy Blaser (23:35):
That makes sense
Diane Hazum (23:35):
When people are in denial of feedback. That's really the toughest part. And everyone's telling them they are too focused on x, y, x, and you see them being too focused on x, y, x. And you say, well, how does that, you know, how's that going for you, essentially? And they're, and if they're in denial, they're going to go, it's going great. So, I mean, there very few, that doesn't happen very often, but sometimes it's just, okay, let's kind of steer this in a different direction and find out really what it is you care about. Tell me what it is you really care about right now.
Troy Blaser (24:10):
For one thing, if they're in denial, then they're maybe less likely to come and find a coach in the first place. Like you, I think you said it earlier, there needs to be a certain level of openness to change, even to take that step of, okay, well I'm, I need, I would like a coach to help me work through this feedback, or, or whatever it might be. Well, you've shared a lot of great advice, but as we think about, you know, the listeners for the podcast, HR professionals or potentially executives who are being coached, is there some, some specific advice that you could give to our listeners in this area? Something you've learned that you would share pass along to those maybe who are following in your footsteps in their careers?
Diane Hazum (24:49):
That's, that's a, that's a good question. I think that being open, there's a perception that coaching is a Socratic method. You could just ask questions, ask questions, ask questions. There's a place for that. But I think it's more important to have a conversation with the individual. Listen for what they're saying, restate, interpret what you think you might have heard. Be bold in some of your, your own feedback, for example, to get them to think differently. So it's not always this questioning thing. I think I said, I think that there's a place for that, but really, people come to a coach for really, what should I do? What should I do? And, and you're not really going to give them an answer. You, you can say, well, why, why do you feel like you need to do anything? What's this disrupting? It's more, instead of asking questions to get more answers and more answers, ask questions to listen for a piece of something that you can talk about.
Troy Blaser (25:54):
Okay. That makes sense. So, so don't be afraid to bring in a, a little bit of, to inject some of your own thinking and Yeah. Push back a little bit. Uh, an a an easy analogy, I think is to, uh, coach in a, you know, for a sports team, the players, the athletes are looking to that coach for some guidance. They don't want a coach who just asks the players, you know, well, what play do you think we should run this time? Give us a little more please. And maybe the same can be applicable as well in a, in a personal coaching relationship too.
Diane Hazum (26:29):
It is. I think that as a coach, you do want a person to leave the conversation thinking about something powerful, and it doesn't have to be so powerful that it's going to change their lives, but something they've never thought of before.
Troy Blaser (26:45):
Sure. That then maybe they'll come back to thinking about the next day or a few times between the next meeting that they have.
Diane Hazum (26:52):
Yes. And, and, and again, you've got to read your client, you've got to read what it is they want from you, and how bold they want you to be. And take it from there. But nine times out of 10, they don't want to, I've heard this many times, I don't want a coach who just ask me a bunch of questions.
Troy Blaser (27:08):
Yeah. I get that. They're, they're like, what? You know, what am I paying for?
Diane Hazum (27:12):
Yeah. Why am I calling you? For sure. Absolutely.
Troy Blaser (27:17):
Well, Diane, I I really enjoyed our conversation today, and I think our listeners will enjoy this as well. If they want to know more or if they want to continue the conversation with you. Is that something you'd be open to? Uh, how can they, what's the best way to get in touch?
Diane Hazum (27:32):
Through LinkedIn? I think direct messaging through LinkedIn is the best. Best way to get in touch with me. I'm on there all the time, and I would be more than happy to talk with anyone about anything really.
Troy Blaser (27:42):
Sure. Okay. Fantastic. We'll include that information in the show notes as well, so that folks can follow up if they, if something they've heard today has struck them and they want to continue that conversation. Thank you for joining us today. Like I said, I've really enjoyed our conversation. It's been a pleasure to get to know you a little bit, and I'm glad to have you on.
Diane Hazum (28:02):
Thank you so much, Troy. It was a pleasure to be here. It was a great conversation. I really appreciate it.