The Mindful Coach



Get ready to hear inspiring stories, learn powerful coaching skills, stay updated on the latest technology, and gain insights from conscious marketing experts. Tune in to ‘The Mindful Coach’ podcast with host Brett Hill as he interviews an incredible lineup of coaches and helping professionals in the The Mindful Coach Association community.

Are you a coach or helping professionals who values mindfulness in life and work? Meet your colleagues in weekly meetings, list your services and who knows? You could be a guest on the show! Free membership.

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There are few topics more important in these times that our finding meaning in our work. To explore this, we’re thrilled to introduce our, Matt McLaughlin. Matt’s insightful perspective on career fulfillment comes from an impressive 25-years in corporate leadership. More than a seasoned executive, Matt is an ICF Certified Professional Coach who dedicates his time and skill to help people navigate their beliefs, behaviors, and langue to fuel their sense of purpose.

He is known for his work with major corporations and was a staff member of the Sounds True Inner MBA program acting as the lead community organizer and coaching.

He specializes in executive and leadership coaching, helping leaders to find their way to connect to a bigger purpose and to identify and overcome behaviors that may be limiting their potential. By exploring somatics, language, and emotions, you’ll create new possibilities for greater impact, emotional intelligence, and results.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Discerning the synergy of vulnerability and assertiveness in the role of a guide.
  • Realizing the value of embracing personal authenticity for effectual leadership.
  • Learning the importance of a healthy relationship with unease.
  • The critical role effective language plays in tackling challenging situations.
  • The Importance of finding fulfillment in work, and how it drives productivity and innovation.

You can reach Matt at


00:00:00 - Brett Hill

So welcome to this edition of the The Mindful Coach Association podcast. I'm your host, Brettt Hill, mindful Somatic, coach and founder of The The Mindful Coach Association Association. And I'm really excited to have this week as my guest, Matt McLaughlin. Let me do a little bit of introduction by way of letting you know this amazing character who's doing some great work in the world. Matt helped people live and lead from their true purpose by exploring their beliefs, behaviors and language. And by shining a light on unconscious patterns, he helps them establish a new way of being that brings self awareness, emotional intelligence, confidence, and better relationships. In addition to being an ICF Certified Professional Coach and The Mindful Coach Association instructor, he brings 25 years of corporate leadership experience to the table. And far more than that, I might add. Welcome to the show, Matt. It's a pleasure to have you.

00:00:57 - Matt McLaughlin

Thanks, Brad, it's my pleasure to be here.

00:00:59 - Brett Hill

So, just to let listeners know, I ran across Matt some years ago now actually when I was in the Inner MBA, and Matt was involved at that time with helping to basically bring a whole thing into the world. And so, as an attendee, one of the things that happened and this is actually really relevant to this podcast, because you could say that Matt had a big hand in the birth of The The Mindful Coach Association Association, because what happened was that in the interim, BA, they had this capacity for the members to put on a community calendar event. And Matt was the guy, he was managing all the community calendars. And when you submit an event, it would go to Matt and he would say, what's this about? And how about this? And no, we can't do it that day. And if you need to tweak something, he was the guy you always talked to. So we wound up connecting because of that, because what happened is I put on the event the The The Mindful Coach Association Association corner and it was free. Of course, there was no pitches, it was just strictly inner NBA folk coming together who are The The Mindful Coach Association Association or mindful professionals, maybe therapists or healers or group leaders and facilitators or whatever role they were in. They were attracted. And it became a very important group for the people who attempted because we would connect in ways that were really meaningful and powerful. And that eventually at the end of the interim BA, we wanted to continue. And so I transitioned that to a different organization, my own, and eventually it became The The Mindful Coach Association Association. And we said, let's just invite everybody who's related to this work to it. And that's how this all got so Matt and I met in that world and we continue to connect and collaborate over time. So, thank you for that great work, Matt, it's really deeply appreciated.

00:03:04 - Matt McLaughlin

You're most welcome. It was my pleasure.

00:03:06 - Brett Hill

And so now you're doing in fact, during this whole time you were working with the Unba you still had your own business of illustra consulting, is that right? Did I say that right?

00:03:18 - Matt McLaughlin


00:03:19 - Brett Hill

So what do you do? What's your heart and soul in Illustrator consulting? What's the main focus of your work there?

00:03:26 - Matt McLaughlin

Yeah, the main idea is to create workplaces that are fulfilling, that are full of purpose, that help people grow as individuals and contribute to the organization. So I work with leaders, CEO level, executive level, also mid level managers to help create environments where people can flourish and really be their best selves. I also go at it from the other direction and I work directly with individuals who are looking to work and live from their deepest purpose and their fulfillment. So helping them find ways to navigate the work world and find ways for them to contribute in ways that are very meaningful and purposeful to them. So I'm kind of working at it from both ends.

00:04:18 - Brett Hill

That's amazing. Now, as this is the The Mindful Coach Association podcast, I also know that you're a trained mindfulness teacher as well, and a The Mindful Coach Association instructor. So how do these two work together for you? How do your capacity and your work and mindfulness help you do this work?

00:04:38 - Matt McLaughlin

Yeah, great question. Mindfulness is useful on so many levels for personal development and specifically for leaders. I think it really opens the door to self awareness and being able to look at our thoughts and our emotions with a little bit of objectivity and creating some space there so we don't feel caught up in our thoughts or drawn to act out of immediate emotion. There's a little gap there and within that gap we can decide how we want to show up, how we want to respond to a situation, and that's probably the biggest advantage to it. Of course, you also have stress reduction and the ability to start to think a little bit before you act, being mindful of speech and how you're showing up with others. And that also opens the door to a huge amount of emotional intelligence development. That's really the bulk of what I help leaders with.

00:05:45 - Brett Hill

Well, I think you said the key word for me there is that opens the door to right. And so it's like I have always felt like that mindfulness is sort of the prerequisite. It's the first gate to being able to do all this other work. Like you said, emotional intelligence. In the same way with coaches and my own work with the The Mindful Coach Association method and helping coaches learning to be more mindful and present in relationship to their client while they're in a role of some kind. And so I'm wondering if there's some sort of corollary there with your work with executives. Like, do you help them learn to be more mindful explicitly? Like you say, oh, we're going to do mindfulness training, or is it more indirect? Like here are some practices that are mindful in effect, but not overtly going after the mindfulness benefit. Do you know what I mean?

00:06:41 - Matt McLaughlin

Yeah, I do. And it's a question of meeting people where they are. I always ask, do you have a The Mindful Coach Association practice? Is it something you'd be open to? And we can go from there. I usually start with giving them a five minute practice that they can do five times a week. So it's a light lift, it's not a big commitment. And if they want to go that route, that's fine. There's other ways to bring Mindfulness in aside from a formal practice, and that can be walking The Mindful Coach Association. There's ways to do this with washing dishes. I mean, you can bring mindfulness to anything. So I can definitely work in both directions there.

00:07:26 - Brett Hill

Yeah, I reminded of the razor's edge. There was a movie, Razor's Edge in it, the lead role, the comedian Murray, and he goes over to this guy who's washing dishes in the river. And the guy says, what are you doing? He says, I'm washing dishes. And he goes, but you're the owner of the boat, of this nice boat where people are saying yes. And he goes, well, why are you the owner of the boat washing the dishes? And he goes, well, for me it's a religious experience. And he goes, Let me try that. So it's like, yes, you can bring mindfulness into any kind of action. And in my mind, I'm of the opinion that that is going to improve whatever you do. So whether it's coaching or being executive or whatever. And I know I'm just giving a little story to the audience here because I know you know this. In your work with helping coaches, is there some sort of theme or style or issue that you feel like is like your sweet spot? Like, if you were to say, I want all the clients of this kind to come to me because I can really help them, what would that be?

00:08:48 - Matt McLaughlin

I think it's really self talk. What's that inner dialogue that we're telling ourselves, these beliefs we have and what's the language we're using to think about ourselves and how we're showing up. And this is like the root of impostor syndrome and stress and ruminating thoughts that keep you up at night and public speaking fear and all of these it's all around confidence and feeling comfortable with showing up as who you are. Authentically, really, 100%. And that's the journey.

00:09:31 - Brett Hill

A client comes in and they're an executive and they're saying, I'm having these thoughts. How do you help them kind of bring that into focus? Somehow?

00:09:42 - Matt McLaughlin

There's two parts to that. The mindfulness piece starts to help them become aware of what those thoughts are. And in very specific, like, I'll even have them write these thoughts down, identify what this thought is once we do that. And part of that mindfulness practice is also, I mentioned before, creating some of that distance. So there's an objective observer part of your mind that can just watch these thoughts and emotions like playing across a movie screen. So that's the first skill we develop. Once we have the thought laid out and spoken, I start to use some cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to tease that thought apart. What's really behind that? What's the evidence there? What are other ways of looking at that? What are ways of testing this and starting to challenge those beliefs in gentle and easy ways?

00:10:40 - Brett Hill

At first, yes, there's a very conscious structure here on your part to bring into objective view the thought form that's having an oppressive impact on the client in some way. And then you said distance, like creating the ability to just you. And then one thing you said that I noticed because I'm language and communication specialist is naming it like speaking it. And I know in my own work, I find that so valuable with clients is helping because a lot of times maybe do you find the same thing that people just don't really have the skills or very well developed skills to actually give voice to those things?

00:11:30 - Matt McLaughlin

Right. These may be subconscious, they may not even be aware of what this is. And it may show up as a feeling of insecurity or just general anxiety that you can't pinpoint. So, yeah, a lot of it is really getting super clear on what's going on, what's behind those emotions.

00:11:50 - Brett Hill

Right. And so helping clients connect to what's behind those emotions and that opens the door to a closet full of shadows, let's call it that. Right now, here we have an important conversation that goes both in one way, it's like dealing with the shadow, but in a coaching world, we might want to make a different decision about that. So do you make a choice around do you go into the background of all of that or are you more about reframing and resourcing the client?

00:12:32 - Matt McLaughlin

I think it's both. And it's sort of an intuitive journey on my part to explore and see what's most useful for the client to grow and progress. I often tell people that my job as a coach is not to share information or give you advice. It's to ask the right questions.

00:12:54 - Brett Hill


00:12:55 - Matt McLaughlin

And from there we start to see what's the best way forward.

00:13:02 - Brett Hill

And this is a good mindfulness practice. It's like accepting things for as they are. Right. And being non judgmental. And I love that very much because a skillful coach is going to just hear the client see where they are, take them from where they are to the next place and going to let the client tell them that rather than make assumptions about it. Right. That's a beautiful service that you're providing there. And so would you say that there's a particular how long have you been doing this kind of coaching?

00:13:39 - Matt McLaughlin

About five years now.

00:13:41 - Brett Hill

Okay, beautiful. And you're actually PCC Professional certified Coach with The Mindful Coach Association, as well as all this other good stuff. That's very impressive set of credentials. What would you say then is the or would you like if you were to step back and pontificate on you're, learning from all these years of working with these executives? If you were to say something, walk out on stage in your TEDx Talk and say, here's what I know about how these executives could be more effective leaders in their world. Because if they were to engage or look at certain kinds of skills or points of view, is there a list like that you have that you might share with us?

00:14:35 - Matt McLaughlin

Yeah, absolutely. And I think maybe sort of the top things or issues that I'm seeing in my work, definitely that self talk, limiting self beliefs, that is a huge thing that comes up, and a lot of stuff is rooted in that. There's also some tactical things around, having navigating difficult conversations, managing a team, managing different personality styles. And I think it's a constant sense of being aware of yourself from that objective observer place where you're up in front of your team. How are they perceiving you? What are the emotions that the individuals in that team are bringing to the room and how are those dynamics playing out? What's the energy and being aware of that at a very high level and letting that guide you in, how you're showing up and leading? And what is it that you need to bring in that particular moment? There's intuition, there, there's objectivity, there's curiosity, all sorts of things to kind of create that space that you need as a leader.

00:16:04 - Brett Hill

You're naming some really key things here that are near and dear to my heart, and one of them is, I'm going to use my own language for what I heard you say and let me know if that's aligned. It's sort of having a sense of the group. Right? So almost like the more common phrase, like reading the room, but it's deeper than that. And so as a leader, getting a sense for the group and being in tune enough to kind of know, oh, this doesn't feel right, it needs this, or it feels great, and I'm going to amplify that. Is that what I'm hearing?

00:16:42 - Matt McLaughlin

Yeah, definitely. And tuning into that, developing that sense, and some of that comes from a lot of my work, too, is on how the leader is relating to their team as individuals. Maybe they have six or seven direct reports. What is that relationship like? The ground of all of this is trust. Do they have that kind of relationship?

00:17:05 - Brett Hill

Exactly. Yeah. I love that.

00:17:07 - Matt McLaughlin

Yeah. How well does the leader know these individuals? What are their motivations and what are their concerns?

00:17:16 - Brett Hill

So how about somebody in these kind of a role who hears what you're saying? And I agree completely that trust is the key thing. How do you go about creating that trust in your direct reports?

00:17:31 - Matt McLaughlin

That's a really good question. It's a dance. It really is. It starts with the leader showing vulnerability, but there's a limit to that.

00:17:42 - Brett Hill

Yeah. Right. Come in. Like I'm the wounded warrior sort of type and creating too much of a collegial colleague level scenario there.

00:17:51 - Matt McLaughlin

Right. Because if the team loses confidence in the leader, that's not good either. We want to create an environment where people can share and really open up at the same time. That vulnerability has to be balanced with confidence and steadiness and presence. That is really the dance.

00:18:18 - Brett Hill

Yeah. That sounds hard.

00:18:23 - Matt McLaughlin

It's really hard. And this is why people don't engage, because it's an edge for everyone. And I don't know that you're ever maybe there's some people that are just intrinsically brilliant at this, but it's a constant skill building thing. And my relationships with clients tend to be very long term. I have some three year, four year clients because this is ongoing development work.

00:18:50 - Brett Hill

Wow, that's really interesting to hear. So really developing that capacity to be both a solid leader and vulnerable and open at the same time. Because what you said a few times is like, I'm going to use language like really standing in the truth of your authority. And I don't mean authority like institutional authority. I mean authority like, this is who I am, authority. I use language like that. Or what is it? Embodied authority. It's kind of like when you really know who you are, you can show up in a way that is really different than if you don't.

00:19:34 - Matt McLaughlin


00:19:35 - Brett Hill

And people can sense that. Are there steps and stages to learning this dance that you're talking about? You're talking working with clients over years. How do people even begin?

00:19:50 - Matt McLaughlin

Boy yeah. I said earlier, you're meeting people where they are. Some people are really good at this right off the bat. They've developed the skills or they have the personality or experience. I think the biggest thing is understanding that for you to grow, for anyone to grow, there is going to be some level of anxiety. You can't have growth without anxiety. If you're not anxious, you're not at a growth edge to a certain degree.

00:20:21 - Brett Hill


00:20:23 - Matt McLaughlin

So getting into that space where it's a little uncomfortable, where you're feeling a little bit like you're not exactly sure if what you're doing is right, or you're kind of between that vulnerability and oversharing stage and really dancing with it, playing with it, giving yourself some opportunity there to learn. And you will make mistakes. Everyone does. And that's part of the vulnerability piece. And how do you come out of those mistakes? Turn them into learning experiences. And that even may be something you share with the team. Admitting that you were wrong or you didn't think of something or you weren't open minded to something, that's a perfect example of healthy vulnerability.

00:21:19 - Brett Hill


00:21:20 - Matt McLaughlin

You can point out the lesson and share that, and that leaves room for you to explore those challenges with the team as well.

00:21:30 - Brett Hill

Yeah, to take that same metaphor into a scenario if I took that as a metaphor and took it into my own sort of work which often help people relationally in connections sometimes I talk about it this way and see if this maps to what you're saying. It's like you have an intention to if someone is, like, being angry with you, and they do it regularly, so it's a challenging interaction. And you have an intention to not be reactive. And you go in and you take a breath, you create some space, you make a choice, and you try to connect with someone in a way at a different level. So rather than being reactive to what they're saying, you go so you say something about the relationship. This relationship is important to me, I really want this to work well, but right now the way that we're communicating isn't facilitating the kind of dialogue that I think we would need to be happy, would you be open to having to trying something else? And if you do that from an open place, the language I use is it creates the best possible conditions for a better outcome, but you can't take responsibility for that outcome. So in other words, it might not go the way you want and so you could come back later and say well, I tried and I made a mistake by trying this because it blew up anyway. There wasn't necessarily a mistake, it just didn't work out like I had hoped. And so you can name that with the intent of saying I'm trying to do the best I can and making good faith efforts and it didn't work out and I want to own that. If you do that at a group level, I think that that shows a lot of responsibility and vulnerability at the same time. So that's a good example, I think, of being in that solid place and being vulnerable at the same time.

00:23:25 - Matt McLaughlin

Right, exactly.

00:23:27 - Brett Hill

Yeah. Like you say, it takes some training, it takes some skill. You have to have somebody kind of give you that language a little bit because it's not the kind of thing you just intuitively come up with as it isn't for me. So what else are you doing these days? Do you have any new initiatives or how can people connect with you?

00:23:51 - Matt McLaughlin

Yeah, I've got a couple of things going. I'm just launching a new program to help people find purpose in their work and that may be in the role they currently have. Maybe there's ways for them to feel more fulfilled there. It may be with exploring side hustles or something like that. It's really kind of taking a spin on the Japanese concept of Ikigai where you've got what you love to do, what you're good at, what the world needs and what you can get paid for and it's the intersection of those. So this is a brand new program. It's a journey that I've created. It's all one on one, direct work to help people bring them full selves, bring their gifts to the world.

00:24:37 - Brett Hill


00:24:38 - Matt McLaughlin

And that looks different for everybody. So it's very much a one on one program and a lot of deep work there. That's called launch your life's work.

00:24:49 - Brett Hill

Launch. Your life's work, right? Wow, that's a big one, man. I love that so much. And it's so needed right now because there's so much energy around. I need to find work that means something to me and not just be a paper shuffle or a cog in somebody else's money making machine. Wow, that's so important. I'm just kind of resonating with the importance of that. And so thank you for bringing that to the world. And I'll be sure to put a link to if you have a link, you can send me about the program to that and we'll make this available. Also, we'll put it out to the members of The The Mindful Coach Association Association as well. Great. So what would you say to people who are looking for meaning in their work? There's so much anxiety around that. I'm guessing it's kind of like, do I leave the work I'm at? Do I step into the other thing? And you have to explore how to balance all of that in some way. And you said you have a whole program. Is there an arc to this of some kind without kind of giving away the secret sauce?

00:26:03 - Matt McLaughlin

Yeah. And this is where it gets really custom. And the journey is different for everyone. Typically, we explore values and what is it that you really want out of life? What really Matters to you? Then we look at what are the things you're really good at? What do you love to do? What brings you into that flow state where you lose track of time because you're so wrapped up in whatever it is you're doing? And then we start, okay, how can we bring this into work? And this is where the rubber starts to meet the road. And honestly, this is the journey I went through personally.

00:26:44 - Brett Hill

I see.

00:26:45 - Matt McLaughlin

So I moved gradually from a 25 year career in marketing to full time coaching and leadership work. So I've done this and I did it step by step, gradually moving forward. And that's exactly the process. Maybe you can't quit your job and jump right into whatever it is that really lights you up. Maybe there's steps, maybe it remains that way and it's a side thing, or maybe there's ways to bring elements of that into your work. That's exactly what I did in my last role as well. So how do we start to bring this into reality? And that's the second half of the program.

00:27:27 - Brett Hill

How to actually put that into action and start to live that life. Right. Wow. So powerful and so needed. So I can't wait to hear about in a year. I can hear about your great, good success. How do people find you?

00:27:46 - Matt McLaughlin

The best way is my website, That's elustra You can also feel free to reach out on LinkedIn. I'm very active there, post quite a bit and happy to connect and network on that platform as well.

00:28:06 - Brett Hill

Great. Thank you so much for the work that you're doing and the vision that you have and the passion that you're bringing and this new program, which is going to be very powerful for people, I'm sure. It's always great to talk to you, Matt. You're in the category of there's coaches who want to do coaching and there's coaches who get things done and really out there making things happen. And you're in that lane for me and it's really important. I'm a fan of your work and I'm wishing you great good news. So let us know at The The Mindful Coach Association Association how we can help and it's great to have you there as a member and great goodness to you. And thank you. Thank you for being a guest on the show.

00:28:54 - Matt McLaughlin

No, thank you, Brett. It's been my pleasure. Always good to connect.

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