Welcome to episode #147 of Explode Your Expert Biz Show, brought to you by http://gtex.org.uk/,
I am your host, Simone Vincenzi, The Experts Strategist, and this is the podcast for experts who want to become the ultimate authority in their niche while making an impact in the world.
Today I have the pleasure to Interview our GTeX Lifetime Member: John Vanek
John Vanek is a musician, songwriter, and creative coach. He has enabled many to find their paths in life through creative coaching. He is a massive believer in social inclusion and the arts for healing and self-development.
In this episode, we talk about
- How coaching can include anyone
- How John’s techniques are enabling greater mental wellbeing
- How health commissioners can save millions of pounds
Connect with John Vanek
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– Ladies and gentlemen welcome to another episode of Explode Your Expert this show and I’m here today with a one and the only John Vanek. How you doing John?
– I’m doing great thanks.
– Fantastic are you surviving the heatwave?
– Yes it’s not too bad. We’ve got a slight breeze where we are just enough to keep you going.
– Lucky you, lucky you. I’ve got a light breeze too which is my fan just next to me. That’s my light breeze otherwise here in central London is boiling hot. But you know what it’s awesome because we can have it feels like to me to being in Italy right now. That’s what it feels like. It feels like being back home. It’s absolutely amazing but we’re not talking about the weather like good British people would do. We are here to talk about something more important which is how you’re using coaching in particular with people with mental health issues and how that can be used in social inclusion and so on. So I’m really excited about this interview because we never talked about that. Most of the time coaching is used for the wealthy and successful and it’s all about achieving success and the youth to coaching and give another spin.
– Yes that’s right. Well I do coaching for mental health and social inclusion and it’s rooted in ideas really. Ideas whose time has come and my work goes back to around about the mid 2000s, 2006 and the idea recumbents of the health system that people weren’t just diagnosis even if they’ve been through mental health or mental hospital whatever it was. They weren’t simply diagnosis. They didn’t simply need support and limited lifestyle maybe on benefits and the idea came. Well maybe they have hopes, maybe they have dreams, maybe they have goals, maybe they have aspirations like everyone else and those ideas that come over a long time really because you’ve got to go back to things like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. So I think is very important in this social inclusion movement. So finally 50 years on at least from those days we get why not social inclusion coaching for mental people who’ve had mental health conditions and I was very lucky to be involved with an organisation that championed that approach and that organisation was also very lucky in getting a contract in London where I was based. So I was brought onto that. I had been previously working in things like day centres to do with mental health and that kind of thing but I was very very excited to be brought on board as what they call the bridge builder. It wasn’t called a coach but it is essentially coaching. It uses all the coaching tools, the way of Life the action plan and I was just meeting with people who were referred through the mental health systems with a psychiatric teams and asking them what would you like to do. What would you like to do? You know we’ve got a bit of background a bit more than that so build up a picture and it was identifying areas that they wanted to address just like you do as a coach and saying well maybe we can link you up with those areas and they won’t be in hospital they won’t be in a day centre it’ll be wherever you want to do them. And it was doubly exciting because I was allowed to be a specialist for the arts and music which is my huge passion as you know. So I was talking to people, asking them questions and guess helping them to identify areas they wanted to access in mainstream life and I think what you’re saying about used to be coaching for you know the privileged if you like and this idea is just mind can’t be for everybody. Everybody needs a coach that’s all it is. So my clients have gone on to do things like working in recording studio or coming up with their own albums or doing creative writing courses and getting books published, doing art exhibitions, selling artwork, starting their own businesses and this is going back I mean I did stop doing that because they’re really the funding for that with the organisation. That mental health has very subject to changes. It’s subject to two things. One is change and the other is cutting and slashing funds. So even though Social Inclusion coaching is very cost effective, keeps people out of hospitals at a great extent. Funds have been slashed even further. So I carried on with the idea freelance when I could no longer do it for an organisation and I became a fund raiser in order to raise funds for continuing projects often to do with making films or to do with any kind of creative thing that was involved in people in the mental health system and I had quite a lot well I’ve got a great deal of success as a fund raiser discovered I was very good at it and now I come to the point now where that idea which has kind of been a bit subdued over the last few years and I knew this would happen. It’s coming back up again and when I came to Ireland where I’m living now I’ve discovered there was a life coaching course particularly for mental health and well-being and I thought well I ought to do that because there should be a professional diploma in that field. So I’ve done that. So I’ve gone now got my EMCC diploma but it’s not particularly teaching me anything because I’ve been doing it for years.
– But it gives the qualification. It gives that additional piece of paper that organisation or other institution like the NHS that they can trust. I have a question for you because you mentioned that art is your background and I know like you’re an incredible musician. In fact got your CD here in front of me, gold town. Gold town guys, gold town John Vanek if you like blues you must get this CD is absolutely insane. I mean John you had all our clients clapping and cheering and having a great time when you were playing your new tracks at our events and so you had this… Your background you had this passion for music and then yet is a big passion for coaching and for helping people. So the question is that how did you see the music and the art training fitting in with the people that are struggling with mental health issues at the moment?
– Well any number of studies have been done that the arts is very healing. It’s incredibly therapeutic. That the case doesn’t have to be made. That case has been made. It’s been scientifically tested hundreds of times so I didn’t have to make that case but with the social inclusion coaching it specified because it’s funded. There’s money public money, they wanted ways to monitor and to measure it. The commissioners wanted to see results and the results are based on the mainstream areas that people are able to access and one of them that was chosen as the social. They call it a social domain. You know what areas are important to people’s lives and they identified seven or eight areas and art is one of them. Faith and cultural communities is a very big area that people identify like that was identified. That could be anything from going back to a temple or church or doing Tai Chi is very broad area. The volunteering was identified as important. Education was identified as important and employment, self employment and family and friends, all those so any of those areas that people accessed didn’t have to access them but any ones that they did could be measured by the commissioners. So they knew there were results. So they knew the money wasn’t being wasted. So if I got somebody to go to a studio and record their CD and six months later they had a CD launch and a big public event, I could put down not only the mainstream venue that that person accessed, I could put down the number of people who turned up for the launch, number of people they interacted with and this is healing. This is all healing whether it be the arts, it’s interaction with people, it’s feedback, it’s confidence. It could even be financial wellness and that’s what them commissioners wanted to measure which is a whole different criteria from saying that person is managing their medication or managing all those things are great as well. So the arts such as part of what’s the commissioning bodies and the funding bodies believed to be valuable to people’s lives.
– How did you get into music? Where’d that come from?
– My music thing is mainly through literature and language and words because I’ve always been good at that. My family is good at that. Not scientific really. So that kind of love music, I love poetry. I love language, I love novels and I love the song writers who could really handle language, Leonard Cohen, people like that Bob Dylan, Newton Reed and through that wanting to write poetry, I suppose originally discovering I wasn’t very good at it and the guitar and the keyboard came to my rescue but don’t worry. Don’t worry we can put your poetry. Use this tool. It’ll work I promise so that’s it really. I didn’t really write songs till quite late in my late 20s. I’d been so long studying literature, being crazy about literature.
– And have you been mainly playing blues or did you also had adventure yourself in other kind of music?
– Yeah I’ve done actually some sort of electronic type stuff for there’s a friend of mine called Abby Oliveira. She’s worth checking out Abby Oliveira who’s a fantastic spoken word poet. Almost wrapped but not quite but she’s amazing and I put one of her poems to my own electronic production and I didn’t even know my music was blues but now they can tell me. I use a slide guitar.
– Okay well it feels like blues. It has all the elements of a blues rhythm that’s what I see I see as a blues singer, songwriter. Now going to talk about some practical things because there might be some people that are listening right now and they want to get into this field or they’re working already with people with mental health issues or they want to work or maybe they want to do some volunteering in that field because I’m sure that is something that affects, we all know someone has been affected by it. I had many members of my family that in particular in the late stages of their life have been upheld affected by mental health issues. If we consider depression as well as part of the mental health issue spectrum then I’ve been largely affected by it. Fortunately not in a big way when I was in my 20s. Well I’m still in my 20s technically. I’m still 29 but for a few months. For a few months I’m holding on to my 29 but when I was in round one 21, 22 and so for someone who is interested in the concept, what would you consider as a starting point? Maybe you can talk about some of the things that you talk in your book. You can do it too.
– Yes well the book I mean I’ve got a lot of difficulties with the publishing. I’m gonna give my another call tomorrow. It’s right there. They’ve got everything they need printed out and do it for me the physical book and I’ll be putting it online as well but it’s like a handbook of social inclusion coaching, exactly how you can use tools like Wheel of Life, action plan with case studies and downloadable forms for people to print out. It tells you exactly basically anyone who’s done life coaching will have used the same tools. It’s just adapted more.
– So the question is how do they differ because the tool can be the tool but then they’re relating to the individuals is very different the way you would relate with someone who has mental health issues and someone who doesn’t. Or maybe it’s just my assumption in this moment. What do you find the main difference between working with someone who has mental health issues and one someone that doesn’t in applying those tools?
– Well it’s almost exactly the same. All I’m doing is asking people to identify areas they want to see some change. Maybe prioritising three areas and they are contracting me as the coach to enable them to reach those areas within maybe certain time scale in the practical way, in a smart way. So that’s what you would do. Any coach would do that with any client. The slight difference there might be with people who’ve been through mental health or hospital or whatever it might be because you might be a little bit more prescriptive with the areas. You could ask them do you want to identify your own areas, just take the wheel of life and fill it in. Do you want to welcome family? Do you want to work on employment but if you’ve got more of a kind of map of it, where you’ve got the social domains, that’s an advantage because people might need that just to give them an idea because they may not have been involved with mainstream life or they’ve lost touch with it for a long time. You just identifying if it’s education let’s have a box, this already says that. Or employments or the arts and spirituality and then it’s also a good way to leverage yourself with any kind of health commissioner because you’ve got measurable areas that have been used, that have had funding in the past and about getting it again now. So that would be the only difference, slightly more prescriptive tools. The other difference is that in somebody who’s been through mental health system, you may well have to act as a mentor because if somebody says well I want to use the recording studio so the next question as a coach would be do you need any support to get to the studio? If they don’t that’s fine and you should be willing as a coach to be a mentor and maybe go on the first occasion or whatever it might need. Very often people don’t need more than just the one introduction to the area they want to access and they’ll just run with it. So that’s it. You might need to be a little bit more of a mentor than you would otherwise be with normal life coaching and it may be a tiny bit more prescriptive just to show the commissioners that the what your funding is valuable ones who can be measured but that’s it. That’s absolutely it.
– That’s really interesting because I’ve never worked in that field, in that area. So I remember I had a client and I took him as a pro bono client and I’ve been coaching with him for… I’ve been coaching him for about I think two to three years and I stopped recently and I think he had some problem and health issues or it wasn’t the artistic spectrum and I wasn’t used to deal with people like him and for me at the beginning was very challenging but it made me realise a lot of things about myself and about my communication because I found that my communication needed to be much clearer. I couldn’t leave any assumption on the table and if everything needed to be as you said prescriptive.
– Yes, yes.
– And I found that to be the major difference and the other difference is also to the appreciation that everyone for something that can be very small for me could be a huge thing for the other person and it was a humbling experience because you know I think sometimes we don’t realise how lucky we are.
– Oh yeah.
– And how many things we take for granted and I think that for me that experience of working for so many years with that person gave me much more gratitude on where I was but also on the other hand it made me realise that everyone is different and also with any client I’m working with not to make any assumption because for what can be a small step for me can be a big step for one else and vice versa. It can be something it can be a small step for someone and can be a huge step for me and it’s about keeping us in check. I would love to know as well in talking about the use of music and art. What is something that let’s say someone starts working with you and you get a new person to work with. How would you introduce or find the perfect like if they… What kind of art specifically would be the best one for them?
– Well it would be whatever they wanted. So people who want to prioritise the arts, it would be very clear what art form they like. I’ve had people who are accomplished painters. So we’ve got things we’ve worked with them to put their own paintings on for exhibition and for sale and even we’re taking on one guy as a tutor because he’s so good it’s tutoring and showing people arts, techniques and you understood the client group very well because he’d been part of it. So I would love it to be all about my arts or my music but it’s not. It’s about the clients. So it’s very, if they’re identifying and prioritising the arts, it’s very clear very soon that it’s going to be either could be music, it could be creative art, writing or that could be painting. So it’s all about them and I would love it to be about me. So I’ll jump in. We’ll do some work together. Here’s my guitar but it isn’t about me. It’s about bringing out what they want. When I have played with my clients they come down to the studio and banked a volume of keyboards and it’s been great but it’s not really what I meant to do. I meant to enable them to do their thing and the results are great. I’ve got this guy who doesn’t rap. He does freestyle so you can play anything and he’ll just come up with stuff. I don’t know how he does it. If gifts are there in people and if they don’t do music then maybe they need somebody helps them to access sports or something like that which wouldn’t be my expertise but you can find somebody who does know more about it.
– If you know someone who wants to play basketball, send them my way. Send them my way. I’m curious to hear what do you find it’s been… I don’t want to say like or more successful experience that area clients or more emotional experience. I would love to hear a story of that stuck in your mind of some of the work that you’ve done with someone.
– Oh yes I was incredibly happy when one of our clients was taken on they call it like a peer, a peer worker. So the recovery colleges which the NHS runs. They want people have been through the same mental health challenges as the people they’re working with and they look for peers and they’ve asked me for references for people and their very being the NHS is terribly detailed terribly serious but I know somebody’s going to be great at it, no problems at all. So I’d fill in all the form and tell them exactly what I’m thinking. That’s one thing that’s very very gratifying and to see that person go on beyond that, to go and be a tutor and now I’m not even in England has gone off to to a mortar. We brought him in to run a group for people of mental health conditions and we got the use of the local roaming the library so he could teach painting and just teaching art from scratch and this is really gratifying. He got one client who came in who was actually still in hospital. He was in the secure unit. It’s not it’s not like you’re locked up. He just that’s where he was but he would cycle in every day about five not every day, every week to join that workshop and there’s so many kinds of negative opinions about people with mental ill-health. There are things like they won’t get up in the morning. No they won’t turn up. You just have to challenge all of that and foot saying you know this is how it works in the real world. We’re not going to exclude you from the opportunity to get up in the morning like everyone else has to etc and all of that… It’s incredibly gratifying to see it and to see it as a kind of movement that’s ongoing. It’s been kind of subdued because trends have changed and I now see it coming up again and we’re getting apparently good millions and billions of pounds. So I know that I’m riding the next wave. I can guarantee that and I’m ready for it.
– So I’m looking forward to the book to be published. I’m really looking forward to it. Now I have a question around as well your experience that you had with working with the government and also with public funds. What do you think can be done better like if you had if you can use these opportunities as an appeal to the system which is providing fundings for this kind of training. What would your appeal be?
– Well simply to understand that mainstream social inclusion coaching has already been tried and tested successfully. It’s been subjected to… What do they call that thing universities research on it. Evidence-based research. It’s got qualified people doing it. They just need to do their homework and see how valuable this has been for people and how it can keep people out of hospital and how it’s a very complementary to the other approaches like therapies and counselling. It stands alongside them as a major tool as well as therapies and counselling. Think of in terms of like just as the terms of the money being saved. If you want to see it just like that and then the fulfilment in individuals lives. Any funding body wants to check that out, please do and then from the coaches point of view, you will have to knock on doors. It’s not as if you’re taking this to the Ritz Hotel and JK Rowling says all I want to get some coaching. You can do that. You can do that and those techniques will work great but you will need to knock on doors and bring it in front of people. I’m doing that at the moment. So plenty of doors don’t really open. They don’t really understand it or they’re not interested. Other doors fantastic. This is great. I know this could work for our clients. So keep the hard work up, believe in it. Show them how it works and when they start approaching their own funding bodies then maybe the governments and local authorities will take notice as well. So it’s a two-way thing.
– And if someone wants to connect with you because I think right now is better. It’s part of the ethos of GDEX but together we can achieve more than by ourselves. So if everyone was listening right now to this interview saying yes I want to ride this wave with John, then what where they can they contact you, where they can reach out to you John?
– Well there’s the Facebook page Vanek life coach. Vanek life coach and of course in my email. Should I give my email?
– Absolutely. Anything you want, any contacts.
– Vaneklifecoach@gmail.com and Vanek is spelt V-A-N-E-K.
– Brilliant we will put all the link here in the show notes and John I know you also have a podcast that you started recently. Tell us a bit more about your podcast before we wrap up. Well I was racking my brains to think of a podcast because I know podcasts are important and I like talking and stuff and I thought of loads of things, really serious things about coaching and all this. What’s me? What’s truly me and I really care about the language of songs. Now if anybody’s interested, that’s great. If they’re not, that’s okay too but that’s what I had to do. I love talking about songs, the language behind songs, interviewing other songwriters, maybe playing on my own stuff just a little snippets of it and that’s authentic. Whether it’s a great big world changing thing, I don’t have no idea but it’s authentic seeing that people are engaging with that now and it’s great to see that and that’s the Facebook group, the language of songs.
– And people can also go on anchor and find also anchor on iTunes the different, the podcast which is the language of song. Guys make sure that you subscribe to that podcast. I really highly recommend it particularly if you are in this particular niche and do you like to understand the language beyond songs then make sure that you follow John. One more question before we wrap up John. You are one of our lifetime members and we’re doing this interview to showcase our lifetime members because they’re doing incredible work here in the UK, all over the world and we want to make sure that people get exposure that they deserve for the incredible work that they do. So when you made the decision to become a lifetime member, what made you make the decision to join GTEX?
– Well I’ve attended the three-day training and I did the calls with you and other people as well and my problem has always been with the internet that you get webinars you get in trainings quite expensive ones very often but I can’t engage with this just online or webinars and I knew that GTEX was doing so much public speaking anyway because you do a lot yourself and it’s about public speaking, it’s about meeting people. It exists in the world and you will meet people, you’ll have a family and have a community. So that sold me. That interested me highly and from then on it was low of lifetime membership. I’m going to be able to go to all this stuff. Yeah there’s a bit of a no-brainer so those two things, being able to engage with real people and have a lifetime membership not yet another expensive programme.
– One other expensive programme and another expensive programme and so on. Alright thanks for sharing John. Really appreciate and guys that your listening, if you scroll down here in the show notes there is a link where you can apply for a call and you will talk with one of our business coaches to see if their lifetime membership is for you and you are right fit for the lifetime membership then you can join this incredible community and we send support you in exploding your expert business. John one final thought and one final word for everyone who is listening right now.
– Well a little quote that I mentioned which I put in the book revolution is the turning of a wheel pure and simple and because I just say the book title is, Let Me Do That Too. How mainstream technique coaching techniques of revolutionised mental health. Well my idea of a revolution isn’t some wow thing kind of transforms you overnight. It is about this turning of a wheel bit by bit, things change bit by bit. They change completely and that’s what revolution is to me.
– And let’s make a revolution. Let’s make a revolution together one step at a time and so guys if you’re listening make sure that you join John Vanek in his cause because definitely is something that in the public sector in the mental health sector, even in the private sector is going to change because things are working but can work better and right now we know what to do different and we know what can be done to in particular help in a deeper way people instead of just giving them pill and that’s it. And this is what John is about and also we’re going to put the link in the show notes when the book is going to be ready which is going to be launched soon. So which is called the Let Me Do That Too. Connect with John. There is the email address which is Vaneklifecoach@gmail.com contact John so even if you want as well a pdf version of the book and you want to start reading it because I highly highly highly recommend it. John thank you very much for this interview. It’s been a pleasure spending these 30 minutes together.
– Thank you very much.
– You’re welcome and thank you very much for listening ladies and gentlemen. If you haven’t subscribed yet to the show, what the heck are you waiting for? Subscribe right now and make sure you leave us a five-star review so then we can spread the word even farther and in particular more people can connect with these incredible people like John and the other guests that we have here on our show. So subscribe, give us a five-star review. Until next episode which is going to be released on Friday, then remember that together we grow exponentially. Ciao.