About Jan Smith
Growing up in Ethiopia to missionary parents, Jan learned from an early age how to communicate beyond spoken words. She tunes into gesture, inflection, posture, expression, and so much more to get at the core of any issue which is often buried deep beneath the surface. Jan’s unique gift and true calling, to help others feel safe, seen, and to belong, comes from this early experience.
Jan has parlayed this ability to listen beneath the words into a practice that has helped hundreds of people, teams, and leaders transform their habitual ways of relating and acting into powerful, healthy, and fulfilling practices for over thirty-five years.
Jan credits two specific role models who helped her define her unique approach:
- Internationally-known business consultant, Fernando Flores, Ph.D., for whom she generated the Competitive Edge Sales Workshop, and;
- Ken Anbender, Ph.D., owner of Contegrity, Inc., who trained Jan in his Commando Course and other communication courses. It was through Dr. Anbender that Jan began to study quantum physics. These experiences formed the foundation for Jan’s continued research in the domain of communication and authentic leadership.
My Core Beliefs
The paradox of human nature and true nature is filled with tension. Our human nature wants to see our desires fulfilled in the easiest way possible. Our true nature wants to fulfill those desires in authentic, healthy ways that make us better people and the world a better place. By being fully present to both our human and true natures, without suppressing either, we can authentically author a life more in line with our core essence.
Language Invents a World
Language brings forth the world that you live in. If you want to change, observe how you language yourself into being and in your relationships.
Language is more than the words you speak. Non-verbal language (facial expression, body language) can often speak louder than words. Language is also comprised of listening and keen observation. Do you know how you listen? Do you listen to confirm your point of view or do you listen with an open-minded curiosity, which allows you to learn and connect with others?
Language has the power to create trust and improve all relationships.
Second Order Learning
Our mindsets and assessments shape and color how we view the world and how others appear for us. Whether it is gender, race, economic standing, or ingrained cultural values, we view the world through a specific lens that determines our experience. Learning to open your mind, indentify your blindspots, and stand in another person’s reality can create a radical shift in how you see the world and your place in it.
We are all already whole and complete, endowed with unique gifts. Once identified, we can continue to explore our own depths and expand our own uniqueness. This attracts increasingly transformative capabilities. All of our best thinking, decision-making, innovations, achievements, and results can now be entirely focused on expanding who we’ve already become.
“The first thing that stands out is the safe environment Jan creates where you can dig deeply into the behaviors you’ve grown accustomed to using in life. Within that space, you can examine what you’re trying to accomplish and what might be limiting your progress. Second, being in development with her group of people over a sustained period brings perspective and help from different viewpoints to lift you out of your old patterns into new possibilities. Change is hard. It takes time to recognize what needs to change and even more time to implement.”
“In my work as an organizational consultant working with Fortune 500 companies for 25 years, I had the privilege of meeting and working with many stellar consultants and executive coaches. Jan is a coach’s coach, called upon by other leaders in the industry who name her as the person who made the greatest difference in their life work.
Like the best surgeons, Jan is gifted. She reads prolifically, talks to many scientists and neurologists to understand the brain. She brings many disciplines together. She is highly intuitive. She is street smart, and people smart. She has worked with literally thousands and, to her unique credit, many marriages have been put back together with her help.”
Are you willing to try on new ideas until something shifts internally and becomes your new “second-nature”? Working with me requires courage. The courage to get real, to reveal, to open your mind, to listen, and to try something new. You need to be prepared to be SEEN (without the mask), to be HEARD, and to be open to transformation. Deep listening and creating a safe space of belonging are key components of my essential gift. More than words, we communicate with what we leave unsaid, with our facial expression, body posture, inflection, and other body mannerisms. Where do we look when we talk, what do we do with our hands, how is our body shaped and positioned? What is our predetermined mindset? What is the internal story and emotion that lies deep and unconscious beneath the conversation? Until you can release all the predetermining habits, beliefs, and embodied, unconscious stories, transformative change cannot occur.
I take an ontological approach in my coaching and work with clients with a foundational commitment to help them discover their true gifts and their path to design a truly fulfilling life. By listening to what my clients are saying, beyond the words they choose, I help them gain clarity about what it is they truly want to create, how to get there, and how to avoid falling back into old habits and behaviors. Sometimes, they do not know what is missing. Dealing with these areas of blindness is at the core of ontological coaching.
If you want to create lasting changes that stand the test of time, the Center for Authentic Leadership’s development programs may be right for you.
President and CEO, Ver-Tex Construction
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raw, funny, engaged, and engaging
“Jan’s unafraid to go where she needs to go with her client to get to the root of their development issue and helps them find freedom from it. She’s completely transparent, unassuming, authentic, and real. She doesn’t work out of a template or a coaching ‘cookbook.’ She loves her clients unconditionally, and in a way that helps them go where they might not have otherwise gone. She takes seriously what they say they are committed to and stands by their side till their commitment happens.
She’s a blast to be with – raw, funny, engaged, and engaging, with a wicked sense of humor. I consider her to be one of my best friends, even though we rarely see each other or talk. She has an amazing gift to zero in on what is really going on with someone, to name it in a way they can understand, and to help them reframe it in a way that ‘sticks’.”