The Woman Behind – Desiree Perez, UP Your Level

Feeling a bit sluggish? Need a boost? Listen to career coach Desiree Perez give a few tips.



Transcript of the podcast is below.

The woman behind – Desiree Perez

Monique: Welcome to the woman behind with me Monique Chambers and my guest this week is Deseree Perez. So wonderful name.

Okay. You have a rather interesting job, because you coach people on their jobs.

Desiree: I do. Yes. Getting the right jobs and coping with the right jobs. And making sure that what you do is in line with who you are, and your passions and your purpose.

Monique: So you believe in we should do what we like doing, or what we’re good at doing? Or can they sometimes be the same thing ?

Desiree: They can oftentimes be the same thing sometimes, you know, we were just in the flow of things, and we have a career by default, we get promoted into certain positions, but do we ever look at, is that really where I want to go? Is this really what I want to do in my life. And so a lot of the work that I do is around that, and then there’s the leadership side to it. So really becoming an effective leader and effectively lead people.

Monique: Because that’s a problem. Lots of people are good at their job, but terrible management people all day, they just don’t get to do the finance side of things normally, and that Peters principle, I think it’s called, isn’t it? You get promoted out of your sort of skill set? Because you’re a great engineer, doesn’t mean you’re going to be a great workshop manager, for example. Yes? Do you find a lot of is it more men than women that come to you? Is it more people of a certain age that come to you ?

Desiree: You know, it’s all across the board. The one thing that I find it’s people that are really motivated and people that want to make a difference inwhat they do, and in their own lives as well. So those are usually the people that come in and say, I want to take a deeper look. And I want to learn something about myself and where I’m going to have next, and how do I manage my people effectively.

Monique: Because it’s so it seems so complex today, so much competition, and at every turn, you’re being bombarded with amazing people, and you just like, how do I compete with those? How am I going to get to be the next step? So how do you sort of help, someone comes to you and says, I’m start because that will they do I’m bored, I’m frustrated. Is that the usual case ?

Desiree: Yeah, there’s oftentimes frustration, there’s some of the challenges, the corporate culture, the politics that are behind it, and really making that work with yourself and who you are as well. And oftentimes we have this idea of the perfect leader right ? But actually if you’re able to be yourself and to bring in your own strengths and skill set, and mix that with a, with a good leadership skill set, that’s when you become an effective leader. It’s not so much about trying to force yourself into being that one person that you think you have to be.

Monique: And so the skills you’re talking about, because some people think, well, I’m a really good cook, how does that make be a great manager?

Desiree: Yeah but there are other skill sets that, how do you influence people? And when I talk about influences, not how do you tell people what to do? But how do you influence people to become a follower? How do you engage people? How do you make sure that people stay motivated. So those are some of the skill set I talke about. And we all have a natural ability, but then it just gets to bring in that natural ability and just polishing up those skills a little bit.

Monique: So you got any like easy-peasy tricks and tips that you can give someone who may be a little shy, that wants to become a leader? Is there something that they could do when they enter work tomorrow, is there something that you could teach them?

Desiree: Yeah, I mean, there’s, I always like to say, this is a little bit like going to the gym. And it’s a muscle that you have to train, it doesn’t happen overnight. But really, the ability to look at who you are in being confident in who you are. And leadership is a lot of common sense as well. So bringing in that common sense to really share who you are, be open in your communication. And that’s oftentimes hard as well, just to be open, giving some constructive feedback. But if you have the ability to look at this as an opportunity to say I’m going to share what I know and help people grow by sharing some of that constructive feedback, that’s one way to look at it instead of saying, Oh, I’m afraid that people get it wrong, or that people are upset if I bring some of that feedback.

Monique: And being a good leader isn’t necessarily being the boss and being the most outspoken by any means that it’s about people following where you want them to get to where the company needs to get to whatever, and actually having people sort of buying in to your product, essentially, your needs

Desiree: Yes. You have to think that the people that you lead, they are the front line, they have other experiences than what you have. So they made see things that you don’t see. So if you are capable of bringing those ideas out in people

that they feel comfortable sharing that you build such a competitive edge for yourself and then it just takes you to the next level right then and there.

Monique: And that’s it, hiring people that are actually better than you, you’re, you might be the best leader, but hiring someone is better at the customer service, or the technical ability, whatever you know.

Desiree: Absolutely and not being afraid to build a bench. So you’re really a bench of talent that the town that complements each other. As leaders, we oftentimes look for the same type of people that we are, because we connect with them and we see reflection there. But actually being able to take a step outside of that and to see how there’s somebody that’s completely different than I am, what’s my opportunity in that.

Monique: Yeah, knowing that, I need to say this, this person can say it better than me, this person can make it look better than I can make it look, at being a team really. So that’s probably the hardest step for most people to take.

Desiree: It’s to think that you’re actually training a replacement. But yeah, it doesn’t mean that anybody is going to go for your job or anything like that. It just means engage people that are motivated and people that are willing to think outside the box to really move your product, your organization forward.

Monique: So how do these coaching sessions work? Because I’m sort of thinking, is it a bit like new psychotherapy or something juice and to lay on the couch and confess all of your weaknesses. How does it work? How does your professional coaching work ?


Desiree: It’s funny because it’s such a very general perception of coaching. And finally, because I was having this conversation yesterday with a client that was wrapping up. And really often the perception is, like he said, it’s like taking care of therapy, and don’t go there and come out of it and just feel devastated. And this is where, where the big difference in coaching comes in.

Coaching is very forward thinking and it’s forward moving. So we look at the opportunities, we look at keeping you moving forward with gentle pushing out of the comfort zone with things that you are willing to try out. That’s where you experience, your personal growth and that’s exactly what coaching does. So a coach is really your trusted partner, it’s a place where you can share whatever comes to your mind and the coach gives you the space to reflect and to come up with strategies that really work for yourself.

Monique: So, is that like, you use the analogy of going to the gym? So is it going to the gym and like now tomorrow you’re going to try to do burpees which is two movements or three movements, whatever. And so the next time you come back, you need to report on me on how your burpees went.

Desiree: Yeah I mean you don’t HAVE to report it but as a coach, I would certainly ask how did the burpees go right? What was the what was hard about it, what maybe got in the way, because we do have internal internal barriers sometimes that show up. And that is such, for example, I talked about giving constructive feedback. There might be something that kind of holds us back from doing that. So talking through what that is, and taking a different look at it kind of again, looking at the positive in it, what is the opportunity? So, yeah, that’s really it.
A coach is also an accountability partner. So again, I would ask for the burpees but it’s totally up to you whether you do it or not and how much growth you want to experience?

Monique: Do you help also say, you have this goal, you want to achieve this, but there’s someone that just won’t play board, you know, there’s someone who gives stealing a matter, whatever it is. Is part of the coaching how to deal with that conflict resolution, how to motivate, how to charm, how to get this first one to your side.

Desiree: Yes. Absolutely. So that again, that’s also the influencing part. And it’s we all experience and no matter what you are, you’re always going to have somebody that’s going to try to steal your mats. It’s all about having some techniques on how to handle that and to really look at what are the things that you can influence and the things that you can influence is not somebody else’s behavior but it’s the way how you handle it.

Monique: Okay. So that’s a good takeaway actually, because you always think you have to get someone on your side but it’s actually how you handle and how you just crack on maybe without them.
So do the burpees without them? so probably safer.


Monique: So how long does the session normally take? Do you normally do this as one on one is the classroom style ?

Desiree: So usually I do it on one on 60 minutes. And it’s usually every other week, because that gives the opportunity to implement some of the stuff that we talked about and to really see this is working or not working, because if it’s not

working then we adjust kind of system strategy around it. But there are masterminds that I put on every once in a while, we’re five or six people just come together and we make the arrangement that whatever is shared in that group stays within that group. And it’s a very nice environment for people to just share experiences, get to know from other people what they do. And at the same time have a coach there that can help kind of keep on moving this forward.

Monique: And I guess in that environment, you’ve got people from different industries, they learn from each, different stages in career, different issues that might actually crop up. So you’re learning more than what you came for?

Desiree: Yes, absolutely.
Monique: Okay. And you speak at conferences. You’re speaking in Gothenburg,

I understand very soon.

Desiree: Yes, I do speak at conferences. And it’s oftentimes around talent development, I do have a large background in aviation. So this is all about talent retention in aviation, and also kind of multi generational workplaces that we are now experiencing. So there are some challenges there. And things are really changing in the workplace. And so that is going to be all about that. I do get to speak at industry conferences like that worldwide and it’s great. And it’s a great platform to just share some of the things that I also do one on one with my clients.

Monique: And do you find because you’ve worked in South America, Germany and the United States. Do you find the people in their issues are pretty much the same? Or do they change? Could you imagine the state’s everyone’s a bit more dynamic and a bit more driven and the Germans are a bit more fairer and South Americans are just having more fun. Is that right ?

Desiree: It’s absolutely right. But at the end of the day, I have to say no matter with who I’m working with, the challenges in one way or the other, they’re always the same. So they differ a little bit. But yeah they’re very very similar. And because we’re becoming such a connected world, even more so some of our challenges really become very similar with then also the cultural piece, just like you mentioned Monique that in South America we are a little bit more less fair and we say we’re going to be somewhere at two, and if we show up to 2:15, that’s still great. In Germany, you wouldn’t ever do that

Monique: We move to be there at 230 or three. You’re gonna have a bit of a culture shock I think.


Desiree: Well, just having worked internationally, I kind of have adapted that flexible mindset of knowing that everybody’s a little bit different and just having to melt to whatever the local cultures a little bit so yeah.

Monique: I see because in Malta, I think one of the things that you might come across is that a lot of businesses are family owned. And in some of the larger businesses where there are larger families, you find that family members are put into positions that they may or may not want to be in, they may or may not be qualified to be in, they may or may not be very good at and then you’ll have this whole army of people that would love that job, would love to be in that position and may not get the chance to actually do it. Is there something that you’ll be able to help our local market with getting through these?

Desiree: Yeah, I mean, I come from a family, but the family owned business, so there’s a certain amount of pride there, and we’ve passed it on through the generations but sometimes we have to make that decision, do we want to keep it within the family or do we really want to look at our growth and really take this to the next level. I did some work with family owned businesses and it’s quite interesting. So it’s there as well to work with the family leadership, leadership of the organization in that case, to really look at the vision and to really flesh that out. And then sometimes the realization comes that maybe we have to look outside and maybe that’s not a bad thing,

Monique: The family member might be better at something else may want to branch on, I never thought of actually talking to the family, I was thinking of the poor person at the bottom who wants to proceed and is never going to be able to have that job because it’s a family member’s job.

Desiree: Well, that’s where the change happens, right? If there’s no change in perception, or change in mindset at the top, never anything is going to change for the person that comes in at the bottom and says, Yeah, I do want to take one of those jobs that is there at the top. And it’s obviously through generations it’s occupied by by the family is really about having those conversations and to see if there’s somebody who’s willing to take a different look at it. But yeah, the change happens at the top, no matter if it’s family owned or not.

Monique: You’ve to deal with that. You haven’t been in Malta very long, only a couple of months at this point. How are you finding it so far, getting in touch with people working styles, that kind of thing, have you seen some

Desiree: Yeah, I absolutely see some differences. But at the same time, I also have to say, absolutely love it. And it’s for me, again, it’s it’s also an experience that is just enriching me as well. I have a belief that I’m the teacher but also the student at the same time. So it’s all about embracing what you see and I find it actually very easy to get in touch with people here and to just have those initial conversations and to go from there. That’s part of living in an international environment is that you learn to just go with the flow and see what happens. And so that’s what I’m experiencing here and it’s really great.

Monique: So if you’ve moved a couple of months ago, you’ve also had a baby a year ago. So there’s a lot of change there that you can help with people in your team moved countries before that’s not new to us hold on to that, but also being a new mom and being able to coach people into going back to work after a child. That’s something big that comes up ?

Desiree: Yeah, I do have several new moms as well that also on an international basis actually, and there again, the challenges are very similar. And there’s something about when you’re a new mom, I think, oftentimes, we feel a little bit of guilt of going back into the workplace. And now putting our child into the hands of somebody else to take care of the child. There’s actually a way to look at it differently, to say, me being involved professionally makes me a better person because I get to do what I love and actually makes me be a better parent as well. So different ways to look at it and definitely ways to make that transition a little bit more comfortable.

Monique: So there is not any managing aspect but the guilt aspect, but also the going back, you might have been out for a year and a half couple years and getting back up to speed with technology. And really, your baby is your number one that’s you know, that report deadline is also pretty depressing and managing that kind of stuff ?

Desiree: Yeah, absolutely. And again, we are in control on how we manage that and how we feel about that. And we are also in control, although oftentimes doesn’t seem that way, but we are in control and how we manage our time. And so to look at some strategies to effectively manage your time as well. We are all incredibly busy and so we just have to kind of find the best way of working around them.

Monique: Yeah, sometimes it’s just getting up before everybody else. Sometimes it’s going to bed after everybody else or whatever. Do you think companies take new moms seriously as well because they are Oh, you know what, she’s going to rush it the first.I’m not a mother so I don’t know. But I’m just wondering if companies don’t take new mom seriously and there’s a way

that the new mom can say hey, you know, I’m here and I’m all the woman I was before and more amazing now because now I’m managing another human being.

Desiree: It’s certainly challenging, there’s the still a perception out there that moms drop everything, and moms call in sick, whenver the child is sick. And certainly sometimes we have to weigh my child is really sick, I can’t go to work certainly, that might happen but to work past those perceptions and to really show that you bring value and that you wouldn’t know what you’re doing and that you’re committed to the company mission as well as to sometimes have those conversations and to say, I understand I’m a new mom but here’s where my commitment lies. And you know, set Megan they’re very clear where, where your boundaries are, right in terms of here’s where I need to take care of my child. But aside from that, when I’m here, I’m here and I’m doing my work.

Monique: And companies can also be a bit more not in dogs with new moms with everybody you know, if you hire young people Monday mornings are terrible and Friday afternoons nobody is there, or so there’s every age group, every type of person essentially has a different excuse, they will call it an excuse. So it’s companies being more flexible around work-life balance.

Desiree: Yeah, I think it’s something that’s definitely becoming more and more important, especially as I was talking earlier, the new generations coming into the workplace so work-life balance is definitely a thing. And it’s, we grow together globally. And with that, we also become more bit busier and technology, you know, now we get messages in an instant, because we can just send an email, it’s become so easy. So it’s all about recognizing that and working with your employee base to to figure out, Okay, what are some of the engagement that they need, what are some of the flexible arrangements that would help people that you are willing to give as a company. So I think we really have to adopt that flexibility in that flexible mindset of saying, I’m willing to look at this from different perspective. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to give in on some of the productivity that I get from my employees. It’s just a different way of looking at.

Monique: So there are certain things I mean we never have to write an article on a Sunday, it’s just a mental block maybe. I can’t write it between nine and five. I can’t be at my desk, with the others in the room, writing an article, I can do all of the short term stuff, the emailing, the calls, spreadsheets, all of that, but I can’t do anything that needs real, real, real concentration. I do that in evening that crack of hell in the morning, I’m up, writing my pieces. But I can’t write with people around me. But if I’m hired by a company, when I’ve had proper jobs, I go in, and I sort of feel useless, because I, ugh, you’ve got this three or

four hours. So you need to write this article. But my best time is nine o’clock at night to write an article, not nine o’clock in the morning.

Desiree: Yeah, that’s some of that’s when you feel that pressure, there’s also block that comes in, right, that you say, Oh, I gotta deliver something. And now I’m pressured and that’s when actually your productivity goes down. And your creativity also doesn’t really work that way.
So certainly for creative jobs to have that flexibility. There are other customer facing jobs, where you can’t just say, Oh, you know, you can do this at nine o’clock at night there, somebody has to be there to answer the questions of the customer. But to really take a closer look at what is it exactly that you’re asking people to do and what type of flexibility can you give them with that.

Monique: So when you’re doing your coaching, there’s all these different scenarios and come up, there’s all these different barriers and blocks and reasons where it’s the company, family, skill set indeed, it can be any one of those things do you have like, it gives them like a task to do something, a hurdle to get over by the next session? Do they have something they can keep to refer to ?

Desiree: Yeah absolutely. So there are resources that I always give my clients between sessions that they can keep and use at a later point in time as well. But I do have to say that most of the stuff that we do is really around awareness and building that awareness and once you have that awareness, it just sticks with you. So that is like they say, once you’ve seen something, you can’t unsee it. And that’s kind of what happens here. So I find that oftentimes what I do at the end of any client engagement, we design a gold plan going forward today, and so that some of the work that we do kind of stays and they have a good outline around, okay, what are my next steps? What is the next thing I want to achieve? And how I’m going to achieve that. So there’s ways to, to continue with some of those resources, and certainly keep those as well. I mean that’s part of the engagement absolutely.

Monique: So how do you see you guys, could you have clients all over the world? So how do you keep in touch with them ?

Desiree: It’s video conference, modern times, technology all enables that. So we do video conferencing. And as long as we can find a time, but I have to say, I’ve never had any issues. I have clients in Asia, Asia Pacific, I have clients in the US and South America and we always find time to connect.

Monique: Probably works really well. So you can do a call at nine in the evening when everyone else is asleep. Or, chilling out, in front of Netflix, whatever. And,

Desiree: Yeah and oftentimes, even if you’re in the same city, or on the same Island, in this case, sometimes that’s even the better way to do it. Because you don’t have to sit in traffic and spend time driving to a place and it’s a quiet place, it’s a confidential place. So whether if you decide to meet in a cafe, you never know who’s around.

Monique: True
Desiree: So it gives you that confidentiality and at that point as well.

Monique: And also you might the person having the coaching and you like your summer that you feel safe here in your own study ior you are in your own home having this call. So yeah, you’re in a safe place, you don’t feel like anything, anyone seeing you going in and out or anything like that.

Desiree: Absolutely and that’s something that I always make very clear with my clients that whatever is shared in those virtual four walls it will never leave. I do have several employees from the same company, sometimes it’s a manager and their employee. So I get to hear both sides. But at no point in time would I ever share that and oftentimes, they don’t even know that they have the same coach. So it works well that way and it’s needed also for people to be really open and to share some of their concerns as well that we all have for our sakes.

Monique: I guess if you’re not honest, you’re not giving out the truth, you’re not going to get back the right advice. So when it comes to coaching, be open, honest, know where you actually want to be. Does everybody know where they want to be or are some peopel like Em..I just want to do more, I’m a bit restrained by my skill set or my confidence level ?

Desiree: Yeah, oftentimes there’s an overall general goal that people come with and then we take a deep dive and we look at what does that exactly actually mean for you? Let’s drill down into the details. And oftentimes through some of the conversations that we’re having people really reveal what it is that they are exactly looking for. Sometimes it’s not even that clear.

Monique: I think I might book a session with you. I want to do twenty things at the same time. And I start something until it gets boring and then I move on.

Desiree: That is certainly a challenge to have and I can certainly relate to that. But yeah, that’s something where you would just look at Okay, so what’s the reason for starting twenty things at the same time and how do we do this differently.

Monique: My partner calls me and ideas’ volcano. I take it as a compliment. He’s like you’re a spurt out all the time, stumbling.


Monique: It’s been absolutely fascinating. I’m seriously going to be booking sessions with you so Desiree Perez, wait for my call. Thank you.

Desiree: Thank you so much. Looking forward to it.

Monique Chambers

Monique started indulge in 2011 and has since created Indulge Me GIFT and Indulge Me FOOD and volume 1 of The Artists Directory - Malta. A marketing professional by trade, Monique's passion is to promote local talent and Malta in general. Free time is her biggest indulgence, when she can tinker in her craft room or the kitchen, or be selfish with a book, the sofa and good glass of wine (of course, wearing something beautiful and with freshly coiffed hair!)

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