L3 Leadership Podcast Transcriptions: Ken Coleman on the Art of Interviewing

By February 13, 2018Transcripts

Please enjoy this transcript of this episode with Ken Coleman.  It was transcribed and therefore might contain a few typos. For ways to connect with Ken, the notes, and for links to everything discussed, check out our show notes.

Ken Coleman: 00:00 There’s absolutely zero question in my mind that we were all created to do something very, very specific and it is not this gigantic mystery that a few lucky people in life stumble upon. It’s there for all of us and it’s within us.

Doug Smith: 00:17 This is the L3 Leadership podcast, episode number 182. What’s up everyone, and welcome to another episode of the L3 Leadership podcast. My name is Doug Smith and I’m the founder of L3 Leadership. And this episode you’re going to get to hear part two of my interview with Ken Coleman. Ken is the host of the Ken Coleman show and the top-rated entree leadership podcast. He’s also the author of the book One Question, and Ken specifically helps people grow their businesses, pursue their passions and move toward a fulfilled purpose. And part two of all of my interviews, that’s traditionally my lightning round interview and we did go through our lightning round questions with Ken. However, at the end of the interview I asked Ken for some feedback on an issue that I’m having when I interview leaders and he, his feedback was so good that I included it on this episode for your benefit.

Doug Smith: 01:02 I think that you’ll really, I’ll learn a lot from it and I’m so grateful that he was willing to speak into my life. In addition to the feedback you also hear Ken share, his favorite book is favorite podcast who is still on his bucket list for people to interview and so much more so you’re going to love this episode and if you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to go back and listen to part one of our interview in episode 181 there’s a ton of great content there as well, but before we dive into the interview with Ken, just a few announcements. First, I want to encourage you to become a member of L3 Leadership. Why? Because we believe that every leader needs a community of leaders around them that will encourage them, challenge them and hold them accountable. And that’s exactly what we provide here at L3 Leadership.

Doug Smith: 01:41 When you become a member, you’ll have the ability to join or launch one of our mastermind groups, your vaccines to our community of over 100 leaders, and you’ll have access to the tools and resources you need to take your life and leadership to the next level. To learn more about membership, go to L3leadership.org/membership. I also want to thank our sponsor, Alex Tulandin. Alex is a full-time realtor with Keller Williams Realty and if you’re looking to buy or sell a house in the Pittsburgh market, Alex is your guy. He’s a member and a supporter of L3 Leadership and he would love the opportunity to connect with you. You can connect with him and find out more at pittsburghpropertyshowcase.com. With that being said, let’s dive right into the interview. Enjoy my conversation with Ken Coleman and I’ll be back at the end with a few announcements. Just want to, I want to dive into what I call the lightning round. Just a bunch of fun questions.

Ken Coleman: I’m very nervous, Doug. I’m very nervous.

Doug Smith: No reason to be nervous. You’ll be great at this. A few questions just because you’ve interviewed so many great leaders. I’ve asked you this last time, but, is there anyone still on your bucket list of people you want to interview in your life?

Ken Coleman: 02:43 Yeah. Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey.

Ken Coleman: 02:49 Richard Branson.

Ken Coleman: 02:55 Michael Jordan.

Ken Coleman: 03:02 I could go on and on and on.

Doug Smith: 03:03 Are any of those looking to be a reality in the next year too.

Ken Coleman: 03:06 Yeah. I think Branson is going to happen. I think Branson is going to happen, but I’ve not tried for any of the others. You know, it’s interesting. Yeah. But those are the ones like if I was going to just sit down and go, that’s like, that’s the cocktail party question and I love it. And those are the people that I would most love to, to shape an interview with for sure because of their stories and,  I think I could do something different that hasn’t been done. I love that. Oh, I’ll tell you another Lance Armstrong, I’m close on Lance cause I want to talk to somebody about redemption and what it’s like to keep coming back after the whole world thinks you’re just the worst person on the planet. And I just, I dig stories like that.

Doug Smith: 03:40 Wow. I look forward to all of those if they happen. So a question, I don’t know if you knew Matt Keller, next level church. He’s in Fort Myers, Florida. He interviewed Dave. I don’t know when, but he’s to be, yeah, you’re on the podcast. Yeah. Yeah. So he gave me great feedback on interviewing people once he said and he said, hey, so you have so many questions and sometimes you’re so focused on getting to the next question that it sounds like you’re not really listening to the speaker and you miss opportunities to go deeper. I find that personally when I’m interviewing people, one that is true. So that was great feedback. But I’m horrible at the in between transitions I usually say like, oh that’s great. Next. I mean I don’t know how much you paid attention to in our interview. How do you handle transitions to next questions or next thoughts? I just feel like I’m horrible at that.

Ken Coleman: 04:29 Well, um,

Ken Coleman: 04:31 do you listen to me, on Entree Podcast or anything? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just go back and next time you listen, give a listen. Not maybe for the content, but listen to how I talk in between questions. So that’s the best way for me to answer your question is actually like pay attention to how I do it. But how I do it is I’m always tying in the answer. If it’s a followup question that I tie in the answer they just gave to what I’m about to do. So the bridge goes from, okay. I’m trying to think of how I would say it. Okay. I would say something like this. Okay. I want to stay here for a moment. You just said this and so I kind of quickly take the listener back into the moment that, that they just heard and then I bridge into the followup questions.

Ken Coleman: 05:18 So it’s real smooth. It’s just kind of as boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. It’s, it’s seamless. Okay. I want to stay here. Here’s why I want to stay here. You just said this. And then boom, here’s the follow-up question. When there’s not a followup question and you’re moving on to the next thing, it’s just as simple as moving right into the question. You don’t have to say, oh, that’s really good. Or oh, okay, I love that. And then, and then like reset. I noticed you do that every time. Yeah. So it’s not bad. But you asked me for feedback. Yeah, you got a crutch where you’re just kind of going, okay, good, and I need to say something and now I’m going to reset. And I, I think we went to lunch. You probably wouldn’t be that way. So you got to do an interview just like you would have a conversation.

Ken Coleman: 06:04 And, part of that is you got to go back and listen and, it’s tough to do, but you got to listen to yourself and then pause and go, okay, how could I been more conversational there? So, for you think about the listening experience. Like you don’t have to say anything empty. You could just, I answer the question and you go, I want to move into boom, you know, or here’s one thing, just ask the question like you don’t have, there is no rules for this. And I think what you have to do is the interviewer is say, how do I best fade away in the interview? Like how do I disappear?

Doug Smith: Yeah,

Doug Smith: 06:48 I guess I feel so much pressure in that. You know, it’s probably a 10th of a second. I got it. I got to say I have to say something and I’m

Ken Coleman: 06:55 Okay. So good. Let’s focus on that for a second. So you really have the pressure, you feel to say something is coming from a fear. What’s your fear? Just call it out. What’s your fear?

Doug Smith: 07:08 That there’ll be dead space or the, I really don’t know. I’ve never had.

Ken Coleman: 07:12 It’s not dead space. What’s your fear? Tell the truth. I know what it is, but I want you to say it.

Doug Smith: 07:17 I really don’t know. I mean, I think, you know, I really think this is like I can’t, I think that feedback the Matt gave me is true, but I can’t pinpoint that.

Ken Coleman: 07:26 Yeah. So your fear that where you feel this pressure to say something real quick. So your fear is that your guest is going to think that you’re something that you’re worried about the guest. That’s what you’re worried about. You’re not worried about the audience. Because the audience is not getting this till after the fact and you know you can edit all that. You’re afraid of something and I don’t, I don’t know what specifically is, but you’re afraid that whoever the guest is going to think he’s not paying attention to me. He didn’t like my answer. This guy’s not polite and, and that’s because your brain’s wrapped up into, you’re still nervous talking to people like whoever, you shouldn’t be nervous talking to me, that’s for sure. But the point is, is that that’s what’s going on in your head. You got to own that. You’re afraid of something. Just call it out and that’s what you’re afraid of. So then you go, how do you, how do you get past the fear? You shine the light of truth on the fear. So do you have to say something little, some little thing that’s completely worthless to connect with your guests? No.

Doug Smith: No.

Doug Smith: 08:28 Yeah. Thank you for that.

Ken Coleman: Yeah, absolutely. I get it. I’ve been there and listen, at some point you get to a place where you go, Hey, I’m shaping this conversation and your guests will always respond to your confidence.

Doug Smith: 08:40 Yeah, I think I’m getting there. I think for me, I’m, so again, we’re kind of what Matt said, I’m so dependent on the question and the format that I have together and I on my confidence is in that in the question. And so when, when I don’t have a question, oh, the insecurities pop up. What if I go somewhere dumb or what if,

Ken Coleman: 08:56 Well I got your questions right here. And so this is a great little outline for you, but this, all this is, is this gives you freedom to actually listen to me and riff. Cause if your nerves hit you and you go, oh crap, what’s my next question? It’s right here. This how about just listening and going, oh, what do I think my audience liked out of that answer? Is there something that I think I should follow up there? Did I learn something? Let me tell you my great, by the way, this was one of your questions you didn’t ask me and I thought it was your best question.

Doug Smith: Do you want me to ask you right now? I’ll throw it in.

Ken Coleman: Well I didn’t know you were gonna ask me for tips, but I’m gonna tell you. You said what is the best feedback you’ve given or received when it comes to interviewing and the best feedback I have ever received, and I’ve had it from a lot of people and Matt Keller was one of them mega church pastor that you were just telling me about.

Ken Coleman: 09:47 But I’ve gotten this one a lot. It’s my favorite one and it means the most to me. And it was this that listeners can tell I’m learning alongside of them.

Doug Smith: Wow.

Ken Coleman: Now, how do you think they feel that they know, they just feel it. They can sense that. I’m so, the reason is because I’m not asking the next question on the sheet of paper. Dive in into their answer. I’m wrestling with it. I’m adding a little insight to it. You’ve heard me do this a hundred times. Yeah. Sometimes I don’t even ask a question before I go. Yeah. I wrote a couple of things down there and I do. And the entree studio, I’m, writing stuff down and I’ll say, I wrote these two things down. Is that right? And I’ll put myself out there in a vulnerable position knowing they could go, well, no. Who gives a crap, right? Cause it’s not about me, it’s, I’m jiving, I’m hanging, I’m having a conversation with somebody who’s really, really smart and I’m supposed to be learning so that the audience can learn. So that’s what’s going on.

Doug Smith: 10:47 Is your typical list of questions short? I mean, do you tend to stick in like the, hey, here are five questions that I at least want to get to, but I’m just gonna see where the conversation goes or are you like, like me and have three pages?

Ken Coleman: 10:58 No, I don’t think three pages anymore, but I used to. And I think what you’re doing is good. But I’m at a point now where I go in and I have an idea of three to five Max because I don’t need them anymore because I’m 50% of the interviews that I’m doing these days are completely extemporaneous because, and I’m just going to tell you it’s confidence. I’m at a point where I know I can listen and the best stuff is probably going to come from what they actually said to me. And I figured out a way to keep dive in deeper on it and let’s go deep down. You know, I’m just drilling. So that comes after a lot of year. I mean, I would tell you, um, uh, thousands of interviews at this point. I don’t know if it’s thousands. I’d say 200. I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. I don’t want to thousands but a lot. And, then multiply the hours to that in preparation plus performing interviews. So you get to a point where I’m so just chilling and having fun with it. And I’m confident to be able to listen. And so I don’t need a question written. By the way, I know write my questions out anymore.

Ken Coleman: 12:13 Even when I did like the Hirsch Avik summit interview and the guy was like, oh my gosh, get in here and who are you? You’re incredible and kept saying it and the audience is laughing and I have an iPad up there that has four things written on it. Wow. They were just for topics like you kind of knew I wanted to cover this and I knew that there were probably two of the things I’d cover on that topic. But, again, I’m formulating the question right on the spot because I’m just looking at this guy and to be honest with you, my pulse rate is so low that I really am not worried about the audience. The audience is like fun for me and it’s exciting, but that comes with experience. It’s not that it’s not a talent issue, that’s just a confidence issue. Yeah. So it’s like Mckinsey sitting here, I’m seeing her and if I’m talking to her about something, I’m not like looking at a sheet of paper to ask her a question. I look at her in the eye. I ask her a question, she gives them your response and if she answered it, then I go, okay. And if it triggered another question, I ask her another question.

Ken Coleman: 13:14 I’m not trying to be obnoxious with this. That’s how an interview should go. Just like you would have a conversation with somebody. So is that helpful?

Doug Smith: Oh, so helpful. So, so yeah. What is one belief or behavior that’s changed your life?

Ken Coleman: 13:28 That God loves me, that he created me and he has absolutely something specific that he wants me to do.

Doug Smith: Love it. If you had to write something on a billboard for everyone to read what it say?

Ken Coleman: You matter and you’ve got what it takes. That’s how I close every radio show, by the way.

Doug Smith: That’s phenomenal. What is the best purchase you’ve made in the last year for $100 or less?

Ken Coleman: Dang, that’s a good question.

Ken Coleman: 14:08 It’s gotta be probably a pair of J Crew pants. And I got on sale recently and I’ve said different media and I was pretty stoked to get on. They’re pretty awesome.

Doug Smith: That’s awesome. What the top book you’re recommending right now or giving out?

Ken Coleman: Okay. So this was fun. I hold this book off my shelf after several years and I, I did an interview on it with Po Bronson who wrote the book, What Should I Do in My Life? Which was his runaway bestseller. And he coauthored this book with Ashley Merryman and here’s this is the title and then I’ll tell you why I’m so crazy love with it. It’s called Top Dog, the Science of Winning and Losing. So with the Ken Coleman show, now I, I’m like reading psychology studies and all this kind of stuff all the time because it’s a big part of what I’m helping people with.

Ken Coleman: 14:51 And this book is so good. I’m rereading it. And so that would be something I’m recommending cause here’s what’s cool about it. It really breaks down the science between underdogs and why they can sometimes knock off, like in the sports world how like the crazy underdog can somehow beat this team. It’s so heavily favored, but it goes way deeper than that. And it really is about competition and how important competition is. Again, forget sports for a moment, but just the spirit of competition and how important it is in winning in life. It’s really fascinating stuff.

Doug Smith: Wow. Well, I will buy that right after this interview.

Ken Coleman: Oh it’s great dude. You absolutely thank me for that.

Doug Smith: That’s awesome. Favorite podcast that you listened to.

Ken Coleman: Favorite podcasts that I listen to. You know, it’s Collin Coward, The Herd, I. E. I’m a sports maniac. I love sports. So when I’m on the, I’m on the treadmill or the stationary bike, I listened to him because I listened to so much other stuff at other times. So that’s my guilty pleasure because he’s very thoughtful. He’s actually a world-class communicator and he comes at sports very different. I think he’s the thinking man’s sports us and I find him to be a really, really enjoyable to listen to. So that’s probably my favorite podcast. I love that.

Doug Smith: Well, hey, we’re about out of time, so I’ll just say that really open-ended. Anything you want to leave our listeners with today about leadership life or anything else?

Ken Coleman: 16:17 Well, I’ll tell Ya. The thing I think about every day and I try to communicate every day to people is that there’s absolutely zero question in my mind that we were all created to do something very, very specific and it is not this gigantic mystery then a few lucky people in life stumble upon. It’s there for all of us and it’s within us. And the sweet spot analogy that I use so much that was given to me by my mentor and my twenties he’s so rich and so profound and it bears repeating and it drives home. What I’m saying and that is, is that your sweet spot exist at the intersection of your great talent and great passion. Meaning you use your top skills, your top talents to perform the work that gives you joy, that matters most to you. And when you can do that, you will achieve something greater than success.

Ken Coleman: 17:17 And I’m going to tell you something. I’m getting a little fed up with all the self-help stuff I’m seeing in here and where it’s all about your awesomeness and your greatness. I’m going to tell you something. If you’re pursuing greatness, it better be as a craftsman of your craft, not just I want to be great. And people think that I’m great because you’re on a very, very slippery slope. However, if you pursue your sweet spot and you step into it and you live it, you’re going to get something greater success and it’s significant. Deep down to every one of us wants to make a difference in our life. We want to matter and you achieve that, you’ll have plenty of success. You’ll have plenty of money because it will be enough for you. And so that speaks to what’s driving you. And so that’s the message that I want to spend the rest of my life sharing. One on one, one on 10, 110,000, because it’s so vitally important this world. Just think for a moment. Just think how great of a place this world would be if we had people walking around with that confidence every day. It’s paradise. I mean it’s just nuts. It’s incomprehensible because it’s so crazy to assume and to think that that could happen. But, one person at a time. That’s what I want to do.

Doug Smith: 18:48 Yeah. Well, thank you for sharing that message with me today and everyone that is listening to us appreciate it.

Ken Coleman: 18:52 Thanks Doug.

Doug Smith: 18:54 Hey everyone. Thank you so much for listening to our interview with Ken Coleman. You can find ways to connect with Ken and links to everything that we discussed in the show notes At L3leadership.org/182. You can also listen to part one of our interviews if you haven’t already in episode 181. And I’d highly encourage you to go back and listen to it. It’s fantastic. And, uh, Ken just has so much wisdom as always. I want to thank our sponsor, Henne Jewelers. They are jeweler, owned by my friend and mentor, John Henne, my wife Laura and I got our engagement and wedding rings through Henne Jewelers. And we just think they’re an incredible organization. Not only do they have great jewelry, but they also invest in people. Every couple that comes in and gets engaged, they actually give them a book to help them prepare for their marriage.

Doug Smith: 19:34 And my wife and I just loved that. So if you’re in need of a good jeweler, check out Hennejewelers.com as always, if this podcast added value to your life and you enjoyed it, it would mean the world to me if you’d subscribe and leave a rating and review, that really does help us grow our audience. So thank you for that and thanks for being a listener, I never take any of you for granted, so thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And if you want to stay up to date with everything we’re doing here at L3 Leadership, you can simply go to our website and sign up for our email list at L3leadership.org as always, I like to end with a quote and I called Gerald Brooks often and I’ll do it again today. He said this, he said, “As you’re starting out in life, the question is, do you have talent? However, later in life, the question becomes, do you have discipline?” I love that. Thanks for listening and being a part of L3 Leadership, Laura and I appreciate you so much and we’ll talk to you next steps.