Episode 381 – The Modern Maverick with Ed Haddon

Ed Haddon‘We need, at the moment, mavericks. We need people of independent thought, courageous, wanting to do things differently, but we need to do that in service of others.’

Mavericks write their own rules. Modern mavericks write their own rules of success. 

Ed Haddon, author of The Modern Maverick, helps people think more deeply and more courageously about what success means to them. What really matters – in their private lives and in the world around them, as well as in their professional lives? As an elite athlete, corporate rebel, and the founder of the first B Corp-certified coaching practice in the UK, he’s walking the talk, and might just inspire you to change your own life… 



The Modern Maverick website: https://themodernmaverick.com/

Haddon Coaching: https://www.haddoncoaching.com/

Ed on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ed-haddon-2148431/

Alison on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alison-jones-9b09893/

The 10-day Business Book Proposal Challenge: http://proposalchallenge.com/

‘Kickstart Your Writing’ Workshop January 2024: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/666359076937

WriteBrained: A 28-day exploratory writing adventure: https://pi-q.learnworlds.com/course?courseid=writebrainedcourse

The Extraordinary Business Book Club on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1447064765612358/

Alison Jones: I’m here today with Ed Haddon, who is the founder of Haddon Coaching, the first coaching business in the UK to be B Corp certified. After a stint as an elite athlete representing Great Britain in rowing, he spent the first 15 years of his career working with increasingly small companies. From the senior team at Asda, via Anita Roddick at the Body Shop, he discovered a natural affinity with corporate rebels and has spent his life questioning and selectively rejecting societal definitions of success.

And he’s the author, you won’t be surprised to hear, of The Modern Maverick: Why writing your own rules is better for you, your work, and the world.

So first of all, welcome to the show, Ed, it is lovely to have you here.

Ed Haddon: It’s very nice to see you in this format, Alison. I’m looking forward to our chat enormously.

Alison Jones: Good. I hope I don’t let you down. Right. Well, tell us first. I mean, it’s such a great title, isn’t it? The Modern Maverick. Who is the Modern Maverick? And why do they matter?

Ed Haddon: Yes, I think the word maverick, everyone has an idea of the word maverick. A lot of people think about Tom Cruise straight away, but it goes…

Alison Jones: I thought that was just me.

Ed Haddon: … it creates a sense of sort of independent, living a little bit outside society, courageous. That’s the sort of positive side. I guess, there was also, or there is also quite a negative side of rule breaker, maybe a loner. You know, sort of gunslinging, in a cowboy kind of way. And so, I wanted to add that word modern to take the word forwards a bit, I guess, and say, look, I think we need, at the moment, mavericks. We need people, independent thought, courageous, wanting to do things differently, but we need to do that in service of others.

So, as opposed to a kind of lone cowboy cattle rustling, or whatever image we have, or even actually the Tom Cruise arc across the two Top Guns, he does become a team player, doesn’t he? He does become of service to others and saving Goose’s son’s life and all of this stuff. So it is trying to incorporate this idea that self help I think might have in some ways gone a little bit wrong in terms of, look, just a little bit solipsistic, a little bit self serving.

Let’s work on ourselves, but only really in service of others so we can go back out into the world. We can help deal with some of the problems we’re facing. And as the subtitle suggests, that’s a win, win, win, right? We feel better, the people around us feel better and the world benefits as well. So that’s what I was aiming for.

Alison Jones: And there is a huge and maybe slightly countercultural promise embodied in that subtitle that actually when you write your own rules, that’s not just better for you, it’s better for the world. So just unpick that a little bit, you know, why is that true? What’s your evidence?

Ed Haddon: Yes, I think, look, I work a lot with entrepreneurs and so I guess that’s where I’ve seen this happen. And you said in the intro, this journey of mine through a sort of starting in big corporates and seeing people really, I felt quite hemmed in sort of almost like guardians, you know, difference of views or extreme changes or ideas weren’t often welcomed.

And I think as I moved into smaller businesses and eventually started working with founders and entrepreneurs, I saw not only what they could achieve in terms of pace and in terms of failing actually, you know, this trying lots of things and failing and picking themselves up and going again. But I also saw what autonomy gave them.

So I think this word autonomy is quite a key word in the book of, I believe we all on some level want to be in control of our own lives and our own destinies. And I think, a bit like a sort of battery hen, if you lose all of your autonomy, I think life can become really quite flat and dull.

And also your talents, I think, can be really wasted and the world needs our talents right now, you know, so that was this idea of saying look let’s look for autonomy. Let’s not just accept this generic definition of success. I think you mentioned that in the in the intro and that’s really the one of the first core ideas of the book is let’s start by actually thinking about what really matters to us, what really means something to us, rather than just accepting a definition from government, from our parents, from education.

And that’s this idea of what really matters to you and then sort of writing your rules, is okay, what am I going to do with that?

Alison Jones: And I know that you and I have talked and it’s very clear in the book that sense that actually when you are doing the things that you care about and when you are understanding why you’re doing it, when you’re really connected to your own purpose and your own sort of vision of what life can be, you’re not only happier, you are more effective in the world. And that’s really, really powerful, I know. And as a coach, I imagine that’s a very, very fulfilling role to play when you’re unlocking that for someone.

Ed Haddon: Yes, I think this is this sort of idea that I really, this sort of triple bottom line, which is I sit in this intersection between coaching business and psychology I guess and I really find this space very interesting because I do think there are things that we can borrow from business into life and vice versa.

And that sort of win win win is actually something that comes out of the B Corp movement. You mentioned that also in the intro, which I’m very passionate about. It’s quite interesting, I always sort of say, put up your hand if you’ve heard of the B Corp movement. And we’re about half now in most audiences, which is great.

But for those of your listeners that don’t know, it’s a movement that came out of the States, that was trying to overturn really shareholder primacy. So this idea that sort of Reagan and Thatcher introduced towards the end of the 70s, early 80s of actually all you have to do as director of business is make money for shareholders, which is incredibly narrow.

I mean, maybe it was necessary then and maybe it was a good thing. This sort of growth boom of the 80s. But we know where it’s got us now, which is great inequality and the sense of restlessness and the sense of unfairness. And so I thought, well, in business we talk a lot about how do you balance shareholders, your team, the community, your suppliers, your customers. And I wondered what the equivalent is in life.

And so that’s this idea in the book of saying, look, your definition of success isn’t just about work, however you define work. What about your health? What about your relationships? What about what you’re doing in your community? What about you as a parent?

You know, and I remember sitting with a client who came in sort of quite low and it was quite early on in our working relationship. He said, Oh, I just haven’t really done what I wanted to do at work. And we sort of talked about this and he said, but I’ve, you know, I said, well, what’s happening at home?

He said, Oh, I’ve got this wonderful relationship with my wife and our kids are so happy and everyone’s flourishing. And I was like, well, that’s amazing, right? That’s success. He’s like, no, that’s what we all do, right? That’s just a given. I’m like, no, no, it’s not a given.

 And for him, that was a huge change in focus, I guess a bit like a camera refocusing, of saying, okay, so if we take a broader definition of success that isn’t just putting our best energy into our work, but actually saying, what does success in my marriage look like, what does success in my friendships look like, what does success in how I can help with the climate crisis. What does success look like across all these things that I face?

It’s a challenging word, success. And it has good and bad connotations, but I believe it’s a very powerful and motivating word. I believe on some level we all want some measure of success, but we don’t stop to think about what that is.

Alison Jones: Right and it’s one of those things you can be talking about success and two people mean completely different things. It’s one of those almost unhelpful words because it’s so, we think we know what it means, but of course it means different things to different people. And actually reframing what it means to you means everything because that changes how you live and what you…

Ed Haddon: …it does. And it gives you the map, I think, that’s the sort of first, it won’t surprise you to hear there are three steps in the book, there’ll be three steps, but that’s the first step. That’s the first step really of saying it gives you the map.

Do you know where it came from? The book actually originated out of sort of two things I couldn’t get out of my head. One was when you hear someone say, oh, they’ve been really successful. And I was like, what do you really, I always said, what do you mean by that? And they said, oh, well, they’ve made lots of money. I’m like, yes, but what’s happening at home? What’s happening in their head? What’s their health like? So that was the first point. And the second, sort of, origin story of the book, if you like, was this book by a terminal care nurse called Bronnie Ware who wrote The Five Regrets of the Dying. And I read those in a Guardian article, I think, in 2012.

And I’ve still got them here on my, you know, they’re on my desk. And I think they’re so powerful. You know, I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected on me is the first one. And then this last one is I wish I’d let myself be happier. And I could really see how you could get there. I could see how I could be on my deathbed saying those things. And I was like, well, how do I avoid that? How do I, what’s the opposite? That’s the regret. What’s the kind of celebration? And that Alison is really where the book came from. It’s why the book is quite challenging and very broad.

You know, the book takes the whole package on and you and I’ve talked about that over time, about broad versus narrow. And it was really important to me to try and write a book that was across all of life. And that broad definition of success of really, I think challenging and supporting people actually, because a lot of people, I think, don’t recognize that they’ve done great things at home or in a community or with their health or in their schools or whatever it is. This is, we are very work focused and dominated.

Alison Jones: And we also perhaps have an unhealthy tendency to absorb other people’s metrics and focus on where we don’t match up to those or where we see people exceeding those, which I know you draw in the book as well.

Writing about this stuff isn’t easy. It’s incredibly personal, and these are big themes, and they reflect, as you say, conversations you’ve had over decades. What did you find most challenging about that?

Ed Haddon: It’s interesting. I’ve just turned 50 and I remember I had a sort of gathering at home and I remember when I was 40, I had a gathering at home and my two or three closest friends, I had a whole wall full of post it notes, which was the very early stage of the book. And my friends, it won’t surprise you to hear, put up some unhelpful post it notes to add to mine.

Alison Jones: Did they find their way into the book?

Ed Haddon: Well, I actually sent them a picture of them on my 50th. I sent them a picture when the book came out and say, Hey, thanks, thanks team. You know,

Alison Jones: Thanks for that inspiration!

Ed Haddon: Yes, you really helped me there. So I think that that’s the first point.

As you say, this is a long, it was a lot of cogitating and you know that, you’ve been so helpful on this book journey. We could talk about that but it was a long time and there’s some things really really important to me as trying to create a… you know, coaching is a conversation and it’s real time and it’s fully interactive. You know, how do you even begin to create that on a page which is two dimensional and fixed?

And so that’s one of the sort of first ideas of the book was, this is not a book that you just read, put down, and maybe think about for a bit. The book has 50 exercises or tools in it. And I know, the temptation, I’ve read books where I don’t do the exercises, and I say right at the beginning, I say, look, I know you’re thinking right now, I don’t want to do the exercises, and that’s fine.

But please try and do one or two, because… It does change the efficacy of what we’re trying to do, the work we’re trying to do here.

Alison Jones: The exercises, just as a by the by, make extremely good exploratory writing prompts, I should just say.

Ed Haddon: Yes.

Alison Jones: Do carry on!

Ed Haddon: There you go.

And so I think that was something I wanted to try and do differently. We’ve talked about the challenge of the breadth of it, and I sort of stuck with that, despite lots of people probably quite rightly saying that why don’t you just pick one area, or why don’t you pick, you know, this idea.

And look, I think someone said to me really on the process, what do you want to say? What is it that bubbles away at you? And I think we’ve talked about that, we’ve talked about that, Oh he’s so successful or they’re so successful. We’ve talked about the five regrets. And I wanted to create a positive sort of alternative to that saying, look, here’s a way of creating a life for yourself that you’re really proud of, that you feel fulfilled in. And baked into that is you’re going to be helping others, right? That’s just a sort of a theme that runs through.

And also I think there’s a positivity in me and I think comes across in the book of you can do this, you know, and that really matters, this belief that, you know, if I didn’t believe in coaching or didn’t believe in human potential really, I wouldn’t be doing this.

And so that’s what I think carries people through and then the last point you said which is interesting is about it being quite personal and I remember doing the recording of the audiobook and you sit in the studio for three days and it’s quite intense and you have this producer, Emma, she was absolutely brilliant.

And so obviously you’re very, you know, you’re going through line by line and reading it out and she said to me afterwards, I’ve done a lot of stuff, I’ve produced a lot of self help books, but yours is the first one that I’ve actually gone out and bought. And I was like, wow, that’s brilliant. Thank you very much.

And I said, you know, why? And she said, look, I think the fact that you put quite a bit of yourself in the book, and there are some deeply personal stories and moments from my life. She said, it just makes the whole thing human. And it allows me to connect with you. And it gives me the sort of confidence of belief that everyone goes through really low points, right? Everyone struggles with this. Everyone, it’s a universal existential question. You know, why am I here? Why, why, why?

And I thought, you know, I think she really hit on something there. I think she really hit on something that there’s often not a lot of personal stories in some of these types of books or even in nonfiction generally. And I think for me, that felt like a strong way of connecting with a reader and of giving them, not permission is the wrong word, but giving them a sense of optimism in a way that, look, I don’t know exactly how you feel because that’s unique, but I’ve got an idea of what sort of ballpark feeling you’re in here and I can’t go on. I don’t know how to do it. I’m really tired. How do I even begin to figure out what my purpose is?

All of these questions that we all wrestle with and I’m not presenting a set of answers, I’m presenting really a set of ideas and questions and I hope inspiring stories and case studies that that get people started.

Alison Jones: Yes.

Ed Haddon: When some people say to me what success for the book looks like to you and I’m like, oh my god, you’re asking me my own question, you know and actually write about…

Alison Jones: …oh, that’s meta.

Ed Haddon: Yes, exactly, I write about in the book and Oh, how’s it selling? You know, I don’t know how it’s selling, you know the world of publishing, it seems to go very quiet once your book comes out. But what I say to people is look when, and this happened, you’ll like this story. I know you’re a big runner. I’ve just taken a month off to run the Southwest Coast Path, which was an incredible experience. And one of the days, so about half the time people came and joined me and most of them had read the book. And the bit of the conversation that I love most was, I’ll take my cousin, for example, wonderful Nick, who said, I’ve read your book and I realized the next five years of my life are about being at home more with the kids, about turning down the volume on the growth of the business. And I was like, wow, that for me is success.

Alison Jones: Success for the book right there.

Ed Haddon: Exactly.

Alison Jones: How interesting. How lovely. And it’s a lovely microcosm in a sense of what you’re talking about, isn’t it? Because by putting in your own personal stories and understanding yourself better, that unlocks understanding and change for other people, which then you’ve got that effect right there in the way that you’ve written the book and the way that people are reading it.

That’s really exciting.

Ed Haddon: …and I think that’s why the case studies are in there because I know that not everyone will connect with me and my story. So by having, I think there’s 15 or 20 case studies in there, my hope is that you connect with one, right? So, you know, one resonates and you’re like, okay, that’s what they did and I think when you write a book that’s broad ranging I’m not expecting people to lap the whole thing up. I mean, it’s a quite a good book for dipping in and out of, it’s a book I think, I hope, you will come back to but I do know, I can hand on heart Alison, and this is not a sort of boast, it’s a deep sense of confidence, I know that everyone who reads the book will take something from it. And that feels terrific.

Alison Jones: Yes, I call that success.

So, you know, I always ask my guests, Ed, for their one best tip for someone who is just starting the process. I normally just leave it at that. I’m going to be slightly directive here because I think we’ve talked really powerfully about the big issues, the sort of the impulses that, you know, what it is you’re trying to achieve with the book.

I want to go a little bit under the hood and get a bit more kind of down and dirty and technical. Tell us your tips for actually getting the damn thing written.

Ed Haddon: Well, yes, I’d love to explore that. My first and number one tip, it won’t surprise you to hear, is sign up with Alison Jones. Because…

Alison Jones: The Proposal challenge, wasn’t it, that got this one off the the ground?

Ed Haddon: We did a couple of one to one sessions and then you’re right, we did the proposal challenge and the proposal challenge followed by the Bootcamp. And I say this all the time to people because isn’t it amazing when a book comes out the number of people who sort of come sidle up to you, a bit sheepishly, and say who’s your publisher? Can you introduce me?

Alison Jones: ‘How did you do that?’

Ed Haddon: Exactly. And actually one sort of friend who I won’t give their name because it was an outrageous thing to say, he said, Oh, you’ve finally done something that I think is impressive. Wow. Okay. It’s like, Oh, okay. That says a lot about you, but we’ll move on, on the edge of watching our kids play cricket I think it was or something.

And that is absolutely my number one. And of course it is because I’m a coach. And so I know how we can get stuck and I know how difficult it is in the work I do with sort of founders and with individuals looking to sort of figure out their purpose in their life.

I know how hard that is to do on your own. And I think the writing thing, of course, it’s an extremely solitary process. So that structure that you put around and that sort of impetus and the support you provided was absolutely invaluable so that I mean we could stop right there, but I agree let’s sort of dig down a bit.

But for anyone listening and yes, that’s a complete no brainer for me.

Alison Jones: I promise you I am not paying him for this people.

Ed Haddon: No, no, no, no, she’s really not and you will find me saying this on the train or wherever it is when someone says, how did you do it?

What would I say after that, look, one of the things you really helped me with was getting over the whole imposter syndrome. And that’s the biggest block we all have, or who’s going to read it. And, you know, who am I to write the book? I mean, it’s funny when you say you’re a life coach, you get two answers. One is, Oh, can I sign up? I need a life coach.

The other is who are you, what qualifies you to be a life coach? And again, quite revealing of the two people who’ve given those answers. But I think that was what plagued me. If I really think about, apart from you providing sort of impetus, structure, accountability. And let’s come back to that because I think that’s a really important one.

The big thing you helped me with was just to get on with it. You know, you know your subject, people will want to hear what you say. And I think the moment I switched the goal from, that’s right, I switched the goal when you say I’m writing a book, I’ve written a book. The next two questions are who’s your publisher and how many copies did you sell?

And I think that is extremely unhelpful. And if we’re thinking about this definition of success, that is the classic definition of a success of a book. How many copies did you sell? The breakthrough for me was switching from that and saying, and I said this quite a lot over the time, is to me, A being a bit curious and interested in the process, you know, I like trying new things but to me the definition of success was I think it was when I submitted that first draft, actually, at the end of Boot Camp. That, to me to get a book written, actually, and then edited and put into book format, whether that was published traditionally, or self published, or frankly, put in the drawer, which would have been a shame, or, you know, that was the definition of success, because it’s bloody difficult, right?

And a number of people, as we all know, say, Oh, yes, you know, I’m writing a book, or I’ve got a book in me, or it is extremely, it’s a marathon, it’s an ultra marathon, you know, it’s not a sprint. And so I think the moment I became incredibly focused on that, with your help obviously, but incredibly focused on that, and really not worrying or thinking too much about whether it was any good or not, who am I to even judge if it’s any good or not, knowing I could get help with editing and readers that changed, that freed, that loosened everything up and I just started writing because I think the block is this constant judgment and criticism of the inner voice, isn’t it?

Is this any good? Who’s going to read it? Who am I to write this? All of which is extremely effective at stopping you from writing. So I think change the definition of success.

Alison Jones: And also, I guess, success evolves, doesn’t it? And I’m thinking about that ultramarathon metaphor because it is such a good one. And of course, you don’t start off in the first kilometer thinking about, I’m going to mix my things here, you know, mile 32 or however long the ultra is, you think about the first stage and you think about getting to the first checkpoint and then there’s the next one.

And if you are overly obsessed with the end at the beginning, it can really work against you. You can feel very daunted very quickly.

Ed Haddon: And I think, you know, coming back to the Southwest Coast Path, that was 31 days in a row running roughly 22, 23 miles a day. And people said, and oh yes, during that you climb Everest four times, right, because it’s so up and down. So, you know, I mean, I nearly, so many times I nearly didn’t make it to the start line. A, because I got injured, but B, because people would just say to me, really people I really respected, you know, people who’ve done a lot of running, people who knew me, my coaching team, like Nancy is one of our brilliant coaches, pulled me aside quietly and said, you know, I think this is too much. Are you sure about this?

And that’s someone whose opinion I really respect and really caused me to, and they were doing exactly that, they were looking at the the top line numbers. Whereas I was looking at well, I know I can do one day I’ve trained for that, I know I can get half through the second day and and people would say to me while I was doing it, you know, what are you thinking about? How’s it going? And what I was thinking about was getting a good breakfast, stretching, starting, avoiding spraining my ankle because the path was so bad in places. Remembering to look up occasionally because it was so beautiful, coming into the next B& B or pub, putting my recovery trousers on, drinking my recovery drink, having supper, going to sleep and repeat literally day by day.

And I think that was that, you know, actually, you know, the other thing thinking about it that really unlocked it for me, this was part I think, of the proposal challenge or the bootcamp, you tell me, was when you got us to write not just chapter headings, but basically paragraph headings.

And in a way, that’s what the, so I planned this run, right? You know, I knew exactly where I had to get to every day. I knew the distance every day, the elevation every day. And so I could just do that. I could turn my, when we turn our mind and body to one focused task, we literally, I know it’s a cliche, but we can do anything.

You know, I’m not a runner. I’m six foot seven and over 90 kilos. I’ve never done a marathon before, but I think for me, it’s the prep and the structuring and the breaking down into chunks. So, you know, I would just sit down and say, right, I’m going to do two hours and I’ve got to do three paragraphs or whatever, you know, that was the big unlock actually, was writing to a structure.

Maybe that doesn’t work for everyone, but for me, it was absolutely invaluable.

Alison Jones: It’s such a brilliant illustration of it. And then when you’ve written your paragraph, you put your recovery trousers on and you have your dinner and you go, yes, I love that.

Ed Haddon: And it’s done, and it’s out of your head, and then you do it again

Alison Jones: And again the next day. Yes.

Ed Haddon: The other thing I would say is it’s the only time, Alison, I’ve ever broken my own rules of sort of working early in the morning or at the weekends, because I don’t know, there were bits of it I loved. You know, and I think particularly your first book, where it’s sort of everything, it’s everything that you’ve been thinking about, as you say, for 20 or 30 years and probably too much, I probably should have, you know, split it into two books or whatever.

But it was a pleasure when the words were coming, because you’ve been thinking about it for so long and over time.

Alison Jones: So every now and again, you need to look up when you’re writing and just appreciate the view.

Ed Haddon: …and also that was, I mean, I had a lovely running coach, there’s a lot of coaches in my life, as you can probably imagine, but he would send me the weekly numbers on Sunday and I actually I have this, this wonderful whatsapp group with a few friends, in fact the support group and he’d post the numbers on Sunday and you sort of go what? Just, you know…

Alison Jones: Yes, how?

Ed Haddon: Yes, how have I just run, 300 kilometers or whatever it is, so I think that’s the other thing is once you actually sort of, you know, once you’ve got it, and I always remember that when you have it in your hands, you’re like, how did I actually write those 60,000 or the hundred thousand that got trimmed and cut and edited?

Because that is the other thing I would say is be ready for false summits, right? I mean, there are so many false summits and that point of your first draft is a brilliant moment, but it’s probably, I mean, you’ll know better than I will, 30 percent…

Alison Jones: it’s not the finish line.

Ed Haddon: a third, and a third promoting that’s it.

Alison Jones: Yes, I remember being at mile 20 of a marathon. I was supporting and somebody said what mile is this? Mile 20? Oh, halfway then. It’s exactly what it feels like, isn’t it? The last six miles. Okay.

Anyway, what’s your recommendation, Ed? Because, you know I always ask guests to recommend a book and I’m really fascinated to hear what you’ll suggest.

Ed Haddon: I really thought about this. And I’m actually reckoning, I’m not sure it would traditionally be called a business book, but I think it’s a brilliant business book. It’s a book called Rapport. It’s a book called Rapport and it’s written by Emily and Lawrence Alison. So it’s a husband and wife team. And they are forensic psychologists, and they spend their time negotiating with basically kidnappers, hijackers, terrorists. And so they have written this incredible book about communication, about listening. And I tell you, there’s a passage in there that’s really changed my life, which it describes a conversation where you’re having to tell your dad, who is in his 80s, that he needs to give up his driving license. Now, this is what you would call a difficult conversation.

And they give these two examples. They give the example of how… Exactly the conversation I would have had, which was a car crash, no pun intended. You know, you sort of, you wouldn’t think about it, you’d go straight in, and you’d try and do it in one conversation, you wouldn’t really be listening, you’d put them into a corner, it would get quite aggressive, and then they’d obviously go through some of their principles, and then they illustrate the conversation a second time, done from a position of obviously great empathy and great listening. And it was so powerful and so real. I think, you know, a lot of what I do with clients is help them think about and prepare for difficult conversations. I think a lot of us are conflict avoiders and maybe sometimes those who aren’t are kind of conflict creators or conflict overriders, you know? So I think if you’re not slightly conflict avoidant, there’s something that’s interesting, but curious about that.

Alison Jones: Maybe you need to think about that a little bit.

Ed Haddon: Yes, exactly. It’s like when a client comes in and says, I’m very self aware. I’m like, here we go. It’s not possible to say I’m very self aware. So I think, you know, and I think one of the hardest things in a family, in a friendship, in a business context is approaching those difficult conversations with grace. And you can really mess them up and that you can cause untold damage and hurt and in a business context, I think we put our heads in the sand and that’s terrible too. So to me the art of communication, you know I say I think at the start of the section, there’s a section on sort of relationships and other people in the book and I sort of say look without communication there is no relation. There is no relationship. And so I think this book is a sort of 101 on really great, effective, brave but kind communication.

Alison Jones: It sounds amazing. I don’t know it, so I’m going to seek it out. But also I noticed that that tactic, the way that you can show something and then explore why that was so awful, set up some principles and then revisit it and do it differently. That’s a great business book writing tool to have in your kit.

Ed Haddon: Particularly in an audiobook where you’re hearing the conversation, it was really, it was very, I was driving and I stopped, I remember I stopped, rewound, you know when that something’s good happens, you pull over, rewound the whole chapter and went right, I’m going to, and then I rang my wife and said you’ve got to, you know, here’s the link you’ve got to listen, you’ve got to listen to this and I’m sorry, you know, I’m sorry I’ve been so bad over the last 20…

Alison Jones: I don’t care what you’re doing. Stop it. Listen to

Ed Haddon: …years. Yes, exactly.

And she also, she…

Alison Jones: I love that.

Ed Haddon: …she talks about this incredible police woman in the States who was 5’2 and just turning up at this situation with gunfire and a very difficult situation. And she talks about the conversation, you know, how to enter that situation and the conversation, the words you use to deescalate it. And so I figured, wow, they can do that. Then we can handle it.

And it was actually, you know, it was actually coming back to Anita Roddick who I was a huge fan of, she had, you go into her office and she had all these wonderful sayings. Actually it wasn’t even the office, it was the reception of the Body Shop.

This quote right behind the reception saying, what was it? Show me anyone who can decide which of the seven year olds has the last sweet and that is a negotiator. That is a leader. Yes. That was so, so good. Right. You know that anyway. Yes, I’d highly recommend that.

Alison Jones: Great. Thank you. And Ed, if people want to find out more about you, more about Haddon Coaching, more about The Modern Maverick, where should they go?

Ed Haddon: Yes, so there’s a website, themodernmaverick.com, which has everything on, we’re running retreat in October, which is really exciting. So there’s a couple of places left on that.

Haddoncoaching.com is where the coaching work goes on or we’re sort of quite active on both of those on LinkedIn.

So those are probably the best ways of looking up or getting hold of us.

Alison Jones: Brilliant. Well, I’ll collate a few links together and put them up on the show notes at extraordinarybusinessbooks.com.

And thank you for your time today, Ed. It has been, as I knew it would be, an absolute joy.

Ed Haddon: Oh, such a pleasure. Yes, speak soon, Alison. Bye.

Alison Jones: Bye.

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