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''Changing Lives Is My Business'' - Emmanuel Utomi

By Published January 28, 2016

Have you met or experienced a ‘Performance Coach’? In our politically correct obsessed world where every day occupational title is jazzed up, where personnel manager became HR, good old secretary is now administrative assistant even the bin man now go by the title of recycling operative.

You'll understand when our #GameChanger introduced himself as a performance coach after a chance meeting and i instantly  concluded, he is a motivational speaker who have cleverly adopted another highfalutin official title but at the end of  our captivating interview, I was left with no doubt that he is truly in the business of changing lives. Excepts

 Who is Emmanuel Utomi?

Thank you for this opportunity to share with your audience a few thoughts on what I do. My name is Emmanuel Utomi, I am into changing lives and that comes on different platforms, which could be working with individuals on a one -to- one basis, families (couples), training and development for top company executives, medium or small group of teams within an organisation. I have a first degree in Actuarial science and a second degree in management. I became a qualified performance coach having graduated from the Coaching Academy here in the UK and I also have Chartered Institute of Personnel development qualification in Learning and Development. I also engage in anchoring events but it usually come as a complementary service or referrals from organisations I have worked with or would potentially work with. I am a bit selective with that aspect of my job though.

So you’re a life coach or Motivational Speaker?

I would in a way, shy away from those titles, I see myself more as a Performance coach (if we must attach a ‘coach’ to it). You really cannot motivate someone else. Why? The word motivation is derived from the word motive which is the same as reason. So ideally, to motivate someone means to help them find their own reason to do the things that needs to be done to achieve the results they desire, for me that is just a part of what I do. Not only do I help individuals or team identify reasons why they are where they are at the moment with the accomplishments they’ve made, I also help them establish where they need to be and how to get there, I go a step further and this is where performance comes in - its helping individuals or organisation analyse where they are, where they’d like to be, find out why they are not where they’d like to be and what they need to do in order to be where they’d like to be.

I would like to illustrate this with a book I use a lot in my practice, authored by Brian Tracy titled ‘The ABC theory of Human motivation & satisfaction’, it stated that most of us are at point A, where we appear satisfied, we have a good job, a nice family, probably a house and good health. For most of us there is really no pressure to move further. However, when you encounter someone like me, I then show you point C based on my conversation with you and the potentials I have seen in you, I then begin to open your eyes to those potentials which immediately creates a dissatisfaction of where you are and a longing for point C. The question then will be, how do I move from point A to C? That is where B comes in, it is the bridge - where I then highlight what you need to do, stop doing or do better to get to point C. That sums up my job in a nutshell. A performer’s job does not end with packing up his slides and other learning resources and probably dish out certificate. I am not done until the goal is achieved.

With motivational books/materials out there, why do I need you?

I have had people put such questions to me, why can’t I just get the books, read them and apply the principles. Since the books are there, why do people end up at crossroads or why are they not maximising their potentials?

Human beings are wired in different ways that makes each and every one unique, the way we respond to information differs, the question is this, if I’m reading like the next guy, why am I not getting the same results as he does? With due respect, what I do is to bring the information to your level with tested practicalities that you can relate with. It’s all about adaptation, when those authors put those books together, they probably didn’t have you and i in mind. It’s about extracting the principles behind those information and adapting them to your situation and circumstances that may (with emphasis) make the difference. Tony Robyn says ‘’Success leaves clues but how you use those clues makes the difference’’. This is where I come in, I sit down with my clients and have a chat, from that chat, I pick up clues that seem insignificant, I will keep harping on it and unravelling it until the penny drops and they’ll go, ‘’hang on this may be the motive I need to achieve my goals’’. This scenario is for clients who reads, now imagine a client who couldn’t be bothered to pick up a book to read and get information, those, sadly are in the majority. That’s why you need someone like me.

How did you get into this?

I got into what I do as a result of my own personal life experience, growing up for me wasn’t one of the easiest, being the first of three other siblings, we grew up without the necessary resources needed to make progress in life, academically, I struggled, I failed in my exams such that I became accustomed to failing. Having failed at practically everything that a young man my age should have accomplished, i was at the point of giving up when, driven by those failures, I decided to claw myself out of the deep hole of failure that I found myself, I became so resilient that failing the University admission exams in Nigeria (JAMB) four times wasn’t going to discourage me, I eventually made it at the fifth hurdle just when my mates were graduating.

It was then I made myself a promise to support anyone I come across who is struggling to identify who they are and their purpose in life. The thirst to support people in finding their purpose led me to teaching after graduation. Beyond imparting knowledge in the classroom, I got greater fulfilment in challenging people, getting them to a point where they can dig deep into themselves to find out what it is that is holding them back and helping them come up with strategies and techniques to overcome those barriers and move on to become better a person.

With all modesty, I can look back today and point to people whose lives has been radically changed, I have worked with families that maybe today would have disintegrated. That is my passion. For me, helping people become a better version of themselves is my driving force and I will move mountains to reach out to people and support them.


How does an individual know he/she needs the services of someone like you?

When you realise you have goals that hasn’t been achieved, when you are dissatisfied with situations in your marital or professional life.

That’s the whole of mankind then, very few if any at all are where they want to be in life?

Remember my illustration about the ABC theory of human motivation and satisfaction, for a change to take place an individual needs to feel dissatisfied with his/her present condition. The truth is that most of us are already at that point of realising I need to move from my present point A position to point C, what is missing however, is the B – the bridge to get us to point C, what do I need to do. That is where I come in.

There are people who have actually made effort to cross that bridge but have been unsuccessful and there are those who know what to do but just can’t make that leap either because they are confused about what to do or lost the will do what it takes.

At the core of my practice is bringing clarity to life, I also work with couples who are deeply in love yet do not have peace in their marriage, or potential couple about to take their vows. One of my area of speciality is personality profiling – helping fit their personalities into the relationship they are in or about to get into.

In organisations, helping identify who works best and where. In the words of Atila the horn ‘’competent chieftains should not be assigned to positions they lack interest for’’. I’m the guy that would ask you the annoying questions, questions you won’t expect from an adult but for a reason - to examine the issues from the foundation and build a picture which I would then reflect back to you.

With people like you, where is contentment, understanding that man by nature is insatiable?

When we talk about success and a person’s purpose in life, what we mean is a holistic picture of a particular level of achievement. I will use this analogy - you are given a piece of rock to crack to bits, you are also given a mallet to help you crack the rock. You strike the rock nine times with no apparent result but on the tenth strike, the rock shatters. My question is this, would you classify the first nine strikes as failure? If we take out the first nine strikes, you would not have the tenth. The world only sees the tenth strike as ‘success’ forgetting the nine build ups that did the damage. The truth is that, you were no less successful at the first strike as you did at the tenth.

Here is my take on success, until you learn to succeed on a daily basis in the little things in life. Realising you need to watch your weight and start getting up early on set days for an early morning run, if you keep to that schedule every day, that’s success regardless of the fact that you’re still tipping the scales when you last checked.

The fact that I’m not married or have loads of money in my bank account doesn’t make me less successful. Society will always move the goal post, so it comes down to you as an individual – when am I successful as against when will the world see me as a success?

When you attain the level of your desired success, you will know. However, if you are not there yet and you need clarity that is when you need me. I only work with your masterplan, I’m not there to redraft it. I will round this up with this quote by Joyce Meyer ‘’Learn to enjoy where you are on the way to where you are going’’. When you lose sight of that you start living your life in circle.

What about people who say they’ve found Success/contentment where they are at the moment?

Not in every aspect of life, although it’s possible. There will always be someone better than you in life just as there will always be someone you are better than, you will always be in-between. This could be seen in two ways, someone will hear that and say ‘’okay I give up’’ while someone else will react with ‘’I’m going to move a step further today and a step further tomorrow’’. Ultimately, it’s an individual decision, if someone says to me ‘’I’m content with my present level of success’’ who am I to say they are not. My job is not to tell you you’re wrong but rather, to challenge you to become a better version of yourself. If that then leads you to a point where you question your own opinion, it means you’re at the turning point. You may have just shatter the glass ceiling on you capacity to grow in that aspect of your life.

However, if you ask me, that’s never going to happen because, I’m always desiring to be a better version of myself, learn to listen more, learn to be more appreciating of people, learn to listen more. Through training, I have to accept people on face value, I have come across people in my line of work saying ‘’I don’t have problems in this area’’ only to turn around after a few sessions to say ‘’I think I’ve got major problem in this area’’. That is why my sessions are really productive, I work with what you present. You will never catch me tell a client ‘’I think you are wrong’’ even when it’s obvious because what that does is to get their defences up and that is not good for my job. I have worked with a couple where the husband believes there is nothing wrong with the relationship meanwhile, the wife thinks it’s the worst relationship. My job is not to determine who is right and who is wrong but to get the couple to the point where they admit they need to work on their relationship. I don’t tell my clients what to do but draw out what needs to be done from them. You’ll be amazed what an average individual has locked in. we tend to look for other people’s strength in our area of weakness ignoring our own area of strength. Yes, there are people who will say they are content, that’s just what it is.

How do you handle an uncooperative client?

The solutions I proffer are client-driven, I get my clients to the point where they understand that if this is going to happen, they’ll be the one driving it. We start by setting clear goals, and for each session, we have a benchmark of achievement. Mind you, these are goals set by the clients themselves with my support of course. Let’s say for example, it’s a once a week session over say, 6 months, at the end of each week, we both evaluate our activities. If we meet our objectives, we’ll discuss what has worked and why, suggesting strategies moving forward and if not, we’ll also evaluate why, was it circumstances beyond the clients control, we may move the deadline if need be and find ways to eliminate the barriers. The client derives a sense of achievement when they cooperate and when they don’t, they also take responsibility for not achieving the set goals. This is where my job differs from that of a teacher. Unlike a teacher, i don’t take responsibility for the results or the process, what I take responsibility for is for bringing clarity, innovation and identification of the needed processes and techniques to be used. The implementation is the client’s responsibility which would have been stated from the outset.

There are two ways I deal uncooperative client situation, the first is to play along since I have been paid upfront but I have an integrity issue with that approach which is why I haven’t had to use it yet. The second approach, which is what I do with difficult client is to empathize with them, if the challenges are such that is beyond their control, we may move the deadline but if the client is just uncooperative type, at some point, I will have to issue a refund having deducted my time’s worth and move on but then there is a burden of reputation. I wouldn’t engage a time waster and if push comes to shove, I will issue a complete refund and move on.

However, when such client comes back after such experience, the rules gets stricter.

When was your last gig?

That would be the seminars I ran in Nigeria for members of the National Youth service Corp (NYSC) leaving the orientation camp in November 2015. NYSC is a one year mandatory national service for graduates of tertiary institution in Nigeria to prepare them for life in the larger society. I also ran workshops for Corp members in different states.

That was after a sold out workshop that I ran in Central London in July. It’s one of our annual events here in the UK.

Where do you see yourself in 5years?

In five years, I see myself reaching out to more people around the world, hopefully running a much more structured organisation such that I can reach people who probably may not be able to afford my services. One of the projects I’m working on is helping young people build their capacity and competences such that they are relevant to organisations out there because youth unemployment is a global problem, the quality of products being churned out of universities is dropping in relation to workplace/organisational demands. The project will prepare them for the workplace.

Could you compare your experience between Nigeria and UK?

I have spoken in Uganda, Ghana, China and many other places around the world and my conclusion after careful observation is that, human needs and challenges are the same globally. However, in a well-structured society where things run like clockwork, people tend to be laid back easily. Take a look as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, at the bottom is the basics – air, water, food. When those basic needs are met in humans, the majority tend to relax, couldn’t be bothered to sharpen their creativity since the basics is assured. The level of creativity in such society is not widespread but confined to a particular group where within that group, the level is quite high. Meeting their basic needs doesn’t play in their thoughts enough to affect their level of creativity.

It is the opposite in developing economy, the level of creativity tend to be widespread but not very high. The average intelligence and awareness level is higher compared to that of developed societies. It’s ironic even though they both have needs and challenges.

Those are the unique things that you take away and apply as you go around, for example, when I go into a place like Uganda, people tend to be polite and eager to learn, although cultural background also play a part but in the UK, people will challenge you at every turn even when they don’t know because, they really have nothing to lose. In a place like China, people tend to be reserved in expressing what they know.

So it is being able to understand these dynamics, the level at which you need to satisfy those needs are different, the illustrations, the examples may vary which is why I consider myself fortunate having experienced life in both societies, I am able to work in organised and unorganised societies and get results.

Any parting shot?

A life guiding principle I have adopted is by Jim Rohn ‘’Success is not to be pursued, it is to be attracted by the person that you become’’. It is generally agreed that we would always strive to become better in one aspect of life or the other, instead of striving to become successful, work on yourself, there are things we do not have control over and its better not to worry ourselves over such things but focus on the ones we can improve on. That improvement will at some point start to affect those things you have no control over. If you are nice to someone, they will be nice to you even when others are complaining about them. You will attract into your life who you are. The type of people you attract into your life determines the kind of success you’ll have.

Emmanuel Utomi’s book ‘Living at installed capacity’ is available on Amazon or by contacting @ www.

Read 1799 times Last modified on Saturday, 30 January 2016 09:01