Introduction:  Janet Harvey, MCC is a coach, author, educator, and speaker who invites people to “be the cause of the life that most matters to you” In 2020 she wrote the Book Invite Change and in 2024 has written the book From Tension to Transformation which is the subject of this conversation today. Janet is also CEO of InviteChange which is described as a success culture building organisation for companies. Janet is an ICF Global Past President, Certified Mentor Coach, and an Accredited Coaching Supervisor.

Podcast episode Summary:  This podcast explores what it means to be human, to navigate life’s complexities acting  from a grounded sense of self, an inner authority, or Generative Wholeness.  Janet help us appreciate the many tensions we live and what it takes to mine our mindset and transform.

Points made across this Episode:


Q1. Who are you? I wonder if you can share a bit about how you got to where you are now Janet?


o    The who are you question is often challenging to answer because so much of our conditioning shapes an answer that is related to what we do. Instead Janet answers this question as it is meant. She is an alchemical seer, sovereign , radiant love, black pearl beauty, savvy , sassy, generous expression, riding on the wings of joy.

o    Janet shares that her words describe an essence statement.  Janet describes the journey she has been on as a Coach and Coach trainer taking over the company that is now called Invite Change in 2006.


Q2. How important is it to you Janet to help Leaders declare their essence?


o    Janet explains that there is no there, no goal or destination to reach with an essence statement. Goals are fine and have their place and the question becomes “what are we choosing every moment” This is the intentional self. How are we making decisions about how we show up and interact with others. We do not teach this to people instead of simply expecting they will intuitively get it.

o    Neurodivergent Learning is bringing in the more intuitive instinctive sensory systems and ways of navigating the world, in a world that today often does not meet people where they are. This then creates the importance for understanding our essence.


Q3 What motivated you to write this book?


o    Janet describes a story at the start of her book where she was often asked by Leaders or CEOs what she was doing because so many reported that “working with Janet makes my head hurt? She heard these refrains repeatedly which led to a qualitative study to determine what was going on.

o    She recognised that most leaders are rewarded for producing results. They are really good at producing results and creating stuff that is really practical. The whole system of business whether you are in a product company or a services company it does not matter. We want someone to purchase our products and services and we want to create these outcomes with excellence.

o    So Janet was curious about what they were struggling with, what were the common themes that Leaders would present in coaching sessions?

o    Janet touches on the four capacities housed in Generative Wholeness, or what it means to operate from an authentic self. The four capacities include To Originate, To Create, To Learn and To Produce. Leaders tend to be great at creating and producing but often lag in the capacities to originate and to learn. To be able to originate new thinking and to learn in a continuous loop were found to be underdeveloped capacities.


Q4. How do we lose ourselves so massively?


o    Janet was looking for ways to operationalise the authentic self. So many people are writing about authenticity, speaking about the subject but it is still so elusive a concept. It feels like a high spiritual value and it is but it is also very practical.

o    When a person is operating from their full authentic self they are listening to an inner authority. We are so much more than just our personality, our ego and what it takes for us to navigate our world. When we set down our inner authority we get stuck. There is so much more to our wholeness and it is a continuous learning process.

o    Inner authority is looking at a situation and determining what is the best relationship to it for me. This is what we do as Coaches to give people that pathway to the essence of who they are, turning the dial on their decision making rubric and have it come from the inside out.

o    Janet was inspired to write a book that would simplify and make relevant what leaders were experiencing. She wanted to explore the journey from feeling something is not right to transit the form into a new form that works.


Q5. What are you asking of Leaders to get the most from this book?


o    Janet exhaled deeply and shared “frankly to go slow” She encourages Leaders reading her book to not read it as a text book. She further asks that readers do relevant reading

o    The skill of noticing, ontologically, can be taken a bit more simply. When we are caught in the busyness of life, we barely notice or notice only so much that we forget. We can get very tripped up by this busyness and not realise that things are catching our attention all of the time. We simply go by these things and because our bodies prefer habits as our bodies are  an energy conservation mechanism, yet the thing we want most is right there. It is right at the edge of our awareness.

o    Unless we can break our habits, biases, assumptions and patterns we will not get to our aspirations. It is therefore important to notice, be patient, stay with the tension a minute or longer to  pause, to put in relevance to our lives what we are feeling and noticing. This describes what Janet calls deliberate judgement.

o    Janet suggests that we lean into tension, to let tension be our best friend rather than pushing it way. To allow tension to wake us up to realise that something inside of us is asking us to change.

o    Janet shares an example of introducing a tension into a team that is apathetic wanting to be inspired.

o    As a team coach Janet works with Teams to draw out from them language to describe an experience they are having. Then she will ask them to describe what their imagination is about the experience that could be, if they were feeling highly activated again. Generally apathy shows up in a team that has experienced a real high They are likely transitioning and feeling lost in transit. As a coach, Janet knows if she can help them cast a compelling vision that energy will carry them.


Q6. Could you say a little bit more about Generative Wholeness?


o    Janet answers by sharing how she really does not like models. She feels models are a little too rear view mirror. The challenge is that people do not fit very well into models. They certainly have a use and can be used as a way in or a gateway to a conversation. Yet when Janet was trying to articulate why she made leaders heads hurt she was really looking to describe the continuous experience that human beings have as they are learning growing and changing which all coaching does. Janet knew about the two capacities To Produce and To Create. She knew also that Leaders were with her To Learn and ultimately to originate new thinking or give voice to their thinking in new ways. Beliefs are constructions and so can be deconstructed.

o    So the model is about adopting the dynamic capacities of originating, to create, to learn and to produce in a continuous cycle of movement always from the authentic self, that = Generative Wholeness.



Q7 How did you land on the 7 tensions you call out in your book?


o    There are four that Janet recognises are common to all human beings and come from her own journey to consciousness. These include Sovereignty -Performance, Intention - Expectations, Inside out - Outside in and Relationship & Person Oriented - Process & Plan oriented.

o    Coaching is about awakening consciousness for each person and everyone they touch in their lives.

o    We were all gifted with a tape in our heads  from our upbringing that taught us how to get along, how to do well in life until some point that tape stops working. We then chose to make a different journey and we start to come back home to self. There is nothing wrong with developing a strong ego and when we overuse something it has a tendency to backfire and that is true for any skill, competence or mindset.

o    How do we find the formula for realising that we really are in charge? Nobody does anything to us that we were not part cause or agent to. That is often a hard pill to swallow. Janet goes on to describe a story about Northface the company who tried to promote an allyship program that ultimately proved exclusory. They were found wanting. They contributed to making exclusion even more visible.

o    As practitioners we are working with Leaders who are trying to move fast in very complex circumstances. It is our responsibility to say slow down. No one person can “know” everything that is occurring.

o    The CTO of Zoom was talking about adoption of technology. He shared that it took 18 years for the iPhone to get 100 million users. It took 3 months for ChatGpt. So that essentially means that the large language model is available to so many people on the planet that there is no possible way that any one person can know all of that human knowledge. Human knowledge is doubling every 12 hours.

o    So as a leader if you think deep expertise is the key to success you are going to be epically wrong. The skills that replace deep expertise is collaboration, asking questions to receive and be a learner. Discernment is the skill of the 21st century. That is not how we have trained our Leaders so no wonder?

o    Janet asks me if I have ever seen a team cave to a top request and then that teams resistance to relook at a situation or idea, knowing it is going to fail. These teams  then spend the next 18 months or so fixing a mess. Nobody goes back and asks what was the cost or opportunity cost of that period of wasted effort. Janet helps teams to articulate that story. Instead of caving Janet asks a team to articulate a  business case? What must you demonstrate and share about the impact & influence of your work on the business? Etc.. Janet is helping teams engage with Myth Busting, the idea that you can challenge sacred cows.


Q8 How did you land on the 7 tensions you call out in your book?


o    These 7 tensions were part of the original research & interviews  conducted with Leaders.

o    Janet was curious about the things that Leaders were navigating in their organisations that led them to engage with her business of coaches.

o    She was also curious about what they were learning along the way which produced the Generative Wholeness Model.

o    The tensions were fascinating to Janet because there is goodness on both sides of the tension. Janet had studied paradox and polarities and these tensions were not presenting as either one of these phenomenon.

o    The Leaders were telling about thorny problems they were experiencing.

o    In Janet’s listening she could pull out certain traits that the Leaders had put in opposition to each other. Not as a polarity, not as a duality but a knowing that they needed a bit of both.

o    Knowing and Not knowing for example is a tension. Earlier Janet talked about the adoption of technology and what it means to now know. Not knowing is increasingly important for us to accept and pull into our repertoire most likely from another. Knowing was probably 80% and Not knowing was 20% with an acceptance that we should probably allow for some innovation and creativity. Today that ratio is probably more like 40% not knowing and 60% knowing. The 60% is process knowing and not data knowing, asking how do I go about the process of learning, experimenting, testing, validating and socialising. All of these are important things to do as Leaders and they must be embedded into the process of building something.

o    The Agile industry is fascinating. It is often spoken about in words that say fail fast. Janet asks what if we reframe that to learn fast? What if we allow ourselves to cycle internally first before we go to market. This is what Agile has done in the last decade.

o    This for Janet is a developmental sequence for a team, to take a risk, to trial something before they have everything sewn up.

o    This is a Leaders mindset to say “I do not need to see the perfect solution” What I need to see is that teams have exercised deliberate judgement.


Q9. How do you illuminate the power of your promise in your book from Tension to Transformation with Leaders?


o    One of the ways that is emergent in the field of coaching is working with the body. Somatic Work.

o    When Janet is working with a client and she starts to hear two things in opposition, where maybe the ratio of the two things in opposition need to shift. She will ask the client to stand up and draw an imaginary line, She asks the client to put one quality at the end of the line and the other on the opposite side. She then invites the client to walk to one end of the line, to describe the situation through the lens of that quality. She asks questions like what are you feeling? What are you sensing? What is your intuition picking up? Once they have responded to those questions she then asks “what happens if this quality is overused? These questions often start to create insight. Then Janet asks the client to shake that experience off and to walk to the other end where she repeats the same questions. Janet is putting clients through a reflection process. The next sequence is to have the client stand in the centre, perfect balance and she then asks “what’s the ratio that works for this particular situation?” Competency 8 in the ICF suite of competencies- Facilitating client growth.

o    Janet often asks a Leader to be curious with their own teams to see if what he or she has determined from this exercise, reflection and insight matches their reality.

o    What do you imagine you can say to the team to help them see more clearly what was stepped over. This is the transformation.


Q10 How have the tensions you researched with your leaders been received more broadly?


o    Janet encourages people reading her book to find their words for the tensions they experience. Find your terms that are relevant to the situations that you find yourself in.

o    Take the words control and care. Control and Agility is the one that is in the book. Ask what was the care for? He wants his team to feel that they are cared for and he has a responsibility to the organisation to produce results. The question becomes, what in his caring is not fostering autonomy for his team? Operating from his control means he is not allowing enough information to be transmitted or perhaps he is not allowing himself to be more available to his team as a mentor or coach? That would allow people to step into more authority with some confidence that he would have their back. He is controlling because they are not developed yet. He cannot care for them because he is disappointed that they are not delivering for him and he has no time. His choices are creating this tension.

o    As coaches we have an ability to help reveal to a client that they have constructed this situation and it can also be deconstructed.

o    We help clients to look at the habits, preferences and assumptions they are making about their teams.

o    This is why wholeness is such an important idea inside of workplaces. We hired these people because we believed they had the raw material necessary to be successful and then we leave them alone.

o    How do Leaders shift their mindsets to see what is working in their organisations and with the people who have joined these same organisations? How can a Leader be engaged with a colleague or team member to be curious about the opportunity they see for a person if that person choses to step more into their wholeness. That is a generative mindset.


Q11. “Your most reliable change strategy is your mindset” Janet Harvey, how would you like to close this conversation between us today?


o    Janet picks up the thread about Mindset and calls out the process of mindset mining.

o    The art of reflection is about understanding the mindset we have adopted and being discerning about which ones are uplifting myself and others and which ones don’t.

o    The act of mindset mining comes out of a more sophisticated practice of reflection.

o    Janet wrote her books because she cares about humanity, she cares about dignity & the importance that we recognise that everyone has the right to dignity. It is a birth right of being a human being and it carries a responsibility that each of us are deliberate in the way we approach our relationships personal and professional. Janet writes to bring simple language to very complex and nuanced things to give everyone a way back home to dignity.






1.    Generative Team Coaching, InviteChange

2.    Invite Change by Janet M Harvey

3.    From Tension to Transformation by Janet M. Harvey



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