Episode #54 - Using Storytelling to Set Expectations for New Student Families - with John Kozicki - Teacher Zone

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Episode #54 – Using Storytelling to Set Expectations for New Student Families – with John Kozicki

In this episode, we interview John Kozicki of Michigan Rock School and go more granular regarding the four types of characters we all play in our learning businesses.

  1. Victim
  2. Villain
  3. Hero
  4. Guide

We discuss the power of using storytelling to set expectations for new student families.

You’re going to love this episode about how to role-play to make sure you are most appealing in your messaging for treating students like the Heroes that they are. 🙂

Watch it Here

Or Scan the Show Notes Below

0:00:06.3 Tyler: Welcome to the next episode of the Teacher Zone with Chris and Tyler. We are here not only with Chris Bates, our co-host, but John Kozicki, who is the owner and founder of Michigan Rock School, not School of Rock. I apologize in person for defaming your school last episode, it is Michigan Rock School, there is your apology ’cause I love you, John. And today we’re gonna be talking and expanding, Chris, on the workshops we’ve been doing about storytelling, story branding in our clear messages and being that hero, that guide, and not the villain and not the victim. Right. So Chris, tell us a little bit more about John, quick before we let him go.

0:00:49.7 Chris Bates: Yeah, John, so excited to have you, man. So John’s a great guy. So for those of you fellow lesson business owners out there, John is a family man, he’s a community leader, he does other really neat stuff. He’s doing work right now, I don’t know if it’s okay to say I’ll let you plug yourself, but he’s doing some marketing work right now for some national brands. He’s also been a writer before. After college, John actually did some writing for a PR firm and was one of the head writers there. He was telling us how he even recently did a Seth… For those of you that don’t follow Seth Godin, by the way, go to sethgodin.com, follow Seth, he’s amazing.

0:01:32.7 CB: He did an Akimbo writing workshop, was that… And all of this, really… John, reached out to us after our hero and our characterization podcasts where we were talking the last several, if you haven’t, go listen to those. And we’re talking about how we create characters in our life and how we can utilize those characters, what Tyler just said the victim villain, hero and guide better to have better, more strong messaging in our business and also to help guide our teachers to be better guides to the students and so on and so forth. So John, welcome in. It’s great to have you and…

0:02:14.2 John Kozicki: Thank you Chris.

0:02:15.4 CB: Let’s just jump right in. Tell us what sort of sparked you wanting to jump on with this ’cause we’ve been friends for a long time, but you reached out saying, “Hey guys, this is my superpower. I’d love to come on.” So talk to us about your thought process with regard to story and how it all fits into our business.

0:02:31.7 JK: Yeah, sure. So I think it was a couple of episodes you were talking about, you introduced the new Donald Miller book, and you were talking about the hero, the guide, the victim, and the villain, and I immediately thought, this is all great stuff, but it’s all very nebulous, and I thought maybe what I could contribute to the conversation is how to focus it a little bit more for studio owners, because I know with fellow studio owners, we wear a lot of hats, we’ve got a lot to do, and these more nebulous concepts are great as long as you have time to start to dig in, and I thought, Well, maybe I could kinda help that process along a little bit and kind of offer some insight about my areas of expertise which as you mentioned is kinda writing, I’ve worked in PR a little bit, I’ve worked in marketing a little bit, and most recently dug into using stories to connect with our clients, our staff, our students, and so that’s where I kinda want to dig in and hopefully give studio owners some tools that they can use right away.

0:03:51.9 CB: Yeah, man. Tyler and I are big action takers, and while we love spit-balling about stuff like we’ve done in those other episodes, we’re so grateful to you, so if you guys are listening likewise, it’s so need for all of us to constantly learn from one another, but thank you for helping us hone this in to actionable steps because story… Well, you just told us something pretty cool that the oxytocin thing. Would you talk about that for a minute? 

0:04:22.5 JK: Yeah. So the reason why using stories can be really effective in marketing is because when we hear a good story, what it does is it stimulates the creation of oxytocin in our brain. Oxytocin, and I’m not a scientist. This is all the stuff that I’ve just learned from…

0:04:48.2 CB: Oh, he’s also a neurosurgeon and brain scientist.

[laughter]

0:04:52.7 JK: So, oxytocin is kind of nicknamed the love drug, right. And why that is important for us as studio owners, I think, is because oxytocin enhances when… Your brain simulates the creation of oxytocin, it can enhance feelings of trust and feelings of empathy, and so with what we do, we need to get our clients and our parents and our students and our staff, we have to get them all on board with what our vision is. And that comes from trust, right? So once they trust us they’re gonna be more receptive to what we ask them to do rather than saying, “Hey, you over there do this.” If you can kinda gain that trust then they’ve bought in, right? Because going back to that concept of who are you? Are you the guide? Are you the hero? Are you the victim? Are you the villain? As studio owners… Well, okay, so we all want to be the hero, right? 

0:06:04.2 CB: Yeah. Right, yeah.

[laughter]

0:06:05.7 JK: We all want to be the hero, but we also know that our job as studio owners isn’t to be the hero. Our job as studio owners is to make our students the hero. Make the parents feel like they are the hero. If we make our staff feel like they are the hero, then they’re gonna be on board with what we want them to do, so our job is to always be the guide.

0:06:31.0 CB: I love it, and it goes in alignment, by the way, with the podcast we just did with Brad, that will air right before this one. And he was talking about verbiage we use, right? And saying that it’s very common that we’ll use, “We”, and he would like us to switch more to thinking of you, in other words, whether it’s the teacher, like you said, or whether it’s the students because at the end of the day, everybody wants to be the hero. Exactly what you just said. And so by speaking to them in the terms that they see themselves as, it actually builds trust faster, so it’s right in alignment. Tyler, you know we’ve talked about oxytocin before and how… ’cause I’m such a busy bee. I’m always doing stuff, and before I go in our school, I’ll often have to in the car, I’ll sit there for a second and I’ll have to get in gratitude and bathe myself in oxytocin because I know if I walk in… ’cause I’ve got business on the mind that I’m gonna turn people, the students off and the teachers off. So I tend to… I’m glad you mentioned that. I have to use it all the time, because if I don’t, I know that I can come across as very cold, if I’m not in that place, not in that oxytocin bath.

0:07:53.0 JK: And so here’s what I kind of always try and remind myself is, I know with teachers zone you work with music studios and other studios to speak to musicians. We are kind of egotists like we like the spotlight, right? That makes us…

0:08:13.6 CB: 100%. We talk to a lot of you. Who are us? 

0:08:17.9 JK: [chuckle] Right, so what I try and remind myself is that if you position the hero as someone who meets their goals, like that is how you attain hero status by meeting your goals, then you want your students to meet their goals. That becomes their hero. Then your job as the guide is to make heroes. So if your goal is to create heroes, then when you do that as the guide, you’re both the guide and the hero, right? That makes sense. Your students become the hero.

0:08:56.2 CB: I love that, yes.

0:08:57.3 JK: You become the guide, you are the guide, and you become the hero when they’re successful in their goals.

0:09:03.6 CB: Right. And everybody, it doesn’t matter what kind of class business you have, you’re trying to take your students from one place and have a transformation of some sort, and that’s that goals you’re talking about? 

0:09:14.9 JK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

0:09:16.8 Tyler: And so an identity understanding at some point for some teachers, some teachers may understand the concept. They just don’t know what to call it, being the guide and the hero back and forth or whatever, but if a staff is new to this… Let’s say you’re implementing all of this, and this is all new to you guys as studio owners, and you’ve got 10 staff members, and let’s say eight of them don’t get it, there’s probably an identity crisis going on at some point if they don’t know who they are in your business, and so it’s up to us as guides to let them know like, You absolutely are a hero, but guess what, so are they and guess what you are to them. So there’s that different… And I think that’s what you’re gonna kinda get into today by identifying stories and other people’s stories as well. So now we’re bringing in a teacher’s story or bringing in a parent story, and then the parent, sometimes their stories are way bigger and colorful and the kids is more basic and not totally related to the parents story. It kinda is… And then there lies, three stories, us as guides, minimum, that’s not even counting operations that we have to play into and decipher.

0:10:36.0 JK: Right, and what title… What you’re talking about is you’re talking about audience. You’re talking about who is your audience at any given point as the studio owner, and how you’re going to most effectively present your message or affect some sort of change in them, right? . So I think of it as three different categories, you’ve got your parents and your prospective customers, then the second category is gonna be your students, and then the third category is gonna be your staff and your employees, right? So oftentimes that second category with students, if you are a studio owner, and you’re not teaching anymore, that’s gonna be on your staff and your instructors to address them, but as your studio owner, you may be first speaking with the parents and your prospective clients, and you’re definitely going to speak to your third category, which is your staff, and so getting buy-in, getting them to trust you to be their guide by having some stories and having a good way to kinda stimulate that oxytocin again is gonna get them to trust you and then you see what happens from there.

0:12:00.3 CB: Totally. If you don’t believe in the power of story, if you’re listening to this, I want you to analyze yourself and your family and those around you in the last week, and just see how much time was spent if not watching actual shows or movies. For the young ones, it’s watching TikTok. It’s watching social media scroll. We love story. Humans love story. John, do you think it’s related to that trust aspect? 

0:12:32.4 JK: I think it’s absolutely related to the trust aspect. I think it’s related to the trust aspect, and I think there’s… Being entertained is more engaging. So here’s what we do, oftentimes I see this with studio owners and musicians is when they’re presenting their messages, they may say, “We run a music studio and we have been in business for this long, and we offer guitar and drums and piano lessons, and we have lessons on this day and that day,” and these are all factual things which are important, but nobody cares, that’s not going to generate any interest in the front-end, right? 

0:13:24.7 CB: It’s very cold. Yeah, it’s very what. This is what…

0:13:27.0 JK: Very much. Very much, so how about this? 

0:13:31.1 JK: Let’s address maybe what we would say to a prospective parent.

0:13:40.0 CB: Okay, so we’ll start… So we have three avatars everybody. So if you’ve been listening, John is talking about the three avatars that we as leaders, owners in our studios… We were actually joking about this earlier. Some of you call yourself an academy, some of you are schools, whatever it is you call your lesson class business, [chuckle] we’re speaking to you, and ultimately you are appealing to different avatars in your business. And so the first we’ll call it is the actual parents ’cause most of us… The most lucrative customer for most of us is the actual under 18 student, so there’s gonna be a guardian involved. So that will be the first avatar we speak to. So take it away, John.

0:14:22.8 JK: Right, so what I’ll often say… Well, I’ll often say to prospective parents is I’ll say something like, “Did you have piano lessons as a kid?” Right, and sometimes…

0:14:39.4 CB: Almost everybody says, Yes. [laughter]

0:14:41.2 JK: We do… I know you guys are into the role play thing. Should we do the role play thing? 

0:14:45.5 Tyler: Sure, whatever you want, John.

0:14:48.6 CB: Alright. Ask Tyler, he’s fun. He loves role playing.

0:14:49.8 JK: Alright, Tyler, so did you have piano lessons as a kid, what was that like? 

0:14:56.5 Tyler: Yep. So a girl went to a talent show in second grade, and she beat even people dancing to Chaka Khan and all these break dancers in the 80s, and she came up, played a classical piece on the upright piano. And I was like, “I wanna do that.” So I played piano from second grade until sixth grade, That’s it.

0:15:16.4 JK: Oh wow, wow. And what were your lessons like? 

0:15:20.9 Tyler: Thirty minutes a week and they were fun. Supposedly, I was good at it and I learned quicker than most, and so I really liked it for a while, and then towards the end, I always wish that somebody had turned me on to Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles, ’cause I’d probably still be a piano player today.

0:15:42.5 JK: That’s… I had a very similar experience, but I didn’t last as long as you did. So when I was about 9 years old, my parents signed me up for piano lessons and the piano lessons I had… My older brother had piano lessons before me, so I went to the same instructor, her name was Mrs. Conley, and she lived in our neighborhood, and every week I would ride my bike over to Mrs. Conley’s house for my 30-minute piano lesson. And so when I walked in Mrs Conley’s house, she was about… I would say… I don’t know exactly how old she was. I think she was in her 60s, but I walked in Mrs. Conley’s house and she had plastic on all of her furniture, and I wasn’t allowed to touch the furniture. She even had these… I guess they were drop cloths or something that went from the front door and then there was kind of a path that led to the left side, which is where the piano was, and then to the right side, which was another room, which was kind of like the waiting area. And again, I wasn’t allowed to walk off of those drop cloths.

0:16:57.9 JK: I think Mrs. Conley was a good piano instructor because she seemed to know what she was talking about, but I never got a say in what I was allowed to play. She told me, “Hey, this is what… This is the book you’re using, and this is what we’re gonna learn.” And I loved music, Tyler, much like you. I wanted to be able to play things like Journey and Billy Joel and the things that I heard on the radio, but week after week, it never sounded like that. And I couldn’t understand, “Why am I learning piano?” But it sounds nothing like the music that I like to listen to, and so I never practiced, I begged my parents to quit, and then they finally gave in. They finally said, “Okay, you can quit.” And it wasn’t until a few years later when I started guitar lessons, I convinced my parents to let me get a guitar and they said, “Okay, but you’re gonna start guitar lessons.”

0:17:56.3 JK: I was nervous ’cause of my previous experience, but one of the first things my guitar teacher said to me was, “John, what kind of music do you like?” And that changed everything for me, because I wasn’t allowed to have a choice with Mrs. Conley. Guitar lessons were completely different because I was in charge of what we were in.

0:18:18.1 Tyler: Yep, good story.

0:18:23.6 JK: So that’s usually… That’s one of the stories I’ll use with parents. Now, I kinda went a little bit long on that one, but that’s one of the stories I’ll usually use with parents, if they have a preconceived notion about what piano lessons or music lessons are supposed to be like, and so I can convince them, well, we do things a little bit differently. And it’s okay.

0:18:50.0 CB: So are you looking for friction in their story, and then bouncing off that with yours? 

0:18:58.4 JK: What I’m looking for is, I’m looking for commonalities, and because once you make that connection, then they can kinda start to put themselves in that story.

0:19:13.6 Tyler: Right. So for instance, Chris, if they didn’t take piano lessons, we might talk about something else, a different part of the story, but if they did, which a lot of people have, like you said, Chris, then it’s a really easy break of the ice with the parent, just like John broke the ice with his guitar teacher when the guitar teacher said, “What music do you like?” And it changed the world. So the parents can kind of connect and go, “Yep, I remember that. I know my kid, I know my kid would not like Ms. Conley from when I was little. So therefore, boom, I just connected with John ’cause he described the contrast, and it’s almost like we’re in at that point, or at least we have trust.

0:19:55.8 CB: I love that.

0:19:57.2 JK: Right. And the idea, the idea… And this takes practice. And if you’re doing it in a written form, obviously, you’re gonna craft it and you’re gonna hope that it connects with people and you’re gonna put on your website and you don’t think about it again. But if this is in conversation, then it’s gonna take practice and what you’re trying to do is just kinda three steps. And I’m calling them… Step one is your hook, right? 

0:20:27.6 CB: Your hook.

0:20:28.2 JK: And your hook is like in music, you wanna draw them in, and the way to draw them in is to kinda capture some sort of emotion in them, right? Or some sort of commonality.

0:20:40.0 CB: So if I have a Karate dojo technically, any lessons can give me a hook, right? Because I’m basically trying to get them to have some sort of relation to what… That way you can bounce off that, is that right? 

0:20:57.0 JK: Okay. Good question. So if you own a karate studio, I don’t own a Karate studio, but if you talk with a parent, what you’re gonna try and look for is you’re gonna try and look for what would be I would consider kinda the second step, is the obstacle in your story. What is the thing that you’re trying to overcome? And if they already know, if they already know what the obstacle is, like, “Ah, my kid is… I don’t know, he plays video games all the time, and he seems to get bullied a little bit.” Then as the owner of the karate dojo, you may have a story from your own past about how you started in Karate or like maybe you were getting bullied, right? And so, then you’ve identified what that obstacle is, you backtrack and you start your story.

0:21:47.4 JK: Now the goal, when you’re telling the story is to try and continually hit those points that are gonna generate the oxytocin, right? So the more emotion you’re able to kinda put into it, then that’s gonna keep them more and more engaged throughout the story. And the longer your story goes, the more of that you need, because if you are too long and then you start to go into facts, like we were talking about the later, “well, so yeah, and then I went through book one of piano, and then I went through book two of piano, and then by book three, I was really tired doing piano”, then it becomes factual and just not interesting.

0:22:26.9 Tyler: Right.

0:22:28.1 JK: So…

0:22:28.7 Tyler: John, can you also jump into after you connect deep personally with them like that on a story obstacle situation, to them directly or even to them, to their kid, whatever it is, to the student? What we’ve done too, and tell me what you think of this, is then we kind of go into that little verbal testimonial for a second and use a kid, but not his last name and say, “Wow, this reminds me of so and so last year who had the same situation, and now look at him, he’s doing this.”

0:23:06.2 JK: Sure.

0:23:06.3 Tyler: And so, I find that you can kind of leap frog to those, but then at some point, then you gotta give them the bag of nuts and bolts, bam! But that’s at the end. I’m sure you’re getting to that.

0:23:15.8 CB: So just to reiterate, you start with a hook, getting their attention. Then you’re looking for what was their challenge? What was their obstacle, you called it, right? 

0:23:25.7 JK: Yeah. Yeah.

0:23:27.9 CB: And then what’s the last part? 

0:23:29.7 JK: The Last is the outcome, right? So, in my story, well, what was the outcome? Well, if I had ended with I quit the music lessons.

0:23:43.6 Tyler: Forever.

0:23:43.9 JK: I quit my piano lessons, that’s the outcome, right? 

[chuckle]

0:23:49.1 JK: But luckily, luckily, I started guitar lessons and my guitar instructor, Mike, one of the first things he said was, “What kinda music do you like?”

0:23:56.6 Tyler: Right.

0:23:58.4 JK: And that changed everything for me.

0:24:01.3 Tyler: Yup.

0:24:01.4 JK: And then obviously, they know that, well, I went on to be a musician and I own a music school, so I don’t have to tell them the rest of the story, you know? They know what the outcome was.

0:24:07.0 CB: Right. They don’t need those facts. They get it. Yeah.

0:24:10.1 JK: Yeah.

0:24:11.6 CB: You’re obviously accomplished at this point, or they wouldn’t be standing in your school. Yeah.

0:24:17.3 JK: Exactly, and to Tyler’s point, your stories don’t have to be personal. Your stories can be about your other students that you see sharing similar challenges or similar qualities, right? So, we all have these stories in our studios or in our businesses. So…

0:24:35.1 Tyler: Right. Right. One of the big stories too is to the core of, especially an adolescent, the core of their being is to be part of something in general that’s great and safe anyway.

0:24:53.1 CB: A tribe. Yeah.

0:24:53.9 Tyler: Yup. So even though Ms. Conley’s house was probably safer germs-wise, than your guitar teacher’s house.

[laughter]

0:25:00.7 Tyler: It wasn’t very cozy for you.

0:25:03.6 CB: It was safer than the hospital, it sounds like.

[laughter]

0:25:06.5 JK: Yeah. Yeah. Well, exactly, and my point being is that we all have these stories in our studio, right? So if you can kinda create this little story quiver and “Oh, okay, I’ve got this kid who have this challenge, so when I have another parent who mentions,” Hey, this is the problem I’m having, this is my kid and man, they just… We’ve tried basketball. We’ve tried soccer, it’s just not their thing.” And you say, “Oh, you know what, this sounds a lot like this other kid, and then you go into that story. Then again, it’s gonna build trust, “Oh, you’ve already encountered someone like my kid. I trust you to help guide because this other kid that you encountered that sounded a lot like my kid is now playing shows and now like, doing crazy solos or whatever it is.

0:26:14.0 CB: So you’re building trust, you’re getting oxytocin, but you, John, you made me think of something else too, is, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, I think so, but I have a degree in literature and story in general is a very human trait that go all the way back in time, there was the great oral traditions. And so, the other thing you’re doing is you’re proving yourself to be the guide or the tribal leader, because you are giving that advice, but in a form that builds trust.

0:26:43.8 JK: Right. Which, Chris, also has to be authentic. For instance, there might be people listening right now that orating in general is something you had to get good at or work at, and it’s like maybe scary or used to be or whatever, and then others more extroverted like myself with jazz hands coming in hot can orate so well that sometimes I need… I orate too much. So you can have both worlds, but the authenticity has to be key, because otherwise a real story and conversation can’t happen and they can smell that a mile away. So, a robotic sense… Or for instance, what if I told them really quick and didn’t tell them a story about the related kiddo that had the same thing happened to them, and I said, “Oh my gosh, that’s a third of our 190 students are just like that,” and then I move on, that’s just data. That’s just a stat. I told no story, even though I said that he is the same kid, I go right over it.

0:27:48.7 CB: Right. Oh, oh, you know what, I’m tracking on the oxytocin now, because what you’re saying is that the oxytocin release is almost a… It’s like proof that you’ve gotten through.

0:28:04.4 Tyler: Yes, it’s like…

0:28:05.8 JK: That’s gonna be the buy-in. That’s gonna be what earns the trust, right? So, at that point, before then, to Tyler’s point, if you just said, Oh, he’s like 90% of all these students that they just have to take your word on that, right? But then if you go into the story and you give that example, then it starts to break down that barrier that we have with prospective clients, where you first have to earn their trust, and once you earn their trust, then they’re gonna allow you to be the guide.

0:28:42.8 Tyler: And that’s the difference, Chris, between authenticity and commission breath.

0:28:50.1 CB: Right, we hear that a lot. Our coach talks about that with regard to the old school way of selling versus the new way of helping customers basically just achieve what they want, which is what you were talking about with outcome, helping them get the results that they want. And so, if you’re really trying to help them get the results they want, you’re not selling anything, you’re just saying, “Oh, you want this result, we provide it.”

0:29:15.2 JK: Right.

0:29:16.3 Tyler: And trust me, people still come in and say, Tyler, ’cause I’ll talk to them still, and they’ll be like, “Listen, I just wanna know this, I don’t need to be sold. We already know you’re good.” And I will back them up and say, not selling, this is something you need to hear to make sure we are the right fit, because if we’re not… We’re not the right fit for everyone. Would you like to hear the other two points that you’re gonna need to know before you come in and tour? Because they’re already coming in with the mindset of un-trust, like, “Don’t sell me.” Like, people are coming in and I do it all the time. I like to look at shoes, I will tell the person I need to look at some shoes when I’m ready, don’t talk to me, and I’ve gotten better, I’m older now, so it doesn’t bother me, but I used to be like, stop attacking me at Nordstrom, because I’m looking for some shoes because you want your commission. I want you to have your commission to, but stop with the commission breath.

0:30:14.5 JK: Well, let’s take it out of the territory of sales, and now let’s apply it to another one of your… Or our audiences, which is our staff.

0:30:28.2 Tyler: Perfect.

0:30:31.5 JK: And again, for us, we run music schools, so a common problem might be, “Hey, this kid just isn’t practicing, and they come in for their lesson and I don’t know what to do with them, because they don’t practice, they don’t wanna do what I’m asking them to do in lessons and I’m frustrated. I kinda wanna drop them,” you know? Like, I’ve heard that from my instructors, so, as the boss, as the studio owner, what do we do there? What is the advice? Now, we hope that our staff already trusts us, but we can build that trust by sharing stories. We’ve experienced all this. If most studio owners are like us, they follow the similar trajectory, which is, I started teaching and then ultimately I owned a music school, so we have this… We have years and years of experiences that we can draw from, so instead of just telling them what to do, you can say, I’ll tell you one of mine, right? 

0:31:50.1 JK: So this situation reminds me of the student I had named Boris, and Boris was a guitar student. He started with me in probably like, 2010.

0:32:04.5 Tyler: I’m already getting oxytocin because it’s story time, Chris, did you feel that? 

[laughter]

0:32:09.0 CB: Mm-hmm.

0:32:10.4 Tyler: I settled in, I got criss-cross applesauced in my chair, and I’m like, Let’s go, tell me about Boris.

0:32:14.6 JK: Boris and his mom, Natalia, thick Russian accent, okay? Boris was about… I think Boris was about nine years old when he started guitar with me, pretty young, and he was kind of on the fence about guitar. I could tell that Natalia wanted him to play guitar, but Boris was kinda like, “Eh, there’s some things I like about music, but let me tell you about video games. I love video games. So Boris would come in for lessons with me and it felt really forced trying to teach him guitar, and it was kind of this push and pull, right? He’d talk about video games and I wanted to… I felt compelled to teach him guitar, because, well, that’s what he’s here for. And this went on for, I don’t know, probably six months. And I just kinda felt like Boris is not getting anything out of these lessons, it might be time for me to talk to his mom and say, “Hey, does he… Is this really what he wants to do?” And so, I had the conversation and she said… She resisted, I can’t do a Russian accent. I wish I could. “Oh, no, I think he should still do.”

[laughter]

0:33:38.1 Tyler: That was good.

0:33:39.4 JK: So I thought, Okay, alright. And I realized though, that if we were gonna still do these lessons, I needed a different strategy. Because what I was doing in terms of trying to teach him guitar wasn’t working. So I decided, alright, I’m gonna let Boris talk about video games for the first 10 minutes of this 30-minute lesson. And so, first 10 minutes just video games and then guitar. And then that evolved into 15 minutes of video games, 15 minutes of guitar. And then that led to Boris talking about videogames for 20 minutes, and then the last 10 minutes was guitar. And this went on for two and a half years. And he never quit. His mom was okay. I kinda fell into this grove where I was like, Alright, this is what we do, right? And I realized Boris is in this for something different than I thought he was in it for. Boris is… Natalia is in this for Boris for something different than I thought, he was in it for, right? 

0:34:51.9 Tyler: Right. Mm-hmm. Right.

0:34:55.1 JK: So, ultimately what happened, the only reason I stopped doing lessons with Boris is because I sold the music school to one of my instructors and I moved, and I talked to him, I talked to the instructor like a couple of years ago. So, maybe 2018, 2019, and he mentioned Boris. So, this was eight years later, Boris still in lessons, but a really good player.

0:35:21.0 Tyler: Wow.

0:35:25.8 CB: Wow.

0:35:26.3 CB: A very smart musician.

0:35:27.5 CB: Because time is more important. Yeah.

0:35:30.2 JK: Because he was in it for something different and ultimately like that…

0:35:35.4 Tyler: How old was he when he started, by the way? No, just curious.

0:35:37.9 JK: Like, nine years old.

0:35:39.6 Tyler: Yup, so same time you started with Ms. Connelly, nine years old.

0:35:46.1 JK: There you go.

0:35:46.9 Tyler: And then eventually, all kids develop at different rates. You’ll see a six-year-old act like a four-year-old, you’ll see a six-year-old act like a nine-year-old, like it’s crazy, it’s all custom. So whatever it did, it bought him some time, we had students like this too, and then something clicked where he took over at some point, maybe after you left, and he started probably grinding on his own, like we all did, because he cracked it.

0:36:13.5 JK: Right. So you guys get this, right? But our instructors don’t always get it. So, then I…

0:36:19.1 CB: Right. And sometimes it’s more about like, in this case, it sounds to me like he wanted to be heard, he wanted a connection.

0:36:30.7 JK: Oh, sure. And regardless, when I share this with my staff, then what it does is they can think like, Oh, maybe everyone is in this for something different, you know? Maybe I have to find a different way to connect with the student who I’m having a similar problem with, or maybe I just have to let my own guard down and not be so concerned with seeing progress or whatever the problem is. Point is, is by telling that story, that allows my instructors to feel like, “Oh, hey, okay, there’s something to be learned from this”. And I don’t have to just accept what my boss is telling me, right? But he’s experienced this before, he’s experienced something similar. So it allows them that comfort level to then come to me with these problems.

0:37:29.0 CB: I learned to use the…

0:37:30.1 Tyler: I learned that… By case. Sorry Chris. That’s a case-by-case situation, to tell a story, to solve an obstacle with your staff. One thing that we’ve done, Chris, is we’ll do a little exercises every quarter, especially ’cause we have new staff on in a staff meeting, and we will have everyone go back in time to when their first spark hit them as musicians that said… Told them that they’re never gonna stop doing this ever. And how old were you? What was the instance? There is usually a time and a place, it’s not like, something hits you like a truck when you never wanna stop, regardless if you wanna be pro or not, it doesn’t matter. And so, that allows our teachers with Master’s Degrees, academia plus their session players just out of Berkeley, blah, blah, blah, to like, “Whoa, you guys”, that’s all very important, but you should probably have a hybrid based on who you were when you were nine, when you’re talking to these kids.

0:38:32.7 JK: Exactly. Exactly, and so that would be… Okay, so now we’ll apply it to the third category of our audience, which is the students, right? So now, for me, I don’t really teach anymore, so this is kind of more on the instructor, but still understanding what is the obstacle they’re facing with the student right now, whether it’s not being able to do sweep arpeggios or coordinate double base or whatever it is. That’s the obstacle. So when your instructors can identify that obstacle, then they can kinda go back in their memory and say like, “alright, well, when was a time where I faced either this obstacle or a similar obstacle, and let me share my story with them”, so then they can present the hook and present the obstacle and then how they overcame it.

0:39:33.5 CB: Well, and put into context to our heroine guide scenario, a hero is trying to transform and go through certain challenges, and so the obstacle is the current challenge that they’re trying to be the hero of. And then the guide’s job is to let them know that it’s possible and to help show them the path, and what you’re saying is by building trust by telling a story, then it makes it easier for the hero to now see themselves in that context.

0:40:04.4 Tyler: Right, Especially when… Well, like Brad said yesterday, Chris, when Mr. Miyagi… A hero already did it, whether that hero wants to be a guide or not, a hero kicks him in the face, looks over and Mr. Miyagi goes.

0:40:16.8 CB: You got it right.

[laughter]

0:40:18.0 Tyler: That’s that and guide a situation, whether that hero is gonna be a guide or not, I loved that yesterday, I never saw it through to the end of what it was to be a guide until Brad gave us that analogy.

0:40:35.3 JK: Yeah. And for our staff, for our instructors, they may just think like, “Okay, well, we just have to keep drilling this.” And then the student may just think, “Well, I just have to keep drilling it until I get it, even though I’m getting frustrated.” But if they take that step back, and the instructors act as guides and say, “Okay. Here’s how I’m gonna present this, I’m gonna tell you about my own experience.”

0:40:58.1 Tyler: Right.

0:41:00.2 JK: Student’s engaged, it’s stimulating that oxytocin, they’re thinking about it, they can start to see themselves in this position… Yeah.

0:41:09.9 Tyler: Total attitude change.

0:41:12.2 JK: Yeah.

0:41:13.1 CB: Right. And now it’s not… Tyler, we talked about transactional leadership versus transformational, where you’re just telling your staff to do something, “Do this.” and then they wait for the next order. I think a lot of teachers teach that way, “Just do this.” And it’s like, “Well, they’re not really getting the why of it.” And when you’re putting the story in context, and you’re giving them how you overcame the obstacle, and how you got the results, and that result could be failure too. You could say, “Listen, at first… It wasn’t good for me. But let me tell you about when I finally pulled it off, and here’s what I had to figure out.” I love that.

0:41:50.0 Tyler: I can’t wait til Boris tells his story when he’s older to a nine-year-old, that’s what it means to give room to the hero.

0:42:00.1 CB: Yeah.

0:42:00.2 JK: Look at this one, I failed so bad at learning sweep arpeggios because I wanted to be a guitar shredder, I was so bad at it that when I finally said, “I’m not doing this, I’m not gonna do this anymore because I’m horrible at it.” What I realized like, “Oh, I’m actually really good at song writing.” And so my perspective shifted from being a shredder guitar god to like, “Oh, I’m a really good song writer.” And I went the complete opposite direction, and it took that failing to realize what my true path was.

0:42:35.6 CB: Well, I often say that students… The goal for us as mentors, it doesn’t matter what you’re mentoring, the goal is for tad make a student your peer. And that is helping them find their way. And it’s funny… I was watching Cobra Kai last night with Tyler, we finally got through season four.

0:42:54.9 Tyler: Nice.

0:42:55.0 CB: Do you watch it John? 

0:42:57.1 JK: I haven’t seen the new season, I haven’t.

0:43:00.8 Tyler: Hooking you up, it’s so good.

0:43:00.9 CB: We were talking about it last night, or yesterday at podcast, and in our last podcast. Anyways, point is, is that scene Tyler, where he… His daughter says, “What should I do?” And he says, “You should do what you feel you should do.” It’s basically… That was the moment of, “Oh wait a second, we’re now a crutch.” I don’t wanna be a crutch.

0:43:24.9 Tyler: Right, right. We can’t control them anymore, we gave them everything we can already. And now they have to make the next decision at the fork in the road. We can’t do it for them.

0:43:38.5 CB: Which is what you did with songwriting, because you finally realized that, by finally owning your journey, you were able to actually now start writing your story and not just… It’s almost like the guide’s story helps you along your own path to then start writing your own.

0:43:57.7 JK: Yeah. And to bring it full circle, again, as studio owners, we have all these experiences, and if we just kind of utilize those experiences to share and find commonality with our prospective clients, with our staff, with our students, then that’s gonna be way more effective because that’s us being the guide. And if we present it in terms of a story, here’s the hook, here’s how I’m gonna get their attention first, here’s the obstacle that they are facing that I’ve faced in the past, and here’s what happened with the outcome. If we can kind of think about, “Okay, who is our audience?” Here’s my story that I have that, a similar obstacle, and then present it in that way, and that’s us acting as a guide. And then when our students succeed, we succeed as guides. Everyone wins.

0:44:58.4 Tyler: I love it.

0:45:00.1 CB: I love it. In EO and YPO, they do a thing called Gestalt, you’re not allowed to give each other advice. You have to only speak in terms of your experience. And if you don’t have an experience, you shut up… And what it does is, it’s really powerful because someone will say, “I’m really going through this obstacle.” to use your verbiage on that, “And does anybody else have experience with this obstacle?” And out of a group of people, only one will be like “I do.” And then just like you did to us in telling us your story, we all get that rush listening to their story. And we learn way more than a bunch of people trying to give advice.

0:45:43.7 Tyler: Right. Trying to mentally solve it without any real data in their own backpack.

0:45:50.0 CB: I wonder how many times as teachers, that we mess up that way and we’re trying to be too advice givers and not relatable.

0:46:00.0 Tyler: Yep.

0:46:00.1 JK: Yeah. Yeah.

0:46:00.3 Tyler: Because there’s a lot of teachers that come on staff, especially some of the younger ones, that we hire them knowing how talented they are, and how great their personalities are, but they’re green to life in general. And so all of a sudden, 20 kids, little souls are in their roster, and there’s a 25-year-old teaching ’em all. Not that they can’t pull it off, but it’d be nice to have a guide if you’re just jumping in with both feet as a new teacher.

0:46:30.1 JK: Yeah.

0:46:30.2 CB: Yeah so then here’s something that… Tyler and I been reading coaching books, and trying to learn more about all this stuff, and… There’s the powerful coaching question of “What is the biggest challenge for you here?” “What is the biggest challenge for you here?” And so when someone brings you that obstacle, and you ask that question for the student, “Okay, so arpeggio sweeps, what is the biggest challenge for you here?”, “Yeah, I don’t know. My fingers da-da-da-da “

0:47:00.1 CB: And you can even keep probing and what else, and what else, and you can really get them to sort of go deep with you and get so emotional on it, and now you’ve got all the data you need to now then share your story and say, you know what, I get it. When I was 11, let me tell you a story.

0:47:18.7 JK: Exactly, Chris, what you’re talking about is you’re talking about first identifying what that obstacle is…

0:47:24.3 CB: Oh, that’s your hook, right? 

0:47:25.4 JK: Well, you identify what the obstacle is and then, that’s how… Then you kind of backtrack, right. And then you start your story and then you put the hook in there, and then you add have the obstacle…

0:47:36.1 Tyler: So, one, two, three is kinda two one three.

0:47:40.4 JK: Exactly. Well, you have to identify it. Yeah, exactly. You kinda have to…

0:47:42.6 Tyler: And for the listeners number one’s hooked, number two obstacle, number three outcome, but obstacle is always… I mean, we’re guides. What are guides doing? Nothing? No, we’re helping people solve things out of the kindness of our hearts, usually guides aren’t getting paid to help sometimes, mentors especially, they want you to be as successful as they were because their life became better for understanding it all. So if you start with the obstacle, then you just backtrack, so it’s two, number one, and then number three.

0:48:14.1 JK: Exactly.

0:48:18.3 Tyler: Hmm. I love it.

0:48:18.3 CB: Sweet, I love that.

0:48:20.5 Tyler: John, you have been an amazing guest, sir.

0:48:22.4 JK: Thank you.

0:48:23.2 Tyler: It’s only been a few years, and we finally had you in a recorded conversation with us, so you’re trapped into the tomes of time with us now, so thank you for coming in today.

0:48:34.0 JK: Oh. Thank you guys. I had a blast. It was great.

0:48:38.6 Tyler: So, guys, Chris, as we always say at the end, there’s a lot of podcasts prior to John coming on, and if you haven’t heard them, go to teacherzone.com and find our podcast, there’s also a free e-book and an amazing webinar on the transformation formula. Which you guys can see for free as well, send it to friends. All we’re trying to do here is identify obstacles, get you guys hooked on a story about how we were able to experience it in the past and solve things, and then show you amazing outcomes, and that’s what our podcasts are about as well. So share them with friends and Chris, you were great today man, good idea getting John on here, and John, thanks for throwing the big flag up and getting our attention so Chris got you on.

0:49:26.2 JK: Oh, for sure, for sure. And I’m happy to, I don’t know how much I can do, but I’m happy to help If anyone has questions, [email protected], if people wanna shoot me an email.

0:49:37.4 CB: Awesome.

0:49:38.7 JK: I’ll do what I can do to help.

0:49:40.1 Tyler: Yeah, and by the way, go check his website out, MichiganRockSchool.com, right? Is that the website? 

0:49:47.5 JK: That’s it.

0:49:49.3 Tyler: That’s it. All right everybody. Go ahead.

0:49:50.5 CB: I was just going to say one last plug for John for those of you that are new to the lesson class business, John’s done it multiple times so he skinned his knees enough to have great stories.

0:50:03.9 Tyler: You guys… Love your stories thanks John. Alright Teachers Zone listeners thank you so much for tuning in we love you and we will see you on the next episode of the Teacher Zone with Chris and Tyler take care everybody.

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