Today I’m talking to Tony Selimi who is a coach, speaker, author, and business consultant. We’ll get an insight into what his life has been like since he started coaching, which has been a rollercoaster since his first job with a client turned into six months in the US.
Claudia: Thank you again, Tony, for speaking to us at Coaching Life. I wonder whether you could start by telling us what you do.
Tony: I’m known as a human behavioural expert, emotional intelligence and cognition. Amongst my clients, I’m known as a see-through coach, and that title came to me in my visions, as well as through most of my clients referred to me as somebody who can see through people’s problems; see through people’s disempowered beliefs, and also see through all the different things that we have collected over our lifetime that prevents us truly from being in our heart.
Claudia: Wow! What brought you to being a see-through coach?
Tony: Wow! Where did I start? The journey has been a very, very long journey, and it started at a very young age where I was struck by an illness and spent two years in hospital during which time I started having my first out-of-body experiences and I remember as a kid although I was ill, I used to go to people’s [berths 00:01:18] and I wanted to heal them and made them feel great and perfect, and I didn’t want to see people suffering.
I was born in Macedonia, in a town called Gostivar, which is in Western Macedonia, and during these times when I was growing up, we were in a communist country and I used to see a lot of violence around me and a lot of abuse towards women and also towards children, and something inside of me always was pushing me to say, “Okay. This is not really right,” and that feeling of actually addressing things that really break people out of their balance has been with me since childhood.
Claudia: Lovely, and what brought you to coaching specifically?
Tony: It started as a journey to help myself and to help me become a better manager and better CEO, and I was working in the technology sector for fifteen years. I studied Engineering, and I studied Human Behaviour, and also I studied Psychology, and during the times that I was working on myself and having endured so much pain in my life, and having endured civil war in former Yugoslavia which led me to being homeless on the streets of London for almost six months, it has really pushed me towards really addressing the things that really were preventing me from being happy and from really honouring myself all that I was.
On top of that, I had a lot of – I would say – disintegration of my identity of who am I and what I’m here to do in this world, and is it just going to work 9 to 5, or is it so much more? All of those things were just the tip of the iceberg of the many things that brought me into the coaching industry and to help people globally really open up the inner being to something which is magnificent.
So, in 2009, like many people out there, I faces redundancy from my job, and after sending almost two thousand applications without receiving any single answer saying there is jobs, I felt like the universe was giving me this massive wake-up call saying, “Okay. You have all of those skills,” by that time I had done a lot of managerial courses, I had done Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, I had done Life Coaching, I had gone NLP, and I just said, “Okay. How can I integrate all of this wisdom and all of this knowledge to help people resolve even more problems and create even better business; better life; better health; better relationships?”
That led me to work with a client in America who was my first paying client. Out of the blue, I received a phone call saying, “Tony, I’m ill. I’m in hospital,” and during that time, also, I did a lot of healing work. So I learnt many healing modalities, and I really believe that the integration of coaching, healing, psychology, human behaviour, science could truly help any individual expand their consciousness.
So I went to America, I was hired to work for six weeks intensively with a client, ended up being there six months, I came back, I realised that I could earn as much as I’m earning as a CIO and as a senior manager in a company working for myself, but also tremendously helping another human being, first of all, bring themselves back to perfect shape, and also bring those smiles, and bring the happiness, bring this inner peace that most people that we observe daily when we walk around don’t have anymore – it’s just gone.
Claudia: It looks like it makes you happy to be doing this.
Tony: Absolutely! It makes me happy. When you see that happiness, that joy, those tears of inspirations in another human being, it’s just the greatest energy you can receive when that person gives you a hug and say, “It’s because of you, and I thank you, and love you,” and that is really what drives me into being a better coach and learning more skills and adding more tools into my coaching practice.
Claudia: Wow! It’s interesting you have the CBT, and the Healing, and the Psychology, and, I wonder, are you still continuing the learning journey all the time?
Tony: Yes, absolutely! I believe the learning must be continuous because, as people, we are changing rapidly, and, therefore, we must be up-to-date with the different tools so that we can help people. So, the problems we face today are very different to the problems that I used to face twenty years ago.
Nowadays I see people who get anxious from technology. I see people who get stress from overusing technology. I see people who become very jealous because of technology. I see people develop a lot of psychological problems as a result of technology, and twenty years we didn’t stay on the phone and text everybody. We didn’t go and have a coffee and look at our screens down – instead, we would talk to somebody. So, the society itself is changing and the demands that society puts up on us are very different to what they were twenty years ago.
Claudia: Wow! That’s very interesting. So, technology changing brings social change and also change in the individual, and that’s not always good.
Tony: It changes us: our habits, it changes our way of thinking, it changes the way we act, it changes the way we behave and having learnt so much about human behaviour, anything that changes the environment, we are adaptable creatures, and, therefore, we tend to adapt and form those habits for us to really become the norm.
So, whilst technology is great, it’s amazing, it provides us a way of actually connecting to billions of people and sharing information and knowledge, but if the person who uses the technology is not really – I would say – trained and educated in a way to harness the power the technology can do, they can be misused, and without their knowing, they can actually cause themselves harm.
Claudia: Have you seen those change even in the last six or seven years?
Tony: Yes. If you think about it, six/ seven years, we didn’t really have the phones that we use today. We didn’t have all the apps that we use today, and what is quite interesting, how people become extremely addicted to technology, it’s actually it’s the new sugar addiction.
Claudia: I’m interested actually, do people ever come to you and say, “I have a bit of a problem with technology in a certain way, or with the need for connection?” Is that the presenting problem?
Tony: One of them. One of them, for sure. It’s a presenting problem because, as a result of technology, especially in the young generation – I work with clients ranging from as young as sixteen to as old as seventy – and it affects both opposite directions of the age of the client. So, it’s not really something which is specific to a generation because, yes, the new millennial generation, they use technologies as a way of driving business, as a way of lifestyle, as a way of connecting, but, unfortunately, human beings are not designed just for Skype connection or technology connection. They crave that human touch. They crave that love. They crave that interaction; that energy that you get when you actually connect with another human being when you are in close proximity.
Claudia: So many issues around technology that I can imagine affect us psychologically, and I’m just thinking that I’ve seen health coaches, career coaches; there is every coach you can find, but I have not yet seen a technology coach.
Tony: I could create a niche.
Claudia: Tony Selimi, technology coach.
Tony: Technology coaching, and, yes, it’s very funny, for sure, but it’s very real, and it’s going to get worse. When you think about the technology, it’s like what people do not realise, it’s the greatest asset we have. It’s our health and our time, and every single app, it’s designed to take part of that from you. Although they are sold to you in a way saying, “I’m helping you,” but we must never be blinded of the two-sided effect that, in this case, technology has on us. So, therefore, in my latest book that became award-winning within three months, “#Loneliness: The Virus of the Modern Age” there is a whole chapter I discuss about technology, and I will suggest have a read.
Claudia: I’m wondering, what do you think technology has done for coaching?
Tony: Well, it has done quite a lot because technology has enabled us to connect to people to a whole new level. For instance, like Skype, we could be Skyping you being in Australia and me being in New Zealand, and I could be travelling as a coach. So that does not restrict me anymore to be physically present in London for me to coach somebody. So it has given me access to a whole new market and with that, if it is harnessed in a beautiful way, you can really take your coaching business to a whole new level. You can really increase the influence that you have in the coaching industry and become the expert using technology.
Therefore, people, on the other hand, clients who actually need coaching, can actually nowadays use technology such as YouTube without really having to pay anything for coaching, which would be bad for some coaches, but, the reality is it’s an enabler as well. It really enables many people to educate themselves. The education system is changing totally, and it has changed rapidly, and it needs a massive, massive change for it to be able to – I would say – address the new way of living.
Our education system was designed two hundred and fifty years ago, and we live in an era where any information available to us is available at a touch of a button. So you don’t really even have to go to university, or have a coach to be able to help yourself. However, for coaches like myself and other coaches around the world, you could actually design products, you can actually create training products and you can create online coaching training, or you can provide a specific solution to a problem via technology, via video, via a recording.
So, technology has really shaped, and, constantly, it is shaping the way we as coaches present ourselves in the world, and how people can find us and how the two can come together into perfect harmony to address a problem and find the solution.
Claudia: How do you like to work, online, or offline, or a bit of both?
Tony: My preference, 100% preference is one-to-one, face-to-face, but, also, I love technology because I can help so many clients globally. I think, I can just look at you right now I connect with you. I look at your eyes. So that’s what I do with people. I just literally look straight into the eyes, I can observe their aura. I can observe your aura via technology, or aura of technology.
Claudia: So it comes through the Skype connection, does it?
Tony: Absolutely! It does. I think, there is this company, one of the guys who came for coaching from me, they are trying to capture how to use technologies to almost create the same connection to a human being. When they told me about the project, I was like, “Wow! That’s amazing,” but I said, “You know what? By all means, prove me wrong, if you guys can design to really capture a human being in a technology that would be the next stage of the revolution.
Claudia: And how interesting that would be for possibilities of coaching. I have been looking back and thinking about how far technology has come and how it allows us to coach people on Skype, for example, and we can see what they are doing and where they are looking, maybe even the tension in their upper body, but we don’t even know where it’s going to go next.
Tony: Correct. There is many predictions out there, and I do mention, it can work towards creating a better society where we use technology to free more time for ourselves, and, therefore, we have a more sort of peaceful, tranquil, loving society where the society is not really based on – I would say – the current financial system where there is this lack in the society – that money is only available to certain people, but, actually, moving towards a more conscious, a more resource-based society where there is plenty for everybody and technology is used to provide it.
Claudia: Yes, a very interesting trajectory we are on, and, again, I think that just as we devise the technology, the increase in spare time brings on psychological relief and also challenges.
Tony: Absolutely! This is the thing, that currently because we have been developing the technology at such a fast rate that no real research has been done out there that captures the planetary shifts of consciousness as a result of the rapid development in technology and it’s in our human nature to constantly develop, and constantly innovate, but also it’s in our human nature not to see the faults that potentially our own creation can backfire at us.
Claudia: I see. Yeah. Also, I’m thinking about the rate of change of society that you are talking about, and how we are very used to the idea that individuals need some time to get used to changes in their lives. For example, a different family structure, or the loss of somebody, or a shift in career, or location, and, at the moment, perhaps, everyone as an individual is dealing with all of those things, but at the same time, dealing with these much wider societal shifts that are happening. So this is a dual process of change going on, and we have to find out how we fit within both of those new landscapes every month, every year.
Tony: Actually, every second, and every hour, and every day.
Claudia: Oh, I was trying to make it sound a little less scary than that.
Tony: But it’s true.
Claudia: You’re right.
Tony: The shifts are happening every single second globally. If you were to capture things that are happening on that second, on that minute, on that hour globally, it would be quite scary.
Claudia: I wondered, you spoke earlier about doing a lot of work on yourself and realising the value of that, do you remember the first coaching session you ever had?
Tony: Yes. It was scary. This goes back – long way back – when I was still in technology and I was very good; I’ve always been good with people. It wasn’t about being good with people for me. It was more about doubting my abilities to help another human being and causing a damage as a result of not being able to help them, and not being able to really know how to safely guide them through the problem. So, for me, it was more about the stress I would put on myself saying, “What if I fail? What if I can’t help this person, and what if they don’t create the results?”
So, it was this doubt and this fear that really prevented me for many years for me to embrace my first coaching experience, and then go further, but, I always say, with practice we make perfect. So, before I did my training at Animas, I also did coaching training when I was employed with my former company.
So, I felt cool to really retrain again, to really bring that together, and that’s when I approached Nick from Animas Institute and I just went straight to him and I said, “Listen, I have done many years of this and I’ve done training before. I want to do a refresher. I want to update my qualification, and I want to do it fast because I want to move very fast from the corporate world and set up my coaching practice, and really realising my big dreams.”
So, I believe that every human being, no matter whether you are a coach or you do any change in your life, during that change, there will be the stages that you have to go through.
Claudia: You mentioned the first client that came for you and asked you to go to the US, and that you were there for six months. It was quite a first client.
Tony: Well, I was meant to go there for six weeks. I remember this was like the most difficult part of my life because so many things disintegrated around me at this point. After having been living on the streets, to educating myself for ten years, then sent the next ten years of actually creating a very successful career, I went there and the moment she decided to work with me, she sent me a first class ticket to America with a private driver, having a beautiful apartment in her very beautiful boutique hotel.
I went there six weeks and I was working with her coaching in the morning, coaching in the afternoon, and healing in the evening. So, I did like six hours intensive work for six weeks every day, and that’s how to almost address every single pain in her body and bring perfect health, as well as a lot of the grief because she lost her mother, her father, her cat, and she inherited a lot of money, and she felt very lonely.
So, I helped her address the loneliness: loneliness in marriage, loneliness in business; the connection, the way the business was run, and the way she treated herself for so many years where she totally forgot about who she was and she gave all her life to care for other people. So I really helped her get back into that self-love and self-worthiness, and what it really means to be you, and put yourself first because it’s something that nobody teaches us.
Claudia: That’s true. It sounds like you really designed that package for her. You really saw what her needs were at the time, and then responded with what you thought would help her. I wonder, is that the way that you approach coaching with most of your clients? Would you have a standard way of working with people?
Tony: I always take people through original consultation, and those consultations are paid. I don’t really do any free consultations for anybody, and in that process, within two hours, I am able to identify what is the best journey for them to be able to address the problems they come to see me for. Then I have unique packages: I have my bronze, silver, gold, platinum, and diamond packages, and each one of those packages are also uniquely custom-designed. Although the time within those packages is fixed, but the process within those packages are uniquely designed to the customer.
Claudia: I see. So, is there a typical week in your life at the moment?
Tony: A typical week? Oh my God! In my life? I’ll tell you what happened yesterday from starting early in the morning doing my meditation, doing healing, doing coaching, to having lunch, we had our own initial chat, to the afternoon having a business coaching, to in the evening having working with an amazing doctor creating one of the biggest hospitals of integrated Medicine, to going to the gym, and then doing some of my work, and doing Skype coaching until 2:00 a.m. in the morning. How is that?
Claudia: Wow! That sound fantastic – as somebody that loves coaching and this whole world, it sounds like a great day.
Tony: Yeah. My days are very fluid and when people ask me, “When do you take time off,” and I say, “Well, my life is a time off. When you do something you truly, truly love, I don’t really take days off. People can see me on Sundays, they could see me on Saturdays because I’ve integrated my personal professional life as being as one and I don’t really separate them anymore.” Equally, it’s the same on social media, it’s the same in every way that I’m being with my family, with my friends, with my family, this is me.
Claudia: So, I was going to ask you how coaching had not only changed your work life, which is often an unhelpful distinction, but also how it changed your life outside of that. We’ve really answered that already, I suppose.
Claudia: It has had a tremendous impact, and on a personal level it has had a tremendous impact because, before I used to have this judging hat on, and I used to get very anxious, very angry if somebody challenged me, okay, and we do have those things, real things that we as people have to go through, but as you learn to really equilibrate your minds and balance your emotions and becoming extremely masterful in the way you are living your life, no matter person comes in your area, you simply radiate love, and when you do that, their energy shifts.
It’s amazing to observe those things in myself, and it’s amazing to observe those the way I’m in my own relationship with my partner. The way I’m in relationship with my friends, my clients, how all of that it’s exactly the same. I’m not really putting now one mask for my family, one mask for my friends, one mask for clients, one mask for the society, one mask for strange people that I meet in every-day life. I’m just being me. I just show up as me.
Claudia: Is there anything that you don’t like about coaching?
Tony: Not really because I think coaching is `such an empowering tool that can help us shift the planet, and can help us have a better relationship; can help us be better at business; can help us be better as a human being; can help- us better our health. Without health our body will die, and as you forgot coaching, forget about anything. If you don’t have this great love for yourself and your body is in perfect, wonderful health state, nothing else matters.
Claudia: So it sounds like you work very holistically, and I’m wondering whether you have ever had a niche that you’ve ever said, “I’m this kind of coach, or I work specifically with this kind of person?”
Tony: I went through the stages about having a niche, and, I think, the word “niche” comes in many variations, and in many colours, and people stress out themselves about needing to have a niche, and there are coaches who just enter the coaching industry because they might be struggling, they might be this, and they see the coaching industry as a quick way out to be start their entrepreneurial journey, which is great, and their knowledge might be very limited to that coaching, to that course. So, therefore, they will have those challenges around that.
But then you have coaches who have tremendous wisdom and experience already, and have done so many different courses apart from coaches that when they integrate that, they can be extremely powerful, and that’s what I’ve seen happen with me when I integrated all of that knowledge. Having a coach and having a healer that I’ve been constantly working for the last twenty years, it actually helps you to really very quickly expand my influence as well as my business on a global level. So it’s already dependant where you are as a coach within your own evolution.
Claudia: I wonder whether you can think back to when you started out coaching. So, six or seven years ago?
Tony: Yes. Am I good enough? It’s sort of, “I believe.” It sort of goes through everybody’s heart. What I said earlier on, if you meet somebody in the coaching industry who you perceive they have more than you have, that will put you in a very difficult position straight away, unless you’ve really done all of that practice, and unless you’ve done the work in yourself. Before you go really meet the clients, you will always have different kind of fears, “but for any coacher that may be listening to this call, I recommend, just get out there and do it as many times as you can. Practice makes perfect.
Claudia: Yeah. I agree. I agree, and is there any other things that you would like to share with people that are the beginning of their journey?
Tony: If you have chosen coaching as a tool for you to help yourself, and then within yourself you felt this call to help as many people as you can just keep going on. If you fail make sure you fall forward, you get up and do the next step. Coaching is no different to us learning how to walk when we are as babies. We become stronger and stronger and stronger and stronger as it the time goes, but we must remain persistent and I would ask people who are listening to this call. Remain consistent because there will be failures, there will be challenges. The universe itself is not going to give you something amazing if you are not able to handle it. When a coach is out there, it impacts their confidence, their feelings, when somebody says, “No,” when somebody rejects; when somebody gives you a bad review; when somebody does things that basically challenges your values.
I would say, look beyond that and if somebody does all of those things, or you do it to yourself, take that as a food for you to work further with yourself, grow with that, become solid, and just go `out there, practice as much as you` can until yo0u tell yourself, “Yeah. I’ve done it, and I’m excellent in what I do.” When you bring that excellence energy; when you bring that confidence; when you know that the person who sits next to you really walks away with his energy, you know in your heart you have done an amazing job, and that is the greatest feeling you can have.
Claudia: Yes, and I was just thinking about the fact that as coaches we might collaborate with other coaches, we might run trainings with other people, we might work internally in organisations; quite often, coaching will be the first solo endeavour that somebody has been on; the first time they have worked for themselves, and even if you are coaching internally, it’s just you in the room with that person quite often – with your client. So it’s very important to check in with ourselves and, as you say too, to be consistent in our action until we feel very confident.
Tony: Absolutely. I also recommend every coach, I believe, needs a coach. So, if you really want to become an excellent coach, I believe, get a coach, and I don’t really mean what happens in many industries including the coaching – just share of coaching without payment. No9w, if you want to grow as a coach, you must be able to afford in yourself a coach at a price you want to become.
So, for instance, when I met my fifth/ sixth coach, is when I was really ready to take my coaching practice globally, and I wanted to create a six-figure business out of that. I had to work with a coach who already has a six-figure business, and pay him at the rates that he is charging at that figure.
So, let’s say, I want to charge the client 500 pounds, I had to work with a coach who charges me 500 pounds. If I want to work with a coach who basically made eight-figure business and that’s where I’m heading now, and I’m working with a coach who has made nine-figure business, I wanted to work with somebody who had already done it and already can provide me the mentoring and the coaching required for me to go to the next level.
So, I always suggest to any coach out there, if you truly want to become the best, invest in your own coaching outside the coaching, the school, and outside of the environment which where you are. Always have a coach around you to coach you through your process of actually becoming excellent in what you do.
When you get a coach who really gets to know you and can help you those different areas, I would suggest that, basically, you feel like you’ve bought a lottery-winning ticket because they can safely guide you on a path that can help you really achieve the outcomes that you would get together with your coach and create for your own coaching practice and for your own life.
So, I believe in a continuous education, and I believe in a continuous growth, as a coach. In July, I am going and see my coach Dr. John Demartini and I’m spending intensively two weeks working with him. In here, I’m actually bringing a whole new wisdom about studying for two weeks, fourteen hours a day Religious Studies.
Claudia: Have you ever coached a client that has been in a really different situation to ones that you’ve ever been in, or has come from a very different place and found that your removal from their situation has been useful?
Tony: All the time. All the time. Now I’ve really mastered my methodology and the way I coach my clients and I have become a total observer of their reality without me injecting my perceptions and my values and everything else. I’ve really become like a TV that you switch off the sound and therefore I create this very loving, trustworthy space where the clients can really be themselves, no matter what that may be.
Claudia: I agree. Boundaries are really important, and I’m wondering as well whether even if you don’t take on emotionally the issues of your client, do you have any rituals that you do, say, between sessions to clear your head for the next person?
Tony: I used to, but not anymore.
Claudia: Why do you not use them anymore?
Tony: Because I let go a lot of the issues within myself that did hold on to0 the information when I used to work with many clients. So, I would like you to imagine this like technology, okay? So, if the information enters the computer it is already stored, and then you need the rituals: you need the antivirus program to clean up any viruses.
But if you let the information just stay there, you don’t need to do any rituals. I was taught many rituals; I was taught many different ways in healing, in coaching, in this, in that, and how I need to clean my energy, and how to do this, how I need to do that, and until I came to this realisation when the I wrote “The Path to Wisdom,” I spent six weeks of eight hours meditation every single day because I spent my life of people teaching me rituals of how to protect myself, how to do this, and how to do that. Until I reached that stage within myself where I literally felt eliminated, my entire body was shining.
For some people, maybe some coaches out there who may be listening to this call, they may have experienced something similar where you really feel at peace at one with all that is without any labels “This is good,” or “This is bad.” Now, when you create that state within yourself and you keep recreating that and you become netter at that, no matter what you do in your life, you don’t need any more those rituals.
Claudia: Absolutely! I can see that emotional awareness is really important for clients, also for coaches as you’ve just said, yeah. Is there anything else that you’d like to share before we wrap up?
Tony: Just, I love you, and I thank you.
Claudia: It has been such a pleasure to talk to you; to hear about your coaching life over the last few years, and to see how much you love it, the passion that you have for working with people and it has been particularly interesting for me to reflect on the things that you’ve said about how coaches can take care of themselves as well and to allow us to keep serving other people. That’s been really great. Thank you so much.
It’s great to speak to someone who loves coaching so much that life and work don’t seem distinct, and I think this is often the case with coaches. I found it really interesting to start to think about the challenges people are facing, the devise of the technology, and the new issues people would be bringing to coaching as a result.