G26: Juan Alvarez

The Mindfulness of Business: Creating a New Style of Coaching | with Juan Alvarez

Juan Alvarez teaches conscious leaders how to gain control over their emotional state so they can lead with intention and peace, bringing trust and prosperity to their organizations. A former executive and entrepreneur of over 20 years, Juan is also a certified professional coach through the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching.

Majorca, Spain is a picturesque paradise, but not everything about growing up there was easy. Juan didn’t meld well with other kids, or even some of his teachers. When he was six, one of his teachers had birds in his classroom and Juan suffered from terrible asthma attacks. His family asked the teacher to remove the birds, and from that day on, the teacher would make fun of Juan in front of the other kids. It made Juan feel inadequate.

Juan’s father was an entrepreneur. In conversation with one of his business partners, his father said, “My son will never be a part of the business world. He has different interests.” And it was true that he didn’t have an interest in it. Growing up, Juan wanted to become a mountain guide.

At the age of 15, Juan began training to become an Alpine mountain guide during the summers. At 17, he was around 40% through the certification process, but his father was diagnosed with a brain tumor and came out of his surgery partially paralyzed, which completely changed the course of his life. Juan started taking over his father’s responsibilities in the business. He went from aspiring mountain guide to the CEO of his father’s company at age 18 — with no clue what he was doing.

Juan knew he had to seek out people he could trust and rely on for support and guidance. People were trying to take advantage of him, but he found those mentors. And by combining the eagerness of an 18-year-old who wants to do everything and the experience of men who were near the end of their career, Juan managed to grow the business by four times in just four years.

The moment he took over his father’s business, he was a part of the business world, and it was mostly inertia that carried him forward. He eventually became a CEO for hire, and although he was good at it, he never enjoyed it.

While he was still working at his father’s company, Juan met a Buddhist monk who taught him how to meditate. At the same time he was running all these businesses, he continued to meet with and learn from this monk. It wasn’t until his early 30’s, when he was facing difficulties in his business and divorced, that he decided to start taking those teachings more seriously — and it changed his life.

At 35 years old, he enrolled in a 2-year program to become a professional coach. He didn’t expect it to be a full-time career, but he thought the skills he learned would make him a better businessman. Halfway through the program, however, he knew that coaching was what he wanted to do.

Over the course of a few years, Juan also found a way to weave meditation into his coaching practice. By combining what he is good at, what he likes doing, and what makes an impact in the world, Juan has found what he believes is his purpose. He became a guide, but not the kind he originally set out to become.

What Brett asks:

  • [02:17] Tell me about what your early childhood was like
  • [05:06] What was your father’s background?
  • [10:45] Can you elaborate on your experience of not being accepted?
  • [18:57] Do you think your adversity led to shaping you in a positive way?
  • [21:26] Did you pursue becoming a mountain guide?
  • [23:36] What was going through your mind at 18 years old taking over your father’s business?
  • [34:32] What was your next adventure? How did you make the transition from that life to this life?
  • [45:53] How early in your coaching did you start weaving in meditation?
  • [52:35] What are you learning about yourself, your practice, and your clients during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Lessons for intentional living:

  • Juan was good at running businesses, but he didn’t like it. With coaching, he realized he could take advantage of his skill as a businessman, do something he loved, and make an impact in the world. Finding the intersection of skill, interest, and impact can lead to what so many covet: Purpose.
  • Being thrust into the business world with no prior experience, Juan relied on the strength of mentors he could trust to stay afloat. Once he found them, he was able to rely on their experience and his eagerness to take his father’s business to new heights. Don’t underestimate the importance of mentorship when pursuing a new venture — take advantage of the experiences of others and their willingness to share that knowledge.