Skip to content

CNLP 271: Ken Coleman on the Fine Art of World-Class Interviewing, How to Get the Best Out of People and How to Network Without Being a Social Climber

Ken Coleman has interviewed world-class leaders in politics, sports, business and leadership for years.

He deconstructs his approach and shares how to get the very best out of people, how to get people to share at a deep level and how to network and build your career without becoming a social climber.

Welcome to Episode 271 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links

Ken Coleman | Facebook | InstagramTwitter

The Ken Coleman ShowThe Proximity Principle

Episode Links

Get your volunteers ready to serve with simple online training. Try TrainedUp free for 14 days at

Pro Media Fire has the media solution that’s right for your church at Podcast listeners receive 10% off for life.


The Dave Ramsey Show

Catalyst 2019

The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni

3 Insights from Ken

1. How do you get someone to open up in a conversation?

Ken has 2 major strategies that will get 95% of people to open up during the first 5 minutes of a conversation. First, he takes the guest back in time and asks about their past. He has learned that when someone has to think back into their past, they are much more invested in the conversation and will open up when they begin enjoying the conversation.

The other tactic Ken employs is that when he asks about someone’s life, he asks very specific questions about specific events. By making them dig back in time and dig for specifics, he gets a more engaged answer. This is also an opportunity to show the person he is talking with that he did his homework in preparation for the interview. When people see that he has done his homework, they feel valued and begin to enjoy the conversation even more.

2. When preparing for a meeting or interview, aim your questions deeper

When preparing to meet with someone important, don’t ask questions that anyone could ask. When Ken prepares for a key conversation, he thinks about what they are an expert in, but then he takes it deeper. He asks about the specific situations that individual has led through and finds the specific things that the audience needs to know so that they can relate to those experiences.

The goal is to make the person you are talking to have to pause and think. If they don’t have an automatic response, you know you are asking the right questions. When you bring these quality questions to an interview, those leaders will walk away from the conversation thinking “Wow, that was a great interview!” When they think this, you are more likely to get a follow-up interview.

3. How can young leaders get ahead in a field they have little experience in?

When Ken was asked this question he came up with the Proximity Principle. The Proximity Principle states: “In order to do what I want to do I’ve got to be around people that are doing it and in places where it is happening.” So by being around the people that are doing what you want to be doing, they will begin to show you the places where it is happening.

Once you begin to get into those places, you will begin to meet even more people that are doing what you want to be doing, and the cycle repeats itself. For this process to work, Ken sees 5 people that you need to have within your “proximity.” He outlines who these people are in his new book The Proximity Principle.

Quotes from Episode 271

So many people think they've got to move somewhere to go somewhere, but the law of the zip code says that everything I need to get started is already around me. @kencoleman Click To Tweet

Nobody is going to listen to anything for two minutes if it's not interesting. @kencoleman Click To Tweet

Preparation allows for improvisation. @kencoleman Click To Tweet

The antidote to fear is knowledge. @kencoleman Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 271

Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?

Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

Watch the Podcast on YouTube

Select episodes of this podcast are now on YouTube. Our new YouTube Channel gives you a chance to watch some episodes, not just listen. We’ll add select episodes to YouTube as time goes on.

Need a great speaker for your next event?

Introducing the Nieuwhof Speaking Team comprised of top leaders to bring dynamic insight, clarity and wisdom to your next gathering.

For years, Carey has spoken to leaders around the world about leadership, change and personal growth.  Today, we’re introducing a team of communicators who can bring just what you need to help your next event or conference be a complete success.

The Nieuwhof Speaking Team line up is:

Jenni Catron

Jeff Henderson

Rich Birch

Brad Lomenick

Toni Nieuwhof

Dillon Smith

Took learn more or book a speaking team member for your event, click here.

Subscribed Yet? 

Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from world-class leaders like Brian Houston, Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Nancy Duarte, Henry Cloud, Patrick Lencioni, Francis Chan, Ann Voskamp, Erwin McManus and many others.

Subscribe using your favorite podcast app via

Apple Podcasts


Google Play



Spread the Word. Leave a Rating and Review

Hopefully, this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?

The best way to do that is to rate the podcast on Apple Podcasts and leave us a brief review! You can do the same on Stitcher and on TuneIn as well.

Your ratings and reviews help us place the podcast in front of new leaders and listeners. Your feedback also lets me know how I can better serve you.

Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Kevin Jennings 

Kevin Jennings has helped some big names build and grow their brand. Kevin talks about how to manage the tension of creating a personal platform that gains traction while staying true to yourself, making sure your personal brand isn’t all about you, and how to use AI to make your web presence more personal. Plus we talk about the power of focus and strategic quitting.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 272.

CNLP 271: Ken Coleman on the Fine Art of World-Class Interviewing, How to Get the Best Out of People and How to Network Without Being a Social Climber


  1. Meaghan Brown on July 2, 2019 at 10:37 am

    As a young leader in my church and small business owner this podcast brings so much insight and inspiration. The way Carey engages each guest and draws out the gold is incredible. I’ve learned so much and used this podcast as a resource and conversation starter so many times now. Keep it up!

  2. Lorie Hartshorn on June 19, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    Thank you Carey for your incredible podcast. I’m addicted! I love learning from others and you allow me to ‘pull up a chair’ and listen in on intimate conversations. You have a gift of listening well and drawing deep things out of people. I also love your authenticity and kindness. Keep up the good work.

  3. PATRICIA LEON on June 18, 2019 at 3:58 am

    I love your programme

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Copy link