IAC VOICE, Volume 4, Issue 23, February 2008, Circulation: 12,063
February 13, 2008
From the Editor
Wishing you happiness and good fortune for the Year of the Rat! Since I live in China, I can wish you happy New Year twice every year.
For the IAC, I wish to evoke the rat’s vitality: its strong reproductive capacity and high survival rate. I predict we will have a year of strong growth in membership which will greatly enhance the sustainability and effectiveness of our organization. The year is certainly getting off to a good start, as we had a lot of new members joining in January and many people applying for certification.
Some of you are waiting to get started with our new IAC Masteries Step One exam. We're now doing the final tests on the system and will send out a special announcement as soon as it is released.
In the Voice this month we have some special features to enhance the vitality of your coaching and your coaching business.
I’m very pleased and excited that the IAC’s Lead Certifier, Nina East, will write a regular column called IAC Certification Tidbits. Nina will share tips and advice for completing and submitting high quality coaching session recordings as you work towards your IAC Certified Coach designation. We certainly couldn’t have a more qualified advisor.
Although Nina is a very important member of the IAC team, she has been working largely behind the scenes. So, at last you’ll have a chance to get to know her better through my interview with Nina.
We also have a special article called Seven Core Principles of Marketing for Coaches. For those of you still developing your coaching practice, Tara Rodden Robinson has written an excellent primer. For those who already have a successful marketing strategy, you’ll want to read these essential principles to ensure you are marketing as effectively as possible.
In addition to any and all February holidays across the globe we’re also celebrating some upcoming changes on the IAC Board of Governors.
We will be voting in a new President within the next couple of months as well as a Vice President and Secretary. Jean Gran remains as Treasurer, and although I am passing the presidential torch, I will remain on the executive team as Immediate Past President until year’s end. Diane Krause-Stetson and Parker Anderson will continue as Board Members, much to our delight!
The IAC has grown and changed over the past two years, creating a solid foundation that will allow the successors to propel the organization through the next natural progression. It’s truly a celebratory time for the IAC. The strength that comes from the Board of Governors, the Certifying Board, the volunteer teams, the IAC local chapters and the membership is what allows us to continue our mission: to advance coaching to the highest standards of universal excellence. Go, us (that includes YOU)!
Let’s take a moment to let Diane and Parker know how much they are appreciated for the time and expertise they have contributed to our member organization. Diane’s leadership and ability to take all the components of a situation, consider each consequence and make recommendations has been an invaluable asset to the executive team. Parker’s dedication to not just the coaching profession, but the coaches who are directly affected by the changes and growth in the coaching industry, is a heart skill that guides her every step. Thank you for your service!
Congratulations to Marco Iafrate from Calgary, AB, Canada who recently passed his Step 2 Exam and became an IAC Certified Coach!
Meet Nina East, IAC Lead Certifier
by Angela Spaxman
How and why did you get involved with the IAC? I joined the IAC way back at the beginning. I agreed with Thomas Leonard, the founder, that there are many experiences and trainings that can prepare someone for becoming a coach and that the true standard for certification should be the ability to coach masterfully. I wanted to support that philosophy and honor the value of work, life and training experiences coaches had that fell outside the official coach-training realm. I was also closely involved with the Coaching Proficiencies from the beginning, crafting the learning guides, as well as teaching teleclasses and live seminars. Since the Proficiencies were the original standards used for IAC Certification, it made sense to be involved. So, when Shirley Anderson, the first Lead Certifier, invited me to become a Certifier, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.
So, if you were so involved with the Proficiencies, what do you think about the IAC Coaching Masteries™? I think they are great. If not, I never would have accepted the role as Lead Certifier! My role with the Masteries was in the initial conversations, and then in testing and evaluating their application in order to refine them. To be quite honest, that means I missed the bulk of the creation work. The team that developed the Masteries did an impressive job and an immense amount of work. What excites me most about the Masteries is the elegance of their simplicity and ease of understanding. I’m not saying the Masteries are easier than the Proficiencies or that it’s easier to demonstrate the Masteries. They definitely represent an advanced coaching ability. The difference is that the language of the Masteries is very straightforward and concrete. Even the more abstract concepts within the Masteries are described in concrete language with specific effective and ineffective behaviors identified. This means it should be easier for people to grasp the concepts. My hope is that if they are easier to understand, they’ll be easier to practice–and hopefully easier for coaches to self-evaluate.
The other thing that stands out to me about the Masteries is their attention to international cultures and nuances. As a former diversity trainer, this is very important to me. This approach in the Masteries makes them truly applicable on the international coach certification scene.
What do you enjoy most about being a Certifier? It means a lot to me that I’m helping the coaching industry by upholding high standards. By being an advocate for excellence in coaching, I know the work we do helps coaches coach better, and it helps clients because they can be more confident about their coaches’ abilities. I also have to say that working with the other Certifying Examiners is great. They are tremendously talented, insightful and committed – I know I’m a better coach because of the work we do together.
Tell us a bit about your coaching practice. My business has gone through many transitions – and it’s in the process of making another! I used to do a lot of business coaching, particularly around marketing. That was fun, and definitely lucrative, but I was ready for something different. Recently I took a long sabbatical to “rediscover” myself. What I realized is that in addition to helping coaches master the art of coaching, my passion and experience falls in two main areas – personal growth and helping college students. I’ve been embracing this and finding lots of rewarding opportunities.
On the personal growth side, I work with personal growth professionals – counselors, trainers, authors, body workers, coaches, etc. – helping them with their own personal and professional development through the Association of Personal Growth Professionals. Plus, in a sister project, I get to champion the people like me who relish personal growth opportunities. That’s done through writing the blog at www.PersonalGrowthEnthusiast.com. It’s new, and I’m really excited about it.
For the college student side of my business, I work with students and their families who are doing college planning – or who ought to be doing it. I do this through a blend of seminars and family coaching. It’s been a great adventure. Since my last traditional job, eons ago, was as a faculty member and Dean of Students at a university, it’s a natural blend of my work experience and coaching skills.
For lots of coaches, marketing is viewed as something to avoid. Almost everyone seems to know that they need to do marketing, but almost no one understands how. Marketing is perceived as cheesy, underhanded or worse. Because coaches resist marketing, they never learn how to create an effective marketing plan.
When coaches do create some sort of marketing strategy, the plan is often to look at what other coaches are doing and emulate someone else’s approach. This sort of marketing–being a copycat–is born of the belief that if someone else is doing “xyz,” it must be because “xyz” works. When the clients don’t show up, the coach is left to wonder, “Is it me?”
No, it’s your marketing.
One shortcoming of the way most coaches approach marketing is that they don’t allow the potential client to see any noticeable difference between them and any other coach in the same field. That leaves the client to base his or her decision on just one thing: price. And that is very bad news.
When you start competing on price alone, you’re on a slippery slope. There will always be someone who is willing to price his or her services cheaper than yours. So what is the coach to do? Marketing can’t be an afterthought. Everything you do relies on your ability to market your practice effectively, allow potential clients to see your value, and be willing to pay a decent price for what you have to offer.
In this article, you can learn seven key steps to successful marketing. These principles form the basis of a real marketing plan. Not some copycat approach, but a means of distinguishing the true value of your practice and attracting all the clients you need and want.
Tara Rodden Robinson, PhD is the founder of Zugunruhe [zoog.un.roo.ee] (www.zugunruhe.com), a coaching firm dedicated to helping great people get [good] things done. In her work with small business owners and non-profits, Tara uses Duct Tape Marketing®, an award winning and super-practical system for small business marketing success.
Every so often we get questions about certification, the Masteries, and in particular, how coaches can improve their coaching in order to pass certification. While the IAC is not a training organization per se, we do want to support coaches in being the best they can be and we want them to have the best opportunities to demonstrate that for certification. In this new column I’ll attempt to de-mystify the certification process by answering common questions, reviewing the Masteries and sharing an insider’s look at what the Certifiers look for when reviewing a coaching session. Obviously I can’t do all that in one swoop, so we’ll be running this column frequently. Think of it as tidbits to clarify your thinking and jumpstart your coaching innovation. And please let me know of any questions you have so we can answer them for everyone. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Telling vs. Listening
One of the important distinctions between masterful coaching and not-so-masterful coaching is the distinction of telling vs. listening. Coaching is about eliciting the client’s wisdom and truth, discovering what’s best for them, and engaging the client fully in the process. It is important that the coach not be in “telling” or “instructing” mode for the coaching session. That doesn’t mean the coach can’t tell the client what they are thinking or share relevant information. Certainly, that’s fine.
Where the coaching becomes less than masterful is when the coach spends too much time in this mode. The coach often feels as if he or she needs to be the expert, or perhaps thinks he or she is the expert, and so tells the client what to do, what the client is feeling (or ought to be feeling), and why it is important. The coach’s heart is in the right place. We know a coach genuinely wants to help the client make progress. But when this happens, the coaching is no longer client-centered. It’s become all about the coach, his/her performance, or thinking he/she knows best. In coaching sessions where there is a lot of telling going on, the certifiers have noticed the coach misses critical clues from the client about what is really most important or what the underlying source is, and therefore, the coach and the coaching are less effective.
Interestingly, this often happens in a session where part of the client’s challenge is in standing up for themselves, making their own decisions, speaking their truth, or having confidence about their own abilities or inner knowing. So, even though the coach’s heart is in the right place, the coach is actually exacerbating the problem, and the client doesn’t get what she or he really needs.
Engaged Listening, Coaching Mastery #3, means giving space (silence) for the client to think and respond. It means asking questions…and then giving the client time to respond (even when they need to think about it a bit). It means not interrupting or talking over the client in order to have your idea considered. (Though there are ways to interrupt appropriately if the client is on a rant or “stuck in their story”.)
Engaged Listening also means picking up on the nuances in the client’s communication. If you’re in “telling” mode, you are thinking more about what you are saying than what you are hearing, and it’s virtually impossible to pick up on all the nuances and signals the client is sending.
Some questions to ask yourself:
When you are coaching, who is doing most of the talking – you or your client? (Listen to your own recordings to get an honest assessment.)
What is most important to you – getting the client to do something (anything!) or getting to the source of what’s really going on?
Is what you are telling the client really for them or is any teensy part of it really for you?
Nina East is the IAC’s Lead Certifier and the author of PersonalGrowthEnthusiast.com. As a coach she works with personal growth professionals, helps coaches master the art of coaching, and coaches students through the transition into college. www.NinaEast.com
"The IAC has been very supportive and helpful to me as I learn and grow as a coach. Since coaching is a fairly young industry, it's so nice to have an established group like the IAC to establish a set of standards to help focus my efforts to become a better coach. There are so many people out there calling themselves coaches, and not everyone has the same idea of what being a masterful coach means. I have witnessed firsthand how the simple application of the IAC Masteries can help people unlock potential, break through barriers and get empowered to change their lives. It's great to know that I'm part of this growing trend in society, and the IAC provides the most effective and efficient way for me to learn the craft and make a difference."
Vocational Coach, Mentor Coach and IAC Certified Life Coach
"Coaching Moments" takes a thoughtful, and sometimes lighthearted, look at how coaching can be interwoven into our daily lives.
loving letters by Janice Hunter
“We lay aside letters never to read them again, and at last we destroy them out of discretion, and so disappears the most beautiful, the most immediate breath of life, irrecoverable for ourselves and for others.” ~ Goethe
I’d like to start this month’s article by begging you, pleading with you not to take a moment of your life for granted today, no matter how creatively in the flow you are or how jam packed, bogged down or productive your day is. Don’t let one single breath slip by unappreciated, not a smile, or a phonecall, or a scrap of paper from a friend, or a coffee date that you’re considering cancelling because of work. If you’ve drifted away from a loved one because of busy-ness and stress, head for home and find a safe harbour before it’s too late. Say thank you, say sorry, say something.
It all started in the attic. I went up to find a map for my son’s homework and while I was rooting around among teetering piles of cardboard boxes, I found an old plastic bag with Portuguese writing on it and I knew it must contain something from the time my husband and I spent teaching there twenty years ago. I carried the dusty, musty smelling thing down to my bedroom, spilled the contents onto the bed then gasped with my hand to my face as I saw piles of envelopes covered in my mother’s handwriting.
Guilt came first; here were all the letters she’d written to me in my years abroad. So many letters. Most of the time, beween brief phonecalls, all I sent my folks were scrawled postcards and clichéd tourist gifts. She ended every letter with “We love you” and every letter was an expression of unconditonal love. If she was saddened by the self-obsessed way I neglected my family or anxious about me living alone in foreign countries, she never showed it.
Tears streaming down my face, I realised, for the first time, that my mother had a gift for fresh, immediate writing. I savoured, in a way I’m sure I didn’t back then, the details of her everyday life as she described, with a canny eye and gentle humour, the simple goings-on in our Scottish mining village.
I felt her presence wrap itself around me as I laid them to the side, knowing I would keep and treasure them but I had to read the others now. A window to my past, to another world, to another self had been opened. Like an archaeologist, a time traveller, I kept reading.
I found cards and letters of love and support from friends I’d written to before I went into surgery to have a tumour removed. I suddenly remembered sitting by the hospital bed, writing ‘thank you’ and ‘I love you’ letters to everyone in my address book – just in case. How I wish I could turn back the clock now and thank them again, with an older, wiser understanding of how powerful and authentic their messages were. There is deep, raw strength in the honesty that brings us closer together in situations where we feel the wings of death brush past our shoulders.
A pile of flimsy blue air mail envelopes with their red and white striped edging, letters from my best friend in his beautiful Greek script, teasing me and loving me, unaware that in a few short years his life would be tragically cut short by cancer.
A funny postcard in what we called Portuguenglish from a linguistically brilliant student of mine who’d become a good friend; he threw away his lonely young life with a heroin needle a few years later.
A bundle of fat envelopes addressed in the small, shy handwriting of a Scottish friend I’d been at university with, envelopes bursting with beautiful, expressive, heartfelt letters to cheer me up and keep me company during many a painful, lonely time abroad before I met my husband. He wrote to me about music, art, books, life and love and it didn’t dawn on me until today – so selfish and self-centred was I then – that he was in love with me. My heart stumbled and I wiped my wet face on the back of my hand as I realised that he saw then the very best of me, a glimpse of my real self, my soul, the part of me that has been rediscovered and nurtured by my marriage, my children and my coaching journey. He let me go eventually, “getting rid of dead wood” he called it, and the pain I felt then was excruciating because I didn’t realise why he was doing it. I do now, but I can’t apologise, can’t thank him, can’t start again and show him pictures of my kids. And I wouldn’t wish this feeling on anyone.
As I sat shredding letters for reycling, letting go of all but a precious few and whispering silent apologies and gratitude for the memories that made me the person I am today, I decided I’m going to write some real letters and notes to the folk I love, something they can hold and choose to keep in a ribbon-tied bundle if they want to; real letters in unique handwriting on scented notepaper or carefully chosen postcards like we sent back then, when people left a part of themselves on paper and thank God they did.
Janice Hunter is a writer, teacher and IAC certified coach who currently specialises in homelife coaching – helping people create authentic, spirit filled lives and homes they love – and in supporting coaches on their certification journeys. She lives in Scotland with her husband and two children.
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