February is a short month, and this happens to be a short issue. While we have one instead of two feature articles, we're rich with another installment of our new Tools for Coaching Mastery column. This month we take to the seas with an article by Julia Stewart of the School of Coaching Mastery.
Is there any coaching news happening in your part of the world? Please let me know so we can share it with the IAC community.
In the Inside Scoop this month, Nina East invites us to measure the value of our words, in her explanation of Mastery #5 – Expressing.
Janice Hunter includes us on her daughter's journey through school and life, as she reflects on the Coaching Moments that are ever-present in all of our lives, even the new President of the United States.
Submission guidelines for the VOICE are now available on the website, including submission dates for our upcoming issues. I would love to receive your article submissions by February 16th for the March issue, or March 16th for the April issue.
And remember, even if you just have the smallest spark of an idea, we can work together to build it into an article. Let me help you become a published writer!
As always, your feedback about this issue is greatly appreciated.
It’s a big world, and it’s a new world! This last month has brought us into the Year of the Ox and undoubtedly also into a new world of hope and change. I’ve been travelling and experiencing some different perspectives from IAC members worldwide that I’d like to share with you.
I was welcomed by 40 coaches and friends at the IAC Pan Greater China Chapters Annual Dinner 2009 in Shenzhen, a city in China that borders Hong Kong. The atmosphere was delightfully warm, and the message I heard strongly from those mostly Chinese coaches was that they want the IAC to be a model for coaching ethics in China. I was thrilled by their sincerity and energy.
I’m currently visiting my family in Vancouver, Canada and I had the chance to meet with a few IAC coaches here, as well. I learned that even IAC members don’t understand what distinguishes us from other coaching organizations. Now that the foundations of our Certification Process and our Licensing Program are in place, we are ready to explain how coaches can use our certification process to gain coaching mastery and how organizations can use our certified coaches to gain assurances of high-quality coaching. We are ready to tell our story and expand in 2009! Will you help us?
I also went to a coaching workshop in California and had the pleasure of connecting with some wonderful coaches with completely different backgrounds from my own. It was heartening to learn how much we have in common as coaches, despite our differing opinions over methodologies. And I was reassured that the IAC Coaching Masteries™ stand up as a common description of masterful coaching.
As the coach training industry continues to discover the best ways to teach coaching, the IAC will be able to prove the effectiveness of shorter or different training approaches, thus allowing us to train more coaches more quickly to a higher standard. And with the changes and challenges that we are facing, the world needs more masterful coaches, right?!
Finally I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to Tara Robinson who has stepped down as the IAC’s Secretary after a year of dedicated service. Fortunately our new, very capable Board Member Bob Tschannen-Moran is stepping into this Executive Committee position. I’m in awe of the thousands of hours of volunteer effort that go into everything we do as the IAC, from our Board Members to our Chapter Hosts to those who are mastering coaching. And I know all that energy arises from that important desire we share: to bring coaching excellence to the world. Here’s to our success!
Starting Out Right With Your Clients: The power of the intake session
by Sue Brundege, IAC-CC
The co-creative process is the centerpiece of coaching. It means that both you and your client enter into a unique relationship that is characterized by open communication, complete commitment, courageous honesty and thoughtful risk. Each of you agrees to enter into the relationship fully, authentically and consciously, working together in harmony for your client's benefit.
The Intake Session Defined
Since this kind of relationship may be completely new to your client, it's best to devote time in the beginning to ground them in the co-creative process. This is done in the intake session – a one-time, longer session that sets the stage for a successful coaching relationship. During this special time, you will:
Build rapport with your new client
Educate them on your respective roles in the co-creative process
Discover your client's background, motivation and readiness to be coached
Learn about your client's expectations of you and the coaching program
Clearly communicate boundaries and guidelines governing the coaching process
Help your client outline measurable goals, tangible outcomes and benchmarks for success within the coaching program
Provide relevant information about you, your experience or your style that will help your client get more out of coaching
Understand how they want to be coached, and any potential obstacles or barriers to the coaching process
How you approach these topics and in what detail will vary from client to client. Some may be well-versed in the coaching process so you don't need to take as much time on the coach/client roles and expectations. Others are new to the whole thing so you'll make sure they fully understand what it means to be a client and coach in the co-creative relationship.
The intake session is quite different from your regular coaching sessions in that, for the most part, you will drive the structure and direction of the session, as opposed to allowing your client set their own agenda. You will do this co-creatively, guiding them in a way that continually demonstrates your respect for their wisdom, courage and resourcefulness.
Use Your Welcome Packet as Your Guide
Use your Welcome Packet documents as the foundation for your intake session. Each coach's Welcome Packet will look different depending on their education, niche and personal style, but for the purposes of the intake session, all Welcome Packets should have some version of the following documents. Use each document as an anchor to learn more about your client, educate them about the process, and create synergy and agreement on how you will proceed.
—Client Profile. This is a great place to begin establishing rapport with your client. Ask about where they live, the significant people in their life, their interests and hobbies and any other interesting details that arise from their profile. Touching on these topics is a safe way to discover commonalities with your client and start building trust and friendship.
—Coaching Terms and Agreement. Briefly review the coaching terms and agreement and answer any questions or concerns they may have. This is where you educate your client about roles, expectations, confidentiality and boundaries around the co-creative coaching relationship. Stress the value of this relationship and your commitment to honor these terms; get their commitment as well.
—Client Information/Philosophy/Perspective. Use this information to help your client uncover qualities, strengths, successes, support systems and potential obstacles that will impact their coaching program. Use your intuition to note any coachable moments that arise; check in with your client to see if they would like to explore any of these further in this session, or if they would like to save them for future coaching agendas.
—Goals Worksheet. Have your client complete as much of their goals worksheet as they can before your intake session. Go over these goals with them to discover:
The clarity in their vision
Their highest priorities
How realistic their goals are
Where they feel confident
Where they need reinforcement
How you can best support them in reaching these goals
Stay Flexible and Co-Creative
During the intake session, pay close attention to your client's state and respond to what they might need at that particular moment. Depending on how much detail your client includes in their Welcome Packet documents, you may spend some time talking about their responses, and perhaps do some coaching around certain areas that seem important.
By the end of the session make sure that you are both very clear on:
What they want to come away with from coaching with you
The roles and responsibilities of co-creative relationship
How they'll know when they're getting value out of the process
Their commitment to take full responsibility for their goals, their actions, and their results, with your support and guidance
Doing this important work up front will result in a rewarding, productive, and enjoyable coaching relationship for both of you!
Sue Brundege, IAC-CC, is a CTA- and IAC-certified coach, communication consultant and trainer, writer, and public speaker. Through her business, Self Made Self LLC, she helps service-based professionals gain confidence in public speaking, writing, and networking to attract ideal clients and grow their business. Sue also serves on the Board of Governors for the International Association of Coaches.
What a Famous Sea Captain Taught Me about Masterful Coaching (And how it can help you become a Certified Coach!)
by Julia Stewart, IAC-CC
Years ago, a famous retired sea captain named, Skippy Lane, taught me to sail on Long Island Sound. Skippy’s mastery of sailing was legendary in the New York City archipelago where we lived. One day I asked Skippy how sailors kept track of everything while they sailed. The current, the wind direction, the sails, the rudder; it was all so overwhelming!
Skippy said, “You sail a boat by the seat of your pants.”
I can still hear his booming voice. What he meant was that when you’re sailing and you have everything optimally lined up, the energy of the wind pulls the boat up out of the water and you feel it rise up literally through the seat of your pants! That’s when a sailor knows he’s on track.
And that’s exactly what happens when you ride the energy of the conversation throughout your coaching sessions. That energy is called curiosity and when it rises, it tells you that you’re on track. It’s so simple and so much more effective to do it this way, than it is to try to remember all of the effective behaviors required for IAC Certification.
When you focus on the skills and details, you’re too busy thinking to notice what’s really going on. When you focus on the energy, your attention is on the client and what your inklings are telling you about your client. That’s what separates good coaching from great coaching.
The amazing thing is that when curiosity is used well, many of the events that the IAC wants to see like, “The client is no longer held back but is instead excited and moving forward…” or “The client communicates more effortlessly and resourcefully,” show up naturally, as a result of you sailing masterfully though the energy of the coaching conversation. Pretty cool!
How do you use the energy of curiosity to coach masterfully? There is not nearly enough space in this article to cover all the ways, but here are three simple steps to get you started:
1. Notice what you’re curious about and ask your client about it. 2. Notice what your client is curious about and ask about that. 3. Use your curiosity and your client’s curiosity (and your curiosity about your client’s curiosity) as continuous feedback loops to help you navigate throughout the coaching conversation.
It’s quite simple and the results are magic.
To master this, practice it with other coaches who are knowledgeable about the IAC approach to coaching.
Skippy never heard of coaching, but he taught me the key to masterful coaching when he taught me how to sail. Interestingly, that legendary master of coaching, Thomas Leonard, called this skill, “Navigating via Curiosity.”
Julia Stewart, IAC-CC, is a coach, coach trainer, and seminar leader, who uses her creativity and humor to expand people’s thinking and inspire them to work brilliantly. She’s also President of www.SchoolofCoachingMastery.com, Professional Coach Training Programs where you can learn much more about energy, mastery and curiosity.
A Thrilling Night Igniting the Fire in our Hearts – The IAC Pan Greater China Chapters Annual Dinner 2009
by Karen Au
It was a night filled with warmth and cheer. It was a night for friends and strangers to share life, love and fun. It was a night when people with different nationalities were connected and united. It was a night when spirits were inspired and enlightened. It was the night that marked the first time in history – and signified the ignition of the sustaining passion – The IAC Pan Greater China Chapters Annual Dinner 2009.
The event was jointly organized by the IAC Hong Kong & Shenzhen Chapters driven by the initiative of Coach Bonnie, who established the 1st IAC chapter in Greater China. I was honored to be one of the members of the organizing committee to create the special time together with other friends whom I did not know before, yet I could feel their generous support and sensed the deep connection right from the beginning. We decided the theme of the dinner to be “Sharing Love, Inspiring Life” – which we believed is one of the wonderful ingredients we experience in coaching.
Held in a local restaurant in Shenzhen, the 1st IAC Pan Greater China Chapters Annual Dinner 2009 attracted over 40 IAC members and friends around the region, including coaches, coaching learners, trainers, executives and university students, who have a keen interest in coaching and sharing from the heart. The event started with an activity of “Sharing of Blessing and Aspirations” which set the scene for the guests to exchange views and get to know each other. What could be more meaningful for us than to count our blessings and affirm our goals at the beginning of the New Year, and share that with old and new friends who have common interests with us?
The President of IAC, Ms. Angela Spaxman had extended her heartfelt support to us by being our honorable guest and the keynote speaker. It was her presence that drew us closer to the big family of IAC, and reinforced to us that the world of coaching is virtually borderless. Coaching is a universal language that transcends our professions, culture and status.
The rest of the night was immersed in the atmosphere of cheering and sharing. We cheered for the opportunity to meet and unite; we shared our inspirations and dreams for coaching. It was particularly enlightening to see that we had made a milestone in the development of coaching in China. As commented by Coach Meiling, “The program was nicely organized with time to connect, share ideas and have fun…Not only was it a valuable opportunity to meet with other coaches and coaches-in-training, it also gave me new insight on the trends of the coaching profession in Greater China. It was positive and encouraging.”
What really motivated us was the fact that the idea of coaching had already been spread in the new generation in China. Jane, a university student, shared, “I think the dinner was fresh, and I met many different kinds of people, who have one thing in common – strong interest in human beings and developing themselves and helping others. They inspired me that coaching can apply to many fields.”
The end of the dinner was highlighted by the activity of appreciation. All the participants exchanged words of gratitude, encouragement and appreciation to each other, affixed each with stickers in a heart shape, symbolizing that our words were expressed from our hearts. It was the moment we experienced once again the power of affirming one’s potential, which was so touching and awakening.
We were not only glad to see that the theme of the dinner “Sharing Love, Inspiring Life” had been actualized by all the guests’ hearty presence, but also delighted to realize that the seeds of coaching had been planted in the field of mainland China with the devoting efforts of coaches and coaching learners in the region. We could foresee that more and more IAC chapters would be established in different cities of China in near future. Although the event was over, fires were ignited in our hearts, and our passions to nurture the growth of coaching in our homeland will be sustained and exalted.
Please click here to share with us the precious time in the IAC Pan Greater China Chapters Annual Dinner 2009. Special thanks to Summer who helped us to take snapshots throughout the night to capture our memorable moments.
Karen Au is a personal coach and also a consultant in corporate training and development. She has passion to support people to thrive and excel in personal and corporate lives through coaching. One of her lifelong missions is to build the culture of collaboration and appreciation in every organization. Karen can be contacted at email@example.com.
Mastery #5 – Expressing by Nina East, IAC-CC
This month we are discussing Mastery #5 – Expressing. This mastery is just what it sounds like – how the coach communicates with the client. Paraphrasing from the Coaching Masteries Ebook, expressing is how the coach communicates his or her commitment, direction, intent and ideas. It is not just how the coach communicates, but whether that communication is effective.
This mastery can be closely associated with Mastery #3 – Engaged Listening, but the two are not the same. A coach could be very effective at listening and picking up nuances of communication, but may still not be able to express that in a way that the client can hear, that maintains trust in the relationship or that adds value for the client.
The objective is that the coach’s communication helps put the client at ease, aids in developing trust (as in Mastery #1) and enhances the value of the coaching for the client (rather than being a distraction, for example). It is important that the client understands what the coach is expressing, and that the client may question the coach when it is not clear.
It is clear the coach’s expressing has a direct effect on the coaching. It is important to note that a masterful coach does not have to be perfect and get everything right. The coach does not have to be profound or state everything perfectly…but the manner in which the coach communicates must add to the coaching session, not take away from it or serve as a distraction.
A key distinction is that the coach is communicating FOR the client, not TO the client. When the coach chooses to share something about his or her own experience or life, what is their motive? The coach must understand the difference between self-referencing for the benefit of the client versus self-referencing for a specific effect, or to make themselves sound knowledgeable or better.
Nina East, IAC-CC, is the IAC’s Lead Certifier and the founder of PersonalGrowthProfessionals.com. As a coach, she helps personal growth professionals turn creative edge thinking into practical tools and resources, and helps coaches master the art of coaching. For even more information about essential coaching skills, visit Nina at www.CoachCamps.com.
"Coaching Moments" takes a thoughtful look at how coaching can be interwoven into our daily lives.
Sharing the Journey ~ by Janice Hunter, IAC-CC
A parent's willingness to nurture a child will define our fate. ~ Barack Obama (His inauguration speech, 20/1/09!)
For many of us, too many choices can be overwhelming. For the anxious perfectionists among us, the thought of making the wrong choice from an overwhelming array of possibilities can be paralysing, especially if the first step feels like a leap of faith.
As a parent, I’ve often found it hard to deal with the anxiety that comes with such a huge responsibility. Turbulent times and global financial crises haven’t helped. I've had to learn to trust more, to take things less personally and to balance letting go with being more present and engaged. Constantly trying to evolve as a coach has helped me become a wiser parent, a more grateful wife and a less judgemental daughter. Coaching is a career journey that has finally enabled me to blend all that I am with all that I've learned and believe in.
Last night, after a long, leisurely family meal, my husband and I sat at the table with our teenage daughter, discussing her passions and dreams, her talents and skills. In a few days' time, she has to choose the high school subjects she'll be taking to exam level.
My kids attend a small state school with a good reputation for its nurturing environment and committed teachers. The downside of its size, however, is that the students' curriculum choices are restricted by staff numbers and timetabling. Every year, I hear harrowing tales of young teenagers, with distinctive clusters of interests and talents, having to abandon subjects they love because they clash with others in a timetable geared towards offering a broad education.
It's a week I've been dreading ever since she started school.
What if we ask the wrong questions? Guide her too much? Give the wrong advice? Give her too much freedom?
My daughter's teachers haven't placed any restrictions on her choice of individual subjects as long as there are no timetable clashes; she does well academically in all of her classes and represents both the school and the county in sporting events.
But what of her gifts? Her passions? The passions that make her feel unique, special and good about herself? The things she'd do all day from morning till night if we let her? The interests she talks about endlessly, those that make her lose track of time when she's engrossed? Her love of reading, creative writing, film, music and drama, passions that have driven her to teach herself the technology she needs to write ebooks and publish them online, to make films, design CD covers and websites, to record her own songs and learn to play three musical instruments by ear?
As her mum, I know where her heart lies, but I also know the difficulties of earning a living in many of the fields associated with her gifts.
It came as no surprise to us when she mentioned how many of her friends, after similar discussions with their parents, have suddenly decided to become architects, lawyers, doctors or physiotherapists, careers they'd never mentioned an interest in before.
To encourage her to empathise with all sorts of paradigms, I pointed out that some careers – like those her friends are considering – often lead to financial security and good job prospects, something which many parents want for their children. I almost cried when she said, "But maybe they won't be happy. I want to do something I love. I want to do something I love so much I'd do it for free! I don't need to have one job, one career; I can have half a dozen!" The smile in my heart reminded me why I got into coaching in the first place.
I love championing people, acknowledging their achievements, helping them explore and expand their talents and discovering alongside them how they’re destined to use their greatness to benefit the world.
It doesn’t surprise me then, on a day filled with TV and radio coverage of Barack Obama's inauguration, that if I could ask him three questions, it would be these:
What did it take for you to get where you are today?
How will this personal achievement benefit your family, your community and the whole world?
What would your mum and grandma say to you now if they could?
For as I sit at our kitchen table typing, tears streaming down my face while Martin Luther King’s most famous lines ring out from the radio, I find myself thinking about Barack Obama’s grandma and his mother and how they didn’t live to see this momentous day.
I can imagine the pride in their eyes as they ruffled the young Obama’s tousled brown curls, watching him doing his homework while the birds outside sang to the breaking dawn.
I don’t know if his mother, standing making peanut butter sandwiches, ever said to him “I know you’re sleepy, son, but finish your homework, do it well and someday you could grow up to be President.”
I don’t know if, as a small boy, he woke up one day and decided he wanted to be the President of the United States.
But from where I sit, at the kitchen table of a small house in a quiet little town in Scotland, I know in my heart that somewhere along the line he was coached well. Somewhere along the line, he felt the power of focus, of connecting his own hopes and dreams with a much greater purpose, one that has driven and led him ever since.
I belong to an international coaching association, and our newsletter is read by thousands of people all over the world. For every coach who is inspired and delighted by Obama's presidency, there will be another who doesn't like his politics or share his vision. But laying aside our own personal beliefs, it’s clear that he has inspired hope in millions of people, people who not only had a dream, but who judged him by the content of his character and took the steps to make that dream come true, for him, for themselves, for others and for future generations.
Millions of people, all over the world, are celebrating his mixed race background and how it has come to symbolise more than the union of two people who came from different backgrounds and cultures to create a child, a new life filled with hope and potential.
No matter what my daughter chooses to do, I'm reminded today that her young life is filled with promise. No matter what she encounters along the way, I know she'll travel the road she's meant to take. No matter who she becomes, I believe with all my heart and soul that every day I'm allowed to share her journey is a blessing.
Janice Hunter, IAC-CC, is a writer and IAC-certified coach who lives in Scotland with her husband and two children. She specialises in homelife coaching (helping people create authentic, spirit-filled homes and lives) and also enjoys supporting other coaches through her writing and collaboration. Contact Janice at www.sharingthecertificationjourney.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Janice has compiled all of her Coaching Moments pieces from the last two years into a free 46 page ebook, 'Coaching Moments: a Collection of Articles about Coaching in Everyday Life' which can be downloaded here or from her site.
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The IAC® is a community of progressive and diverse coaches. With coaches from 80 countries, and even more languages, from all walks of life, you’ll have no trouble finding a coach or colleague you can connect with. If you are a client, this is a great way to find the most masterful coaches in the world! *
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