IAC VOICE, Volume 4, Issue 36, June 2009, Circulation: 13,018
June 11, 2009 June 11, 2009
From the Editor
The School of Coaching Mastery, an IAC Coaching Masteries® Licensee, is running a contest through the month of June to choose the Best Coaching Blogs of 2009. The IAC VOICE blog was entered, but unfortunately we've already been cut.
We'd still like to support this contest though, so please visit the blog contest website to read and vote on these excellent blogs.
In today's issue we get to hear more about CAM '09, the Conversation Among Masters. Sue Brundege put together some reflections from each of the four IAC Board of Governors members who attended. Her experience at CAM definitely influenced Angela's President's Message this month, as we read her newly solidified affirmations of how the IAC expresses its values and "walks its talk."
We have two excellent feature articles this month. In her exploration of evidence-based coaching, coach and educator Leni Wildflower discusses how coaches can draw from other disciplines and how this may help improve our credibility.
Coach Suzi Pomerantz delivers an article that is jam-packed with solid business-building tips. She offers some of the clearest definitions of networking, marketing and sales that I have ever seen.
In the Inside Scoop – Lessons from the Certifiers, Nina East delves into the last of the IAC Coaching Masteries®, Mastery #9. But don't worry! She and the other certifiers have some wonderful things planned for future issues – all designed to help you become a more masterful coach and to achieve IAC certification.
In Birds, Bees and Blogging, Janice Hunter introduces you to her new houseguest, and talks about her continuing search for balance in her own creative nest.
Submission guidelines for the VOICE are available on the website, including submission dates for our upcoming issues. I would love to receive your article submissions by June 15th for the July issue, or July 20th for the August issue.
What makes the IAC different from other professional coaching associations? This is the question I was asked many times in this past month, and as a result I have more clarity on the answer.
The answer harkens back to our roots, who we are and what we stand for, and so it is important. What makes us different is not just the distinct features of our certification and ethical systems, but our values, from which our unique features were created. Here I describe two of the important values that the IAC aims to express.
The IAC recognizes that masterful coaches come from a wide variety of backgrounds. They have diverse educations and experiences, and many ways of achieving masterful coaching. They are so diverse that is not possible to predict or prescribe a standard path for how to become a masterful coach. Equally, the people and organizations that coaches serve are highly diverse.
The IAC celebrates the power of diversity to drive coaching to its full potential and to serve the widest possible range of society. By setting very high standards for coaching mastery, we provide: (a) clarity about what coaching is, (b) a unifying community where coaches can recognize each other and work together and (c) a diverse collection of possible ways to do this work.
As an example of how we have expressed our value for diversity, our coach certification process has no prerequisites and is equally available to all coaches who choose to validate their mastery.
The coaching profession has emerged as part of rapid development in the human potential industry. This industry is learning and changing at an unprecedented rate on the back of scientific research, tremendous societal challenges and shifting paradigms. For coaches as people who "invite possibility," innovation is highly valued. Therefore it is vital that our own institutions are also designed to welcome innovation.
One way the IAC expresses our value for innovation is through openness and flexibility to our licensed coaching schools and mentors. These schools and mentors are free to support their students and coaches-in-training according to their growing expertise and the changing needs of their particular student body. We do not place requirements on number of coaching hours, curriculum, or anything else. But their aim is clear: to produce coaches sufficiently masterful to reach the very high standards of the IAC Certification process.
Do you agree that the IAC upholds these two very important coaching values (diversity and innovation)? What other values must the IAC uphold in order to be of service to you and the coaching profession?
I'm listening very closely to learn what values will make the difference to what the IAC brings to coaching, so please add your comments below.
Four members of our Board of Governors had the privilege and pleasure of attending this year’s Conversation Among Masters (CAM ’09). Nearly 130 master coaches from around the world gathered in Branson, Missouri, USA May 3–7 for this unique, invitation-only event. We exchanged ideas, explored innovative directions, made new friends and had a lot of fun!
Our IAC attendees included President Angela Spaxman; Secretary Bob Tschannen-Moran; Volunteer Coordinator Kristi Arndt, and Communications Chair Sue Brundege. Not only was it great to meet one another in person, we also had the opportunity to educate many well-established coaches about IAC’s mission, our unique certification process and the benefits of being a member.
Our four board members share their perspective on what was most inspiring about attending CAM this year.
This is what inspired me about this year’s CAM event:
1) Masterful coaches love meaningful conversations. We don't have much time for small talk, so each conversation I had with fellow coaches was stimulating, allowing me to learn so much from others' experiences.
2) Masterful coaches want to contribute. It was very heartening to have a chance to share and develop together our aspirations for bringing coaching to the world for the good of humanity. Masterful coaches have developed their lives so well that they are overflowing with passion to help others, and coaching is an ideal tool to use in so many ways.
3) Masterful coaches can be stupid, testy, mean, fearful, hopeless and much, much more! The Big Mind Process that Genpo Roshi led us through was hilarious, highly emotional at times and very useful. We all become more attractive, effective human beings when we allow all aspects of ourselves to do their good work, rather than disowning them. Bob
What most inspired me about CAM this year was the time I spent with my IAC colleagues. I know that sounds strange, since we had such wonderful speakers and workshop leaders, but I came away with a wonderful sense of community with my IAC colleagues as well as clarity as to the mission of the IAC and how we fit into the landscape of the coaching world.
The IAC and its credential are not for the novice or beginning coach. For them, the ICF training programs are a great place to start. The IAC and its credential are for seasoned and masterful coaches. Without requiring a particular path of development, the IAC assesses and celebrates coaching mastery.
We’ve said that from the beginning, of course, but the conversations we had at CAM affirmed the important place such a credential has in the coaching community. Many of the coaches at CAM were not ICF-certified, MCC coaches. There was great interest, therefore, in an alternative credential that did not require backtracking on or apologizing for one’s experience or education. I love how our credential promotes innovation and creativity in coaching. I think many people will be joining the IAC and checking out our credential as a result of the CAM Conference – especially after they saw our President dance.
More than anything, what distinguishes the Conversation Among Masters annual gathering from other events is the creativity, innovation, love and devotion demonstrated by the organizers, volunteers, presenters and participants. It’s not easy to put into words; you almost need to have been there to know what I’m talking about.
Imagine walking into a typical conference ballroom but rather than theater-style seating, the room is full of bright red, blue, yellow and silver exercise balls to provide seating for an exhilarating and really fun peek into the future with Jody Turner. Her quirky, fast-paced presentation was followed by a fishbowl experience facilitated by Ann Clancy and Jacqueline Binkert. Twelve chairs at the front of the room were available for anyone who was moved to create and contribute to an evolving conversation; participants stayed to say their piece, then went back to bounce on their balls, leaving an open seat for someone else.
Last year was cool, too, as we sat comfortably in our rocking chairs while conversing with Martha Beck, fellow mystics coming together to recognize ourselves as members of a common tribe. Such purposeful environments contribute something uniquely powerful yet mysteriously intangible, making a memorable shared experience for everyone involved.
These are just a few of the special moments I’ve experienced at CAM. The best part, however, is spending time with such wonderful, interesting people who are doing amazing work in the world. The conversation really never ends as there is always further to go and more to discuss well beyond the conference itself. Good thing there are so many ways to stay connected and share thoughts, ideas and inspiration with others, whether they attended or not!
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what was most inspiring about CAM ’09. To experience so many intelligent, insightful, creative and courageous coaches in the same room was awe-inspiring in and of itself! And if that weren’t enough, each day we participated in a unique dialogue, initiated by thought-provoking speakers. Each master coach attendee had the opportunity to stand up, speak their idea, respond to another’s comments or take the conversation in a completely different direction—it was a dynamic example of the co-creative process en masse, both reflecting and magnifying what we all do with our clients individually.
Against this stimulating backdrop, I was delighted to engage in both scheduled and impromptu meetings with fellow IAC board members Angela, Bob and Kristi. It was such a treat to meet these wonderful coaches/leaders in person, and brainstorm on how to make the IAC even more valuable to our members. I was also excited to see the growing interest in IAC from masterful coaches around the world who attended the conference.
Looking ahead to next year, CAM ’10 will be held near Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. To learn more about CAM and its invitation criteria, visit www.conversationamongmasters.com.
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 IAC Board of Governors as Communications Chair.
Contra Coaching is a thriving community of coaches from around the world who have created a portal to unlimited coaching and mentoring. Contra Coaches are constantly walking their talk, and they’re reaping the rewards!
Contra Coaches have access to as much coaching and mentoring as they like, for about a quarter of the cost of one coaching session. How is this possible? It’s simple. Contra Coaches buy a couple of Coaching Coins or accrue free coins and this pays for a professional match-maker to assign them a coach and a client. Then, by agreeing to give coaching to your assigned Contra Client, you are entitled to receive the same amount of coaching from your assigned Contra Coach.
It’s like Chinese Whispers, only Contra Coaches pass on coaching and mentoring rather than a secret, and, instead of sitting in a circle in one room, Contra Coaching circles can stretch right around the world!
As an IAC member, you are now entitled to free membership at Contra Coaching. All you need to do is pre-purchase two Coaching Coins for your first round of Contra Coaching. And, as a special introductory offer, if you join before the end of June, you’ll get a bonus Coaching Coin – all you need for your first round of mentoring too.
Peer coaching is a term that is loosely applied in the coaching industry to various forms of coaches coaching coaches. However, there are two versions of peer coaching, the “official” and the “unofficial”, and it would be wise for coaches be aware of which is which before you end up on the wrong train!
There are two forms of “official” peer coaching existing in formal education settings, business organizations and in some fields of coaching, expert coaching and reciprocal coaching. Expert coaching occurs within an unequal relationship and involves feedback, support, alternatives and suggestions. Reciprocal coaching occurs within an equal relationship and involves observation, feedback, support and natural learning (Zeus & Skiffington, 2002). Many peer coaching relationships between coaches are reciprocal coaching relationships. In addition, cognitive coaching frequently uses peer coaching, to assist teachers in delving into the thinking behind their practices, helping them to self-monitor, self-analyse and self-evaluate their teaching practices (Costa, 1992, 2000; Garmston, 1993). Notably, cognitive coaching plays a role in evidence-based coaching literature also (Campbell, 2003).
From the literature, it seems most “official” peer coaching, including both expert coaching and reciprocal coaching, is used as a means of facilitating professional development and may or may not involve specific coaching process. On the other hand, there has been a proliferation of “unofficial” peer coaching among professional coaches within the coaching industry that focuses more on personal, rather than professional development and is underpinned by accepted coaching process. “Unofficial” peer coaching remains largely undocumented within coaching literature. Although it is personally focused and much more fun that “official” peer coaching, with professional rewards being a by-product, “unofficial” peer coaching can also be a bit slippery…
Shortly after I first started coaching, I started to swap coaching with one of my trainee coaching colleagues. We agreed to coach each other for 12 sessions. I gave her one session, then she gave me one, and so on until we reached… oh, about session 10. What happened at session 10? Why didn’t we continue? There were two reasons.
Firstly, I knew too much about her and she found out too much about me, the result of which meant we could no longer coach each other effectively because we started thinking we knew the answers to each other’s issues! Secondly, we had two different relationships going at the same time. I had a relationship with my colleague as a coach and a client and that meant that her behaviour as a coach affected my interaction with her as a client and vice-versa! With this experience I got the message loud and clear that the coaching ethic warning against dual relationships in the coaching process was put in place for a reason.
After this experience, I was faced with a dilemma: pay for a coach or not have one at all. At the time, I’d given up my day job to coach, so I didn’t have a lot of money, leaving just the latter option. As a coach, it was unthinkable for me not to have my own coach. So I got creative and gathered together a group of coaches who wanted coaching without having to pay money. By setting up a chain-like system, we all got coached but never coached the same person who was coaching us. This small gathering has since spread to hundreds of coaches from around the world and is known throughout as Contra Coaching. Peer coaching was sorted forevermore and I have never been without a coach since!
Dr. Kerryn Griffiths, fondly referred to as “the Queen of Contra,” is the Global Coordinator of Contra Coaching, where coaches go for coaching. IAC members are now entitled to free membership to this dynamic community, as part of their member benefits. See our announcement earlier in this issue and join online via www.contracoaching.com, where coaches go for coaching.
Campbell, J. W. (2003). Coaching as a transformational tool in a learning correctional culture. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Royal Roads University, Canada. Costa, A. L. (1992). An environment for thinking. In C. Collins & J. N. Mangieri (Eds.), Teaching thinking: An agenda for the 21st century (pp. 169-181). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers. Costa, A. L. (2000). Mediative environments: Creating conditions for intellectual growth. In A. Kozalin & Y. Rand (Eds.), Experience of mediated learning: An impact of Feuersteins's theory in education and psychology (pp. 34-44). Amsterdam: Elsevier Science. Garmston, R. (1993). Reflections on cognitive coaching. Educational Leadership, October, 57-60. Zeus, P., & Skiffington, S. (2002). The coaching at work toolkit: A complete guide to techniques and practices. Sydney: McGraw Hill.
Evidence Based Coaching: What it is and how it works
by Leni Wildflower, PhD, PCC
The success of coaching
In recent years the practice of executive and life coaching has exploded in Europe and around the world. Coaching has proved a successful newcomer in a crowded market, competing aggressively with more established sources of guidance and support for businesses and individuals. While there is no shortage of anecdotal evidence of the benefits of coaching in its many forms, and adherents to one school or other are vocal in their support of their chosen systems, there has so far been too little time for extensive outcome research or much rigorous analysis of which techniques achieve results. Coaching is still in the process of cohering as a profession. Meanwhile it is helpful to study its intellectual underpinnings, and to draw the lines between bodies of established theory and research on the one hand and aspects of coaching methodology on the other.
An evidence-based approach
An evidence-based approach to coach training draws on a range of related disciplines, including psychology, communication, adult development and organizational studies, and aims to match them with the best current techniques, skills and strategies in coaching. The aim is not to add yet one more trade-marked coaching system, but rather to enrich the individual coach’s repertoire of strategies and to deepen his or her sense of the intellectual stream from which these practices have emerged.
Although coaching can be seen to have sprung from theories of humanistic psychology, behavioral therapy, and the human potential movements of the 1970’s, its origins are many and varied. What makes coaching so exciting is precisely what makes it difficult to identify as a discipline or a codified set of principles. Certainly there is an emerging model that distinguishes the practice of coaching from consulting or counseling. But the most skilled coaches are able to employ principles and techniques from a whole range of disciplines.
While adhering to what is unmistakably a coaching role in relation to the client, a coach might lean on theories drawn from humanistic, behavioral or Gestalt psychology, or from positive psychology and appreciative inquiry. At times it might be helpful for the coach to be equipped with theories of adult development, adult learning, or intelligence. At other times theories of communication, leadership and organizational management will be more helpful. Some coaches might be able to draw on knowledge as diverse as neurobiology and brain research on the one hand, and religious and spiritual traditions on the other. Depending on the client’s issues and circumstances, theories of conflict and conflict resolution, theories of change and transition management, or theories of gender, cultural and racial difference might be part of an appropriate background to the coaching conversation, or might find their way into the conversation itself.
Background or Foreground
Whether or not any one of these areas remains intellectual background for the coach or becomes a topic of conversation between the coach and the client will depend on various factors, and there are a number of ways in which a theory might become relevant.
First, there are areas of theory that provide the general principles basic to the coaching enterprise, and on which any coaching practice must be founded. For example, the skill of developing a coaching presence and co-creating a relationship are underpinned by research-based theories found both in humanistic psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy. For a coach with a pragmatic sense of what works, a study of theory can add a fresh awareness of why it works, bringing to the practice a greater sense of coherence.
Second, there are times when an aspect of theory will become an appropriate part of the dialogue between the coach and the client, providing a lens through which the client may view his or her situation and process. A client in mid-life, for example, experiencing an impulse to pull away from daily work and find more meaningful outlets may be aided through a discussion of Erikson’s mid-life stage theory of development.
Third, an individual theory can become a tool within the coaching process. For example, a client experiencing difficulty with personal or professional change can be helped through the application of Bridge’s change management paradigm.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Coaching
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one example of an evidence-based framework that can be applied in coaching. It is particularly effective when working with mid-level professionals (managers and directors) where the goal is to improve performance and the coaching engagement is limited in scope. CBT is based on a psychological theory attributed to Aaron Beck (1987, 2004). The behavioral approach of Beck and other theorists is based on the idea that the process for changing behavior should focus on identifying the factors maintaining problems, rather than the origin of the factors. Beck asserted that encouraging clients to test assumptions through behavioural experiments is an effective therapeutic process. In essence, changing behavior patterns will in turn change attitude.
Using principles of CBT, the coach and client can make significant changes in performance in a short period of time. The coach might, for example, ask the client to watch a person who is successful at work and to make notes towards a discussion on what accounts for their success. Or, where the client’s belief system is preventing him or her from shifting behavior, coach and client together might devise an experiment to directly test those beliefs. In such exercises, the client must, of course, be committed to the process, but need not necessarily be conscious of its theoretical premise.
Coaching has exploded as a profession within the past decade in businesses, schools, and organizations. Now, the field of coaching is faced with the challenge of becoming more academically rigorous and research-based in order to continue effectively serving the global needs. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, being an evidence-based coach provides professionals with a distinct advantage.
Beck, A.T. et. al (2004). Cognitive therapy of personality disorders. New York: Guilford Press. Beck, A.T., et. al. (1987). Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford Press. Gilligan, C. (1982). In a different voice: Psychological theory and women’s development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Helgesen, S. (1990). The female advantage: Women’s ways of leadership. New York: Doubleday Currency. Helgesen. S. (1995). The web of inclusion: A new architecture for building great organizations. New York: Doubleday Currency. Wildflower, L. (2006) Origins and Applications of Evidence Based Coaching (in publication: Wiley and Sons).
Leni Wildflower, PhD, MPH, PCC, is an executive coach, consultant, author and professor. Currently, she directs Fielding Graduate University’s Evidence Based Coaching certificate program. This is one of the few programs in America to offer graduate credit in addition to certification from the International Coach Federation, and the only one that grants credit towards a PhD. For more information, please visit http://www.fielding.edu/programs/hod/ebcC or contact Leni at email@example.com.
Being A Great Coach is NOT Enough in These Crazy Times!
by Suzi Pomerantz, MCC
Being a masterful coach is not enough in a rapidly changing marketplace like we are experiencing these days. Being a great leader is not enough. Being a good person is not enough. To create meaningful change in organizations—global monoliths, public sector not-for-profits, sole proprietorships, or even families—we as coaches must master the "critical trinity" of business development; we must learn how to network, market and sell.
It's not enough simply to know how to integrate networking, marketing and sales activities. Coaching professionals must personally integrate these principles so seamlessly into who we are being that we no longer think of them as separate, independent, and somewhat unpleasant tasks, like taking out the trash or paying taxes.
It's crucial for coaches to find the "sweet spot" where these three domains of networking, marketing and sales intersect. Every coach must understand the distinctions and master the activities associated with each part of this critical trinity in order to "seal the deal." Any deal. Influence depends on it!
* If you're a solopreneur or small firm delivering coaching, you must find and engage clients in order to have opportunities to deliver your services.
* If you're an internal coach or human resources director in a large organization, you must create visibility, sell ideas, and garner support for programs in order to have opportunities to deliver your services.
* If you're an organizational leader (particularly if you are directing an internal coaching program), you must influence other leaders, lobby support for initiatives, and communicate your vision so effectively that you inspire engaged, motivated followers.
* If you're a successful business coach, you must help your leader clients to create opportunities for the delivery of their services—to influence others, to sell their ideas or to manage their careers for increased visibility and promotion.
The success secret in each of these scenarios is the ability to master, implement and lead from the sweet spot mentioned above. Without mastering the distinctions between networking, marketing, and sales, and the ability to teach those distinctions, we cannot help our clients move past their fears of asking for what they want. I know lots of coaches who could use some work in learning how to ask for what they want!
This is not just about finding and retaining coaching clients. Our ability to seal the deal—at will—is largely determined by our understanding of the systematic, repeatable process behind it all.
Here are specific tools in each area of the "critical trinity" to help you (and your clients) get ahead:
Networking (building relationships as the foundation for every business activity):
An informational interview is a powerful networking tool. This conversation is designed to gather information about what an individual (or his or her company) does. Since it's not a sales meeting, the encounter is non-threatening for the interviewee. In fact, most people are flattered when asked to provide this small dose of mentorship.
Informational interviews can be designed around anything your clients want to learn. You'll collaboratively co-create questions which your clients will ask people in their networks, helping to gain new perspectives and shed light on particular challenges or growth areas your clients are facing.
For coaches, networking is a doorway into the sales process. The informational interview keeps pipelines sustainably fresh, with new things coming in continually. However, all coaches must keep networking as a distinct and ongoing process from sales. Networking is about creating genuine and authentic human connections.
Don't forget the power of social media as a networking tool! Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In are some of the best vehicles at our disposal now for creating new relationships and renewing old ones!
Marketing (messaging about you or your business, service or product):
Marketing consists of anything you're doing to promote your business or ideas, excluding activities that directly involve relationship-building or asking for a specific outcome.
Rather than creating opportunities to deliver your services, marketing activities allow you to actively create opportunities to deliver your message.
Think strategic leverage when you generate your marketing materials – create them once and use them in several ways. Develop your message for a speech and repurpose it for an article. Conduct a teleclass and record it as a podcast. Write a book and repurpose the content into speaking engagements, appearances and articles. Develop your website and use it to showcase your articles, speaking engagements, blogs and other materials. If you create something and use it only once, you are leaving money on the table and wasting your own time.
Above all, remember that messaging and marketing should support your business development efforts, not be them. You don't get more clients by having more materials—technically, you only get more materials!
Sales (asking for what you want):
We all know this frustrating cycle: Our marketing and networking efforts create a full pipeline of leads that suddenly pop like popcorn, generating business. Then, while we are focusing time and energy on delivering client services, we lose momentum for networking, marketing and sales activities. The result? We find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of completing projects with no further engagements on the horizon, requiring us to start generating new business all over again. Our excuse sounds like this: "But, I'm too busy to do any marketing or sales now. I need to focus on billable hours, and the time I spend selling is not billable time!"
Try lessons learned meetings as a strategy to generate business while billing time. Lessons learned meetings are structured interviews with your clients and key decision-makers in the organization that take place midway through and at the end of the engagement. You'll ask your clients what is working and what can be improved. You'll tell your clients what they can do to help you to do your job even more effectively. Typically, these conversations create fabulous opportunities for you to a) ask for testimonials, b) ask for referrals, and c) ask about your clients' upcoming challenges, projects or needs, so you can shift the lessons learned conversation into a sales conversation. It is a highly effective tool to actively, strategically and consistently build your business while reducing the cycle of non-billable time between engagements!
We often think in a box when it comes to our business development mindset. "Rainmaking"—generating new business— requires a systematic process entailing concurrent, seamlessly integrated action in the areas of networking, marketing and sales. When we recognize our innate strengths and eliminate our self-deception in these areas, we can get out of our own way, allowing ourselves, our clients, and the organizations in which we coach to easily seal the deal.
Suzi Pomerantz, MT, MCC, is an award-winning master coach and author of two books and 25 publications on coaching, ethics and business development. She teaches at top coach training programs worldwide, and serves on several boards for coaching in organizations. Learn more about Suzi at http://www.suzipomerantz.com.
About 15 years ago I was persuaded by a girlfriend to attend a weekend personal development workshop where one of the exercises was to share with a group how we were feeling spiritually. All I could do at the time was to copy some of the things that I heard the other participants saying, words like, connected, alive, dead, disconnected, inspired, isolated, etc.
The experience left me with a deep desire to be able to describe myself spiritually with truth and a clear understanding of what I was feeling. Since then I have become a coach and I’ve found that many of my clients also have an urgent interest in understanding themselves spiritually. They ask for spiritual coaching. They seek spiritual intelligence. But what does that mean?
Spiritual intelligence (SQ), emotional intelligence (EQ) and intellectual intelligence (IQ)
There are three types of intelligence that determine our inner and outer success in life. You have no doubt heard of IQ (measure of intellectual intelligence). This is about linear, logical thinking and facts. It’s about structuring processes, sequencing, organising and planning. It is a measure of our rational, strategic, mathematical and linguistic talents. Intellectual intelligence can be helpful for solving problems and understand ideas and concepts. We connect to others using this form of intelligence by discussing and exchanging factual information or engaging in logical thinking processes with others.
EQ (measure of emotional intelligence) is equally important in determining success. People with a high EQ are able to feel their emotions and use them as a guide, responding appropriately to different situations. Hence, they relate to others in a healthy way, with empathy, and know how to balance self-regard and regard for others. They have high self- esteem, having focused in their development on becoming confident.
Both IQ and EQ have become part of our normal vocabulary. But as well as IQ and EQ, all human beings possess innate spiritual intelligence (SQ), which is also essential to our well being, though we tend to ignore it in favour of the others. We now know that all three forms of intelligence are complementary.
Notice how both IQ and EQ work within the confines of existing information and what is known, while SQ is a measure of our ability to be aware of and connected to all that lies beyond the physical realm – things we may not be able to see, hear, feel or touch.
Only SQ is capable of thinking beyond what is known and of seeing a higher truth in a situation. SQ operates through knowledge of the spiritual laws on which our world is founded. It comes from the premise that we are not just physical bodies but also energy fields that affect each other in subtle ways. When our IQ, EQ and SQ work together we are able to fully manifest our potential in the world.
People with high SQ
SQ puts our individual lives in a larger context. It provides meaning and purpose in life and allows us to create new possibilities for ourselves, for others and for the world. Our SQ allows us to utilize our IQ and EQ to express our gifts in the world, improving our own lives while impacting the entire planet. Great leaders such as Gandhi, Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King all had high SQ as does Nelson Mandela. A high SQ is increasingly becoming a determinant of success. All living things possess life force energy. SQ is the key to identifying and managing this life force energy. It is through this subtle life force energy that we attract, repel, bond with and influence other people and it can be a very powerful form of communication.
People with strong energy fields can influence others just by their presence. We see this on both ends of the spectrum. Some people have positive, life-affirming energy, while others have draining, toxic energy.
People with high SQ can manage these energy fields and transform them into a productive force. They know how to partner with the universe and as a result, they experience ease, flow and contribution. People with low SQ tend to experience life as hard work because they have to do it all themselves.
Coaching tools for developing spiritual intelligence
People develop spiritual intelligence through practices such as meditation, journaling, reading spiritual books, practising yoga or tai chi, eliminating limiting beliefs and working with a coach who has a high SQ.
Two of the most important and valuable coaching tools for SQ are intuition and a willingness to surrender to the greater knowing of the universe. Fundamentally, coaches must work to improve our own SQ before we can help others to improve theirs. Our clients can provide excellent mirrors to show us exactly where our own work needs to take place.
As we lead the way by being willing to do our own transformation, we can help our clients to connect to themselves. We can support our clients in embracing transformation, helping them to ask themselves: What is this problem here to teach me?
We can encourage clients to become accountable for everything in their lives, helping them to ask themselves: Why did I create this?
What if the whole world had a higher level of SQ?
In our modern day world we are not often appreciated for just being ourselves. We are constantly asked to prove our worth and measure our success in terms of money, power and other external achievements. Many of us end up with a deep feeling of worthlessness, feeling negative and inferior. Our education systems have contributed a lot to this by valuing IQ.
But if the whole world had higher SQ terms, no one would be inferior because each individual is unique. Everyone would be able to identify their unique gifts and understand how to use them. Everyone would live their lives with meaning and purpose.
When people align their lives with their own truths, their own values and the principles that inspire their action (e.g., service to others, support, love, beauty, connection), they feel more alive and can express their true essence. In fact, aliveness is one of the key measures of SQ.
As more and more people develop their SQ, the world is becoming a different and better place. People are acting more responsibly to help the earth and showing more respect for the planet. Workplaces are becoming more ethical and life-sustaining, and their services and products are being designed more and more to serve the greater good of the world.
As we progress to these higher levels of SQ, families and communities will experience more peace, ease and grace. We will become less judgemental of others, more accepting of both ourselves and others. We will experience true partnership and interconnectedness. We will have more creative energy and use this energy to enhance life. We will embrace transformation and see others as mirrors of ourselves.
We will act with more compassion and for the highest good of ourselves, others and the world. We will be more spontaneous and fearless and more able to create miracles and magic. A new humanity will evolve, one that affirms, loves and celebrates life, makes wise decisions and treats others as souls on a common human journey.
Alison Davis, IAC-CC, is the founder of Foundations for Living, a licensed school of the IAC Coaching Masteries®, and is also a certifier for the IAC. Alison has been coaching, training, facilitating and mentoring individuals and in organisations in Europe, the US and South Africa for over 13 years. She is trained in psycho-spiritual integration, helping clients to develop their SQ. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mastery #9 – Helping the client create and use support systems and structures
This Inside Scoop article is the final installment in a 9-part series addressing each of the individual IAC Coaching Masteries®. You can review the previous articles in the VOICE archives.
When you are coaching a client, it is critical to help them create and use appropriate and sustainable support systems and structures. It helps the client to be more confident and secure in moving forward and to embrace responsibility, and it addresses sustainability so the client does not have to rely solely on their own willpower.
While it is the ninth mastery, and it is often focused on near the end of a coaching session when coach and client are co-creating what comes next, elements of this mastery are occurring throughout the coaching session. When the coach understands the difference between system and a set of action steps, their value to the client goes up dramatically.
Nina East is the IAC®’s Lead Certifier and the founder of www.PersonalGrowthPrincess.com, a site for business owners and professional women who are enthusiastic about personal growth. 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.
"Coaching Moments" takes a thoughtful look at how coaching can be interwoven into our daily lives.
Birds, bees and blogging by Janice Hunter, IAC-CC
Before I created my blog, I was a hermit bee, living, not in a hive, but in my own cosy wee writing cave, emerging to buzz away happily in other people’s blogs, reading, writing guest posts and cross-pollinating for pleasure in their comment boxes. All the writing honey from my life and my daily detail loving was saved for this column. For you.
When I wasn’t writing, every moment was a chance to gather nectar, the essence of moments spent in my home and garden.
I spent more time watching the birds outside my kitchen window, nature’s bloggers, living and foraging side by side: blue tits and chaffinches sharing the bird feeder happily; gangs of starlings swooping in and squawking loudly, chasing off other birds and swiping all the berry-filled fat, leaving nothing for the smaller birds; dunnocks hopping about in the bushes, silently feeding on the scraps left after the flapping frays, and the serene robin, sure of his territory, sitting on my fence, bobbing his head three times, choot choot choot, doing his business, planting the seeds of trees and bushes that will shelter his offspring someday.
March came and went in a flurry of blog-building, jury duty, illness, kids’ activities and shopping for my eighty-five-year-old dad. I missed birthdays and deadlines, unaware that the weeks were flying by.
April and May settled into routines of burned meals, overflowing ironing baskets and piles of dirty washing.
Wet clothes were eventually dragged unceremoniously from the washing machine and dumped into the dryer. I no longer stuck my face into piles of damp line-dried laundry smelling of flowers and fresh air.
It reminded me of the first time I went for Step 2 of the IAC exam, obsessed and blinkered, neglecting all the other areas of my life. It came as no surprise that I failed first time.
But still I blogged, driven by the urge to create a community, to do something with my writing, to reach out beyond my garden and share more of myself.
I kept thinking I’d settle into a blogging routine, but never for one moment did I realise that I was becoming worn out and weary right at the start of my journey, a journey I’d hoped to savour and share with all kinds of travelling companions for years to come.
My husband had a day off work last week and we planned to catch up on some neglected gardening. He went to run a bath in the family bathroom after the kids went to school and I found myself heading furtively towards the laptop, thinking I’d just do a quick ten minutes, when suddenly he bounded into the room.
“You’ll never guess what we’ve got on the window ledge outside the bathroom!”
“A nest! With eggs! Four eggs!”
He sounded just like our young son.
We both crept to the back door like a couple of teenagers getting home late, wondering what lunacy had possessed a bird to build a nest next to our garden path, outside a family bathroom where our kids squabble loudly about everything from toilet paper to toothpaste.
We opened the heavy wooden door slowly and took a step out, as quietly as we could. And there she was. A blackbird, with a thin, sharp yellow beak and beady black eye. Aware of us, she didn’t move.
I sneaked in for my camera and stealthily captured the moment, scared that if we stood staring too long in awe at the magic of this little scene, that she’d get spooked and fly off.
The kids came home from school and couldn’t believe it, smiles wild and full of wonder.
That evening, while they were out with my husband, I started to worry. What if the wind blew the nest off the ledge, if cats came prowling, if a sudden noise from inside the bathroom spooked her. I felt I needed to do something, to help in some way, so I got some bread crumbs, opened the back door and gently scattered them on the ground in her direction. With a startled cheep and a flap, she flew off.
Horrified, I closed the door and stood, cursing myself for interfering, for having my own agenda, for doing too much and not letting things take their natural course.
For hours I was too scared to look. My husband and kids came home, asking if she was still there.
“I scared her off,” I said, sadly. “I tried to feed her.”
“She’ll be back,” said my daughter. “She did choose us.”
“Yes,” said my son. “It’s a good place. Sheltered, and bricks absorb heat. She’s clever. She’ll be back. She knows we wouldn’t hurt her.”
I couldn’t bear to look. The hours passed and I couldn’t settle to anything. All I could think about were the little eggs, neglected, getting cold, because I’d overdone it. As usual.
My husband came into the living room smiling.
“She’s back. And there’s this little pile of crumbs next to her. It looks like she’s tried to spell out thanks.”
I threw a cushion at him as the kids teased me, asking if we should put worms on the shopping list and start a university fund.
I gently opened our back door and looked towards the bathroom ledge. As she sat there, her brown feathered body filling out the nest, she turned to me and fixed me with a beady eye. I pulled the back door shut, ever so quietly, and came back inside, smiling, trusting that everything would be OK. Sometimes, we just need to sit still and do nothing but be.
Epilogue: The dad arrived on the scene and did a brilliant job. We watched the eggs grow into four healthy chicks.
Janice Hunter is an IAC certified homelife coach who lives in Scotland with her husband and two children. She created and co-wrote Sharing the Certification Journey: Six IAC Coaches Talk About Their Journeys, and her blogsite, www.sharingthejourney.co.uk, provides soul food and support for coaches, writers, parents and home-based workers.
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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