IAC VOICE, Volume 4, Issue 36, May 2009, Circulation: 12,961


From the Editor

There is lots of food for thought in this month's issue. IAC President Angela
Spaxman describes some pivotal moments of connecting, visualizing and clarifying.
In fact, she and several IAC Board of Governors members recently connected at
the amazing CAM (Conversations Among Masters) Conference. Watch for highlights
of their experiences in our June issue.

In other IAC news, Communications Chair Sue Brundege brings an announcement
about the newly revised Coaching Masteries® E-Book, and Chapter Liaison
Mike Goonan explains the difference between an IAC chapter and an IAC Coaching
Masteries® Licensee

Speaking of IAC Chapters, Singapore has the newest one! In today's issue they
share some details about their chapter's launch event in March, and Chapter
President Teo Jin Lee provided an article for our Tools for Coaching Mastery
column. I'm sure most of our readers can relate to the topic Coaching in Turbulent

In our feature articles this month, Jack LaValley draws some interesting parallels
between the fields of coaching and adult education, and co-authors Jane Burka
and Lenora Yuen help us battle procrastination – in our clients and ourselves!

In her
Coaching Moments column, Janice starts with an empty jug and fills our
hearts and minds with a touching piece about some beloved pieces of crockery,
and Nina East provides a very inviting article about Mastery #8.

for the VOICE are available on the website, including submission
dates for our upcoming issues. I would love to receive your article submissions
by May 18th for the June issue, or June 15th for the July issue.

contact me
with your article ideas and your feedback
about this issue.

Warm wishes,

Linda Dessau, CPCC
Email: voice@certifiedcoach.org

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From the President

by Angela


What meaningful and fun work! This month at the IAC we are connecting, visualizing
and clarifying. I'm excited because I know these are three complimentary ways
to create a future that we all desire.


Is it true that connections of the mind, heart and soul are the source of
all progress? I've learned to create opportunities for making great connections
because of the joy and success I've felt them bring to my life. This month I'm
attending the annual Conversation Among Masters (CAM) conference where I'll
be meeting some key IAC members and supporters and no doubt making and deepening
connections that form the basis of our strength. How well are you connected
to your fellow IAC members?


What a thrill to visualize the ideal future! I'm excited to confirm that we
have enlisted the support of Dave
, author of Creating Your Future, to guide us through a strategy development
process over the next few months. We will create a 10- to 50-year vision for
the coaching industry and identify our strategies and priorities. Please watch
for special notices coming soon to enlist your participation. We are keen to
involve you in what is sure to be a fascinating and important initiative for
the IAC. As part of the project, we will be collecting feedback and ideas from
our external stakeholders. If you would like to get involved in this part of
the project, please contact Joan Johnson at joan@joanmariejohnson.com.


So often our 'aha' moments come when we clarify and articulate something we
have known internally and yet never expressed. Human progress is marked by the
process of clarifying. With this value in mind, I'd like to express my deep
appreciation for the IAC Certification Board for completing the newest version
of the IAC Coaching Masteries® E-book. This team, led by Nina East, spent
countless hours evaluating coaching sessions and putting the subtleties of masterful
coaching into clear, international language that can help all of us improve
our coaching proficiency. For some new understanding on what makes excellent
coaching, pick
up your copy from the IAC website

Wishing you fruitful connections, inspiring visualizations and insightful
clarifications this month!

Angela Spaxman
President, IAC

Web: www.lovingworkandleading.com

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IAC Certified Coaches

Congratulations to Kathi Crawford from Houston, TX, USA and Doris Helge from Chehalis, WA, USA who recently
passed their Step 2 Exams and became IAC Certified Coaches!

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New IAC Coaching Masteries® Licensed Schools and

Name City State Country IAC-CC 
The Confident Coach Connection Chehalis WA US United States Yes
View Details
The Wind of Coaching Milano   IT Italy No
View Details

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IAC Coaching Masteries® E-Book Announcement

We are pleased to announce the latest release of our IAC Coaching Masteries®
E-Book. While our nine Masteries remain fundamentally the same, this new version
includes changes and refinements to make each Mastery even easier to understand
and incorporate into your coaching practice. In addition to clarifying original
terms and concepts, you’ll find two new sections for each Mastery –
Common Mistakes Coaches Make and Indicators the Coach Understands the Mastery
– to help you recognize, develop and demonstrate effective coaching skills
even more quickly.

To use a computer analogy, this is not a brand new "operating system,"
but simply an improvement to the original which corrects "bugs" and
adds new features for even greater usability.

latest version of the IAC Coaching Masteries® E-Book is available from:
IAC members can download it for free and non-members can purchase it for $27.

contact us at certification@certifiedcoach.org
if you have questions, comments or difficulties accessing or opening the e-book.


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 express their brilliance through
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 Coaching®.


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IAC Chapter or IAC Coaching Masteries® Licensee: Which one is right for you?

by Mike Goonan

The value you receive from any association directly relates to how actively
you are in that association. (Just ask the members of our 19 IAC
chapters worldwide.) Earlier this year, we added another exciting way to be
involved, with our new IAC Coaching Masteries® Licensing
Program. This program permits mentor coaches and coach training organizations
to incorporate the nine IAC Coaching Masteries® as
part of their mentor coaching or coach training program.

We are thrilled at the number of inquiries regarding both new chapters and
licensees, and thought this would be a good time to clarify the difference between
forming an IAC chapter and becoming an IAC Coaching Masteries® Licensee.

IAC chapters and Licensees are similar in that they are both promoted by the
IAC through our website, VOICE newsletter, and other communication channels.
And they both have access to the IAC Coaching Masteries® to help develop
masterful coaching skills.

However, there are distinct differences between how IAC chapters and IAC Coaching
Masteries® Licensees operate. Here’s a simple chart that
compares the two:

IAC Chapter

IAC Coaching Masteries® Licensee

  • Non-profit group run by volunteers

  • For-profit coach mentor or coach training organization
  • Coaching community for learning and developing coaching practices
  • Formal teaching / mentoring organization
  • Exclusive to a city or region
  • No specific geographic boundaries
  • No fees payable to the IAC except for individual annual membership fees
  • Pays IAC an annual license fee
  • May use IAC Coaching Masteries® as part of chapter activities
    without a license
  • Must have active license to use IAC Coaching Masteries®
  • Provides a benefit to IAC members
  • May work with both IAC members and non-members

In addition, an IAC Coaching Masteries® Licensee may be a member of a local
IAC chapter. However, a member of an IAC local chapter must apply for and pay
an additional annual fee if they wish to become a licensee and use the IAC Coaching
Masteries® as part of their mentoring or coach training business.

If you would like to learn more about forming an IAC chapter, please visit
or send an email to Chapters@CertifiedCoach.org.
To inquire about becoming an IAC Coaching Masteries® Licensee,
visit http://www.certifiedcoach.org/licensing/overview.html
or write to IAC President Angela Spaxman at President@CertifiedCoach.org.

Please feel free to comment or ask questions about this article in our blog!



Mike Goonan is leading the way for the next generation of professional coaches.
At age 23, Mike is the youngest Certified Fearless Living Coach in the world.
He is IAC's Chapter Liaison and Public Relations Chair, and President of the
New Jersey Coaching Alliance – IAC Chapter. Visit Mike at www.freewebs.com/jumpingintofreedom.


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Singapore Chapter Launch

The Singapore Chapter of the International Association of Coaching® (SCIAC)
was launched on March 13th, 2009. The Chapter President, Ms. Teo Jin Lee, introduced
the IAC to an audience of forty corporate coaches and professionals. She shared
the vision and mission of the Chapter:

Vision: To advance coaching to the highest standards of universal

Mission: To further the interests of coaches in the region
by developing a learning community with the highest ethical, professional and
business standards.

The other speakers were Dr. Kavita Sethi, IAC member and executive coach, who
expounded on the IAC Coaching Masteries®, exploring both the definitions
and applications in-depth, and Cresswell Walker, who discussed the need for
coaching in these trying times.

For more photos and information about this new IAC chapter, please visit http://www.iacsingapore.com/

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Utilizing Transformative Learning Principles to Support the IAC Coaching Masteries®

by Jack

The goal of all coaching is to bring about life transformation

Tying the IAC Coaching Masteries®
together with adult learning principles
helps to resolve one of many significant challenges facing this evolving industry:
bringing a sense of cohesiveness and standards to the professional development
of coaches. I am convinced that the coaching industry stands to benefit by associating
its core coaching competencies with those identified in the field of adult transformative
learning. Demonstrating that the field of coaching is grounded in sound adult
learning principles will be a huge boon to our credibility!

At present, anyone can call himself or herself a coach, with or without specific
training, licensing or certification. Right now there is no agreement within
the coaching industry regarding required training, academic standards, code
of ethics and professional development (Skiffington & Zeus 2003, p. 230).
Various professional coaching associations and coaching schools are trying to
clarify and bring some sense of cohesiveness and standards to the coaching field.
Different coaching schools, professional coaching associations, and coaches
are making informed decisions about what they think is most important about
the coaching process and what should be accomplished in the coach-client relationship.
This in turn drives their emphasis about what skills and competencies need to
be exemplified and demonstrated by the coach.

The same holds true in the field of adult education. Jack Mezirow, Emeritus
Professor of Adult and Continuing Education, Teachers College, Columbia University,
is considered one of the key players in defining and developing what we’ve
come to know today as transformational learning. Based on his 1975 study of
83 women returning to college in 12 different reentry programs, he developed
and evolved his critical theory of adult learning and education. His two published
books on this subject, Fostering Critical Reflection in Adulthood: A Guide to
Transformative and Emancipatory Learning (1990) and Transformative Dimensions
of Adult Learning (1991), are considered seminal works on this subject. Mezirow
believes that the main goal of adult learning it to “…help the learner
challenge presuppositions, explore alternative perspectives, transform old ways
of understanding, and act on new perspectives” (1990, p. 18). He further
asserts that to promote and achieve such a goal it is imperative that the adult
educator provide the kind of environment conducive to achieving such an outcome.

I believe the IAC Coaching Masteries®
have a deep affinity with the goals
and aims of transformative learning, and also correlate nicely with the six
transformative learning educator skills and competencies (Cranton, 1994) illustrated
in the following chart.

IAC Coaching Masteries®

with Transformative Learning educator competencies and skills

Establishing and maintaining a relationship of trust.

Being authentic:
The educator is trusted by the learner, cares for
the learner, believes in the learner and respects learner individuality.

Perceiving, affirming and expanding the client’s potential

Acting as provocateur:
Foster critical thinking, encourage group
support, counsel learners who are threatened by the dilemmas they face,
support learners in the choices they make, and assist learners in implementing
actions based on these choices.

Engaged listening

Being authentic:
The educator is trusted by the learner, cares for
the learner, believes in the learner and respects learner individuality.

Processing in the present

Fostering learner empowerment:
Using personal power appropriately,
ensuring equal learner participation, and encouraging learner decision-making
will facilitate a feeling of empowerment for the learner.


Being authentic:
The educator is trusted by the learner, cares for
the learner, believes in the learner and respects learner individuality.


Helping learners with personal adjustments:
Help the learner get
clear on where limitations in thinking and feeling are present, thus encouraging
greater sense of possibilities and future prospects.

Helping the client set and keep clear intentions

Helping learners develop and implement action plans:
Encourage the
learner to act upon their newly-found assumptions and beliefs.

Inviting possibility

Acting as provocateur:
Foster critical thinking, encourage group
support, counsel learners who are threatened by the dilemmas they face,
support learners in the choices they make, and assist learners in implementing
actions based on these choices.

Helping the client create and use supportive systems and structures

Encouraging learner networks:
Connect the learner to peer support
groups to effectively deal with challenging assumptions and beliefs.

encourage all coaches to take some time to examine the principles of transformative
learning and apply them within the context of their coach-client relationships.
In this way I believe the status of “professional coach” will be
elevated and enjoy greater and greater validation in the world of adult learning
and education.


Cranton, Patricia. Understanding and Promoting Transformative Learning:
A Guide for Educators of Adults
. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1994.

LaValley, Jack. Coaching and adult learning: how and why the process of
coaching facilitates transformative learning that can lead to life-transformation:
Masters project
, University of Bridgeport, Fall, 2008.

Mezirow, J. Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning. San Francisco:
Jossey-Bass, 1991.

Mezirow, J. Fostering Critical Reflection in Adulthood: A Guide to Transformative
and Emancipatory Learning
. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1990.

& Zeus. Behavioral coaching: How to build sustainable personal and organizational
. Sydney: McGraw-Hill, 2003.

Jack LaValley is a Life Coach specializing in helping single adults successfully
choose the right marriage partner. Jack and his wife Wha ja Oh-LaValley, a native
of South Korea, are the proud parents of three beautiful children, and they
reside in Westchester County, New York. Jack can be reached at: jacklavalley@optonline.net.

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Coaching Procrastinators

by Jane Burka,

Lenora Yuen, PhD

Coaches often work with clients who seek help for the problem of procrastination.
Clients feel stuck, dread deadlines, create last-minute havoc to get things
done and feel badly about themselves for putting things off.

Some coaches procrastinate too—you might put off building up your business,
returning calls or emails or setting up your web page. Maybe you handle your
work life efficiently but find yourself procrastinating on home projects or
taking care of your health.

It’s tempting to tell procrastinators, “Just do it,” but
you have probably noticed that this approach doesn’t work. If they could,
they would. Why can’t they?

Procrastination is usually thought of as a problem of time management or organization,
so you offer your clients time management or organizational techniques. These
techniques work, if clients use them. But have you noticed that clients often
put off using your helpful suggestions?

The answer is to have a dual approach: consider the reasons
why your client procrastinates and offer suggestions designed specifically for

Procrastination is complex. There are always psychological
roots that lead to avoidance and procrastination; surprisingly, biology may
be involved too.

The psychological roots of procrastination

People avoid tasks because there is some underlying anxiety associated with
doing the job or finishing the job. Four main anxieties typically underlie procrastination:

Fear of failure

If clients wait until the last minute and then are not satisfied with the results,
they can always think that it would have been so much better if they had just
started sooner. Their best is never evaluated, because they didn’t allow
enough time to do their best. They maintain the illusion of brilliance, but
the illusion is not tested.

Perfectionism is a common aspect of fear of failure. The perfectionist’s
attitude is: “If it’s not perfect, it’s not good enough; if
it’s not good enough, I’m not good enough.” Striving
to be perfect is overwhelming, and feeling overwhelmed leads to procrastination.
Sometimes it’s only the immediacy of the deadline that allows perfectionists
to get to work, because they finally have to give up the notion that the task
can be done perfectly.

Fear of success

Although people hire coaches to help them become more successful, there are
anxieties associated with success that lead people to procrastinate. They may
be afraid of the greater responsibility and increased expectations that come
with success. They may fear being in the spotlight as the authority figure that
others will compete with. They may fear outshining their co-workers or close
friends or relatives. They may feel that they don’t deserve success. Procrastination
puts roadblocks on the road to success.

Fear of feeling controlled

Procrastination can be an indirect way of saying NO; doing things on your own
timetable and not on someone else’s schedule. In organizations, procrastination
can help people feel they have some control over their work lives when their
jobs are regimented or closely managed. For some people, maintaining their sense
of independence and autonomy via procrastination is more psychologically important
than cooperating (experienced as capitulating) and getting ahead.

Fear of facing reality

You may have noticed that procrastinators can be very unrealistic. They may
not know the date of their deadline, or they assume that deadlines don’t
really matter. They may expect to accomplish more in a few hours than is humanly
possible. They may believe that they are prepared when they are not. They may
expect that everyone will rally to help them at the last minute, when people
actually resent being pulled into their time trap. As one procrastinator protested,
“Reality sucks!”

The common thread in these fears is that procrastination is a strategy that
puts the focus on timelines and evades the underlying issues of feeling like
a failure, facing the pressures of success, having to protect a sense of independence
or accepting unpleasant realities.

The biological roots of procrastination

For some people, procrastination also has biological roots. For example:

  • If
    someone is depressed, it may take too much energy to get anything done.

  • People with ADD have difficulty focusing and resisting distractions, so they
    put off work that takes a lot of focused attention, leaving a trail of unfinished
    projects behind them.
  • People with executive functioning problems have problems prioritizing, organizing
    and following through; life is full of abandoned dreams and disappointment.

  • Everyone’s internal clock is different. For some people, their subjective
    sense of time does not come close to matching actual clock time.


  1. Set
    a goal
    . Help a procrastinator identify a goal in concrete, behavioral
    terms. Not “I’m going to get organized,” but “I’m
    going to spend one hour clearing off my desk.” Work on one goal at a
    time. Trying to do everything is part of the problem. Countering perfectionism
    is part of the solution.
  2. Identify small steps. Show the procrastinator how any goal
    can be broken down into its component steps. Procrastinators think in vague
    and global terms, so it can be surprisingly difficult to get them to recognize
    the specific small steps that lead toward accomplishment of any goal.
  3. Use
    small bits of time
    . Procrastinators don’t want to start until
    they have all the time they need to finish, but how often do you have large
    chunks of free time?

  4. Learn to tell time
    . Guess how long something will take, then measure
    how long it actually takes. Most procrastinators underestimate or overestimate

  5. Monitor progress
    . Self-monitoring is a helpful motivator. Keep track
    of how much time is actually spent working on the goal. Even a little bit
    counts. This system sets up rewards for progress and confronts a procrastinator
    with the reality of where time goes.
  6. Get
    . Don’t suffer in isolation over projects that have
    been put off. Get help in identifying where to start, what to leave out, and
    which steps to take. People who don’t procrastinate often have a hard
    time understanding why procrastinators don’t approach work as they do,
    so it’s important to choose the right person for support.



Jane Burka, PhD and Lenora Yuen, PhD are co-authors of Procrastination:
Why You Do It; What To Do About It NOW
, published in 2008 by DaCapo Press 
Burka and Yuen are psychologists in the San Francisco Bay Area and have conducted
procrastination groups and workshops for businesses and non-profit organizations.


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Coaching in Turbulent Times

by Teo Jin Lee

In today’s environment characterized by caution about the economic outlook
and uncertainty of how long and how deep this crisis will be, organizations
are bracing themselves to ride it out with less headcount but still expecting
the same or greater top line growth and returns. (Do more with less.) A tall
order when you think about it, and the picture gets even gloomier when we see
pay and incentives pulled back with further belt-tightening measures.

The crux of the organizational dilemma is that while there is a need for increasing
productivity, employees are potentially growing unmotivated, disengaged and
uncommitted, and since there is no guarantee that their livelihoods are assured,
fearing the worst for their jobs.

So what can be done under these troubling circumstances? What can organizations
do to develop an environment where people feel motivated, engaged and committed
even during these critical times?

Having worked with numerous organizations in the region, I have found that
the resilience of an organization, especially in tough times, is reflected in
its leadership.

The primary explanation when people leave an organization has often been that
they are not leaving the company but leaving their bosses.

The key is to build a culture of coaching. While not a panacea
for all ills within an organization, it is critical for helping organizations
deal with the dilemma of increasing productivity with less headcount
and less incentives
. Take a look at the study conducted by Manchester
Inc. Florida, USA about the benefits of coaching, which included 100 executives
from Fortune 1000 companies and measured the improvements coaching reaped for
these organizations.

Improvements to the company:

Improvements to executive performance:

• Productivity (53%)

Working relationships with direct reports (77%)

• Quality (48%)

Working relationships with immediate supervisors (71%)

• Organizational strength (48%)

Teamwork (67%)

• Customer service (39%)

Working relationship with peers (63%)

• Reducing customer complaints (34%)

Job satisfaction (61%)

• Retention of executives who received coaching (32%)

Conflict resolution (52%)

• Cost reductions (23%)

Organizational commitment (44%)

• Bottom-line profitability (22%)


Creating the environment for coaching

has to survive within the opportunities and boundaries created by an organization’s
Culture (values, norms). In order to achieve excellent performance
and the desired business results, the coach must work with the appropriate Culture
and organizational Context (strategy, structure, systems) to
achieve Commitment (motivation) and Competence
(development and application of knowledge and skills) from the clients.

The degree to which coaches can succeed in communicating organizational context
and culture and gaining competence from people will be greatly determined by
how successfully the coach can build trusting relationships.

Acquiring the right skill set – a case study

Justin, a manager in a multi-national organization, has been coaching his team
for a few years, but he has never been able to measure his effectiveness as
a coach or see what his gaps were as a coach. By leveraging the highest
global standards of Coaching Masteries® from the International Association
of Coaching® (IAC)
, he has been able to consciously assess himself
as he carries out his coaching conversations with his employees. In tough times,
as managers we have considerable less time to carry out quality conversations
with employees. For Justin, with knowledge of the Coaching Masteries™,
he has been able to first connect with who he is as a coach and then be able
to draw out the potential from his employees and deliver the results.

Building a marketable skill

In difficult times, how do we create incentive for employees to build and enhance
their coaching skills so we can continue to build a coaching culture within
the organization? Providing marketable skills through a global certification
process from the International Association of Coaching® (IAC)

provides leaders with a progressive growth and benchmarking of their coaching


In an environment where organizations are trying to do more with less, how
do we motivate, engage and commit our people to increase productivity and continued

  1. Create a culture that supports coaching.
  2. Encourage the development of coaching skills that are based on the highest
    global standards like the IAC Coaching Masteries®.
  3. Provide the foundation for building marketable coaching skills for leaders
    that is based on a global certifying body like IAC.



Teo Jin Lee is the Founding President of SCIAC and the Managing
Director of SMG Training Systems, a licensed school of IAC Coaching Masteries®.
Jin Lee has been coaching, training and consulting with leaders across the Asia
Pacific region for over 20 years. She has coached executives through key transformational
and change initiatives, epitomized by the turbulent times today. For more information
contact enquiry@smgts.biz


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by Nina East, IAC-CC

Mastery #8
– Inviting Possibility

Many coaches tell me that Mastery #8 is one of their favorites. I think this
is because when inviting possibility, the coach’s job is to create an
environment that allows ideas, options and opportunities to emerge. By definition
it does not require closure, completion or perfection.

The way in which Inviting Possibility is used is important, though. When used
properly, this mastery can help the client make dramatic leaps forward in their
goals. It is also possible to misuse this mastery, producing an undesirable
effect on the coaching and with the client.

Inviting Possibilities is happening when thoughts, ideas and actions are expanded.
The client’s awareness is stretched beyond the norm, and he or she has
more options than previously realized. It is essential that the coaching discussion
be one of discovery and exploration. While the coach may share ideas or perspectives,
it must be done with the client’s needs in mind, and for the purpose of
expanding what is possible, not narrowing down or moving toward resolution prematurely.

There are three critical distinctions the coach must make when using this Mastery
at a masterful level.

First, the coach must not impose his or her expertise. The coach may have ideas
and suggestions, but when coming from the perspective of an “expert,”
the coach is deciding what is best for the client. It is better for the coach
to adopt a “beginner’s mind” – listening as if for the
first time, with eyes and mind wide open for whatever might appear. The coach
does have wisdom and experience, but when inviting possibility, the idea is
to bring in or generate something new.

Members, continue
reading here

To join the IAC, click



Nina East is the IAC®’s Lead Certifier and the founder of
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.


Please send your questions on the IAC
Coaching Masteries® and the certification
process to certification@certifiedcoach.org.

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"Coaching Moments" takes a
thoughtful look at how coaching
can be interwoven into our daily lives. 

The Empty Jug

by Janice Hunter, IAC-CC

The only difference between an extraordinary life and an ordinary one is
the extraordinary pleasures you find in ordinary things. ~ Veronique Vienne.

I stood at the kitchen sink, robotically washing dishes. I paused, my gaze
landing on a hand-painted jug on the window ledge, raindrops running down the
glass. I clung to the sink with soapy hands, hunched forward, eyes clenched
shut, terrified that I might miss another deadline, that I’d never have
another moment of revelation, the inspiration that flows in and fills me up
then spills over into my writing and my online coaching.

Washed out and weary, worried about money, unable to capture moments of fleeting
inspiration as they flit and dance through my day, just out of reach, I stood,
suds dripping, tears running down my face.

A quick wipe with the back of my hand, all traces gone, I picked up a tea towel
and started to dry the dishes. Plates, bowls and jugs from our years in Greece
and Portugal, all different sizes, shapes and designs. I looked again at the
small jug on the window ledge. Cobalt blue and bottle green, ringed in bands
of yellow and rusty red hearts. Sometimes I use it for flowers; most often,
it stays empty, reminding me to be present, to stay open to inspiration and
abundance. I looked down at the draining board and suddenly realised that not
only do I have a lot of jugs, I seem to have been collecting and cherishing
them all my life.

There’s a porcelain one from Portugal, hand-painted with deer and flowers
which we only use for gravy on feast days and holidays. There’s a little
pastel-coloured striped one with a flat bottom that’s used for milk when
we have visitors; it’s the kind a sailor’s wife would keep on her
window ledge, filled with snowdrops. A round-bellied classic white jug for water.
A sturdy terracotta one decorated with a blue glaze and white slip. A spout-less
pink tin cylinder for Greek retsina. An elegant, clear glass bottle with a gem-blue
glass stopper that I use on warm days to keep water cold in the fridge.

Pencils in a chipped, speckled stoneware jug. A spider plant in a blue teapot.
I rushed to the dining room and stared at what I now saw was a collection in
my cabinet, in among all the other mismatched crockery. There, in pride of place,
a single-setting tea service with sugar bowl and milk jug, painted decades ago
by my mum’s elderly cousin, the artist who never married after her fiancé
died in World War Two. We used to give my mum breakfast in bed every year on
Mother’s Day, the tea tray laid with an embroidered cloth and those same

I remembered my grandmother pouring milk from a blue and white pitcher and
friends’ birthday parties with ice cream and jelly and always large glass
jugs of sparkling lemonade and orange juice. Always a woman somewhere, carrying
a jug, offering something, pouring something.

All of my jugs are beautiful. They’re all unique and chosen, loved and
special for something. They’re not meant to be permanently full; they’re
designed to be filled and emptied as they pour. They’re beautiful just
as they are, even when all they hold are memories and promise and a little bit
of now.

I took the tea towel and lovingly dried and put away my crockery, went into
the garden and found a few rain-drenched miniature daffodils and a spray of
fragrant white hyacinth to put in my little heart jug at the window.

Sometimes we wait knowingly, patiently, for inspiration to fill us to overflowing.
Sometimes, we simply need to love ourselves enough.

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,
provides soul food and support for coaches, writers, parents and home-based

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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