From the Editor
Angela Spaxman's excitement about the upcoming IAC strategic planning process is bubbling over in her President's Message this month. If you weren't already engaged in the process, she will help you get there. Angela also has an announcement about the IAC's Lead Certifier.
In other IAC news, if you or someone you know is an experienced web developer, IAC Communications Chair Sue Brundege would love to hear from you, and she presents the details of the current Request for Proposal.
In our first feature article, author and coach Jennifer Day explores the impact that the stress effect could be having on your experience as a coach.
Next, Victoria Fenner presents a case for podcasting – with tips and ideas for combining this technology with the valuable coaching services you are already delivering.
One of the goals of the VOICE is to help coaches become certified, and today's Inside Scoop – Lessons from the Certifier does it beautifully. In fact, Alison Davis tells you exactly what you must do in order to successfully pass Part Two of the Certification process – submitting your recorded coaching sessions.
When she sent me this month's Coaching Moments column, Janice Hunter told me, "Linda, this one's a thinker," meaning a post that's meant to inspire you to ponder, versus a post that wants to get you into action or teach you a specific idea. So read it with an open mind and no expectations of yourself to do or to learn anything. Just enjoy it.
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 August 17th for the September issue, or September 14th for the October issue.
Linda Dessau, CPCC
From the President
Have you registered yet to take part in the IAC's Strategic Planning Process? It is exciting to see the quality of people who are going to be joining these discussions about the future of coaching and the IAC. I hope you will join us, too.
Some of you may remember the inspiring open conference calls around the time the IAC was "invented," when Thomas Leonard called forth our idealism and hope in a spirit of collaboration. Thomas led us in conversations about the potential, the future and the secrets of coaching, and so many of us were drawn in and inspired to make coaching a key part of our lives.
What do coaches do that creates that kind of energy? How do we elicit our sense of urgency for coaching to make its mark in the world? What becomes free in us when we play together like children, while inventing our futures like the brilliant people that we are?
I've seen it many times: coaches getting together to create something bigger than themselves. As expert conversationalists and dreamers, we are ideally suited for this role. With an engaging question and some structure, we are bound to evoke some new ideas while having a marvelous time together. We'll be warm and direct, truthful and optimistic. And with this kind of collaboration, we are well-placed to continue creating a professional organization (the IAC) that proudly represents the spirit of coaching. I can hardly wait to get started!
New IAC Coaching Masteries® licensed schools and mentors
In keeping with the ongoing evolution of the IAC and our coaching profession, we are launching a major redesign of our Web site this fall. To collaborate with us on this effort, we are looking to hire a Web design consultant experienced in non-profits and membership-based Web sites. This consultant will help us create a new Web site that further strengthens our IAC community, attracts new members and better serves coaching professionals worldwide. If you or someone you know would like to propose on this exciting project, please download this Request for Proposal. For more information, contact IAC Communications Chair Sue Brundege at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two developments in our organization are coming together to lead us to a new milestone.
1) We are growing and thriving and our work as an organization is expanding. One of the signs of this expansion is the increasing responsibility and complexity of the Lead Certifier position.
2) Nina East IAC-CC, our Lead Certifier for the past three years, has decided to step down. After serving the IAC with tremendous wisdom and dedication through several seasons of our development, she is moving more of her focus back to her own business. In particular she plans to spend more time on her Personal Growth Princess membership site, which expresses her passion for self-improvement in a particularly feminine way!
We are sorry to miss Nina's expertise and energy but very pleased that she will remain on the Certification Team. We are most fortunate to have a strong Certification Team and good potential candidates to replace Nina.
We are also taking the change as an opportunity to offer a stipend in partial compensation for the work of the Lead Certifier. We have actually been planning that for a while but have been waiting to ensure we have the budget to support it.
This position holds responsibility for the quality of the IAC Certification process and it requires a lot of special expertise. Therefore it is an important investment for us to ensure the Lead Certifier has the time and focus required to sustain and develop our certification system into the future. To date, we have been blessed by Nina's contributions and those of the Lead Certifiers before her. Indeed we are grateful to the contributions of many volunteers, who dedicate hundreds of hours at their own expense to the advancement of the IAC.
Please celebrate this milestone with us! We are thrilled to have progressed to the point where we can begin to pay for one of the critical professional roles that sustain us.
And if you are an experienced IAC Certifier, past or present, we welcome your enquiries about the position of Lead Certifier for the IAC.
We don’t need research to show that when we are internally coherent, we feel physically and emotionally balanced, safe and in harmony; our brain works fast and accurately; ideas emerge naturally and effortlessly; we find the right words to say what we want to say; we can adapt easily to unforeseen events and we experience being what some would call "in the flow."
As coaches, we are familiar with this state in both ourselves and our clients. For those who would like some empirical evidence, I can tell you it is abundant! The lesser known side of that research shows that when we are internally incoherent or emotionally and physically out of balance, the brain does not function well at all! The insidious thing is that we are often not even aware that this is happening, because most of the time it is un-dramatic and caused by a phenomenon physicians call low-grade stress.
Low-grade stress is the result of a perpetual dose of small irritations, doubts or judgments that disturb the balance of the autonomic nervous system. Because the autonomic nervous system cannot distinguish between the various types of stimulation we are subjected to, our body’s response is the same whether we are faced with an unexpectedly irate client or a tiger on the loose.
When we perceive such a threat, a level of incoherence or disharmony is created in the heart, which sends messages back up to the brain to commence the stress-response, a natural process designed to defend against any perceived threat.
The "emotional brain" is activated in a "switching" of activity from the frontal lobes and neo-cortex (the intellectual, insightful, "thinking brain"), to the more reflexive responses of the limbic system or "emotional brain," as the body’s defense mechanisms (the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system) are initiated.
These responses include a release of various "stress" hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which cause a slowing or shutting down of the digestive system, shallowness of breath or "‘over-breathing," and increased heart rate and blood pressure. As well, by diverting the blood away from the stomach and skin to the muscles we gain more strength and energy, appropriate for a fight-or-flight situation, e.g., facing that tiger on the loose.
However, when a client for the fifth time tells us he has not implemented what he agreed to, or the computer freezes as we go to send a follow-up email we’ve worked on for the past half-hour, we may not enter into a state of full-blown fight-or-flight reaction. Typically however, we experience a reactive response—sometimes unconsciously—which will initiate a "stress alert" state, which is when the brain prepares the body for the fight-or flight response. This leads to un-discharged stress chemicals and muscle tension to build up. (Any anticipatory emotions such as anxiety, worry and frustration cause this "stress alert" response; all produce the same chemical reactions as being faced with a tiger!)
The stress response will eventually diminish if we use up the energy generated (physically fighting or fleeing!) or if we consciously relax and activate the autonomic nervous system's parasympathetic nervous system, designed to cool us down while allowing heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels to all return to normal.
Unfortunately, in most cases we neither physically defend ourselves nor do we consciously initiate a relaxation process, resulting in an on-off, on-off, on-off cycle that is similar to driving a car with one foot on the accelerator and one foot on the brake. (Imagine what would happen to a car if we drove it in such a way!)
Aside from the obvious damaging effects this can have on our health, it also makes our brains ineffective for any resourcefully complex pursuit such as coaching – being that our "thinking brain" has been partially switched off! Insidiously, if we are not even conscious of the presence of low-grade stress in our lives, we are of course equally un-aware of the negative effects of this oft-unnoticed, frequently sustained and usually unmanaged offensive to our emotional balance!
So, what to do about this? How do we ensure we are coherent coaches at all times? The first step is increasing your self-awareness, and the next step is self-management.
1. NOTICE your stress-response:
Keep a small journal next to you and note down when you’re feeling uncomfortable. Next to your entry, write where in your body you’re feeling it.
A daily entry into your journal will likely increase your self-awareness within 2–3 weeks, and soon you’ll start to notice the tension in your body before you’re even aware you are having a reaction! Your body will begin to "speak" to you—or more accurately, you will start to hear it.
2. MANAGE your stress-response:
To solidify your practice and integrate your learning, take time to notice how your brain works better when you’re feeling good and in a coherent state – how much smarter you are. Write down some examples of your thought patterns when you're feeling good.
When you get upset, jot down what you're thinking, and compare that with your earlier records. You'll have concrete proof of your brain's improved efficacy when you are relaxed and coherent.
Last but not least, habituate whatever works!
Jennifer Day, best-selling author and coach (since 1991), specializes in emotional intelligence and "in-the-moment" stress management. Founder/director of Applied Emotional Mastery Inc., her most recent book BEING WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE – Bringing Emotional Mastery Into Everyday Life is available from bookstores, Amazon.com and through www.AppliedEmotionalMastery.com.
When I worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, our on-air hosts often received Christmas cards, personal letters and sometimes even birthday cakes from listeners. All from total strangers and all addressed as if sent to a long lost friend.
Such is the power of the human voice. One of the first lessons we learn in radio school is that nothing beats talking directly to your audience to establish an emotional connection.
Some coaches are already doing podcasts. If you’re not, you might want to think about it. After all, your business is based on talking to people. There are a lot of things podcasting can do to strengthen your connection with your clients through your voice.
What is podcasting?
There are a few different definitions of podcasts floating around in cyber culture. Podcasting in the strictest sense means an audio or video program that is like a magazine. People subscribe to podcasts through iTunes or similar “podcast aggregators,” after which each new episode is auto-magically downloaded onto your computer to load onto your iPod.
Often, though, when clients ask me to help them produce a podcast, they actually mean “help me make an audio or video feature for my website,” and that is the kind of podcasting I will address in this article.
What we know from radio research is that people establish strong emotional connections with their favourite radio stars. Radio is the most intimate of media, especially when listeners use headphones. The same is true for podcasts, which after all are just radio shows on the Internet.
Here are just a few ways to get into the ears of your coaching clients:
Free versus fee
You might want to have two kinds of podcasts. To attract new clients, have a podcast that is available to everyone, and distribute it as widely as possible. The more people who know about you, the more clients you will attract.
Then, have a separate podcast that is password-protected and only accessible to your clients. That way, the people who pay you will feel like they’re getting something special that isn’t available to everybody.
It's easier than you think
Podcasting is worth considering. It will bring out a whole new dimension of your personality and your coaching business. And it’s surprisingly easy and inexpensive to get started.
High quality recording gear which used to cost more than a thousand dollars is available for as little as $200. You can do your own editing on your own computer with free editing programs such as Audacity. If you'd like to move up to the next level, I recommend Amadeus (for Mac) at $40 USD, or Goldwave at $49 USD or Sound Forge Audio Studio at $55 USD, both for PC.
With a little bit of technical and performance training, your own glorious voice can go everywhere the Internet goes. And you may even start receiving those personal notes, cards and birthday cakes.
How to maximise your success on Part Two of the IAC certification exam
Once you have demonstrated a solid understanding of each of the IAC Coaching Masteries® by achieving a score of 70% or more on the online Part One exam, you are ready to focus on Part Two of the exam and prepare to demonstrate the use of each of the Masteries in your coaching.
This process will require an investment of your time to understand and integrate the IAC Coaching Masteries® fully into your own life and work so completely that they just become a natural part of who you are and how you coach. The Masteries are designed to create positive shifts and progress for both you and for your clients.
The goal of Part Two is to be able to appropriately and effectively apply all of the Masteries to an actual coaching situation, which you will demonstrate in two recorded coaching sessions.
Make sure you get lots of practice before you send in your recordings. Coach with a buddy coach, form a triad, join a study group and/or use a mentor coach. This experience and feedback will enable you to use the Masteries effectively. You will need to demonstrate not only that you understand each Mastery, but also that you know when and how to apply and use each one.
If you receive feedback that indicates you are not yet using the Masteries effectively with your clients or buddies, then it is better to postpone your exam until you are ready.
For your exam recordings, choose two clients (one for each recording) who are ready to evolve and follow through. Make sure they are healthy, smart and action-oriented. The ideal clients for your recordings have already made progress as a result of your coaching, while extremely stuck or confused clients may make it more difficult for you to demonstrate the Masteries.
Once you have decided which of your clients you work best with, ask them if you can record their coaching sessions for the purposes of IAC certification. Let them know that the IAC certification process identifies masterful coaches and that in order to be coaching at this level, you need to have many hours of coaching experience. (See last month’s article about how many hours it takes to achieve “mastery” in any field.)
Setting up your recording
At the beginning of each recorded session, remember to ask the client’s permission to record the session. Ask the client to state on the recording that they have read and signed the waiver of confidentiality, and agree to have the session recorded for the sole purpose of IAC certification.
Also bear in mind that the aim of this session is to demonstrate the use of the IAC Coaching Masteries® at a masterful level. Refresh your memory by reviewing the Masteries, and then set them aside. Do not try to force the Masteries into your session. This will be obvious to the certifiers, as well as the client, and results in less effective coaching. Let go of your agenda to pass the exam and just do your natural coaching as you do with your clients and coaching buddies. If you are ready, the Masteries will all be present quite naturally as you coach.
Designing your session
As you begin your coaching session, it is a good idea to bear in mind that you will be most successful if you design your session effectively. This means making sure you have a beginning, a middle and an end to your session.
Members, continue reading here for specific details on how to design an optimal coaching session.
To join the IAC, click here.
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 email@example.com.
Please send your questions on the IAC Coaching Masteries® and the certification process to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s in a Name
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
T.S Eliot said a cat must have three names; its everyday family name, a unique special name that sets it apart, and the secret name that only the cat itself knows – its “deep and inscrutable singular Name.”
What would your three names be?
I’ve been thinking a lot about names recently. I’ve never really liked being a Janice. It’s a perfectly good name, don’t get me wrong, but I’m just not a Janice. My six-year-old sister chose it when I was born. My Greek baptismal name is Yanna, which suits me so much more, but it would have upset my family if I’d adopted it.
When I married, I kept my own surname, simply because I prefer it. We were ostracised by several members of my husband’s family, and then shunned by the remaining members when he announced that I’m not a Mrs. either, but a Ms.
Names and titles have power. I know we can become obsessed by naming and defining, can end up feeding our egos instead of simply being, but clarity can empower us, and as names are symbols, it makes sense to investigate whether they empower us or hold us back.
Our lovers and parents give us pet names we can accept with love…or reject; being called Mum, a name shared by billions of others, has a magic all of its own when our children say it, smiling; if a woman chooses to take her husband’s name after marriage, it’s an eternal symbol of the blending of hearts and fortunes.
I love the Native American tradition of naming people after nature or characteristics. I often wonder if I’d be Woman who Smiles at Birds.
That’s why the Internet has empowered so many of us; we can choose – and change – our domain names and user names with freedom and ease, anonymity or laser focus.
I spent weeks deciding on the name of my new blog, even longer deciding on a tagline. I shunned all advice about specialising in one niche, and felt passionately that it needed to embrace all of me, as well as my desire to create a community. I eventually used Sharing the Journey: soul food and support for coaches, writers and homemakers. A touch of unashamed alliterative lyricism, a simple statement of intent. It expresses my mission, what I hope to offer.
I sometimes sign comments janice | Sharing the Journey; it feels more comfortable than my first name and surname, but it’s not my special name. It doesn’t define me.
I read a book last year which guides the readers through constellations of wonderful questions about likes and dislikes, passions and personal tastes until we hone our authentic, personal style into a style statement; two words that symbolise our essential, authentic selves, everything we are and love – our core foundation combined with that extra something that gives us an edge.
Mine came out in Greek. Sometimes I close my eyes and draw on it to give me strength. It still has the power to enchant me, but it’s too special to become invisible through daily use and familiarity. It’s also impossible to use in an elevator speech.
Years ago, I paid to do a course called Introduction to Life Coaching. In Britain, "life coach" was a term we used while North Americans simply called themselves coaches. After I became IAC-certified and started refining my interests and attracting people I resonated with, I began to refer to myself as a homelife coach; in my mind, it covers everything from interior design work and decluttering to the family coaching that can define our happiness at home.
After I became more deeply involved in writing about coaching topics, supporting and connecting with folk through my writing, I felt comfortable calling myself a homelife coach and coachwriter. My Twitter name, although I haven’t done much tweeting yet, is lifecoachwriter.
Why then, you might ask, did I tell a BBC radio producer on the phone on Saturday that I’m a certified life coach, in response to her innocent question “Shall we just say you’re a blogger, then, or a full-time mum?” She’d emailed me to ask if I’d do a guest spot discussing the benefits of "staycations," based on a blog post I’d written. I could have chosen any of my roles, but it came out passionately, and with conviction. “I’m a certified life coach.”
I realised quite suddenly, that I’m fiercely proud of being an IAC-certified coach. I don’t actively market my coaching services and I still have to explain to many of my fellow countrymen what a life coach actually does, but it means something to me and I worked very hard to be able to call myself one.
It always comes back to knowing who we are, what we value most, and what we were born to share.
What does the name "coach" mean to you?
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.
We'd love to get your feedback on any issue related to the IAC. Do you have any questions, concerns, encouragement or ideas for improvement regarding membership benefits, certification, the VOICE, the direction of the organization or anything else at all? Please send an email to email@example.com. Please help us improve.