IAC VOICE, Volume 4, Issue 39, September 2009, Circulation 13,212
September 10, 2009
From the Editor
As the season is changing, some faces at the IAC are changing as well. Angela Spaxman has more details about that in her President's Message, as well as some reflections about the ongoing IAC strategy calls. I was pleased to be part of this process, and I love how Susan Meyer sums up the experience:
"If you haven't been on an IAC Strategy call yet, you're missing a great experience. Dave Ellis is an excellent facilitator, and the entire process is inspiring both on a personal level and in terms of the future of the profession.
As the group moved though the process, I enjoyed hearing colleagues I know and respect but don't have many opportunities to speak with. I heard many of my own ideas and concerns supported and expanded on by other participants. I heard new ideas that expanded my own thinking about coaching.
These calls are the perfect way to keep IAC in the forefront of all that is innovative in our profession, while, at the same time, sparking ideas for innovation in our own work. As Dave stretched us to think further and further into the future, it was challenging and exciting to envision coaching practices woven into practically every aspect of an individual's life. It was inspiring to hear the list of possibilities for new delivery systems and new partnerships.
I came away from the call challenged to think more deeply about my own practice and about ways to contribute more fully to this amazing profession. What a wonderful growth opportunity!"
You can read more about the calls in my article below, and IAC members can find out how to join in the four remaining calls.
I'm thrilled to present a feature article from Lagos, Nigeria this month, as Folake Oluwole discusses the Sin of Assumption and gives us a glimpse into the shifting organizational culture in her part of the world.
Beginning with a powerful and thought-provoking introductory statement, Natalie Tucker Miller shares a very important lesson in our licensee column this month, as she explores the theme of Coaching and the Elder Years.
And as you enjoy your Coaching Moments this month, you may just find yourself itching to sort through that pile of magazines or finally root through your junk drawer. You'll be spurred on as you read how Janice Hunter took care of her Life Laundry.
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 September 14th for the October 8th issue, or by October 19th for the November 12th issue.
The IAC is moving forward this month in three big ways.
1) I am very pleased to announce that Natalie Tucker Miller, IAC-CC has accepted the position of IAC Lead Certifier, taking over from Nina East, who completed her tenure last month. We are so fortunate to have someone as experienced, committed and wise as Natalie for this role. As you know, our Certification process is the cornerstone of our organization and unparalleled in the industry. Natalie will be leading the team of certifiers to continue to deliver the world's simplest, most open, highest quality certification system in the world. (I like superlatives!)
2) The IAC is surging towards the future! Many members and subscribers took part in the first round of our Strategic Planning calls, as you will read below. The more we get into this process, the more I realize how important it is. The conversations have been wonderfully effective at expanding our thinking beyond the current times and especially beyond our own personal needs, to look at what we most want to create as the legacy of coaching in the world. Now that is something worth doing. And it's a lot of fun too.
Some of what I heard still echoes in my thoughts, such as: "Coaching will evolve and will need a new name….; Research will validate and improve on current models of coaching; The IAC needs to be more courageous…"
We welcome you to listen, enjoy and follow the process and email any more ideas you may have by September 15, 2009. The recordings are available here.
3) For the first time in our history, we have a President-Elect! I'm thrilled to announce that Bob Tschannen-Moran has accepted this position with the intention to become the next President of the IAC in January 2010. Bob has proven his ability as a member of the Board of Governors over the past two years and brings plenty of coaching and leadership experience to the role. Most importantly, Bob shares a heartfelt dedication to the IAC and the values we stand for.
I'd like to admit that I had considered (to myself) staying on another year as President. I do enjoy this role despite the pressures. But I don't want to be a "dictator for life!" I view it as a sign of maturity that the IAC has the capacity and support to make a smooth leadership succession. And we will benefit tremendously from the new ideas, energy and connections that come from new leadership. I will continue to support and contribute in 2010 and beyond.
At times like this I envision a tailwind. So many people are invisibly pushing me forward to where I want to go, which is also where WE want to go. I'm thinking now especially of Natalie, Bob and all the people who took time to share their thoughts about the future of coaching. Thank you.
Join us for IAC's Long-Range Visioning Process by Linda Dessau
"…The more voices that shared, the deeper my heart opened, and I was moved to tears when one woman spoke of coaching being freely available for anyone who asked. The process and the sharing opened hearts and brought visions into time. Overall an excellent, dynamic experience…" – Dr. Caron Goode
Taking time out of our day-to-day activities to look to the distant future is a rare and powerful experience. It is possible for each of us to step back and ask, “What do I want for the future of coaching and for the IAC?” This is the process that Dave Ellis is facilitating on a series of conference calls and webinars. He is capturing our ideas as we speak them and encouraging us to look far out in terms of time, creativity, and comprehensiveness.
Dave is using a process that he developed over 20 years ago and has brought to hundreds of organizations throughout the world. This is a process of looking to the future and creating a clear vision of what we want. This is not attempting to predict the future, but rather invent a vision of the future that pulls us forward.
As IAC embarks on four more strategic visioning sessions in September and October, we want to encourage your participation by sharing more reflections from our first two calls:
"…The process, led by Dave's calm, grounded self and easy to follow structure, freed up my thinking – a feeling of inspiration and possibility came over me. The effect of others responding in similar ways created an energy of ideas that built upon each other and sprung forth others. I left the call with my view of the horizon broadened for our association, for the field of coaching, and for my own place in that field…" – Catherine M. Miller
"…There was a lot of goodwill on the call with some big picture visioners. I feel that this is aligned with the big picture visioning of Thomas Leonard and Dave Buck…" – Linda Watts
"…I was impressed at how much people were thinking about the future of coaching and how we would like it to be versus only thinking about what's happening now. It was very strategic and forward thinking…There were lots of great ideas thrown out that I hadn't even thought of. There are many different directions the industry can go. If we're all forward thinking we can shape it into a very dynamic industry…" – Dan Roberts
"[After the call, I] felt there must be more thinking to do, and more ideas to come, and more difference to make…looking forward to the next call…The really exciting thing for the IAC would be to be able to take the whole profession beyond what it currently thinks it can be…I'm interested to see what Dave does differently on the upcoming calls to take us into that new thinking space. If IAC could succeed in getting us thinking this way, IAC would be doing something for the future of coaching and its role in the world that other bodies would not be doing…" – Aileen Gibb
"[After the call] I was very inspired to be a coach. I'm comparatively young in the coaching field, mid-30's, so for me the discussion of 5 years, 20 years, 100 years, really made me feel inspired to be part of such a growing, exciting, dynamic field…[Since the call] I've brought myself to each session with a larger sense of purpose…I felt more connected to a larger community and a larger overall purpose, and that made the presence with which I was sitting at the table a little higher level and in some ways more genuine." – Andrew Frank
"What is important to me is that coaching is viewed as a learning intervention and that coaches are well trained to consistently seek out ways to improve and develop their skills. I also believe that it is critical that the IAC support and initiate research around the masteries and the theories and models that might frame them. [After the call] I felt like I had been heard. I am glad I was there and have been given the opportunity to contribute. I'm looking forward to the next calls, to see how things progress and to hear more about the diverse points of view around what coaching is and where the IAC should go…" – Gina Blakeslee
As members of IAC, we are looking at what we want for the profession, for our organization, and for our own practice in the next five years, ten years, twenty years, and beyond. Dave has even led us in exercises that stretch our vision out 100 years. This is consistent with the American Indians belief that a great leader considers his or her impact on seven generations into the future.
The focus of this visioning is on what we want, when we want it, with whom we want it, and where we want it. For now, the how is being postponed. Dave claims that all great projects are conceived of and committed to long before the how is determined. Once we have clear and compelling visions for IAC, we well then focus on not just one how, but on many how’s. We will then create multiple action plans, multiple ways to achieve our dreams.
You may also click this link to listen to a recording of one of our strategy calls. As you listen and participate in the process in your own time, please make note of your ideas and reflections and email them to Dave Ellis.
"…When Dave Ellis acknowledged my email after the call I felt cherished and that I belonged in the process, and that's what members like to feel – that they're consulted and belong." – Susie Briscoe
Assumption is a delusion that impedes the culture-building process in any growing organization or society, including my country of Nigeria. The things we take or accept as true, ideal or acceptable, to a large extent, influence our thoughts, opinions and invariably our actions.
Culture building in any organization is fundamental. However, to build a common culture requires having the same set of core values. Now the question is: “How do we bring together people of diverse culture, background, beliefs, assumptions and attitude to share and identify a set of common values, culture and vision?”
A person’s identity is shaped by three main components:
* Our association
* Our socialization
* Our education
As leaders and organizational coaches we need to understand and appreciate that we are dealing with people of diverse cultures, backgrounds, attitudes, expectations (professionally and personally), intentions and personalities. Based on various experiences of the individual, assumptions are drawn, decisions are taken and attitudes formed.
To break into this self-made “cocoon” requires a whole lot more than impressive management qualifications, skills or training. Rather, it requires more intuitive abilities, genuine curiosity about people, and strong listening skills.
I am a local consultant and an organizational coach for an agency of the government in Lagos, Nigeria, and I have witnessed firsthand this sin of assumption.
My first day impression and assessment of the organization, i.e., the agency, was that of “lofty structural framework but shoddy implementation” which is a direct function of the mindset and orientation of the employees.
Walking into the main office and through the various units, I could feel and see the heavy presence of a typical busy office environment which is usually identified by brisk movements and footsteps across the office, young, smartly-dressed ladies and gentlemen, and inspirational inscriptions that adorned the walls, boards and tables.
One thing was very clear; they were all working harder and longer but not smarter and better. Why? The assumption here is that any job related to the government or civil service need not be taken so seriously. It is “just a job” not THE job. Job security is not an issue or threat as civil service is the most stable form of regular employment. In spite of the low pay, the civil service does not have staff retention issues as employees in this sector hold on tenaciously to their jobs with the logical assumption that if the pay is steady, eventually, it will grow.
While the belief is that employee assessment or appraisal cannot be objective as growth in civil service is highly political and not related to performance or skill, this idea is highly debatable. Thankfully, the recent changes and trends in the Lagos State Administration have challenged this notion.
Under the current administration of a learned, professional lawyer with a strong vision and mission to transform and reform the state, many assumptions are being challenged. This re-orientation of the citizens and residents is blowing a wind of change in the thoughts and minds of all people, in particular those in the labour market.
Some examples are that minimum standard entry requirement has been increased to a university or H.N.D. degree. As a result, more competent hands are being poached from the corporate world to run the affairs of the strategic business units of the government and its related bodies, such as consultants and management specialists, and the civil service now wears a new face.
To confirm these progressive and significant changes in the administration, one only needs to look at the results: improved, structured and better managed transport system in the city, a greener and cleaner environment, improved compliance to traffic rules, and so on.
Assumptions not properly channelled can often times be counterproductive and portend grave danger; we see the “business as usual syndrome” instead of growth, positive changes or results. The only solution is to see assumptions for what they truly are: feelings, beliefs or opinions that have yet to be scrutinized, clarified and proven. Till then, assumption is not to be taken as the real thing.
Folake Oluwole is a corporate and career coach and is the managing partner of GTD LTD (i.e. GETTING THINGS DONE), a consulting firm based in Lagos, Nigeria. She connects with people and organizations to inculcate a passion for the vision of the organization. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The 3 Things You Absolutely Must Know Before Creating Your New Product by Susan Fuller
Have you ever created a product that didn't sell?
If you're like most of the coaches I know, the answer is probably yes. I know I have, and I know it can feel like you're throwing mud up against a wall just waiting for a bit to stick.
That's no way to be successful in the competitive online environment we have today. The days of putting up a website, buying some cheap pay-per-click ads and raking in the money are long gone…and they're not coming back.
The Internet is loaded with information and millions of other businesses trying to grab the attention of your potential clients. In fact, did you know that an astounding 42% of web traffic goes to the site in position #1? I'm not sharing that to discourage you but to enlighten you to how vitally important it is to get your website onto page one of the Google SERPs (search engine results page).
So how can you insure that you get there? You can't, but you can improve your chances by having good online market research in hand before starting any new project.
So what does online market research really tell you? Good research will give you crucial information about keywords, competition and commercial value.
1. What keywords are people searching for? And in what numbers?
When people hear me say I do keyword research they usually think I'm talking about search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC) but keyword research is first and foremost about identifying profitable niche markets.
Everything online revolves around keywords and keyword phrases. That's how you find what you're looking for online and it's how your potential clients are going to find you as well.
So it is imperative for you to know exactly what people are searching for and how many of them there are.
As important as this head count is, it's only the beginning of the story. Keywords with lots of searches look good, but paradoxically keywords with fewer searches are usually going to bring more traffic to your site than keywords with thousands of searches.
Why? Because of the competition.
2. How much competition is there? And what are they doing?
Knowing how many other websites are competing for your keyword phrases is, in many ways, even more important than how many searches are being done.
If you are competing with millions of other websites for that most coveted of spots in Google, it will literally take you years to build the authority and reputation to get there. You can do all the SEO you like but it's still going to take a long time to rank, and you might never get there.
What you want are keywords with some competition but not so much that you can't quickly rank for them in Google. And by quickly, I mean no more than a couple of months, sometimes less depending on the keyword.
Not only is the amount of competition important but you also want to know exactly what your competition is doing to get onto page 1. When you know that you have a very precise roadmap showing what you need to do to beat them.
Think about that. You don't have to figure out how to get ranked well in Google, you just need to follow your competition and then do them one better.
3. Where's the money?
The last piece of information you need to know is whether your keyword phrases are money-makers or not. Do they have commercial value? If you've ever done any PPC advertising you already know that some keywords are just duds when it comes to sales and some are huge winners. You need to know which is which.
Though this is the least concrete measure, there are clues in the research that can give you a good idea of commercial value. Things like the number of advertisers in Google AdWords, what they're bidding and the number of affiliate products in the market are all indicators of whether people are actually buying.
So there it is…
1. Identify the keywords people are searching for and the number of searches for that keyword 2. Identify how much competition there is for the keyword and what your competition is doing to get their traffic (and do it better) 3. Determine whether there is commercial value
This kind of research will eliminate about 95% of the bad choices.
The remaining 5% can be eliminated by testing your research. Before creating a product, for example, you could set up a simple WordPress blog and try selling a similar product that someone else has created. Choose a product with an affiliate program so that you can track your sales and earn a commission. If it sells, you can go ahead and create your own product, you have a viable market. If it doesn't, you can move on to something else knowing you have just saved yourself a huge amount of time, money and energy.
It's really that simple.
As an online business consultant and coach, Susan Fuller can help you with all your research and testing needs at New Niche Finder.
Coaching and the Elder Years by Natalie Tucker Miller, IAC-CC
“You’ve never been 80, so please don’t assume to know what’s right for me.”
My mother provided this pivotal, “water in the face” moment for me almost 10 years ago. There I stood, witness to a disappearance of all the powerful coaching skills I’d thought I’d mastered. Diplomatic as I may have been, I was telling my mother what I thought she needed to do!
It was painfully obvious that it’s easy to use a coaching approach…until you’re intimately invested!
And of course my mother was right. She, in fact, was echoing the very thing I’d learned as a coach: Do not assume to know what is right for your client (mother)! This is a liberating and empowering concept in coaching, the very thing that invites inspiration and allows sustainability. And it’s equally liberating for the coach. Benefits abound! Yet in the throes of wanting what was best for my mother, I stepped in a big pile of fear, missing the perfection by a mile!
Since that day all those years ago I’ve learned, among other things, the distinction between an emotional response and responding to emotions. The former has the ability to assume a crisis situation; the latter can open possibilities for the most loving and appropriate direction. In response to emotions, we are guided to detach from outcomes, a concept with which every coach is familiar.
Even so, people often react adversely to the word “detachment” when talking about loved ones. It could appear to be advocating indifference. However, in my example, by detaching from the emotion of the situation, I was led to learn about the elder developmental stage of life, thus creating stronger understanding and allowing more compassionate actions.
And there were some interesting, paradigm shifting surprises. For instance, the authors of a McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) study reported in the journal “Neuron” that the aging process actually improves certain abilities: Elderly people appear to be better and faster at grasping the big picture than their younger counterparts. That being the case, my mother was right. How could I possibly assume to know what’s right for her, when we weren’t even viewing the situation through the same developmental lens? That explained a lot.
On the contrary, emotional responses can prevent the most appropriate solution from emerging, or prohibit the possibility that a solution may not even be necessary. It’s common to feel concern for our elder’s future, our own future, our own mortality. Being at the effect of our emotional response, we can rely too heavily on conditioning from our past and project the future instead of being in the present moment. Solutions are created in the present. Einstein has been credited for noting, “You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.”
So what’s a coach/daughter to do? A peek at the IAC Coaching Masteries® can help offer some insight to a more pro-active approach in these delicate situations.
For instance, my mother has been inhabiting the mysterious world of dementia for five or so years now, and the coaching approach is more important than ever. A key element of Mastery #1, the client feels safe to tell his or her deepest fears without judgment, is crucial to keeping the lines of communication intact, especially during the times when communication seems disconnected. Mastery #4 states the coach allows the client the opportunity to process his or her own thoughts and responses, which can eliminate the need to interject with fact corrections.
When we apply the Masteries in any relationship, we can reduce/eliminate confusion or uncertainty; increase understanding and the confidence of the client (Mastery #6), as well as for ourselves. This is where the magic of “what to do” is answered. This is how we navigate to the next phase and the next and the next. Organic solutions come forth and assumptions of what it best for someone else are left behind. As we say in the coaching biz, everyone wins.
Natalie Tucker Miller, IAC-CC, is the Lead Certifier and a certifying examiner at the IAC and has previously served on the Board of Governors as President. She currently holds positions of Master Instructor and Dean of Students at the School of Coaching Mastery. Additionally, Natalie is founder of Ageless-Sages.com, publisher of Picture Books for Elders™ and their families.
Mastery, Part 2 (See Part 1) by Nina East, IAC-CC and Karen Van Cleve, IAC-CC
Mastery is considered by many as a result (e.g., being able to coach masterfully) or as a status (e.g., a masterful coach). Instead, we propose that mastery is a mindset. As coaches ever seeking to raise our levels of capability with the IAC Coaching Masteries®, the fastest path to achieve the result of mastery is to first adopt the mindset of mastery.
As coaches, we know a key to changing our clients’ mastery of their own lives is not to shift their behaviors, but to first adopt new patterns of thought, belief, and perspective. The same is true of moving ourselves from our current capabilities to our next level of potential. A recognized expert on the subject of mastery is George Leonard, author of the book Mastery. In a video by Leonard, entitled “The Five Keys to Mastery,” several masters of their crafts – from musicians and actors to software developers to Olympic athletes – describe their process of mastery. Leonard has boiled down their advice to five simple steps, or mindsets, any of us can use in any area of life.
Key #1 is “Surrender to your passion.” When we really tap into the emotion and passion of our coaching, we are capable of so much more. Leonard advises us not to take ourselves, and mastery, so seriously – to find the joy and fun of it. When you love what you are doing, you’re willing to work hard, try new things, and step out of the inevitable feelings of fear or self-doubt. Joseph Campbell wrote that when you follow your passion, “you put yourself in the path of good luck,” where opportunities you can’t even imagine begin to open up.
Key #2 is “Practice, practice, practice.” Leonard talks about mastery as spending most of the time on the “plateau,” where it feels like you aren’t really growing or changing. Yet he describes this as the place where most of the growth does occur. Once the learning has occurred on the plateau, then you see the evidence in a jump in capability. The experts identified the importance of focus during practice. The mastery mindset with this key is to get pleasure out of the moment-to-moment process of being a coach.
Karen Van Cleve, IAC-CC, ACC, has been an IAC Certifier since 2005. She is also a Results Coach for the Anthony Robbins coaching organization. She speaks on a variety of coaching topics and provides personal coaching for a wide range of clients. Her website is www.KarenVanCleve.com.
Nina East, IAC-CC, is the past Lead Certifier for the IAC and the founder of www.PersonalGrowthPrincess.com, a self-help book summary site for women professionals and business owners who are enthusiastic about personal growth but don’t have the time to read all the books they buy.
"Coaching Moments" takes a thoughtful look at how coaching can be interwoven into our daily lives.
(Prologue: I haven't been writing much this month due to illness, family commitments and the knock-on effects of a massive decluttering and redecorating project we began during our staycation; I thought it might be a good time to revisit one of my old Coaching Moments pieces. Although it was written in September 2007, it's very timely and as relevant now as it was then. I'm definitely a seasonal creature, a September nester. Reading it gave me a strong sense of déja vu; my son began high school a few weeks ago and my dad had a heart attack a year ago this month.)
Life Laundry by Janice Hunter, IAC-CC
Pegging out laundry Damp and fragrant in the sun She lifts up her face Listens to the sheets flapping In the breeze, surrendering Ready to set sail ~ Janice Hunter
What's September like where you are? Is it spring? Or has the frazzling heat of August started to fade, leaving you fresher and less floppy? Do you take on new clients, begin new ventures?
September feels like the start of a new year for me, with its promise of exciting new beginnings, classes and semesters. Maybe it's because I've spent most of my life as a student or a teacher or because my birthday falls at the end of August and both my children were born in the autumn. Whatever the reason, this is a time for freshly sharpened pencils, for blank pages and tempting piles of books, something to look forward to on darkening days as the nip of autumn turns into the unexpected bite of winter.
I have a cupboard in the dining room where I store all the Christmas candles, scented oils and festive season bargains bought in the January sales. Wedged at the back are some wooden Shaker hearts, hand-painted a warm, folk art red. They were a free gift with a magazine and I always planned to do something creative with them. Waiting in there, patiently for years, they've soaked up the fragrance of cinnamon, apple and spice. If I'm ever saddened by the fading brightness of autumn, or tempted to see it as a season of loss rather than a time of fruitful abundance, I furtively open those doors and inhale the excitement of another season nestled within, like Russian dolls.
As evolving souls in human bodies, we're meant to grow, to feel the seasons, to surrender to the beauty of each one – but like many people, I'm not very good at letting go. My daughter started high school a few weeks ago and I spent an anxious, distressed day pacing like a caged animal, unable to relax until she burst through the door beaming. My dad is eighty-three this month and has started to prepare for a different kind of letting go, sorting through his treasures, putting his life and house in order.
One thing that calms me when the months and years seem to be spinning out of control is to anchor myself in the everyday details of creating a life I love. I try to cultivate gratitude and focus on the people I love, on the things that inspire me and on the thoughts, emotions and details that are within my power to change; then I just do my best to trust the rest to the universe.
Every autumn, I get a craving, an almost visceral nesting instinct to clear out all the debris of an old year. Out go old passions and paradigms, making room for abundance, new experiences, new people and new lessons to flow into my life. Clutter clearing – my own and other people's – brings me so much pleasure, it should be X-rated. Deciding what to do with every sheet of paper, every object, every garment or piece of fabric is a living, breathing meditation, a tangible way to strengthen my choice muscles and ask some important questions:
If I had ten minutes to rescue my belongings, would I take this?
Do I really, really love and need this or am I keeping it "just in case it comes in useful?"
Could someone else get more benefit from this or love it more?
Am I keeping this just to please someone else? Or because it came from someone I care about?
Is this anchoring me in the past when I need to be moving on?
Is this heartstoppingly beautiful?
Will the kids be glad I saved this in the attic for them or roll their eyes in years to come and wonder what on earth I was thinking about?
Does this object exude positive, empowering energy?
What does it say about me? And do I like what it says about me?
Does it symbolise a value, something good, something precious?
Do I spend more time dusting souvenirs than I do making memories?
Every time I shred paper and clear out my clutter, my coaching and poetry get better, the house becomes more spacious and easier to clean, we all have more energy… and I lose weight! As well as space and energy, a cathartic clean-out also frees up time and money. A few weeks ago, we had a family holiday in a small, white cottage by a sea loch; it was funded entirely by what we'd earned from family car-boot sales and by what we'd saved by recycling and re-organising.
What could you let go of this autumn to prepare the ground for the seeds of a new season?
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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