As I enter my second year as Editor of the VOICE, I want to say what an honour it's been. I'd also like to send a special thank you to our wonderful production team, VA extraordinaire Diana McFarlane and generous and savvy proofreader Elizabeth Nofziger. Thanks also to Angela Spaxman, Sue Brundege, Bob Tschannen-Moran and the entire BOG for your support behind the scenes.
It's been an absolute joy to work with our fascinating and talented contributors and columnists, and one final thank you goes out to YOU for reading and being here with us.
In this first issue of the year, IAC President Bob Tschannen-Moran jumps into 2010 with some extraordinary resolutions for the IAC. In other IAC news, this month we're introducing another IAC Member Benefit from JournalEngineTM Software, and Marc Manieri will tell you more in his article about the power of journaling.
While New York City is certainly well known for its exceptional theatre, did you know that there is a coach working behind the scenes? Andrew Frank gives us a glimpse of his work in his article about goal-setting for artists.
Our second feature article has veteran coach Tonia Boterf challenging conventional marketing ideas as she warns, "Don't niche me in!"
This month's Tools for Coaching Mastery column welcomes back Alison Davis with an inspiring message about just how far the Masteries can take us to bring a coaching approach to the whole world.
In today's Inside Scoop—Ask the Certifiers column, Lead Certifier Natalie Tucker Miller untangles the distinctions between collaborating, sharing, inviting, suggesting and telling, to help you determine when you might be too directive with your clients.
We're expecting Janice Hunter to be back next month with a new instalment of Coaching Moments. In the meantime, please feel free to browse the archives of her rich contributions to this newsletter.
If you enjoy what you read in the IAC VOICE, be sure to follow our feature article authors, columnists and IAC Board members on Twitter. You can check in on them anytime at http://twitter.com/lindadessau/iac-voice-contributors, or subscribe to the list from your Twitter account.
Our 2010 submission guidelines for the VOICE are available here. I would love to receive your article submissions by January 20th for the February 11th issue or by February 17th for the March 11th issue.
Cynics like to point out that less than half of all New Year’s Resolutions result in sustained, long-term behavioral changes. That "glass half empty" framework discounts the fact that more than 40% of all New Year’s Resolutions do result in sustained, long-term behavioral changes. In other words, setting intentions—an essential part of coaching—makes a huge difference for significant numbers of people (and the success rate goes up when intentions are coupled with designs). Since I prefer this "glass half full" orientation when it comes to intentions and possibilities, I would share with you a few of my own as the incoming President of the IAC.
Significant and Rapid Membership Growth. The IAC has now been in existence for almost seven years. In that time we have attracted a significant number of subscribers—more than 13,000—to our monthly newsletter, the IAC VOICE. We have not, however, turned many of those subscribers into annual, dues-paying members. Our current membership numbers are so small—around 550—that it limits the impact and threatens the viability of our organization. My intention is to at least double the paid membership of the IAC by the end of 2010, and double it yet again by the end of 2011. 2,012 by 2012 is my new mantra! With more than 2,000 paid members, the IAC brand and capacity will have reached the critical mass it needs to substantially influence the future of coaching and the infusion of coaching values in our world today.
Enhanced Certification and Licensing Programs. To dramatically increase our membership, I see the IAC striving to enhance its certification and licensing programs. There is much that we can do to strengthen the integrity, visibility and diversity of our brands. To that end, our long-range strategy process is focusing on creating entry-level designations (not certifications) for those coming into the profession as well as making our certification and licensing programs even more vital and accountable. Our commitment "to inspire the on-going evolution and application of universal coaching standards" requires the rigorous and continuous application of those standards to all who use the IAC Coaching Masteries® in their coaching, training and mentoring.
Dramatically Improved Web Presence. We already offer an impressive and growing array of member benefits. During 2010, the IAC plans on investing a significant amount of time, money and energy in a vastly improved website that will increase the value of IAC membership and attract new members. With the help of our new media design company, Ripe Media, we expect to completely redesign our website, optimizing its usability and visibility. One result will be that IAC-certified coaches and our other members will rise to the top of search engine inquiries. We also expect to include new vehicles for online collaboration, conversation and connection.
Greater Collaboration and Diversification. The IAC's recent presence and activities at the 14th annual ICF Conference in Orlando, Florida reflect our intention to cooperate more actively and passionately with the ICF. This followed an earlier agreement that the IAC and ICF would jointly issue a set of model standards of conduct for professional coaches. We may each have distinctive understandings of and approaches to coach certification, but we agree on the basics when it comes to our legal, ethical and professional standards. Such agreement foreshadows future collaborations, not only with the ICF and other coaching associations, but also with different associations and organizations that share our values and commitments as professional coaches. I envision the IAC growing into a large, umbrella organization where coaches can share our work and way in the world.
Increased Social Responsibility. It has been striking to me how often our conversations regarding the future of coaching have come back to the question of coaching’s impact on the future of our world. What difference does coaching make? How can that difference be measured? Are some techniques more effective than others? The IAC aligns itself with the following "coaching values": innovation and change, diversity, mastery, openness and transparency, abundance thinking, integrity and high ethical standards. How can we best promote those values in our world today? How can we best encourage coaches and wannabe coaches to live into those values, regardless of their financial capacity or stage of development? The IAC is wrestling with those questions and is uniquely situated to find answers that will help our profession to soar.
With the start of 2010, the IAC Board of Governors has doubled in size, with wonderful new energy and leadership for the work at hand. We will be featuring our new Board members in future issues of the IAC VOICE and on the IAC website. Expect to be touched by their work and recruited by their leadership. When everyone pitches in, the work of the IAC will rise to new heights in 2010 and beyond. We look forward to welcoming and working with you on the journey.
This month we are pleased to introduce the newest IAC Member Benefit with an article from Marc Manieri, President of JournalEngineTM Software.
If I told you that you’ve been operating at about 50% of your coaching ability, would you be offended or curious? Well, I’m telling you that you are operating at half-mast, and I’d like to invite you to be curious. Read on.
I have personally interacted with several hundred coaches over the last two years. During that time, I have identified three common themes:
The coaches I’ve met love what they do and are genuinely inspired to help others;
The coaches I’ve met have clients who are happy but not necessarily transformed;
The coaches I’ve met struggle with consistent business development.
Doctors who perform miracle surgeries have tools at their disposal to assist them in their work. So why should coaching be any different? The answer is: it shouldn’t.
Journaling is one tool that can be a key to success for both you and your clients. When you integrate journaling into your coaching practice—making it the very foundation of your work—you can effectively address each of these three themes.
You can help your clients in leaps and bounds, because you literally gain the ability to read your client’s mind. By strategically guiding your client’s journal writing with relevant questions or prompts, you gain access to their real time thoughts and beliefs. You know exactly what’s going in their mind and in their life as things unfold.
You can facilitate life-altering transformation. Before, it may have taken weeks or months to get to the client’s real “stuff;” no longer. You’re now better equipped to guide your client past their resistance and towards their goals at warp speed.
You can count on consistent referrals and repeat clients. Every time your client journals they are instantly reminded of the growth they've accomplished, and when they see your coaching comments after each journal entry they associate their breakthroughs with your coaching guidance. Soon they will be singing your praises to everyone they know. Plus, with a journaling system in place, your former clients can keep using it and remember that you're there if they ever want a "tune-up."
By reading your clients’ minds, you become a better coach and earn more consistent business all at once. Not a bad play!
Marc Manieri is a coach at Frame of Mind Coaching and President of JournalEngine™ Software, the most robust online journaling software on the planet. IAC members save 50% on customization and 20% on membership. Check it out at www.journalengine.com and use the coupon code on the IAC Members page.
How Coaching Helps Artists Strive for Process, Not Achievement by Andrew Frank
In my work with artists, many of them actors and writers, I find that a common goal is to get an agent. Okay, I completely understand that desire. Most artists believe that an agent will help them get to the next level of their career, a level that doesn’t appear to be open to them without the guiding hand and business connections of an agent.
Let us ignore for a moment the reality of this statement and instead take a look at the goal itself. "My goal is to get an agent." Is this an effective goal? My answer is no. It is a great dream but as a goal it is problematic because whether or not an agent signs you is beyond your control. You can do everything in your power perfectly—send out mailings, network with casting agents, go to all open calls, have the perfect headshots, a great website and credits—and still not get an agent. So why create a goal that is beyond your control to achieve no matter what you do?
I may ask an artist client to consider the goal, "To take weekly diligent action in my pursuit of an agent." This is a goal that they have the ability to achieve and feel good about. The path to obtaining it is in their hands and not someone else’s. There is now nothing stopping them from achieving this goal and feeling great about achieving it. In addition, as a result of the action and attitude they apply to meet this goal, it is often the case that their dream becomes a reality.
I also help my clients to understand the difference between their achievement-based goal and my process-based goal. The first is something you get or are awarded. The second is something that you do or act upon. So what if they actually get the agent they’ve been dreaming about, what now? Has achieving this goal given them a true sense of accomplishment? Have they grown or learned anything by accomplishing this? I know many actors and writers that have agents and they still aren’t getting sent out for the projects they want.
Compare this to the process-based goal, "to take weekly diligent action." If they’ve accomplished this goal, what have they learned? Maybe some new life skills, such as:
Making the most of their time
Balancing their schedule
Self-promotion and marketing
Working through "boring" tasks
Listening to their own inner voice
If they do get representation, these skills will come in extra handy as they continue to work on building their career with the help of an agent.
There is much to be gained by setting goals around process instead of achievement. Additionally, as I work to help artists tap into their internal energy, this process-oriented approach can dovetail nicely with the way they approach their art making.
I encourage artists to set goals that they can achieve by themselves alone; goals that will provoke action, that will build life skills and that will transfer to any area of life; goals that inspire them to act and to be the best they can.
It is the challenge and opportunity of every artist to present their best self to the world every day. Ultimately, each artist is going to be their own greatest agent, even after they've been signed by one!
Andrew Frank is certified in Personal Coaching by NYU. He has helped hundreds of artists build life skills for a successful creative life, including networking, diversifying income streams, health, relationships, and New York living. He is a director, writer and producer and the Founding Artistic Director of Manhattan Theatre Source. www.frankcoaching.com.
Over the last year, I’ve been poked and prodded to ‘find your niche’ as an Internet life coach and I’ve fought it kicking and screaming. All I ever heard and was told was that you must have a niche, in order to target your audience effectively for marketing purposes and that you can’t be successful without doing so. Phooey!
Life coaching started with Executive Coaching, and then Corporate Coaching, but then became more mainstream in applying the coaching techniques to people’s everyday lives. Before the Internet, coaches worked from offices and thus had to have the skills for a broader range of issues. Along came the Internet and everything changed, especially if you coach via the phone and do not get your clients primarily from your local area.
Through the Internet, you can now find life coaches specializing in diverse areas: Christian, Divorce, Relationships, Career, Marketing, Small Business Development, Spirituality, Over 50, Youth, Organization and so forth. In the Internet sea, coaching businesses have become more specialized for primarily two reasons: (1) Internet search engines deliver results based on specific key words that consumers type in when they are looking for a life coach and (2) Coaches who want to be found by those consumers are aiming to identify and target their audience in order to laser focus their marketing efforts to reach that group. Woe to us who prefer to be more generalized in practice—for us the road is harder.
If a life coach’s background is specialized, then it makes sense to confine their coaching practice to those skills. This makes sense—as long as they are professional enough to refer their customers to another coach, or to work in tandem when appropriate.
There are some of us, though, who have the skills and background to offer a broader range of coaching services. The Internet doesn’t like generalists or those of us who don’t want to be niched in. This reality makes the marketing of our services through the Internet more challenging; it is more difficult to get high "search rankings" and it may be harder for customers to find us.
With 25+ years of professional coaching in all kinds of life areas and enjoying most of them, the idea of niching or creating boundaries for myself has left me with my phrase of "Don’t Niche Me In." Oh, I’ve succumbed some but my passion and experiences are broad and the more complex the situation, the happier I am. I would be bored if confined to a single topic area. So, I market the best that I can, but as a generalist, you just can’t list all the areas of life you can coach in.
There are subjects that I am not as well versed in as others, and there are some I really don’t enjoy and will refer a customer to another life coach as appropriate. I encourage all coaches to be clear and honest about their skills, and build a network of coaches they can refer to in areas that are outside their specialty. I also recommend that they list their specialties in some of the many coach directories that are available.
My passion as a life coach is to make other’s lives better. If someone has more skills or passion in an area then I do, my loyalty is to the customer and finding them the right coach to help them. By playing to my strengths and those of other life coaches, I feel the entire life coaching profession benefits. Satisfied customers spread the word of how beneficial life coaching is—isn't that what all of us would like to see more of – whether we are "niched in" or not?
Tonia Boterf – The Practical Expert™ (617-895-0249, www.thepracticalexpert.com) is a Certified Life Coach, Holistic Health Practitioner and LSW with 25+ yrs of experience offering strong results-oriented coaching services for those over 40 dealing with major life challenges, including caring for aging parents. Offering free and affordable sessions, quality e-books and articles.
The Coaching Masteries®—Foundations for Living by Alison Davis, IAC-CC
I’ve recently been wondering how different the world would be if we were all able to actually "live" the Masteries and use them naturally in our everyday lives. The idea intrigues me and I have begun to experiment with the concept in my own life.
As I explored how to use the Masteries appropriately in my everyday life, with others and with myself, I found that I was experiencing new levels of centeredness and confidence in myself and mastering the Masteries even better! This worked so wonderfully well for me that I really recommend you try it too.
As coaches we learn that it is important not to just coach others in everyday life without their permission, however tempting this might be at times. But I wasn't sure how I could "live the Masteries" in my daily interactions without coaching people. What I found that not only did it improve my relationships and shift them to a whole new level, it also created a different kind of energy in me, and between myself and others.
I began to wonder how the world might be different if we were all to master the Masteries and use them in our everyday lives skilfully and appropriately with ourselves and in our interactions with others.
How might our relationships with ourselves and with others be different if using the Masteries became as natural as breathing?
As I looked at each Mastery and began to explore what it would mean to use each one in my everyday life, I remembered that one of the first things we learn to do when are learning to demonstrate the Masteries is to connect fully and deeply with the client, building rapport and trust. This is what happens when we apply Mastery #1, through the way we are being, our presence and our tone of voice.
So how would our relationships and interactions in the world at large be different if we were able, using this Mastery, to get into relationship with others quickly and connect more fully and deeply, whatever the mood of the other? If we always listened actively and remained connected, respectful and engaged in order to establish and maintain a relationship of trust?
What if we were able to listen to ourselves in this way? How would this change our relationship with ourselves, our confidence and our self-esteem? What would we ourselves get from this different way of being with ourselves and others? How would others feel? What would they get out of it? How would our experiences be different?
I applied a similar line of questioning to each of the Masteries, and have had rich experiences answering them. As a mentor coach, I have also been encouraging my mentees to use the Masteries in their lives to prepare them for the IAC exam. One mentee was willing to share this extraordinary story of relationship transformation:
Whilst I can feel the benefits for me and those around me of living the teachings of the Masteries in my daily life, I would not want to become the shrink at the dinner party. You know, the one who nobody wants to be seated next to, for fear of being analysed, judged and processed!
But here are some examples taken from a situation in my life where I used the Masteries successfully. As always, I find that I use more than one at a time:
My mum and I have had a mercurial relationship made up of rare moments of bliss and peace and many more of distrust and judgement. Yet, with the arrival of my newborn son, I have made the commitment to myself to make every effort to change this to a relationship of acceptance and love.
For example, every time we see each other, she expects me to run countless errands for her, but then complains that we never have quality time together.
With the use of Mastery #1, Mastery #3, Mastery #4 and Mastery #5, I suggested that on a specific day that we were due to meet, I may not spend our time "together" running errands for her and "looking after her" but rather focus on realising her wish to spend "quality time" together.
I also acknowledged to her that I had not been honest with her about resenting being asked to be her personal shopper, driver, etc. I invited the possibility of being something else to her and asked what she would like to get out of our time together. Expressing and clarifying were both important as our conversations are very rich in subtitles.
At the end of that day, spent lunching and shopping and having tea, she opened up to me saying, "I always felt you were angry with me for divorcing your dad," a belief she had held for 30 years, but never shared with me.
That is when Masteries #4 and #8 kicked in. By bringing the feeling back to today and inviting the possibility of an evolved relationship, which I asked her to describe, we managed a real breakthrough when untainted love started to seep through.
Sustaining such a start, we used Mastery #9 by looking at what was needed to continue our journey. We committed to authentic communication when discomfort occurs, also using Masteries #5 and #6. We also agreed to have moments together at least every fortnight and arranged for my son to be looked after by his other grandmother at these times.
Mum also started to open up about her lack of self-confidence and her feeling of having missed opportunities in her life. She shared that she would have loved to teach or be in fine arts. By using Masteries #6 and #2, the conversation just flowed, opening up a realm of possibilities. The energy between us has shifted from destructive to positive.
Without the use of the Masteries in this conscious yet easy way, we would not have jumped over the hurdle of the first affirmation, "I always felt you were angry…" and might not even have gone there at all.
It is really worth considering: How might your relationships be different if you were to apply the Masteries this way? How might the way you feel about yourself be different? How might your friends, relations, work colleagues and children feel about themselves? What might become possible? What miracles might occur?
If you have a story or example of using the Masteries in your everyday life to make a real difference in a situation, please comment below or submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alison Davis, IAC, CC, is a certifying examiner at the IAC, coach, mentor coach and founder of the IAC–licensed virtual coaching school Foundations for Living. Discover more at www.foundationsforliving.com.
Inside Scoop: Too Directive? by Natalie Tucker Miller, IAC-CC
Q. I received feedback that I was too directive with my client. Is being directive always viewed as negative?
A. Collaborate with your client. Brainstorm. Share what you’re noticing. Make statements to increase understanding. Suggest relevant resources. But don’t be directive? Sounds like a little bit of double talk, doesn’t it?
However, when you look at how being directive affects the coaching, the definition comes into focus.
What is the impact on the specific client?
In what context is the approach applied?
What is the most appropriate action for the given situation and/or how reliant is the coach on that action?
Does the coach demonstrate an understanding of the difference between being direct and being directive?
These are just a few indicators to be aware of when pursuing the most effective approach.
In this article, we’ll delve into some of the specifics of those examples for better understanding of when and how being directive might serve your client. The Masteries e-book has several examples that can help demystify this concept. Members can download the e-book for free, and non-members can purchase it for a nominal fee. Please visit the website for details.
Natalie Tucker Miller, IAC-CC, is the Lead Certifier and a certifying examiner at the IAC, as well as Past-President. She is Dean of Students and a Master Instructor at the School of Coaching Mastery. Natalie is founder of Ageless-Sages.com Publishing (www.ageless-sages.com), and creator of the literary genre, Picture Books for Elders™.
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