Welcome to the new, earlier edition of the IAC VOICE. We're so pleased to be starting the month with you. Our issue is a little lighter this month, partly because of this transition, and that's highlighted the need for a richer storehouse of articles we can draw from. So if you've been thinking about submitting an article idea or a draft, please contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to help you get started!
And there are other ways you can contribute to the VOICE. Remember that you can submit your anonymous questions about the certification process online at http://certifiedcoachblog.typepad.com/blog/ask-the-certifiers.html. IAC Lead Certifier Natalie Tucker Miller and her team of certifiers address one of these questions in every issue.
Our first feature article is from regular VOICE contributor Jennifer Day, a coach specializing in emotional intelligence and stress management. She opens with a story that powerfully illustrates just how important it is to coach children about how to handle stress.
Our other feature article is about a topic near and dear to my own heart: article marketing. Virtual marketing assistant Bonnie Jo Davis provides a helpful primer outlining the benefits and strategies that will help you make the most of this business-building tool.
Our Tools for Coaching Mastery column will return next month with a submission by Julia Stewart from the School of Coaching Mastery.
Janice Hunter returns with a Coaching Moments column today, though I'm afraid she has some sad news for us.
A few weeks ago, after Dallas, Texas received more than 30 centimeters (12 inches) of snow in a 24-hour period, I heard on the evening news that 49 of the 50 states in the USA had snow on the ground. If you guessed Hawaii as the lone holdout, you would be right. It was pretty unusual. People in the USA head south in the wintertime to places like Texas to get away from the snow, not to play in it. But that’s exactly what happened: kids and adults alike threw snowballs, made snow creatures and lay down to create snow angels.
Growing up in northeast Ohio, I lived through plenty of snowy winters. On one occasion, we had enough snow for me to make an igloo at the end of the driveway. I cut out windows, made seats, and turned the place into my own snowy castle. It was great fun that generated the kind of full engagement that comes with getting lost in the project at hand.
Today, thanks to the pioneering work of psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, we know that experience as "flow"—those moments when we lose track of time because we are fully absorbed in a challenging activity that is perfectly suited to our skills and abilities. It is neither too difficult (producing anxiety) nor too easy (producing boredom). It is just right, producing a sense of focused attention and timeless fulfillment.
That’s how I felt while I was building that igloo; I was so intent and was having so much fun that I lost all track of time and temperature. I remember being cold, wet and satisfied by the time my mother brought me out a cup of hot chocolate. I sat at my little snow table and enjoyed the view out my snowy window. Even in elementary school, I took great pleasure in setting my mind to a task of my own choosing and getting things done.
I mention all this because I am experiencing some of those same dynamics in my work with the IAC. This "labor of love" is proving to be a very enjoyable and fulfilling experience indeed, both for me and, from what I can tell, for many of my colleagues on the Board of Governors as well as a number of our volunteers and members.
The conversations regarding our long-range planning process, website redesign, certification process, first global coaching conference, local and virtual chapters, licensees, member benefits and coaching research all stand out in my mind as spectacular examples of people getting things done, learning and having fun together. More than once I have gotten into "flow" while having conversations and even email dialogues with colleagues, friends and prospective members. The IAC appears to be on the verge of leaping forward to playing a much bigger game and making a much bigger contribution.
We see that in so many ways. First and foremost, however, is the sheer creativity that is emerging around our many areas of interest. We’re not yet ready to unveil our new design, but we are heading in a very exciting direction that no other global coaching organization (and we now know of at least 12) has yet carved out for itself. We are standing on the shoulders of our founder, Thomas Leonard, to once again stake our claim to innovation, diversity and mastery in coaching.
Then there are the many new members who are joining the IAC. In January, we attracted a total of 67 paid members, including 36 renewals and 31 new members. That’s a dramatic increase over the month before and a slight increase over the prior-year period. Simply put, as we move in the right direction with our vision and programs, our member numbers are following suit. I have no doubt that they will increase even more as the year goes on.
If you are reading this and if you are not a member of the IAC, I would encourage you to join today. Your membership may not only help you get into "flow," like it has for me, it may also empower you to contribute to the future of coaching and to the evolution of our world in surprising, delightful, creative, impactful and life-giving ways. That is my wish for us all.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, IAC-CC, is President of LifeTrek Coaching International. Together with his wife, Megan, Bob has written a new book titled Evocative Coaching (Jossey-Bass, July 2010), which incorporates the IAC Coaching Masteries® in a coaching model designed for leaders and coaches in K-12 schools. www.EvocativeCoaching.com
In February, the Board of Governors was pleased to appoint three coordinators: Kate Larsen will serve as Chapter Coordinator, Kerul Kassel will serve as Member Benefits Coordinator and Kristi Arndt will continue as Volunteer Coordinator. The BOG is working on improvements on the website. Finally, the Strategy Committee has been synthesizing the many ideas generated by members and friends of IAC in the calls hosted by Dave Ellis. Thanks to everyone who participated!
Susan R. Meyer, IAC-CC is President of Susan R. Meyer, Coaching and Consulting and of Life-Work Coach. She provides personal and executive coaching and facilitates seminars on topics including life planning, emotional intelligence, leadership development, communication, and coaching skills for managers. www.susanrmeyer.com.
Coaching Children to Handle Stress by Jennifer Day
Little Anne was 5 years old when her great-grandmother died. By the time we arrived at the house, the ambulance had come and gone and Anne’s grandmother (daughter of the deceased) was standing, grief-stricken, on the doorstep. As we got out of the car, little Anne rushed up to her grandmother, arms outstretched. Usually very affectionate, her grandmother was now enmeshed in her own grief. "Not now, Anne!" she said and pushed the little girl away. Anne was crestfallen, her feelings hurt beyond belief. She couldn’t understand her grandmother’s rejection at all, and never forgot it.
As we try to handle whatever life presents us with to the best of our ability, we are often so caught up in our own experience that we are unaware of the children in our environment and how our responses affect them. Children are not only often neglected, but have never been given any tools to help them deal with either the crisis itself or the adults’ distraction, neglect and/or rejection. This is particularly true in times of great stress, such as in these times of financial crisis, when children are often witness to a variety of fear-filled discussions about the state of our economy.
In trying to protect our children out of love, we often deny them adequate training in how to handle the messier aspects of life. In my work with parents, I am often asked: what is the one most valuable coaching tool we can pass on to our children? My reply is always the same: Life happens, and a lot of it doesn’t always look or feel good. Your job as a parent is to teach and coach your children how to handle whatever life presents them with. And this applies to anyone with children in their lives!
Countless studies during the past 30 years have shown that the ability to manage stressful situations is more significant in determining health, success and happiness than any other single factor. This is because our emotions are considerably stronger than our minds, and if we haven’t been taught to manage our emotions when stress occurs—whether it be in the form of a crisis or just day-to-day problems—no matter how sensible or logical our mind is, our emotions take over our behavior. That is why Anne's grandmother pushed her away.
In order to coach our children to handle whatever life brings, it is imperative that we learn to manage our own emotional responses, as a proactive and preventative tool for handling stress or crisis. Example is the best teacher! One effective way to develop your own emotional management while also coaching your children is to use these Three R’s for Emotional Mastery.
The first R is Recognize. Recognize that you are experiencing stress or another upsetting emotion. This may seem obvious, but most of us are actually unaware of how often we let our emotions spin out of control and say things we later regret, simply because we didn’t recognize or admit to our feelings when they began! State your feelings to yourself, out loud or on paper. This validates your feelings and you can start to move on. Coach your children to do the same, teaching them words to accurately describe their feelings, e.g., frightened, frustrated, sad, mad, disappointed. Children can also draw their feelings.
The next R is Release. Once you are experiencing an emotion that is stressful—in particular a response to stress or a crisis—it is vital that you physically release any tension you are experiencing. This may mean having a good cry or it could mean exerting physical effort appropriate to the situation. Our bodies are designed to perform a physical activity in response to stress. If we don’t, the stress hormones released into the body become toxic. This lowers the immune system, leading to aches and pains in the short term and eventually disease. Running, punching a pillow, jumping up and down, clenching and releasing your fists, or even letting out a good scream can all help. Teach your children how to also release their physical stress in appropriate ways.
The final R is Relax into a good-feeling state. Shift your attention physically down into your chest and heart area—placing one hand gently over your heart can help. Take a few slow, deep breaths and think of something simple that you can really appreciate. Feel that feeling of appreciation in your heart and chest area, enjoying the feeling for a minute or two. When you re-address your stressful situation or crisis, you will find that your perception and response may be somewhat more managed and effective. You'll feel a lot better about yourself, as will your children!
Practicing the Three R’s on a regular basis will make a significant difference to the way you and your children handle yourselves in stressful situations, and will give you a much greater capacity to handle and recover from the aftermath of any stress or a crisis.
Jennifer Day is a best-selling author and coach, specializing in emotional intelligence and "in-the-moment" stress management. She is the Founder and Director of Applied Emotional Mastery Inc. She expands on the concept of the Three R's in several of her books, available from Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and her own website, www.AppliedEmotionalMastery.com.
Build Your Coaching Practice with an Article Marketing Plan by Bonnie Jo Davis
Filling a coaching practice is becoming more difficult as competition grows and the economy shrinks. Many coaches and other small business owners are uncomfortable using common marketing methods such as cold calling, networking or speaking at local events.
These types of "push" marketing techniques can work but not if you dread doing them. Instead of "pushing" yourself on people who may not be a good fit for your practice, try using "pull" marketing techniques that establish you as an expert in your field.
My favorite "pull" marketing technique is article marketing. Not only can you build your practice using article marketing but you can also define your niche, address the problems of your audience and attract and prequalify your ideal clients.
Article marketing will work if you do it right. To do it right, I suggest you create a marketing plan that focuses solely on article marketing. This will keep you on track and ensure that you produce and submit quality articles on a regular basis.
Write out an article marketing plan that includes the following basics:
A list of goals that you plan on achieving with article marketing.
A description of your ideal coaching client.
A schedule that includes how often you will write and submit articles.
A list of topics, including the specific problems of your ideal client and how you can solve them.
Several resource boxes (also known as a bio or byline) including a link to your site that can be paired with each client problem you will be writing about.
A method for capturing the contact information of your readers.
A list of potential submission sites that attract your ideal client.
A list of the 10 most popular article directories that accept articles on your topics.
A list of highly-ranked keywords you have researched that you will use in your article titles, body and resource boxes.
A list of the social networking sites you use that can be updated every time you publish a new article.
Print out your article marketing plan so you can refer to it often. Schedule your article writing and submission tasks in your day planner and stick to your schedule. If you find writing to be too difficult you can hire a ghostwriter who will work from an outline you supply. If you enjoy doing your own writing, be sure to work with a proofreader who can polish your articles so that they get the attention they deserve!
Bonnie Jo Davis is an author and virtual marketing assistant who helps clients build their business using online techniques that work. You can learn more about her at http://www.your-marketing-assistant.com.
Different terminology, same support by Natalie Tucker Miller, IAC-CC and Alison Davis, IAC-CC
This month, certifying examiner and Board of Governors member Alison Davis addresses a concern from a member about some of the changes in language that have evolved with the profession. Alison sheds some light on how this one particular coaching concept has expanded, while staying true to its coaching roots.
"When you scored using the proficiencies there were supportive environments and it seemed more in line with coaching. Now you are scoring for support structures and systems. Even that name sounds less like coaching and more like consulting or training. Has coaching changed that much?"
Proficiencies, Competencies and Masteries
Different coaching bodies call coaching skills by different names. Coachville has Proficiencies, the ICF has Competencies and the IAC now has the Masteries. It is important to remember that all of these terms cover very similar coaching skills. When the IAC scored using the Proficiencies, the proficiency that helped the client sustain his or her success and personal evolution was Proficiency #14, Designing Supportive Environments.
Now that the IAC has created its own Masteries, it is Mastery #9, Helping the Client Create and Use Supportive Systems and Structures, that addresses supportive environments. It also addresses the resources and tools that will naturally sustain the client’s progress and transformation. When a coach uses this Mastery skilfully, the client will feel confident and secure moving forward, knowing that resources are available or can be created.
Clients tend to make changes more easily when environments and structures are in place to support them. Without proper support, they may have only themselves and their own willpower to rely on. That might restrict the client's ability to achieve what they want in life and business, or lead to unnecessary struggle. Who wants to struggle when struggle-free solutions can be created? True to coaching, these solutions are tailored to the client’s intrinsic preferences.
The coach’s job is to introduce the concept of support to the client and help to design supportive systems, structures and environments that automatically support what the client wants to achieve. Alternatively, the coach may help to evolve or repair systems or structures that the client already has in place, that have become weak or that no longer serve the client as he or she makes changes and evolves.
One of the greatest benefits of connecting goals to values or a vision or mission is that this connection can help the client build strong support in all areas of their lives, not simply the issue that was brought up in the coaching session. Their mission or vision can inspire them and help them remain focused if times get tough or if they encounter challenges. Structures and systems can provide an opportunity for clients to accept challenges rather than shrink from them. The powerful wording of Mastery #9 was chosen very purposefully, as this is a powerful and empowering concept!
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™.
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.
"Coaching Moments" takes a thoughtful look at how coaching can be interwoven into our daily lives.
One for the road by Janice Hunter, IAC-CC
Holy listening – to “listen” another’s soul into life, into a condition of disclosure and discovery, may almost be the greatest service that any human being ever performs for another. ~ Douglas Steere
If someone gave you a voucher for a shop called Things Money Can’t Buy, what would you use it for? Would you buy world peace, radiant health, fame and recognition, job satisfaction, love, security, forgiveness, serenity….? Back in 2006 when Barbra Sundquist and I created this column, I was given a blank cheque, allowed to write about anything that might entertain, inspire, guide or resonate with coaches. It was my voucher to buy bliss.
Being given the chance to write for VOICE, to co-create experiences, evoke memories, share what I’ve learned and resonate with other souls is a blessing I’ve never taken for granted. Most of the coaches I know have a gift for listening with their instincts and appreciating heart-signs wherever they find them, but I’ve always felt an even deeper connection with VOICE readers. Here at the IAC, we actually have spiritual values enshrined in our Masteries, just as they were in Thomas Leonard’s Proficiencies. I can bare my soul in this column and know that my humanity will be relished, that you share my delight in the moments that illustrate life’s bigger lessons.
I’ve written my best work here, and I have you to thank for that. You’ve elicited and expanded the best in me and on my darkest days, I’ve known I could write my Coaching Moments pieces without fear of judgement or condemnation. Being here has bleached my soul as bare as a shell and every one of you is a wave in the ocean that has carried me safely home to a soft, sandy shore.
I’ve loved being able to share my journey with you, the details that make a life; family milestones and marital moments; music and memories; the birds and bees in my cherished garden; love letters and tears; summer dresses and Christmas tree lights. We’ve lived through recessions and elections, certification challenges and successes and many an IAC development.
Sometimes I feel like VOICE’s barista or janitor, always in the café, happy to be here, watching editors and presidents come and go, listening to a wealth of stories as folk reach out and share their lives with me and I listen. I feel like we’ve spent years chatting at the corner table, sharing each other’s stories, synchronicity and signposts. But it’s time now for me to smile as I gently push back my chair, hang up the towel, look around me at the ghosts and laughing memories and hand over care of the café to someone else.
My dad will be 86 in the autumn, and both my kids are at high school now. I don’t need to explain to you how quickly the years fly by or how turbulent life can be for teenagers as they set sail into the uncharted waters of adulthood. To create a safe harbour for them and for my husband, I need to be more present and to take better care of my own health.
For months now, I haven’t been able to guarantee quality pieces of work. At times, I’ve been struggling so hard to keep the balance between my ‘virtual’ life and my ‘real’ life, that I’ve failed to capture and filter those fleeting moments of inspiration that flit in and out of the daily details. It’s time to take a break, to let the jug fill to overflowing again and to breathe in the birdsong.
For that reason, I’ve decided to suspend the Coaching Moments column indefinitely.
Writing this column has been a dream come true and I hope that I can still pop back to visit from time to time, but till then, please believe me when I tell you you’ve been cherished. Thank you for blessing me with your time and a special thank you to every single one of you who has ever reached out to write a comment or send an email. I’ve treasured every word.
Sharing the Certification Journey; Six IAC Certified Coaches Talk About Their Journeys
To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’d like to leave you with gift to say thank you. My colleagues and I have decided to make our ebook, Sharing the Certification Journey: Six IAC Certified Coaches Talk About Their Journeys, a free member benefit for all IAC members, and to reduce it to $2 for all other VOICE readers. (This small amount will enable me to cover my admin and website costs.)
My IAC certification journey was a life-changing experience. I absorbed learning and skills that will last me a lifetime and I met some wonderful people who are still cherished friends today. If you want to become an IAC certified coach, downloading our ebook may well be the next step on your life-changing journey.
I compiled the book while the exam was still based on the CoachVille Proficiencies, but the insights, quotes, tips, coaching questions, audio snippets and resources we share in it are still valid and useful today. We donated all of the proceeds from last year’s sales to a Haiti fund and would love it if those of you who download the book could donate something to a Haiti charity of your choice.
Wishing you everything you’d wish for yourself, Janice
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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