I have a confession to make: I never deliberately set out to have a theme for the VOICE. And yet I regularly receive congratulatory emails that say "I loved the theme of x this month" or "The x theme was very apparent". Although I'm happy to take credit for being such a smart editor, I must confess that the themes sort of just happen.
This month is no exception. It wasn't until I read over the draft issue that I realized that both the feature article and the Coaching Moments column address the theme of celebrating differences. Once again, a theme emerges organically!
To start, Margaret Lobenstine’s feature article on what she terms "Renaissance Souls", helps us understand and make the most of different personal styles. To learn about Renaissance Souls and what makes these folks tick, be sure to read Margaret's article below.
Curious about who's involved with running the IAC? This month our President Natalie Tucker Miller, IAC-CC introduces Board of Governors member Heidi Holihan Maye. Heidi also serves as Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, and as such has the IAC's long term vision clearly in her scope. Heidi's expertise in leading virtual teams helps the IAC stay on course while taking on new challenges at every turn.
As part of her ongoing series introducing the people that make the IAC the vital organization that it is, this month President Natalie Tucker Miller, IAC-CC asked Heidi Holihan Maye why she serves on the IAC Board. Heidi writes:
I am honored to be serving on the IAC board and as the Strategic Planning Chair. My background is in high-stakes IT Customer Services at DEC-Compaq-HP, and I have worked in virtual organizations since 1980. My responsibilities included global rollouts of new software and business processes to large groups of people in geographically dispersed locations, but who were jointly responsible and depended on each other to deliver seamless and exceptional customer service. It has been refreshing to learn that the IAC is culturally and operationally sensitive in a variety of ways to the needs of its global constituency.
I am keenly interested in the patterns and dynamics that impact productivity in leaders and teams operating under sustained pressure. My business today helps shortcut the path to optimization of talent and processes. We help leaders and managers quickly gain clarity and embrace values-based decision-making, processes and related development programs.
From a strategic perspective, it’s an exciting time at the IAC. Our team of industry thought leaders has been developing and polishing the IAC’s new intellectual property that eventually will be used for IAC certification instead of the 15 Proficiencies. These new standards further define the measurable behaviors that are evident in masterful coaching. Also on the drawing board, and in various stages of implementation, are a number of other positive initiatives aimed at positioning the IAC as a coaching thought leader and a preferred organization from which to draw coaches, consultants, trainers, and other professionals who have attained the IAC’s very rigorous certification. The revamped website and the Voice reflect the IAC’s commitment to deliver great value to our members and constituents.
Service professionals with many years of experience are joining the IAC with a view to achieving certification and using the “coach approach” in their work. In addition to consultants, trainers and business managers, those from the world of sports and academia are increasingly interested in the IAC’s unique model of certification to complement their own areas of expertise. We are fortunate to have so much dedicated talent in our membership to apply to the organizational and personal development objectives of both companies and individuals seeking coaching.
In forming the IAC, Thomas Leonard had a mission of establishing a coaching certification that was both independent and proficiency-based. We are very grateful to those who have had a hand in carrying on that mission over the past years, and aim to preserve, enhance and expand that mission.
More recently, Michael E. Gerber observed that coaching is an industry that created capacity ahead of demand. Part of the IAC challenge is to effectively stimulate the demand for coaching and enhance the public’s perception of coaching. We are pleased to be implementing IAC initiatives which aim to move coaching forward as an individual and organizational imperative that will significantly increase productivity and prosperity for all coaching stakeholders.
Heidi Holihan Maye Board Member Strategy Chair of the IAC Founder, Assessment Technology Partners LCC
Coaching Clients With "Too Many Interests" To Choose Just One by Margaret Lobenstine
In your coaching practice, have you run across people who are:
totally gung ho about one idea. Yet, just when the coaching work gets them moving on some solid, specific first steps, they want to completely change direction?
bright, articulate managers who don't seem motivated by the vertical promotional opportunities put before them, and freeze-up when asked where they hope to be in five years?
business clients, successfully climbing their career ladders, who feel more bored, than pleased by the situation without knowing why?
If you've been nodding your head, you may be coaching Renaissance Souls without realizing it. If so, here are two very different possible outcomes:
Becoming well versed in the most effective ways to help such clients can add a very exciting group of Renaissance Souls to your coaching base. (And the word-of-mouth will be amazing!)
Not understanding the special issues Renaissance Souls face, especially in areas such as time management, self-esteem, and life design, can cause you to quickly lose such clients.
Who Are Renaissance Souls?
While there are many differences among them, Renaissance Souls are people who share the following three characteristics:
They prefer variety and combination over choosing any one thing
Their process involves widening their options rather than narrowing their choices, and correlating the task they're doing with the energy place they're in as much as possible.
They have an unusual definition of success: upon reaching the point where they truly "get" something, Renaissance Souls opt for change rather than expansion. Even if others believe there's more to do, greater glories to achieve, more markets to conquer, Renaissance Souls get bored. "Been there, done that," could be their mantra.
What Renaissance Souls Are Not
Renaissance Souls have no more need to be geniuses than people who follow one passion need to be child prodigies.
Nor do all Renaissance Souls suffer from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). That's a neurological disease that affects some people and not others across the spectrum of humankind: in fact, single-focus Mozart has been identified as having ADD.
Job-hoppers are often thought to be Renaissance Souls. However, Renaissance Souls choose to change positions/fields because change feeds their spirit, while many job-hoppers prefer to stay put, but aren't given that opportunity, due to buy-outs, changes in the economy, and other factors beyond their control.
How to Know If A Potential Client is a Renaissance Soul
Keep your ears open for indicative early clues:
"I'm a mess. I can't ever stick with anything. I've done so many different things I can't even do a resume!"
"Everyone else sees me as successful, but I can't explain it: I just want out!"
"I have a million things going but I can't seem to finish any of them, which disappoints others and makes me feel so guilty!"
"I've enjoyed jumping around doing different things with my life, but I don't have a secure retirement package, so know it's time to get with it and pick a career!"
Things To Do Differently When Coaching a Renaissance Soul
Be conscious of the language you are using (e.g. avoid using questions like "What do you find most interesting/worthwhile/intriguing?" as a litmus test for making decisions.) Also be aware of the assumptions you may be making (e.g. that Renaissance Soul mission statements will serve as a helpful guides for choosing a direction.)
Do Renaissance Soul Clients Provide Special Challenges?
Yes, to effectively coach your Renaissance Soul clients, you need to be equipped to answer profound questions such as:
How on earth do I make a living if I keep pursuing different interests?
What about the fact that I never finish anything—I have all these half-done projects making me feel guilty
Can't I be considered an expert in anything?
Sometimes I wonder if it's just too overwhelming to be pursuing so many different things
A Special Plus to Remember
Many of you may be Renaissance Souls, since coaching offers such variety, and in learning more about this area of coaching you may also be inviting more kindred spirits into your practice. It's a great gift to know the difference between "Jack-of-all-trades, master of none" and Renaissance Souls! It's also truly gratifying to help such clients understand their special gift.
Margaret Lobenstine, M.A. is an internationally known coach
and author of THE RENAISSANCE SOUL: Life Design for People With Too Many Passions to Pick Just One (Random House, 2006.) Her nine-CD set, COACHING THE RENAISSANCE SOUL: The Guide to Working With Clients Who Have "Too Many Interests" to Pick Just One, provides hours of detailed, practical information and is available through her website (www.RenaissanceSouls.com)
"Coaching Moments" takes a thoughtful, and sometimes lighthearted, look at how coaching can be interwoven into our daily lives.
Different Coaches, Different Voices
by Janice Hunter
I love hearing silence used beautifully. The perfect pause that reaches out like ripples around a pebble in a dark pool. A poem where the unspoken word can say more than the most carefully crafted chapter. The silence between the notes that makes the music.
I went to a Scottish folk concert last night and sat in awe as the fiddles and pipes had a spirited conversation, the flute became a voice, the guitar wrapped itself around them all and the drumbeat turned into a heartbeat, a handclapping, footstomping hall full of joy and applause. As I sat listening to the band, watching the stage lights pick out their foot tapping, swaying forms in beams of changing coloured light on the dark stage, I remembered how I used to feel performing my own songs in the heat of the lights, savouring the silence between the fading of the last note and the start of the clapping.
I sang my way around Europe when I worked as a language teacher and translator; my voice was a vital part of who I was and what I did. After I had my kids, I moved back to Scotland and slowly, imperceptibly, I stopped writing, stopped singing, stopped playing the guitar and even stopped speaking the foreign languages I was fluent in. Silence gently settled around my soul like snow.
When I drifted into life coaching, on my journey out of what I now realise was low grade chronic depression, my passion to tell the whole world about it bubbled up, spilled over and finally gushed out in the torrent that helped me rediscover my voice.
Meeting other coaches in teleclasses and online was a bonus, like watching a film with a cast of wonderful, colourful characters. I have a colleague who coaches with the quiet, understated elegance of a Grace Kelly. One coaching buddy has the gentle strength and loving radiance of a spiritual leader – I've never met her but I just know she has a twinkle in her eye! Another has a voice like hot chocolate; her coaching sessions are like a studio where you turn yourself and your life into a work of art. And we all know someone who coaches like Bette Davies on a bad day, right? So who would you be?
I suspect I'd be Maria from The Sound of Music, twirling around on a mountain top, squashing innocent edelweiss underfoot, tripping my way clumsily through cobbled streets and coaching sessions oblivious to the fact that I was knocking people over with my swinging guitar case as I sang "I have confidence in sunshine…!"
It didn't surprise me when I failed Step 2 of the IAC exam. I gush, I interrupt inappropriately and I have this overwhelming urge to fix things, to make children's clothes out of curtains and get people singing about their favourite things.
Can I see myself ever getting certified? Well, Maria never did make it as a nun, although, thanks to her Mother Superior’s glorious rendition of "Climb Every Mountain", she got the handsome husband, the home full of happy kids and found her dream. Am I glad to have my voice back, a spirited, life loving, world worshipping voice? Oh yes. Oh, dear God, YES!!!
Janice Hunter lives with her family in Scotland and is currently working towards IAC certification. She particularly enjoys supporting other coaches through her writing and can be contacted at email@example.com.
IAC Certified Coaches
We would like to congratulate the following coaches who have recently passed the IAC certification exam and achieved IAC-CC designation!
Kerri Laryea, IAC-CC (United States) Sue Johnston, IAC-CC (Canada)
We're planning a new column in the VOICE called "Journey to Certification". If you have submitted your Step 2 recordings, please consider telling us about your journey. What did it take to submit recordings? How did you prepare? How did you feel when you got your results? What did you learn from the process? What advice would you give others? We are just as interested in hearing from people who did not pass as those who did. If you’d be willing to be interviewed for this project, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking to connect with IAC® ?
The IAC® is a community of progressive and diverse coaches. With coaches from 80 countries, and even more languages, from all walks of life, you’ll have no trouble finding a coach or colleague you can connect with. If you are a client, this is a great way to find the most masterful coaches in the world! *
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