IAC VOICE, Volume 4, Issue 85, July 2013, Circulation 4,361
July 1, 2013 July 1, 2013
From the Editor
The official start of summer has meant two things to us New Englanders: humidity and severe thunderstorms! Additionally, for me, summer has been a whirlwind of work and travel, including a trip to Washington, D.C. Visiting the many monuments and memorials was an overwhelming and beautiful experience. In a place that is dedicated to honoring the past, it is also a thriving community that is just as focused on moving forward.
This sentiment of appreciating the past, present, and future, is a strong thread in our articles this week. Our wonderful contributors discuss “compassion fatigue” within coaching, archiving client records, while taking glimpses into the future of coaching and revisiting the IAC’s foundation and past methods. There is much to look forward to!
I’d like to send out a big thank you to Elizabeth Nofziger who volunteers her time each month to help with the VOICE; she is an important asset to the team and we very much appreciate her time!
Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments, questions, event notices, or article contributions. I hope you enjoy the month of July, no matter the weather.
Best, Beth Ann
Beth Ann Miller holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and is a native New Englander. She has a professional background in editing and higher education, as well as working with youths in the arts. Her stories have appeared in small online and print journals and she is perpetually at work on new creative projects.
From the President – Susan Meyer Susan shares her many adventures from the past few months and addresses the importance of collaboration, experimentation, and playfulness in coaching.
The Future of Coaching – Tripp Braden “The year is 2023”… Tripp ruminates on the future of the coaching industry and how our current trends will influence us in the long term. Where will you be in ten years?
For me, June began with two intense IAC meetings and two equally intense learning experiences. This has me thinking more deeply about coaches, passion and lifelong learning.
I spent four days viewing TED Global with five incredible women. As you probably know, TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. Each presenter has eighteen minutes to discuss an amazing idea, demonstrate innovative technology or display or perform an artistic experience. This was the second of a two-event subscription. One of my favorites from the fall event was Embrace the Shake. This time, I was inspired by this woman’s decision to drive, and astounded by what we can learn by recording sounds in nature that we would not otherwise notice. As I watched talk after talk, I could not help but notice the passion each speaker felt. Even if the topic did not interest me, the passion enticed me to listen.
Between sessions, we laughed, we debated, we dissected, we shared meals, we enjoyed each other’s company. We created our own community of intellectually curious women learning together. We supported each other and we coached each other. Over the four days, we learned about many topics, but, perhaps more importantly, we learned about each other and about ourselves.
Music, Music, Music
Immediately after TED, I spent two days on the Hudson River immersed in music at the Clearwater Great Hudson River Revival, a music and environmental festival. Of the many wonderful performances, two left me thinking about how masters practice their craft – David Amram and Josh White, Jr. Amram, now 84, has composed more than 100 orchestral and chamber music works, written scores for Broadway theater and film and is considered a pioneer of jazz French horn. He also plays piano, numerous flutes and whistles, percussion, and dozens of folkloric instruments from 25 countries, and is an improvisational lyricist as well. White, 63, is the son of a legendary folksinger, and was an acclaimed actor before moving into composing and singing.
I wondered how they remain so young and vibrant. In both sets, it was easy to see and hear the dedication of the artist. Their passion for music, for performing, for delivering a message was clear. There was a playfulness in both performances. There was evidence of experimentation. At one point, Amram was revising a composition as he played. There was also collaboration. Both performers called fellow musicians up to join them on stage in spontaneous collaboration. Both acknowledged the influence of others on their own work.
Although none of us may have been coaching as long as Amram and White have been playing, many of us are into, or beyond, our second decade in this profession. So, I wonder, for myself and for all of us: what sustains us? Do you still feel the dedication that you felt earlier in your career? Do you feel that flutter of passion for your work?
I came away from those two learning experiences with what feel to me like important factors in keeping that passion in my coaching:
1. Learning in Community
Coming together with others to share ideas always enriches my own thinking. Communities of Practice are spontaneous groups that arise in organizations to promote individuals learning together. We try to create opportunities to come together within the IAC through chapters and through member chats. How can each of us create these communities for ourselves? Can you form a TED group? A Mastermind? A coaching triad? Join online discussions?
There are so many new things to try, so many techniques to tweak or tinker with. In a conference presentation, past president Bob Tschannen-Moran reminded us that constant experimentation and repeated approximations bring us closer to the ideal. Every success is the result of many, many attempts that we too easily label as failures. What can you try?
Sometimes, we’re very protective of our ideas, and often that works against us. I’ve been reminded that there really is nothing new under the sun. If that’s true, why not share? If you follow the history of an idea, you often can see how that idea has been improved by the contributions of many people. One of the beauties of folk music is that artists come together to collaborate on songs and that each singer builds on and improves on a common base. Musicians coming together to jam create marvelous new music. How can we do that as coaches? Who are you jamming with? How are you sharing ideas and building incredible new things?
It was clear that both the TED presenters and the Clearwater musicians saw their work as play. They all were enjoying themselves and that joy was contagious. Yes, of course, we do serious work and we help create serious and important change in the world. And we can have a really good time doing it! How often do you laugh with your clients? I laugh at myself, too.
What sustains you and propels you forward?
Susan R. Meyer, MMC 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.
The year is 2023. The IAC is getting ready to celebrate their next big anniversary with a bang. Coaching has changed a lot in the last 10 years. What does it mean to you, the professional coach, ten years from now? I thought I’d share the big trends impacting coaching in 2023 and how you might take advantage of them. My goal is to share the future so that you might work with me to help create it. I did significant research in preparing for what I’m about to share with you. Here are five trends that I think will be impacting the coaching profession in 2023 and a few ideas that can help you take advantage of it in your coaching practice.
The first trend is that people are living longer. Many experts predict by the year 2023 people will live to over 100 years of age. What this means to you is that people will not only have second acts in their lives, but most likely third and fourth acts. This provides coaches with an opportunity to provide significant transition coaching to their clients. It also means individuals who commit themselves to coaching will have plenty of time to develop their coaching skills far beyond what we have today.
The second trend is that high tech tools continue changing and evolving. People have devices and technology that dwarfs what is available to us in 2013. If you saw the Star Trek movie, think that plus 100% more sophisticated devices. The more we become dependent on the many technologies available to them, the more we desire interaction with other people. High tech creates openings to help others grow and learn faster than ever before. The lack of human interaction prompts many people to seek contact with people they may never have come in contact with in their pasts. Coaches can provide the human connection that many people crave in 2023.
The third trend is that we are more connected globally. We no longer have individual national markets, but by now have a global market place for our products and services. This provides coaches with an opportunity to work with many different clients that they might never meet in person. If we’re not careful, coaching may become a commodity in these global markets. Coaches need to develop more authentic ways of connecting to the communities they serve.
The fourth trend is that people who excel in 2023 value creativity even more than we do in 2013. Virtual business teams recruit and retain the most creative people available globally. This means that our clients expect to work not only on their own self-development but also on the increased performance of their teams. There is an opportunity for coaches to help create these new team models and then work with stakeholders to enhance their virtual teams.
The fifth and final trend I see is that celebrity and fascination continue to impact us in ways unseen before in human history. Since most publishing and entertainment is done with virtual teams, your clients are able to choose who they want on their teams and how they deploy that talent for the duration of their projects. The gap between the educated and uneducated continues to grow. It’s no longer only a financial gap but also an action gap. People who are well educated and have marketable skills dominate our news cycle. So what’s the opportunity for coaches? I believe coaches can help provide tools and direction to individuals to develop their own strengths and gifts. Coaches may also become facilitators of these virtual teams because they have developed the skill of understanding talent and can help create virtual teams with their clients.
Now what’s the good news about all of these trends? You are in control of your own destiny. You are only limited by your own vision of yourself. Coaches will be revered as pioneers in this new age of collaboration and innovation. The best news is that these new trends provide you with an opportunity to create and evolve at your own rate. In a strengths-based world, you have the opportunity to create whatever you want when you want. Isn’t that great news for all of us? See you here in 2023.
I’ve been coaching and advising leaders around the world for over 25 years. My blogs are read by over 100,000 leaders monthly. I’ve worked on teams with two US Presidents, several State Governors and Senators, over 30 Fortune Global 100 CEOs, well over 1000 emerging technology business entrepreneurs, and many leading nonprofits and universities. And yes, I still answer my phone and take calls from people who need my help. www.trippbraden.com.
The Ethics of Record Keeping in the Business Coaching Milieu by Marissa Afton
The world of organizational consulting poses unique complexities with regards to the business of coaching and record keeping. How a coach documents client notes, who within the consulting firm and referring organization is privy to them, and the how, when and why of notes transfer between coaches is nebulous territory. This may lead to confusion on the part of coach/coachee at best, or possible breach of confidentiality and integrity of the coaching relationship at worst.
For one organization I have consulted with, these very concerns came to a head recently as the company considered refining records procedures to enable coaching notes to be recorded and stored electronically on the company server (rather than being kept by individual coaches as had been common practice). The argument for the move was to establish a more rigorous system that would ensure adequate record keeping which could then be used for reporting purposes, as well as to develop a procedure for coachee transfer in the event that a coach moved on from the organization. The argument against this move highlighted the risks of privacy infringement and the potential loss of documentation should a technological glitch occur. A debate ensued—who would be able to access the notes on the server—only the coach? What about IT? Should each coach keep notes under a security key? How would that be monitored and maintained? And what data would be culled from the coaching notes for the reporting of coaching efficacy back to the client?
On the subject of record keeping, the IAC Code of Ethics states that:
“(a) Coaches create, maintain, disseminate, store, retain, and dispose of records and data relating to their practice, and other work in accordance with the law of the country in which they practice, and in a manner that permits compliance with the requirements of this Ethics Code.
(b) Coaches are recommended to appropriately document their work in order to facilitate provision of services later by them or by other professionals, to ensure accountability, and to meet other legal requirements of their country.”
While these guidelines do provide some parameters regarding the practice of record keeping within a coaching discipline, they do not offer precise instruction as far as privacy or other concerns relating to a business coaching environment. Because coaching is still an unregulated profession, there is no licensing body to refer to for guidance in such matters. It continues to be up to the ethics and integrity of the individual or organization to uphold a standard of accountability when it comes to records management.
For the above company, it was decided that certain essential components of the coaching sessions would be stored in a private and secure folder on the server, accessible by the individual coaches and the coaching supervisor for each client. These essentials might include coachee goals, action items and a progress report as well as any specific follow-up points for the coach to enact. What would not be included were those personal details that naturally emerge during coaching sessions—the type of details that an individual coach may wish to preserve in order to achieve Mastery 1: Establishing and Maintaining a Relationship of Trust.
As an added measure to maintain the privacy of coaching sessions, this organization decided to embrace a practice of confidentiality when sharing information within the company via e-mail or other traceable media.
The particulars that were deemed appropriate to potentially transfer from the coaching sessions include data such as coachee attendance or overarching themes relating to the coachee’s team and organization. Each coachee was explicitly informed that, while coaching sessions were intended for their own benefit and professional development, not all aspects of coaching could be kept confidential and may, in fact, be fed back to their supervisor and/or other client stakeholders. A formalized working agreement was put in place which outlined the terms and conditions for coaching and confidentiality—terms which were also clarified by the individual coaches during initial sessions.
As the coaching profession continues to expand within organizations, the subject of record keeping will need to be further investigated and refined. Ideally, a standard approach should be developed that all coaching bodies can adopt in order to provide the support and guidance needed to navigate complex coaching scenarios. Until then, a formalized system integrating the above concerns is recommended for the assurance of professional, cohesive and effective coaching in the business setting.
Marissa Afton is the Director of Client Solutions for Americas & Europe at Sentis—a global company dedicated to creating inventive and applied solutions to transform the safety, wellbeing, leadership and organizational performance of clients worldwide. Marissa has been a member of the IAC since 2003 and coaches at the executive level in organizational settings throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and the Middle East.
Can coaches care too much? Really? How can coaches care TOO much?
Well, I know nurses can. As a new nurse back in the 70’s, we called it “compassion fatigue” and it was the harbinger of burnout, i.e., physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. Our job, our vocation if you will, was to ease pain and suffering by creating an environment that was conducive to healing. We were not taught about self care; our work was all about “them.”
It came as a shock to me to learn that not everybody wants to relieve pain and suffering. Likewise, not all our clients are truly committed to personal growth, self- awareness and self -determination. (No way, really? Then why did they hire a life coach?)
It is our role as coaches to clarify our client’s intentions as well as our own. What do they desire? What do they care about? What do we care about? What do we desire? I like to think about it as if my client and I are walking along the same path. We are connected by our commitment to the process of coaching rather than the outcome per se. Therein lies the mystery.
So, the short answer to the original question “Can coaches care too much?” is: Yes and no. It depends on what you care about and the source of your care.
Let’s explore this further. Chances are that you went into coaching because you wanted to:
Serve your dream of a better world
Be able to create financial stability
Express your creative talents
Honor your yearning for independence, autonomy, and authentic self-expression
Care about other people in a helpful way
Believe in others’ innate ability to know what is right for them
Contribute to a healthy future
Ease human suffering
If you are inclined to measure your effectiveness and success as a coach by:
How long the client stays with you
How quickly they “get it”
How your client’s breakthroughs compare to any one else’s
How quickly YOU can stamp out the fires ignited by coaching interventions
How agile YOU are making the interventions you decide are needed
How comforted YOU are by your client’s dependency on you
How readily your client trusts that YOU know better than they do about what is right for them
How much your client relies on your approval of their insights
Then yes, you can care too much and will be teetering on the edge of compassion fatigue and professional burnout before you know it.
If you are inclined to measure your effectiveness success as a coach by:
How eager your clients are to move forward with autonomous action
How readily your clients accept personal responsibility for decisions and actions
How clearly your clients recognize their personal potential
How easily your clients feel like you “get them” (they are understood and validated)
How developing motivation is focused on intention, rather than approval
How they energize their understanding of their goals, dreams and desires
How they embrace their humanity with compassion
How excited they are to move forward with their lives
Then no, you cannot care too much and you will experience immense personal growth along side your clients. Your care will mingle with the mystery of life.
Many professionals in service to others speak about care as being akin to empathy. Empathy has been written about in professional journals and taught in professional schools for as long as I’ve been in the field. I can only speak from the perspective I have as a retired health care professional and now as a certified life coach. We learned that the ability to be empathetic was important for the healing environment to be established. Yet, we were not taught how to distinguish between caring, sympathy, compassion and empathy. That required on-the-job-training. I would like to offer my phenomenological definition of empathy as “being able to create space for another person to have their own experience of a feeling, situation and motive.” The moments in my career that I was able to be most empathic, as defined above, were the times I was able to be present enough with my client or my patient to allow them the space to have their own experience. It was independent of mine. What we shared in common was the fact that we have had unique and personal experiences in life.
Creating space within our coaching sessions for our clients to have their own experience is integral to each IAC Mastery and is worthy of our sincere and focused attention as we develop our coaching skills.
Martha Pasternack MCC www.CircleofLifeCoach.com My passion for witnessing the beauty and mystery of life, healthy healing and the promotion of Peace on Earth are integral to my daily life. I have been life coaching since 2004 after working 30 years as a health care professional.
Learning Agreements—An Original IAC Vision Finally Comes to Light by Natalie Tucker Miller, MMC
In the IAC's 10th anniversary year, I thought it would be useful to revisit a question and answer from the early days of the IAC Learning Agreements implementation. Here we explore the original vision of the IAC regarding continued professional development. – Natalie
Question: Are these new Learning Agreements aligned with the early vision of the IAC?
The buzz and the questions regarding the newly instituted Learning Agreements for Certified Coaches and IAC Practitioners continue! We’ve covered much of the “how” and some of the “why” from the standpoint of the recent member-driven strategic planning project.
Today we'll look back to the early years of the IAC to understand how this process (of creating the learning agreements?) is part of the picture that began with the earliest visionaries of the (then named) "IACC."
The IAC officially launched on March 11th, 2003, one month after the death of its founder, Thomas J. Leonard. On June 5th of the same year, Step One (the online exam) of the certification process became available! Since then, slowly but surely, the remainder of the initial intentions have come to fruition, culminating with the recent launch of the IAC Learning Agreements.
When the IAC launched in 2003, the following was included in the requirements for maintaining IAC certification:
Continuing Education Accreditation Certified Coach Professionals must renew their certification by satisfactorily completing continuing education courses every year. We will begin reviewing Continuing Education programs for IAC accreditation in May 2003. Please check back for more information.
Alas, as with many a start-up organization, some initiatives took priority over others; unforeseen opportunities appeared that required the organization to refocus resources instead of putting that review process in place.
Speaking as a past president, I can tell you that this didn’t mean the vision had disappeared, rather some of the steps needed to get there had. And speaking as a coach who recognizes perfection, what has emerged in the time and space between idea and implementation has served IAC coaches in a much more personal and individualized manner!
What do you remember about the early days of the IAC? Or if your membership does not date quite that far back, what are some of the things that have impressed you about the organization? Please add your comments below or email me. I’d love to be able to share more of these thoughts in the future – and maybe even hear from some long-lost friends!
I was fortunate to catch up with Michael “Coop” Cooper, the IAC’s founding president, and members can click through to read what he had to say about the launch of the Learning Agreements:
Natalie Tucker Miller, MMC, is the Lead Certifier and a certifying examiner at the IAC, as well as Past-President. 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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