IAC VOICE, Volume 4, Issue 94, April 2014, Circulation 4,709

From the Editor

Florida photoGreetings,

A recent trip to St. Augustine, Florida has me gushing about the town. Being one of the oldest European-established settlements in the U.S., I had quite an adventure filled with beautiful architecture, history, and sunshine. For me, it was a much-needed break from the “real world”, as well as a great learning experience – I always love exposure to new places and people.

This month, the VOICE has a definite focus on the appreciation and acceptance of new experiences and intercultural interactions. Jan O’Brien poses new questions about effective communication across cultures and guest contributor Marissa Afton expands on the challenges we may face when working with different cultures. In addition to this focus, we explore the road to coaching mastery and remain updated on the licensing committee and open chat calls.

As always, please contact us at voice@certifiedcoach.org with comments, questions, event notices, or article contributions. We are always looking for unique perspectives and look forward to hearing from you!

Beth Ann


Beth Ann Miller Beth Ann Miller is currently pursuing an MFA in Writing and is a native New Englander. She has a professional background in editing and higher education, and enjoys working with youths in the arts. Her stories have appeared in online and print journals and she is perpetually at work on new creative projects.


From the President – Vicki Zanini
Vicki shares some exciting new developments within the IAC and formally welcomes in the new season!

The Cross-Cultural Conundrum – Marissa Afton
Marissa explores bridging cultures as a coach and how to best work with clients from varying cultures.

Intercultural Corner: Culture and Communication – Jan O’Brien
Are we communicating directly or indirectly? What is your natural preference for communication? Jan evaluates these questions and poses new questions for you to consider.

Assistance on Your Road to Coaching Mastery – Natalie Tucker Miller
Natalie shares many of the valuable tools the IAC has to offer you on your path to coaching mastery.

Inside the IAC Licensing Committee – Charlie Boyer
Charlie discusses royalty options and refreshes us on all the licensing committee accomplished in March.

Open Chat Calls
Join Lead Certifier Natalie Tucker Miller the 2nd Tuesday of every month for Open Chat Calls.

New Licensed Schools

From the President
by Vicki Zanini

“All our sweetest hours fly fastest” – Virgil

I adore this time of year. While out walking my 3 year old Yorkie, Rosco, yesterday I noticed white wild flowers blooming at the park near my home, a welcome sign that warmer days are ahead.

Welcome to a new month. It’s hard to believe that we are already a quarter of the way through 2014, and this first quarter has been very sweet indeed.

We continue to work on several projects, including updating our website. One of the main goals is to make the IAC website accessible in multiple languages. We also continue to assess our branding and marketing plan, as well as review the 2010-15 strategic plan.

The IAC Chapters have been very active around the globe and there are currently three conferences scheduled for 2014. There is a European Conference scheduled for October 9th and 10th in Budapest, a Malaysia Conference will be held August 19th and 20th in Kuala Lumpur and the Latin American Conference is scheduled for August 20th in Chili.

Finally, “Living the Masteries” is a concept that continues to come up in our meetings and discussions at the IAC. The mission of the IAC is to expand the path of coaching mastery by inspiring the ongoing evolution and application of universal coaching standards. Coaches are also committed to their own personal evolution, and they set very high standards for their own lives. If you are a student of the Masteries, you understand that they not only integrate into your coaching practice but your personal life as well, which is what “Living the Masteries” is about. When I began my journey as a coach in 2001, I was the mother of two young children. I remember very clearly how the coaching concepts I was learning impacted my role as a parent, and they continue to impact my life today. Now that I am the parent of two very bright and independent adults whose lives consistently grow and expand beyond my own, I continue to appreciate the impact that coaching has had on my life.

Speaking of “Living the Masteries”, if you haven’t listened to the Master Coach Interview Series currently on the IAC website, I encourage you to do so. It’s like inviting a Master Mastery Coach into your living room for a heart-to-heart talk, so grab your beverage of choice and enjoy.

In closing, I’d like to remind you that my door is always open and I enjoy hearing from you.

Wishing you many sweet hours,

Vicki Zanini, President

Vicki Zanini Vicki Zanini is founder of Vicki Zanini Coaching & Training. As a certified holistic life coach, she works with individuals and groups who are ready to create new possibilities, boost personal effectiveness, and experience a deeper sense of meaning and inner peace. She has been leading coaching groups and workshops for over 15 years in personal development, self-care, creativity, and intuition. Visit her website at www.vickizanini.com.


The Cross-Cultural Conundrum: How coaches remain effective in a multi-national world
by Marissa Afton

During my 20s I was living in Vienna where I supplemented my income by teaching English as a foreign language to business executives, exchange students and others who wanted to brush up their skills. My students came from a variety of backgrounds, some local to Austria, others who were passing through. I quickly learned that one key to building rapport, developing engagement and promoting internal motivation lay in how I tailored each lesson plan to the individual. By opening myself to the unique ways each person processed and assimilated new information (often culturally dependent), I was able to tap into the hearts, minds and motivations of my students. It was an effective skill that aided in their learning transfer, and a skill that I continue to employ today in my work as a coach.

In this ever-more globalized world, coaches are increasingly asked to bridge cultures and provide tangible support to clients regardless of demographic, background or geographical location. Modern technology has made the practice of coaching across cultures increasingly straightforward; however connecting with our clients logistically does not necessarily equate to connecting with them interpersonally. Though much research has been done in the field, gaps remain in creating a formula for success in cross-cultural coaching.

We can look to Mastery #2: Perceiving, Expanding and Affirming the Client’s Potential to demonstrate how a blanket coaching approach can potentially backfire in some cross-cultural applications. For the undeveloped coach, the assumption may be that all clients will respond to recognition and affirmation in a positive way that motivates progressive change. However, in cultures where personal recognition can be perceived as self-glorifying, this unwanted acknowledgement can harbor the opposite effect, potentially breaking any trust and rapport that may have otherwise been established. Instead, a seasoned coach will still use Mastery #2, but with sensitivity towards understanding how personal recognition and affirmation will impact the client’s motivation to invest in the coaching process and create lasting change.

In addition to gaining proficiency in the Masteries (or other coaching frameworks), coaches need to develop inter-cultural competencies to ensure that coaching solutions are relevant to the ethos and values of the cross-cultural client. For example, developing an awareness of (as well as respect for) individual cultural beliefs and habits can deepen a coach’s sensitivity, which in turn will foster the trust needed for attaining successful outcomes. Additionally, increasing one’s cognizance of personal cultural assumptions (accurate or otherwise) and recognizing the associated impact these assumptions can have on the client can promote an atmosphere of mutual understanding, thereby nurturing an environment “that allows ideas, options and opportunities to emerge” (Mastery #8).

A few recommended practices that can develop a coach’s inter-cultural competencies include:

  • Adapting a communication style that aligns with the specific communication norms and language comprehension of the client
  • Creating a personal action plan for the coach to strengthen his or her cultural comprehension for the client’s benefit (such as developing a deeper understanding of the social and business customs in the client’s culture)
  • Adjusting expectations around coaching methods and evolution (such as timelines for measuring coaching efficacy, flow of coaching process, investment by client in coaching progression, and coach’s adherence to formalized coaching outcomes)
  • Doing research to improve concrete knowledge of the culture of the client—its history, politics, current events, et cetera
  • Finding areas of similarity between the coach and client culture to build rapport, trust, appreciation and acceptance
  • Recognizing (and having an compassionate understanding) that although differences between cultures inevitably will exist, values and norms of each are valid for the culture and need to be understood and respected as such, even if they are atypical by one’s own standards

Coaches who are invested in a long-term coaching relationship with a cross-cultural client may even consider joining local groups that encourage social and/or professional interaction with individuals from the client’s home country in order to gain broader understanding of their cultural customs, habits and behaviors.

By developing methods that bridge the chasm between cultures, we heighten the likelihood of successful and lasting coaching outcomes. Coaches of all cultures, backgrounds and locations can work effectively with their clients and excel in their coaching interventions by applying focused awareness on the unique concerns and intricacies of their cross-cultural client. In this way, we all can ensure that coaching continues to provide relevance and meaning to diverse international clientele.

Marissa AftonMarissa Afton serves on the Board of Governors for the IAC and 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 coaches at the executive level in organizational settings throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and the Middle East. You may contact her at marissa.afton@sentis.net.


Intercultural Corner

Intercultural Corner
Culture and Communication
by Jan O’Brien

While reading through the articles in the March edition of the IAC Voice, I clicked on the title, Mastery #5 Infographic by Natalie Tucker Miller. What immediately caught my eye and imagination were the words “…communication becomes a springboard to more open discourse”, and I found myself reflecting on the topic of culture, communication and coaching.

double divers

We each have a natural preference for how we communicate, but the way our communication style manifests can be influenced by our cultural reality. We tend to “send” or communicate our “message” (be it through the written or spoken word, our body language or even our silence) according to the perceptions and values that we have learned within our cultural group. Our message may in turn, be “interpreted” and “received” from a different cultural perspective. The interaction is circular, and effective communication is influenced by our awareness and understanding of our patterns of thinking, behaving and culturally influenced communication styles. Much depends on the context of the interaction. Direct, low context communication is linear and task-centered while indirect, high context communication is situational and relationship-oriented with verbal and non-verbal cues.

Are we communicating directly or indirectly? Do we prefer straight-talk or understatement and humility? Does our “Yes” mean “Yes” or could it mean, “I acknowledge what you said but I can’t say “No” because we would both lose face”? Do we make eye contact with a direct or moderate gaze or do we lower our gaze out of respect for our superior, our elder, or even our coach?

What are your best practices or “springboards” for effective communication across cultures and which of the Masteries are most helpful to you?

We would love to hear your stories about culture and communication so do please join us for a discussion on the IAC LinkedIn group!

Jan O’Brien IAC-MCC www.culture-conscious.com
Jan specializes in Cross-Cultural, Personal Leadership and Spiritual Intelligence coaching. She is committed to exploring the multiple layers of culture, self-awareness and leadership so that her clients develop an integral understanding of themselves and others — personally, professionally, culturally and spiritually.


Assistance on Your Road to Coaching Mastery
by Natalie Tucker Miller, MMC

Over the years, people have wondered about the best approach to IAC certification.

One of the foundational philosophies at the IAC is that the coach be empowered to choose the most appropriate path for themselves. A personalized structure will allow them to expand their coaching ability based on who they are as an individual.

The IAC Coaching Masteries® support this, as they allow for a variety of styles and methods, providing the measures with which a coach can quantify effectiveness.

One powerful way in which a coach can plan their strategy is to use the current tools within the IAC to create this personalized structure to certification success.

Some of the tools available that can help design their learning are:

The IAC Coaching Masteries® include the very language needed to create your plan. As you use the language of the Masteries to advance your path to certification, you’re using the very tool you need to prepare for certification.

Preparing your Learning Agreement will provide the roadmap for your coach training and certification. You’ll learn to utilize the things you’re already doing as a catalyst for greater depth and understanding of the Masteries.

Understand the theory of coaching through the sample exam as the foundation for your learning. This robust sample is often overlooked as the great learning tool that it is. Whether you’re training on your own, in a group, with a mentor, at an IAC Masteries licensed school, or in other ways, these sample questions can be points of great discussion about coaching.

This is a solid starting place. Other ideas include reading through the VOICE archives, following the IAC on social media through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and taking advantage of the find-a-coach directory for study partners.

Regardless of your approach, the IAC can assist you on your road to coaching mastery.

Do you have a question that you’d like to ask the certifiers? Submit your questions here: http://certifiedcoachblog.typepad.com/blog/ask-the-certifiers.html.

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™.

Please send your questions on the IAC Coaching Masteries® and the certification process to certification@certifiedcoach.org.

Licensing Committee Corner
by Charlie Boyer

During the month of March, the Licensing Committee discussed and clarified recently approved License Royalty Options. Option A Royalties are intended for individual MMC mentor coaches who do not have a coaching training school. Option B Royalties are intended for members and organizations who operate coaching training schools and present programs and workshops.

We discussed a question from a licensee about using a license in a country other than where the license was granted. At the present time, there are no geographic limits placed on IAC licensure.

The Committee also reviewed and approved four applications for licensure. As we review applications, we again are aware of the language issues that affect IAC licensing and certification. As before, we continue to review licensure purposes and application procedures.

Your questions and comments are always welcome. For further information about IAC licensure, contact the Licensing Committee at licensing@certifiedcoach.org.

Charles Boyer, Ed.D., (Charlie), BCC, Certified Masteries Coach, is the founder of C-Star Coaching, a values-oriented practice for newer leaders, and creator of the Team 412 Project, a web-based leadership development program.



Open Chat Calls

Join the IAC Open Chat in April to share your thoughts, ask your questions and get to know more about the IAC. This month, we’ll be talking about how Living the Masteries™ can be part of your Learning Agreement, expanding what you already know by way of awareness and clarity.

This call is open to everyone and anyone interested in expanding the path to coaching mastery.

Date: April 8th, 2014
Time: 9:30 am (Eastern)
Hosted by: Natalie Tucker Miller
Register: here

New IAC Coaching Masteries® licensed schools and mentors

Especialista en Coaching Organizacional – ECO Buenos Aires  ArgentinaNoView Details
Abba ConsultingCaracas VenezuelaNoView Details

Your Feedback

We’d love to get your feedback on any issue related to the IAC. Do you have any questions, concerns, encouragement or ideas for improvement regarding membership benefits, certification, the VOICE, the direction of the organization or anything else at all? Please send an email to voice@certifiedcoach.org. Please help us improve.

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