|From the Editor|
I have to say that my work with the IAC has been a much-needed retreat this month. I am caught up in a whirlwind of moving to a new apartment, prepping to teach my first college-level course this fall, as well as getting everything ready to begin my second year of graduate school. But sitting down to read the wonderful words and thoughts of your fellow coaches is both calming and inspiring. I am so grateful to be a part of a community that is always expanding in positive directions and digging up the best methods to support each other. Bravo to all of you!
This month we’re jam-packed with updates about the Board and Licensing Committee, a tribute to a beloved coach, metaphors in the Masteries, wisdom from a former IAC president, and “throwback” articles. Please enjoy!
Is there something you’d like to see in the VOICE? A particular subject you’d like us to address? Please don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com with comments, questions, event notices, or article contributions. We are always looking for new perspectives and look forward to hearing from you.
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
Tribute to Rob Huston – Terri Hase
Inviting Possibility Through Metaphor – Martha Pasternack
Can Masterful Coaching Include Yes/No Questions? – Elizabeth Nofziger
Enhancing Coaching Mastery through Evocative Coaching – Bob Tschannen-Moran
Inside the IAC Licensing Committee – Charlie Boyer
From the President
My husband and I recently traveled with friends to Taos, New Mexico, which is only a three and a half hour drive from our Colorado home. It’s amazing what you can discover in your own backyard. We began our journey with no itinerary and little expectation but a desire to explore new territory. On our way to Taos we traveled the “Highway of Legends” and drove through San Luis, the oldest town in Colorado. During our stay we enjoyed hiking and disc golf on the ski slopes at Sipapu, wine tasting in Taos, and we even witnessed the Azteca dance group, Izcalli In Nanantzin, as they honored Santiago, the patron saint of Taos, during the annual Velacíon. At the San Francisco de Asis Mission Church we were given a private showing of the mystery painting, “The Shadow of the Cross”.
Returning home from Taos I felt renewed, inspired, and deeply moved. Our traveling companions were among our dearest friends who have witnessed and coached me through 23 years of extraordinary living. As I reflect on my trip I am reminded of the transformation that occurs in a coaching relationship when we have the courage to explore the heart, mind and spirit of “our own backyard”. This truly is the road that leads to mastery and I can’t imagine the journey without a coach at my side.
In July the Board of Governors elected secretary Pepe del Rio to the newly-formed position of 2nd Vice President. I wish to personally congratulate and thank Pepe for his continued service to the IAC. In addition, Marissa Afton has been elected to fill the secretary position and I wish to congratulate and welcome her. Marissa joined the IAC Board of Governors in January and has a background in coaching, counseling, consulting, and education. Read Marissa’s bio and get to know others serving on the board of governors here.
In June Natalie Tucker Miller, Dr. Susan Meyer, Aileen Gibb, and Krishna Kumar presented for the World Business and Executive Coaching Summit. The webinar has been uploaded to the IAC website where members can login and listen now. WBECS is a world leading event for coaches and you won’t want to miss the opportunity to listen to these four thought-leaders on the cutting edge of our beloved industry.
The Board of Governors is a diverse and talented group committed to the IAC mission of expanding the path to coaching mastery by inspiring the ongoing evolution and application of universal coaching standards. We are also quite honored to serve you, the IAC family. I invite you to reach out to any of our governors with comments, suggestions, or feedback. We love hearing from you.
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.
On July 3rd, 2014, the global coaching community lost a real friend, and it’s a loss I’ll personally mourn for some time to come. Our dear friend Rob G. Huston, (aka: ‘Rob from Alberta’), passed from this life. Rob’s final days were spent with loved ones, well cared for, and making connections to beloved family.
Rob and I met virtually in 2002, and have been friends ever since. Rob dazzled me by being able to lead teleclasses from a pay phone in the middle of the wilderness, from the top of the ski slopes, and from pay phones in tiny rural diners across Canada! He was always on the go, always willing to find a way to ‘be there’ for class, and be there for the coaches, all of whom he called friends.
We’ve shared many coaching related activities together and a personal friendship I greatly valued. But, through all of the years Rob was in the coaching industry, he was hiding a little known secret that I want to share with you now. It’s this secret, that he let me in on some years back, that is the reason he will be so deeply missed.
In all the years and years of being a coach Rob never built a business. In fact, in total, I don’t think the total number of paid or private clients Rob worked with was over a dozen. This suited Rob just fine! He was never in the industry to build a business: he was here to build “us”. Rob’s number one joy, and total focus for over 12 years, was to make sure that you and I, and every coach he met, was encouraged and uplifted into our potential. Rob was in coaching for the coaches.
Rob lead more teleclasses, study groups, dyads, and triads than any other 10 coaches combined. He took hundreds of hours of classes, dozens and dozens of workshops, and went to many conferences and presentations. He graduated from two different rigorous coach training schools. Rob did not lack skill, nor drive. The thing is, his drive was in being able to see coaches thrive. His joy was in helping every classmate he met to go on to do, be, engage, and grow into the coaches he knew they could be.
For over a decade, Rob Huston was our own, personal, undercover cheerleader and supporter. He was kind, funny, and so willing to volunteer for almost anything, if he felt he could help other coaches succeed. His voice was almost always the first on the line in every class, his hand was always the first one up with comments, (or more often, another provocative question), and his voice is on over 1000 class/conference recordings – seriously. His finger print, his heart print, can be found on over 1000 coaches as well.
Rob studied coaching for us. Rob practiced coaching with us so we could grow to believe we could do it on our own. Rob held our hands. He was the friendly voice in class, and the champion of each of us that knew him.
The coaching world, upon losing Rob Huston, lost a little piece of its heart. Please take a moment in Rob’s spirit, to reach out to another coach, or a classmate, to help lift them today. Help us all heal this loss by carrying forward the spirit of ‘coaches supporting coaches’ to succeed on their own terms. Rob wanted us all to win….and I’m sure he still does.
Please consider sharing your Rob Huston stories on his Facebook page. It’s still up and collecting memories here.
How do we help our clients discover possibilities?
How do we support our clients find the doorway to solutions to dilemmas? How do we facilitate our client’s openness to the answers to their most precious inquiries? Perhaps one answer is through metaphor.
A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. I got that definition right from the dictionary, one of my favorite books. The metaphor can be a powerful coaching tool to support our clients to visualize possibility.
On a recent adventure in Florida this winter, my husband and I paddled our kayak across the Intracoastal Waterway in the St. Lucie Inlet to a barrier island. It is a narrow part of the Intracoastal inlet and very kayak worthy. We paddled 1.5 miles or 2.4 kilometers across the waterway.
It was a beautiful and very hot sultry day. The breeze was gentle and offered welcomed relief from the heat of the sun. After crossing the waterway we followed an inlet toward the interior of the island and traveled through a mangrove swamp. There were birds, crabs and fish galore. We heard chirps, tweets and mysterious rustling in the mangroves on either side of us. Think Disneyland. I decided those sounds must be alligators, or poisonous snakes or giant spiders ready to pounce. I do know that there are alligators in that area: I have seen them, but you are right if you’re thinking that I made a lot of this up and scared myself.
Anyway, here is a bit of my nautical history. I first started sailing and boating in the state of Maine in New England, USA. If we went a-ground or capsized in Maine we would be very vulnerable to drowning at the worst and hypothermia at the least. To this day I feel so vulnerable when I’m out on the water, especially the ocean. Needless to say, I could really get myself worked up about capsizing in the ocean.
Let’s go back to Florida. Even though the water was relatively calm and we were protected from the powerful Atlantic Ocean by the barrier island, there was always a risk, especially in a kayak, of rolling over and swamping the boat. In fact the kayak we were in took the wakes of bigger, more powerful motorboats nicely. However, there’s never a time on a boat to let down your guard. Just like many moments in life.
The part of the Intracoastal Waterway we were navigating is very shallow just outside the dredged channel. When I thought about my fear of capsizing or tipping over in this kayak, all I had to do was look over the side of the boat and see that we were traveling through very shallow of water.
The truth is that if I got out of the boat and stood up I wouldn’t even be in water up to my knees. My fantasy of drowning in deep water was completely unfounded in this particular situation. Hence the metaphor.
We don’t always see the alternatives. Getting clear about what is true in a situation is the first step in determining the next step in any situation. Seeing through the guise of the fantasy and coming to terms with the actuality of situation is paramount to empowerment.
What we see as the only way out can be an illusion. For example, we can float in the boat, swim, go ashore, or walk! We can help our clients examine what might appear as threatening or even utterly impossible by imagining what is possible. Using life’s experience and stories to invite in possibilities through metaphor can be fun and illuminating. Try it. Share what you discover with us all!
Martha Pasternack, MMC www.CircleofLifeCoach.com
This month, certifying examiner Elizabeth Nofziger helps a member understand the nuances of coaching questions.
“During a coaching triad call I was part of last week, it was mentioned that IAC certifiers do not like to hear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions in a recording. … Sometimes I do utilize yes or no questions with clients. This is a handy strategy to use when a client is having trouble clarifying plans or goals. My question: Is it true that a coach that poses a yes or no question to a client is not, according to IAC certifiers, displaying masterful coaching and that this can prevent a coach from becoming certified?”
As coaches dedicated to mastery, we work to refine our skills to offer the most to our clients. One of the ways we do this is by expanding their awareness to include new possibilities. Another way we do this is by helping our clients hone in, focus on and clarify what is most important to them.
As the questioner points out, it is absolutely true that yes/no questions can lead to increased clarity (Mastery #6). They can also demonstrate that the coach is listening (Mastery #3) and processing in the present (Mastery #4), all of which can also help the client to expand their potential and invite possibility (Mastery #8). A coach’s job of reflecting back to the client can be as simple as asking, “Do you agree with her opinion?”
On the other hand, that very same yes/no question has the potential to function as a closed question, which can limit the client’s responses or disproportionately influence the direction of the coaching. At worst, yes/no questions can indicate and cause judgment (ineffective demonstration of Mastery #1), and/or narrow possibilities for the client (ineffective demonstration of Mastery #8), as well as negatively affect other masteries.
Asking, “Do you agree with her opinion?” could be done less as a reflection for the client and more as a way to get the client to “see” things from the coach’s point of view (ineffective demonstration of Mastery #5), with the client sensing that there is a right or wrong answer to the question. This can close down possibility (ineffective demonstration of Mastery #8), erode trust between coach and client (ineffective demonstration of Mastery #1) and mask the true intention of the client (ineffective demonstration of Mastery #7).
So, are yes/no questions a display of masterful coaching? It depends on the situation. This invites the question, how can you tell when your yes/no questions are appropriate? And, when these questions are not the best choice, what might work even better?
There is no formula for which questions to ask and precisely when to ask them. If you rely too heavily on any one approach you risk missing opportunities that can only be found in variety! Use your coaching skills to determine: What are you hearing the client express beyond the words? How is your intuition informing you? What piques your curiosity? Are you noticing a dissonance in what your client is expressing? Is your client confused? Bored? Apathetic? What do you sense might be the most compelling direction?
And check in with your motives: Are you looking for a particular answer? Are you unduly invested in an outcome? Do you think you know what’s best for the client? These kinds of approaches will do more to shut down communication than allow expansion, and have little or no place in a coaching relationship. In the end, the client’s response is the best indicator. Observe what happens when you ask a yes/no question. How does your client respond? Do you detect an energy expansion as your client gains clarity or gets more curious, or an energy dip as your client shuts down?
If you find the latter happening, there are simple ways you can tweak questions to invite a fuller expression from your client, opening possibility and softening resistance. Here are a couple of examples:
Great coaching includes a balance of new possibilities and continuous clarification. Coaches who have integrated the IAC Coaching Masteries® into their coaching will find an ease and balance between the two, and be able to listen and sense what the client needs most in the moment. And what the client needs most in the moment is ultimately your best guide.
If you have a question about a particular area of coaching, please use this online form to submit it. We love to hear from you and cherish the opportunity to help you understand the Masteries.
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.
Please send your questions on the IAC Coaching Masteries® and the certification process to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Simply put, coaches seek to evoke the best of all possible orientations, aptitudes, and performances from the people with whom we work. Many processes have been created to facilitate this, including a model that my wife and I developed for those who work in schools and other educational contexts. Although focusing on education, the Evocative Coaching (EC) model is not limited to this one arena. It can be – and has been – utilized more broadly in order to sharpen the focus and evoke the realization of people’s hopes and dreams. Instead of analyzing and solving problems, like counselors and consultants, the EC model assists coaches to utilize a no-fault, strengths-based orientation in order to bring out the best of what might be.
The EC model maps out the coaching process on a Möbius strip in order to represent coaching as an ever-expanding and intertwining process. The model involves two turns (the No-Fault Turn and the Strengths-Building Turn), four steps (Story Listening, Expressing Empathy, Appreciative Inquiry, and Design Thinking), eight movements (Initiate, Elaborate, Validate, Appreciate, Extrapolate, Innovate, Deliberate, and Activate), and sixteen style points (Establishing rapport, Appreciative questions, Attentive listening, Exploring stories, Offering reflections, Celebrating progress, Clarifying focus, Discovering strengths, Observing vitalities, Framing aspirations, Inviting possibilities, Brainstorming ideas, Designing experiments, Aligning environments, Confirming commitment, and Session feedback). These elements, taken together and masterfully utilized, generate a truly transformational coaching process with spectacular results. And a Möbius strip is a wonderful model for representing the process. If you do not know about or have never played with Möbius strips I encourage you to do so. I promise you will be intrigued, surprised, and delighted!
These remarkable two-dimensional objects in three-dimensional spaces have unique properties that capture perfectly the coaching process as understood and described by both Evocative Coaching and the IAC Coaching Masteries. That is why, in part, we were granted permission to reprint the Masteries in our book and to make clear the connections between the IAC Masteries and the Evocative Coaching model. The two are quite complementary and the EC model is quite indebted to the IAC in terms of both its content and process. The conceptualization, framework, and language of EC revolve around trust, affirmation, listening, processing in the present, expressing, clarifying, setting clear intentions, inviting possibility, and creating systems of support. They revolve, in other words, around the IAC Masteries in the particular context of education.
If I was to pick one Mastery utilized most directly in form and substance by the EC model, it would be Mastery #4: processing in the present. The present is, by definition, the only moment we have in which to live. All too often, however, we find our conscious attention drifting back or leaning forward in time. Remembering the past and planning for the future are, of course, important and normal activities in life. But when it comes to coaching, a full awareness of what is happening in the present moment and of how to work with that dynamic holds the key to forward movement, growth, and success. It is a skill for every coach to learn and to master.
We work on this Mastery in our EC training program by assisting school-based coaches to focus on the coaching process itself rather than on the pressures and requirements of the systems in which they work. When this happens – through story listening, expressing empathy, appreciative inquiry, and design thinking – all manners of possibilities emerge and become realities. And that is, after all, the point of coaching itself: to assist people to map out for themselves a dynamic, effective, and transformational course of development. To that end, I would encourage every IAC coach to consider the key elements of the EC model in their life and work. By so doing, we gain more tools and will better rise to the full measure of our calling and purpose as coaches.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, IAC-MMC, BCC, is the CEO & Co-Founder of the Center for School Transformation, President of LifeTrek Coaching International, and past President of the International Association of Coaching (IAC). He is an IAC Master Masteries Coach (MMC), a CCE Board Certified Coach (BCC), and holds a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University. Among many other accomplishments and publications, Bob co-authored Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time (Jossey-Bass, 2010), which serves as the basis for a training program for educational coaches through theCenter for School Transformation. Taken together, the book and the training program give people the opportunity to not only understand the Evocative Coaching model but to also field test that model until it becomes the “new normal” as a way of facilitatinggrowth and leading people.
We took a much-needed break from meeting in June, but the Licensing Committee was back in the swing of things for July.
Three applications for licenses were approved, and true to our international status, one application was from Brazil, one from Argentina, and one from Mexico. All three applicants have passed the IAC written exam and, at this writing, are in the process of submitting Learning Agreements to complete the MP (Masteries Practitioner) requirements. The Licensing Committee wants to remind all licensees again of the requirements to maintain MP status, beginning January 2015.
We have noted some confusion with the use of the IAC Logo on certificates or diplomas issued by some licensee schools. The IAC Logo, placed on a certificate, seems to imply that the person receiving the certificate is then certified by IAC. This simply isn’t true. Licensure to use the Masteries and Certification are two very different processes. To avoid confusion and add clarity, the Licensing Committee has recommended to the Board of Governors that IAC clarify its policies regarding the use and display of the IAC Logo by licensees.
As the number of licensed coaching schools and programs continues to grow, we will be creating an archive file on the Licensing Group site to maintain a record of applications received, approved or denied. This will be an especially helpful source of information for future committees.
The Licensing Committee wishes to remind all licensees that the IAC License is granted for a period of one year and must be renewed annually, subject to meeting all current requirements. If the license is not renewed, the coaching school or program is not authorized to represent itself as an IAC Licensee. For example, our three current authorized IAC Licensees in Brazil are:
Committee members Pepe del Rio, Deb Chisholm, and Charlie Boyer welcome your suggestions and comments. Contact the Licensure Committee at email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please help us improve.