Volume 4, Issue 44, February 2010, Circulation 13,476


From the Editor 

Thanks to all who have been sending feedback and article ideas, and especially those who contributed to the flurry of comments on the blog last month, especially on Tonia Boterf's article, Don't Niche Me In (read the article and comments here).

We hope to keep hearing from you, and we're especially hungry for questions about certification for our Inside Scoop: Ask the Certifier column. Natalie Tucker Miller, IAC Lead Certifier, is ready and waiting to dive into your juiciest questions. You can even ask your questions anonymously with this form: http://certifiedcoachblog.typepad.com/blog/ask-the-certifiers.html.

There are two important changes in our newly revised Submission Guidelines. First of all, contributors will be pleased to learn that we've loosened our copyright restrictions. Secondly, as of March 4, 2010, your VOICE newsletter will arrive on the FIRST Thursday of the month, one week earlier, so that we can all start the month together. That means that the time lines for submissions have also changed, so please refer to the guidelines.

We're bursting at the seams this month with IAC news. President Bob Tschannen-Moran presents his thoughts about leadership and intention, as he introduces the emerging leadership team of the IAC. Then Susan R. Meyer, Board of Governors Secretary, delivers her first monthly glimpse inside the BOG meeting, with exciting news about Natalie Tucker Miller's role in the first IAC International Coaching Conference in Shanghai. Susie Li continues that story in an invitation from China.

This month's featured member benefit is a special offer from Lisa Gruenloh from Empower PartiesTM, who also shares her philosophy of fun, creative, accessible coaching for all in the accompanying article. In the same spirit of fun, Barry Zweibel offers his "Biz-D" points game to help you grow your coaching business.

For our other feature article this month, we welcome back Nigerian coach Folake Oluwole, who reveals the essence of corporate coaching.

In Tools for Coaching Mastery, Doris Helge continues to lead us on the path to coaching confidence. In the Inside Scoop, Natalie Tucker Miller breaks things down for a reader who just can't imagine getting "9 in 30."

To close our February issue, Janice Hunter illuminates the winter sky with a thoughtful piece about courage and care.

A reminder that if you enjoy what you read in the IAC VOICE, be sure to follow our feature article authors, columnists and IAC Board members on Twitter. You can check in on them anytime at http://twitter.com/lindadessau/iac-voice-contributors, or subscribe to the list from your Twitter account.

Our 2010 submission guidelines for the VOICE are available on the website. I would love to receive your article submissions by February 10th for the March 4th issue or by March 10th for the April 1st issue.

Please contact me with your article ideas and your feedback about this issue. Enjoy!

Warm wishes,

Linda Dessau, CPCC
Editor, IAC® VOICE
Email: voice@certifiedcoach.org

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From the President
by Bob Tschannen-Moran, IAC-CC

As the new Board of Governors of the IAC comes together and organizes its work and leadership for the year ahead, I am so impressed by the pure intentions of our members. That, it seems to me, is one of the most important integrity points for a non-profit association. I am pleased that the IAC is holding fast and living up to that standard.

What do I mean by pure intentions? I mean being focused first and foremost on the mission of the organization and the profession. To paraphrase the late US President, John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what the IAC can do for you; ask rather what you can do for the IAC and what the IAC can do for the world.” When that is our focus, the rest will follow.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong or unnatural about self-interest; we all have it. As coaches, ranging back to our founder Thomas Leonard, we frequently work with ourselves and our clients around the concept of “extreme self-care.” But self-interest and self-care, like success and happiness, are by-products rather than ends in themselves. When we make these things our goals, they become harder to attain and enjoy. When we follow our passions, however, these by-products come our way with much less effort and much more fulfillment.

For those of us on the Board of Governors, realizing the IAC mission is our passion. We are not paid for what we do and we are not here to get business or to pad our resumes. We have joined the Board of the IAC to work together and serve the cause: “to advance coaching to the highest standards of universal excellence” and to “further the interests of coaching clients worldwide through a rigorous certification of coaches and the highest ethical, professional and business standards.”

Those statements are currently being reviewed and refined as part of our strategy and long-range planning process, but one thing is clear: the IAC wants not only to be the best in the world; it wants to be the best for the world. We truly believe that coaching makes a positive, life-enriching contribution to individuals, organizations and the planet. We also truly believe that the IAC makes a positive, life-enriching contribution to coaching. That’s why our Board members and volunteers are knocking themselves out to make the IAC the best it can possibly be.

Our leadership team of BOG members, staff and volunteers is currently emerging as follows:

  • Executive Committee: Bob Tschannen-Moran, Joan Johnson, Susan Meyer, Walter Besecker, Angela Spaxman
  • Budget & Finance: Walter Besecker
  • Strategy & Long-Range Planning: Angela Spaxman, Joan Johnson, Yoram Gordon, Kerul Kassel, Aileen Gibb
  • Communications & Website Makeover: Sue Brundege, Jenny Blake, Linda Dessau
  • Certification: Natalie Tucker Miller, Susan Meyer, Alison Davis
  • IAC Coaching Masteries® Translation: Bonnie Chan, Alison Davis
  • IP & Licensing Activities: Angela Spaxman, Nad Phillips, Alison Davis
  • Local & Virtual Chapters: Kate Larsen, Doris Helge, Nad Phillips, Angela Davis
  • Volunteers: Kristi Arndt
  • Member Benefits: Kerul Kassel
  • Coaching Research: Kerryn Griffiths, Kerul Kassel, Susan Meyer, Alison Davis, Natalie Tucker Miller

And let's not forget the invaluable work of Diana McFarlane, our virtual assistant involved in just about every one of our endeavors. If you would like to connect with or work in any of these areas, then I would encourage you to join or renew your membership in the IAC and let Diana know of your interest. You can reach her at certification@certifiedcoach.org

Next Month: HAVING FUN

May you be filled with goodness, peace and joy,
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MDiv, IAC-CC, CWC
President, IAC®
Email: president@certifiedcoach.org
Web: www.LifeTrekCoaching.com

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New IAC Coaching Masteries® licensed schools and mentors

Global Coaching Company Shanghai  China Yes View Details

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BOG Action News
by Susan R. Meyer, IAC-CC

At the January meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Association of Coaching, we welcomed eight new people to the Board – doubling the size of the BOG to 16 (our Bylaws allow for a total of 18). Much of the Board meeting was spent with introductions and orientation.

The BOG took action on one exciting proposal: by unanimous vote we agreed to financially support Natalie Tucker Miller, our Lead Certifier, to attend, resource and speak at the Shanghai Coaching Conference on Friday, 19 March, 2010. This may be the first international coaching conference organized by a local IAC coaching chapter. You can download the Conference Brochure with registration information from the IAC website.


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.

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International Coaching Conference in Shanghai, China – March 19, 2010
by Susie Li

Passionate about coaching, members of the IAC Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong Chapters have been dedicated to developing the coaching profession in Hong Kong and in China since 2008. To this end, they have taken many initiatives, culminating with the upcoming 2010 Shanghai Coaching Conference in China on Friday, 19 March 2010.

Bonnie Chan, the president of IAC Hong Kong Chapter, initially organized monthly IAC Hong Kong Chapter meetings for the professional development and certification of Chinese coaches in Hong Kong. Inspired by what came out of the monthly meetings, we went on to organize the IAC Annual Dinner in Shenzhen in 2009, attended by 40 coaches, executives and coaching learners. The resounding success of the Shenzhen Annual Dinner created momentum for us to promote coaching even further in Greater China, through the upcoming 2010 Shanghai Coaching Conference.

Shanghai has been chosen to host the upcoming Conference in the Greater China region, as it has been the centre for China in the past. It has been the centre for coaching as well, as many of the pioneer coaches in China are from Shanghai, and many international coaching schools are now offering coaching training courses in Shanghai. Shanghai is becoming an international centre for coaching, and it is important for IAC to include China as a partner in advancing coaching to the highest global standard.

The 2010 Shanghai Coaching Conference is for professional coaches, corporate executives, human resource and training professionals and coaching learners in the region, with workshops organized for each of these groups. Conference participants will:

  • Experience the latest development of coaching in Shanghai and in China
  • Gain insights in the movement of corporate coaching in Shanghai and in China
  • Learn about the needs of clients and new local coaches
  • Network with professional coaches from around Asia
  • Engage in the highest international standard of coaching

Currently, a number of coaches in Greater China have already passed the step 1 exam for IAC Certification, and there will be more certified Chinese coaches in the near future. Natalie Tucker Miller, IAC Lead Certifier, will fly from the US to Shanghai to be the Keynote Speaker for this high-profile event.

This is a coaching event not to be missed! Register now!

Susie Li, Career Coach, supports her clients to identify their unique personal qualities and leverage them in a suitable career and organization, so that they thrive in a career they love.

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Featured IAC Member Benefit: Empower Parties™

In the following article life coach and marketing consultant Lisa Gruenloh makes the case that a creative group coaching model may serve as a key catalyst in making life coaching more accessible and helping coaches build a profitable practice.

Creative Coaching Options Add More Diversity and Revenue to Your Coaching Practice
by Lisa Gruenloh

Professional coaching benefits nearly everyone, yet coaching is primarily utilized by mid to higher income professionals and often in a business setting. With a creative approach, coaches can build our businesses and bring quality, affordable life coaching to more people by overcoming potential obstacles such as affordability, awareness and accessibility.

Create affordable coaching offerings. Group coaching allows the individual to pay much less for coaching and the coach to maintain his or her one-on-one earning level. From a marketing perspective this approach allows coaches to reach more people who have the potential to become private coaching clients and/or great referral sources.

Meet people where they are. I love taking clients through life vision processes using a big picture, holistic, ongoing approach. But not everyone wants, needs or is ready for that; it can seem intimidating. Thinking big and starting small is a valuable marketing strategy – opening the door of coaching to those who might otherwise walk right past it. Yes, it’s exciting to "create the life you want," but it might also create a sense of anxiety, setting up grand expectations for already overwhelmed people. So develop workshops or conversation circles around a specific life topic, and start with one session instead of insisting on a longer commitment. This allows potential new clients to try on the experience – and come back for more.

Introduce creativity and playfulness. It is possible to offer creative coaching experiences and still maintain the highest level of quality and professionalism. Take the coaching out of the office and into someone’s home. Bring in some playful rituals or exercises that lighten the mood, while honoring the serious intent of the experience. As long as all of our coaching standards and ethics are fully embraced, there's no need to fear these new approaches.

So, think about how you might employ more "Equal Opportunity Coaching." How can you build your business while serving a diverse group of clients? What creative new services might appeal to your existing clients, as well as to people who may never have considered or heard of coaching? How can you empower people of all backgrounds to experience their own meaningful, life-changing shifts? And how cool would that be?


Lisa Gruenloh, MA, ACC, is Founder and President of Empower Parties™, a creative and affordable life coaching platform available to coaches across the U.S. The mission of Empower Parties™ is to make life coaching more accessible. IAC members receive a fee discount and bonus marketing materials, and certified coaches receive additional benefits. For more information, please log into the Member Benefits page on the website.

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Core Ideology: The essence of corporate coaching
by Folake Oluwole

Why is it sometimes so hard to get people in an organization to come together and work the best way—not my way or his way or the way it's always been—especially when, clearly, that way is not working?

Luckily, corporate coaching can take us on a fundamental and insightful journey of discovery of the essence and intentions behind the organization, unveiling its core ideology.

In taking up a new corporate coaching client, the first things I want to know are:

  • What was the organization's agenda for yesterday?
  • How has it evolved into today's agenda?
  • How will that agenda stand the test of time in the future?

From there, I can identify and appreciate the core ideology of the organization.

So what is core ideology? Core ideology defines what we stand for and why we exist as an organization or corporate body. It is made up of a purpose that drives an individual or organization forward, the principles (core values) that guide them to success and through tough times.

Core purpose = an organization's fundamental reasons for existence beyond making money—their guiding star on the horizon; not to be confused with specific goals or business strategies.

Core values = An organization's essential and enduring tenets—a small set of general guiding principles; not to be confused with specific cultural or operating practices; not to be compromised for financial gain or short-term expediency.

Core values + core purpose = Core ideology

Corporate coaching is holistic in approach and focuses both on the overall performance of the organization and the growth and development of the individual team members. This will involve addressing personal as well as professional or career challenges and barriers, which is a herculean task if you ask me, and can quickly overshadow our cognizance of the fundamental underlying factors necessary for coming together as a body to achieve a set of common goals.

How do I then as a coach, create a positive, productive community of members—individuals who feel that they belong to an organization and who volunteer their best and fulfill their full potentials through meaningful work?

  • I must have a good understanding of the core ideology of the organization, as well as its goals and challenges, so that I can bring all of that into the context of my work with each individual.
  • I must be able to connect the organization and the people being coached.
  • I must have the courage to tell the truth to both the organization and the individuals I coach, without offending or intimidating them.

With a clear understanding of the core ideology of an organization, as corporate coaches we can appreciate the focus and direction of the organization. It is then we can get the people fully engaged, involved and genuinely interested in the growth and continued success of the organization.


Folake Oluwole is a corporate and career coach and is the managing partner of GTD LTD (GETTING THINGS DONE), a consulting firm based in Lagos, Nigeria. She connects with people and organizations to inculcate a passion for the vision of the organization. For more information email oluwolefolake@yahoo.com or gtdltd@yahoo.com.



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The "Biz-D” Points Game
by Barry Zweibel

When I first started coaching full-time almost 10 years ago, my business development (“Biz-D”) efforts were rather, well, haphazard. On some days, as I’d hoped, I was absolutely on fire! But on other days—on most days, to be honest about it—I was … not. It didn’t take long to realize that this type of inconsistency would serve neither my business, nor me. Indeed, I kept hearing the words of Bill Thomas rattling around in my brain:

"What you do today to build your business will pay off 90 days from now. And what you fail to do today to build your business will also pay off 90 days from now. Which pay-off do you want?"

I knew needed a plan, a system, a “discipline”—one that would challenge me, but not overwhelm me; one that would be easy to implement, but still meaningful and impactful. But what?

And then the Universe spoke.

Staring blankly at the shelves of my local bookstore one day, my eyes suddenly focused on “How to Become a Rainmaker,” by Jeffrey J. Fox. A fast and rich read, anyone who’s interesting in building a business would likely benefit from it. But that’s not the purpose of this article. Rather, it’s to discuss a little something I learned from it that served my “Biz-D” efforts particularly well—something Fox called his Point System:

“There are four steps that are part of every sale,” he wrote. “They are:

(1) Getting a lead, a referral, an introduction to a decision maker;
(2) Getting an appointment to meet the decision maker;
(3) Meeting the decision maker face-to-face;
(4) Getting a commitment to close (a purchase) or to an action that directly leads to a close.

“Assign one point to Step 1,” he continued, “two points to Step 2, three points to Step 3, and four points to Step 4. Work every day to get a total of four points, in any combination of steps [and] you will never run out of prospects, your pipeline will always be full, you will never have a slow period, and you will always be making rain.”

Wow! What an interesting and provocative notion, I thought. It’s certainly worth a try. But first, I felt I needed to "tweak" it a bit to make it more coach-relevant. Here’s what I decided:

  • Engage someone in a conversation about coaching – earn 1 point.
  • Schedule a Sample Session, or get a referral from someone – earn 2 points.
  • Conduct a Sample Session, or ask someone to be their coach – earn 3 points.
  • Sign up a new client – earn 4 points.

As in Fox's system, any combination of activities that add up to 4 points works. So, one new client (4 points) or one Sample Session and one conversation about coaching (3+1= 4 points), or scheduling a Sample Session and two other conversations about coaching (2+1+1= 4 points) all earn your daily goal of 4 points. It's as simple as that.

The reward? It's twofold, actually:

  • Reward One – As soon as you earn your 4 points for the day, you've earned the right to take the rest of the day off! (And I encourage you to do exactly that, without worry or regret.)
  • Reward Two – If you earnestly play the "Biz-D” Points game for even a few weeks, you will likely find yourself having created some fascinating new coaching opportunities (read: clients).

You may have noted that I called this my “Biz-D” Points GAME. That was intentional because building one’s coaching practice can get really serious and stressful at times, so I wanted (and needed) to keep it purposefully light and bright, engaging and fun! It’s a Core Values thing. And it’s where I do some of my absolute best work. I’m thinking maybe you do, too!

Oh, there’s one more rule to the game that’s fairly important: Points do NOT rollover from one day to the next. So, even if you exceed your 4-point goal on any given day, your point total resets to back to zero the next day. Other than that, you have free reign to define your points however you’d like.

And worry not, if 4 points each day seems too much to start with, try shooting for 4 points every 2 days, or every 4 days, instead. Simply choose what serves you best because the point of the points, if you will, is that they can help you build your business.

And that IS the point, is it not?!


Barry Zweibel, MBA, MCC, is president of GottaGettaCoach!®, Inc. As a noted executive coach, leadership consultant and master certified life coach, he engages smart, capable, people in meaningful conversations about their personal growth and professional development. www.ggci.com.

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This column is provided by an IAC Coaching Masteries®-Licensed School or Mentor.

More IAC Coach Confidence Keys
by Doris Helge, IAC-CC

Reap the rewards hidden in your unresolved issues

Because of human resonance, our clients are human mirrors of our unfinished business. When we are unconsciously experiencing the same inner block as a client, we may fail to perceive their genuine issue or agenda. We may fear diving into the deep water where they must swim if they are to gain their next level of personal empowerment. One of the fastest ways to boost career success is to clear a personal growth block. Cloudy perceptions will vanish like fog when the sunshine pierces its film.

Befriend your inner critic

Neuroscience and sages through the ages have agreed that our natural state is joy, peace, love and wisdom. Most people think we have to banish the inner critic and struggle to battle our way back to bliss. When we embrace the inner critic instead of fighting it, we return to our authentic self. We also more easily connect with our Higher Self. We become focused on why we are coaching and live in alignment with our life purpose. This focus makes fear disappear like a feather in a hurricane. The acceptance process is easier and faster than our ego (who we think we are) wants us to think.

Nurture your curiosity

Even after 10,000 trials to develop the incandescent light bulb, Thomas Edison never judged himself as inadequate or lost his confidence. In fact, he told critical reporters, "I must be very close to discovering what works because I know so much about what doesn't." He was as curious as a two-year old toddling around a colorful new playground. The IAC Coaching Masteries® emphasize how important it is to explore a challenge with playfulness and curiosity. Curiosity squelches self-judgment. The two cannot co-exist. Plus, curiosity is so much more fun. If you sense yourself losing your enthusiasm or judging yourself harshly, inoculate yourself with a healthy dose of curiosity. Ask yourself a question like, "I wonder what I'm learning right now?" or "I wonder what my client needs right now?"

Take Vitamin SSS

Nurture a solid support system (Vitamin SSS). You'll relish the joy of a balanced life and the people you extend love and compassion to will be there for you when you need them. Consistently trying to go it alone is a red flag signaling feelings of unworthiness. Reaching out to others is a sign of healthy self-esteem ("I deserve assistance"). Enjoy the great game of giving and receiving and build strong "I deserve" neural associative networks in your brain.

Notice your confidence boosters and zappers

Mindfulness is one of our greatest tools for greater confidence. Which clients, questions, and strategies elevate your confidence? Which deplete it? Use your self-awareness to develop an action plan for new skill development and target the niche that's most rewarding for you. Instead of agonizing about your weaknesses, manage them and capitalize on your strengths. The world needs your best self now.

Enjoy the power and ease of consistent small steps forward

It's easy to justify and lament a lack of progress when you set an unrealistic goal. Setting the intention to take a small step forward each day toward certification, for example, will maintain your forward momentum and elevate your confidence. Here's just one example: You can easily spend just 10 minutes a day re-reading a single IAC Mastery notesheet. Then close your eyes and imagine effortlessly asking a creative new question related to the Mastery you were studying. By the end of only one month, you'll have circled through every Mastery three times. You'll have dozens of new questions to ask your clients. The exercise will also boost your motivation to study the IAC Coaching Masteries®.

Your brain craves new stimulation and strengthens neural associations with repetition. This means that your quick, easy Mastery study series will make you more comfortable about using and being quizzed about the Masteries. You'll also be more confident and creative when working with your clients.

Allow the Bigger Picture to Propel You Forward

Our world is at a major tipping point. As a coach, you're a key resource for change. As a united force, coaches can help create the essential momentum necessary for this planet to move away from war, confusion and greed toward sharing, kindness, compassion and the acceptance of personal responsibility.

You are too important to waste your precious energy feeling inadequate or powerless. Avoid perfectionism and procrastination. Ask for help, resolve internal blocks, nourish your curiosity and move forward with joy.


Doris Helge, Ph.D., is an IAC and CTA certified coach, coach mentor and founder of the IAC-licensed training school, Confident Coach Connection. She also created the New Coach Virtual Chapter of IAC and other mastermind groups that boost coaching confidence and collaboration. Discover more at www.ConfidentCoachConnection.com and www.NewIACCoachChapter.com.

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The IAC Coaching Masteries®: 9 in 30?
by Natalie Tucker Miller, IAC-CC

Q: With 9 Masteries and all the behaviors and measures and other considerations, it seems impossible to do all the Masteries in 30 minutes. I know it can be done, obviously, because coaches do get certified. Is there some way you can explain how this is done?

A: This is such a great question, and one that arises frequently. It’s a valid concern which several coaches share. There is a great deal of information to digest when learning to coach masterfully, information that can sometimes create anxiety, self-consciousness and, at its worst, discouragement. So let’s look at this from a more empowering point of view; one that will help assuage some of these concerns.

To begin, the beauty and brilliance of the IAC Coaching Masteries® is that they support one another and naturally blend to create a powerful coaching environment. What that means for the coach is that these Masteries will weave in and out of one another as you and your client create a tapestry of new insights and perspective.

One example of this interconnectedness is evident where Mastery #1 is defined as "the ability to ensure a safe and supportive relationship." Several of the other Masteries will help foster the trust that is necessary for this to be demonstrated. Mastery #2, for instance, incites the "offering of sincere encouragement," and "reminds the clients of capabilities and strengths." From this encouragement, the clients willingness to "share bold hopes and dreams" (one of the measures of Mastery #1) might arise, as well as feeling empowered and ready to accept responsibility (a measure of Mastery #2). And certainly the ability to use pace and energy effectively while expressing (Mastery #5) can assist in "expanding versus stretching" the client (Mastery #2).

For another example, Mastery #6 suggests identifying patterns and asking either/or questions. You can see how this might correlate with Mastery #8 where the "conversation enters new and potentially unrelated areas." The coach might then have an opportunity to check in with the client about thoughts, feeling and intuition and effectively demonstrate Mastery #4 (processing in the present).

These are just two of countless examples of the relationship between the Masteries and how they can build on and enhance one another.

Does this mean it’s easy? Well, not necessarily. Coaches who have achieved the IAC-CC designation will tell you that the standards are high and they devoted many hours to learning and practicing the Masteries. Each of the Masteries requires a combination of skill sets which incorporate a unique blend of intellect, intuition and intercommunication. These skills are best mastered through the trial and error that can occur through practice. Let part of your practice be deliberate awareness of how the Masteries intertwine, supplement and advance one another, as well as their practical applications.

So join an IAC Chapter, start or join a live or virtual study group, participate in coaching triads, work with an IAC licensed mentor coach or join an IAC-licensed training program. Any of these steps will give you the coaching practice to develop your coaching mastery and demonstrate that mastery within the 30-minute testing session.

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, 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™.

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

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"Coaching Moments" takes a thoughtful look at how coaching can be interwoven into our daily lives. 

Track of Light
by Janice Hunter, IAC-CC

“I will not wish thee riches, nor the glow of greatness, but that wherever thou go some weary heart shall gladden at thy smile, or shadowed life know sunshine for awhile. And so thy path shall be a track of light, like angels' footsteps passing through the night.” ~ Blessing from a church wall in Upwaltham, England

The road to our nearest big town winds through hills and valleys. As I drove my daughter to a class today, I felt we’d entered an enchanted fairyland of frosted branches, hedgerows and fields. Morning mist lingered in the hollows, unwarmed by the winter sun, low and dazzling in a pearly sky. Only the brightest red berries and the occasional flash of a red STOP sign stood out against the muted shades of pale green and silvery greys.

As we reached the town and drove through the suburbs, the roads were treacherous with black ice. The heater—on on full—made it harder than usual to tune into the engine noise. My fingers and toes, frozen even in gloves and hiking boots, felt less connected than usual to the steering wheel and pedals.

I focused, senses alert and concentrating, until we arrived outside the community centre where the class was due to take place. I parked with relief, switched off the engine, wrapped myself up in a fleecy, plaid travel blanket and waited for my daughter’s class to finish.

As I sat, watching the cars go by, I was struck by something strange and worrying. Because it was sunny and eerily bright for winter, no-one had their headlights on. Yet every car that passed seemed to blend like a silvery wraith into the frosted monochrome of pearly skies and glistening concrete.

Driving home, along a busy section of dual-carriageway, I saw folk driving one-handed, shading their eyes from the glare, but once again, I saw very few cars with their headlights on. I saw bumper-to-bumper near-misses, and with every animal instinct in my body alert and aware, I kept the lights on full, the heater off and my bare hands fixed firmly on the wheel until I got my precious daughter safely home.

For many of us, all over the world, these are troubling times. Fear can close us up like frost-blackened petals, leave us feeling as if we’re standing on thin ice, an indifferent river flowing beneath our cold feet. It’s tempting to curl up and swaddle ourselves in layers of security, shutting ourselves off from bitter blasts, harsh truths and the risk of ruin.

But maybe the safest way to navigate through these tough times is to trust our gifts and our instincts, to shine as brightly as we can, not just to illuminate the road ahead or carve a swathe of light for others to follow, but to stand out, really stand out, like the bright red berries on frosted branches that carry the promise of spring, or a beacon of hope on the summit of a distant hill.

How will you brighten the world with your gifts today?

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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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 feedback@certifiedcoach.org. Please help us improve.

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