Thursday, December 23, 2010

Waking up to Happiness

One of the joys of getting older is gathering a wealth of experience to guide myself through life. Though of course, being older, I’m not sure I remember it all. Hmmm.

Anyway, thankfully through my work as a coach I have lots of lovely people around me who continue to teach me so much. A Head of Talent Development in a major commercial organisation recently said to me: “Success is how you feel when you wake up in the morning”. Wonderful. I had to ask and thank them for their quotable quote.

And it appears our government here in the UK is waking up to this wisdom too – the Prime Minister has asked the Office of National Statistics to find a way of measuring the county’s happiness. The intent is to build this into government thinking, policy and action and so that the monopoly held by the ‘Continuous Economic Growth’ lobby has some balancing force. And about time too.

The economic growth has undoubtedly been good. It has brought clean water and warm housing and universal education and health service and food to the shelves of so many. And it’s something that is to be still more widely enjoyed globally. But as I often find myself exploring with clients, ‘a weakness is a strength overplayed’.

The sustainability of delivering these benefits in the way we currently do is clearly questionable. And with over 30 million anti-depression prescriptions handed out in the UK alone every year, greater wealth has clearly not led to universal happiness. So getting a grip on what we want, what we really, really want is now approaching it’s time.

Which brings me to coaching. Is there a profession better placed than coaching to help people unravel their thoughts, hopes, feelings, and indeed prejudices and misconceptions so that they can see the connections, and find what it is they truly want and who they are? Is there a profession better placed to help people help themselves to take action, build new, more useful choices and habits and achieve what they want in the ways that are right for them?

And of course, the real power of what we do lies in the fact we are not preaching as experts, but simply inviting and enabling people to see their work and life and options from many different perspectives, then giving the support to do something about it. They discover. They decide. They act.

We truly have a role in shaping the future, because we enable people to choose to see the world through many different lenses. As more people see themselves in a bigger way, I believe they will see us all in a bigger way, and this will change direction from a highly individualistic ‘me/more/now’ culture to a wiser, interdependent view of ‘us and them and you and me/enough is just fine thanks/and is this good for future generations?’

I hope there will be a future time where happiness is more widely felt and enjoyed, because one person’s success is not about beating another in some ranking/performance/level of ownership table, but rather the success (and fulfilment) comes from one person helping another, and another….Coaching conversations with clients, and the wisdoms that emerge from them, has shown me how we are connected to everyone and everything around us, the past that got us here and the future of those who follow us. A strong vibrant profession will enable more and more people wake up feeling good. That would truly be a mark of success for our profession. It’s a great time to be alive.

Now where have I left those reading glasses?

Neil Scotton, PCC, December 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

A new way to market yourself

Fresh beginnings…we all love them. There is something so promising about a blank slate. Maybe that’s why so many people make resolutions at the start of each New Year.

As we march through the remaining days of 2010, our minds inevitably think about what we expect or hope to accomplish in the New Year. Maybe we want to lose ten pounds, eat better, exercise more, start writing that book, get over your fear of public speaking, make new friends, create a better work-life balance and build a social media platform all in 2011. So many resolutions start strong only to fade into some distant memory before we flip the calendar page to February.

It seems that often, the problem with keeping a resolution is lack of ongoing support and accountability. As a coach, that’s where you come in. Use this time of year to your advantage and market yourself and your coaching services as that accountability needed to make resolutions stick.

Want some research to back this up? The latest study from the ICF found that people are turning to professional coaching to attain goals in their personal and professional lives. More than two-fifths (42.6 percent) of the ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study’s respondents who had experienced coaching chose “optimize individual and/or team performance” as their motivation for being coached. Following this reason was “expand professional career opportunities” (at 38.8 percent); “improve business management strategies” (at 36.1 percent). The study also showed that coaching is being used to help people increase their self-esteem/self-confidence and manage work/life balance.

Not only is coaching allowing people to attain their goals, but coaching has proven to be a very satisfying experience as a result. The study also found that 83 percent of respondents were “satisfied” and 36 percent were “very satisfied” with their coaching experience.

Right now is the perfect time to market your coaching services to clients wanting to meet their newly made resolutions. Couple these findings with examples of how coaching can help them reach their goals and resolutions (through goal defining, action plan creation, accountability, etc.).

What about you? At the start of a New Year, do you find yourself working with clients on reaching their New Year’s goals?

How do you plan to market yourself to new clients in 2011?

Friday, December 17, 2010

I Care For…tell the world during International Coaching Week!

As a coach, we know that one of the things you care for is the coaching profession-at-large. And in just a few weeks, you can share it with your community.

Founded in the late 1990s as a way for coaches—regardless of geographic location—to celebrate the coaching profession, International Coaching Week (ICW) is a weeklong opportunity for you to share what you care for with the world! Traditionally, it is held annually the first full week of February and is celebrated by coaches and clients alike.

Through the years, people have celebrated ICW is numerous fashions…from offering pro bono coaching services to planning and executing multi-day conferences. Regardless of how it is celebrated, its main objective is to educate the public about the value of working with a coach and all that can be accomplished through a coaching partnership.

That said…how do you plan to celebrate ICW 2011? The possibilities are endless—your imagination is really your only barrier. Still stuck? Run through these questions to find something that works the best for you:

  • What kind of availability do you have during ICW? This will determine what kind of project you can take on.
  • Will you be working alone or will you have a team? ICW is a great way to involve your entire chapter or colleagues who live in your community.
  • What kind of message do you want to share? The kind of message you share will determine how you go about sharing it. A few message examples: “Coaching works! Here’s why…” or “Coaching is…” or “Coaching is not…”
  • What is the most beneficial way you can share coaching with those in your community? Think through different options you may have…if you have the opportunity to rent out a local café, perhaps hosting a speed coaching event would suit you well. Or if you are working alone, maybe you can offer pro bono coaching hours to people in your community. Or maybe you can offer special rates to those who sign a coaching contract with you during ICW.
  • How will you market your event? The size and scale of your event will truly determine the kind of marketing you need to take on. The only key in marketing and event is to not wait until the last minute! Start planning now to give yourself plenty of time.

Learn more about ICW at Coachfederation.org/coachingweek.

Don’t forget, if you want to be eligible to win one of several great prizes, there is still time to share what you care for! Submit your video or written message here by 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2010 and your name will be included in the drawing. Learn more.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Building an Audience With Social Media: Got the Three C’s?

What’s the biggest difference between people who are successful in social media and those who aren’t? Simple—the successful people have built themselves an audience.

An audience doesn’t necessarily mean having 10,000 followers here or 5,000 friends there. At its most basic level it might be that. But what’s a bunch of friends and followers if they aren’t helping you to grow your business?

Consider this: what if your “audience” isn’t anyone who would be interested in what it is you offer? What if they were people just looking to boost their numbers without any interest in engaging you in any sort of dialogue? What if they were primarily focused on promoting their own stuff the majority of the time? These types of scenarios are clearly not ideal.

So what should you really be looking to achieve? Building the right kind of audience with social media means your participation there is leading you to be seen as a credible, trust-worthy source who may be able to help others solve whatever problem they may be having. It means you’re reaching a market of people you’ve deliberately sought out through search strategies who might need what you have.

When you’ve grabbed the attention of your followers and friends and built interest and credibility, you now have a way to gain traffic to your website, capture more leads and continue building and strengthening the relationship.

It’s all in the three C’s:

Content

Content is the lifeblood of successful social media marketers. What reasons are you giving people to listen to you? This goes two ways: sharing your own helpful posts, links, and resources—and promoting and sharing the content of others. This does three main things: establishes your expertise, drives traffic, and provides your audience with helpful information. Remember, the content you are sharing should not always be your own.

Conversation

Simply by being seen as someone who provides great content in the social media space you will naturally find yourself engaged in conversation. Having these one on one conversations is what is going to make you stand out among the noise and deepen the relationship. In addition, when you make it a habit to promote others, this brings more “social appreciation” your way. These interactions cause others to seek out more information about you beyond where you’ve made the initial connection.

Conversion

Once you have converted someone to a newsletter subscriber, blog subscriber or paying client, you’ve taken steps toward acquiring another raving fan. These loyal folks will not only bring you more sales, but will be much more likely to sing your praises to others out in the social media universe. This is how you grow your “tribe.”

Do you see how simple and effective it is to build an audience of captivated friends and followers? Do you see the difference this could make in your bottom line?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Anything else you would add?

Christine Gallagher, MLS, MSIS, founder of CommunicateValue.com, teaches small business owners and professionals how to conquer the overwhelming aspects of online and social media marketing to increase business and maximize profits. For FREE tips on how to build profitable relationships, leverage technology and create your own successful online business, visit http://CommunicateValue.com/subscribe.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The client demographic you should be targeting now

If you aren’t already coaching young people (more specifically, people in their late 20s and early 30s), this is one client demographic you will want to start marketing to NOW!

Why, you ask? Recent ICF research found that 25- to 34- year-olds are more aware of professional coaching, more aware of the ICF, more satisfied with their coaching experience and more likely to recommend coaching to others than their older counterparts.

The ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study* indicates that this age group sees coaching as a viable resource to help them with their professional goals as they are faced with the global economic downturn and high unemployment rates early in their careers.

In fact, nearly half of the people aged 25-34 selected “expand professional career opportunities” as their top reason for partnering with a coach. To compare, the older age groups chose “optimize individual/team work performance” as their top reason for partnering with a coach.

These findings point toward a very promising future for coaching—not to mention those industries that could benefit from the coaching experiences, principles and culture that the younger generation may bring to their organizations as they move up in their careers. Needless to say, it seems the future of coaching is very bright!

Do you already coach clients in the 25- to 34-year-old age range? What motivated your younger clients to participate in a coaching relationship?

If you don’t, how will you market yourself to this demographic?

*Conducted independently by the International Survey Unit of PwC, the ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study surveyed 15,000 individuals across 20 countries. Read more about this research at Coachfederation.org/works.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

From Tragedy to Transformation

The date, September 11, 2001, after a successful career on Wall Street spanning over 25 years, I had just arranged the sale of the venture capital firm I was the CEO of, and watched the horror unfolding out my apt window facing the World Trade Center. My office was across the street overlooking the fountains. It was a beautifully sunny day. I had decided to stay home. I was in shock. I lost friends and colleagues and was in a deeply emotional state for several months.

I contemplated my future. What was in store for me I wondered. I looked back at my career/life and realized that what I enjoyed most was helping people to achieve their personally relevant goals. I had been a mentor, advisor, coach and didn’t even realize it at the time.

I decided to try my hand at being an independent business consultant. That lasted two years but wasn’t truly fulfilling for me. I would advise a company as to what to do, get paid and leave. One day I was introduced to a woman who was becoming a coach. I had no clue what she did but when she explained the process I was so intrigued that I asked her to coach me for a few sessions. At first I was skeptical. I am not one to open up easily but the process amazed me. So much so that I researched for an ICF certified coach program in the area, chose IPEC and enrolled.

Upon graduation I wondered how to best move forward in this new career. I had heard about the ICF and found the local chapter in NYC. I got the nerve up to attend a monthly meeting and was happily surprised how welcoming everyone there was. There were new coaches, coach wannabes and seasoned coaches attending. I networked, made friends, partnered with other coaches, and after several months was asked by the outgoing President to run for the Board.

My experiences as an active member of ICF-NYC are unforgettable. Over the next few years we focused on giving value to our members. We brought in informative speakers on topics members told us they were interested in. We offered workshops focused on how to grow your coach practice and improve core competencies. We organized groups of coaches to go out into the community and help those that weren’t able to afford our services. From helping college students, to career fairs, to local community groups we got members involved. I was elected chapter President in 2007. We won three global awards over those years. I hosted several webinars sponsored by ICF Global on our chapter best practices, wrote articles for Coach World, volunteered my time as part of the global chapter leader mentor program, spoke at three ICF annual conferences and now host Coach Chat Radio.

This past year, as Past President of the NYC chapter I have focused on mentoring those on the Board who will continue the legacy of our chapter achievements. This being my last year on the local Board, and with a lot of encouragement, I decided to run for a global board seat, was nominated and won the election.

As a new Board member I plan to offer my years of experience in business as a former CFO, COO and CEO, as well as a former chapter leader of one of the most successful chapters in the ICF to help our global organization advance the profession of coaching throughout the world.

For those who have sitting on the sidelines up until now, what can you do to contribute your passion and skills to expand the profession we care so much for?

Bernie Siegel, PCC, incoming 2011 Board of Directors member

Friday, December 3, 2010

What do YOU care for?

What do you care for? It’s a pretty broad question...one that can generate a wide variety of responses and make people feel a number of emotions.

And it can be answered on many levels—you may care for orphans in another part of the world, for your community or country, for your family, for your health and for your ICF membership but you may not care for them all at the same intensity.

So…what is it that you care for? There is no right or wrong way to respond to this question.

Since the end of October, when the I Care For campaign was officially launched, responses to this question have been pouring in—and they are truly as varied as our 17,000+ members.

We’ve learned that Jaki in Kenya cares for “the academic and personal advancement of children from disadvantaged backgrounds” (learn more about Jaki’s story in the January 2011 Coaching World); José in Portugal cares for “a world where being is the matrix of doing and having;” and Bonnie from Canada cares for “creating a world of authenticity, purpose and belief in possibilities by connecting people to their core values and purpose in life.”

Haven’t shared what you care for yet? Do so by 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2010 and your name will be entered into the I Care For contest. Prizes are awarded in two categories, depending on how you submit your message. (No worries to those who have already shared what they care for—you will be included in these drawings as well!)

Those who share their message through a video will be entered into the drawing for a $250 USD VISA gift card. And those who submit their message via e-mail/Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/other written form will be entered into the drawing for one of two Kodak Play Sport video cameras. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the New Year than with one of these prizes!

And entering is so easy…you simply need to share what you care for! Instructions for submitting your message can be found here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

THE PROBLEM WITH SELLING COACHING

Coaching is a beautiful calling. Everyone who does this work, loves it. New coaches love their training and immediately recognize the power of a coaching relationship in assisting others to make important changes in their lives, careers and businesses.

For clients, once they try coaching, they love it too. Many studies have shown that over 96 percent of the people who try coaching are very happy with it. Most clients will stay with their coach for over six months and some never leave. When you take coaching into organizations it routinely generates returns on investments of 500 to 700 percent.

Further, more and more clients are becoming aware that certain types of changes are very difficult to accomplish on their own. These bigger, “adaptive” changes are rarely achieved through books or “one-size-fits-all” or “drive-by” training solutions. Rather these types of changes benefit from individualized attention. The support of a good coach can facilitate crucial shifts in perspectives and an overcoming of limiting beliefs. A coaching relationship can provide the feedback, accountability and support needed, over sufficient time, so that new knowledge and intentions can be translated into new behaviour. This is what coaching excels at.

So if coaching is such a valuable and effective service, why do so many coaches struggle to fill their practices? The simple truth is that coaching is still a relatively new service that most people have never tried, and people are hesitant to purchase things they don’t understand.

This will change in time. It has improved noticeably over the past decade. However, if you are currently trying to build a successful coaching practice, I encourage you to minimize your pain by:


  • Not trying to sell generic life coaching, business coaching, career coaching, executive coaching, etc.
  • Identifying an existing niche–a specific group of people with an existing set of challenges.
  • Finding out what the people in your niche are struggling with–the acid test is to find what percentage of them are actually spending money now to find solutions or achieve specific outcomes.
  • Finding out how you can easily create relationship with them. In person? Through writing or talks or workshops? Online, through social media, newsletters or by optimizing a website to the keywords they type into Google? Remember to market in the vocabulary they speak about the challenges they face and the outcomes they seek. (Coaching is just the way your deliver your solution.)
  • Making it easy for them to experience coaching, understand its benefits and how it contrasts to the current solutions that are not working well for them.
  • Communicating why you are the best solution provider. Ideally you want to highlight three compelling reasons/strengths.
If you follow some of these hard-earned lessons (from the thousands of coaches who have walked this path ahead of you) you will find it much easier to attract clients. Hopefully, you will more quickly arrive at that lovely place where you can enjoy doing what you love, while earning a comfortable living.

Yes, coaching is a beautiful calling, and a great service to the world. Wherever you are on your journey, please take good care of yourselves. Do your homework, get well-trained, pay attention to the marketing, and know that there are many who have faced the same challenges you face.

They did it. You can too. Keep believing, and know you are not alone on this path.

Steve Mitten CPCC, MCC served at the 2005 ICF President and runs ACOACH4U.COM

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Playboys to stay-at-home moms: research shows reasons for coaching may overlap

Ever since American television actor Charlie Sheen hired a “sobriety coach” earlier this month (reportedly to assist in steering him away from drug and alcohol use), professional coaching has once again been pulled into the media limelight.

The real story is not about Sheen’s wild lifestyle but that people all over the world, from Hollywood playboys to stay-at-home moms and corporate executives to college students, are working with professional coaches. Circumstances may vary but people of every age and race have utilized coaching over the last decade.

As a coach, you obviously realize that people hire coaches for an array of reasons…thus the wide assortment of coaching niches out there. But according to the new ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study*, the most common reasons people hire coaches are to:

  • Improve work performance;
  • Expand career opportunities; and
  • Increase self-esteem.
Think about your own clients, past and present. Would you agree that these reasons are the most common? What factors persuaded them to engage in a coaching partnership?

Other reasons noted in the study were to improve business management strategies and manage work/life balance. Learn more in this ICF issued press release, Coaching helps organizations achieve business results during economic downtown.

*The awareness study surveyed 15,000 participants (aged 25 and older in 20 countries), was conducted independently by the International Survey Unit of PwC. Findings around the awareness of coaching can be found in this study—use them in your own marketing endeavors. Learn more at Coachfederation.org/works.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Global Conversations Continue Past the ICF Conference

Our "Internationalism Becomes the New Norm" Global Conversation table at the 2010 ICF Annual International Conference exchanged cards and we are continuing to stay in touch through e-mail. With coaches from Italy, Turkey, Mexico, and the US, our table enjoyed our global diversity and look forward to additional opportunities to connect, not only with each other, but also future culturally rich discussions within ICF.

How will you continue your Global Conversation and seek other ways to connect? Are you connecting through social media, a designated blog or website page, a yahoo group, Skype group calls…?

In case you missed this year’s conference, Global Conversations was a new offering, where we had the opportunity to choose a topic we were most interested in and listened as a subject matter expert presented on the topic. We then discussed the topic at our individual tables, and each table “captain” shared a two minute summary with the larger group. To tie it all together, one ICF participant per topic shared a brief summary in our Saturday closing.

Our table wants to know: as cultures become more mixed, how does that effect coaching? How does that effect the perception of coaching? Related to the conference, we want to know: how can the conference become a more international experience? (More intentional, fun opportunities to connect with participants from other cultures.) How can we honor those traveling a long distance (besides our wonderful conference opening)?

I have been a facilitator for citizen forums in Kansas City, USA, where I live. At the end of those discussions, participants have the opportunity to plan and commit to action from possibilities generated during the discussion.

We want to hear your ideas and action plans! Your ideas will be noted.

- Marilyn O’Hearne, MCC, vice president, global ICF Board of Directors

Thursday, November 18, 2010

We Care For…Your Continuing Education

Since late October, coaches have been sharing what it is that they care for…and the answers are as varied as our 17,000+ members! For instance, Tuncel in Turkey cares for “creating better politicians and citizens on this planet by creating more enlightenment and awareness” and Aurora in the USA cares for “supporting coaches as they help their clients through grief.”

Have you shared your story yet? Tell us what you care for at ICFICarefor.org. You can also join the conversation on Twitter or Facebook.

Here at the ICF, one of the things we care about is the continuing education of coaching professionals.

To assist in the ongoing development of coaching professionals worldwide, the ICF offers several educational opportunities including Virtual Education sessions, the ICF Annual International Conference and the world-renowned ICF Credentialing program for both members and non-members alike.

If you are looking for a regular opportunity to meet new people, learn new techniques and ideas, and earn Continuing Coaching Education Units (or CCEUs)—to be used toward applying for or renewing an ICF Credential—look no further than ICF Virtual Education (VE).

VE sessions offer coaches personal and practice development through presentations by guest speakers. Several sessions are offered each month and are free to ICF members. Topics range from Coaching Abrasive Leaders to Personal Branding for Coaches and everything in-between. Learn more about ICF Virtual Education here.

Through 2010, the Virtual Education program was expanded—offering more than 45 presentations in five languages across numerous time zones. This has allowed even more people to get involved! In fact…2,156 participants have taken part in VE sessions to date in 2010 (compared to 1,823 total participants in 2009—also in 2009, there were only 31 total VE sessions compared to this year’s 47).

Have you attended an ICF VE session this year? Was it beneficial? What topics or speakers would you like to see through the ICF Virtual Education program?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Credentialed or certified? Your clients may be more satisfied.

Across the board, it seems that most everyone, from those who have never heard of coaching to former coaching clients, agrees that certification/credentials are important for professional coaches. And not only are they important, but they contribute to higher consumer satisfaction.

These findings stem from ICF’s latest research initiative, the ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study. Some 15,000 participants aged 25 and older, in 20 countries, took part in this independent study by PwC.

It found that 84 percent of respondents, who had been in a coaching relationship, considered certification/credentials important or very important. Despite being on the opposite end of the spectrum, the percentage was still high—at 73 percent—for those with no prior experience with coaching.

Perhaps the best illustration of this is the immense growth of the ICF Credential…currently held by more than 6,800 coaching professionals in over 70 countries around the globe. In fiscal year 2010 (which ended March 31, 2010), ICF Credentialing experienced a 24 percent increase in credential holders!

Not only that but applications constantly pour in for all three credentials—more than 1,570 applications have been received to date (a 25 percent increase over this time last year). And it’s no wonder: the ICF offers the world’s only globally recognized, independent credentialing program. ICF Credential holders have received coach-specific training, achieved a designated number of experience hours and have been coached by a mentor coach.

The study also found that consumer satisfaction with coaching is very high, especially for those who had an ICF Credentialed coach. Eighty-three percent of the general public who have been involved in a coaching relationship were either satisfied or very satisfied. The level of satisfaction rises even higher to 92 percent among those with an ICF Credentialed coach, 55 percent of which were very satisfied.

So what does this mean to you? If you haven’t already, look into coach specific training. There are training programs and courses of all shapes and sizes—begin your search in the Training Program Search Service, here.) Interested in learning more about the ICF Credential? Begin your search here.

If you are interested in learning more about the findings of this study, visit Coachfederation.org/works. Nation specific data will be released very shortly—check the website often for updates!

Do your clients ask if you are credentialed or certified?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I Care For…unleashed at the 2010 International Conference!

Did you make it to conference this year? What an amazing event! More than 1,000 international coaching professionals were on-site in Fort Worth, Texas, USA for several days of networking, education and all-around growth.

The entire conference was infused with elements of our 15th anniversary celebration—we saluted our past and our beginnings, and were able to collectively look toward our future.

As such, it made sense that the ICF launched the I Care For campaign at conference…the first visible element in our ongoing brand evolution. Attendees had several opportunities to share what it is that we are passionate about…what we care for.

For some, their cares revolved around various ICF strategic priorities, including the growth and development of ICF Chapters and members. And for others, their cares and passions spread beyond the boundaries of the ICF community and into the rest of the world…from orphans in Uganda to coaching teachers in Nepal, there are so many stories that need to be heard! We encourage you to share what you care for (and why) at ICFICareFor.org.

One of the things we care for here at the ICF is coaching research…without it, we would be walking blindly without any facts or figures to back up why (and how) coaching works.

The ICF stands at the forefront of coaching industry research…our most recent research initiative, the ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study, asked some 15,000 people, aged 25 and older, in 20 countries to provide feedback in terms of their knowledge and experience around professional coaching. And you will be amazed at what this study found…

For instance, half (51 percent) of all respondents were generally aware (either somewhat or very aware) of coaching. Isn’t that great? Learn more and check out other findings from this study here: http://coachfederation.org/works/.

The intention of the I Care For campaign was not to end with the close of the Fort Worth conference, but to expand and include every ICF member and professional coach out there. We all deserve the opportunity to be heard. And through this, we really can create an IMPACT on the world!

So what is it that you care for? Share it with us at ICFICareFor.org.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What do you care for?

What is your coaching helping? ICF members have shared that they see themselves not only as part of the ICF community, but also part of something much greater.

Coaches have a desire to support their personal practice and clients, the ICF both locally and on a global level and to make a larger impact in the world. As a community, ICF members can amplify the impact we have on each other and society.

At the ICF Annual International Conference in Fort Worth, Texas, USA the I Care For campaign was launched this week. I Care For offers every ICF member the chance to share with the membership and the world at-large what they care for and why.

What are some members saying?

Giovanna D'Alessio, MCC (Italy)
I care for transforming the culture of our society. Because if we don't move quickly to a culture of self-
responsibility, wholeness, unity, respect, fairness, we just won't have any society to pass on to our future
generations.

Tom Hatton, MCC (Ireland)
I care for relationship. As everybody and everything is in constant relationship. As human beings we define ourselves the way we are in relationship.

Share what you care for by participating in ICF’s I Care For campaign. There are several ways to show what you care for, including responding on this blog, tweeting on Twitter (just use #icfcare) or submitting your YouTube clip. Visit ICFICareFor.org for information on more ways to share!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More Highlights from the ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study

New ICF study pinpoints reasons for consumer use of coaching

According to the ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study, professional coaching is being used to help people around the world improve work performance, expand career opportunities and increase self-esteem. In fact, the study found that more than half of participants—51 percent—are at least aware of the still young and growing coaching profession. Of the 48 percent of respondents who were unaware of coaching, one-third indicated they would consider participating in a coaching relationship in the future.

Reasons to engage in coaching are many. The Global Consumer Awareness Study determined common areas in which people are using professional coaching today. More than two-fifths (42.6 percent) of respondents who had experienced coaching chose “optimize individual and/or team performance” as their motivation for being coached. This reason ranked highest followed by “expand professional career opportunities” at 38.8 percent and “improve business management strategies” at 36.1 percent. Other more personal motivations like “increase self-esteem/self-confidence” and “manage work/life balance” rated fourth and fifth to round out the top five motivation areas.

In previous research the ICF found that coaching is also generating a very good return on investment—a median return of seven times the initial investment for businesses—while being used for some of the same motivations mentioned in the latest study.

Companies large and small are optimizing individual and team performance through coaching. IBM and Solaglas Windowcare were recognized by the coaching industry as recipients of the ICF International Prism Award last year for their innovative coaching initiatives. Despite the recent global economic climate, ibm.com of North America reported a 563 percent return on investment from its coaching programs that engage sales teams and managers within the company. Solaglas, a leading UK-based glass replacement and installation company, reported higher customer satisfaction and a return on investment of 490 percent. Company executives believe these gains are small compared to the long-term impact coaching will have.

The ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study, which surveyed 15,000 participants age 25 and up in 20 countries, was conducted independently by the International Survey Unit of PwC.

Visit the Press Room of Coachfederation.org to read more about the study and to subscribe to ICF's Press Room RSS feed.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Outcomes of the July Board Meeting - Part 2

Continuing from my last post, the Board also discussed the following areas at our July meeting:

ICF Branded Events

ICF events are growing in number and are a key way coaches touch the ICF. It’s critical that these events align with the ICF brand and that attendees have consistent positive experiences—we want everyone to continue to be inspired and motivated.

At the July Board meeting, work by the ICF Branded Events Taskforce was presented to the Board. The presentation focused on results of an analysis of data collected over the last two years and related discussions around the ideal mix of ICF branded events and possible business models for these events. The goal is to make sure a proper mixture of events is being offered so that different members’ needs and interests are being served. It’s also important that the diversity of our members and a balance between international, regional and local events be taken into consideration.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Outcomes of the July Board Meeting - Part 1

On July 8 to 10, the ICF Board met for its usual mid-year face-to-face meeting. I was extremely pleased to witness and be a part of the deep, strategic and holistic conversations we had. The richness of the agenda reminded me how much our Board and the organization have committed to do this year and how all of the different elements we are working on are interconnected.

If you have questions or comments about the following information, I encourage you to post your thoughts at the end of this post and/or join members of the Board for the next Real Talk with the Board call (see schedule).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Update on ICF Board Discussions, in Anticipation of the July 2010 Board Meeting

I’d like to provide you with an update of the Board’s activities, in anticipation of our upcoming meeting scheduled for July 7-9 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. We are six months into the year and there are many initiatives and decisions that we are being called to make.

As usual, I’d like to hear comments and input from you in one of the various feedback channels that are listed at the end of this post. Please let me know your thoughts on any of the following areas the Board is discussing:

Friday, July 2, 2010

What can we all do to increase sustainability?

After the reflections made at the ICF ECC Conference around creating a breakthrough to break the pattern toward planet destruction (download the July Coaching World to read the article), I would like to open a conversation about what we can do, as individual coaches and as an organization, to role model and foster sustainable behaviors. Please share, discuss and give suggestions around this topic.

Giovanna D'Alessio, MCC
2010 ICF President

giovanna@coachfederation.org

Monday, June 7, 2010

A message from Colleen Bracken, PCC, ICF Membership & Community Committee Chair

Recently, a large sample of the ICF membership was surveyed by the global ICF Membership & Community Committee to share their thoughts on a very important issue: minimum eligibility requirements for ICF members.

If you didn’t receive an invitation to complete the survey but would like to, please click here to share your thoughts now. The survey will be available through June 21 and takes less than five minutes to complete.

Last year, as part of the feedback collected from a member survey as well as focus group work, the great majority of ICF survey and focus group participants indicated that the ICF should institute some type of minimum eligibility requirement in order to uphold and ensure the future of ICF’s standard of excellence. Many members thought the requirement should revolve around training.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Partnering for building a successful ICF

ICF’s Management Agreement with IMG

Since the year 2000, ICF has employed the assistance of a management company to run the association’s day-to-day operations. While the ICF Board of Directors sets overall policy and strategic direction for the organization, our management company partners with us to “make it happen.” Since May 2005, the ICF has been in a partnership with IMG. So for the last five years, under the direction of ICF’s elected leadership, IMG has provided service and support to our growing global membership.

Due Diligence Before Renewing the Contract
In early 2009, a special taskforce was appointed to look into the possibility of renewing the ICF/IMG contract for another period. The role of the taskforce was to engage in a due diligence process to consider the performance of IMG so far, to make sure any new agreement was in line with industry standards, to negotiate favorable terms for any new agreement, and to assess the way in which ICF and IMG worked together. This taskforce, on which I had the privilege of serving, worked for many months to perform this due diligence. Now, I would like to share the results of our work with you.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Message to ICF members relative to credential enhancements and the Board meeting of March 18

On March 18, the ICF Board of Directors met for its second Board meeting of 2010. The agenda was very rich and allowed for fruitful conversations. The most relevant agenda items were: 1) Credentialing work plan approval, 2) Proposed change of criteria and process for the Nominating Committee, 3) fiscal 2011 budget approval, and 4) Minimum eligibility criteria for ICF membership.

1) Credentialing work plan approval
As you are aware from previous communications, the ICF Credentialing & Program Accreditation Committee has been charged with developing standards to meet the objective determined by the Board of enhancing our credentialing program to best protect and serve consumers of coaching services, measure and certify competence of individuals, and inspire pursuit of continuous development. The first step was developing a plan of action to be presented to the Board at our March 18 meeting. The Board approved the 17-page two-year work plan presented by the Committee. Several working groups will review the following:
  • The current system;
  • Governance of the credentialing process;
  • Assessment process of applicants; and
  • Qualifications of credential applicants.
Obviously, this is a large task and we need your help. Some of you have already contacted ICF about getting involved and others have yet to step up and identify yourselves. There will be various levels of commitment to choose from. For instance, some of you may want to:
  • Participate on a work group for several months, which may take four to six hours a month;
  • Review and comment on selected drafts, which may take one to two hours a month;
  • Give your opinions when asked, which will take an hour here or there; and
  • Some of you may be open to any level of commitment described above.
We have a commitment to reflect the diversity of our membership through all levels of participation around these charges. The Committee is now engaged in developing a brief application form to build the pool of members who are interested in this work. You will be able to indicate your level of interest on this form.

If you want to be a part of the biggest undertaking in our current year at ICF, look for, and take a few minutes to complete the brief application form which will be made available this month. The application form is the first step in beginning the selection process for participation in this important work.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Update on ICF Board Discussions

Hello,

With this blog posting, I wish to provide members with an update on the most relevant discussions and initiatives the Board has taken recently and the discussion topics of the next Board of Directors meeting on March 18.

I look forward to hearing your response to this update through the various feedback channels listed at the end of this post.

Developing an Environment of Trust
The Board of Directors voted on a number of initiatives to foster a feedback culture, increasing openness and transparency of the organization’s governance. The initiatives that will be undertaken in the next few months include:

• Building consistency and reliability into the credentialing process;
• Conducting a member satisfaction survey and publishing the results;
• Designing a mechanism to receive, handle and address complaints (possibly to be addressed through the creation of an online suggestion box which the Executive Committee would be in charge of and monitor); and
• Include ICF Chapters in project implementation.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Real Talk with the ICF Board

Join members of ICF Board for an open forum - Real Talk with the ICF Board. Come share, ask questions and comment on items that interest you, including credentialing, chapter development, work on the ICF brand, public relations, membership recruitment or anything else.

Bridge line: +1.877.242.3279, Pin: 7400. Additional dialing instructions are available here (PDF).

Sessions are scheduled for the following dates (times below are in US Eastern/New York):


May

  • Tuesday, May 4, 9 a.m. (in English)
  • Tuesday, May 11, 1 p.m. (in French)
  • Tuesday, May 18, 5 p.m. (in English)

Real Talk with the Board Recordings

Listen to the March 2 call.

Listen to the March 15 call (in Spanish).

Listen to the March 16 call.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Message Concerning ICF Credential Enhancements

On January 21 to 23, the ICF Board of Directors met for its annual strategic meeting. I invite you to read this month’s Coaching World newsletter, which will feature an article that will give you a better understanding of our commitment to the membership and organizational wholeness, and the organization’s strategic focus, including 2010 priorities.

Among the various topics on the agenda, the Board addressed the proposed changes to the current ICF Credentialing program. The Board reviewed all the comments received from members and stakeholders in the period from October to December 2009, including the input of the Lunch & Learn forum held in Orlando during the ICF Annual International Conference. We acknowledge that all the input received helped us realize that there are areas of concern that have to be addressed including two fundamental questions: 1) what is the purpose for the credentialing system and 2) whose task shall it be to develop a proposal to enhance our current credentialing system?

To summarize, the Board discussed and decided the following:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Challenges in the New Year

Hello,

This new year starts with a number of challenges for the ICF Board of Directors to tackle. The most topical one regards the future of our credentialing program. While we are witnessing several other organizations offer credentials, an increasing number of universities launching their BAs in coaching, and starting to smell the strong odor of regulation temptation in several areas of the world, we feel a huge responsibility. We are accountable for balancing the legitimate expectations and worries of our diverse membership with the challenge of pioneering the future of coaching. We understand the importance that the enhancements of our current credentialing program will have. Doing this well will ensure that ICF continues to be healthy and that the coaching profession prospers to a greater consideration and reputation.