Thursday, April 25, 2013

We have moved


We are pleased to announce that the ICF Blog has a new platform and can now be accessed at Coachfederation.org/blog. This blog will remain accessible for reference to older posts. Thank you for reading the official blog of ICF Global!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Relationship Marketing: 5 Ways To Grow Your Coaching Business

If developing and deepening interpersonal relationships comes easily to you, you can leverage this ability to take your business to the next level – and the next one after that! As they say, business IS relationships. 

To create your community of raving fans and a nurturing circle of influence, begin by assessing the relationships you already have. Think of everyone from your best friend to your tax advisor. Think family, friends, clients, your list of 500, former colleagues and beyond. Which relationships could lend support to your business?

The next step is to look beyond your existing relationships and consciously create new ones.

1. Create your mastermind team. Masterminds are goldmines of opportunity, from strategies to support on so many levels, all in the spirit of, “How can we support each other in taking our business to the next level? I’ll rub your back; you rub mine.” Sometimes that means referring each other clients, but support can come in many packages. For example, when I launched a new Facebook fan page, my mastermind members not only liked it, they promoted it to all of their contacts. It was an effortless way to get exposure and referrals.

2. Develop strategic alliances with related groups. If you have expertise in a specific realm, you can leverage that expertise in collaboration with others who serve that realm. For example, Kevin had a long career as a golf club manager. When he moved into coaching, he leveraged his history to create a strategic alliance with the North American Golf Association, coaching people who hold jobs like he used to have. He writes articles for their monthly newsletter, and every time there's a conference, he's the speaker they call. This exposes his coaching practice to 3000 golf managers throughout North America. So think about your ideal clientele and the organizations or associations serve them, and then find a way to position yourself in a win-win situation.

3. Cross promote your way to a thriving practice. Do you know someone who works with your ideal clientele, but does something different? For example, let’s imagine you’re a productivity coach and you meet a professional organizer. Perhaps some of your clients could really use her services; and maybe some of her clients are an ideal fit for your business. You two could come up with an agreement and a set of incentives that work well for you both. Having a large online community really helps, so look for connections with an established network that they can promote you to. For example, let's say you offer your community a free conference call with the professional organizer. You interview her for tips and suggestions, and at the end, she gives your community a free gift or promotes a one-day workshop. In turn, she's does the same for you in her community. This is a win-win because it not only benefits you both, but it also adds value for your communities.

4. Become a corporation’s in-house coach. If you have a contact that works for corporation, and they don't yet have an in-house coach, that’s a great opportunity. Nearly every corporation is open to coaching.

5. If you know someone who has great exposure, like a keynote speaker, consider becoming their back-up coach. They may be speaking on a specific topic that's aligned with your specialty, where they may get in front of a large group of your ideal clients. You can take advantage of that if you develop the relationship and ask for it the opportunity.

Teresia LaRocque MCC, is the Director of Entrepreneurship and Business Building Mentor for the Erickson Business Center – www.ericksonbusinesscenter.com at Erickson College International www.erickson.edu. Teresia is a pioneer in the booming profession of personal coaching, the first recipient of the International Coach Federation’s Master Coach Credential in Canada and cofounder for the Vancouver International Coach Federation chapter. She is the founder and facilitator of the Passion into Profit Program, a customized business building program for coaches and is committed to supporting coaches to take their talent and passion for coaching and make their entrepreneurial dreams come true.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Seven things we coaches can learn from goats

I consistently draw motivation and inspiration from my Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats. This may seem a little unconventional, but just go with it. Sometimes I just watch “Trixie” and "Vincent aka Vinnie Van Goat" in amazement. They are ZEN warriors and continue to teach me how to be a better human every day. Here is just a tiny list of things we COACHES can learn from my goats.

1.  GOAT: Live Life On The Edge  VS.  COACH: Be Fearless For Your Clients
They climb to the highest reaches of their goat jungle gym, nap on top of the huge recycle bins, and test the severity of the current to our electric fences. These goats teeter on the brink of danger at least ten times a day. They are fearless, just like we coaches need to be. Ask the tough questions. Point out the dumbfounding assertions. Remain fearless.

2.  GOAT:  It’s All About The Food  VS.  COACH: It’s All About The Motivation
Just like our pot-bellied pig neighbor, Delilah, Vinnie and Trixie will do anything for food. Though these kosher herbivore creatures might have different tastes from each other, Vinnie and Trixie have one thing in common: nothing motivates them like food. As coaches, we must remember that all individuals are motivated by something. Our job is to define exactly what that is – for our clients.  Look for it and listen. It will become clear. Keep their motivators in mind constantly.

3.  GOAT: I Open At My Own Pace!  VS.  COACH: The Client Opens When Ready!
Whenever Vinnie and Trixie hear the door open to the backyard, they always come over to the entrance of their pen. However, once you hop over the fence into their space, they back away slightly. When they are ready, they approach wearily, slowly, throw their necks in the air and get right up in your space. That’s their way of hugging. As coaches, we have the incredible opportunity to work with all sorts of unique characters. I believe the aforementioned situation is the exact same dance we maintain with our clients. They are excited to start each session. We open ourselves. We challenge their space. Once ready, they open. This is one of the most extraordinary gifts – to witness clients transform right before our very eyes. 

4.  GOAT:  Be Master Escape Artists  VS.  COACH: Be Ready For Anything!
Goats can escape from any fence, any pen, or any situation if they feel threatened. It is incredible to watch them scale a six foot fence with just two steps (or hops, rather). We, as coaches, get to embody the definition of determination and dedication, mirroring my goats. Therefore, as coaches, we must be ever-ready for whatever happens and continue to stay open and flexible at ALL times, no matter what.

5.  GOAT:  Just Walk It Off  VS.  COACH: Never Take Anything Personally
Trixie likes to test her agility every time we turn around. When she gets hurt physically or emotionally, she makes a little goat-noise squabble, shares her woe with Vinnie for a two-second bit, and then walks and shakes it off. Now, that's inspiring. I invite you to go even one step further with your clients. This is your friendly reminder never to take anything personally. It’s all about them. Not about you.

6.  GOAT: Be Curious About Everything   VS.  COACH: Be Curious About Everything
Goats are curious 100 percent of the time. They explore. They circumvent. They plot. Vinnie and Trixie carry within them a great light of curiosity and it's infectious. Write this down. Be curious 100 percent of the time. Ask questions. Pry. Challenge them. Be confident. Be curious.

7.  GOAT:  Be Playful All The Time  VS.  COACH: Never Take Anything Too Serious
Vinnie and Trixie constantly act as if life is just one big playful recess. Even though they are literally “fenced in” behind my house, they embody the true meaning of freedom. If my goats can find intellectual/spiritual freedom within their fenced domain, it is more than possible for ALL of us to find freedom within our abstract “caged” minds. They never take anything too serious. Words to live by and remember! Every once in a while, remind your clients that freedom is theirs to behold at all times. We all need to be reminded that sometimes life is just not that serious.

If we watch, goats – or really all animals for that matter -- can teach us great wisdom. Goats are not the smartest animals, but they sure are among the happiest I have ever experienced first-hand. We can all take a lesson from them. I continue to be awe-inspired and learn from them each and every day.  I am blessed to have these zen-filled and magnificent creatures in my backyard.

Challenge question:  From where do you draw your insights and inspiration for coaching?

By Seth Santoro. A first time self-help author, coach, blogger, public speaker, aspiring TV host, and producer, Seth’s vision is to Inspire the World, One by One, to Smile From The Inside.  He has a great deal to say, the basis of which is Know who you are, Embrace who you are and Be who you are - no matter what the circumstance or what your past – and you can heal from anything.  Seth’s first book in a trilogy series is “How I Learned To Smile From The Inside,” available now on Amazon. Learn more about Seth http://SmileFromTheInside.com/, http://smilefromtheinside24.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Is Your Sales Strategy Web Friendly?

Many coaches assume that most of their business is likely to come directly as a result of 1:1 coaching and from referrals. Whilst this is always the best form of new business generation, it is worth considering whether your sales strategy is also ‘web-friendly.’

Whatever sector of coaching you may be working in, there is serious money to be made from taking your sales strategy online. For me, it literally transformed my business overnight.
One of my first product promotions resulted in $24,000 of sales, the majority of which were a passive revenue stream for me. I am not alone in my experiences either. There are many coaches out there making impressive revenues by selling their services online.


Steps To Achieving a Web-Friendly Sales Strategy

1. Make Sure Your Website Is Really Delivering For You
The first step to maximising your potential online is to consider your website. This covers everything from overall design and flow of copy to ease of navigation through the site, and SEO. If you’ve not really used your website as a serious lead generation tool before, I would urge you to consider a review of your website and ensure you have the right platform to begin broadcasting your services to the world! Speak to a few different consultants or agencies and try to speak with previous clients or go by trusted referrals before agreeing to any work.

2. What Can You Offer That’s Really Unique?
The next step is to really think about how you can productise your expertise into products that people will buy. Whether that’s, ‘How to stop smoking’ or ‘How to become a great business leader’, the secret is to focus on topics that you are really good at or passionate about, as the material will be stronger and will help you stand out and sell more. The aim is to try and solve that problem that is keeping them awake at night.

3. Turning Your Idea Into Something You Can Sell
Once you are clear about what you want to sell to your audience, you then need to build the programme and find a way to deliver it online in a cost effective and efficient way. There are many different online tools out there to help you get started with developing online coaching content and many offer free trials, so have a look around and see what works for you. I used a couple when I started out and then decided to invest in building my own coaching platform JigsawBox.com.

4. Finding Your Customers
When your product is ready, the next step is to reach your audience! There are a number of ways in which to do this, from utilising social media to direct marketing, PR and partnership marketing.  Warm leads are invariably easier to convert than cold leads, so consider your existing database, previous prospects and clients as well as people who may act as advocates and promote your services to their customers, perhaps in return for a small commission fee.

By Nicola Bird. With an MSc in Occupational Psychology and a diverse range of business experience, mother-of-three Nicola Bird went from earning $0 to over $500,000 online by mastering technology to transform her coaching business. She created JigsawBox as a way for her clients to access her expertise online in a flexible and affordable way, while leaving her free to concentrate on growing her business and spending time with her young children. Nicola is passionate about inspiring women entrepreneurs and helping more people to gain a better work-life balance. For more information visit www.jigsawbox.com.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What do I need to know about Neuroscience as a Coach?

Perhaps the question before this one is actually why as a Coach I need to know about neuroscience at all? Neuroscience can sound a little scary to some people, when in fact it is just the study of the brain that comes with its own set of jargon, which once broken down is as comprehensible as the study of Coaching. We didn’t used to know that much (relatively) about how this incredible organ worked, however in the last 30 years our knowledge of it has increased dramatically. That is one reason it is so exciting to learn about it now as a Coach, because the information now available can dramatically enhance your understanding of how people work. 

Having always been a bit of a ‘science geek’ when I first started studying Coaching I was always asking myself (and my teachers) ‘how does this actually work?’. I was looking for the most fundamental answers. I thought that if I understood at the most basic level what was happening then I would have the most flexibility to work with my clients and tweak tools to ensure I helped them get the best result. Before we dive into look at that most fundamental level it can be useful to consider an overview. 

We can break neuroscience for Coaches down into some clear simple pieces:
1.     The brain is responsible for the results an individual gets in their life.
2.     An individual’s brain is on their side, its main aim is to keep its host alive!
3.     The brain is constantly on alert for any threats or potential rewards.
4.     Physical and social threats and rewards use the same parts (automated neural networks) of the brain. (We didn’t use to think this was the case, and most people still operate as if it isn’t).
5.     Threat responses often impair your client’s performance while reward responses enhance it.
6.     Your responsibility as a Coach is to help facilitate your client’s self-directed neuroplasticity. (Help them adapt their brain to best support them).
7.     Like Coaching, rewiring a brain is a journey. 

The basic neuroscience components that are practically useful to a Coach are:
a.     The anatomical areas of the brain, what they do, how they work optimally and how to work with them when challenged.
b.     The neurochemicals, the little messengers that affect the whole body, what they do and how you can increase or decrease their presence.

Once these fundamentals are mastered then you can then start looking into the way that the brain works to help you more fully understand core Coaching tools and skills.

-       What areas of the brain are used in goal setting? How can we increase the likelihood of a client achieving their goals?
-       How are beliefs really formed? Do the NLP belief change tools work from a brain perspective?
-       Why are habits hard to change? What secrets does the brain share with us to dramatically improve how we approach change?

So is it worth it? Learning the new language, working through the new processes and at times updating some of your beliefs? Absolutely. The field of neuroscience will continue to provide us with more great insights into how people work. Coaches who want to remain at the cutting edge of their field will inevitably equip themselves with this latest research and apply it to best serve their clients. Understanding how to make your client’s brains work even more fully rewards both you and them.  

Amy Brann is the author of ‘Make Your Brain Work’ published by Kogan Page. The popular makeyourbrainwork.com community contains interviews with scientists and business people along with resources mentioned in the book. Through her online program, Neuroscience for Coaches, Amy helps Coaches who want to be leaders in their field understand more about the brain and how to work with it.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Tax Man Cometh

Did you know that 75% of adults responding to a recent American Psychological Association survey said they experienced moderate to high levels of stress in the previous month? More than half the respondents claimed their stress had increased over the past year!

Doing the tax dance can produce positive or negative stress. We like the positive and work hard to eliminate, ignore, or deny the negative. But we’re still stressing.
Unlike other forms of coaching, healer coaching does not simply provide temporary relief from stress. Clients learn to untie the mental knots affecting their mind, body, spirit and emotions, releasing themselves from habituated patterns of reaction. By learning to distinguish between the activity/ story and the stress to which they attach, clients transform their relationship to stress. They are more competent to correct and monitor their thoughts, speech and action. Most of us can’t do self- surgery when it comes to changing ourselves. We need someone upon whose guidance and expertise we can rely.

Recognize You’re In Stress:
Identify one area in your life where you’re living with chronic stress. Each time a thought or experience creates agitation or dissonance, you’re stressing. Learn to recognize the difference between ease of mind and agitation. The constant internal chatter of “I like this, I don’t like that” breeds stress.

Make Friends With Your Stress:
Get to know your stress. Be curious about its texture, flavor, focus, and themes. Invite the Stress into your home where all guests are welcome. Sit with your stress on the couch. If you don’t familiarize yourself with your stress, how can you transform it?

When You’re In The Stress:
1. Develop a daily mindfulness practice. Whether you sit for ten minutes or one hour it’s the quality of the practice that counts. John Cabot Zinn materials provide a nourishing place to begin your sitting practice.

2. Time Outs. We assign them to our kids when they’re acting out, why not assign one to yourself

3. Exercise (cardio or yoga). Try both to see which activity fits your need. Regular exercise conditions your body to serve yourself and others. 

4. Find a Way to Release The Pressure: Many of us attach to our stress, re-telling stories in numerous ways so that the story gains more fury. Like a pot of coffee cooking all day on the stove, the stories/secrets we harbor become acidic, leaving us weaker, less powerful to take action. We become victims to our stress. Find a committed listener, who has no personal agenda. Whether you choose a therapist, coach, or mentor, the one requirement is that your listener passes no judgment, provides no feedback unless you ask for it.

5. When in the middle of a storm, do damage control. If you’re getting swept away by your destructive emotions, pull the plug. This step is not always easy to do because when we’re experiencing negative emotions, we enjoy going for the jugular. Stabbing someone we think is hurting us feels good, even when we know it’s not how we want to be. Again, take a time out. Even if the person you’re stabbing is yourself!

6. Acknowledge the event. Apologize to yourself or to others who got caught in the fire. Make amends. Promise not to repeat the pattern for a specific short period of time (hours, not days). Whether you can change your behavior or not, acknowledge that you tried. Forgive and forget. 

7. Sticks and Stones Can Break Your Bones. But names can never harm you. Our egos are big even when we think they’re not. If you say something regrettable, or someone has spoken harshly to you, remember, words alone do not harm us. It is your ego, your pride that’s taking what is said personally. Developing a mindfulness practice will help you roll with life, instead of fighting.

What would it be like to be free of negative emotions causing stress? As April 15th draws close why not look at areas in your life where you are chronically stressed. Then ask if the tips and techniques you’ve tried have alleviated your stress? If you’re settling for temporary relief, call me.

Rhona Post, a master certified coach with the International Coach Federation since 1999, has traversed the landscape of coaching with certifications in ontological, somatic and intuitive energy healing. A mindfulness practitioner, she provides a unique approach that supports clients to be comfortable in their own skin. Rhona hosts a monthly Energy Work & Coaching Community of Practice for ICF coaches. Her current book, Navigating Tomorrow, a self-change manual is available in print and eBook on Amazon.com. She maintains an international individual and group healer coaching practice in Sarasota, Florida, working by phone, Skype and in person. Learn more: www.thehealercoach.com.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Who are you meant to serve? Finding the courage to be true to yourself.

Who are you meant to serve? The process of getting really clear on this can be quite a journey.

Caterina Barregar of Imagine Life Coaching is a perfect example of what happens for many coaches who keep asking, “Who is my ideal client? What am I really meant to do?” A graduate of the Passion Into Profit program, she volunteered to share her story about moving more and more into alignment with her true passion.

Check out this interview by clicking the image below.



Developing your credo isn’t just an exercise – it’s a journey. On your journey, you must find the courage to be true to yourself, to find your passion and your love, and to embrace the entrepreneurial mindset: to say, “How can I turn that passion into profit?” For the sake of sustainability and living a life that you love, you must be true to yourself. Caterina is a great example of that. It's been a journey, but today she is solid about how she wants to make a difference in the world – and she knows how to communicate that to others. That’s what it takes to turn a passion into profit.

Passion Into Profit Coach Challenge: Ask yourself what is my life story? Who am I perfectly designed to serve in this lifetime?

Teresia LaRocque MCC, is the Director of Entrepreneurship and Business Building Mentor for the Erickson Business Center – www.ericksonbusinesscenter.com at Erickson College International www.erickson.edu. Teresia is a pioneer in the booming profession of personal coaching, the first recipient of the International Coach Federation’s Master Coach Credential in Canada and cofounder for the Vancouver International Coach Federation chapter. She is the founder and facilitator of the Passion into Profit Program, a customized business building program for coaches and is committed to supporting coaches to take their talent and passion for coaching and make their entrepreneurial dreams come true.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Value of ICF Membership

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I Break For Success

“Stop” is probably not something you frequently say to yourself and your clients. It is a dirty word and a radical concept in work cultures where ‘powering through’ is an expectation, a badge of honor, and in some cases, an addiction.

An opinion piece in a February issue of New York Times should be the spark of a work and lifestyle revolution that turns “stop” into our battle cry and marching orders. The article, Relax! You’ll Be More Productive by author and productivity expert Tony Schwartz, is packed with exciting data about the benefits of taking breaks in all shapes and sizes. Here’s a sampler of what got me break dancing:
  • A 2012 study found that sleeping fewer than six hours per night is the best predictor of job burnout.
  • Air traffic controllers who napped an average of just under 20 minutes were more vigilant and had better reaction time than their non-napping counterparts.
  • Longer nappers who nodded off for 60-90 minutes did as well on memory tests as those who slept a full eight hours, according to a nap researcher at the University of California-Riverside.
  • Here’s my favorite one: An internal Ernst & Young study last year found that, for each additional ten hours of vacation a staff member took, her or his end-of-year performance scores improved by 8%. This same study said that frequent vacation-takers were much more likely to remain with the company.
  • Despite the above, in 2011, Americans did not use six of their vacation days, and in 2012, that number skyrocketed to 9, according to a Harris Interactive poll (EU readers are shaking their heads in disbelief right now).
  • Better performers work in intervals of 90 minutes and never work for more than 4.5 hours per day, so say researchers at Florida State University. This may be due to daytime energy rhythms that have many of us cycling from alertness to fatigue every hour-and-a-half.
So, why aren’t we napping on the job, getting the nightly sleep we need and taking the vacation we earn? If we want ourselves, our clients and those who work for us to be more productive and perform at a higher level, this data along with many other recent and well-researched findings say, work less!

Or at least, work smarter.

There’s another compelling reason to take timeouts. Breaks can prevent stress symptoms such as muscle tension, eye strain, bad moods and anxiety from turning into back pain, headaches, poor communication, refrigerator raids, panic episodes and low quality sleep.


Brief breaks rock, too. Take this 3-minute time out with Jordan Friedman’s Quick Calm, deep-breathing exercise.
Why don’t we conduct our own experiments? For those of us who sit in the driver’s seats of our work lives, let’s plan and take regular breaks for a couple of weeks to see if we realize the same payoffs as the subjects of the studies sited earlier. If we do, we need to make breaks permanent and influence others to try this new way of working for themselves and those who work for them. Fortunately, more and more, culture change has come to workplaces who’s leaders have put the breaks on nonstop work habits that many can’t kick on their own.

Continually armed with the latest data and break-taking success stories from workers and employers, we will win the battle for lower stress and greater success.

I leave you with this triumphant statistic: The French, on average, take more time off from work than any other people, and they are consistently ranked as the most productive in the industrialized world. Les miserables? Not anymore.

Jordan Friedman, a.k.a. The Stress Coach, is a global stress management speaker, trainer and former director of Columbia University’s health promotion program. His Stress Coach U program trains coaches and other professionals to teach their clients and students stress reduction techniques (www.stresscoachu.com) Jordan is the author of The Stress Manager’s Manual and co-author of The Go Ask Alice Book Of Answers. He provides free how-to videos, exercises and other resources for coaches, trainers and stress- relief seekers at www.thestresscoach.com. Copyright 2013 Jordan Friedman. Published with permission.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What do you choose? Fear or Joy?

Can you relate to that terrible imagining? 

You know how you're watching your child fast asleep; just a little baby, and you're thinking how blessed you are and how much you love him? 

And then your thoughts wander to how you can barely remember what life was like just a few months ago, before you had kids. 
And then you watch him breathe and suddenly imagine he's not breathing… 

And then you get really scared and imagine all the terrible things that could happen to him…

I think we all do this. I know Brene Brown talks about it in her amazing books. 

Here's the thing though, I realize that we do it in our business as well.  It's not just about the people we love or the things we care about…it's a kind of 'giving in' to the fear.

What will happen if I don't get more clients?
How will I survive if this latest idea doesn't work out?
How many times can I bounce back after I fail?
How can I be so sure that this will work?

These are very natural fears that come with the courageous act of having your own business.  The question is how can they be managed? Or disappear?

Just the other day, I was talking to a business owner about the power of finding your story and how it's an amazing way to beat old sabotaging ideas and fears. She said, yes, "I get that logically but how do I really begin to live it?"

I explained that we tell stories all the time and that they really define our reality. It's all in our stories. Think about it, every time we have any kind of meaningful experience, we tell it.  And what we tell is completely subjective; we choose everything about the story. The strange thing is that then we tend to imagine that it somehow just 'happened' to us and we had absolutely no control. So we allow our stories create our reality.

And that's good news. The minute you start paying attention to your stories, you can tell more empowering ones; stories that are not about fear and crisis, stories that are about possibility!

So next time you catch yourself telling a story that is based in fear – catch it, watch it, and notice that it's simply your story. You can tell it – or not. You can choose to tell a story that serves you well; a story of joy, a story of beauty, a story of blessings and a story of possibility. 

Which would you prefer?

Lisa Bloom, PCC is founder of Story Coach Inc. and the Certified Story Coach Program.  Download her ebook ‘Using Stories to Get Great Clients’ at http://www.story-coach.com.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Inside the Session: Intuition vs. Coaching?

The Issue:
I feel that my job as a coach is to expand, inspire, encourage, champion, and challenge my clients to new levels. So, what do you do when your “intuition” tells you one thing and the “coach” tells you another?

The Background:
I have a client, who over the past two years, has been working as a Team Leader.  The next logical step for their career path is a Team Manager.  Unfortunately, the company will phase out their particular project over the next few months and have suggested that my client consider an ex-pat position in the Caribbean.


The Options:
This three-year ex-pat position would come with the possibility for Team Leader within 12-18 months but no prospects of being a Team Manager. 

The Challenge:
Together, we explored my client’s “major life” goals for the next 3-5 years. The following goals have been identified (amongst others):
  1. To Start a Family with Partner
  2. Have/Adopt Children within the next 1-3 years
  3. To Become a Manager in 2013 or latest 2014
  4. Take an Ex-Pat Position
The Mental State of Affairs:
It became clear, halfway through our first discussion, that my client was adamant that this ex-pat position would be a perfect fit for them.  While the red flags were raised in my gut, the coach inside was immediately perplexed.  I thought: it could delay all of your afore-mentioned goals by at least three years, possibly even including the Manager position.  What gives?

My client admitted to being scared about losing the income altogether.  I asked if they had more than a years’ worth in savings (my client does).  I reminded my client that they are in a better position than most.

I then reminded my client that it might be interesting to respond to the two to three weekly requests they receive from recruiters.  My client did not feel reassured and physically grew uncomfortable and indignant.

Shortly thereafter, I discover my client also maintains some confidence and self-worth issues wrapped up in this whole situation—more specifically, my client doesn’t feel worthy of a Manager position. 

My Intuition:
My intuition immediately saw my client as settling for this position because it was comfortable.  My intuition urged me to invite my client to consider all other options prior to making a final decision.  I felt (and still feel) this could be a mistake for my client’s future and family life based upon their goals, objectives, and volunteering endeavors.

My Coaching:
The coach inside me viewed this situation as more of a hiccup and I wanted to challenge my client to be daring, take a leap of faith, and explore any and all options.  In probing more, my client divulged that there is a good chance they would have the opportunity to learn other functions integral to being a Team Manager down the line.

Several times, I checked-in to ensure I was pushing THEIR agenda as opposed to my own.  The response was always, “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten.”

The Homework:
I invited my client to contact two recruiters AND be open to any and all positions that may present themselves.  My client was very resistant.  I then explained my reservations as their coach: 1) To challenge them beyond their comfort zone; and 2) To remind them that other goals might be delayed and/or compromised.  I felt that this task would not only challenge my client to think outside the box, but it would also allow the opportunity to explore some self-worth and confidence hesitations AND it would assuage both my coaching and gut instincts.  Win-win!

The Resolution:
Though my client is showing more confidence, they are still leaning toward the ex-pat role.  However, my client admittedly understood and appreciated my encouragement and support to remain open to all other options.  In the coming week, my client will most likely accept the verbal offer for this position.  Within that conversation, I have invited my client (“Homework”) to be clear and express their goals (personal and professional) over the next three to five years to their new manager to ensure they are both on the same page.  Who knows what will happen?

Intuition vs. Coaching:
So, what do you do when your “Intuition” tells you one thing and the “Coach” another?
Quell both sides.  Remind yourself of the delicate yet playful balance between the feeling (intuition) and the experience (coaching).  Listen to your intuition.  Just because you listen to your intuition does not necessarily mean you need to follow it.  Instead, allow the information to better enlighten your assessment thereby supporting your client as their coach.


My Intuition still feels that this could be a mistake.  The coach inside tells me that it would be my client’s choice, from which to grow and learn.  As a coach, I will stand for my client as much as possible.  As an intuitive being, I will gently offer and explore all alternatives.

It’s only the third session, we have time.  Stay tuned for the update.  I’m sure it will be fascinating!

By Seth Santoro. A first time self-help author, coach, blogger, public speaker, aspiring TV host, and producer, Seth’s vision is to Inspire the World, One by One, to Smile From The Inside.  He has a great deal to say, the basis of which is Know who you are, Embrace who you are and Be who you are - no matter what the circumstance or what your past – and you can heal from anything.  Seth’s first book in a trilogy series is “How I Learned To Smile From The Inside,” available now on Amazon. Learn more about Seth http://SmileFromTheInside.com/, http://smilefromtheinside24.blogspot.com.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Why improved time management requires baby steps

In our coaching work with clients, sometimes it's tough to resist the temptation to put them on the "fast track" to improvement. We believe that we already have the perfect solution and intend to give them the details all-at-once. Our hope is that a single intense session will fix the problem.

For simple issues, this approach works. However, helping your clients improve their time management skills is much more difficult. Here's why.

Time management skills, are for the most part, self taught. At some point in their teenage or young-adult years, in the face of demands and deadlines, your clients assembled a set of habits, practices and rituals. They used these elements to form a system that governed their daily lives from that point onwards.

By the time they arrive for their first coaching call with you, they are already unconsciously competent in the use of their system. Most will have forgotten its origin. They'll tell you that they "just do it."

As their coach, however, you need to understand that their homegrown solution is not a total failure even if it has obvious faults. Deeply embedded in their neuro-muscular memory, it's played a part in delivering every single positive result they have produced. Obviously, there are parts of it that work well.

Too many coaches in time management ignore this fact and treat clients as if they were kids. In the first session, they outline a brand new, complex system of habits and practices that needs to be implemented as a whole in order to make it work. However, most clients cannot implement a new system all-at-once. It's no wonder that the failure rate is high for time management training, according to the research.

A far better approach is to teach your client to take small steps. Where would these steps come from?

When I moved to live in Jamaica several years ago after many years of living in the U.S. I was baffled at first by my new inability to manage my time well in a hectic environment. It led me to look for a time management system that could flexibly deal with a major life change.

In the end, I didn't find what I wanted, but the other insights that came were interesting enough to start writing a blog. In my first few posts I outlined 11 ladders of distinct skills, each including rungs ranging from low/novice to high/expert. I discovered that all working professionals manage their time using these skills, but end up with different-looking systems with uneven skills: high rungs on some ladders, and low rungs on others.

This occurs because they are self-taught.

What I did wasn't special - it's something that the average coach could do with some legwork: take a complex behavior and break it down into mutually exclusive but collectively exhaustive practices. In time management, there are many books and programs that describe particular rungs in detail, but clients like to see the entire ladder in order to know what they have already learned, where they are today, and what they would like to accomplish in the future.

When they do this kind of self-diagnosis, they gain an instant comparison against best and worst practices. Many report that it's like looking in a mirror for the first time and being able to see simple opportunities for improvement on their own.

As coaches in time management, we need to be prepared with simple ways to teach clients how to take baby steps based on the principle of gradual but steady improvement. It's far better and safer than offering up one-size-fits-all prescriptions that over-promise a "fast track" of implausible improvement.

By Francis Wade. Francis is a pioneer in Time Management 2.0 at 2Time Labs, whose mission is to make time management easy for everyone, everywhere. He helps coaches, trainers and consultants work with time cluttered clients at http://mytimedesign.com and is the author of Bill's Im-Perfect Time Management Adventure.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

How the heck did that happen?

Do you ever look back to significant life events and ask yourself, “How the heck did that happen?” There are always a whole string of events, coincidences and decisions that got you to that moment in time where you experienced the big event. When you look back you say, “Wow, if I didn’t do that then this wouldn’t have happened and this wouldn’t be...” It is sort of like the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”, where George Bailey gets to look back and see what life would be like if he didn’t live it.

8,000 attendees eating lunch. Photo by Denise Maccaferri.
Well, I am having that sort of experience with the Massachusetts Conference for Women. This happens to be the biggest women’s conference in the USA as 8,000 women attended the phenomenal December 2012 event. And The International Coach Federation of New England was there in all it’s glory with a spectacular vendor booth and 40 fabulous coaches who coached hundreds of women at the conference. The energy was palpable and the outcome was beyond our expectations. It was a day not only for conferees but also for the coaches. They enjoyed a world class conference with top speakers and inspiration, a wonderful lunch with 8,000 of their BFFs and the camaraderie of their peers.

This all started with a serendipitous last minute invitation from one of my clients who asked me to attend the conference with her as her guest. I had never been, spontaneously decided to accept the invite and was then wowed by the experience. As I walked the halls, I kept asking...Where are the coaches? Here we have all the enthusiasm, inspiration and dreams being ignited and energy generated by the conference and Where are the coaches?
 
I decided to ask the Conference that question. I sent an email that said,
 
“NOW WHAT?
After all this inspiration,
I still have to go back to reality...
How do I take the next steps?
How do we harness the energy and take it forward?”
 
"The International Coach Federation of New England is ready to help answer that question. Envision 50 coaches working with hundreds of women in the conference afternoon? That would make a positive difference in many lives... That would be one physical step closer to transforming lives. That is what we coaches do best.”

The director of the conference called me the next day and we got to work taking this seed to fruition. We also including the ICFNE committee that spontaneously generated and worked tirelessly together to create all of this. The conference is also held in Texas and Pennsylvania and the ICF in those states were invited by the Conference to participate. One small step that resulted from just noticing an opportunity, has positively impacted thousands of people. It was enthusiasm and curiosity that fueled this adventure. And we are busy working on some exciting plans for conference 2013...
 
In the words of George Bailey, “Well whaddya know about that!!!”
 
Anne Barry Jolles, MBA, PCC, serves as  Chairperson for Partnership of Massachusetts Conference for Women and the International Coach Federation of New England. Learn more at www.annejolles.com. Anne can be reached via email at abjcoach@comcast.net.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to automate online communication for coaches

One of the most effective ways to grow your coaching business and keep your sanity is to automate your online marketing activities where ever you can.

There are a number of comprehensive software programs that can support an online marketing machine; InfusionSoft is a popular one.

These platforms can:
  • Provide templates and schedules to stay in touch with your prospects.
  • Help you stay connected with your community.
  • Systematize and simplify your online marketing.
Once you set up the framework and fill in the templates, the system will generate auto responders and carefully timed promotional messages that enhance the customers’ experience of your brand.
 
 
For example: They buy the product and get a series of e-mails, all automated, up selling them into your next level product. These e-mails describe the next product in detail, including all the features and benefits. Cell phone companies such as Rogers/Fido and are prime examples of this; if they notice you are reaching the limits of your current airtime plan they automatically send you upgrade deals and offers. The same goes for when your contract is coming to expiry; they send you details on the latest handsets depending on the needs your current handset fulfils.
 
So, taking a life coach or business coach example; once a client has been coaching with you for a number of months, you tell them about the incredible retreat where you might work with them in person and really give them the extra support that will help them apply and get the most out of the principles you've been teaching them. After they graduate from the retreat, maybe you go on to offer your premium, one-on-one, full day coaching. If they want you personally, they will pay big bucks for that high level of coaching. All of this can be automated, going on silently and effortlessly behind the scenes, while you’re busy doing what you do best – delivering your service and expertise.
 
When building your community and exploring online marketing, it is important to set up some type of system. It could be a weekly three-minute video that explains a coaching tip. It could be a newsletter, or even just a paragraph on how to take their life to the next level. The most important thing about this type of communication is that it should provide value to your customers; it should not simply be a sell-in. Does your customer actually gain something by engaging with your communication, or is it just adding to the noise? Regular value added contact with your community can provide more impact than any other marketing that you do. How do you think this applies to the Rogers example above? Is this good online marketing?
 
Passion into Profit Coach Challenge: Take a close look at your marketing activities and ask yourself - where and what can I automate?
 
Teresia LaRocque MCC, is the Director of Entrepreneurship and Business Building Mentor for the Erickson Business Center – www.ericksonbusinesscenter.com at Erickson College International www.erickson.edu. Teresia is a pioneer in the booming profession of personal coaching, the first recipient of the International Coach Federation’s Master Coach Credential in Canada and cofounder for the Vancouver International Coach Federation chapter. She is the founder and facilitator of the Passion into Profit Program, a customized business building program for coaches and is committed to supporting coaches to take their talent and passion for coaching and make their entrepreneurial dreams come true.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Ten ways coaching can help your organization

The below post was written by ICF Global staff for the Human Capital Institute.

In recent years, professional coaching has shown a significant return on investment for companies. Wondering how it can help your organization? Read on for ten ways.

  1. Coaching can assist organizations with key business goals. Within the coaching partnership, the coach will work with your employees to identify and create clarity around key business goals and establish effective management strategies to ensure goals are met.
  2. Coaching can bolster creativity. A coach will support your employees in confidently pursuing new ideas and alternative solutions with greater resilience and resourcefulness. A coach will encourage fresh perspectives and provide inspiration through the questions they ask during sessions and the actionable goals they co-create with your employees.
  3. Coaching can manage the change that accompanies growth within your organization. Professional coaching is an important modality for managing change—including growth. A coach will help your employees assess current needs, opportunities, and challenges, all while maximizing the potential they already possess.
  4. Coaching can boost productivity and effectiveness. This is especially important if you have employees taking on new or leadership level roles. Coaches are trained to work with clients to inspire them to their personal and professional potential, thus increasing productivity and effectiveness. Within the coach-client relationship, a focus will be placed on learning and clarity for forward action. According to the ICF Global Coaching Client Study 70% of clients reported a positive improvement in work performance.
  5. Coaching can develop communication skills. The ICF Global Coaching Client Study revealed that 72 percent of those being coached noticed an improvement in communication skills. Furthermore, individuals who have engaged in a professional coaching partnership have walked away with fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities, enhanced thinking and decision-making skills, enhanced interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence in carrying out chosen work and life roles.
  6. Coaching can help your organization attract and retain talented employees. If you have trouble finding great employees (or getting them to stick around), your organization needs to commit to investing in employee development. Coaching is an ideal way to develop your employees and show your employees you value their development.
  7. Coaching can bring work-life balance into the lives of your employees. An employee experiencing the benefits of a balanced life is a happier employee. And a happier employee is a more productive employee. A coach can work with your employees to discover, clarify, and align with what your employees hope to achieve, including a stable work-life balance. According to the ICF Global Coaching Client Study 67% of coaches saw an improvement in balancing work and life.
  8. Coaching can help your employees thrive. Virtually all companies who hire a coach are satisfied with the outcomes. The ICF Global Coaching Client Study found that 99 percent of coaching clients were “somewhat” or “very satisfied” with their overall coaching experience. And 96 percent of them would repeat the process.
  9. Coaching can help your company flourish despite uncertain economic times. Coaching is a very powerful tool in the face of uncertainty—organizations of all types and sizes have experienced the value professional coaching brings including: increased business performance, improved product quality, higher employee retention and morale, greater employee commitment, leadership development, conflict reduction, team building skills and more.
  10. Coaching can restore self-confidence to organizations hit hard by the recession. Organizations that have experienced workforce reductions through downsizing, restructuring, or a merger place extremely high expectations on the remaining workforce. Restoring self-confidence to face the impending challenges is critical to meet organizational demands. The ICF Global Coaching Client Study shows 80% of those being coaching saw an improvement in their self-confidence.
You’ve seen what coaching can do for your organization. Now we’ll show you the bottom-line.  Coaching offers a significant return on investment (ROI) for companies. The ICF Global Coaching Client Study found that 86 percent of companies made back at least their investment. Of those, 28 percent saw an ROI of 10 to 49 times the investment and 19 percent saw an ROI of 50 times their investment.

Begin your search for an ICF Credentialed coach in the Coach Referral Service at Coachfederation.org.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Converting interested prospects into coaching clients

As coaches in business we will spend the majority of our time “marketing” (yes even when you are an established coach). To leverage your marketing efforts you want to ensure you have captured contact information.

Once you’ve attracted someone’s attention and captured their contact info, you’re in position to seal the deal – by converting interested prospects into committed clients.

No matter what kind of marketing activities you’re doing – online marketing, speaking, networking, or something else – the goal is to create your community (through your blogs, social media, weekly newsletter etc) and steer people toward a complimentary coaching session.

Before jumping into how coaches specifically can create community, it is helpful to look at how other local businesses are successful. For this example we have chosen local bakery and brand name, Terra Breads. Terra Breads was one of Vancouver’s first artisan bakeries, they have a strong commitment to community and authentic artisan baking remains stronger than ever. They operate four bakery locations around Vancouver. So, how do they garner a community?

First, let’s look at what they do offline:


This screenshot from their website shows how many different existing communities they get involved with. Helping other communities is a great way to introduce yourself into the right circles and start to get your name out there. Depending on what kind of coach you are will make a difference with what existing local communities you can start to penetrate. For instance, if you are a life coach who has experience in personal finance, then making yourself known and offering some hours at the local nonprofit credit counselling service is a great way to meet new people within your community.

Let’s turn our attention to online marketing. Terra Breads have an easy to navigate, well branded and informative website. It tells the visitor everything about artisan breads, shows the visitor some rich media in the form of photos and gives great detail about Terra Bread's story. This on its own is not enough to garner community; however it is imperative to facilitating an online following. Without a central place to find information, how will people find you? Terra Breads also run a Facebook Page and Twitter Feed to keep their followers up to date on company news, local events and promotional offers. It is important to notice that they do not just talk about themselves on social media, they share and comment on other companies Page's in their community (see below). For coaches this means getting online friendly with your local ICF Chapter, nonprofit organizations and other relevant businesses to your type of coaching.


Now for some coach specific points; this is the lynchpin of the marketing process, and there are a few ways to work it.
  • At regular intervals, invite the prospect to contact you and inquire about coaching options. (Have your tiered menu of offerings and new-client package ready).
  • Periodically let your list of prospects know that there is an opportunity for them to get the support they need to move ahead. (“I have three new spaces open in my practice at this time. If you’d like to see if coaching is for you, I’m offering a complimentary coaching session to anyone who may be interested in exploring new ways to get what you really want”).
Another pathway into your practice is to enrol people in a group program. Often, this eliminates the need for a complimentary coaching session. (“In two months, I will be starting a 10-week tele-class series, and the first 10 people to sign up will get to register for half price”).
 
A word to the wise: As you nurture leads and aim to convert prospects, be sure that the majority of your messages are value driven, not promotional. If you’re consistently delivering value in short, bite-sized pieces, people will stay on your list. If you’re too heavy handed with promotional messages, your prospects will soon abandon ship. So be sure you honor their interest and maintain their loyalty by consistently delivering more value than they ever expected.
 
Passion Into Profit Coach Challenge: Be consistent in sharing value with your community and be clear of your call to action strategy.
 
Teresia LaRocque MCC, is Director of Entrepreneurship and Business Building Mentor for the Erickson Business Center –  www.ericksonbusinesscenter.com at Erickson College International www.erickson.edu. Teresia is a pioneer in the booming profession of personal coaching, the first recipient of the International Coach Federation’s Master Coach Credential in Canada and cofounder for the Vancouver International Coach Federation chapter. Teresia is committed to supporting coaches to take their talent and passion for coaching and make their entrepreneurial dreams come true. Teresia is the founder and facilitator of the Passion into Profit Program, a customized business building program offered through the Erickson Business Center.