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 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 – at Erickson College International 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,

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

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

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 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.