Friday, January 28, 2011

Budget Busters

Need an easy way to trim your coaching budget? Instead of doing without, there is a painless way to cut costs that you may have overlooked…and it’s as simple as being a member of the ICF.
 
To grow your practice and better serve your current clients, you might already be considering the options of purchasing new software, assessment tools or subscribing to a coaching magazine this year. If that’s the case, do NOT do so until you check the available discounts offered by the 14 current ICF Resource Partners.
 
Not familiar with the Resource Partners? They are organizations that have partnered with the ICF to offer substantial discounts on their tools and services. These organizations specialize in everything from virtual office software to professional indemnity and public liability insurance and even office supplies. In other words, they have the tools you need to build your business!

Not only that, but these are items most people plan to invest in anyway—might as well be budget savvy and take advantage of the discounted rate.

Current ICF Resource Partners and what they offer:
For specifics on all Resource Partner discounts, click here.

What product or organization is not on this list that you would like to see one day? 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happenings from the January Board Meeting

Dear ICF Colleagues-

The global ICF Board held a very productive meeting on January 22, 2011 covering a broad range of topics. I wanted to give you a brief summary of what the Board did with more details to follow.

2011 Global Board of Directors
Recognizing the importance of communicating clearly and effectively to our members in a multi-lingual environment, the Board approved a formal policy for the translation of documents that will take effect on April 1, 2011 and provides for (1) refreshing the current Spanish, French, German and Portuguese micro web sites at least once each year and updating key documents as needed; (2) translating member survey questionnaires into our four primary languages other than English; (3) translating the monthly member updates along with the monthly President's column from the Coaching World newsletter, and relevant press releases.

In the credentialing and program accreditation area, the Board approved two policies dealing with the definition of "Mentor Coaching" and the reinstatement of credentials where they have lapsed or expired. The Board wishes to thank the many member volunteers who have worked on these policies through the Credentialing and Program Accreditation Committee, as well as the many other policies and procedures they are continuing to work on related to enhancements to this program area.

In terms of developing future leaders from within ICF's ranks, the Board approved in principle a proposal to create an ICF Leadership Institute, with a pilot program to begin sometime this summer subject to the approval of a business plan and adequate funding being available. The Leadership Institute proposal is based on the Harvard University Graduate School of Education model for Management and Leadership. It will have a Steering Committee and Advisory Board made up of ICF members and led by global Board members Damian Goldvarg and Cheryl Vermey, respectively. More details on applying to be a participant or subject matter expert presenter will be made available in the coming months.

The Board also approved Chapter Leadership Ethical Guidelines that were developed in a collaborative effort by the Membership & Community Committee and the Ethics and Standards Committee. These Guidelines give more clarity about the high standards of ethical and professional conduct that we expect of our chapter leaders (presidents, board members and committee mebers) and how chapter members can hold their leaders to those standards without the need for micromanagement from the global organization. The Guidelines also recognize that resources are available from global, such as mediator assistance, when needed.

I also reported to the Board on a program being developed called the Diversity and Multicultural Awareness Group. Starting in February, I will host a series of calls where all ICF members can come and discuss the challenges and ways to meet them so that ICF can be a model of inclusivity for all international member organizations. I expect that many global Board members will also want to attend these calls and to hear first-hand how we can work together to build on the strengths we have with nearly 18,000 members in 104 countries around the world.

Ed Modell, PCCPresident, International Coach Federation

Friday, January 21, 2011

Marketing 101: What first impression do you make?

A lot of first impressions are made when meeting somebody in person. But today, more and more of those first impressions are no longer through a personal contact, but online: We meet people and future clients on networking platforms and we are often found via our websites and social media profiles.

What do people see when visiting your social media profiles, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.? What is their first impression? Are they seeing the real you? Does it reflect your value?

Here three tips to help you make a difference:
  1. Make a critical review of your social media profiles: How do they look? Do they include all relevant keywords, a brief but good description of what you do and offer? Did you include customer testimonials? How about your photo? Do you have a professional head shot?
  2. Does your website, blog or online business card have its own domain name? Or do you have it hosted with another provider? Although sites such as wordpress provide free hosting, a personalized domain name is much more professional than a generic subdomain.
  3. What about your e-mail address? Sending e-mails from an address like yourname@yourbusiness.com is perceived as much more professional than any hotmail, gmail or yahoo address.

Don’t forget however that in-person meetings also lay the base for the future. Typically you leave or exchange business cards. What do they look like? Are they well printed? Do you have an attractive design and a professional layout including your contact details, and links of your social media profiles?

First impressions count, and will set the bar for how much money you can demand for your services.

Make a good impression and you will stand out!

Next time I will give you a list of what should and what should not be included in your social media profiles.

Claudia Seeger is an expert in marketing, communications and new media. She is Marketing Director at an international high-tech company and Executive and Business Coach at Tall Trees Executive Coaching.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A new year, your new marketing plan

Here we are, January 14 and nearly two weeks into the New Year…now is the ideal time to locate and dust off last year’s marketing plan. Take some time today to freshen it up with new ideas and goals to reflect where you’re headed in 2011.

Don’t have a marketing plan currently in place? No problem! It is never too late to get your business organized. (Click here for the resources to help you put your marketing plan together from scratch.)

While we cannot hand you aspiration or carve out your individualized action items for the year, we can provide you with some data and metrics you can use to get your marketing plan down in writing.

As with any good marketing plan, you need to include a section on customer analysis. Or, in other words, you need to determine your target consumers and what it is that they want in a coach. The key question you need to answer here is “why does this group of people want coaching?”

And that’s where our data comes in: findings from the 2010 Global Consumer Awareness Study show us that more than two-fifths (or 42.6 percent) of respondents who had experienced coaching chose “optimize individual and/or team performance” as their top motivation for being coached. This piece of information can easily be included as part of your customer analysis. And that is only one finding from last year’s study! You can be sure that there is plenty more where that came from.

To make this data finding process a little easier (and more personalized to your corner of the world), we have recently released data tables by country. Each report outlines various findings from the awareness study—findings you can easily incorporate into your own marketing plan. Access your country’s data table here.

Need help with other aspects of your marketing plan? Download our Marketing Plan Basics document here. This document includes a basic outline and step-by-step instructions in creating your own marketing plan.

How do you flush out your marketing plan? Have you conducted your own market research? What are some new additions to your 2011 marketing plan?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Coaching Young Adults

One month ago, this blog featured the post The client demographic you should be targeting now. The below was written by a coach who targets this demographic in her coaching practice.

There was 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.

In my coaching practice, I have targeted this age group. And to acknowledge myself, I have been successful at it.

First, I know my market. I know their likes, interests and challenges - I can relate to them. In my 20's I experienced a lot of confusion and with they help of a coach, I found direction, meaning and purpose. Life is full of transitions, and one of the biggest transitions is into "adulthood."

Many young adults experience setbacks, making it challenging to adjust and achieve their personal and professional goals. From relationships, career, finances and personal development, this age group has learned from early experiences but still has plenty of time ahead of them.

Research says, "The transition to adulthood is a complex process in which youth who have been dependent on parents throughout childhood start taking definitive steps to achieve measures of financial, residential, and emotional independence, and to take on more adult roles as citizen, spouse, parent, and worker. This transition can be a period of growth and accomplishment, especially when youth have the resources they need to navigate this process, such as community connections and a stable family that can provide guidance and financial assistance if needed, and access to education and experiences that provide a foundation for learning, life skills, and credentials."

Second, the fact that your brain never stops developing is the perfect opportunity for coaches to step in and assist individuals to make positive changes.

Coaching this age group to replace old limiting beliefs with expanding beliefs is essential because they are looking for answers to change habits and behaviors. This age group is open to explore new possibilities and new ways of thinking. I find that young adults are very motivated and coachable.

Lastly, I know how to find my market. I chose my main means of marketing to young adults via the internet. Since many 25 - 34 year old's were originally shown the internet at school they are most familiar with looking for resources on the internet. Using social media, e-mail marketing strategies and other online marketing strategies makes it easy to reach young adults.

It is very exciting and rewarding to put young adults on the path to discover their truth and life purpose.

I love coaching and making the decision to become a coach was one of the best decisions of my life. Remember, if you stretch your potential as a coach, you help others meet their potential.

Reach out to a young adult and offer coaching.

Anna Goldstein, January 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011

Coaching Tool: When Your Client Feels Stuck

Appreciative Dialogue is based on the popular approach to organizational change called Appreciative Inquiry that focuses people on what’s working rather than trying to fix what’s not. This is an excellent technique to use when your client feels stuck and can’t solve a problem. Taking an appreciative approach, they see their issue through a new lens, not the normal critical lens assigned to problem solving. They jump outside of the box that their logical brain likes to play in.

In fact, the sorting and arranging of information involved in typical problem-solving processes works against their ability to see the problem in a new light. They can try to shift and rearrange what they know, but their thoughts end up swirling around in circles. Many times they will give up and keep doing what they have always done.

Appreciative Dialogue goes beyond assessing capabilities—what they can do—to being mindful of everything they can access to create a peak experience. As the coach, you guide them to explore everything that contributed to the creation of peak experiences in the past and then consciously apply those contributions—strengths, values, gifts, emotions, attitudes, and perspective—to a challenge they are currently facing.

As a result, your clients can align their best energies to powerfully conquer roadblocks and create amazing results. Here is the script you can use:

Step One:
Set aside current issues. Instead, think of a time in your past when you felt energized, significant, and fulfilled. This moment could have happened yesterday or years ago. It could have been when you completed a project or event or when you were doing something special. Can you recall a particular peak experience?

Step Two: With this memory in mind, answer the following question:

What five things did you contribute to creating this peak experience?

- Strengths, Talents, Gifts
- Emotions/Attitude
- Values
- Unique Sense/Perspective

Step Three: Looking at your list of contributions, what can you carry forward to the challenge you are now facing? What is possible for you now?

The intent of Appreciative Dialogue is to teach the brain how to make the shift from problems to possibilities. How can your client look at the present moment in light of their past peak experiences? New ideas will appear in the conversation as you connect the positive past with the present moment.

You can also use Appreciative Dialogue to extend and repeat a positive experience. The focus is on “what can I continue?” Your clients detail what they did to create the glorious moment so they know specifically what to repeat.

Remember to have these conversations often so your clients can determine what mindset and energy patterns will best serve them. The results will help them adjust and revitalize their daily activities.


Adapted from Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction by Marcia Reynolds, PsyD, MCC and a past president of the ICF. Contact her at Marcia@outsmartyourbrain.com.