Thursday, February 24, 2011

Getting Our Energy Work Together With Coaching

Congratulations! We completed ICF’s first Energy Work & Coaching SIG today. Thanks to all the coaches who participated and who stayed on the line despite the grueling sound effects.

One of the participants asked me to note the resources to which I referred. The big word today is embodiment. I linked embodiment and centered presence, which helps us expand our capacity to see, coach, heal. You can review the ICF core competence on Centered Presence. I have found that embodying oneself is crucial to learning how to work from an energetic, compassionate stance whether I am healing or coaching. 

Rhona Post, MCC

Becoming embodied is a commitment as it involves connecting with and learning from the sensations and stored memories in our bodies. My years of study with Dr. Richard Heckler, founder of the Strozzi Institute, provided the awareness and skill to learn how to stay centered, and how to find my way back when I was triggered by an event or emotion. With the somatic background, I can more easily presence myself energetically with clients. I have taken these skills into my healing work where I can move quickly and easily from my physical body to beyond my own physicality to work from my expanded capacity (energetic structure). 

I suggested reading and doing the exercises in Stuart Heller’s book, Retooling on The Run, as they open the door to a deeper awareness of the relationship between body, mind and spirit.

We’re all in different places on this continuum. The addition of a healing protocol helps me do the deep transformative work with clients. This kind of healer coaching is not for everyone. But my clients, whether executives or families, want clarity to end their suffering now!

Future SIG topics for Energy Work & Coaching include: Identifying and Working with a Person’s Emotional Drivers, Cultivating Body Awareness, How Coaches Use Intuition in Coaching, Healing: What it Means for Coaches and Clients. If you have a special interest in this topic, please e-mail me your ideas at rpost@thehealercoach.com. See you next month, March 21, the third Monday of the month, at 11:00 a.m. (New York) and each third Monday, thereafter.

For more information on Healer Coaching, contact Rhona Post, rpost@thehealercoach.com or www.thehealercoach.com.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

We are ICF

To date, more than 18,000 coaching professionals from 100+ countries have chosen to be a part of the global community of the International Coach Federation.
 
Why? There are a possible 18,000 responses to that single question. Here’s one:

"Honesty and integrity are important to me. I can't imagine why I would want to be part of a profession and NOT be affiliated with the peer-review association for that profession. To me, it speaks to the value I put on coaching, the profession and holding myself to a higher standard. I also feel the community aspect is important, too. I really want to be engaged in my profession." —Tom Maher, ACC (United States)

A member of the ICF since 2010, Tom coaches musicians and performing artists and is a member of the Minnesota Coaches Association.

Other reasons people choose to be a part of the ICF will be shared in future blog posts.

Want to learn more about becoming a member of the ICF? Click here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Turnaround Coaching – Oxymoron or Opportunity?

If you talk to a turnaround manager or consultant, the issue of business recovery is all about taking charge, immediate change, cash flow and leadership. The owners or stakeholders are often reduced to instruments the consultant uses and might later discard. To the command and conquer consultant the notion of coaching an owner or management team through a business transformation is as relevant as coaching your neighbor kid’s soccer team. But this is a fallacy.

If the client company happens to be too small for a costly outside turnaround consultant and the owner or principals are sound but uninformed as to the vagaries of turnaround, the creditors and other stakeholders may first want to pursue self-help from within. It is this premise that can become an opportunity for coaches with a unique blend of leadership skills, business turnaround knowledge and overall interpersonal relationship finesse that can be imparted to an individual or small client team.

The key differentiator is that a coach works with individuals and is accountable as such in the coaching agreement whereas the consultant works through individuals for a client organization governed by an engagement agreement. Generally coaching is a voluntary action, while consulting may be involuntary and levered by an outside creditor or stakeholder.

Definition of Turnaround Coach
So what box can the turnaround coach be placed in? Good question, but with a not so straight forward explanation. The answer is more like describing non purebred dogs. A mixed breed canine may be labeled a “Heinz 57” after Heinz’s 57 varieties of products at the end of the 19th century (actually it was more than 60 in reality), and that number became attributed to the description of hundreds of pooch mixes. Now turnaround coaches aren’t dogs and don’t have 57 varieties but the attributes of this type coach require more than 57 skills (some not even coaching). Some key turnaround coaching points:

1. Generally, turnaround coaching is considered facilitative – that is, coaching paves the way to a deeper awareness of the issues at hand, and requisite action or corrections needed in a definite path forward. Turnaround coaching is not indirect or passive with the client in any way, shape or form. The relationship is direct and continuous in collaboration with the individual or principals, achieving common goals in defined, usually short, spans of time.

2. Turnaround coaching is a sub-set of business coaching but with smatterings of the following:

a. Executive coaching – liberates mind numbing, stuck-in-the mud personal orientation of embattled business owners or principals; using continuous feedback and trial-error-adjust-and-act follow through; moves boldly forward with encouragement and backing of the coach that translates to more effective leadership in a troubled environment.

b. Corporate coaching – facilitating organizational change and transformation through the individual or client’s understanding of the parameters to success or failure of the enterprise, where the client ultimately becomes the coach to his or her own organization.

c. Leadership coaching – engaging in personal accountability that translates into effective decision-making and leadership skills in times of extremis that are imparted to the organization through exemplary actions.

d. Operational and financial coaching – this entails identifying root causes with client and supplanting obstacles and roadblocks stemming from either partial illiteracy of tangible knowledge (accounting, financing, asset control, human resources, operations, etc), or a void in which focal point learning was never utilized or learned. The path forward is usually much changed from that in the rearview mirror; remediation is clearly a mandatory part of the coach-client collaboration. But the efforts are focused on the individual client who in turn coaches and directs his or her own organization forward.

3. Turnaround coaching displays both convergent and divergent thinking. In convergent thinking, the coach and client locate the problems at the "center" of the focus and then gather peripheral resources to bear down on the issues. So the collaborative resources "converge" on the problems. In divergent thinking, rather than gathering information and converging it on the central problem, the coach and client branch off (diverge) and shoot for novel ideas, new perspectives and creativity in critical problem solving. Instead of a single correct answer, there may be a whole host of possibilities(1). This is of paramount importance in helping the client re-think and adjust their business plan, course of action or method of managing.

The Coach versus Consultant by Analogy
Taking a step back it helps to understand by simple analogy the difference between the orientation of the turnaround coach and consultant. Imagine if you will, these variables: A car represents a company; the driver represents the individual client; a ditch – well you probably guessed it – the place where the business is sitting, literally. Ergo, the car is now “in the ditch.”

The consultant, at significantly greater expense, shows up with a tow truck (and possibly helpers) where the driverless car is in the ditch. With experience PULLING cars (companies) out of the ditch, irrespective of whether a driver is engaged or not, the consultant applies those skills, experience, and judgment to either succeed or fail getting the car out of the ditch, based upon personal efforts alone; then leaves. There may or not be helpers and a tow job is never considered cheap.

On the other hand, our hapless driver and his car are both in the ditch attempting to drive out but not quite successful at the task. The coach goes into the ditch, assesses what is needed, and determines that with a significant effort the car and its driver together can be PUSHED out of the ditch.

Consulting is about PULLING, and coaching is about PUSHING the client. Not all cars can be pushed or pulled out of ditch if the conditions are such that the car is wrecked or otherwise inoperable.

Characteristics of Turnaround Coaching
Coaching will use specific reality-based, transformational decision making; personal accountability rules; organizational and financial restructuring skill-sets; interpersonal communications; goal setting that can be channeled through the client, with continuous empowerment, encouragement, adjustment and feedback by the coach.

Clearly, not all clients are coachable, nor are all situations conducive to a coaching alternative. But for many small businesses laid threadbare in uncertain economic times (with little financing), the relationship with a competent coach can be life changing for a business that might otherwise perish, with little fanfare or headlines to follow its demise. But getting to that point has its distinct stages, each an obstacle or “milepost” to overcome.

Stages of a Turnaround
As the case with turnaround consulting, coaching focuses on analysis, planning, negotiation, restructuring and remediation which entails getting to the root causes and then weighing the practical realities of whether a business can be transformed by change, or must be liquidated to memorialize value that will ultimately erode if the status quo is maintained.

Coaching also assists the individual to be positive in the face of adversity and use challenges and mistakes as facts that serve to prime change even when confidence has been eroded.

The coach relies on personal skills to enable, empower, encourage and remediate in collaboration with the client. The stages of the turnaround process are…..(2)

1. The Evaluation and Assessment Stage situational and viability analysis
2. The Acute Needs Stage usually relates to elimination of expense and raising of liquidity.
3. The Restructuring Stage usually when client and coach re-order the assets and liabilities to workable levels including the change in business plan and workforce. It is also a determining factor whether the company can be fixed outside or inside bankruptcy or liquidated.
4. The Stabilization Stage usually expressed in curtailment of “burn” or consumption of cash yielding breakeven results and reversal of key negative trends. A second factor is that outside stakeholders accept the practical realities that their investment in company is altered and there is agreement to move forward under revised terms.
5. The Revitalization Stage The Company has renewed its business plan as evidenced by a return to modest growth and perception that the company would no longer be classified as troubled or lacking in viability.

Summation
The smallest troubled companies and those with competent but uninformed owners or managers may represent an opportunity for specialized turnaround coaches possessing many skills including technical knowledge and multiple coaching styles. Key determinates are clients who are “coachable” and can collaborate effectively to achieve a turnaround with decisive, timely follow through. The coach PUSHES where the consultant PULLS the client through the five stages of turnaround: Evaluation, Acute Needs, Restructuring, Stabilization and Revitalization. The argument consultants post that turnaround coaching is an oxymoron or a self-canceling statement may not be true. There are, in fact, a certain number of cases where solid coaching and attentive, collaborative clients can work through a difficult process together. Coaching is a viable and cheaper alternative to consulting teams that are largely levered into situations when creditors have lost confidence in management, whether factual or not. To coaches with the mettle and qualifications to enter the fray, turnaround can represent an opportunity that can be a significant challenge and immensely interesting work.

(1) http://www.ehow.com/how_2158036_convergent-thinking-versus-divergent-thinking.html. How to Understand Convergent Thinking versus Divergent Thinking, by Michael Motta, 2010

(2) ''The Process and Players in a Turnaround'', by Jim Mayer, Bankruptcy Law Review, Turnaround column, Falkner and Gray, Volume 1 num 3, Fall 1989 (as updated by author 1/2011) see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turnaround_management

About the Author
Jim Mayer is Managing Member of DiversiCorp LLC, a revival of a firm he originally founded in 1985 devoted to consulting, coaching, advising and financing services delivered to small companies both public and private. Mayer wrote extensively during the 1990’s on various topics including: turnaround, cross border asset based lending, collateral management and topics about small business. Since 1985 he has advised or coached more than 150 companies directly and several times that number indirectly, through advisory teams he has managed or directed. At present he is facilitating a keener understanding of turnaround brought into the world of coaching. He is a member of the Turnaround Management Association, The International Coach Federation and The Institute of Management Consulting. Mayer lives in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Need a good reason to renew? Here are five:

1) Save some money. If this is the year you plan to apply for a credential, attend an ICF International Conference, purchase ICF-branded coaching research or do business with one of these companies, you should first renew your membership.ICF members receive substantial discounts—to the point where membership practically pays for itself.

2) Free networking and educational offerings. Special Interest Group (SIG) meetings and Virtual Education (VE) sessions are offered on a monthly basis, free of charge. SIGs bring coaches together with similar interests and VE sessions offer presentations by such speaking greats as Peter Block, Christine Gallagher, etc.

We are ICF.

3) Member-only tools and resources. Through the member-only section at Coachfederation.org, members can access various tools and resources they can use to grow their businesses. For instance, you can download a sample coaching agreement, the ICF logo, sample press releases and more. Items are added to the section regularly.

4) Leadership development opportunities. Through the chapter level, on global committees or task forces or even on the global Board of Directors, there are numerous opportunities for members to develop their leadership style—and give back to the coaching profession.

5) Professional recognition. Being a member of the ICF (and thus upholding the ICF Code of Ethics and Core Competencies) demonstrates to peers and clients alike your commitment to the coaching profession.

Current ICF memberships will not expire until the end of March, but you can renew your membership online today if you want.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The King's Speech: A Coaching Story Worthy of An Oscar

Many of you, I'm sure, have already seen the great movie, The King's Speech. It's a terrific story, and should be required viewing for any coach.

Geoffrey Rush (as Lionel Logue, a speech therapist) coaches Colin Firth (as King George VI) through a severe speech impediment. In dark days, as the world slides toward war, the country needs a king who can inspire confidence. The stakes are high.

As King George's voice therapist, Lionel addresses the whole person in working with a deeply rooted pattern that traditional approaches had not been able to touch. Lionel is wholly unorthodox, in a very orthodox culture. As coach, he:

Insists on an authentic relationship, not taking the role (even of the King!) seriously, and constantly speaking to the authentic person within. Lionel speaks to the human, even calling His Royal Highness "Bertie." Our roles in life provide a sense of identity that keep us safe and our world predictable, and that reinforce habits. Increased identification with a role often makes it harder to change; a coach challenges limiting assumptions associated with role in order to liberate a greater range of actions and behaviors.

Recognizes, and lets go of, his own ego's attachment to working with such a famous client. When he first heard who the prospective client was, we see him briefly respond to this pull. And, momentarily, he regroups and returns to his conditions for success, insisting that even the Duke of York must come to his studio for help.

Takes a stand for possibility, consistently believing and showing confidence that the king can learn to speak clearly and smoothly. A coach holds the belief in the client's potential, even when the client doesn't yet see the possibility.

Makes strong requests to establish conditions for success. For example, the work will only be successful if it's in Lionel's workspace, and on a daily basis. The coach must insist that coaching be done in a way that can be successful. If the process is watered down in order to accommodate clients' short term needs, they may not end up with the clients' desired results. Everyone loses.

Engages George's body, working somatically by asking him to roll around on the floor, shake himself loose, and break his patterns of embodiment. Our habits are wired in our bodies: playing, singing, dancing, and changing rigidly held body shapes will nearly always reveal new possibilities.

Impels him into self-observation. Lionel confronts George with evidence that his stammering isn't as unconquerable as he always thought. The recording of himself eloquently reading Shakespeare astonishes him, as do moments of articulateness when Lionel goads him to anger. Moments of realization open the possibility of more substantive and permanent change, and build his trust and commitment to the process. When we find cracks in the monoliths of our stories, we are able to see, and expand, the exceptions to build something new.

Insists that George practice new habits and new ways of doing things. The eccentric Lionel simply knows from experience what works, and insists that the King do his homework.

Practice is the essence of creating sustainable change and growth. Neuroplasticity, though Lionel had never heard the term, allows the changing of even deeply rooted behaviors and patterns of thought; practice is the key.

Ultimately, with any new behavior, we must put it in action. Quoting Yoda, "there is only do or not do. There is no try." It is in the present moment that intentions and aspirations meet the world: the ideal meets the actual.

The terrific final scene, in which King George speaks to the entire British Empire (at that time, close to 1/3 of the planet's population) is taut with tension, as the King's capacity to go beyond his time-worn habit is tested in a grave moment. (By the way, I intend to use the sublime third movement of Beethoven's 7th Symphony as a backdrop to all my dramatic coaching moments from here on out!)

There's much to be seen here. If you saw the movie already, see it again with these distinctions in mind. If not, make it a priority. This is somatic, whole person coaching, done before the term was invented.

Doug Silsbee
• What experiments could you try in your coaching, using distinctions from this film?
• How might you be a bolder stand for your clients?
• Where are you reluctant to make strong requests of your clients around conditions important for the success of coaching?

What other coaching elements or principles did you see Lionel doing that we can learn from?

Posted by Doug Silsbee; see other posts, or add comments, at http://dougsilsbee.com/blog.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A most fitting close to International Coaching Week

Some of the ICF Staff
In honor of International Coaching Week, staff members from ICF Headquarters spent this morning volunteering at the locally based International Book Project (IBP).

IBP is an “international nonprofit whose mission is to promote education and literacy while broadening Americans’ understanding of their neighbors by sending quality used books overseas. Each year, IBP sends more than 150,000 books to schools, libraries, churches, nonprofits and Peace Corps volunteers in over 40 developing countries.” (Read more about their work here: http://www.intlbookproject.org).

Packing boxes!


After a brief orientation, we spent the morning locating and boxing books that will be sent to the Philippines. These books, primarily being sent to students in grades 8-12, ranged in topic from algebra to biology and literature to health. Once we finished this, we went on to sorting books that had recently come into the warehouse.

It was a great opportunity for our staff—and so fulfilling to know that these books will benefit children around the world. Check out the IBP blog to see firsthand the kind of impact IBP has in the world: http://intlbookproject.wordpress.com/.

From our office to yours, Happy International Coaching Week!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Energy Work & Coaching: The Next Wave

“Matter can neither be created nor destroyed; it just keeps changing form.” Albert Einstein

Rhona Post, MCC
As a child I always thought this statement pithy in some unfathomable way, yet felt its veracity important to maintain. Throughout my life I have circled around this concept and have finally been successful including Einstein’s thinking in my coaching practice.

I started first with Ontological coaching (the meaning of being a human being), progressed to Somatic coaching (the integration of mind, body and spirit) and finally rested with Core Individuation, an energy healing discourse that has helped me integrate all four aspects of the self (mind, body, intellect and spirit). I can look at my thirty years of study and report that it is the energy work that truly informs my coaching.

I think we mirror for our clients what we want most for ourselves, whether that is the freedom to express our best self, the yearning to feel whole, even the renewed confidence to keep grappling with life issues.

The inclusion of energy work in a coaching practice deepens our skill to establish trust and intimacy with clients, and most important, an energy healing practice, alongside a spiritual practice helps us access our own intuition so that we can move effortlessly between head and heart. When we listen to the wisdom of all our parts, mind, body, spirit and emotions, we move with greater ease towards what truly matters.

My orientation as a coach has shifted to include a much stronger commitment to nurturing what is best in a person, even as they fight for their limitations.

With support from ICF and in particular, Don Whittle, Membership Director, I am starting a new telephone SIG, Monday, February 21, from 11:00 to 12 noon, and meeting every third Monday of the month, to explore the value and benefits of adding an energy healing practice to our coaching. I do hope you join me and our colleagues in what promises to be the next wave of coaching.

For more information on Energy Work & Coaching, please contact Rhona Post, MCC, via e-mail at rpost@thehealercoach.com. Learn more at http://www.thehealercoach.com/.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Coaching research for coaching week

You might be hosting an event this week where having recent coaching research will prove beneficial. Or maybe you aren’t. Either way, we have compiled some of the top findings from the Global Consumer Awareness Study* into a single listing. Read over it. Print it out. Use it. Share it.

How aware are people of professional coaching?
• More than half of all respondents (51 percent) were generally aware of coaching. This includes those who indicated they were either “very aware” (12 percent) or “somewhat aware” (39 percent). General awareness varied by country from a high of 92 percent in South Africa to a low of 20 percent in Germany.

• When probed, nearly half (49 percent) of all respondents who indicated they were unaware of coaching, did in fact have an understanding of professional coaching.

Why are people involved in a coaching relationship?
• 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” (38.8 percent) and “improve business management strategies” (36.1 percent). “Increase self-esteem/self-confidence” and “manage work/life balance” rated fourth and fifth to round out the top five motivation areas.

How satisfied are those who have been coached?
• Satisfaction levels are very high (83 percent) among those who have been involved in a coaching relationship, 36 percent of which were “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.”

How likely are people to recommend coaching to others?
• As a whole, those who have been coached gave a mean advocacy score of 7.5 (out of 10) in terms of their likeliness to recommend coaching. Overall, 31 percent of those who had been coached indicated that they were “extremely likely” to recommend. Advocacy was even higher for those who had an ICF Credentialed coach—45 percent were “extremely likely to advocate coaching to others.

How important are certifications/credentials for coaches?
• 84 percent of respondents who had been in a coaching relationship considered certification/credentials important. Even among those who indicated they were not aware of the coaching profession or the ICF, 83 percent considered credentials or certifications important for professional coaches to have.

• More than two in five respondents (44 percent) knew if their coach had a certification/credential.

What demographic is most attuned to coaching?
• Of the four age groups analyzed in this study, the youngest segment (ages 25–34) had the highest rate of awareness of coaching (57 percent), highest awareness of the ICF (26 percent) and highest levels of satisfaction with their coaching experience (85 percent). The level of satisfaction of this age group with an ICF Credentialed coach was higher again with 92 percent satisfied; more than half (55 percent) stating they were “very satisfied.”

*The Global Consumer Awareness Study surveyed 15,000 individuals (aged 25 and older) from 20 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This Coaching Week – Can coaching help bring peace on earth and goodwill to all people?

It’s coaching week! In some ways it seems to me it’s a bit like Christmas in the coaching profession–a time when we go out into the world, bearing (our) gifts and bringing a message (and method) of goodwill for all people.

Perhaps you are doing something for Coaching Week? If you are, I hope you have much joy and success with it. I’m mindful of the words of two people I admire; Martin Bell, a former BBC correspondent who saw more war zones and troubled situations than perhaps it’s fair for anyone to see, who said “Good things happen because we make them happen, bad things happen because we allow them to.” I hope that whatever you are doing, it’s helping more people to make good things happen. And that dear friend of collectors of wisdoms and quotes, Winston Churchill, with his “We make a living from what we get. We make a life from what we give.” I hope that through your sharing your gift of coaching you are receiving not just a living, but a fuller life.

And I’m also mindful of sometimes how hard it is to take coaching out into the world. Including the difficulty explaining something as intangible as coaching. I recently came across this wonderful video of a coach openly, honestly, and humorously struggling to say what he does–http://www.nicaskew.com/commission/coach/ FILM EXAMPLE THREE
‘INTANGIBLY INARTICULATABLE’. I’ve been trying to help ICF Bulgaria raise awareness of coaching in their country–so we’ve put together a series of masterclasses, where coaches and people in the profession are beamed from around the world into a videosuite in Sofia. Coaching someone live by webcam as they sit in front of a large audience is definitely an experience! But it’s working well–membership up 300% since the series launched two months ago and monies coming in to enable them to do great works. It seems that giving people the experience of coaching is more effective than talking about it.

And even so I’m still wondering what it is that’s at the heart of what we bring. I love the line in Nic Askew’s video– “A truly honest conversation.” For me that comes close, and it certainly is a gift to bring to most peoples lives.

And these words from an article in The Times of 1st February 2011 are ringing in my ears: “One Royal Marine officer active in Iraq asked “What could we do differently?” was told time and time again: “ You could start by just listening.” He said that the most effective tactic was to do just that.

As coaches this is at the heart of what we do in the world. If there is a profession that can help bring more listening into lives, it’s us.

So there you have it. Coaching can indeed help to bring peace on earth.

Have a Happy Coaching Week.

And just to say–for all those currently in the news in their struggles for democracy, fairness and a future for their children, and for all those affected by the natural disasters, I hope I can speak on behalf of many in our global community to say you are very much in our thoughts, and we are there for you if you need us.

Neil Scotton, PCC, February 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Top 5 things you can do with little to no planning this week

So here we are…International Coaching Week (ICW) 2011 is finally here! To celebrate, there are coaches across the world doing different things throughout the week to show coaching to their communities.

Maybe ICW snuck up on you this year. Don’t fret! You can still do something this week to commemorate the weeklong celebration. And it doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. In fact, we have a few relatively painless options for you to consider:

1) Offer specials. People love deals—perhaps you can offer your existing clients a discount on your services. It doesn’t have to be during this week per se, but maybe something you offer through the month of February. This special can be anything; the possibilities are absolutely endless! Examples: two coaching hours for the price of one, etc.

And you don’t have to limit this to your existing clients. You could create a special for those clients who sign with you in February.

2) Make time for networking. Many ICF Chapters are hosting events during ICW—from standard chapter meetings with guest speakers to single day workshops and multi-day conferences. If you aren’t already, plan to take part in whatever your local chapter has planned for ICW2011. If your local chapter doesn’t have anything planned, connect with other members to start brainstorming ideas for ICW2012!

Nearest chapter too far away to attend regularly? If it is within reasonable driving distance, take time out to go to their next meeting to network with peers. If that is not an option, take a look at upcoming Virtual Education sessions and add one to your calendar.

3) Give your business a once-over. Take time during this special week to better your practice. You know there are things on your to-do list that you want to check off—set aside designated time this week to do these things! For some it could be designing new business cards or taking a good hard look at your marketing plan. For others, it could be revising your pricing scale or starting a blog. Whatever it is, take time out to do it!

4) Gather testimonials. ICW isn’t only about your current or future clients. Make it about your past clients! Nothing can make a business more credible than through the use of client testimonials. Reach out to those you have coached in the past and ask them to provide a testimonial you can use in your upcoming marketing initiatives or on your website.

5) Volunteer locally. There is nothing more satisfying than the feeling that you have helped someone else. As a coach, you get to experience that sort of fulfillment on a regular basis. Reach beyond your comfort zone and volunteer some time at a local organization. The best part? There is truly something for everyone when it comes to volunteering. Want to work with animals? Check a local Humane Society. Want to work with kids? Talk to a local school or adoption agency. Want to use your hands? Check out Habitat for Humanity. And these are just three ideas! Opportunities are only limited by your imagination*!

*Note: ICF Headquarters is holding a Day of Service later this week in honor of ICW. Staff members are volunteering at locally based International Book Project. Check the blog on Friday for an update on the Day of Service.

Happy International Coaching Week!

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Single Most Important Thing for Global Executive Coaches: Readiness to Recognize and Work with Life’s Surprising Opportunities

Recently I coined the term “Proactive Resilience©” from a lifetime of challenges turned into opportunities. Decades of preparation in international leadership, social science research, power relationships, intercultural mindfulness, systems theory, neuroscience and other disciplines helped, yes. So did a difficult early family, time spent in Eastern Europe during the Cold War, teaching university, being a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor and going through various certifications and creating Advantara® Global Institute’s Global Executive Coach Certification Program - see http://www.advantara.com/] have also gone into the mix.

But I’d have to say it’s the “who I am,” especially my hope and curiosity, that have translated into a core attitude of “what’s next to learn?” that have been critical in my life and work with global executives. That simple question is the single most important alchemical element in my coaching and also in my personal life. Not only have I been totally (and, fortunately, positively) surprised at the far reaching impact of my coaching engagements and educational programs for global executive coaches, but in my personal life, totally unexpected miracles have happened!

In 2005 I was invited to move to England and live in a friend’s “extra” mansion in England’s West Country; my ancestors had emigrated from here in 1659 and I’ve always felt a strong connection to the landscape. For years I’ve had some excellent colleagues and friends here from previous presentations at ICF Conferences and Chapter meetings from the late 90s onwards. This area became a base for working with clients and educating coaches worldwide (including Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, Oceania). But there were some unexpected opportunities as well.

The biggest surprise of all was that, having been quite happily single for many years, I married a retired British man of Scottish and Cornish ancestry. This even came with membership in an ancient Scottish clan of Viking origin (Gunn)!

Has it all been positive or easy? Let’s just say I survived a 4.5 year debilitating illness in the 90s, found my own cure online and got my life back with little help from traditional medicine, which was frustrating. More recently a colleague published a book the outline of which bears an uncanny resemblance to one I presented to his publisher 2.5 years ago. So, no. But – remember Proactive Resilience©? Stay tuned!

While continuing my Global Executive Coaching career, I ‘ve renewed my interest in singing and performing traditional British and American music and writing poetry (recently published in Rick Hansen’s (Co-author of Buddha’s Brain ) Wise Brain Bulletin (http://www.wisebrain.org/WBB4.11.12.pdf p 17). I was invited to join a group of English poets and asked to host a poetry cafĂ© at The Brewhouse in Taunton Somerset this Spring. I sing and play at folk clubs and singarounds all over Southwest England with my husband (singer and fiddler) in our trusty Motor Caravan! A screenplay is next and a Hollywood producer likes my idea. What’s next?

Hannah S Wilder, MA (Harvard University), PhD (MIT), MCC, Master Team Coach, and Master Certified Global Executive Coach©, Host of The Global Executive Coaching SIG

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pull up a podium

The ICF is looking for speakers for its 16th Annual International ICF Conference that will take place this September in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. If you are an interactive speaker with something to say, you really should consider this opportunity!

The ICF International Conference draws more than 1,000 coaching professionals annually. They want to learn. They are eager to share ideas and opinions. They like to network. And they are the perfect audience for your presentation.

If you want to take advantage of this opportunity, you will want to start getting your materials together now. Proposals will only be accepted until Monday, February 7.

A few words of advice: you must include a link to a video stream (perhaps YouTube, your personal website or other website) that illustrates your skill as a presenter and your engagement with an audience. Proposals submitted without this will NOT be considered.

Ensure that your proposal is interactive. This is a biggie—Conference Education Steering Committee members (those who will review your proposal and ultimately select or deny your proposal) want to see sessions that are energetic, lively and involves everyone. They want to see a session that will allow attendees to “live in the moment.”

Your proposal should encompass a session in which you have experience. You need to be a subject matter expert in the content you propose to offer. For instance, you don’t want to propose a session where you will teach people how to use social media when you yourself don’t regularly use it. Your session should be around something you know about and you believe others will want to learn about it too.

The ICF is accepting proposals until 12 a.m. midnight (New York) on Monday, February 7. You can learn about the application process, as well as other criteria, here.

Have you ever spoken at an ICF International Conference? What was your experience like?