Monday, April 25, 2011

Positivity positively saves time!

Author Iris Clermont tells how a positive mindset can make all the difference in work performance, and how it can also save time

The wish to have more time available and great results, while facing a raise of complexity is one of the key messages I hear from projects independent of cultures, countries or companies. One magic response to save time and achieve the required objectives is living and working with a positive attitude. Positivity is an obvious, important and often mentioned mindset that requires continuous growing and improvement. As a result of a growing positive attitude a raise of work performance follows automatically.

Just by changing your mindset to a positive one and by spending your usual day with a positive attitude will present you with lots of great moments and with appreciation from your colleagues and from your business partners. I experienced this in one of my first jobs while conducting technical training sessions for teams of engineers. Without any improvement of my own technical skills or any content change of the seminar, the received feedback scores improved from 7 to 9. The one and only difference was my own thinking, changing to a positive mindset, enjoying the day and by caring about the people in the training room.

What helps most to support the growths of positive thinking and to manifest a continuous raise of performance and a better usage of time is to celebrate successes and achievements. How often do we jump from one project to the next, from one meeting to the next, without taking the time for acknowledgements? We run from A to B and forget what life is about. We forget to gain from our own and from our team’s insights and knowledge and to take the chance to celebrate and to move this positive experience to future projects.
  • One way forward to support a positive mindset is to notice down 10 preferred ways to celebrate or to find your own way to celebrate with painting a picture about this topic.

  • Another way forward are positive thinking questions to reflect the current situation you are facing and to support your finding of the most effective option to step forward.

    • If you would be the owner of this company how would you react?
    • How does your next step look like when you regard your difficult ‘problem’ as an opportunity to an important, needed change?
    • What is your approach, considering your challenging colleagues or business partners offer a positive growth as well as a learning opportunity

  • A third way forward towards positivity is to do something pleasurable once a day and to start with noting down, what to do each day, which brings you in a good mode for the coming week. A reflection of the effect of this exercise at the end of the week will show your time saving results.

We are the owners of our time and we can decide how we want to spend our time. We can look from different perspectives from real close and from far away, from a detailed view and from the big picture, from the past perspective, the presence and the future to what we really want, what really matters. Those different perspectives viewing through positive, shining glasses can change, motivate and turn negative results upside down.

Working each day on positivity is especially for all of us, who are not born and grown up as ‘sunshine’s’ more than worth doing. Refreshing your positivity mindset and emotions once a day is an inspiring start. Look outside the window or walk outside while taking a couple of deep breaths, enjoying the view, the moment. Review today’s success while thinking about what went well. This will guide you a step further towards positivity.

Iris Clermont
I wish you a positive mindset and great successes for you and for your team.

The full article is published in the March 2011 edition of Better Focus Magazine from

Iris Clermont is an international certified coach and process consultant, the author of the book ‘Team Magic’. During the last 20 years, she has been travelling and working in different countries for co-operate companies around the world. Further information can be found from her web page:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We are ICF

As outlined over the last several weeks, we have found that ICF members seem to be specifically drawn to the educational and networking opportunities that the ICF provides.

This was no different for Kathleen Bathory, PCC, of Canada. She cites “education opportunities, accreditation and networking” as her top reasons for maintaining membership with the ICF. Kathleen is a part of the Calgary Association of Professional Coaches and has been a member of ICF International since 2004.

Kathleen finds “resources and the conference” to be her most value-added benefits through the ICF. Learn more about resources and ICF events at

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

Learn how you can become a member of the ICF here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Repurposing Coaching

Repurposing is a common term in our profession, and generally means taking content or work and offering it in a different way or towards a different end.

It's time to consider repurposing coaching itself.

Coaching has often been about More. About playing a bigger game. About accumulating and building businesses and leading more effectively.

At the extreme, the laws of quantum physics have been invoked to claim that the Universe will snap to attention and give us everything we want if we only focus our intentions and passions clearly enough. (Sorry, quantum physics doesn't work that way.)

The law of abundance is fine and well, as long as the economy is growing and oil is cheap and we don't look too deeply at what is going on in the rest of the world. However, the illusion is becoming harder to maintain. The house is on fire, and the fire is spreading.

When our house is on fire, any lucid person will discern which activities inside the house make sense. Getting people out of the building, calling 911, and locating fire extinguishers are actions that, given the context, obviously make more sense than hanging art on the wall, painting the bathroom, or rolling sushi with friends.

Yet, too often, we take it as our mission to help our clients accomplish what they want, or "live the life of their dreams." There is nothing wrong with creating wealth, building new businesses, and leading more effectively. Yet, too often our work supports clients' actions towards what they want (art, a new bathroom, and sushi) while failing to consider the context of the burning house.

It's time for those of us in the change profession to examine the purpose our work is serving. We must question whether we are using our skills and perspectives to make the most relevant and powerful contribution possible in times of accelerating and existential change.

Most of us have narratives about how our work contributes to a better world; I believe them to be largely true. And, experience tells me not to underestimate the capacity of the human mind to skew our narratives to justify what we desire. It is our nature to be driven more by our own identities, ambitions, and sense of entitlement than we can possibly be aware of. (I am not exempting myself from uncomfortable examination. I did some work in Asia that made perfect sense to me at the time. Now, I question whether the good really justified the wear and tear on me, on my family, and on the planet, considering the carbon dioxide emitted by my trans-Pacific flights.)

The coaching profession has developed powerful methods for catalyzing significant and sustainable change in those we work with. However, it is no longer sufficient or appropriate to simply ask people what they want, and help them get it, without also asking deeper questions. Until our own success and achievement, and that of our clients, are relevant and aligned to the global context, our own sense of entitlement and that of our clients will be part of the problem.

Coaching as a skill set and as a profession is urgently relevant to our times. We are leaders with influence. And, we have real influence with other leaders in positions of power. Influence carries responsibility. It is time to repurpose our work towards "bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just way of being on this earth."

Many of us already place our work squarely in this larger context, and pride ourselves on asking deeper questions that invite clients into discovery. However, as individual professionals and as an industry, it is imperative that we focus our considerable energies on this overarching purpose. To fail to do so is to remain in the myopic illusion that the law of abundance will take care of global warming, dwindling oil reserves, food and water crises, and fundamental injustices in the way the world accesses and distributes resources.

Alternatively, we can drink deeply, sinking our roots, and those of our work, into this compelling purpose. We can each choose to play our bold and unique role in times that are both dire and pregnant with possibility.

Doug Silsbee, PCC

The stakes could not be higher. We are all needed.

* What do you agree with? Disagree with?
* How does your narrative about building a better world also justify your own desires?
* Where do you stop listening to what the world is asking of you?
* What bolder actions could you be taking?

Posted by Doug Silsbee, PCC, author of The Mindful Coach, and leader of the ICF-approved Presence-Based Coaching training program. For other posts, or to comment on this one, visit

Friday, April 15, 2011

A little weekend reading

About a month back, we asked those who “like” our Facebook page to share what they were currently reading. And boy did we receive a plethora of responses!

So if you are in need of a new book this weekend, or would like a list of ideas to keep handy for some point in the future, you will find (below) a complete list of what other coaching professionals are currently (or just completed) reading:
  • Intuition (by Osho)
  • Freedom from Illusia (by Osho)
  • Global Coaching (by Philippe Rosinski)
  • The Art of Marriage (by Catherine Blyth)
  • Celebration of Discipline (by Robert Foster)
  • Do You (by Russell Simmons)
  • A New Earth (by Eckhart Tolle)
  • Rework (by Jason Fried)
  • The Path to Purpose (by William Damon)
  • Being the Solution (by Darel Rutherford)
  • Connected. The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape our Lives (by Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler)
  • The War of Art (by Steven Pressfield)
  • Executive Coaching with Backbone and Heart (by Mary Beth O’Neill)
  • Be happy: Release the Power of Happiness in You (by Robert Holden)
  • How to Teach Lateral Thinking (by Edward de Bono)
  • Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization (by Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright)
  • Nonviolent Communication (by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg)
  • I is an Other (by James Geary)
  • Coaching with Spirit (by Teri-E Belf)
  • Looking Out, Looking In (by Ronald B. Adler)
  • Practical Intuition (by Laura Day)
  • The Shadow Process (by Debbie Ford)
  • The Dice Man (by Luke Rhinehart)
  • The Zen Way of Counseling (by Svagito R. Liebermeister)
  • The Guide (by Dr. William Holden)
  • The Soul of Leadership (by Deepak Chopra)
  • The Greatest Salesman in the World (by OG Mandino)
  • The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions (by Guy Kawasaki)
  • What got you Here Won’t get you There (by Marshall Goldsmith)
  • The Art of Possibility (by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander)
  • The Tipping Point (by Malcolm Gladwell)
  • Diversity in Coaching (by Jonathan Passmore)
  • The Undervalued Self (by Elaine Aron)
  • Riding the Tiger: Leading Through Learning in Turbulent Times (by Priscilla Nelson)
  • Leadership Without Borders (by Ed Cohen)
  • The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ (by Levi H. Dowling)
  • Wake up Women: Be Happy, Healthy and Wealthy (by Ardice Farrow, Karen Mayfield and Heidi Regan)
  • Time to Think (by Nancy Kline)
  • More Time to Think (by Nancy Kline)
  • The Path of Least Resistance (by Robert Fritz)
  • Dreaming Down Heaven (by Gini Gentry)
  • Abnormal Psychology (by Ronald J. Comer)
  • Light a Penny Candle (by Maeve Binchy)
  • Epidemiology (by Leon Gordis)
  • Blue Ocean Strategy (by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne)
  • TILT Magazine
Other authors our Facebook friends mentioned:
Wayne Dyer
Daniel Goleman
Dan Pink

Whatever you are reading this weekend, make it a good one!

Not following us on Facebook? You can “like” us here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Coaching’s knowledge base: who needs it?

Leni Wildflower, PhD, PCC
As an academic and the designer of an evidence-based coaching program, I’ve given a lot of the thought to the coaching component we call “the knowledge base”—the rich body of theoretical material on which coaching is built, the fields of study out of which it has grown—theories of psychology, adult learning, change, leadership, culture and gender, to name a few. Over the years, I’ve invested a great deal of time in studying this body of knowledge, and I have an attachment to it. There’s a lot of intellectual pleasure to be had from exploring its various dimensions and interconnections, and as a practitioner I like to know where I stand in relation to an extensive field of theory and research.

But is it important? What if we don’t need this theoretical background? What if we just invent creative coaching protocols on the basis of personal insight and experience? Some of us have done this already – and with interesting and positive results. What if we simply rely on a capacity for self-reflection, an openness to others, an individual gift for listening, intuiting, creating space for the client’s self-discovery? Some individuals simply have a gift for coaching. So why bother with learning the knowledge base? I would love to know your thoughts!

Leni Wildflower Consulting
The handbook of knowledge-based coaching: From theory to practice.
Edited by Leni Wildflower and Diane Brennan
Jossey Bass, 2011.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

We are ICF

Thomas has been a part of the ICF since 2004.
Over the last several weeks, we have been sharing why coaching professionals from all over the globe choose to be a part of the International Coach Federation.

For many, it boils down to community, ethics and standards. Thomas Freitag (who coaches unfocused executives in Switzerland), agrees, citing his reason for maintaining membership within the ICF to “belonging to an international community of professional coaches.”

When asked which member benefit provides him the most value, Thomas responded: “Credibility through a solid set of Core Competencies for professional coaching.”

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

Learn how you can become a member of the ICF here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Exercising your ethics muscle

How often are you taking the time to exercise your ethics muscle by reflecting on your coaching against a code of ethics? During International Coaching Week (ICW), 7-13 February 2011, coaches from around the world took part in the ICF Pan-European Ethics call to do just that.

ICW takes place in February every year and exists to promote the coaching profession and educate the general public about the value of working with a professional coach. These activities also focus on the coach and their development, like the ICF Pan-European Ethics call.

As you read this, what may occur to you is what does a ‘professional coach’ mean? For a start, it can mean that we have clear contracts with our clients, ensure confidentiality and no conflicts of interest and exemplify professional conduct of the highest standards. Reading the ICF Code of Ethics, you find these concepts are elaborated on so that, as a coach, you know what the expectations of a ‘professional coach’ look like in practice. This is particularly important as many of the dilemmas we experience with our clients and the organisations we work with can often be traced back to ethics.

When we experience an ethical dilemma, a toned ethics muscle enables a repertoire of responses and facilitates agility in choosing among them. A ‘repertoire of responses’ is apt as there is often no right or wrong answer. Also, as individuals we have to be congruent with how we are in these moments. It’s a very individual experience – all the more reason to take advantage of opportunities to debate these dilemmas amongst peers.

A toned ethics muscle instils professionalism in what we do. It enables us to build trust with our clients. It differentiates us in the marketplace. It allows us to understand what is important to us, our own boundaries and what we are willing and not willing to do.

To give your ethics muscle a workout in a confidential and non-judgemental space, join the ICF Pan-European Ethics calls. They will take place on 4th May, September and December. More information can be found at
These calls are ICF members only, to become a member of the ICF, go to

Written by Barbara Babcock (member of UK ICF)Owner at b2c2 - Barbara Babcock Coaching & Consulting - Executive coaching for corporates, charities and individuals specialising in career and inter-cultural/ expatriate coaching.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Play to the edge this September

Have you ever attended an ICF Annual International Conference? Chock full of education, networking and best practice sharing, the annual conference is something many look forward to. This year is no different—1,000 coaching professionals are anticipated to convene this September at the desert oasis of Las Vegas, Nevada, USA at the Mandalay Bay Resort for Playing to the Edge.

The theme, Playing to the Edge, is about risk, fun and ultimately about taking coaching to the ‘edge,’ according to the Conference Education Steering Committee. The committee has been working diligently since late 2010 to create a conference experience that brings attendees fresh ideas and concepts to apply to coaching.

According to, attendees can expect to see these ten features in Las Vegas:

  • Opportunity to earn approximately 18 CCEUs.
  • Dynamic, upbeat opening general session.
  • Three keynote speakers.
  • Opening reception with Michael Gelb (CCEUs offered).
  • A "gathering place" for meeting with peers.
  • Balancing space—a personal care space/place to take a break from a busy day.
  • A balance of interactive and traditional (didactic) breakout sessions.
  • Global Conversations with a new "reporting out" process.
  • Variation in length of breakout sessions.
  • Early ending on final day (to allow for easier travel).

Registration for the 2011 conference opens early next week (Monday, April 4). Register early to maximize your savings! Those who register before July 31 are eligible for special savings, known to conference goers as the Early bird rate. ICF members are subject to even more generous discounts as they are offered the special member pricing.

And, anyone who registers for a full conference registration before May 31 will be entered to win two tickets to a Las Vegas show, courtesy of the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. ICF will randomly select a winner on June 1. Contest rules are listed here.

As in years past, the conference will feature world class keynote speakers, educational content for coaches of all experience levels, and opportunities for fun. Check out for more information on the September 24-27 international conference.