Friday, September 30, 2011

A Few of my Favorite Coaching Mantras

Any coach worth their salt (what does that mean anyway?) knows how difficult it is to follow the tenets of coaching in all circumstances. Especially for those clients that are a “challenge.” As a result I have developed some Coaching Mantras that help me maintain my cool and coach like a seasoned swami. I’ll be glad to share a few with you.

“Wanna Bet?” – This is my first inaudible and unspoken response when my client starts out our session by saying “My problem is….” It’s not that I only take on clients that are Big Liars, but years of coaching have taught me that a little digging will reveal the REAL problem which is never what the client thinks it is.

“The Solution Is In The Struggle” – Particularly helpful when you are banging your head against your desk, putting new teeth marks in your pencil, and drawing blood with your fingernails as you clench your fists and attempt not to scream “I have the answer!” The struggle must be theirs, not yours, in order for a lasting effect to take place.

“Silence Is Golden When You Can’t Think Of A Good Question” - This isn’t to say that minutes should pass as you attempt to word the perfect inquiry, but if you trust in the fact that your client is as uncomfortable with silence as you are, then you must believe that he/she will eventually rush to fill in the aural void. Clues and prompts will blessedly abound. And if they don’t, you can always fall back on “Tell me a little more about that.”

Who says coaching is an easy profession? I’m constantly coaching myself to be a great coach while I’m coaching my clients – a whole lot of self-talk going on. I’d love to hear some of your personal favorite coaching mantras. I can use all the help I can get!

Laurie Lawson

Laurie Lawson’s philosophy: Coaching is life-changing business but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun while you’re doing it.

Laurie Lawson
 She is a Certified Empowerment Coach (, a Professional Credentialed Coach, a Certified EQ Mentor, a Mentor Coach for iPEC (Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching), President of the Board of the International Coach Federation in New York City (, Executive Producer of Coach World TV, Creator/Host of Coach Chat Radio, a previous member of the ICF Global Membership & Community Committee, and a current member of the ICF Global Ethics and Standards Committee. She facilitated a workshop at the 15th International ICF Conference in Texas, participated in Fitness Magazine's "You Can Do It Challenge" as a Life Coach on their Panel of Experts, and appeared on ABC’s Business Week Weekend television show.

She is also a Writer/Reviewer for Electronic Link Journey, a published author, a US distributor for Points of You, The Coaching Game, and in her spare time, she dabbles in numerology (

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lend a hand in your community

Last month, we asked our Facebook fans “coaches, how do you give back to your community?”

Just as we suspected, coaches are very giving individuals! If you are looking for a way to get involved, read on to find out how other coaches give back to their local communities:

“Each year I offer pro-bono coaching to a specific number of deserving people. (Deserving = willing and capable to do the work required, but don’t have the financial means).” (Demyan Rossouw)

“Offer complimentary workshops and coaching at local Gay and Lesbian centers.” (Rick Clemons)

“We engage ourselves into some not for profit projects like Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland.” (Meissner & Partners)

“Organize ‘equal opportunity’ programs for the children of women prison inmates in Delhi.” (Seth Rosario)

“By working five years as a board member of the ICF Chapter in Germany and since, four years as ICF Chapter leader in Berlin, Germany.” (Martin Jessen)

“Being present in as many opportunities as possible with any member of the community where I am: experiencing consciousness as is.” (Rodolfo Rosales)

“I volunteer my time by providing free advice/consultation for those who need help and also involve others in these communities: 1) coaching resources (expanding and increasing awareness of the coaching community); 2) Global Voices Bulletin (being a voice for all global philanthropy initiatives).” (Queenie TCoach)

“That is a great question, I’m considering starting a group called ‘Coaches in the Community’ to provide volunteer services to organizations and/or community projects that need a little extra helping hand.” (Tracey Pitts)

“Through a Hand Up Coaching.” (Nora Whalen)

“By offering a pro bono coaching package (four free sessions) ongoing, for those who need my services, are willing to follow through, but cannot otherwise afford them.” (Carol Pressnall Leek)

What about you? How do you give back? We’d love to know—share it with us on at

Monday, September 19, 2011

They’re Just Not That Into You: Why The Way You Describe Coaching Might Be Repelling Your Prospects and What To Do About It

“Hi. My name is Alexia Vernon, and I’m a coach. I help all kinds of people—leaders, new grads, nurses, social entrepreneurs and small business owners—close the gap from where they are to where they want to be. I do this by asking powerful questions, mirroring back what I’m hearing (and not hearing) and by asking people to take big risks to achieve big results.”

The above description, I’m embarrassed to say, is pretty close to what used to come out of my mouth and decorate my website for the first few years of my coaching business. Like so many well-intentioned coaches I know and work with, I spent a lot of time talking about what I do and who I do it for at the expense of NEVER identifying the problem that the people I work with have and how I solve it.

Whether you’re currently working with one coaching client or one hundred, step back for a moment and ask yourself the following. “What’s the reoccurring obstacle that the people I work with have that they would pay every dollar they possess to solve—once and for all?” That’s what needs to be coming out of your mouth—your identification of that problem and a vision of who that person will be once it’s solved.

Unless your clients are looking to be coaches themselves, they don’t care how you do what you do or who you do it for. They care that you understand how they are stuck. And more importantly, they want you to show them what unstuck will look, taste, smell, sound and feel like. Walking into a room feeling confident and competent. Making big bucks and even bigger impact. Having the greatest love affair of their lives—with themselves.

Your sexy copy is always in painting a picture of the payoff for arriving at your prospect’s desired result.

Alexia Vernon, ACC is the President of the Nevada Professional Coaches Association (NPCA) and is an in-demand career and workplace author, speaker, coach and trainer. She empowers people to build careers and companies that are successful, sustainable and full of soul. She is the author of Awaken Your CAREERpreneur: A Holistic Road Map to Climb from Your Calling to Your Career and has been featured on CNN, NBC, CBS MoneyWatch,, the Wall Street Journal,, and dozens of other media. Learn more about Alexia at and follow her on Twitter @AlexiaVernon.

Friday, September 16, 2011

What does it matter to me?

As discussed in the August 12 blog post, ICF Strategic Plan: 101, the ICF operates according to a strategic plan. Having this plan in place ensures that the ICF remains focused and prepared to work toward specific goals that will provide the best value for members.

But how is the strategic plan pieced together? Do the contents of the strategic plan actually mean anything for ICF members? How does it ensure that members will receive the most value for their membership? Why should I care? How do the decisions made by the ICF affect me?

Will you attend a call next week so you may have a better understanding of the ICF Strategic Plan? Three calls, hosted by the ICF Board of Directors, are scheduled next week to allow members the opportunity to ask these sorts of questions. If you have ever asked yourself the above questions, will you make time in your schedule to be present during one of these calls?

Call schedule:
  • Monday, September 19 at 9 a.m. (New York);
  • Monday, September 19 at 4 p.m. (New York); or
  • Call in Spanish: Tuesday, September 20 at 1 p.m. (New York).
Bridge line: +1.866.215.3343 (PIN: 4889)

See additional dialing instructions if calling from outside North America (PDF).

If your schedule will not allow you to join a call, send your questions to us via email at , via Facebook (post on our wall) or Twitter (tweet us), or post a comment to this post.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Energy Work and Coaching SIG Starts Back

Hello coaching colleagues and members of the Energy Work and Coaching SIG. I missed everyone this summer but am glad I took the time to buy a house, move, and begin remodeling. Opening up the living space to expand my practice, and clearing my energetic structure so that I can heal my physical concerns are two areas where I focused my attention. What about you? Did you take any classes that invigorated your spirit? Have you continued deepening your coaching by adding meditation to your daily practice? Please jot me a note at or tweet me (Rhona Post) to share your summer adventures.

This fall we are going to delve into the conversation about energy, and what it means to set our intention to use our sensing skills, bringing our awareness to what’s in front of us, as we use our attention to heal. I am inviting my colleagues, both coaches and healers to co-lead some of our discussions this fall so stay tuned.

The reliance on intuition and sensing skills helps us get underneath a client’s narrative to see the emotional triggers pulling or pushing the person. It is the difference between treating the symptoms and getting to the root cause of an issue. This kind of work is deeper, and the results are transformative, as what is revealed is resolved.
Rhona Post, MCC

We will continue to discuss the value of having a strong spiritual practice as we work with others, and we will spend time discussing how we position ourselves in the marketplace.

I invite my coaching colleagues who are interested or who already incorporate an energy modality in their coaching to join our call on September 19th, 11:00am EST.

For more information on Energy Work and Coaching please contact Rhona Post, MCC, 941.554.8466 or

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Save a life today

Today you can help end malaria. Half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, but people in Africa are especially prone to the disease. There, one in every five childhood deaths is due to the effects of malaria. The hard facts? Every 30 seconds a child dies from malaria.
End Malaria book cover

But you have the power to save a life! Today marks the release of End Malaria: Bold Innovation, Limitless Generosity and the Opportunity to Save a Life. 80 percent of the book’s cover price will be donated to Malaria No More, an international charity whose goal is to end malaria in Africa by 2015.

In essence, $20 USD of every book sold will allow Malaria No More to send a mosquito net to a family in need. The use of mosquito nets is a proven method of protection against malaria—especially for young children and pregnant women in high transmission areas. This book will save lives. Literally.

The editor, Michael Bungay Stanier, partnered with 62 thought leaders including Dan Pink, Tom Peters, Nancy Daurte, BrenĂ© Brown, David Allen and Sir Ken Robinson to produce End Malaria. The book contains their visions of leadership and what it means to do “great work.” Broken into three sections (Create Freedom, Disrupt Normal and Take Small Steps), the book is full of wisdom on how readers can do more of the work that makes a difference in their lives and in the lives of others.

As a citizen of the world, do your part today. This is such a simple way to lend a hand.

Learn more
Essay excerpts from the book
Buy the book

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Playing to the Edge

The 2011 ICF Conference in Las Vegas is just weeks away! The theme for the Conference is “Playing to the Edge.” One of the members of the Educational Steering Committee, Katerina Kanelidou from Greece, wrote an insightful essay on this theme that I believe will stimulate your thinking and perhaps highlight some perspectives you haven’t thought about. Enjoy…and…I hope to see you in Las Vegas!

Lynn Meinke, PCCChair: 2011 Educational Steering Committee

Last December, as a member of the 2011 ICF Conference Education Steering Committee, I was requested to brainstorm for this year’s conference theme; extremely challenging for a non-native English speaker. By the end, one of the teams came up with the title “Playing to the Edge.” Everybody loved it! As a non-native English speaker, I was skeptical. In my consciousness this playing to the edge just meant risky business.

A couple months later, we were requested to share one thought on playing to the edge, what it meant for each one of us. I thought about it and consulted one of my best friends, the dictionary.

I started with the verb play. Checking the dictionary, some of the meanings of “play” were:
  • Engage (in an activity);
  • Deal in a light, speculative, or sportive manner;
  • Take advantage;
  • Move or function freely within prescribed limits;
  • Perform (music);
  • Act (theatre);
  • Engage or take part in a game;
  • Behave or conduct oneself in a specific way;
  • Gamble; and
  • Amount one’s efforts.
This made me think. And wonder. We have frequently heard coaching described as a dance. What if coaching is also a game? A game we play with our clients. A game that serves the purpose or goals of a much larger game: the game of life.

We do not want our clients to just live their lives. We want them to engage in this game, perform, act, deal with it and its challenges, have fun, take risks, and interact with it. We do not coach passive spectators; we coach players of the game of life!

And it is all done through another game: coaching. We do not just dance with our clients. We engage them in a more dynamic and interactive way. We challenge them. We encourage them to take appropriate risk. In a way we support them to gamble, not based on luck but based on their skills and strengths. We help them discover the fun of being in the game, and encourage them to celebrate all their victories, small and large.

What do we play for? Ultimately we play to win. The definition of what is won can be many things: achieving a goal, enhancing a career, improving performance, positively changing thinking and lives, reaching a vision, and most importantly growing. As coaches we are also challenged to grow. And so, in this game of life and work we grow, as do our clients. In this interactive and inter-developmental game of coaching, we support and encourage our clients’ growth and, in turn, our clients’ creativity and work stimulates and enhances our own growth as human beings and coaches.

So, if coaching can be considered a game in the service of this larger game of life, why play to the edge?

Again, going back to the dictionary. I found the follow meanings for edge:
  • sharpness (of a blade);
  • force, effectiveness;
  • keenness or intensity of desire or enjoyment;
  • the line where an object or area begins or ends;
  • the narrow part adjacent to a border;
  • advantage; and
  • brink, verge.
The ICF International Conference happens once a year, so it draws a line that has a definite beginning and end. This drawing a line is also done in times where the world is seen to be at the edge from many perspectives. In my own country we are living at the edge economically and, as a consequence, socially and we are experiencing uncertainty and fear. The recent revolution in Egypt and the current situation in Libya and Syria are showing all of us how whole nations can live at the edge as they try to make their way to democracy or peace. And let’s not forget the recent crisis in Japan where the edge has become an everyday experience. So, perhaps our world is at the edge: socially, economically, environmentally, politically, and spiritually.

From the coaching perspective, when it comes to our work we play to the edge with our clients and ourselves. We “play” to our own limits of what we can do as we develop our own mastery and growth in the coaching field. We play to our own keenness, effectiveness and sharpness during every coaching session as well. We also invite our clients to play to their edge, as that is where they often need to go in order to develop. As said by another Committee member, we ask our client to step out of their comfort zone to move forward. As coaches, we move alongside them on this thin line, “the narrow part adjacent to a border”, to stretch them, and in so doing, we stretch ourselves to stand up to this challenge.

For me it’s a perfect coincidence that we are having this conference in a place like Las Vegas, a place where people go to challenge their fortune by playing to the edge. What an incredible opportunity we have this year to stretch ourselves and to play to our edge, especially at this particular moment in history when the world is at the edge. And, at the same time we can take a moment to recognize and celebrate a profession that also works and plays to the edge.

Katerina Kanelidou, ACC

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lessons from a Bird

One early morning last week there was a knock at my door. My next door neighbor, said, “There is a parakeet in your driveway.”

What? I live in the Northeast and we don’t have any birds like parakeets living around here, at least not on this side of the bird cage bars. Curious about that, I walked to the end of my drive and there stood a beautiful yellow, blue and green parakeet. It was obvious that this bird was used to humans because we could get very close and the bird kept pecking away looking for food. With no discussion, we animal lovers immediately decided that we should try and catch the little birdie before the hawks, which are so numerous in this area, found it. As parents we had visions of some child quite upset because someone opened the cage and their beloved pet escaped.

How would you have felt?

When we got too close to the bird, it panicked and flew up to a tree. After a quick phone call to my vet, I decided, with their encouragement, to go out later and if the bird was still there, I would try again to catch it. I went back to work and hours later walked to the end of my drive to get my mail and there sits the bird pecking away and looking up at me nonchalantly. This time I was equipped with a cage. I held my finger out, like the vet suggested, hoping the bird would jump on board. No luck. Then I threw down some seed in a path that led right up to my cage hoping he would jump in quite relieved to be “home” again. No luck. As I did all this, I chatted with the bird quietly and sidled up closer and finally tried to grab it. It flew away again. Well, I reasoned, I tried to be the great pet rescuer. I decided that I had done as much as I could and sort of forgot about the bird who looked down at me from the telephone wire.

The next day, I am walking my dog about a half mile from home and from out of nowhere, the parakeet flies at my face and lands on the sidewalk in front of me. What are the odds of that? This is a new challenge. What is it with this bird anyway? Now, I have nothing to catch him with so I surrender my thoughts to the dangers that this tiny chap is facing. I was feeling quite protective and frustrated as I couldn’t help him or her out once again. I had to walk away from a situation that I could not resolve to my satisfaction.

What do you think that bird was thinking?

And then the next day, in blows Hurricane Irene. During the many hours stuck inside my home listening to that howling wind and watching those trees bend from it, I must admit that I mentioned that little bird to my husband. I said, “That poor little parakeet is never going to make it through this mess!”

Following the storm, the next day, I was walking my dog on a totally different route and, lo and behold, that darn parakeet was sitting on the sidewalk right in front of me. This seems beyond coincidence. It is a sign of something but I am not sure what. Have you ever experienced something like this? I photographed my new friend because I did not want this to be another fish story about, “the big one who got away”. I discovered I had a new attitude about this little guy. He does not seem to need my help at all. He made it through a hurricane. I started thinking that maybe these are the best days of his life... cage free, independent and quite resourceful. This resilient, tiny soul had a message for me. I am going to be more aware of the assumptions that I am making about others. I am going to look at more perspectives before I go trying to catch a bird who just does not want to be caught.

At first, it was all about me. But as I thought about things, I can really relate to that birds experience...

As a metaphor for life, when you think about this story, who do you connect more with? Me or the bird?

Would you like to learn some new perspectives and ways to cope with life’s unexpected curves? Please join me for my webinar, “Rise and Shine Anytime” 5 Steps for Increasing Positivity, Resiliency and Success. Learn more about it here.

You can learn more here as you watch this short movie.

If you are ready to access more energy, focus, enthusiasm and positivity for increased productivity and success, this webinar series is for you! Sign up today at my website or by calling me at +1.781.878.8589 or e-mailing me at If you enjoyed this story, I promise a good story for you every week!

You won’t want to miss it!

With gratitude,Anne Barry Jolles
Life and Resiliency Coach, Author and Speaker