Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Are You in Love With Your Coaching Business?

The below post is by Jayne Warrilow, a 2011 ICF Annual International Conference speaker. Watch for posts from other 2011 conference speakers on the ICF blog over the next several months.

Many people have talked about the importance of loving what you do for a living. Yet for many of us, the reality is quite different. Yes, we love the coaching but what about our business? Somewhere between our dreams of achieving our ambitions and the practical realities of actually running a coaching business, we lose our passion. We lose touch with the very thing that could lead us to success and instead find ourselves chasing the money, or simply following the path of least resistance. If this is you, rest assured its never too late to fall back in love with your coaching business.

As a business owner you have a tremendous opportunity to embrace what you do with passion. You are truly without limits. If you are like most coaches you probably became self-employed because you liked the idea of more personal freedom. You wanted to be your own boss and had some great ideas you wanted to try. In the early days, I bet you were full of passion and excitement. All you could think about was your business - it was an exciting time. However since then, you will have been through a lot. You've worked hard and will have received some level of rewards. Your love of the business will have ebbed and flowed. Ask yourself now, are you still in love with your business? Is it time for you to rekindle the flame?

Passion is key. It acts as the rocket fuel to success and propels those who would otherwise slip into mediocrity to the top of their field. Here are some suggestions for you to reconnect with your original passion:
  1. Get present: You are unlikely to achieve success if you lose yourself within your business. Too many coaches work so hard and such long hours that they forget to sit back and enjoy their success. Get present. Bring yourself into the now and realise everything you have accomplished since the day you first began.
  2. Know your why: Remind yourself why you went into business in the first place, what were your original dreams? Get back in touch with your initial motivations to remind you of the bigger reasons behind what you are trying to achieve.
  3. Discover the magic of flow: Think about the energy you bring to your business. You are giving off certain messages via your energy whether you realize this or not. Your personal energy is fuel for your business. Don't allow anyone or anything get in the way of you being who you know you can be. Find your flow!

Jayne Warrilow
Set your performance meter high. Great quality of service, impeccable integrity and a caring attitude towards your customers will always attract referrals and repeat business. If you follow these suggestions your clients will notice and they will begin to reflect your passion back to you. If you do this right you won't be the only one to fall in love with your business, your customers will too.

Jayne Warrilow is CEO of Resonant Coaching, specializing in advanced level training for coaches. Jayne’s powerful work which she has successfully implemented in the C-Suites of global organizations, integrates a holistic, energetic approach into coaching ultimately leading to resonance, to the next level of mastery and beyond. For more information: www.resonantcoaching.com.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How can you give back?

This time of year is often synonymous with feelings of gratitude and thankfulness. While you count your blessings this year, consider those ways in which you might be able to serve others this holiday season…and beyond.

Regardless of how crowded your schedule is, volunteer opportunities abound everywhere.
Consider the organizations in your community that run on volunteer manpower…how can you help them? For you, it may be offering your services via pro bono coaching. For others, it could mean volunteering your time to serve (be it a soup kitchen, a nursing home, an orphanage, or animal shelter).

What is it for you…how can you give back? If you already regularly volunteer your services or your time (or both), what do you do? Do you have any advice for someone trying to find a way to get involved? Share your feedback in the comments section below or over on our Facebook page.

Monday, November 21, 2011

What Are You Thankful For?

The below post is by Ernest Mark, a 2011 ICF Annual International Conference speaker. Watch for posts from other 2011 conference speakers on the ICF blog over the next several months.

I love Thanksgiving Weekend. I love the spaciousness and the time to share and enjoy good food, to be with loved ones, to relax with leftovers, to unwind and be thankful. In the regular bustle of life, I often feel I’m just rushing through my days, i.e. getting the kids to school, rushing to work, bouncing between meetings and then rushing to pick up the kids and getting through the night routine. Phew, it’s exhausting thinking about it… and there is so little time to smell the roses.

This week I get to experience both the bustle of the preparation and the space to smell the roses, or in this case, the food, wine and good company. I love cooking and typically throw myself into Thanksgiving preparations, it’s my vehicle for expressing love for my family and friends. Our dinner is a potluck, so it’s a collective sharing of food, love and mutual appreciation for each other. When the meal begins, there’s usually a quiet moment as everyone settles into exploring the landscape of their plates. Then the conversation comes back and time seems to slow down to match our need to take it down a notch and enjoy each other. And in the spaciousness of this holiday, there is gratitude.

In the spirit of the holiday, I’ve been thinking about gratitude and spaciousness this week and noticing the possibilities of experiencing it. When I pause, I notice the bustle slows down, my breath gets a little deeper and my heart softens. I feel the possibility opens up for me to be more present, patient and loving with my family and others around me. And in the pause, I am taking a moment to be kind to myself which creates the possibility to be truly open and gracious with others.

As we wind up 2011 and head into the holiday season, what are you thankful for? What do you notice when you take a moment to pause and feel gratitude? Who would you like to share that with?

Ernest Mark is a coach and consultant working in the non-profit social justice sector. He works with a broad cross section of leaders and organizations across the sector and brings an approach that is fiercely culturally relevant and community led. Ernest lives in Oakland, California with his wife, Mimi, and daughters, Olive and Juniper. Ernest can be reached via email at ernest@ernestmark.com.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Create a better conversation…next week and beyond

Next week, November 21-27, is Better Conversation Week. This week is set aside to create better conversations with those in your life (from your significant other or your best friend to a client or acquaintance). Even those who converse constantly can use a simple reminder to consider their own conversations. [Non-meaningful conversing is an unfortunately simple thing to do…and we are all guilty of it in some form or another.]
If you add up how many different conversations you have in a given day, the number for many would be pretty significant. But how many of those conversations are “good?” I know what you are thinking... “What is a good conversation?” I think most people would agree that a good conversation is one in which both parties are genuinely interested, both parties listen, and both parties allow the other to speak.

Now consider your daily interactions. How many of those conversations would fall into that category? Probably less than you realize.

Not only that, but consider what your conversations are about. Is it small talk? Is it practical conversation (around whose turn it is to do the dishes, who let the dog out, etc.)? Is it substantial (where you walk away feeling fulfilled)? All of these forms of communication can be good…but your entire day’s worth of conversations should not fall under a single category. Like everything else in life, there needs to be balance. A really good article I came across on The New York Times website, though almost two years old, is a really interesting look at the correlation between the kinds of conversations you are having and how happy you are: Talk deeply, be happy?

So my thought for Better Conversation Week is to not only focus on creating better conversations…but really pay attention to the kinds of conversations that dominate my talk life. What about you? Share your thoughts below in the comments field, over on our Facebook page or via Twitter.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Striking a balance

A popular topic these days seems to be the often bewildering work-life balance. For some people, it is one and the same. Others draw a distinctive line when it comes to the boundaries between work life and home life. To see how coaches handle a work-life balance, we reached out to our Facebook fans with the following question in October: “coaches, what do you do to maintain a healthy work-life balance?”

Take a look below to see how our Facebook fans responded:
  • “Gym every morn, bible/spiritual read for 20 mins each day, play with kids, do homework with kids, talk to wife in private after kids are in bed, read before sleep—something fictional.” Bret Snyder
  • “Work and life? So when I work I’m not alive? I feel most alive when I’m working…and of course I do a lot of things: meditation, meeting friends, reading, cooking (that’s my latest happy discovery), gym, sleeping, etc. Life’s good! Including work.” Tatiana Saliba
  • “I look at work as life. It’s a choice. While working, I work my ‘muscles’ for creating a deeper connection to things I want to master. There is no separation.” Carol House Jackson
  • “Trabajar con pensamiento de Coach en todo momento, enriqueciendo asi el alma de cada persona que impactamos y sobre todo hacerlo y vivir con pasion!!!” Jose Tony Santiago
  • “There’s no such thing as balance! Only resilience.” Lisa Austin
  • “Reflect on my life wheel everyday.” Leona Wan
  • “Work at it!” Sylvia Baumgartner
  • “I start each day with a swim, after that I am ready for whatever the day brings. It’s all life, when you love what you do you know you have cracked it when you never get a Monday morning feeling.” Denise Chilton
What about you? How do you maintain a balance between your work life and your personal life? We’d love to know—leave a response below or join the conversation at Facebook.com/ICFHQ.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How a positive mindset impacts us

SIG: Energy Work and Coaching: The Next Wave
Presenter: Rhona Post, MA MCC
Date: Monday, November 21 2011, 11:00 a.m. (New York)

Building upon the input from the October session, how our private and public identities often keep us from experiencing wholeness, our November session steps us into the conversation about how what we think shapes our actions, reactions and outcomes.

Joining us is Sandy Mobley, MCC and certified Core Individuation practitioner to discuss the value and benefits of having a positive mindset. We will expand the conversation to focus on the integration of energy work to support an individual’s ability to resolve or release conditioned patterns that have limited one’s experience of creativity, joy and satisfaction.

For example, what triggers a “victim consciousness” and how does that consciousness shape the person’s worldview? Is the person even aware that his/her victim consciousness informs all that he/she says and does? Have you noticed how blind we are to our conditioned tendencies? Or how hard we fight to hold onto what we know and do, even when these tendencies are harmful to our health?

Rhona Post, MCC

As I build the healer coach identity, I am grateful for the support and input my coaching colleagues provide on these calls. We are opening up the door to deepening our spirituality and skill to work more effectively with powerful emotions—two areas where we often feel vulnerable whether we are coaching others or coaching ourselves.

If you are interested in healer coaching and would like to experience working with a certified energy practitioner, please contact me at rpost@thehealercoach.com to set up your healing session.

Rhona Post, MA MCC, Certified Core Individuation Practitioner; +1.941.554.8466

Friday, November 11, 2011

Networking tips to try

Networking: we all have to do it. Like everything in life, some people are better at working a room than others. But being a little shy doesn’t mean that you cannot learn to network effectively.
Below you will find three simple networking tips that you can put to use at the next event you attend:
  1. Check your attitude at the door. Before you even walk into the room, you need to prepare yourself mentally for what lies ahead. Three ways to prepare yourself: push negative thoughts out of your mind; determine what you hope to accomplish/who you hope to interact with; and take a deep breath and smile!
  2. Be prepared. Your mindset is not the only thing that needs to be prepared before a networking event. If you often find yourself tongue-tied around new people, two ways to feel comfortable include having your introduction in place and several questions ready to ask. Your introduction shouldn’t take any more than ten seconds to recite and it should be clear and interesting. Practicing will make it sound natural (and you will be more confident when it comes across smoothly). Also, having a few open-ended questions ready will make starting conversations a breeze.
  3. Remain curious. Approach networking and meeting new people with a curious mind. On that note, it is important to network across industries (not only your own). Make a point to expand your horizons and attend meetings of groups you are not already a part of.
Have a few tips of your own? Share it with us below in the comments field, over on our Facebook page or via Twitter.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Broth, soup or stew – where are you?

The below post originally appeared on Joanna Bennett’s blog, Minimalist Self, on November 1. Joanna is a student at Adler Learning in Toronto.

No, this isn’t a post about cooking.

Although, if food could be used as a metaphor about choice and the quality of the menu items we pick daily, then perhaps this is a recipe for discovery about ourselves!

At Adler last week, we engaged in a variety of creative exercises to assist with our coaching studies. One morning we were handed a sheet of coloured art paper and a few pastels. Our task was to create the cover of a book we were going to write in the future about our past 5 years as professional coaches. Not only an excellent visioning tool to use with clients but what a great way to design our own future!

The title, “Broth, Soup or Stew – Where Are You?” came to me in the previous week when the term ‘soup’ came up a few times. Is a client comfortable sitting in their own ‘soup’ or is it slowing them down? When discussing scenerios that could be worse than soup, I said “they are stuck in stew!” Since clients come to us to accompany them as they embrace an exciting new path, I thought of broth as a healthy choice to sip on – or inhale in one gulp!

So as a coach, I ask: Where are you?

I love soup. On a beautiful autumn day, homemade cream of [insert root vegetable here] satiates my need for something comforting. I could improve the nutritional value by making soup with yummy lentils! (low on sodium of course!) Regardless of content, we’ve all heard about soup being good for the soul. I’m gripping a spoon in one hand and the bowl with the other, head bent over blowing off the steam.

Some days however, I want to fill up on stew. Chunky ingredients stuck together with dumplings ideally, paired with a hearty glass of red wine. I’m in winter now, lights out, the winds are howling and hurling snow at the windows. Candles are burning low and so am I. Sometimes it’s necessary to go underground and hide out. It may also become difficult to remember what life has to offer. I leave a light on at the door to remind me of the way out.

So what does a a simple, clear broth offer me? Not a lot of sustenance. Doesn’t support a spoon or even cling to it. Broth can easily drop in temperature. But since I can drink it from a mug, my hands can wrap around it to keep it warm longer. I don’t even need a spoon. If it becomes stale, I get up, go to my kitchen and reheat it. Requiring only one hand to hold the vessel, I can transport it to a cozy chair by the window. As I pause to look out at the trees, I am mesmerized by the dancing colours. I look down at my broth and see reflections of my environment. This place makes the most sense to me.

There are times when we need to sit still. Hopefully, there are just rare occasions when we need to hide. For the creative, resourceful and whole human being, building momentum on our mindfulness allows for conscious appreciation of what we have and where we are going.

I think I just made myself hungry! Time for lunch.

Joanna Bennett
 Joanna Bennett is a highly creative person who desires living as consciously as possible and engaging with those around her. After many years of 'naval gazing' as an actor and the sometimes solitary work as a freelance sign language interpreter, Jo is embarking on a new career that embraces moving forward in this valuable life and allows her to have meaningful conversations with others. With the goal of becoming an ICF certified coach, Jo is thriving on the education at Adler Learning in Toronto! One passion that does tie together all careers and the values above is her love of writing. For more thoughts on mindfulness with a focus on self-employment, please subscribe to her blog: http://minimalistself.wordpress.com/.  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Three easy things ICF members can do this week

So you belong to the ICF…but are you really maximizing your membership? This occasional topic series will highlight those things you can do to ensure you are making the most of your connection to the ICF.
1) Are you aware of the ICF Resource Partners? ICF Resource Partners offer discounts or special pricing to ICF members on their various goods and services. Currently, there are 15 partners offering such resources as audio services, insurance, and everything in-between. Learn more about each and how they can help grow your business.

2) Do you know about the member-only tools and resources at Coachfederation.org? Various marketing materials exist at Coachfederation.org that can assist in growing your business. Examples include: Top ten indicators to refer a client to a mental health professional, How to write an effective press release, and Tips for an online media room. These items are saved on a page called Assets and Tools. Take a look at available Assets and Tools.

3) Are you using the ICF logo in your marketing initiatives? If you aren’t, you should! The logo is downloadable at Coachfederation.org and is a great way to show the world your affiliation with the ICF through your website, business cards, e-mail signature, etc. The logo is available in different file formats and in color or black and white. Download the ICF logo.

How are you maximizing your membership?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ignite passion!

I. Care. For. Three simple words that can reflect so much. In late 2010, then ICF President Giovanna D’Alessio, MCC, shared her idea of the “I Care For” campaign with the ICF membership. Drawing from the association’s branding work at the time, ICF members from across the world shared that “they see themselves not only as part of the ICF community, but also part of something much greater.”
Everyone on this planet—coach and client, has something that ignites passion. Be it a favorite charity, a local cause or effort, or some other service to humanity, everyone has something that can spark emotion—and ultimately, action.

The best part about “I Care For” is that each of our individuality shines through. What I care about may or may not be what the next person over cares about. But if we all do our part, we are all helping in our own way. And it subsequently makes the world a better place. [Remember, no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. (Aesop)]

So, what is it for you? What ignites passion in your life and how are you feeding it?
Share it below in the comments, write on our Facebook wall, tweet us or shoot us an email at icfpr@coachfederation.org.