Monday, January 30, 2012

Don't Make This Personal Branding Mistake

The below post first appeared on CBS MoneyWatch:
There are blog posts, articles, and even books dedicated to helping you create a personal brand, but personal branding expert Dan Schawbel warns against making a critical mistake that can decimate your brand overnight. I had the chance to interview Dan Schawbel about personal branding and his book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps for Richer Life. Go to Richer Life to listen to the full Dan Schawbel personal branding interview.

Robert: How specific should someone be when creating their personal brand? Let's say a few years ago my personal brand was "I'm the MySpace expert." And now all of the sudden MySpace is dead. So is there a fear with committing too much to a specific brand?

Dan: You don't want to commit to someone else's brand. By saying you're a LinkedIn Expert or a MySpace Expert, you're committing to someone else's brand, so you're placing a bet that their brand will grow and succeed and therefore your brand will grow and succeed, because there will be more of a demand for your services. But it's a fool's bet. It's not something that I would ever recommend. I've seen some people be successful doing that, but it's too risky and it's building someone else's brand and not as much building your own. So I think it's really important and it's part of the reason why I did personal branding-because it's something that was written about 10 years before social media. It was getting talked about and social networks were being created. So therefore, my belief is that it's something that will survive even if social media becomes something else later.

Robert: That little nugget right there is huge, because I think for a lot of people they do tie their personal brand with maybe another company or with a product. Let's say I've got a book coming out and I want to tie my personal brand to that book. Now, if the book doesn't do well or if I have four or five more books that I have in my head, there could be a problem if I say that's my brand and I've tied it specifically to a particular product.

Dan: Absolutely. You'll be irrelevant if that company or that social media tool does not exist anymore. You'll be completely irrelevant, and then in order to position yourself back in the marketplace and something else it'll be really tough. It'll be really tough because you've become known as the LinkedIn Specialist, but if there's no LinkedIn what are you going to be known as? And to create new brand perception is a lot of work, and it's tough, and it's going to take years, so it's definitely not something that I would recommend. I think you just have to create your own job title, be unique, and be committed to what you're going to do, because it takes a lot of work and you have to build it over time. I didn't, you know, it took me six months and then I was fortunate enough to get written about in Fast Company which expedited my success. But what if that didn't happen? Maybe it would have taken a year, two years. That's why you really have to love what you do and you have to be. When you love what you do and you really enjoy it and you gain confidence in it, you gain a positive attitude and you're committed to it. So the chances that you'll be successful (even if you aren't Donald Trump) are very high, because people are more apt to do business with people who love what they do. If you have hate what you do (as you know 80% of people or companies hate what they do), it's going to be hard for somebody to really, really want to work with you.

Robert Pagliarini
Go to Richer Life to listen to the full Dan Schawbel personal branding interview.

Robert Pagliarini is a CBS MoneyWatch columnist, bestselling author, professional life coach, and founder of Richer Life—a community for people who want to achieve more at work and in life. He has appeared as an expert on 20/20, Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Dr. Drew's Lifechangers and many others. Sign-up for Richer Life Tips at to get a daily email that provides inspiration and insight each morning.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Content free coaching

Sounds puzzling? Impossible? Not impossible but definitely a challenge!
This is one of the best ways I know for honing your coaching skills, whether you’re experienced or new to coaching.  Content free coaching:
  • Improves your ability to tune in to what is going on for your coachee beneath the words they are actually saying;  to pay more attention to the ‘music’ and ‘dance’ (their tone and body language) which really indicate what they are feeling and thinking.
  • Develop and practice powerful questions that don’t rely on content, such as “what’s happening now? ”, “what else ?” “and what else?” “and what else?”!!
  • Remove any temptation to ‘solutionise’  - when you don’t know what their topic is you can’t possibly start thinking  about your solutions.
The quality of your attention is exquisite.  Where will your question take them?  How will it land?

I’ve used this to hone my own skills and also when training other coaches.  It was particularly striking with a group of managers whose career success so far was largely based on coming up with answers – it made an immediate step change in their ability to be curious about the coachee’s ideas rather than their own and stopped them solutionising, one of the biggest challenges for manager-coaches.

So how do you practice coaching content free?
  • Find a friendly fellow coach.
  • Ask them to think of a topic they want to be coached on.
  • Ask them coaching questions and reflect back – after each question they should think through their answer and indicate when their thinking is finished and they are ready for the next question or observation from you.  Your next question or reflection is based on what you have detected and what your intuition suggests will help next.
  • Get feedback from your coachee on what you did that helped …or didn’t.
Caroline Talbott
What are your key tips for honing your skills? Or your powerful ‘content free’ questions?   Share them with us at

Caroline Talbott
coaches and develops leaders, especially those who have had success in a profession (eg lawyers, chartered surveyors, engineers, HR specialists) and then moved into a leadership role.  She is also a coach trainer and passionate about her own professional and personal development.
Professionals in Leadership blog. Caroline Talbott - catalyst for change. Twitter: @CaroCatalyst.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Coaching’s time to shine

International Coaching Week (ICW) is the coaching profession’s time to shine. Held the first full week each February, the premise of ICW is to allow coaches everywhere the opportunity to share the value professional coaching brings.
Coaches across the globe celebrate ICW in different ways—some offer pro bono coaching, others (in conjunction with the ICF Chapter they belong to or with other local peers) provide workshops, and still others reach out to local media channels to share coaching with the public. The sky’s the limit when it comes to promoting the value coaching offers! (Use this page as a starting point.)

ICW will be here February 5-11, 2012. That leaves just about two weeks to get those final plans in place!

How are you planning to commemorate ICW? We’d love to hear about it—let us know what you are doing.

Haven’t planned anything yet? There is still time! Take a look at how others have celebrated in the past

Don’t have a lot of time to plan anything? Take a look at these five simple ways to get involved during ICW without a lot of effort or pre-planning.

And don’t forget: findings from the greatly anticipated ICF Global Coaching Study will be released during ICW. This is the perfect way to promote coaching at the local level. Find out more.

Learn more about International Coaching Week.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A coach’s toolkit

Last month, in an effort to see what kinds of assessment tools coaches are using, we asked our Facebook fans to share their “must-use” coaching assessment tools and why they like to use them.

Here’s what we heard:

"1. Innermetrix DISC - behavioural and communication styles. This is where we can uncover and work with the cause of interpersonal conflicts, workplace stress etc. This relates to the environment mostly.
2. Innermetrix Values - motivators and drivers. This is where we uncover passions - and how we need to be recognised and rewarded. This relates mostly to culture, vision etc.
3. Innermetrix Attribute Index - natural talents based on how you think and make decisions. This is where we uncover a person's deep value structure - not their specific values, but 'how' they value. This area is the key to fulfillment and high performance.

The first two are psychometric, and rely on self-reporting. The last is valuemetric (based on the Hartman Value Profile) and is does not rely on self-reporting. Number 3 enables us to measure soft-skills such as emotional intelligence, empathy, strategic thinking - which translates into being able to reliably measure and predict performance in particular roles such as leadership, management etc.

Most importantly, it enables us to uncover a person’s natural talents, which is their key to fulfillment, higher levels of performance, and the often elusive 'meaning and purpose' that the right kind of role and can provide.

When coaching - the combination of all three shows us a person's areas of innate strength (rather than skill) - which is the place to focus on and use when creating change. Self-awareness is key - and I believe these assessments are the best 'self-awareness' tools on the market.” (Paul Coughlin)

StrengthsFinder 2.0 provides great insight to clients. Every time I have used it, the impact was impressive and very empowering.” (Katerina Kanelidou)

“I would have to second Katerina’s vote. StrengthsFinder is a great way to give clients clarity into strengths they weren’t aware of because our talents to us are nature. It can also help build the foundation for future coaching sessions.” (Jasmine Goris)

“I like to keep the life balance wheel handy because it’s simple and yet highly effective in uncovering where we are at present, just as quickly as we can uncover where we want to focus or move forward in our lives.” (Shontay Dumas)

“Two—I have a cultural diagnostic by Human Synergistics I use with teams that is fantastic! And it doesn’t label people!! And I have an eight question new client diagnostic that finds where people currently are with their goals/wants/needs/dreams. Why do I used them? It takes the temperature where people are for the moment and helps them to open the dialogue for where they want to go (and more but no room to fill in).” (Tammy Redmon)

“1. I use the life wheel—very true, as Shontay says very handy. 2. I use a fantastic tool called “Inner Engineering”—unique as very few coaches use this tool! But very powerful!” (Sonia Sant)

“I use Angeles Arien’s ‘Preferential Shape Test’…meets the diversity of all with multi-cultural perspectives. It brings out full areas for reflection, focus, discussion, decision, and change.” (Janet Ver)

Would you agree or disagree? What would you add to this list…and why? We’d love to know—leave a response below or join the conversation at

Monday, January 16, 2012

The “Power of Three” Coaching Brand Challenge

The below post is by Brenda Bence, 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 recently ran across a fascinating article about “The Power of Three.” The basic premise of the article is that three is an important – and almost ‘mystical’ – number for a whole host of reasons.

Here are just a few:
  • Three shows up in mythology: three fates, three muses, three graces.
  • Three is a prevalent component of fairy tales: three wishes, three little pigs, three bears.
  • Three is enough to create a series – a pattern of cause and effect.
  • There are three stages of truth: first a concept is rejected, second it is violently opposed, third it is accepted as self-evident.
  • Three is a basic structure of life: carbohydrates, protein, fat: electron, proton, neutron.
  • There are three dimensions of time: past, present, future.
  • And three forms the basic structure of stories: beginning, middle, end.
Interesting, isn’t it?

So, as we enter a new year, I figured we could benefit from this same ‘Power of Three’ concept to look back and reflect on your brand building efforts as a coach in 2011.

If you joined us at the ICF Conference in Las Vegas in September 2011, you’ll know that I define your “brand” as “the way you want clients to perceive, think, and feel about you as a coach.”  With that definition in mind, here are a few “three-related” questions for reflection…
  • What are the three biggest actions you took in 2011 that strengthened your brand as a coach the most?
  • Knowing what you know now, what three branding actions would you have done differently in 2011 if you could do them over again?
  • Reflecting on your answers to the questions above, what three actions will you take in 2012 to grow your brand as a coach even further?
Let’s share the learning!

(Of course, after you’ve given these questions some thought, I would also encourage you to take time out and thank at least three people who have helped you build your brand this year. Who would that be for you?)

Brenda Bence
Brenda Bence is an experienced senior executive coach, dynamic trainer and speaker, internationally-recognized branding expert, and author of four award-winning corporate and personal branding books.

With an MBA from Harvard Business School, Brenda spent the first 20 years of her career building mega brands for Fortune 100 companies, where she was a senior executive responsible for billion-dollar businesses across four continents and 50 countries.

In 2002, Brenda left the corporate world and founded BDA International. Now, with clients that span the globe and with offices in both the U.S. and Asia, Brenda travels the world speaking, training, and coaching individuals, entrepreneurs, and corporations to greater success through creative yet practical brand development.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Letting Go Letting Go

SIG  Energy Work and Coaching: The Next Wave Presenter: Rhona Post, MCC
When: Third Monday of Every Month, January 16 2012
Virtual +1.212.457.9879
Pin: 622186#
Title:  Letting Go Letting Go 

Welcome to the Energy Work and Coaching SIG where coaches from all over the world bring their knowledge and wisdom of natural and energy healing to their coaching practice.  Our SIG participants are interested in deepening their skills in various coaching competencies including cultivating a centered presence, powerful communication and listening.

December’s topic was Holding Patterns--how what we hold onto holds onto us. We explored how something innocuous like waiting in an airplane that is being forced to circle the airport (holding pattern) can ignite a variety of emotional, physical and psychological responses.

During the 2011 SIG sessions we got underneath our story lines to observe the real drivers that pull or push us in one direction or another. Why? Because we’re interested in bridging our own four aspects, mind, body, spirit and emotions, and learning creative ways to better assist our clients incorporate their four aspects.

January’s call is an invitation to investigate the art and science of Letting Go so that we can bring more of ourselves to the 2012 party.
Rhona Post, MCC

Whether you approach a new year on tiptoes or throw
yourself fully into the month, how can you make the process of Letting Go more joyous for yourself and others? Letting go is not for sissies, as it requires a release of control. Our January topic is multi -faceted topic and it will arouse excitement and anxiety. For more information on how you can incorporate healing in your coaching practice, contact Rhona Post, The Healer Coach, at or by phone at +1.941.554.8466.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Coaching study findings to be released during International Coaching Week

History was made five years ago when the groundbreaking ICF Global Coaching Study was released, providing the coaching industry a global perspective and valuable baseline data on the coaching profession as a whole. This “first look” at the life of the industry was considered one of the largest pieces of research undertaken prior to that time and provided insight into some of the key issues facing the coaching industry at that time.

And in only a matter of weeks, history will be made again when findings from the greatly anticipated follow-up to the 2007 ICF Global Coaching Study will be released during International Coaching Week. Like its predecessor, the 2012 ICF Global Coaching Study was commissioned by the ICF and undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). It is one of the most ambitious pieces of global industry research ever conducted on the field of professional coaching.

In the six months of 2011 it was conducted, 12,133 responses were received from coaching professionals across 117 countries [the 2007 study saw 5,415 respondents across 76 countries].

The findings from the new study will prove especially useful in highlighting the growth of the coaching industry and uncovering those trends that have emerged over the last five years.
Findings will be released throughout International Coaching Week, February 5-11. Those who participated in the study can expect to receive an advance copy of the Executive Summary at that time.

Later that week, a copy of the Executive Summary will be made available at Bookmark that link for the most up-to-date information regarding the 2012 ICF Global Coaching Study. And, be sure to sign up to receive the latest ICF press releases directly in your inbox as the ICF plans to release findings to the press throughout International Coaching Week.

In addition to the release of this research, special presentations around the study findings will be held at both ICF international and regional events around the world. Look for more information on these appearances throughout 2012.

Questions about the study? Contact the ICF at

Monday, January 9, 2012

Pricing a blended coaching offering

I have just about begun to familiarize myself with the world of coaching and the possibilities it has to offer are exceptional and so very energizing!
What has been playing on my mind of late, is the possibility of providing blended coaching.

I have been in the field of learning and development for over 13 years now and I can see that blended learning has never been taken as seriously as it is today. We talk about a learning continuum and various ways in which the same skill or topic gets reinforced in the life of an individual, through various media.

Applying that construct to coaching, I have been thinking what it would be like if we were to offer our clients, a blended coaching model and have a differentiated pricing for that.

I know many of us might argue that well, that is what we have been doing all this while though the question I have to ask, really, is how does your blended coaching model then impact your pricing model?

From what I understand, most coaches still charge per hour of coaching, or per set of classes. Some even offer free trial classes, which makes a lot of sense. How about we become purposeful about the way we coach? We all know the implications of varied learning styles – the fact that different people respond better to different forms of learning. Maybe we have data to prove that tele-coaching is the most effective – maybe we don’t. I am still learning so would love to hear from the people out there who are much more aware about this field.

What would I want to offer to my clients? A varied experience which is predictable and does not make me question the amount of time I spend on a client.

Let’s say, we start with a tele-coaching session, which is usually a free or optimally charged trial session. If the next class is a week later, we could consider offering to our client, depending on their openness to this, of course, a daily or twice / thrice a week text or a daily ping on chat or a daily email (I would avoid a daily call) – whichever works most for them.

This would reinforce some things that have been discussed, keep the discussion alive in the mind of the coachee and also remind them that needed to do some work which will help them achieve their goal. Elliott Masie refers to this part of coaching as Nano-Coaching. I think it is a powerful way of providing the client a window to reach out, a window to think and a moment to follow through.

I would perhaps add a fraction of my cost on top of the amount I would charge for the tele-coaching in case a client would like to go for this kind of a blended coaching model.

Some options might look as follows:
  1. Weekly teleclass costs ‘x’ per week (for an hour long class or whatever duration is agreed upon)
  2. Weekly teleclass + contact twice a week via one chosen mode of communication costs ‘x’ + ‘y’ a week
  3. Weekly teleclass + daily contact via a blend of options costs ‘x’ + ‘z’ a week
What other pricing models do we have in prevalence? Any best practices / learning from practioners?
Namrata Arora

Namrata Arora is a learning and development professional and has been working with MNCs for over 13 years in India. She has been involved in various aspects of learning and development from learning design, development and evaluation to learning organization design, learning strategy and innovation. Namrata is passionate about issues related to women and is an active member of women related forums in her organization and in her city. She is currently pursuing a coaching certification course from ICA and intends to specialize in coaching working women who go through choosing to take up alternate careers or give up their careers owing to their personal circumstances. You can follow Namrata at or reach her at

Friday, January 6, 2012

There is no try – for a Happy New Year!

I gave up on New Year's Resolutions years ago.  It's not that I'm a pessimist; it's just that it never worked!

You see, I always thought that New Year's Resolutions was about giving up stuff, and trying to do things differently.

So I would write the list.  Does this sound familiar?
  • Stop eating junk food.
  • Watch less television.
  • Read a book a week.
  • Give up smoking.
  • Get healthier.
  • Get a better job.
  • And so on…..
And it never worked.

What's the problem?  Well, this list, or any list like it, is just too general, too negative and not at all easy to follow.

Then I realized that the story I was telling myself was looking at the past critically, but not really creating a new story for the future.   You see, if you want make positive change, you need to create a new story.  And that story needs to be encouraging, specific and uplifting.

Here's an example of a New Year's Re-Story!

2012 will be magnificent.  I will embrace the abundance in my life and welcome a healthy, fulfilled and enriched version of me! This means:

  • I will exercise regularly – walk my dog twice a day and go to Zumba classes 3 times a week (fill in your routine here!).
  • I will continue to read books that feed and encourage my creativity – (list 5 books here!).
  • I will cook with my kids regularly and broaden our healthy choices with more salads and fresh fruit, and home baked cakes and cookies for treats!
  • I will explore the following business opportunities (list here those ideas that you haven't looked into fully yet!).
Lisa Bloom, PCC
Do you see the difference?

Most importantly, remember the wise words of Yoda, "do or do not, there is no try!"

Lisa Bloom, PCC is founder of Story Coach Inc. and the Certified Story Coach Program.  Download her ebook ‘Using Stories to Get Great Clients’ at

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Creating a new habit for the New Year

Some researchers say it takes as little as 21 days for a habit to form (this certainly depends on the person, and perhaps more importantly, on the habit).
Regardless, forming a habit it strictly that: you have the power to start (or break) habits. The start of New Year often has people thinking about changes they want to make in their lives. Many a good-intentioned resolution winds up being lost or forgotten in the busyness of day-to-day life.

However, if you were to do something differently in 2012, and you were to begin today, you could (potentially, or at least be well on your way to…) have a habit made of this action before January is over. Pretty great thought, huh?

What is something you would want to make a habit of in 2012? Maybe it’s something like daily journaling, working on/updating your business or marketing plan one more hour per week, or meeting a coaching peer for lunch at least once a week for accountability purposes.

No matter what it is for you, start today and make a goal to stick with it for the next 21 days—just to see what happens.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Take your life from good to great in 2012...

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.

Do you know what determines absolutely everything in your life?

Every thought, every feeling, every person, every event is the result of your energetic state of being. Who you are, what you have and what you do is directly linked to how you show up energetically to the world. It is your vibrational state, your energy which resonates out into the world.

Your energy is comprised of your physical body’s energy, your emotional and mental energy and the energetic properties of your soul itself. It is the most precious asset you have. It determines everything you experience. The quality of your energy determines the quality of your life and most importantly you can change your energy and change your world.
Unfortunately, most of us are unaware of this and we just let it all happen unconsciously. We don’t treat our energy with much love or respect. We allow the state of our physical body, our emotions and our thoughts be affected by our external environment. We put other people first. We say what we don’t mean. We impersonate ourselves. We follow paths that are not aligned with our soul purpose, or even what we really want. We can end up in a life we don’t want to lead, surrounded by people who don’t support the truth of who we really are. Our energy becomes blocked and our life reflects this mess.

Don’t let this happen to you. Choose a different path and take good care of your energy. What would your life be like if you took better care of your energy? If you had more energy to invest in your relationships, your coaching business and your life? If you didn’t leak energy on being the coach you think you should be and became authentically who you already are?

You can’t manifest what you want if your energy is a mess. The simple truth is the more you bring your energy into alignment with your authentic self, the easier life gets. You will attract more abundance.You will resonate clearly. You will re-ignite your passion, come out from behind yourself and stand in your truth.
Jayne Warrilow
You are an energetic being. It is time to learn more about your energy so you can come into alignment with your thoughts, emotions and soul. It is time to get out of your head and into your body, to bring your thoughts, words and actions into vibrational integrity. Time to become all that you can be... and take your life from good to great.

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: