Monday, April 30, 2012

Holding onto motivation

Last month, we asked our Facebook fans, “how do you stay motivated?” Take a look below to see how our Facebook fans responded:
  • “By always asking myself: ‘why is it important?’ again and again…” (Zoran Ilic)
  • “Walking while others are driving…driving while others are flying…flying while others are cruising…and enjoying life. And your age is the second best motivator for you to do more good.” (Bongani Nkumane)
  • “A clear vision…” (Camil El Khoury)
  • “Yes, I agree with Camil, a clear vision and my personal life mission.” (Fernando Moyano)
  • “Be curious…you’ll find motivation wherever you look.” (Sergio Melich)
  • “By visiting ICF Conferences! That refills my batteries.” (Martin Jessen)
  • “Reflecting on how far I’ve come.” (Brian Slater)
  • “By being selfless but still looking inside to find beautiful discoveries each day!” (Jaya Bhateja)
  • “Read!!!!!!” (Joe Cross)
What about you? What keeps you motivated? We’d love to know—leave a response below or join the conversation at

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Lone Coach

Individual, independent career coaches, executive coaches and life coaches make an interesting feature in the varied coaching landscape. They need to compete against much larger organisations, but they have the opportunity to provide complementary services. But there are pitfalls too.

It was a deliberate choice, eight years ago, to try it on my own and set up my own individual coaching service. First of all, I was given the opportunity and a carte blanche by a small consultancy in London. Secondly, I knew I could set up something that was different, filling in a need in the market that was left untouched so far.

As with many independent executive coaches, my clients chose me as much for what I am as for what I am not. I can work discretely, without my clients’ colleagues, bosses or even their PAs knowing what I am there for. Independent coaches can offer a service that is totally bespoke. My clients know that they work with me and only me; they can be assured their account will not be handed down to a more junior person after one or two meetings. When they work with me, clients know they will not have to study any set theory and they are not pushed in a fixed programme.

However fascinating and liberating, independent coaches have no immediate colleagues or bosses to fall back on. But by building your own support system, you end up with one that is very personal to you. You have to go the extra mile to achieve such a support system, but the extra effort leads to a very satisfied feeling about it. There are no safety nets and we don’t always work with fixed tried and tested programmes that have been rolled out many, many times. To me, that keeps me on my toes. Having to make it happen from scratch with every new client is exciting and keeps routine at bay. I provide my own reward system but my clients are very positive in their feedback and it goes out to me and to me alone. All the collateral jobs, like administration, PR, networking, account management and sales are mine. Being my own boss, I am doing them with pleasure because I have a very good sense of the direct effect of them. But I get all the praise and feedback.

Independent coaches have to be extremely flexible and adaptable and I feel we can offer a very high quality and standard. Never once have I felt small against the big boys: we offer mostly similar services, but also quite different ones. However, I do notice I have started to get more and more clients, individuals and companies, who say they are tired of working with those large organisations with all their overwhelming sales and networking abilities and their heavy handed fixed programmes.

Most of my clients are stuck in a rut, they are ambitious but are failing to materialise their ambitions and they don’t understand why. Their ambitions are personal, and so are their struggles with themselves and with the competition for the top job. Bringing me on board, away from the peering eyes of their competing peers causes the breakthrough that baffles everyone, not in the least themselves. Being slightly different than most of their colleagues they had side-tracked themselves. They are lone rangers.

But without us lone ranger coaches they might never have found the way up again.
Peter Sioen
Peter Sioen, Masters in Psychological and Pedagogical Sciences, is an career, executive and life coach in London, UK. He developed and runs the successful Client Centred Coaching service at Mvantage with clients being middle and senior managers and management teams in medium to very large organisations. His self-coaching manual is currently in preparation with one of the UK’s major publishers. Peter has a background in grassroots work with the socio-economically deprived and is an advocate for progressive and ethical entrepreneurship, self-development and commercial value of diversity. Learn more at;; and/or follow Peter on Twitter (@petersioen).

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Give these online resources a whirl!

The Internet is full of all sorts of resources and tools that offer marketing and public relations suggestions and solutions. Below you will find links to pages we find useful—perhaps you will find one or two beneficial to your practice!
  • Mashable: This online news site is dedicated to covering digital culture, social media, and technology. Mashable is an excellent source for articles and infographics, including these recent reads: like Which social network should you use – and when? and How to Perfect Your Elevator Pitch.
  • Social Mention: This website allows for real time social media search and analysis. Conduct real time searches to see where/when your brand (or any other search term you choose) is used in social media. You can also set alerts when your search terms are picked up across social media channels. This tool is an excellent means of tracking your brand on the web.
  • Hootsuite: This online source is the leading social media dashboard used to manage and measure your social networks. If you post messages across multiple social media channels, this is an excellent source for scheduling posts in a single, easy-to-use location.
What online tools and resources do you find beneficial? Share them with us here or over on Facebook!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wrestling with “I Don’t Know”

There you are – you’ve asked what you think is a great, insightful question. You sit back in your coaching chair, looking forward to hearing what your client has to say, and then comes the response: “I don’t know.”

I doubt there is a coach anywhere who hasn’t at some point been faced with a client’s blank stare and the words “I don’t know” in response to a challenging question.  (Of course, if you’re asking powerful questions, you probably should face a few “I don’t knows” once in a while!)

So, what do you say in that kind of situation? Often, the client is just temporarily stuck and unable to get past a self-judgment. Sometimes, it just takes a completely different question or simply phrasing the question in a slightly different way to help your client find a solution or to begin to work through the problem.

Here are a few possible answers and techniques to the “I don’t know” response that have proven helpful over the years.
  • “Who does know?”  (Most of the time, the client will smile, laugh, and say “I guess I do.”)
  • “How could you find out?”
  • “Let me challenge that ... do you really not know?” (said with a smile)
  • “Something is telling me you really do know – maybe the answer is just not bubbling up for you right now. How could you get at that answer that lies deep inside?”
  • “Maybe you don’t know [that specific point], but what do you know that’s related to that situation?”
  • “If you don’t know, who else do you know who might?”
  • “If your [father, mother, boss, colleague, daughter, et al] were here, what would they say?”
  • “If the wisest person you know were here with us right now, how would that person respond?”
  • Repeat the question again.
  • Remain silent.
Which ones of these have you tried? What were the outcomes? What other techniques or questions have you used with success? Please share below and help us build each other’s coaching tool chests!
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, April 13, 2012

Ready, set, organize!

April is Records and Information Management Month. Do your part by taking a look at your records—are they organized? Kept efficiently? Disposed of properly? Take some time this month to get a better grip on your records.
Organized records and efficient information management is key to increasing your overall productivity. It is also beneficial for better performance, encouraging free thinking and better brainstorming, and thus, better results.

Tips for better organization of your records:
  • Include filing and record management as part of your weekly (or even daily) schedule. This will help you to avoid being lost in a mountain of files and will allow you to be better organized and know exactly where items are exactly when you need them.
  • Peruse existing files and organize them. Take time to label or color code documents by type—are there files you use more than others? Files you only use for reference? Files you don’t use at all anymore? Organize them in a way that makes sense to you and dispose of those files you no longer need in an appropriate manner.
  • Don’t forget about digital files! They are just as important to keep organized.
What are your tips for better record and information management organization?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cleaning your own temple first: a primer for coaches (part two)

Energy Work and Coaching Community of Practice
Led by Rhona Post, MA, MCC
When: April 16, 2012

In March, we began the discussion of what it means to get our acts together so that when we meet with clients, we can meet them where they are, and be confident that we will bear witness to their experience, fully present to what is being shared. 

The funny thing about being present is that it is not a thing, rather it is a way of being, spacious and lucid, a result of our intention to consistently recognize and release stories to which we are attached. This skill is built over time employing various practices, including mindfulness meditation and clutter clearing.

First you have to recognize that you’ve got some cleaning to do; then you have to start the practice. Cleaning our own temples first is not a psychological exercise.  It requires a felt experience, our ability to observe our emotional, physical, spiritual and even intellectual clutter. Clutter can obscure all our sense faculties and reduce our ability to be spacious and whole. 

No matter how much control we exert to contain/avoid/negate the impact of our stories on others, the containment and control create mental agitation/stress. We’re just so impervious to our own stress that we don’t realize how spacious we can be until we eliminate the stressor.
Rhona Post

I’m inviting my coaching colleagues to bring their clutter cleaning practices to the conversation on Monday, April 16th. What are some of your best tools, including energetic modalities you use to keep your temple clean? The more the merrier on these calls.

For more Information on healer coaching,  contact Rhona Post: or by email at

Monday, April 9, 2012

April - Spring is here!

Spring has certainly arrived.Warmer weather, flowers everywhere and a fresh feeling in the air.

Whether you are celebrating Easter or Passover or any other seasonal festival, the chances are you've been doing some cleaning and sorting, organizing and maybe disposing.
I love that it's the perfect opportunity to think about what we really need; what we don't have space for and what we can let go of.

It seems to me that this is so important when we apply it to running a business.

It's also what happens in a good coaching session.

I want to explore this on a few levels.  Will you join me?

So let's take your physical space.  How do you feel when you go into your office and sit down to work? 
Is the space comfortable and clutter free? 
Do you feel stressed about the filing you need to do or the drawers filled with papers that you haven't yet sorted? 
Does your office become a storage place for toys, bags or junk belonging to other members of the family?  I can really relate to this one!

And let's consider your mental and emotional space.Are you living in stories of stress and overwhelm?
Do you have a scarcity mindset – are you worried about having enough income or the rising costs of your business and life?
Do you work too hard and support your clients, family and friends without considering your own needs?

Well, spring is here.
It's time to clean up your life!

Here are 2 simple ideas – no excuses, do it today!
  1. Take a morning to sort out your physical space.  Clean out the drawers, tidy your table and get rid of the items that should not be there.  You've been avoiding this forever, but it'll only take a few hours to sort out. 
  2. Acknowledge that we are living in an abundant universe.  We don't have to create abundance, we simply have to recognize and open up to what is already there.  Once you truly accept this, you're life and business will change, promise!!!
Lisa Bloom, PCC
Take a walk, breathe in the beautiful sounds and scents of spring, and create the story of your perfect spring day – rebirth, re-energize and celebrate as your story creates your reality!

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

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Time to say thanks!

In the United States, April is considered National Volunteer Month. Though our reach is far beyond the US, the ICF would like to pause and thank all ICF volunteers this month. If it weren’t for your tireless efforts, countless hours, and imagination, the ICF would not be where it is today. So whether you currently serve on a committee, a Board of Directors (global or chapter level), or in some other capacity, or you have served the ICF in some way, shape, or form in the past, know that you are appreciated. We are forever grateful for you.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Learn how to listen so that others can do the same

"Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery." Dr. Joyce Brothers

There is a big difference between being heard and being listened to. In any organization, it is fundamental that any decision or plan that is communicated, to be efficiently applied on time. However, my practical experience in business shows that all this can only be achieved with one cost, a cost that fewer and fewer managers are willing to pay for. Working with Alex as a coach, has given me the chance to observe the impact of turning a work environment into a complete “business machine.”
He was a manager whose decisions and actions were exclusively based on lists: of the tasks that must be fulfilled, of deadlines, programs etc. Almost every employee had a stash of papers on the desk with every task that must be finished by the end of the day. Usually, tasks were fulfilled and everyone always had something to do, leaving little time for communication or other explanations. The business was running like a machine. Sometimes, employees had to work twice as much, making them think only about ways of diminishing that stash of papers, without encouraging them to be creative or to bring new ideas…At one point however, this mechanism started to fall apart, as people became used with the work at the office, but with a pointless job as well. Always worrying about the work that they had to do left little time to focus on efficiency or bringing new clients. Nobody was stressed because there was no such thing as a priority; everyone always received an email or a list with all the things that they had to do, but without having a global view of the situation.

The business continued with this working system until Alex asked his key employees, as always, to finish a set of documents for the next day. But the deadline was not respected because everyone still had to finish the work that was left from the previous days when they couldn’t finish every task. But Alex became aware of the situation the next day, when he was supposed to use the required documents for an important press release. It was then when Alex realized that he was not being listened by his people.

There is, indeed, a big difference between being heard and being listened, but most people are too busy to notice it. In any successful business, every decision, action or even minute counts. Many managers believe that there is not enough time to reflect on what should be improved and waste important resources on making other people act on time. It’s easier to be heard, to teach people how to react mechanically, without showing them the big picture, but on a long term, this system will undoubtedly fail, making people lose their potential or the possibility to build performance. An easy, but inefficient way to run a business, is also the one in which you witness peoples’ regress, who prove that they don’t listen, and do nothing about it because you think “that’s just the way they are”. But without action, they will be like that for a long time.

In short, how can you put your soul into logic? How can you afford to invest in feedback or in follow-up sessions where you check what has been done and what not? How can you show your employees what the company objectives are?

The biggest difference between being heard and being listened to is that in the former situation, people act from a mechanical reflex and  are not responsible for the results -  in the latter, they act because they understand certain processes and are able to make connections.
Rodica Obancea, ACC
Listening is an active process which creates the environment for development and new ideas.

So before you invest in convincing your clients to listen and buy, make sure that you convinced your team to listen and act, and in order to achieve this, you must face the situation, and see if you are being heard or…listened to!

Rodica Obancea, ACC, is passionate about change, emergence, living systems. She works within business environment, with managers, teams for achieving ambitious results. For more information, visit