Thursday, March 29, 2007

The ICA Coaching Process #2

The second class in this course was held on Wednesday, March 28, 2007. We started the class talking about what we have learned. It was brought up that there is a phase process to coaching. There are patterns that will happen in coaching relationships. Again the “Quitting Phase” was brought up and how important it is to keep the vision and keep focused on the goal. It was brought up that sometimes the client will take the coach in a new direction and what should we do with this in coaching. I feel like it is ok to coach on the new area but then try to revisit the old goal and bring them back to the other incase they are avoiding that issue. It was also brought up that we need to trust our instincts…if we feel like we are being pulled away from the goal we can address that.

This was a continual theme throughout the class. It seems that maybe this ‘getting away’ from what was originally being coached is somewhat ‘normal’, if you want to call it that. We as coaches need to have tools that bring the coaching back to the main goal and what surrounds that. Sometimes dealing with some immediate pressing things is necessary to help the client get back to their goal.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Creating Confidence #2

The second class in this course was held on Wednesday, March 28, 2007. We started out talking about writing our Bio’s. I already had mine completed long before this class so I wasn’t overly engaged in this aspect of the class. I definitely see the benefits to having a Bio which is why I did it in the first place. We talked about the value of having a niche. This too I have already established.

We discussed market research, knowing what you are offering and to who. The conversation was very much geared toward business coaching and the dynamics of coaching within an organization. This just doesn’t fit with what I do or plan to do ever. Angela shared some strategies to increasing ones coaching business within an organization. So far I have been disappointed in this course. I haven’t been able to connect with what is being discussed. I wasn’t really hearing much about creating confidence.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Targeted Marketing #1

The first class of this course was held on Tuesday, March 27, 2007. The theory of ‘targeted marketing’: What is the benefit of having a niche? You are more likely to get their attention to be coached because you have hit an area that would resonate with them. We get more focused on our own attention in that area (reading, info we take in etc.). We can truly enthuse and inspire others because we are passionate about that area.

Having a niche gives us a marketing focus as well as a coaching focus. We need to ‘research’ in order to determine if there is a need for a particular niche, is it too narrow or not pinpointed enough.

Based on what I was hearing in the class today I believe that it is valuable to have a fairly specific niche. I have had a very specific niche from day one, mainly because I heard a need. My niche is women who have been sexually betrayed by their husband. I feel my role as a coach to these women is to offer support and a listening ear as well as to give guidance in helping them to find their voice and set up appropriate boundaries in their marriage in order for them to rebuild their marriage after the betrayal. Many of these women have lost, or never had, their identity and through coaching they begin to develop that side of themselves.

I shared in class what my niche is and was affirmed that I have done a good job in defining my niche. Karen used the example that if some one heard about what I do they would immediately know if I was a good match for themselves/friends/others. They would either refer me or they wouldn’t there isn’t really a gray area.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Power Listening #1

The first class in this course was held on Friday, March 23, 2007. The class started out discussing what it means to power listen. There were some really great observations about it meaning the presence of the coach, listening for emotions, creating a safe environment for the client. It was also brought up that asking good questions shows good listening, it lets the client know that you care about what they are saying as well as wanting to understand even deeper. Power listening is not just with our ears but with our heart. It was brought up a lot about our body energy, that power listening has to do with how present we are in our body posture. Are we alert? Does note taking help you focus? How do we get into “The Zone”? What do we do to get ourselves ready for power listening?

I am comfortable with power listening. I try to ask simple questions that will continue to draw the client out. I am pretty ok with periods of silence…it usually results in the client taken the next step in their thought process. I try to sit in a comfortable yet upright chair, I take notes on my computer because it helps me focus on key points to what they are saying so that I can be intone with what they are feeling.

What about periods of silence? Allowing silence is difficult but we need to as coaches get comfortable with silence, and even use periods of silence to get the client to say what they may be holding back on. It was brought up that you can actually let the client know that there will be times of silence and that it is ok.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Enthusing - Part 2

The second class in this course was held on Thursday, March 22, 2007. One of the best things I got out of this class was that Angela enthused us that coaching takes many forms…sometimes it looks like therapy, sometimes it looks like teaching, sometimes it is more questioning and sometimes it is enthusing. I was encouraged by this because I know that my approach to coaching, mostly due to the nature of coaching I do, is different from a lot of what I hear at ICA. I coach women who are in crisis in their marriage, I spend a lot of time encouraging, listening and just being present with their emotions. Thank you, Angela for enthusing me!

Angela shared a diagram that she uses to help people see where they devote their energy. I thought it was a good way to help our clients focus on what is important to them. I imagine that it would also be a way for them to see if something is taking their energy that they don’t want to be a priority. One of the steps in the diagram was to assign a percentage to each of the six things that they name. Where are they putting their energy? This includes where our thoughts are (if you are doing something else but your thoughts are on work…the energy is on the work). If nothing else it would be an eye opening exercise. Whatever you put your energy into you are building, whatever you don’t put your energy in will eventually die.

Going into this course I was feeling really frustrated and inadequate about my ability to enthuse. I now realize that my perception about what enthusing is was incorrect. I am so encouraged to see that enthusing is more than standing on the sidelines saying “Rah-Rah-Rah” but, rather, bringing energy to my clients by supporting them, helping them see a different perspective or helping them to feel empowered.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The ICA Coaching Process #1

The first class of this course was held on Wednesday, March 21, 2007. In discussing the ICA Coaching Process we started with the “honeymoon phase’. As in any relationship it is a learning phase, getting to know the other person as well as navigating what the relationship will be like. This triggered someone to want to talk about the “quitting zone”. This is a time when clients get exasperated and feel like they would like to just give up. How do we move them through this time? Encouraging them that it is normal to feel discouraged or enthuse them about what progress they have already made, hold the vision for them when they are unable to. Is it possible that maybe the client really does need a break? Maybe they need a new perspective or they are less energized to work on their goals.

What processes do we need to have as we move into the profession of coaching? There are a multitude of techniques and approaches to coaching. The goal is that we draw from a gamut of different ideas and create a coaching session that works for us and for our clients. Jim talked about coaching being both an art and a science. I love this idea…we have structures and processes that give us a foundation but we also can use our own lives, skills, personality, etc…to coach. Listening and Asking Questions. We as the coach should only talk 20% of the time and listen 80%.

The class was summed up in focusing on what we think of people, what we bring because of our own experience, assumptions or judgments. How can we be aware of these things and use them (or not use them) to be effective coaches?

Creating Confidence #1

This first class in this course was held on Wednesday, March 21, 2007. When we lack confidence then we may begin to doubt ourselves, our abilities and choices. Very often we lack confidence because we are so self focused…it’s all about me. We may feel judged by others and feel like we have to do/say the right thing.

Confidence brings up thoughts of feeling safe, acknowledged and sure. Once we have an awareness of what our value is then we can move to a new level of confidence. How do we create value? For me, I feel like my coaching has value because there are so many women who can benefit from the service I offer. There are so many co-dependent scared women who need someone to help them find their voice, help them discover that they have value no matter what their husband did to betray them.

It’s ‘funny’ that the class focused so much on public speaking…I think we can have confidence or lack confidence in things much smaller than public speaking. I’m thinking about clients I have that just struggle with making a simple decision, always second guessing what they think they should do/say.

I am curious where the next two classes will go. I felt like the conversation got a little ‘stuck’. I’ll just leave it at that for now and see what happens next class.

Creating Action #2

The second class in this course was held on Wednesday, March 21, 2007. We had two assignments to complete from the last class. One was to do a success life line which I worked on and found that most of my early life successes were hard to think of but from high school to the present I was able to come up with quite a few. Most of my success has been due to just being a good person and making good choices. I didn’t find that I had developed any particular skills that helped me accomplish these things. The second assignment was to write an affirmation for ourselves and I used one that I have used for the last 11 years, a Bible verse: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14

We began the class by sharing our affirmations and talking about how we can use affirmations with our clients. Affirmations are in a language that conveys that we are already doing it. We can use affirmations with our clients to help them set the tone for the day. To say “Today I am going to strive for patience with my toddler”, is a reminder of our focused for the day. Someone gave the idea of using a symbol that represents the affirmation. I like this idea because it keeps the affirmation for them…it isn’t for others to read and comment on but rather a moment of encouragement for the client.

We also talked about ‘success life lines’. One way to use this with clients is to break it up into decades (birth to 10, 10-20, etc.). We can also break it up into work success and personal success. We can also make it topic specific (i.e. writing successes, parenting successes). Many people talked about how they have used this with their families to celebrate what they have done as a family.

We ended by talking about ‘role models’. Many people shared about their role models. I was reminded of the value of role models in our society. I think so often we get caught up in doing it all ourselves and doing it our way. I know that I have a great role model in my mother and it made me think about my own girls and how I will affect their lives when they are adults. Will they think of me the same way I think of my own mother? It has made me more aware of wanting to be sure that I am a good role model of a strong, happy, Christ-like woman in hopes that my girls will want to be the same.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Enthusing - Part 1

This first class in the course was held on Thursday, March 15, 2007. We began by defining what enthusing is: energize, motivate, inspire. It comes from the Greek word meaning “From God”. It can apply to us physically and mentally and emotionally. Why do we as adults lose the sheer delight in life? Children live in the moment whereas adults tend to be thinking about what’s to come. Children also have more imagination and as adults we tend to be more realists.

As a coach we can bring our clients to a ‘childlike’ moment. How do we create a moment when all is possible for our clients? Sometimes it may be just by being the person who believes that they are capable of more than what they think they are capable of.

We talked about how well we do this for ourselves. I think I have a lot of faith in my abilities, and it grows everyday. I feel I am a positive person, generally. The concept of enthusing is a stretch for me. When I read the module and hear people talking about enthusing it seems very ‘cheerleaderish – rah, rah, rah’ and this is just not me. I feel I can encourage and support others well but the whole idea of energizing doesn’t fit for me. I am asking myself, “How do I develop a more enthusiastic approach?”

The conversation that we had in class was much more focused on shifting perspective, encouraging, supporting. If these are qualities of enthusing then maybe I do enthuse others. I was thinking of enthusing in a much ‘peppier’ way. I think I will re-frame my perspective about enthusing.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Peer Coaching #2

The second class to this course was held on Wednesday, March 14, 2007. There was a lot of controversy about the peer coaching sessions. Can they be e-coaching sessions and is 30 minutes appropriate? I was under the understanding that e-coaching was not acceptable and that the sessions needed to be about 60 minutes. I think that even if the sessions only have to be 30 minutes that I will still strive to be at about 60 minutes. I also feel that e-coaching doesn’t give enough training and practice in coaching and I will absolutely not e-coach for my peer coaching. It seems like it is ‘getting out of’ fulfilling the requirements.

There has been a lot of controversy about if you need to ‘blog’. I was under the understanding that we needed to blog our classes and learning process and I have heard from others that we did not have to blog only that we had to keep notes for assessment. Jim also said in this class that we really don’t need to post on the discussion board any longer but rather now turn to blogging instead.

The research paper was brought up as well in this class. Summary, define terms, interview or read materials for background and research data (what’s known), what’s the tie in to my research paper, why coaching is useful in that arena, conclusion and bibliography.

I was feeling a little overwhelmed with feeling like I’m going to miss something for graduation…there seems to be a lot of confusion. The new realization of connecting with other blogs has me feeling lost. The fear of missing something has increased greatly in the last 30 minutes.

Creating Action #1

The first class in this course was held on Wednesday, March 14, 2007. The biggest thing I got from the reading material was to focus on the clients strengths before turning to what the barriers or roadblocks are, and to talk about the barriers and roadblocks rather than the client’s weaknesses. I have actually gone back and changed my client information sheet to reflect ‘barriers and roadblocks’ instead of weaknesses.

Through sharing our own top 10 strengths we were able to see what a great exercise this would be for our clients. Many people shared the process that they went through to determine their strengths and how life changing the realization of these strengths were for them, thus magnifying how important it is for us to do this with our clients. We so often have a hard time valuing what we are good at, either we don’t feel worthy or else we don’t want to ‘toot our own horn’. Why is it necessary to know our strengths? Our strengths can help us overcome hard times in life, increase confidence, build self-worth which gives hope, helps us learn how to celebrate ourselves.

This was a good class filled with ways to build on our successes and strengths so propel us into continued action and to help our clients move forward in continued action as well.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Goal Setting #2

This class was held on Wednesday, March 07, 2007. Class began today with discussing the idea of changing the ‘language’ you use when setting goals. It seems that people get hung up on ‘setting goals’ and it may be helpful to focus more on what the client wants to accomplish and moving forward from there. How much time is spent with clients talking about goals? For me the sessions revolve around the overall goal. I don’t spend a lot of time talking about the actual goal but more what has been occurring throughout the week that moves towards the goal. A lot of the people in my class are working with very measurable goals…my clients are dealing with more long term goals that are not measurable by practical means but rather are achieved through greater satisfaction or contentment in life.

At the end of class we experienced a ‘goal setting’ coaching session. As the facilitator was calling on someone with a goal and someone who was willing to coach I was feeling a bit intimidated about volunteering. Finally a couple of people volunteered to do this and I felt like it was weird. The whole thing seemed too contrived and uncomfortable…the feedback from the class was very positive and it makes me wonder what I am missing. I can’t see myself having my client close their eyes and visualize my little ‘story’. I guess I need to formulate how I will help my clients set their goals in my own style. I think I will tend to do this through asking questions, not visual meditation.