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ILCT was pleased to partner with DeeAnna Merz Nagel, ILCT faculty member and Director of Havana Wellness Studio, and Online Therapy Institute, to update the Ethical Framework for the Use of Technology in Coaching.

Originally published in 2011, we offer this updated White Paper to address the rapid changes in technology, and the ethical implications, especially as more and more coaches are using technology to deliver services. Professional coaching organizations have created and updated their codes of ethics but to date, these organizations have not incorporated the use of technology into the codes or guidelines to reflect best practice. This ethical framework therefore is offered as a point of reference for governing bodies, certifying organizations, and the professional coaches these bodies and organizations represent.

You can obtain the new Framework here, and join ILCT Dean Ellen Neiley Ritter, and DeeAnna on Tuesday, April 16th for a lively discussion about it... get more details here

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An example of how I have used The Peoplemap with an executive coaching client may prove useful to demonstrate the power of this unique assessment. June (name changed) came to me for coaching. She wanted to improve on her role as Vice President of a department with a major international bank. She was very happy with her work, but having difficulty with her team. Specifically she heard subtle feedback that they often saw her as a tyrant, and that she often appeared aloof. She wanted some coaching that would help her be a better manager. 

I told her to be a better manager, she would need to learn to coach her employees rather than limit her interaction to formal supervision or managerial tasks. A good manager brings out the best in individual members so that the entire team improves. As part of my coaching, I told her about the Peoplemap and asked if she would be willing to use this tool and discuss the suggestions with me. She was very willing, having used the Myers Briggs assessment and a 360-degree assessment with her staff. I sent her the Peoplemap questionnaire, which is only 14 questions. She was amazed at the depth of insight generated from her input.  

To learn more about the PeopleMap
model and how it can benefit your
coaching practice, click here

 

 

 

June's profile showed her general tendencies to be Leader-Task personality, which is the most common combination for managers. As we reviewed the strengths and the weaknesses of her personality type, she was amazed at the accuracy and similarity to her Myers-Briggs profile. However, she commented on the user-friendly quality of this assessment. When we completed the process, she wanted to give it to her entire team.

As a Leader-Task, June's strengths made her a great manager. To improve on her goals, she used the recommendations to learn:

·    More effective communication strategies with the other personality types on her team

·    To appreciate each of their unique contributions to the team

·    To anticipate potential conflicts before they happened, so that she could address by coaching her team.

·    To accept that she was a "results-oriented" person and worked with an attitude of “get the job done.” June accepted this personality trait was both a strength and a weakness.

·    To be less resistant to change or letting go of some control. 

·    That she needed to relax with her staff more, and show them that she could appreciate her staff outside the goals, tasks and results.

We also spent time building on other training, June recently learned about Emotional Intelligence in the workplace. Apart from our coaching, she was beginning to believe that managers needed to care about the humanity of their team and not attach their value to the tasks she wanted them to complete. With the insight from the Peoplemap, she became aware that her potential weakness was overlooking the feelings of others. As a manager/coach, she could treat her staff as responsible adults, and still make place for their emotional needs for validation and a sense of belonging in the workplace. 

An effective team is like a family, and relationships will periodically manifest personality conflicts. The Peoplemap can help an entire team understand each member's unique strengths, Achilles heels, and how to communicate and interact with that understanding. June eventually gave the Peoplemap to her whole team, and on subsequent conference calls, we discussed the results. They all felt acknowledged and empowered toward working more effectively as a team. June also earned their appreciation for her openness to the willingness to change.

- Patrick Williams. Ed.D, MCC

from The Peoplemap in Action by E. Michael Lillibridge, PhD

To learn more about the PeopleMap model and how it can benefit your coaching practice, click here.

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By: Marilyn O'Hearne, MSW, MCC

Do you find yourself on the thin line of wanting to be direct without crossing the line into being too directive where you lose clients, customers, direct reports (and fail your coaching exam)? My desire to see you getting the best results and being more impactful led me to create a 7 session virtual course on this topic.

As an Executive Coach, Leadership Coach, Coach Trainer and Mentor Coach, I see other coaches and the leaders I work with struggling to find this balance. We know that the best results occur when our clients and/or direct reports come up with their own ideas and solutions rather than our telling them what to do. (This can work in personal relationships as well!)

And as a Culturally Intelligent Coach, I recognize cultural differences. I am known as a clear, concise, direct communicator. And I check in with my clients about their culture and make adjustments to my level of directness based on their culture (nationality, region, generation, ethnicity, etc.).

My last blog was on Practicing the Refresh Pause for Greater Impact and PEP in our VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) World. We crave certainty, clarity, directness. Yet besides the danger of moving to being too directive (decreasing ownership, results and impact), some confuse being direct with being rude (what is acceptable for one culture may be considered rude in another), which may result in losing clients, business, direct reports; with a negative effect on the bottom line.

Others may bully people (previous blog post) and try to excuse it by calling it “direct”. Part of the International Coach Federation definition of Direct Communication (1 of the 11 Core Coaching Competencies) is “Uses language appropriate and respectful to the client,” which is the opposite of bullying.

I offer this acronym for being DIRECT:

  • Deals with Ambiguity
  • uses Intuition
  • Recognizes Cultural Differences
  • Expands Perspectives
  • Clear, “Compassionate Edge” Feedback
  • Transforms through Metaphors

More about each of these in future blogs!  Again, this is based on the ICF  definition of Direct Communication.

“The coach creates sufficient space for the client to have equal or more communication time than the coach,” is one of the markers of Master Certified Coach (MCC) level Direct Communication.  And it works for everyone-balance the amount of time you are communicating with allowing space and time for others to communicate.  I notice a big difference in beginning (asking lots of questions) and more experienced coaches in this regard, and it was one of my reasons for creating the class.

Marilyn O'Hearne is a Master Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation. Marilyn's coaching clients report breakthrough increased PEP (Performance, Effectiveness, and Profitability, and/or Peace, Energy, and Prosperity). For 30+ years, she has facilitated development through coaching, counseling, training, writing (Renewing Your Spirit workbook, etc); teaching at universities, ILCT, and in Brazil. Marilyn’s gentle strength ("the Velvet Hammer") provides a secure foundation while challenging clients (primarily leaders and those in transition) to be their best. Visit her website for more information.

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On the loss of Michael Lillibridge, a good friend, colleague and ILCT faculty member.

I just heard the news of my dear friend and longtime teacher and coach, Dr. Michael Lillibridge’s passing. What a great friend, mentor, and buddy he was to me.   Mike was both a Licensed Psychologist and Marriage and Family Therapist, a Board Certified Coach, and Founder and President of the PeopleMap Company. I am sure many who read this took his  People Map training and Executive Coaching classes at ILCT, one of the most generous learning opportunities you could have.

I have special memories of plotting how to “save the world” at his beach house on Anna Maria Island, Florida, golfing and more. If you did not know Mike, you should learn from his legacy, which will, in part, continue with the PeopleMap assessment he developed for coaches.

This has been a year of loss for me, and with that, we all know that newness comes as well.  I share this especially for those who are nursing your own wounded hearts, and to the people who love you. This holiday season, share your “naked truth” about your grief, loss or disappointment. Invite your friends to love and support you.

If you are celebrating the holidays with a full, happy heart, reach out to those who could use a kind word and a reminder of how important they are in your life. You will both come away from those conversation feeling heard, understood and loved.

Loss at Holiday time is especially hard, but Mike’s love and devotion to his family, students, trainers and many friends will live on! Our thoughts go out to all of them at this difficult time.

Mike …I’ll sip a single malt in your honor tonight.

Patrick Williams, MCC, BCC

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By DeeAnna Merz Nagel. LMHC, BCC

Back in the day, we were all on listservs such as Yahoo Groups.  Now Facebook and Linkedin Groups have largely taken the place of other online “bulletin board” formats.   Various organizations and like-minded professionals often create groups to communicate efficiently with one another.  Once a member, you can usually be notified by email when new member activity takes place, or you may be like me and keep your Facebook open most of the workday.  Many coach groups focus on providing a place to network, share resources, find potential referrals, and even discuss cases. Yes. That is correct… discuss cases. Said differently, coaches talk about their clients in these groups.

The ICF Code of Ethics (2015) requires that coaches must “maintain the strictest levels of confidentiality with all client and sponsor information unless release is required by law” and that this should be clearly spelled out prior to the first meeting, as well as the Coaching Agreement.

Sometimes though, the person is not our client and we are seeking a referral for someone for any number of reasons. Perhaps your caseload is full or the person seeking a coach wants to work on a specific Life/Work/Wellness area that is outside your area of expertise.

Here are some points to consider when discussing client-specific information in such a Group.

  1. When asking for a possible referral, keep in mind if you name the town and state the client’s need (e.g. seeking a referral for a client who lives in Anywhere, TN.  He was recently laid off from his factory job and is seeking a career coach) then you potentially disclose enough information to identify the client.
  2. Since many coaches will conduct a short complimentary session to determine compatibility, your discussion/communications may include personal information beyond what would be necessary for referral (e.g. interested in hiring a career coach, but also made a few casual comments about health issues and inability to lose weight); sharing that information challenges the individual’s rights to privacy and should be discouraged.
  3. Even when you “blind the record” removing all identifying information, if you talk about a client (e.g. 35 year old female client who is seeking in-person transition coaching after the death of her spouse who died several months ago) you may reveal the location of the client by way of your very own email signature line. (e.g. Respectfully, Jane Coach, BCC, http://www.janecoach.net). Anyone looking up the website can see the coach’s location and begin to connect the dots.
  4. Not all colleagues follow the same code of ethics or interpret their codes similarly. Some colleagues do not understand confidentiality issues. If you are on an online group without a moderator who screens posts, a colleague may post a scenario that reveals much more than they should.
  5. Not all colleagues are ethical. Intentional or unintentional, our colleagues get involved in ethical blunders. So Jane Coach may see an interesting case description, then copy and paste the information to another colleague who is not even in the group.
  6. Clients have a right to know that their case will be discussed, formally or informally.  The most common statement I hear is, “We aren’t doing supervision.”  Peer supervision, case consultation, case supervision - in the end it boils down to telling another colleague your client’s personal business. Build consultation and supervision into your Coaching Agreement. Also consider whether recordings are being used,  and creating the boundaries so those recordings are protected.
  7. Consider not participating in groups that engage in case consultation and consider an encrypted alternative. We are approaching a time when encryption will be standard for all online communication but for now, we must practice due diligence and protect our client’s case material to the extent possible.  Encryption used to be cost prohibitive but that is not necessarily true anymore.
  8. If you decide to remain in an online group that discusses client information for the purposes of referral or consult, consider educating your colleagues about some of the issues discussed here.


I spoke specifically about online groups available through Facebook and Linkedin because many of us are members of these groups and have been for years. But these same points hold true for other social networks, forums and online methods of communication that are not encrypted. Maintain the strictest levels of confidentiality that you can for your clients.  It may not be as convenient but compare what I am saying to hearing a group of colleagues in a restaurant who are discussing cases over lunch. While they may not be revealing specifics or names, we discourage this behavior, don’t we?

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Our sincere congratulations to ILCT Founder, Dr. Patrick Williams, MCC, BCC on being one of 6 coaches inducted into the International Coach Federation's new Circle of Distinction, which celebrates the best of the coaching profession who have made their mark on ICF and the coaching profession. Pat and the other honorees will be formally inducted into the Circle of Distinction and celebrated by their coaching colleagues during the 2018 Midwest Region Coaches Conference, June 21–23, 2018, in Pittsburgh, PA.

International Coach Federation Announces Inaugural Circle of Distinction Inductees

 

Celebrating International Coaching Week

Posted by Patrick Williams on Wednesday, May 9, 2018
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The Institute for Life Coach Training Bl.. by Amy@lifecoachtraining.com - 1y ago
With a very heavy heart, ILCT is mourning the loss of Dr. Jim Vuocolo - our Director of Training, a Senior faculty member for the past 20 years, and a wonderful mentor, friend, and coach. 

Jim was a pioneer in the coaching profession - a charter member of the International Coach Federation; one of its first Master Certified Coaches; a charter member and Certified Executive Coach with the World Association of Business Coaches; a Certified Life Coach & Mid-Life Strategist; a Certified Job Loss Recovery and Career Coach; and a Certified Mentor Coach. He began coaching in 1990, training with Thomas Leonard, and has since trained thousands of coaches at ILCT, as well as CoachU. To all these endeavors, he brought his incredible sense of humor, his passion for coaching and helping others succeed, as well as his faith as a retired pastor through United Church of Christ, ordained in 1979. 

While his legacy will continue through the classes he developed, he will be sorely missed. Our love and prayers go out to his wonderful family and to all who were blessed to know and grow with him. 

RIP Jim.
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Spotlight on: Christina Rampersad, Success Beyond the Brink

Interview by: Kim Green

Christina Rampersad, the coach behind, Success Beyond the Brink says, “I used to say the worst thing is not knowing what your purpose is. But even worse than that, I realized, is knowing what your purpose is and not fulfilling it.” 

The warm yet straightforward coach knows a lot about being on the brink. She has dangled over them in her own life and reached the conclusion that what lies on the other side is either catastrophe or success. She chose success. With an impressive history of helping others overcome obstacles, Christina was a champion coach before she even knew it.

Born and raised in Harlem and Long Island, New York, she attended Pace University and soon after moved to Frankfurt, Germany. While in Germany, she met a program director for Prison Fellowship International Ministry. After forming a synergistic relationship, he hired her to be the Assistant Director of the program.  Upon returning to the United States, Christina completed her degree at Fayetteville State University and worked with domestic violence victims.  Upon graduation, she returned to New York where she served on the New York Task Force against Domestic Violence, continued graduate courses at New Brunswick Theological Seminary and designed a program that would serve as a model for international replication.

Answering the call to open a center for victims, Rampersad moved to Orlando, Florida to launch the organization she founded called V.O.I.C.E, an acronym for Victims Offenders Intervention Counseling and Education.  As the founder, Christina developed and grew the organization by partnering with key governmental, penal, ecclesiastical and community based organizations for the purpose of serving victimized offenders. The program reached inmates of all ages and at-risk youth in schools. V.O.I.C.E. was chosen by the Orange County Commissioners to serve on the Orange County Convention Center expansion project utilizing ex-offenders to help with construction and providing holistic services.  The program participants received mental health counseling, coaching, vocational rehabilitation and paid victim reparations, housing and court fees, while providing income to support their often-displaced families.

Without previously hearing the term coach associated with her work, Christina explains, “We were coaching the participants through past issues.” With gratitude, she shares, “It was the most successful program of its kind in central Florida.” In addition to working with ex-offenders and human trafficking victims, she was also working with entrepreneurs and leaders to have a further impact on those they touched. “We were helping people gain clarity of their vision and build their desired outcomes. Most of the people I served were people of faith. I wanted to help them gain the momentum to keep going forward.”

KG: What were you doing in Germany?

CR: I worked on my career, travelled in Europe, where I want to go back again.  I worked as the Assistant Director of Prison Fellowship International where I helped to establish the international headquarters and offices throughout Europe.  From Germany, I travelled to West Africa, Malta, Italy, Czechoslovakia and many other fascinating places throughout Europe with incredible people.  Upon moving back to the States, my international travels continued and included but not limited to South Africa, the Caribbean, St. Croix, and Curacao. My purpose and focus has always been to impact the lives of other and serve people of all cultures.

KG: What was your favorite place that you visited?

CR: I love Europe…London…South Africa...Hawaii and the beach… I guess my true favorite was Europe. But, my favorite place to be is wherever my family is.

KG: What did you find was the most distinct difference when you encountered people from other cultures?

CR: They are more grateful for less. Their lives are less complicated. Americans have more pressure to do more to get more. Non-Americans understand joy and the real value of life and the simplistic ways of living.  Also, I think that for other cultures, materialism is not the foundation for self-development.  Americans have been pushing for so long that it has complicated life more, creating more pressure internally, with negative consequences surrounding health, marriage and relationships.

KG: How did you find yourself studying at ILCT?

CR: During 2005, my church leader, a former ILCT master coach graduate, put me in contact with the school.  Because of my respect and trust for him, I just signed up blindly.  Once, I had gone through the foundations component. I received my Board Certified Coach (B.C.C.) designation because they took into consideration, all the coaching work that I had already accomplished.

KG: What was your greatest takeaway from studying at ILCT?

CR: Seeing it as a business and understanding the process of the coach is to draw the answers out of people. That was the A-ha! for me. The Foundations Course was very educational and allowed me to learn structure and the systems for developing a coaching system.  A coach doesn’t tell you what to do; they draw it out of you. It is very different than the work of a counselor or minister.

KG: Your business is called “Success Beyond the Brink.” I love this idea of the brink. Talk about this idea of “The Brink.”

CR: My Company’s focus is on women and leaders of faith. We lead them beyond the brink, which is the place where either catastrophe or success occurs, whether by choice or life’s unexpected and often unwanted invitation.  Our clients have either experienced overwhelming life circumstances or reached a certain level of success, yet don’t know how to get to the next level. I empower them to identify what the brink is, the barrier keeping them back, and create a success plan to break through and gain momentum. In addition, I also equip them to give back to others.

KG: Why focus on people on “The Brink”?

CR: Personally, it resonates with me and my life purpose. It is about setting people free and helping them break free. I have been at many brinks in my life; unexpected deaths, my own unexpected health brinks; my mother had a stroke, she is paralyzed on one side and now I care for her full-time in addition to my business and home-schooling. There have been so many different brinks in my life; I know what it is to feel like there’s no one around you who can help. I have been able to pull out of these life experiences, but I understand what it is to be in that place. I understand all the more how necessary it is to articulate and make success actionable. This is what makes the difference. It is my privilege to be that for other people. It is my joy is to see other people succeed…how blessed I am to witness that. It actually hurts me when others do not thrive and do what they are created to do.

KG: I know that your faith is a big part of your coaching. If it is true in Coaching that the answers lie within, how does Faith in a Higher Being fit in with Coaching?

CR: I look at it differently. God is the one who makes it all possible but I never push my beliefs on others.  I don’t push or Bible-bash them with scriptures! I don’t use the scriptures to manipulate people to get results I think are necessary. With my clients, I remain true to the coaching model where the client’s needs are the lead.  It is my understanding that God give us a purpose. He knew us before he formed us. I think that “Christian coaching” is helping to identify the God-given purposes in our lives and circumstances for the purpose of navigating our journey of life, as well as to please God.  God is accomplishing His purpose and plan through each of us. God promises an abundant life to us.  However, we must tap in and know what he wants us to do.

KG: Do you coach those who don’t believe?

CR: All the time.

KG: Can you give me an example of people you have pushed beyond the brink?

CR: There is one in particular client who is unforgettable. She was in dire straits when I met her.  She is a single mother of 5 children. She never got to finish her education and she wanted to be a poet but was overwhelmed. Her kids were not  “Leave it to Beaver” kids. They lived in Georgia, experiencing mental health and behavioral issues. Through coaching, we were able to put together a system for her to decrease stress. We put together meals services for the kids and built in time for her to write poetry, design the poems and market them. Now, she is an entrepreneur, has reengaged with acting and music, and re-enrolled in school. The children are better and she is about to move into her own home!

KG: When did you realize that working with people who were “On the brink” was your calling?

CR: The joy comes every time you see someone reach success that is defined by them. It’s all about breaking free from fear. After you see the light in their faces when they are no longer bound by emotional, financial, physical and relational shackles and they are happy and confident, I just knew this is why I live. I’ve always had a love for people and thought of them before myself.

KG: How would you describe yourself as a Coach?   

CR: Transparent, authentic and compassionate. I have no problem sharing my brinks. I hurt for people.

KG: From where you stand, what does the world need now?

CR: People underestimate the value of coaching. I think the world needs more awareness of what coaching is. Coaching would really help people progress faster and further. It adds so much more freedom. I also think the market is being flooded with so many coaches. A lot of people picked up the title and it makes it harder for those who want to do sincere and pure work. Heart centered coaches are after the transformation.

KG: Any advice for perspective coaches?

CR: Anybody can have a coaching school but the difference is the quality and I believe in the ILCT coaches and leaders. Ellen Ritter is a phenomenal leader. It is her heart to see others succeed and her commitment is evident.  The instructors at ILCT are awesome. If you are considering it, don’t make the decision based on others, but make sure it is in alignment with what you are trying to achieve and accomplish. When you connect with like-minded people and are able to be true to who you are and what you are called to do, you will know it.

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By: Kim Anthony

"Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." – Melody Beattie

Studies show that the more you express gratitude, the more appreciative, healthier and happier you will inevitably become.  Science, is also proving that a focus on gratitude could be the answer to improved personal health. It’s no surprise that grateful people tend to see the world from a more positive perspective, appreciating and noticing the good over the bad. Their positivity can lead to better sleep, ward off depression, reduce anxiety and stress, and improve overall health.

When you commit to practicing gratefulness you’ll begin to view and appreciate everything that you have as a gift. This can lead to some surprising benefits. Being thankful, will help you to be happier, and strengthen your relationships.

For the next 30 days, I challenge you and me to practice gratitude. Gratitude, although it is such a simple concept, we often forget to practice it. Participating in a gratitude challenge has been proven to make being grateful a little easier because it serves as an ongoing reminder and it helps you to look for and see the gratitude that surrounds you.  Not only was this challenge introduced to be inspiring, it’ll be fun too!

If you’d like a hard copy version, feel free to print this image.

Simply snap photos inspired by the daily prompts listed above and share them on social media with the hashtag #ThisIsMyGrateful. A simple yet effective way to kickstart the year with a grateful and optimistic outlook.

I hope you’ll join me in participating in this 30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge!  It’s going to be fun. Are you in? If so, check out 4 fun facts about this challenge:

#1. You don’t need to be a professional photographer. You don’t even have to really like taking photos to participate. All it will take is an interest in focusing on things you’re grateful for and cultivating appreciation in your life.

#2. Any kind of camera works. You can take your photos anyway you want to — with your phone, a digital camera, a Polaroid. No limitations here! Anything goes!

#3. Don’t be alarmed by the word “challenge.” This is not a competition.There’s no reward, no punishment — just an opening to be more grateful and inspired.

#4. Start at any time. You can start at any time. This is your challenge. You are free to make it what you want. However, keep in mind the more you put into the challenge, the more you’ll get out. Gratitude isn’t just an assignment, but a habit. A habit that needs to be practiced and nurtured.

Use #ThisIsMyGrateful. If you post your pics on FacebookPinterestInstagram, Twitter, etc., be sure to tag them #ThisIsMyGrateful so others can see them. I’ll be posting mine daily on Instagram as well.

I’m looking forward to sharing my photos with you all month long — and I can’t wait to see your photos too!

Feel free to journal as well. Documenting your thoughts as they correspond with your picture selections. Here are some journaling ideas that can help boost gratitude and enhance your wellness:

  • List at least three things you’re most appreciative of each morning. This daily prompt can boost your level of optimism even on challenging days.
  • Reframe taxing situations. Transform difficult situations into positive events by looking for the favorable aspects or benefits of the experience.
  • Create and practice positive affirmations. Affirmations re-wire the brain, raising the level of feel-good hormones and helping maintain positivity to reach goals. Gratitude can grow from achieving desired actions.

For more gratitude journaling tips, visit bit.ly/tips-gratitude-journal.

Kim Anthony is the Resident Life & Wellness Coach and Editorial Director of FitnessGalore.net. Additionally, as an adjunct psychology professor, she is an avid believer in the mind and body relationship and its connection to fitness and overall wellbeing.

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The Institute for Life Coach Training Bl.. by Amy@lifecoachtraining.com - 1y ago

By: Lillian Mills

Have you noticed how coaches can make a difference whenever and wherever they show up?  As coaches, we have the opportunity to have a positive influence in all walks of life and with all age groups.  In the 13 years I’ve been coaching, my experience has run the gamut of a 4 year old to an 83 year old and all ages in between.  In our world of uncertainty and strife, every connection with someone presents a possibility for goodness, even a little magic.

That said, let’s look at a little of that magic.  While I am always seeking to improve my coaching skills, I’ve also been studying Positive Psychology.  This has added another dimension to my coaching.  (Stay with me, I am getting to the juice of this article.)

My two grandchildren have the extreme good fortune to go to an independent school which includes Kindergarden through Grade 8.  Their school is founded on developing good character along with academics.  The school motto is Respect, Manners, Try Your Best.  The students’ family members are welcomed to visit or participate in the school activities.

I had an opportunity to meet with the directors about using a coach approach to introduce some strategies  for both staff and students to increase well-being.  My ideas were well received and passed on to the staff.  I was invited to visit the sixth grade, third grade and senior Kindergarden classes. 

The Kindergarden teachers wanted the focus on conflict resolution.  Clearly, no age group squeaks by without its issues.    I gave the children a scenario and used powerful questioning to elicit conversation and ideas for solutions.  They came up with practical (and the odd impractical), doable strategies for when squabbles arose.  Just as we trust our clients to have their own solutions, very young children do, as well.

Kindness was the entire school’s theme for the term.  In keeping with that theme, the second half of my work with the kids was creating a kindness garden.  Whenever one of the children did a kindness his/her name was put on a flower and placed on a poster representing a garden.  They loved the idea and couldn’t wait to earn a flower.

The sixth grades had been working on units about disability and happiness.  I had been invited at that time to talk about happiness and disability since I am blind.  The discussion went beyond disability to diversity, inclusivity, respect.  It was powerful questioning that generated exciting conversations which led to broader awareness and new insights. 

Before I met with the class, the teacher and I had reviewed what I would be doing.  She wanted me to introduce as part of the happiness portion, an exercise known as the 3 good things.  At the end of each day, the students, including the teacher, were to record 3 good things that happened throughout the day.  They were to be creative with their recordings.  Some did journals, some made posters.  This was a month long exercise.  When I checked in at the end of the month, the students reported being happier and more relaxed.  The teacher was so thrilled telling me how the entire dynamic of her family changed for increased well being.

As we move on to the third grade, please note these workshops were spread out throughout the term and not all in one day.  Continuing with the school’s kindness theme, part of the time with the third graders was discussing kindness.  This was followed up with a couple of kindness activities which included a pay it forward challenge.  The children were so responsive and full of fun it made for a joyful experience all around.

Here is a little more of the aforementioned magic.  Still using a coach approach, an amazing discussion about active listening took place.  The children had a real grasp on the importance of listening, how it feels when someone is truly listening, how it feels when someone does not listen, how we all need to be heard .

We did an exercise with a couple of volunteers.  One of the children was the speaker who was to talk for a few minutes on the topic of her choice.  The other was the listener.  As the listener she was to listen and not say anything while the other girl spoke.  Then the listener was asked to repeat the speaker’s exact words as best she could.  Remarkably she repeated verbatim what had been said.  I asked the girl who did the talking how it felt to hear her own words reflected back.  She said she felt happy, important and good about herself.  Then, I asked the listener what it was like for her.  This 8 year-old’s precise words, which could be the first rule of active listening, were: “You have to look at the person.  You have to focus your brain and you can’t think about anything else.” 

I feel blessed to be returning for a third consecutive year to both collaborate and journey with the students.  Getting to know these young people, hearing the depth of their thoughts and ideas, gives hope for the future.  It bears repeating that we never know where or when an opportunity will present itself in which our coaching skills can make all the difference.

Finally, I want to say how grateful I am to have received my coach training with ILCT, as well as joining the faculty.  I don’t know of a finer, more comprehensive  coach training program or higher quality staff and faculty anywhere.

Lillian Mills is a Board Certified Life Coach and ILCT Faculty Member. 

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