Category Archives: Coaching

To Certify or Not to Certify – How to Decide if You “Need” Another Training Course

Making a decision to get another certificationThanks to the internet we now have the ability to access thousands of online training programs, videos and tutorials on just about any skill you want to learn. This can be a bit of a double edged sword for some. Yes, now we can all be quasi-experts in everything from quantum physics to psychiatry, but where do we draw the line? I am someone who has spent my entire life learning everything I can about whatever it is that I am doing. Like learning as much as I could about Multiple Sclerosis when I worked for a biotech company as an administrative assistant to learning every new social media platform and software product that has come out since I started my first virtual assistant company. Of course now as a business coach I am finishing up my certification and learning as much as I possibly can about helping people create and achieve goals. But there comes a time when you have to decide when you have enough training to go out and get clients.

This is where coaching changed the whole game for me.

Have you ever met someone who is extremely bright, well educated and well informed but can’t seem to ever get ahead? This may be a friend, colleague, family member or even yourself. Truth be told, this was me a few years ago. I had tons of knowledge, my finger on the pulse of technology and a I knew more than I needed to know about marketing and social media. I still was only making barely enough to get by. I then discovered the missing piece; I needed accountability, support and help sorting through all the great ideas in my head. My coach worked with me to see that it wasn’t knowledge or skills I was lacking, it was something different. I first needed to recognize my unique strengths and my past successes to see that I was capable of accomplishing what I was setting out to do. Then together we broke up my big ideas into small action steps that I could actually complete without feeling overwhelmed. This was an ongoing process because there were many days that I would slip back into my old thinking and want to give up on myself. Sometimes I wouldn’t want to call my coach because I was feeling like a failure, but it never failed, I would get off the phone feeling like I could conquer the world again.

So how about you?

Is it more classes and telesummits and tutorials and videos that you need or is it someone to help you see what is really holding you back? Again, I will say that I value education and believe that being certified in your area of expertise is valuable. My point is, please don’t let your lack of certification stop you from recognizing your personal and professional value. Taking very intentional action towards a clear goal is the key to business success.

Be sure to let me know if you would like to discuss this topic during a FREE, NO SELLING ALLOWED, 30 Minute coaching session. Sign up here!

How to Know if it is Time to Re-invent Yourself?

reinvent yourselfWe all go through subtle changes over the course of time, we learn lessons, we take a class, or find a new hobby that enhances our life. But there are some moments in life that are different, they are unforgettable and some people call them defining. I have had several of them in my life. The ones that stand out for me came out of big, life changing events such as graduating high school and entering the military, getting divorced, having children and leaving my job. I have heard of people making big changes after having an accident, losing a loved one or getting laid off. These are times in life that demand you to stop and re-evaluate the course you are on. I believe they are put there for a reason and if we ignore them and keep on the same path, something else is going to try to get our attention down the road.

Each time I reached one of these turning points I made a conscious decision to change my direction and re-invent myself. One thing I noticed recently with the help of one of my peer coaches, was that on some occasions I chose to go it alone in designing my new life and sometimes I embarked on the journey with some sort of counsel. The times I asked for help I made better decisions and didn’t seem to need to do as much backtracking to get on the right path. Having someone outside of my family and friends to bounce ideas off of made a huge difference in how I looked at things and even how open minded I became. I considered options that I may not have thought of when asked to look a bit deeper than I would have on my own.

For instance, when I left high school I had one big goal. I had decided that since I was going someplace where nobody knew me, I could be anyone I wanted. I decided that I was no longer the goody-two-shoes girl who never had any fun and got picked on. I was now the party girl who lived on the edge. I made up stories about my past and went to every party on the weekends. Mission accomplished! Now I wonder if things would have been different if I had someone to talk to about other ways to deal with the pain of being bullied in school. I can only imagine that there were less self-destructive activities I could have taken part in.

One of my clients just went through a very rough time. She selflessly works with mentally disabled patients and has for 27 years. This summer she endured an accident on the job and injured her back. She was out of work and was told if she had anymore injuries to her back she could be paralyzed. We worked together to explore other employment options all the while working on her sense of self-worth and confidence. When it was time to go back to work she was happy to still have a job and be out of the house making her full income again. Then she was injured again. This time since she was in a different frame of mind and felt she had more options, she decided to apply for a higher position within her company. She interviewed and was given the job on the spot, her salary doubled and she will no longer be put in situations that are harmful to her health. She still gets to help mentally disabled people, but in a management role. I was one of the first people she called! I am so proud of how hard she worked on herself to get to this place of being able to ask for what she wants.

If you are in an uncomfortable place right now and you are wondering where to turn next, this could be the perfect opportunity to re-invent yourself. If you want to talk to me about your options, I am happy to schedule a free 1/2 hour session. Click here to schedule a time.

Why Being an Expert Doesn’t Work in Coaching

I am noticing a lot of confusion in the coaching space around what a coach should know and what qualifies them as a coach. Some people have an opinion and some are just being tossed around in the waters, unsure of what to believe. So of course, me being me, I have an opinion…and of course like everything I publish, it is a well researched and thought out opinion. Since I started my first Virtual Assistant business in 2008 I have seen some of my successful colleagues become coaches. I also work in the direct selling industry and have seen great salespeople become coaches. I have watched marketers become marketing coaches and website designers become website coaches and so on. I am a member of the International Coaching Federation so this is the definition I use:

ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today‚Äôs uncertain and complex environment. Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:

  • Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
  • Encourage client self-discovery
  • Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
  • Hold the client responsible and accountable

This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.

This being said, just because I have a great understanding of many topics and may even be an expert in some, my clients do not hire me to “teach” them how to do their jobs, solve interpersonal conflicts or reach their goals. My clients hire me to help them use all that incredible knowledge they have in a way that only they can to achieve what they really want. I support my clients through leveraging what they know to accomplish more, together we streamline or prioritize all those thoughts they have swimming around in their heads and put together a step by step action plan they can easily carry out. I am fortunate to have been given the gift of unquenchable curiosity. I love to ask the questions that challenge people to think differently and change course.

Now, if someone feels they need training or mentoring, an expert may be a great choice for them to help gain the knowledge they need to move forward. A coach may be someone they hire to work along side to keep them moving and applying the knowledge they are learning. A coach may also support someone as they decide just what things they need to learn to get what they want.

I hope this article was helpful for anyone trying to decide whether they are looking for a coach, mentor or teacher/trainer. I like to think of coaches as the grease that makes everything the client has learned work together smoothly and therefore provide an easier road to success.

The Secret Recipe for Major Change

A friend of mine recently asked me what my secret recipe was for making all the positive changes I have made in my life over the past few years. I gave it some thought and this is what I said, “I don’t have the secret recipe for everyone, but I had to stop playing playing the old tapes in my head that weren’t moving me in the direction I wanted to go. I started writing my goals down and looking at them every morning. I surround myself with only positive people who truly want to see me succeed. That means letting go of the people who brought me down or kept telling me things that weren’t in line with my new life. It’s not easy, very few people bother to work hard enough to make big changes. You can do it, but constant vigilance is key. Align yourself with other people looking to change. Read 10 pages of a self help book everyday!!”

secret recipePoint #1 – Stop playing the old tapes – Most of the time we don’t even realize that what we tell ourselves is not true anymore. Here is a funny example; when I was very young my mother told me I had a round-shaped face. Since she went to hairdresser school she was qualified to make that assessment, I believed. She instructed me to wear my hair only certain ways and to wear only a few kinds of sunglass/eyeglass styles. I did this until I was 46. Recently I visited my hair salon and wanted a new look. I told Maria, my friend and stylist, that I wanted a new style but knew I was limited due to my round face. She looked at me with surprise and said, “You have an oval face and can wear any hairstyle you want.” This change in beliefs opened a whole new world for me. What do you believe that is just not true and more importantly, how is it holding you back? Do you believe that you aren’t good at math or not business savvy enough to get a loan? I once thought that I wasn’t self disciplined enough to work from home, and maybe at one point I wasn’t. But I know now that I am! Working with a coach took me leaps and bounds forward in this direction. I didn’t even know half of the stories I was telling myself weren’t true until she challenged me to look at them differently. I will be forever grateful!

Point #2 – Write down your goals and review them every morning – I say this so often I feel like a broken record. Once you put your goals on paper they become real. The reason you review them every morning is so that you can make your decisions based on how close they will bring you to your goals. For instance, after reading my goals I then go and put together my daily to do list. Because I have just read my goals, I can decide which tasks to make sure I get done to help me succeed. This gives priority to important tasks instead of just urgent tasks. Urgent tasks pop up and pretend they are important (sometimes they are, you need to decide this). They say things like, sign up for that free webinar because the deadline is today. But when you look at your goals you may decide that that webinar is not going to get you where you are trying to go.

Point #3 – Surround yourself with only positive and like-minded people – This one is hard and sometimes can take a lot of soul searching. Sometimes it is easy, because once you start changing you grow away from the people who are not. For instance, if you stop drinking the people you hung out with at the bar aren’t going to go looking for you. There are lots of ways to accomplish this, you can fill your time with people that are doing the things you want to do. If you have decided to become more active you can start looking for groups of people who get together to exercise or explore the outdoors. Maybe you want to be more spiritual, you may find people who get together to discuss topics of interest to you. Once you start to fill your time with people and experiences that are more in line with your new lifestyle, you will find that you have less time for the people who drain you. There are people in our lives that we choose not to leave behind, perhaps you have family members who don’t support your changes. Of course you aren’t going to stop spending time with them, but you can protect your new life by not sharing everything with them. I have people in my life that will never understand how I think, I just don’t try to make them understand anymore and we are all happy.

Point #4 – Read 10 pages of a good book everyday – If you have read the Slight Edge by Jeff Olson you will understand this. If you have not read the Slight Edge start there!

Do you need help making the changes necessary to reach your goals? email me NOW, let’s chat…christine@thegoalwhisperer.com

How Coaching is Like Water

coaching is like waterThere is a funny thing about coaching, if someone has never worked with a coach, and I am talking about a true coach not a mentor or trainer, they can’t fully understand what kinds of changes they can expect in their lives. It is actually something you can’t really put into words. I can only liken it to trying to explain to someone what water feels like. How would you explain the feeling of water? It’s like, wet, you know… Strange example, but imagine someone had never felt water on their skin, taken a bath or gone swimming. How would you explain that sensation to someone? Well, that’s kind of how I feel about coaching. Since I have been coached by a true coach, I know how it feels to be really listened to and understood. It is a feeling that I cannot un-feel. However it is hard to explain exactly how life changing it is. Before coaching, I was a skeptic, I grew up believing that you did EVERYTHING yourself. If you wanted to talk something over, you talked to your family or friends. If you needed motivation to accomplish something well, you just pull up your bootstraps and did it. Willpower was a virtue that you just better have, period. Goals? Well, who has time for that? You just get a job and bring home a paycheck. Okay, so now I will try to explain coaching.

Your family and friends mean well. However they usually have their own reasons for the advice they give you. They are worried you will make poor choices or they may lose something if you make a huge change. This is a generalization of course, there are people who are coach-like in the way they conduct themselves, but when it comes to their family or close friends they still have a vested interest. A coach first of all very rarely gives “advice”, it is not our MO. As much as your coach cares about you, especially as you build a relationship of trust and mutual understanding, it is their function to listen very carefully to what is important to you and help you move towards the future you really want. For instance, a friend may think you should take a certain job because that is what they would do or it seems like a great opportunity on the outside. A coach helps you make the choice that will feel right in your soul.

A coach makes you take time for yourself. When you are talking to your friends it would be rude to just talk about yourself and your ideas and your successes or failures and then leave. We all know that, and that means that when we are having a normal conversation we only say so much about what’s going on with us. When you are in a coaching session you are allowed to spend time on the thing that is really holding you back, explore all the reasons why and then come up with a plan of action to move past the block. Or on the flip side, you are allowed to celebrate an accomplishment and find a way to leverage that success to move forward, really dig into how it happened and how to replicate it in the future. Our friends have their own dilemmas or exciting news and only so much time to spend on them, so the time with them is usually limited. Of course I am talking about adult friendships, I can remember a time before we had kids where I could talk on the phone for hours at a time with my best friend and solve all the world’s problems not just mine and hers.

Bottom line, it is like being immersed in a pool of understanding and positive energy. I have NEVER gotten off the phone with my coach and felt hopeless. I may have gone into my share of calls feeling like nothing could help me, but I always got off the phone with a new lease on life. When we hold on to our challenges and mull over them by ourselves, they seem so much bigger and harder to overcome. When you work with someone who is trained to ask the right questions those mountains become little hills, easy to walk over and see the other side. If you are ready to experience this for yourself, email me: christine@thegoalwhisperer.com