Guest post by Jeremy Tick.
Ten years ago I made a mistake. I stopped doing business with my business partner.
My colleague had made a larger financial investment and felt he owned more of the firm. Because it was my sales and marketing that helped the business quickly grow I thought the partnership equal. We could never agree on who owned what and tensions frequently arose. When this happened, he reminded me of my youth and less formal education. The relationship became deleterious to both my confidence and my ability to produce and it hurt the business. After learning that he withdrew a larger portion of our income for himself without my consent, I left.
As children we’re taught to ignore bullies. As adults we’re taught that relationships are sometimes transactional and we need to move on. I thought I understood both sentiments and responded accordingly. But these are not the old days anymore – we live in “Reality 2.0.”
Unsuccessful in running the business without me, my partner closed it down. Ten years later, however, he still maintains the company website with the caption on Google stating the business is out of business and “cannot be held accountable for any of Jeremy Tick’s actions.” Embedded in it are links to my old resume, tax documents from 2004, and a slew of defaming blog posts, written by him, about me. These posts attack my personal character, work ethic, educational and socio-economic background and psyche. Despite my effort to end an unhealthy relationship the web won’t let me. My former partner doesn’t have to do anything to maintain our connection: Google does it for him. And I pay the price.
When I first learned of the blog’s existence I paid no attention. It was 2004 and I had never heard of a blog. But while earning my Master’s Degree these posts became of concern. Despite being in a top-notch school with significant real world experience, my resume didn’t get nearly as much attention as those of my peers.
I soon learned why. It was now 2007 and ever more frequently people were being “Googled” by hiring parties. Curious, I looked up my name and found the return search populated entirely by these slanderous posts. Unbeknownst to me, the relationship was still alive in the eyes of the world – and that was the only thing that mattered.
Learning that most websites claim no responsibility for the content they house, I attempted to create alternative content to push the blog down in search results but it was so chock full of my full name that anything I created was secondary. Some ‘THING,’ had more control over my own name than me.
But I’m not the only one.
Businesses suffer tremendously when unwarranted or exaggerated negative feedback is posted without recourse. People are hurt when bullying occurs over social media. These mediums, by their design, empower the abuse and further disempower the abused. The repercussions of such acts are of far greater consequence than the costs: it’s easy to do, often anonymous and, as evidence has shown, it can hurt.
It’s sad that this vehicle with which we can do so much good can render us so imprisoned by our new ‘sensationalist’ behaviors. ‘Business at the Speed of Thought,’ might not be so thoughtful. But we can change that. Through the speed with which we exchange information and the impact we quickly have on others, we can actively redefine what constitutes social norms, decorum, and common sense. We must learn to exalt compassion, kindness and responsibility ‘online’ and not tolerate petty meanness and hate – just as we do not when ‘offline’. We need to remember that some relationships live their course and come to an end, that just as in real life, some things are better left unsaid, even online. Our impact on others, not because of a lack of proximity to them, but because of our new proximity to everyone, has become far more substantial. With any new tool comes precaution for its potential harm. We need to learn to use this one more responsibly.
So go ahead, Google me. Besides learning what a crud I once may have been, you’ll learn just how accomplished and resilient I am - how despite the one negative check in my background, I’ve done some pretty cool things – probably because Google encouraged me to do so. I dare you, Google me. Just remember, don’t believe everything you read online.
Guest blog post by Jeremy Tick, Coach for Entrepreneurs. A business owner since the age of 24, Jeremy is uniquely familiar with the challenges faced by individuals at all stages of business development. His work is dedicated to aid Creative Professionals in building meaningful brands and developing systems and structures for success with which to create sustainable profit. You can reach Jeremy at www.jeremytick.com and www.tickmanagement.com
As a coach, you probably believe in powerful questions. And as TEDEd speaker, Michael Stevens, demonstrates, powerful questions make all the difference in teaching, too. In fact, questions such as, "How much does a video weigh?" and "What color is a mirror?" have made his Vsauce channel popular with millions. They foster curiosity, because most folks have never considered these quirky questions before.
Is there such a thing as unanswerable questions? Stevens can answer the above questions with science. But coaches are simply looking for clarity, inspiration and action, rather than actual answers. Or are we?
Sometimes an unanswerable question expands awareness. When tapping into a client's Higher Self, for instance, I'll ask, "What color is it?" and "Where is it located?", questions that don't make logical sense, because the Higher Self isn't a physcial thing. But my clients step into the present moment, along with their intuition, as they attempt to answer my questions and that's the whole point.
My favorite quirky question is "Is the truth really a question?" Coaches intuitively feel the answer is, "Yes." But it can't be, because "Yes." isn't a question. So the logical answer is, "No." But this question invites us to step out of linear logic into a broader, deeper way of thinking.
So then what's the answer? My favorite answer is the coach-y, "What do you think?" Which is all I care about. But the most concise answer is, "Yes?" Which embodies the perfect attitude to bring to a coaching session: open, positive, curious and affirmative.
Watch Michael Stevens for more on quirky questions:
Positive psychology turns the traditional psychology of illness on its head by redefining mental health.
Instead of cataloging symptoms of mental illness (which apparently we all have), health is instead defined as: flourishing despite the presence of some symptoms. Assets matter more than deficits, so the focus is off healing and onto increasing well-being. That makes positive psychology
an excellent fit for coaching.
For instance, strengths-based psychology
is a subset of positive psychology and is used by many coaches to help their clients succeed and enjoy life more. The client takes an assessment to identify core strengths and then works with a coach to cross-train their strengths and master them. It's simple, straight forward and can work brilliantly.
But do weaknesses never matter? Is strengthening your strengths really all you need? And is it possible for a strength to also be a weakness and visa versa?
Here's an example: I have a relative who is highly productive, organized and fast. I have another relative, who is a mental-health professional, who says this is obsessive compulsive behavior. Really? She is flourishing, so I'd say what she has is showing up as a strength, not a weakness. According to the Clifton Strengths Finder, she's a strong Activator, someone who, once she's decided what to do, gets it done fast. According to Clifton, I'm a strong Strategizer and should work with Activators. When I collaborate with my Activator relative, I suggest things we should consider and we decide what to do about them. Then, while I'm thinking about adding them to my to-do list, she gets them done. For me, this is a little like having a magic genie.
I haven't done exhaustive research on strengths vs. weaknesses, but I've deep dived into it more than most coaches. Here's what I've observed:
- A strength can get you into trouble and still be a strength, but if it causes more trouble than it solves, it's mostly a weakness.
- If you have a rigid need to use a strength, even in inappropriate situations, it has become a weakness.
- If you can negotiate and modulate a strength as needed, it's not a weakness.
- As your life changes, you may develop new strengths you didn't know you had.
- If you over-rely on your strengths, you may never develop some and that could be a weakness.
- If you work alone and expect your strengths to pull you through every situation, you'll likely fail in areas where you're weak. Outsource to someone else's strengths.
- Your idea of strength may be someone else's idea of illness. Focus on flourishing and ignore the the judgers.
The key is who's in charge. Are you using your strength, or is it using you?
If you'd like to add positive psychology to your coaching, plus get a certificate and 8 ICF CCEs...
Oddly, when you market your coaching, you really don't want to attract everybody. You only want to attract those who are right for you and your business. Erika Napoletano at TEDxBoulder 2012, explains in hilarious fashion, with a few swear words. Love her or hate her, hear her message.
Bad things happen with no warning and they cause pain and suffering. We wish they wouldn't happen, but we're often powerless over them. We live with that.
But we do have power.
We have enormous power to prevent suffering, if not the actual pain.
So when the next Boston Marathon, Newtown CT, or Aurora CO happens, you have enormous power to both prevent and repair the damage done.
No, you can't bring back the dead, nor make broken bodies whole, but you can do three things that save humanity whenever bad things happen.
1. You can stop dwelling. Your brain's warning bell, the amygdala, will register the alarm. It's primitive and will tell you to hide under a rock. Your anterior cingulate cortex, much more sophisticated, is connected to the amygdala via a complex network of neurons. It reflects on the horror, but watch out. It loves to ruminate itself into what's known to neuroscientists as threat reactivity or the negativity bias. Become aware of it and you have new possibilities. Turn off your TV. Don't get caught up in Facebook conversations about how bad and helpless you feel. Don't obsess over who did it and why.
2. Do offer to help. Reach out to friends in the region. Give to the the Red Cross. Volunteer. You'll feel the love that makes you mighty. Your help and caring will heal others. Remember, you're not truly compassionate until you've acted on it.
3. Live your values. Don't get pulled into the anger, unless being a warrior (I call it my Inner Prosecutor) is truly your thing. This is an inside job only you can do, but allow a friend or coach to help you.
Humanity is wonderful. You are wonderful. Live that reality. That is your Greatness.
Image by soniasu_
A good life coach can be everybody else's best friend and their own worst enemy if they don't know how to say NO at the right times. Why? Because people will naturally want your help and will eventually, accidentally even, suck you dry. (Imagine what would happen to Sookie Stackhouse if she didn't take a "Back off!" attitude towards most vampires.)
A dried-up grape = a raisin. A dried-up coach = useless.
But saying NO requires discipline, because it feels good to help. And it feels really good to help for free. And it's real easy to get clients when you're doing a great job of helping everybody for free. But it's unprofessional.
Charity is a beautiful thing under the right circumstances. Coaching isn't one of them.
Charitable coaching is unprofessional, because when you coach clients for free, or for too little, it undermines their potential. People play small when they don't have enough skin in the game. That's just how we're wired.
It feels challenging - scary even - to ask people to pay for coaching. But get paid you must, unless you're independently wealthy. So that's another reason why coaching for free is unprofessional.
Here's a third reason why coaching for free is unprofessional. It allows YOU to play small, because coaching for free lets you off the hook when it comes to delivering great value.
I'm not saying that coaches should never coach for free of low fee. It's okay to do that at first (I even recomemmend it), or later if you're changing your business, but be sure you know what you're getting in return, such as experience, learning, referrals, or something else that will pay off in the long run.
Bottom Line: People reach their Greatness when they are givers, but you can receive even while you're giving. And if you don't receive for your coaching, the other people (a.k.a. your clients) won't reach their Greatness.
And isn't Greatness what coaching's all about?
Image by Bradleygee
An infographic by the team at CouponAudit
School of Coaching Mastery hosts the Best Coaching Blogs Contest each year (The above Top Life Coach Blogs To Follow in 2013 is not part of our contest - obviously we can't win our own competition!). Subscribe to our blog (above right) to get an announcement to enter your blog in Best Coaching Blogs or to vote for other blogs. Click the button below to view 2012 winners:
Your coaching business is all about your clients, not you. So how do you market and sell Brand YOU? Below is an info graphic with some of the secrets of branding in today's world.
At the bottom is a link to register for the new Q&A class called, "What Adele Can Teach You About Marketing". Learn the subtleties of branding when it's about you, but it really isn't. We'll look at some of the ways the singer, Adele, has mastered this for mega-success. And if you'd like to attend this one-time-only class for free, help us promote the class on Facebook or Twitter and we'll thank you with a guest pass!
Branding a coaching business is subtle. The success of mega-star, Adele, can teach you some lessions about branding. If you'd like to join the upcoming class, click below. To get it for free, join School of Coaching Mastery on Facebook or @MasteryCoach on Twitter and share or RT our announcements about this one-time-only class. We'll give you a guest pass to say, "Thanks!"
The following guest blog post by Jeremy Tick, Coach for Entrepreneurs, is an invitation to the entrepreneurial spirit that is often identified as the American Spirit, also known as the human spirit. A business owner since the age of 24, Jeremy is uniquely familiar with the challenges faced by individuals at all stages of business development. His work is dedicated to aid Creative Professionals in building meaningful brands and developing systems and structures for success with which to create sustainable profit. You can reach Jeremy at www.jeremytick.com and www.tickmanagement.com
The unique attribute shared amongst all Americans, the quality that makes each of us the same, regardless of age, race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, politics or ethnic background is that we are all the offspring of immigrants. Each of our ancestors came from somewhere else. Some came to escape religious persecution, some were forced against their will, some came in pursuit of wealth, others came because they needed to find work to support families at home. The list of reasons is endless, yet one fact remains: our ancestors came to this country as immigrants and those who survived stayed. Consciously or not, these individuals became a part of the American Experiment – something bigger than they brought them here and something bigger than themselves kept them going. With the passing of generations, came the pursuit of self-actualization.
Regardless of their place of origin each of our ancestors share one sole quality: willpower. Not a single of them in generations past, save an extraordinary few, had anything handed, granted, given or guaranteed. Through diligence, hard work and sheer determination our ancestors carved out for themselves an identity, experience and resultant way of life.
The fruits of their labor speak volumes. We live in an extraordinary time where the opportunity for self-actualization has never been more present. We are educated and exposed, liberal in our social construct, accepting in our embrace of change, and live in a time and place where elitism by situation of birth has been replaced by an orientation toward meritocracy such as has never, in the history of the modern world, been seen. Economics, in its true iteration, where the market drives all, has taken hold. For those of us capable of its understanding its value, it is time to contemplate this new reality and consider its relevance to our way of being. To achieve this mindset we must consider the roots from whence we stem. To do so is to simplify the quest we embark on in our pursuit of the unreasonable and, in doing so, find a way of being more relevant to our individual talent and attributes and thus our own capabilities for self actualization.
In order for survival of the cultural and lifestyle shock thrust upon our ancestors when arriving in their new ‘home,’ some primal instinct for survival has to have kicked in. The motivators contained in each of our predecessors to understand and identify their place within the construct of this new society, nor what they experienced in doing so, cannot be fully explained save for our own existence. Yet via the opportunities to live in the free economy that now lay before us, that they created for us, we share one key attribute: this same orientation, willpower. There is hope. There is opportunity, there is a promise of freedom from the burdens of debt, for ownership of homes and businesses and education such that we can experience a life of fulfillment in ways that our predecessors identified and worked toward for us. To find these we must look inside of ourselves and create a new reality such that we can achieve these now fundamental luxuries and in doing so, fulfill our familial destiny.
It is safe to say that many of us, having spent our developmental years preparing to play a game no longer in existence are experiencing some of the same discontent/disenchantment/disorientation that our ancestors did. Those of us old enough to recall working in the pre-recession days likely miss certain perks, comforts and other accouterment of the corporate life. We miss the promise of stability and the structures promised and fulfilled. Those of us who spent years preparing to participate in the economy in the ways in which we most identified, socially and intellectually, likely find a certain disconnect in the way we think of ourselves and the opportunities presented as income generating situations. Indeed, many of us have had dreams modified, broken or disjointed as result of the externalities that surround us. But the truth is that this is the situation of life as it currently presents itself and it is time to stop whining about it. Social welfare is not going to change this, the creation of new work opportunity by some large governing body will not repair the displacement we feel as result of the economic correction. No new and great job creation on the part of the government or large entity is going to fix what has become antiquated and broken. Novelty and change will always prevail – this is a reality that has to be accepted – and embraced – for without change there would be none of the possibility and progress we now live. The only way to achieve and restore our faith and capabilities lies in a reorientation and perhaps even a constitutional recall into the stuff that we are truly made of. It will require a great deal of digging, but just as the titled nobility once rested on the laurels of its birth and the achievements of those before them, so too can we: inside of ourselves lives the capacity to forge the lives we are entitled to, just as our ancestors, wholly displaced and confused by the realities of their migratory situations did before us. It just takes work.
This personal work requires us to reassess not only our roots but also our visceral priorities. We often look to past generations and the relative ease they seem to have experienced in the attainment of life’s simpler pleasures: often the pictures portray a grandparent in front of a new home, during the purchase of a new car, or wearing a cap and gown. Note that many of these pictures are taken at an age older than sixteen or twenty-two or even at twenty-eight – it is no matter. Note too, that many of the achievements made by our predecessors were on a smaller scale than that which we aspire to. For those of us still ‘holding on’ to the notion of self entitlement by situation of birth, this opens the argument of possibility to suggest that the American Dream is dead, that the work of the generations before us and their sacrifices and investment for our wellbeing were for naught given the implosion of the market and its resultant fallout. But I will argue differently. This is our situation by birth. I do not believe that our for-bearers fought through their work in coalmines or on cotton plantations or in fields or in sweatshops or in water as journeymen or teamsters so that we could find cushy employment in cubicles. I believe they invested in this way of life because of their belief in the opportunity to feel complete in their economic participation – that those of them who toiled forward provided for future generations by giving them access to a life different than their own, invested, through hard work, in our ability to have choices to do the same for ourselves. And somehow, the largess achieved benchmarks of their own. No, many of them did not summer in the Hamptons, nor did they take the Grand Tour, nor did even many of them attend school beyond that which was vital, available or convenient relevant to family welfare. But they worked, fed and clothed their children and provided for you to have the opportunity to find your own capacity to contribute to your family’s legacy and thus their own.
It is true, these people may not have toiled in the fashion that you seek, feel entitled to based on the situations of your birth or even really want to. But they worked toward achievement of a higher standard of life than previously existed because they tried, they cared, and they took notice and pride in a job well done. While their lives may not have been as exciting as the ones we had once envisioned for ourselves, they seem to have been just fine. The transfer of wealth between the WW II Generation and its predecessors is the largest in history. This is not because most of them invented some new widget that made them wealthy quickly nor because of their lofty positions in corner offices. It is because they worked hard, saved, purchased quality product that which was within their reach, and passed these things down to their children – legacies of a sort – that many amongst us seem to overlook in our pursuit of new and untold wealth at very early and quite frankly, unreasonable ages. In short, our ancestors, lived their lives with common sense approaches to problems. And through their work, found attainment of the life they identified for and created for themselves.
Maneuvering forward, it can be suggested that for most immigrants life upon arrival was less than pleasant. This is not to discount the population of people whose ancestors were brought by force, but contained inside those who survived and foraged forward to achieve the same pursuit of liberty as those before them, was something bigger than aspiration: it was the human spirit. These individuals, even more than their neighbors, were clearly in possession of a determination unlike any others in modern history: the result of their contribution is incalculable. But this is not meant to be a history lesson nor is it meant to bring up moot subjects as they pertain to human rights - what is meant to be discussed is both the entrepreneurial and survival spirit contained in us all, instilled at birth, that we cannot overlook or avoid - our responsibility to ourselves and our families, as Americans.
The concept of an American life is so multi-faceted that to pursue any form of dialogue surrounding it is to be left for drinks at the end of a workday or to be explored in a dissertation. Let’s leave it for that. What I am instead referencing is the need for a recollection of sorts, the importance of digging down inside of oneself and finding the necessary gumption required to avoid the complacence set forth by the never ending pursuit of more that so many of us fall prey to.
It is safe to say that many of us do not and cannot achieve the dreams we set forth for ourselves as children. While a sad truth, it is also a realistic one. Many of us will never be movie stars nor will we be Presidents, nor astronauts nor media moguls. For the vast majority of us, at some point in our lives a realistic approach to the creation of meaningful survival must be embraced – else we will forever find ourselves feeling somewhat empty, devoid of the dreams of our youth and disappointed by the way things have panned out because life just does not replicate the movies, no matter how many of the behaviors of the big screen we emulate. While sobering, the sooner we begin to contemplate the relevance of such a concept, the sooner we can begin to find inner peace and reorganize our expectations and aspirations to accommodate the reality of society as it now presents itself. The fact is and remains that with the global recession and the shrinking of the world as result of technology there is a need and rationale for new thought. And to find the spirit contained inside of us required to achieve this really only needs to spoken to, recalled and reminded of its existence in order to be woken from its dormant sleep. Through its awakening inside each of us lies the ability to achieve an element of inner peace, of security, of any number of other things long forgotten as we as a collective continually seek to emulate the leisure class in our pursuits, and in doing so, become more and more beholden to the increasingly more antiquated system rapidly losing its relevance. Self-employment, creative business efforts and technical expertise distributed though trade practices, entrepreneurial endeavors manifested into functional business, is the only route toward this freedom.
For some technology is the only answer to entrepreneurship. For others too, success on a large scale is the only reasonable pursuit of any form of career. Indeed, in my experience of many entrepreneurs, the pursuit of funding to underwrite their endeavors seems to be the most logical route to follow. Rarely is there a desire to perform the work necessary to get the widget they seek to bring to market nor is there a willfulness to accept economic realities or realistic assessment of market opportunity as it pertains to their product. I will state this over and over again: entrepreneurship is not writing a business plan, pitching an idea or seeking funding. Entrepreneurism is the creation of a product or service of value distributed for profit in perpetuity. Entrepreneurism is not always fun nor is it a fast road to success and riches. But it is the ability to be the master of your own fate, to test within and allow for the market to determine your success and once identified, for you to capitalize upon these findings in pursuit of the profit that drives all economics. And thus, become an entrepreneur.
Sales-impaired coaches sometimes hide behind the yuck-factor and claim they don't have enough clients, because they hate to sell. That's a lie.
Not selling your coaching boils down to one thing: your refusal to own your own fear and vulnerability.
Sure, integrity and sales skills matter, but there's a risk you'll be judged when you sell something intangible like coaching and it's safer to hide.
Learn from the 8-foot bride, the art of asking. Then challenge yourself to trust that much.