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A Coach's Guide to Navigating a Trump Presidency

Posted by Julia Stewart

sunrise-1.jpg

I write this early on Wednesday morning, partly for me; partly for you.

The election has not yet been called, but a Trump Presidency seems almost certain.

No one is more stunned. I was quite certain this would turn out differently and yet, I don't believe in fighting what is, at least not on a spiritual level. So I've done a massive amount of processing in a couple of hours to get to a place of acceptance.

Trump will either be a great president, or a disaster, but he's unlikely to be mediocre. 

So what does it mean for you, your family, friends, clients, country, planet?

I sure don't know, but if this is where we are, then we need to accept this reality with minimal panic and remorse. Shed some tears, if you need to (I did), but don't become obsessed with how bad it's going to be.

Let's face it: you are privileged to live in a prosperous country and most likely you will be fine.

Yes, there will be pain for many. Hate crimes are on the rise. The stock market has already plunged; at least one economist has predicted a global recession.  And our climate is dangerously fragile.

Do reach out to friends, including those who voted differently. Try to understand and find common ground.

But most of all, as a coach, you need to be your very best. People will be turning to their coaches to help them process this new world we're in. You need to be able to coach them well.

That means taking better care of yourself than ever. It means getting focused on your needs and making sure they are met. If that means caring for your health, or finances, or business, do it. It also means keeping your loved ones close and caring for them.

Also take care of your spiritual self. Connect with your values, your beliefs, and live them fully. We'll need to grow faster than ever to get beyond where we are now. Your spiritual practice, whether meditation, prayer, fellowship, or kindness; will get you through and help you be your greatest self. We grow fastest when times are difficult - if we take care to not let ourselves be taken down.

Sometimes things have to get worse before genuine transformation can take place.

I had an upbeat post about positive psychology scheduled for this morning. Watch for it tomorrow.

Topics: coach, Positive Psychology, Trump

6 Requirements a Life Coach Must Meet to Coach Their Coaching Clients

Posted by Yvonne Box

Life Coach RequirementsAs a coach, you have both a fiduciary obligation and a duty of care to your clients, and those whom you come into contact with in the course of your work.  These are very important legal concepts that you may not have come across before. To the best of the writer’s knowledge, they apply in the same or similar way throughout the world.

The term ‘fiduciary’ (from the Latin trust and good faith), is a duty imposed by the law of equity (a branch of law relating to fairness), that relates to people who engage in a formal contract with others in roles such as advisors, attorneys/solicitors, coaches, consultants, partners, stockbrokers, etc.  (In the graphic above, the fiduciary obligation is represented by the smaller circle, because it only applies to people with whom you have engaged in a contract.)

It is designed to ensure that the client (who is usually paying for the service, although the client relationship also exists in unpaid situations), is able to rely on the advice, guidance and information given by the service provider (in this case the coach).

This reliance covers a wide range of issues, including the following rights of the client, which in turn form the obligations of the coach:

  1. to be able to rely on the coach acting entirely in the client’s best interests (to the extent that this may mean putting the client’s best interests ahead of the coach’s);
  2. to be treated entirely fairly;
  3. to maintain the relationship in strictest confidence;
  4. to have the coach disclose any conflict of interest that may arise during the relationship;
  5. to have the coach disclose any situation where the coach may not be able to fulfil their role effectively for any reason;
  6. not to have the coach take advantage of the client’s lack of knowledge or vulnerability to benefit the coach in any way.

Whatever you do in your client/coach relationship must be focused on the benefit for the client.  In the unusual situation where a conflict of interest between the client’s needs and your own needs arises, you must always put the client first.

While the fiduciary obligation is restricted to people who are in a contract of some sort, the slightly lesser duty of care applies to everyone with whom a professional or business person comes into contact in the course of their work, including people to whom you owe a fiduciary obligation.  (Duty of care is part of the branch of law known as the tort of negligence, and is also part of common law [that decided by courts].)  It is expressed as a moral duty to take reasonable care not to cause or permit ‘harm’ to any other person.

In the coaching environment, we have a duty of care to prospective future clients as well as current and past clients. We also have a duty to our colleague coaches, other professionals and people associated with clients, such as family members, employers, media, and the public at large.

Any assessment of whether a duty of care has been breached will usually take account of three specific factors:

  • In the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand (along with, I believe, many other developed countries), the basic test is the ‘reasonable person’ test. Would a reasonable person have acted in such a way, without first checking facts, or seeking further advice or information? 
  • What level of harm or damage has resulted from such action? (The higher the level of actual or potential harm that may arise, the greater the duty of care obligation.)
  • Were there any policy considerations or restrictions that should have alerted a person to a direction not to rely (partly or exclusively) on advice or information provided? (E.g. a disclaimer, warning, etc.)

Although these terms can at first seem quite confusing, they’re not actually hard to manage on a day to day basis.  Remember, if someone is your client, you have a higher level of obligation to them.  You must place their interests ahead of your own.  The duty of care is about not exposing people to risk.  Avoid this by using plain-language disclaimers or caveats, (both verbal and written, if necessary). 

This is a guest post by Certified Positive Psychology Coach® member, Yvonne Box. Yvonne_Box_-_headshot-1.png

If you would like to learn more about coaching issues like these, register for the upcoming Best Practices for Professional Coaches module. Click the big blue button to find this and other coaching training modules.

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Topics: life coach, coach training, coaching clients, coach

Coach-Assisted Neuroplasticity: How Mindfulness Changes Your Brain for Good

Posted by Julia Stewart

the_mind

Mindfulness is a popular buzzword in the fields of coaching, psychotherapy, neuroscience and psychology, because Westerners have discovered ample evidence of what Eastern contemplatives have known for millenia: that practicing simple brain activities, known collectively as mindfulness, reaps tremendous mental, physical, social, and spiritual rewards. 

Being told that mindfulness works and knowing how it works, however, can mean the difference between practicing mindfulness daily (and receiving the benefits) vs. forgetting about it all together. 

So here's how mindfulness works.

Mindfulness, itself, is one of a larger collection of brain-training modalities that comprise what neuroscientists now call, self-directed neuroplasticity. These are thought-based exercises that literally utilize the mind to change your brain for good. They don't just change the content of your thoughts; they literally change the size and functioning of specialized areas of your brain. Something that, up until about twenty or so years ago was believed to be impossible.

The ramifications of these discoveries and new approaches are extraordinary. People don't just feel better when they practice mindfulness; their relationships, health, even longevity improve.

Your coaching clients can change their own brains for good - meaning better focus, less stress, less negativity, more optimism, even more happiness and wisdom - but they will likely need your assistance in learning to do so.

That's where coach-assisted neuroplasticity comes in.

This article can get you started with coach-assisted neuroplasticity, but I want you to know, there's much more to be learned about it. Check the bottom of this blog post for where to learn more.

The brain, though highly plastic, never-the-less has quite a few areas that are specialized. Some are devoted to the senses; such as hearing, sight and touch; some for reacting swiftly, such as the fight-flight-or-freeze function of the primitive brain stem, some for emotion and some for thinking. These specialized areas can be coopted by other specialty areas when something isn't working right.

For instance, if I lost my eyes, my occipital lobe, specialized for sight, would stop receiving visual input. Neurons from adjoining areas, for instance areas in my brain specialized for hearing or touch, might then move into the unused occipital lobe, the result of which could improve my ability to notice sounds (improved hearing) or to feel more acutely (ability to learn brail).

To understand the neuroplasticity of mindfulness, it's important to know about a few more specialized areas of the brain.

One such area is the prefrontal cortex (PFC), a part of the brain located right behind your forehead that's specialized in "executive function", which includes reasoning as well as modulating and integrating reactions and emotions that are registered in other areas of the brain. The PFC is the most modern, and in some ways, most human and most mature of brain areas. It is either absent or less developed in our mammalian and primate relatives and doesn't become "mature" in humans until around age 30. (This explains a lot about teenagers and twenty-somethings!)

The PFC has an interesting left/right duality of function. The left PFC tends to to reason calmly and is more "positive" than the right. The right PFC tends to get involved in negative evaluations, worry, stress, and even depression. 

Both PFC sides are connected to an older part of the brain, the amygdala, which is sometimes called the brain's alarm bell. The amygdala registers negative input. The more negative input it gets, the larger and more dominant it grows and the more negative thoughts you'll have, as a result. If the amygdala were a car, then thinking with the right PFC, the worry side, would be like stepping on the gas pedal. Thinking with the left is like putting on the brakes.

This is important for understanding the benefits of mindfulness.

Interestingly, the amygdala is right next door to the hippocampus, which is responsible for learning and putting things in context. When the amygdala is working overtime, resulting in more negativity and growth, the hippocampus tends to shrink, resulting in a reduced ability to learn from mistakes or put things in context. So you have more negativity and stress, less learning and understanding of context. The fight-flight-or-freeze response could get stuck in the "on" position.

Whatever thoughts you habitually focus upon become "hardwired" into your brain, so the more you think with your right PFC, the more negatively you see the world, which then results in more stress, pain, anxiety and possibly depression. Not a pretty picture and all too common. So how can you change this negativity bias that we're all vulnerable to?

Mindfulness can help.

Let's say your client is a struggling small business owner who has laid off a team of ten, because his business isn't earning enough to pay their salaries. Some of them were  your client' friends and colleagues for years, making this was a highly emotional decision.

Now your client is faced with running a struggling business without help. He's overwhelmed and feels guilty, frustrated, even angry; and seems stuck in the fight-flight-or-freeze response. He can't keep up with the business and his home life is a mess. He's hired you to help him turn around the business, but you've observed that he also needs to turn himself around.

What are the options?

Although your client may view his business as a pressing emergency, the business will go under without him and his negativity may be pulling it down faster than he realizes (according to research by Marciel Losada and Barbara Fredrickson, negativity is associated with failure, while positivity is associated with flourishing, both professionally and personally). He could use less right PFC activation and more left PFC activation.

But your client may not take kindly to reciting positive affirmations or keeping a gratitude journal, two tools that coaches sometimes use to activate more positivity. In fact, people who are stuck in negativity tend to see those tools as silly and annoying. So start with something less obviously positive, such as mindfulness.

There are some tools out there, that are lumped in with mindfulness, that are expressly positive, but at its purest, mindfulness is about experiencing or noticing life without evaluating it. And since the fight-flight-or-freeze response is activated, to some extent, anytime we evaluate something negatively, just interrupting that habit on a frequent basis can begin to change negative wiring.

You do not have to sit in meditation to practice mindfulness.

In fact, it takes no extra time, at all, so even clients who are chronically rushed can do it.

Before you proceed, ask your client if negativity and distress have long been common for him, or whether his current state is specifically related to his situation. If it's the former, he may need more help than you can offer, as a coach. Don't hesitate to recommend a therapist, if he seems to need one. For the sake of this example, though, let's say he's generally optimistic, but the struggle of managing his failing business has gotten him stuck in some bad habits.

Explain to him the impact of his thoughts and feelings upon his brain and how his new faulty wiring may be confounding his attempts at success. Then explain that a mindfulness tool could help him rewire for success and ask if he'd be open to trying it. There's a good chance he'll say, "Yes".

Here's a simple mindfulness exercise that can make a dramatic difference.

Simply turn off the usual chatter that most of our minds engage in throughout the day, such as mentally criticizing others, ruminating about perceived slights, or worrying about what could go wrong. A lot of it is negative. Instead, notice surroundings without evaluating them.

The brain is designed to think, so turning it off isn't as easy as it sounds. That's okay. The point of this exercise is to notice one's thinking and refocus again on non-thinking, non-evaluating. Refocusing is like a muscle that strengthens as it's exercised, so the more you catch your brain thinking, the more you get to exercise your ability to refocus. 

The second point of this exercise is that any additional amount of time that the brain isn't thinking negatively is time when the connection between the right PFC and amygdala is weakened.

Over time, the negativity habit is reduced.

It's not necessary to eliminate it altogether, just reduce. 100% positivity carries its own problems. Ask your client to practice this mindfulness exercise several times per day while standing in line at the bank, for instance, or walking the dog, washing dishes, or anytime he doesn't need his mind to explicitly process information. Occasionally, ask him what he notices as a result of "not thinking".

As little as 20 minutes of mindfulness can make a difference.

Over a period of weeks or months, the fight-flight-or-freeze response will be triggered less often, the negative amygdala may become smaller, the hippocampus may begin to grow, so learning and perspective can improve, and your client may think with his left PFC more and with his right PFC less. He'll begin to get the clarity he needs to make good decisions and be able to see more opportunities and act upon them appropriately.

There's a good chance your client will turn around his business without needing your expressed assistance, because he already has the skills and knowledge he needs from starting it, in the first place. He just needed to get back to a more positive outlook on life. However, he also will be easier for you to coach to success, now that his mind has shifted more toward positivity. This is just one mindfulness tool.

There are many more coach-assisted neuroplasticity exercises.

To learn more about neuroplasticity, read books by the following neuroscientists: Daniel J. Siegel, Richard J. Davidson, Stephen W. Porges, and Rick Hanson.

To learn more about the brain on coaching and coach-assisted neuroplasticity exercises, click below:

Register for Coaching with Neuroscience Here.

 

 

 

 

Topics: coach, Barbara L Fredrickson, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, coaching with neuroscience, Neuroplasticity

Coaches: How to Look Like a Douche on Social Media

Posted by Julia Stewart

marketing a coaching business on social media

Okay, sorry for the strong language, but it had to be said: some nice coaches look like, well you know, on social media. Don't be that coach.

Example. A couple of years ago, I wanted to work with a new coach and was considering one who had a great reputation. I was about to call him when he posted about a big breakthrough he had with a client, only he made it sound like it was HIS success, rather then the client's. Yuk. I never called. I actually think he's probably a great guy and a great coach, but he keeps posting stuff like that and I can't bring myself to work with him. Here's the thing: his fans probably forgive him, because they KNOW he's great. The rest of us aren't so sure.

Do you know how many coaching clients you've lost because you posted something dumb on social media? Me either, but I hope it's a really small number. To save us all from ourselves, I've compiled a top ten list on how to look like a douche on social media.

Top Ten Ways to Look Like a Douche on Social Media:

 

  1. Always post about yourself and your business.
  2. Quote yourself on social media.
  3. Brag about how successful your business is.
  4. Brag about how good you are at what you do.
  5. Shoot down others when they're being brilliant.
  6. Brag about the great work you did with a client.
  7. Complain about your "bad" clients.
  8. Always one-up others in the brilliance department.
  9. Never admit your weaknesses.
  10. Aggressively hawk your business on social media.

I've probably committed a couple of these boo-boos myself. But I really try not to. You?

Oh and I considered writing a separate post on How to Be Irresistibly Attractive on Social Media, but anybody could write it, because all you need is to flip the foregoing over. So to save you the paperwork, here it is:

Top Ten Ways to Be Irresistibly Attractive on Social Media:

 

  1. Post or re-share more about others than yourself.
  2. Say smart things now and then, but save the honor of quotes for others.
  3. Talk about other businesses you love.
  4. Talk about how good others are at what they do.
  5. Like or Fav the brilliance of others.
  6. Talk about how brilliant your clients are.
  7. Acknowledge how fortunate you are to have great clients.
  8. Add your brilliance to conversations, but don't compete.
  9. Be a little self-deprecating now and then, preferably with humor.
  10. Share your business with those who are curious (and they will be).

See a pattern here? Although people love great content, everybody likes to be appreciated and nobody likes a pompous know-it-all. Social media marketing is for creating new relationships with people who aren't already your fans. Each item your post could be a future client's first experience of you. Make it stellar.

All that's needed is to put your ego aside for a moment.

If you're new or unsure about social media marketing for your coaching business, download the Essential Guide to Social Media Marketing.

If you'd like a lot more helpful information like this, join the Coach 100 Business Success Program, or even just play the Coach 100 Full Practice Game.

Free Social Media Marketing eBook

Topics: coaching business, Coaches, Coach 100, coaching clients, Coaching 100, coach, coach marketing, Social Media Marketing

Coaching the Curse of the High Achiever

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching for high achievers

Written by Julia Stewart

Have you ever wondered why someone as smart and talented as you hasn't already achieved everything you want?

You're not alone.

Let's face it, you could be twice as smart as Gromit, but still be playing the part of the dog, instead of the master. 

Even if you're a natural-born high achiever, your life may not look it, even though it 'should'.

I coach high achievers, so I'll share some clues about this counter-intuitive curse with some help from the Harvard Business Review.

Harvard knows a thing or two about high achievers.

In The Curse of Being a High Achiever, Harvard Business Review shares common characteristics: 

  • Highly motivated 
  • A doer
  • Driven to get results
  • Competitive
  • Craving positive feedback
  • A safe risk taker
  • Passionate about work
  • Guilt ridden

Mostly great stuff, so what makes high achievers so cursed?

HBR says High Achievers get so used to success that they stop taking risks and then their careers plateau. I'd agree that fear of making mistakes is a chief reason for low achievement, but there are a number of more subtle reasons that high achievers don't succeed.

  • You may be surrounded by people (possibly since birth) who are so self-absorbed that they never acknowledge you. When you don't feel seen and validated, you naturally accomplish less.
  • You may get acknowledged only when you do things that help others achieve their dreams.
  • Others may become so dependent upon you that you expend considerable energy just keeping them afloat, let alone achieving. This is somewhat similar to Gromit's problem. Wallace gets into hot water with his Walter Mitty inventions and Gromit saves the day.
I call these relationship habitats. Once I had a very smart coaching client who never reached her dream of becoming a physician, because no one else believed in her or her dream. I had another client who became a physician only because his parents wanted it. Which leads to another big reason you may not be reaching your goals.

 

  • You don't know what you really want, so you end up achieving something else.

What's the secret to overcoming the curse of the high achiever? If high achieving is holding you back, HBR says, "Then you must adopt counterintuitive practices that give you the courage to step out of your comfort zone." 

In The Curse of the Were Rabbit, Gromit saves they day by looking well past the obvious to see that (spoiler alert) Wallace is the actual Were Rabbit. Gromit then takes steps to change Wallace back into himself and thus salvages both Wallace and the town's vegetable patches.

But Wallace and Gromit still maintain their same relationship, with Wallace the master and Gromit the dog. We, the audience, know better and that's what makes the film amusing.

It's possible (quite likely, actually) that Gromit loves Wallace so much he wouldn't have it any other way, but it's equally likely that he isn't really aware of what he is doing.

We never know whether people will support us in our dreams until we make a stand. Only then will we know which matters most to us. And before we can do that, we need to know what our true dreams are and, most likely, we need someone who genuinely believes in us and acknowledges us and our dreams.

It's a 'catch 22'. We can't find out who will believe in us until we make a stand, and we can't make a stand unless someone believes in us.

This is why people hire coaches.

Never underestimate the power of your relationship habitat, because it will make or break you.

If you want to make major upgrades to your life, career, or business, hire a coach who honestly believes in you. It's not magic, but it'll feel like magic to you.

 

Learn About Elite Coaching for High Achievers

 

Image: Theatrical Release Poster from Wikipedia

Topics: Coaching, mentor coach, coaching clients, coach, Mentor Coaching

Google Business Blog Nightmare: Reality 2.0

Posted by Jeremy Tick

Google Business Blog

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.  

Coach for EntrepreneursGuest 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

 

 

Visit Jeremy Tick on School of Coaching Mastery

 

Topics: business coach, blog, blogs, blogging, blogosphere, coach, Google, business, Entrepreneur, black hat

Coaching Tip: Is the Truth Really a Question?

Posted by Julia Stewart

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:


 

Topics: Coaching, coach, coaching questions, curiosity, TED, Coaching Tip

Neuro Coaching: Threat Reactivity and Your Brain

Posted by Julia Stewart

Boston Marathon by soniasu

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_

Topics: Coaching, coach, greatness, Values, brain

Coach for Entrepreneurs: To Be American in Spirit

Posted by Jeremy Tick

Jeremy Tick, Coach for EntrepreneursThe 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.

Visit Jeremy Tick on School of Coaching Mastery

Topics: business coach, coach, business, business skills, recession, Talent Coach, Entrepreneur

6 Ways Life Coaching is Like Hostage Negotiation

Posted by Julia Stewart

hostages freed by Mohammed Ghafari resized 600
Hostages being freed, Egypt, 2008. Photo by Mohammed Ghafari, Flickr, Creative Commons.

 

 

Life coaching is confused with a number of other professions. Hostage negotiation isn't one of them. So it might shock you to know that effective hostage negotiation shares quite a lot with effective life coaching.

 

Why? Both coaching and negotiation are basically conversations between human beings. The same 'magic' communication skills work well, whether between coach and client, salesman and shopper, parent and teenager, or negotiator and terrorist. In fact, these conversations are really not all that different from each other.

 

I discovered this yesterday while reading Wired magazine collumnist, Eric Barker's interview with former top FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss, who now teaches business negotiation at places like Harvard. In it, Chris shares tips and secrets on how to negotiate successfully, stop thinking like a schizophrenic, and why you should never settle for a one-boob breast augmentation.

 

Here are six ways Hostage Negotiation is like Life Coaching:

 

  1. You can't ignore emotions. Chris says one of the biggest mistakes many negotiators make is that they try to ignore emotion and just be rational. The problem with that, as he says is, "There’s a lot of scientific evidence now that demonstrates that without emotions you actually can’t make a decision, because you make your decisions based on what you care about." In coaching, what you care about is called your 'Values'. Great coaches always clarify their client's values, otherwise their clients can't make good choices. I tell my coaching students that emotions always have an underlying logic. Once you understand the meaning behind the emotion, it always makes sense and moving forward gets easier.
  2. You have to really listen. Most people don't really listen to each other; they just formulate their responses while the other person is talking. The result is that they don't really hear everything the other person is saying. Worse, it means most of us go through life without anyone ever really hearing us. That's a soul-slaughtering experience. No wonder some people go postal. Chris says negotiating with a schizophrenic is especially challenging, because a schizophrenic is often distracted by voices in their head. He says when you listen to your own voice in your head instead of to the other person, you're behaving like a schizophrenic who can't really hear what's going on. I couldn't say it better.
  3. Feed back what you're hearing. Chris says, "The idea is to really listen to what the other side is saying and feed it back to them. It’s kind of a discovery process for both sides. First of all, you’re trying to discover what’s important to them, and secondly, you’re trying to help them hear what they’re saying to find out if what they are saying makes sense to them." In coaching, this is called mirroring, or you can double-duty it and also acknowledge them as you mirror. Both of you will get more clarity. The other person will know you're really listening, which helps make a stronger connection. The result is greater openness and willingness to work with you.
  4. Keep clarifying. Chris suggests, "You can say, 'What are we trying to accomplish here?'  Then, 'How is what you are asking for going to get you that?' Great coaching questions! Most people, terrorists and schizophrenics included, need help clarifying what they really want and how they're going to get it. That's what coaching's about. Apparently, that's an important part of hostage negotiation too.
  5. Never compromize. According to Chris, compromize is a terrible thing. The metaphor he uses is the husband who wants his wife to get a boob job. She doesn't want to do it, so they compromize and she just gets one. In other words, nobody gets what they really want. Coaches exist to help people get what they really want. Most people are so used to compromizing that what they tell you they want is usually just what they think they should want or what they think they can get instead of what they actually want. Trust me, your clients can get what they don't want on their own. They don't need to pay you thousands of dollars to help them compromize.
  6. Don't argue. If each side is presenting its arguments, neither is really listening (See #2). Instead of resolution, you get more conflict. If you want the other side to hear you, let them get their whole story out. Otherwise, that story will get in the way of their ability to hear you. It'll get in the way of getting what they want, too. 

 

Obviously, there are key distinctions between life coaching and hostage negotiation. For starters, a negotiator has an agenda to resolve a horrible situation without anyone getting hurt or killed. In coaching, our only agenda is to help the client think and act more resourcefully so they can get what they really want. The negotiator may only be trying to buy time until the SWAT team can either rescue the hostages or arrest the terrorist. Big difference.

 

But people are people. They want you to hear what matters to them, even if they can't articulate that, yet. Maybe if more people were coached, fewer people would go ballistic.

 

Learn how to coach people on what really matters to them (and get a coaching certificate):

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