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Manage Stress and Promote Mental Well-being with the Daily Seven

Posted by Julia Stewart

Mindsight Daily Seven

People seem even more stressed than usual.

Between the pandemic and economic meltdown, on top of the climate and refugee crises, plus the usual wars, famines, and fractious politics, it's only natural.

"If you can sit quietly after difficult news; if in financial downturns you remain perfectly calm; if you can see your neighbors travel to fantastic places without a twinge of jealousy; if you can happily eat whatever is put on your plate; you can fall asleep after a day of running around without a drink or a pill; if you can always find contentment just where you are: you are probably a dog." - Jack Kornfield

If you're a coach, you probably counsel your clients around the importance of self care, especially in times like these. But what types of self care help us flourish even under the most difficult circumstances? Here are seven activities, based on scientific research, that you can take like your daily vitamins to help you, and your clients, thrive through anything. They are crafted by Daniel Siegel, MD, and David Rock, PhD.

The Mindsight Daily Seven:

  1. Focus Time. Spend some time each day concentrating on something you enjoy. Reading, dancing, practicing a skill. It can be your hobby or your profession, but engage in something you can lose yourself in. In other words, get into Flow. This is a peak mental state that will raise your positivity.
  2. Time In. Spend some time focusing within. This could be a few minutes of quiet contemplation, mindfulness, or formal meditation. Notice without judging. If you catch yourself judging, notice that and encourage yourself to judge less. Over time, your brain will become more integrated and that boosts mental health.
  3. Down Time. Do nothing productive for a little while each day. Goof off. Don't make plans. Set a part of each day aside for a mini-vacation.  Paradoxically, you'll become more productive, focused, and creative.
  4. Physical Time. Move your body. Exercise, walk more, or just get up from your chair at least once per hour. Everyone knows this is great for your physical health, but it's equally important for your brain health.
  5. Sleep Time. There's evidence that our brains clean themselves when we sleep so getting seven or more hours sleep per night keeps the brain healthy and may help prevent dementia.
  6. Play Time. This is different from competitive sports, which have their own benefits. With play, you might try new things. Look silly. Screw up; no judgement. Catch yourself laughing outloud. People who play are more innovative.
  7. Connecting Time. Connect on a heartfelt level with other people, pets, and planet. Spend time with nature. Get beyond your small self and feel your connection to others. You'll grow important relationships, develop perspective, and enjoy greater wisdom.

Which of these activities are you already doing daily? Which could you add without overwhelming yourself? Is there something you'd be willing to give up to make time for more well-being and relaxation?

How can you remember to do all the Daily Seven? Use this post as a checklist, if you like. Get a partner to work on it together. Or get a coach.

Interested in becoming a professional neuroscience coach?

Visit the Certified Neuroscience Coach Page Here

 

Topics: mindfulness, Neuroplasticity, Flow, wellbeing, self care, certified neuroscience coach

How to Create Coaching Flow for More Ease, Fun, and Success

Posted by Mattison Grey

Mattison Grey

The following post is by Mattison Grey, MMC, master coach, trainer, speaker, and author of The Motivation Myth.

I have a saying…”connection wins.” 

While that might seem understated, it has been shown to be the case over and over in my coaching practice.  Have you ever noticed that coaching is more fun and effective when you have a strong connection with the client?  And that a close connection often leads to flow?  I think we can all agree flow is an awesome place to be with a client! It’s quite magical, sometimes elusive and often fragile. 

Have you ever been trucking along in flow with someone and then BAM, it goes away? 

Yeah, me too. Oops.  What the heck just happened?  Well, there’s a good chance judgment happened.  You see, connection requires trust. While that does seem obvious, and almost as obvious as judgment breaks trust, what is not as clear is that judgment breaks trust…all judgment.  Stay with me…Yes, even judgment that is “good.” 

Yep, judgment good or judgment bad, breaks trust.  So, when you accidentally (or intentionally) add judgment into flow, that flow is interrupted.  Judgment breaks trust, therefore, connection, therefor flow.  This is where the tool of acknowledgment comes in.

Acknowledgment, as I define it, eliminates judgment from our language and provides the opportunity to communicate and maintain flow. You can also use acknowledgment to create flow.  It sounds too simple to work, but it does - almost every time.  Flow seems elusive, but it’s not.  It just requires the coach to get out of and stay out of the way.  Simple yes, easy no. 

So, what is acknowledgment?  It’s probably not what you think. 

 

“Acknowledgement is saying what a person did (completed actions) or the results that the person produced, without judgment or opinion, and it is delivered with a tone of appreciation, curiosity, or surprise.”

The tone implies appreciation. “Wow, you really did something.”

Acknowledgement: “You completed the project on time.”

 

I can hear you now,  “I don’t judge people when I am coaching...”  I’d encourage you to revisit that idea and stay curious. Positive judgment is still judgment and any sort of judgment breaks trust. That is what makes learning and implementing acknowledgment into our coaching so tricky.  The tricky part of acknowledgement is that what you say must be delivered without your opinion or judgment (whether that is positive or negative).  If there is any opinion or judgment in your words or in your tone, whatever you say is no longer an acknowledgement.

Another key component to acknowledgement is that it is not about you. This is amazingly hard for people to get at first.  It sort-of scrambles the brain.  Even when I teach this tool to high-level coaches and “people” people, they struggle at first to take themselves out of the equation and to really make it only about the other person.  If the communication is in any way about you, then it is not acknowledgement, it is something else.

An easy way to begin to understand this distinction is to understand what acknowledgement is not.  It is not complimenting, appreciation, validation, affirmation, thanking, recognition, praise, championing or cheerleading.  There is a time and a place for all of these, and they are not acknowledgement (those things are all about you rather than the other person).

Here is what each of these sounds like:

  • Compliment: “The project is wonderful. You are so smart.”
  • Appreciation: “I really appreciate your completing this project on time.”
  • Validation: “I see that you have given this project a lot of effort and thought.”
  • Affirmation: “I think you deserve all the credit for this successful project.”
  • Thanking: “Thank you for putting all your time and effort into this project.”
  • Recognition: “It is clear you are a very talented project manager.”
  • Praise: “Awesome job.”
  • Championing: “I told the CEO that you were the right person for this project.”
  • Cheerleading: “I knew you could do it.”

 

While these communications sound normal and nice, they are all a judgment of the persons’ actions and are all opinions.  In the course of a normal conversation these types of communications are just fine, and often considered good manners.  However, when trying to create a high-performance environment and achieve and maintain flow, acknowledgment is essential.  

Want to learn more about how to incorporate this tool into your coaching practice?  Specifically, how to use it in conjunction with Active Constructive Response?  Join us for a free Webinar on Monday, February 24th, 2020.

 

Attend this free one-time-only master class with Mattison Grey and Julia Stewart on how to use acknowledgment to create Flow in your coaching. Register now:

 

Attend this Free Master Class on Coaching Flow

 

Topics: free coach training, webinar, acknowledgment, Flow, IAPPC

What is Coaching Presence and Why Is it So Important?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching Presence

Ask any master coach what they bring to coaching that's most important and they'll probably say, Coaching Presence.

But what is it and why is it so important?

Coaching Presence is ICF Core Competency #4. They define it in their ICF Competencies Comparison Levels Table in a way that's seems easy enough: "Ability to be fully conscious and create spontaneous relationship with the client, employing a style that is open, flexible and confident", yet few coaches do this consistently and many, not at all.

At the masterful level, the ICF expects the coach to fully connect with the whole of the client, empowering the client to teach the coach. The coach is guided by their natural curiosity, is free of any need to perform or provide value, and comes from a place of not knowing.

What? The client teaches the coach while the coach doesn't need to know anything or provide any value? Isn't that backward? Who would pay for that?

Ah, the paradox of great coaching...

Coaching presence is a challenge because our egos think they know what to do, what to say, and what to advise; but egos make terrible coaches.

The neuropsychologist, Dan Siegel, describes presence, not necessarily coaching presence, but presence itself, as fully in the now, undistracted by the past or future, or by one's own personal needs, is calm, positive, maintains open awareness, hasn't decided how things should be, is supportive of others, curious about the next moment, and in the flow.

This is a state of consciousness that few experience in their day to day. Most are unable to conjure it on demand.

Why does it matter? The state of consciousness that is presence, is contagious. When we come from this state, others often slip into it, too. And this is the state that invites insight, expanded awareness, creativity, confidence, and agency; all qualities that help clients grow, find resourceful solutions and act upon them. And that is the goal of coaching.

This remarkable state of mind virtually eliminates the need to advise, solve, or teach our clients anything. You probably won't believe that until you've experienced it, though.

How do you get there?

A daily practice of meditation or mindfulness can prepare your brain for presence, so can experiencing the flow of nature without thinking or evaluating, because practices such as these have been shown to integrate the brain via neuroplasticity. Some forms of yoga and tai chi can help you develop it, too. But even just taking a deep breath can get you started.

In addition, getting all your needs met, via excellent self care, can help you maintain presence more often. And if you combine these with effective coach training, observing master coaching demonstrations in class, hours of practicing your own coaching, plus written feedback on it, you'll get pretty good at presence, over time. Our Neuroscience Tools and Practices Module is designed to help.

You will spontaneously ask the right questions at just the right times.

 

Learn more about the Certified Neuroscience Coach Program:

Visit the Certified Neuroscience Coach Page Here

 

Topics: ICF, master coach, mindfulness, Neuroplasticity, Flow, coaching presence, certified neuroscience coach

Should Life and Business Coaches Give Advice?

Posted by Julia Stewart

 Coaching_advice.jpg

Most people assume that life, business, and executive coaches give advice, because that's what most professionals do: give expert advice. For instance, if you hire an attorney, s/he gives you legal advice. If you hire a broker, s/he gives you financial advice. And if you go to a hair stylist, you expect some advice on your hair. But coaches really aren't advisors.

By the way, this answers the question posed to me years ago by one coach wannabe, "How do you charge for free advice?" Most new coaches ask some version of this question when they first set up their coaching businesses. The answer is, "You don't." Free advice is everywhere, but that's not what coaches do.

Huh? What do coaches do then, if they don't give advice?

Well, here's one of the most succinct definitions of coaching, from David Rock, who pioneered brain-based coaching. He says, "Coaches help people think better."

"Why would anyone pay hundreds of dollars per hour to have somebody help them thinking better?" you might ask.

That's certainly an understandable question. Because Rock's definition is so simple, it doesn't even hint at the power of coaching. In fact, most coaching definitions don't. Here are two coaching definitions I borrowed from the blog post, "What is Life Coaching?"

School of Coaching Mastery (SCM) definition of coaching: Coaching is a customized conversation that empowers the client to get what s/he wants by thinking and acting more resourcefully.

International Coach Federation (ICF) definition of coaching: Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.

These definitions get closer to what really happens in an effective coaching session, but if you've never been coached, it's still hard to imagine the value, so it's no wonder untrained coaches tend to give advice and then wonder why they don't have more paying coaching clients.

If your "coaching" is really about giving advice, you're not coaching; you're consulting. Sometimes the client needs consulting, so if you're qualified to consult within your specialty, go ahead and consult. But don't call it coaching, because your clients won't know what they're buying.

And don't ever call yourself a coach just to get around the fact that you don't have the credentials to do something else. Coaching is unregulated virtually everywhere, but If you're not qualified to be a counselor, psychotherapist, financial advisor, legal advisor, or health professional, etc.; it's unethical to advise people under the heading of "coach", because coaches don't advise and because calling your service one thing, when it's really something else, is false advertising. And finally, because these specialties are usually regulated.

What coaches really do is shift their clients' mind-states. This is pretty profound, requires skill, and it results in dramatically better outcomes. We don't heal our clients, but we do bring out their personal greatness, which has in common elements from Presence, Flow, Love 2.0, and more.

In short, coaching clients think better. Way better.

When clients think better, they see solutions to problems and pathways to reaching goals. They sometimes realize they don't even have problems (or maybe what they have are really good problems) and they even become grateful for what they already have. Sometimes, they find strengths they'd forgotten, or values they truly treasure that pull them forward. Sometimes they realize they already have the people and resources they need, or that they know where to find them.

And occasionally, they discover a gap that needs filling.

There may be a gap in knowledge, vision, plan, or relationships. In these rare cases, the coach may prompt clients with a few possibilities they didn't know about. The coach might say, "I've seen others try X, Y, or Z in this type of situation and it was effective for them. What do you think?" But a great coach will never say, "You should do X." The first is offering options; the second is giving advice.

Even offering options is ineffective unless it's really needed, which is pretty rare.

Do you know how to help people think better? Do you how to shift people's mind-states so they think and act more resourcefully? Do you know how to elicit people's personal greatness? And when and how to offer options?

If not, or if you're unsure, the upcoming Coaching Groundwork Advance course may be perfect for you. Find out more and download the face sheet, or even register, below.

Join Coaching Groundwork Advanced and Save

Topics: business coach, life coach, executive coach, Coaching Groundwork, consulting, Flow, coaching definition, personal greatness, coaching presence, love 2.0

Positive Psychology Coaching: How Flow Appears In Coaching Sessions

Posted by Julia Stewart

Flow by VANCUSO

Have you ever participated, as a coach or client, in a coaching session when both the coach and client got on a wave length together that resulted in incredible insights and progress? After which, the client probably felt the coach did something amazing, while the coach may have felt s/he barely did anything, at all. If so, you may have experienced a "group flow" state.

Individuals go into flow states when they use their strengths in challenging situations, but groups of two or more people can also create group flow under specific circumstances. During flow, people are unusually creative, often feel that guidance is coming from without, and they may lose track of time. To learn more about flow, watch this TED video of positive psychology pioneer, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (rhymes with 'chick sent me high'), who coined the term, Flow.

Creativity researcher, R. Keith Sawyer, wrote a fascinating article on group flow for the Greater Good Science Center, based on his study of jazz ensembles and comedians. I've adapted his ideas here to describe the conditions that can foster group flow during a coaching session.

Conditions that promote flow during coaching:

1. A shared goal. In great coaching, both client and coach have a shared intention of moving the client towards achieving an important goal. To do this, the coach needs to let go of any personal goals s/he has to provide value, look smart, or get the client to do what s/he thinks is best. The coach also needs to create a safe, trusted environment for the client.

2. Engaged listening. Both coach and client need to listen deeply to themselves and to each other, putting aside preconceived notions about how the goal should be reached and checking in with each other frequently to make sure they are still on the same page. The coach takes the initiative here, modeling listening with intent, which can trigger the client to do the same. The coach also triggers deep engagement by asking awareness-building questions.

3. Forward motion. Acknowledgment, curiosity, and positivity all keep the session moving forward even when neither the coach nor the client knows exactly where they're headed. This means moving from "Yeah, but" thinking to "Yes, and" thinking, while remaining genuinely curious and avoiding judgments and closed-ended questions that can stop forward movement.

4. Undivided attention. Both coach and client need to be in private, non-distracting environments so they can attend fully to the shared present-moment conversation. Email, smart phones, other people and more can all derail a great coaching session.

5. Freedom and autonomy. Coach and client are equal partners who believe in each other, because the client needs the freedom to be exactly who he is while coaching. Flow emerges when they trust and respect one another enough for the client to find the answers that truly work best for him. 

6. Supportive egos. Sometimes it seems as though the coach and client think together with one mind for a few minutes. To do so, they both need their egos present, but not running the show. Trying to get rid of the ego leads to dysfunction, but too much ego just gets in the way. To move egos aside, trust must be strong enough for coach and client to experience moments of intimacy.

7. Equal partnership. Coaching is different from most professions in that it is an equal partnership between the professional and client. The coach doesn't fix or advise and the client doesn't need to be healed by the coach. This equality fosters full participation by the client, which leads to resourcefulness, resilience and greatness.

8. Unspoken understandings. Coach and client need to reveal just enough information about themselves that they feel sufficiently known by one another. This implicit knowing allows communication to jump ahead quickly, rather than consume time with polite posturings. Hours, weeks, or even months of processing can take place within minutes.

9. Spontaneous conversation. The coach needs to let go of the coaching models and structures s/he learned in coaching school and just coach from the hip, so to speak. While the client needs also to let go and allow flow to occur. That's one of the many reasons why practice and mastery are essential for the coach and why an excellent fit between coach and client makes such a big difference.

10. Risk. Both coach and client need to be willing to fail in order for flow to show up. If they play it safe, many of the above conditions will evaporate. The coach must be willing to explore the unknown even if it means asking cringe-worthy questions, while the client needs to be courageous enough to answer honestly. There is no other way to find the best outcomes. 

The above conditions don't happen automatically. The coach needs to know how to create trust and safety, while navigating the energy of the coaching conversation, in order to create this transpersonal experience. But when done well, coaching is often awe-inspiring.

Want to learn more about coaching and flow? Join the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program or download the CPPC Fact Sheet below.

 

Get Certified Positive Psychology Coach Fact Sheet

Photo by VANKUSO

Topics: coaching clients, coaching questions, greatness, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow

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