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What is a Coaching Mindset and How Do You Get It and Maintain It?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching MindsetThe ICF recently added the first new Core Coaching Competency in over two decades.

It's called: Maintains a Coaching Mindset.

This post will clear up confusion about what a Coaching Mindset is, why it matters, and how you can develop and maintain it. Because once you understand this, a doorway opens that makes masterful coaching possible for you.

The first thing to know is that this competency is demonstrated both outside coaching sessions as well as during coaching. In other words coaching, with its expansive positivity, curiosity, presence, and acknowledgement isn't something you just do for an hour or two and then revert to thinking and acting small. Thinking like a coach is a 24/7 commitment.

Maintains a Coaching Mindset helps counter the misconception that coaching is merely a performative skill set.

The ICF definition of Maintains a Coaching Mindset is:

Develops and maintains a mindset that is open, curious, flexible and client-centered.

 

Coaches need to show up this way during coaching sessions because it helps raise the client's receptivity and resourcefulness, which are key to the client's success. Great coaches do more than help clients solve their problems. They help them grow into people who stop having those problems. Plus, coaches need to show up this way outside coaching sessions in order to maintain trust and respect with clients.

Because, almost anyone can learn the communication techniques of coaching. But until they learn to think like a coach, that will limit their clients' outcomes and growth, and it will also limit the coaches' careers, because clients won't want to work with them. Why not?

Potential clients naturally mistrust coaches who are closed-minded, incurious, rigid, or self-centered; even if just a little bit.

So how do you develop and maintain a coaching mindset? Here are several approaches:

  • Develop your self-awareness. Because you cannot be client-centered if you are unaware of where you end and your client begins. It's surprising how often people are unaware of this. If you are a helpaholic or compulsive advice giver, you need work here. Get to know your own Strengths and Values, as well as your Needs, biases, unhealed wounds, assumptions, and habits. It's a lot to be aware of and it will always be a work in progress, but healthy personal growth can carry a coach a long way. How can you achieve this?
  • Develop self-regulation. When your Needs, boundaries, and self-care are well met, you can show up positively and your negative emotions are much less likely to get in the way. This can change your entire outlook as well as what you think is possible for your clients. A coach or therapist can give you customized support with this, but there are several other approaches that can work well:
    • Know your boundaries and how to communicate them. Just as good fences make good neighbors, good boundaries are the foundation of good relationships. What are you not okay with? What are your deal breakers? Good boundaries are clear but also flexible and boundary conversations help us navigate varied cultural perspectives, a necessary skill in the 21st Century. Boundaries are basic rules of engagement that help you and others be your best. When you know how to communicate boundaries, you put people at ease and relationships progress more smoothly. For example: Your written agreement with your clients is a formalized set of boundaries. In fact, most difficult issues that could come up in coaching relationships can be forestalled by what is included in that agreement. You need less formal boundaries in your personal relationships but don't try to live without them. By the way, sometimes the person you need to set boundaries with the most is yourself. You can learn to set boundaries by taking trainings or even reading books on boundaries. Here's a good one.
    • Know your Needs and get them met. We all have them. Most of us go through life hoping ours will be met  and then suffering needlessly because Needs aren't met by chance. They are our own responsibility. If we don't actively work to get them met, it's unlikely that they will be. Abraham Maslow said meeting Needs is like taking vitamins; they keep us healthy. Unhealthy coaches can't reliably maintain a coaching mindset. Read about Needs here. Take this course to learn how to help yourself and your clients get Needs met.
    • Take your self-care seriously. Working crazy hours, eating a terrible diet, never exercising, juggling stress,  sleeping too little, and impoverished relationships can all block your coaching mindset and you may not even notice. But others will. Don't take that chance. What's one thing you know you need to start doing, or stop doing, to take care of you? Are you willing to commit to that change? Great, when can you start?
  • Develop your intuition, empathy, creativity, and positivity. Western culture has long prized reason, logic, and rational thought, the so-called left-brain thinking patterns. Those qualities have taken our culture a long way. But your brain has two hemispheres. You can't live your best life without both. Coaching excels because it unabashedly includes other ways of thinking that are associated with the right brain. Integrate your brain so you can move back and forth seamlessly. Why does this matter? It helps provide the wisdom, flexibility, positivity and creativity that are prized in master-level coaching. And it helps you develop a coaching mindset. This leads almost effortlessly to more profound client outcomes. They are so worth it. Here's how:
    • Engage in contemplative practices and use one or more to prepare for coaching sessions. These will help change your brain by temporarily lowering stress. Over time, you'll develop greater perspective, more maturity, and more wisdom. Because we are all prone to stress but cannot coach well when when we are in the fight, flight, or freeze response, we need these practices to prepare for coaching sessions. Traditional practices, such as mindfulness, sitting meditation, walking meditation, prayer, chanting, and ritual can all change your brain state briefly, so they are ideal for preparing before coaching sessions, but when practiced  daily for months and years, they change those relaxed states into enduring traits by integrating the brain. If you're more secular, uncomfortable with a spiritual approach, or technology is your thing, there are powerful research-based breath exercises and verified practices based on smartphone apps and other devices. HeartMath is effective for many. Over time, these practices can help you strengthen your True Self and be less controlled by your ego. That can help you be happier. Your True Self (sometimes called Personal Greatness, Higher Self, Wise Self, etc.) is essentially your coaching mindset.
    • Live a Values-driven life. Your Values are what really matter to you. If you are spending all your time on other matters, you cannot be your True Self, nor can you live your best life, nor may you coach masterfully. When your mindset is focused on what matters, you are thinking like a coach and can coach clients to greatness.
  • Keep Learning. The ICF and most other certifiers require that you continue your coaching education throughout your career. When you choose a coach training, look not for the acquisition of mere technical information, but for the kind of adaptive challenges that will assist you to coach at increasingly higher levels and to show up with the mindset of your True Self, Personal Greatness, or Higher Self. In other words, training that will challenge you to show up with the mindset of a coach. It's worth it.

The Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program and Certified Neuroscience Coach Program can help you learn beginning-to-advanced coaching skills and develop a coaching mindset. Or read more about becoming a coach in the free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook.

 

Learn more about becoming a coach here:

 

Get the FREE Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook


 

 

 

Topics: become a coach, ICF, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, personal development, coaching with neuroscience, brain, FIND A COACH, free ebook, personal greatness, personal growth, personal values, become a positive psychology coach, certified neuroscience coach, Competencies

Here's What Happened When I Quit Social Media

Posted by Julia Stewart

social media apps on iphone

My name is Julia and I am an addict.

I am addicted to social media. This was inevitable because social media is designed to addict us so it can keep us engaged and change our behavior. Then we buy more and more stuff via their ads and they make billions.

Wondering if you are a social media addict? Do you visit social media everyday? Do you participate on more than one site? How many minutes/hours per day do you spend? Have you ever bought anything via an ad on social media? Have you ever found a fake news story there? Do you ever get upset at things your friends or others post? Have you ever caught yourself mindlessly scrolling through your feed without curiosity or enjoyment? Have you caught yourself doing that more and more?

That last item is telling.

Mindless scrolling is like watching bad TV at 3 AM because you're "too tired" to go to bed. TV is just as addictive as social media and for the same reason. Mindless scrolling is also like binge drinking when you really don't want another drink.

What I discovered after I left my last social media site surprised me. And it led to other important changes in my life. How I got off is a bit amusing but the ramifications are huge.

Read on for how I escaped and what happened next...

I won't bore you with details of my history with social media. Long story short, I all but gave up on it long ago as a viable marketing strategy. I still use LinkedIn a bit for that but I spend almost no time there. And some sites that I used to enjoy, like Twitter, are so overrun by bots, propaganda, advertising, and toxic politics that I had long since given up on them. But Facebook was the one site where I still connected with colleagues and out-of-town friends and relatives so I made an exception for it. I thought the good outweighed the bad.

Then Facebook became a problem.

A few years ago, a friend who teaches a college course on social media marketing told me she quit Facebook because she had become addicted to it. I should have known it would happen to me, too. Was it the noxious politics that drove me away or the belligerent posts by friends of friends that woke me up? Nope.

In my efforts to control my addiction, I accidentally locked myself out.

Like an alcoholic who thinks they can control their addiction by avoiding bars and keeping booze out of the house, "except for special occasions," I removed all Facebook apps from my devices, then logged in on my iPad with a new password that I did not save. This way, I could only access Facebook on that one device. However, that did not limit the time I spent there. I still found myself mindlessly scrolling and gradually became more disenchanted. Then one day I accidentally closed Facebook.

To my surprise, I couldn't be bothered to retrieve my password.

Did you know retrieving your Facebook password is more onerous than it is for your bank account? At first, I thought that was what stopped me. Then I said I would go back to Facebook after the presidential election. Then I pushed that back until after the inauguration. With each passing deadline I was less willing to return. Why?

I felt so much happier after I left.

I was no longer triggered by my friends' political posts. Instead, I was spending my time reconnecting with actual friends and deepening our relationships just like I used to before social media. Even via Zoom during the lock-down, those relationships feel more meaningful than the likes, comments, and shares I was previously settling for.

Plus, now free of the constant manipulation of Facebook, I became increasingly sensitive to the manipulations of other types of media. I canceled cable TV so I wouldn't be tempted to visit cable news stations, anymore. I found free internet news apps that cover topics in-depth without the constant drama, sensationalism, and fake outrage. I prefer feeling a calm sense of well-being even while consuming news.

Then I noticed how manipulative the newspaper I've been reading for forty years has become. Before, I thought my dissatisfaction with it was because, over the years, I've changed and they've changed and that's understandable. But it's the news media's job to inform us, not tell us what to think. Negativity bias has always been a problem with the Fourth Estate because worried people buy more newspapers, or apps, as the case may be. And implicit bias has always been there. It's sad though to see a formerly solid source of information blatantly manipulate its readers. No wonder we are so polarized. It's hard to get the facts without editorializations so we simply operate with opinions.

I unsubscribed from that paper.

What do I do now that I have so much more freedom and time? Deeper relationships comes first. Then occasionally checking the news online. Then reading for pleasure. And I scratch my information itch by reading non-fiction books of interest to me personally and professionally. That helps me keep my evidence-based coach training classes current and fosters my personal growth.

From there, I realized all the toxicity of the past year or so had caught up to me.

I had anxiety. Fortunately, one of the books I read, The Body Keeps the Score, mentioned something called Direct Neurofeedback. I did a few months of it and the results have been fabulous. It was pleasant; it was easy. And I am so much more relaxed, not in a drugged way, but in a healthy and vital way.

Funnily enough, direct neurofeedback works the same way Facebook does.

It uses the neurotransmitter, dopamine, the brain's reward chemical, to retrain the brain to a healthier state, instead of addiction. I find I am now more  focused, confident, optimistic, and most of all, aware.

Practicing any addiction will separate you from your intuition and healthy empathy.

Quitting Facebook helped me get back to my True Self. All it took was a mistake, noticing how it felt, and a little neuroscience.

[UPDATE 11-10-21: I have learned to make brief visits to a couple of social media sites for marketing reasons. I am no longer tempted to go in deep. Still avoiding the scroll: Even Apple News can become a problem. Hearing from friends who also have abandoned these sites. And here is research on the topic at Greater Good: Even During the Pandemic, Social Media Didn’t Help Mental Health by Michael Prinzing and one of my favorites: Barbara Fredrickson.]

 

Learn more about coaching and neuroscience here.

 

Visit the Certified Neuroscience Coach Page Here

Topics: Facebook, Social Media Marketing, personal growth, certified neuroscience coach

Join a Virtuous Cycle of Joy and Success this December

Posted by Julia Stewart

upward cycle

How do you define success? More money? Joy? Time? Love?

Whatever success means to you, would you like more of it? Most of us would and there is an inspiring approach that will help you, help others around you, and creates a virtuous cycle for everyone concerned.

As this difficult year comes to a close and as most cultures celebrate important holidays, now is the perfect time to co-create this virtuous cycle. Read on for how you can join in for free...

What if virtually all forms of success were related to smarter giving? They may be according to research by Adam Grant and others. Here are a few ways smarter giving benefits you:

  • Givers are more successful negotiators.
  • Givers strengthen their relationships.
  • Givers experience fulfillment.
  • Givers spark creativity and innovation.
  • Givers' clients express more satisfaction.
  • Givers inspire others to give.
  • Givers receive more in return.
  • Givers experience more joy.
  • Givers inspire joy in others.

Of course, givers can be taken advantage of, but there are smart ways to reduce or eliminate being taken.

Come learn how to be a smart giver this holiday season and help us establish a virtuous cycle of giving. It is free to join and could be the inspiration that makes 2020 one of your very best years.

Fully Alive with Positive Psychology (Giving Edition) starts this Wednesday, December 2nd, for four weeks, 7-8 PM EST. It's a live webinar with me, Julia Stewart that is free to join, but seating is limited so please only join if you will attend. No recordings will be sent out, because all of the value is in the attendance of this live reciprocity circle.

Don't miss this unique opportunity to share an amazing experience. Sign up today and mark your calendar!

Attend Free Fully Alive for Joy and Success

Topics: Free, coaching success, successful business, personal development, Positive Psychology, Boundaries, setting boundaries, Fully Alive, personal growth, self care

15 Self-Care Must-Do's If You're a Highly Sensitive Coach

Posted by Julia Stewart

highly sensitve coach

There is an inherited trait known as Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), or Empath, that is common amongst coaches, especially master coaches.

According to research, 15-20% of all humans are born HSPs, as are 15-20% of all "higher" animals, such as monkeys. This suggests a survival value for the overall population. In other words, HSPs are needed by others. What's different about HSPs? We notice more and sense subtleties that others miss, process information deeply, are more empathic and emotional, and all of this can cause over-stimulation, overwhelm, and exhaustion. It's a blessing and a curse! However, if you're an HSP coach, it is a gift for you and your clients as long as you're aware of it and take especially great care of yourself and your sensitivity. To find out if you're a highly sensitive coach and how to optimize your sensitivity, read on...

Highly Sensitive Persons are impacted more intensely by both positive and negative environmental stimuli.

 

This means your self care, and who and what you surround yourself with, will have a more dramatic impact on you than on someone who is not an HSP. So to be a great coach, you need to take your well-being seriously. No wonder coaches love positive psychology!

Many of the qualities the ICF requires in their Master Certified Coaches (MCC), come naturally to HSPs.  These include conscientiousness, deep connection and awareness, vulnerability, presence, curiosity, empathy, ability to notice more, intuition, deep listening, quick learning, ability to stay in the background while eliciting the client's greatness, allowing the client to lead, and regarding the client with Love 2.0.

 

BUT. Even if you are an HSP, these qualities are unlikely to show up if you don't practice wonderful self care and personal growth, because over-stimulation causes you to shut down and become irritable. Not conducive to great coaching!

 

Here are Self-Care Musts for the Highly Sensitive Coach:

  1. Rest and quiet are your biggest self-care priorities if you're a highly sensitive coach. This includes eight or more hours of sleep every night. Seriously.
  2. Get significant alone time. Especially if you're also an introvert, you need at least an hour per day to yourself to be your best.
  3. Learn to set boundaries. If you haven't mastered this yet, put it at the top of your to-do list.
  4. Keep your client load relatively small. Don't coach more than 10 - 20 hours per week. Less is more!
  5. Work with a functional medicine physician to optimize your health because the affects of illness, fatigue, and pain will negatively impact you more than others.
  6. Work with your own coach, especially an HSP coach, to be your very best.
  7. Develop a meaningful spiritual practice that helps you stay centered and open.
  8. Consider working with a psychotherapist if you had a difficult childhood. HSPs who grow up in negative environments are often prone to depression and anxiety which can harm your coaching and your quality of life.
  9. Screen potential coaching clients to avoid working with difficult people who will drain your energy.
  10. Do consider working with clients who are HSPs and need coaches who understand them.
  11. Avoid "energy vampires", especially narcissists. According to Dr. Judith Orloff, Empaths (HSPs) do particularly badly with narcissists because they don't understand how someone can thoroughly lack empathy. If you can't avoid them, at least learn how to handle them.
  12. Consider working from home. You'll avoid difficult commutes, large crowds, and noxious environments.
  13. Set up your office so it is ideal for you and your sensitivities. The more you put up with, the harder it is to coach brilliantly. And your clients deserve nothing less!
  14. Find a sales and marketing process that leverages your sensitivity rather than forcing you to be who you are not. HSP marketing and sales is an advantage in coaching, but only if you rely on your strengths. Don't let anyone tell you differently!
  15. Embrace your sensitivity along with its downsides and rejoice that you've found the perfect profession for you. Self-compassion for your extra-care needs helps you love and appreciate your self and your clients.

 

Want to take a quick test to confirm whether you're an HSP? Go here.

 

References for this post include research scientist and psychotherapist, Dr. Elaine N. Aron's updated book, The Highly Sensitive Person, and psychiatrist, Dr. Judith Orloff's book, The Empath's Survival Guide, The former will appeal to you if you want to know the research into HSP. The latter is more spiritual in nature and offers many practices to protect your energy.

 

Are you an HSP coach who wants to benefit from the power of positive psychology so you can flourish?

 

Get the Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

Topics: ICF, master coach, MCC, Positive Psychology, personal growth, highly sensitive, self care

Coaching Success: The Path of the Wise Coach

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching Success Woods_Path_by_E_Bass_Creative_Commons_License-1.jpg

If you want to become a coach, you have a thousand questions, which add up to: Will I love being a coach? Will I really be able to help my coaching clients grow and reach their goals? Can I truly make it as a coach? Sometimes, even veteran coaches revisit these types of questions when they sense it's time to make changes in their lives or businesses.

And there seem to be thousands of experts who are happy to step in and provide answers to your questions, but do they really know you and your deepest dreams? That's why often a life, business, or mentor coach can be your greatest supporter, because s/he will help you find the answers that most fit for you, rather than convince you that you need to fit your dreams to someone else's template for success.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes you need information more than you need a coach, such as when you're striking out on a completely unknown path and have no idea where to start. At those times, an experienced friend, consultant, training program, or even a book, can be life-changing. But here's something you need to know...

Most of the time, what a coach really needs to succeed is personal growth.

What is personal growth? It's growing in the direction of your full potential (or potentials). Most people (probably all) who become coaches, have an inexorable drive to grow, as do the people who hire coaches. Our clients need us to be growing and they're naturally attracted to the growing coach who seems to have what they want.

Unfortunately, most coaches don't have as much personal growth as they need or they don't have the support they need to maintain it. We are most attractive to growth-minded clients when we are growing, ourselves, but growth is much more important than just attracting desirable coaching clients.

A Growth Mindset (Dweck, 2006) is critical to everything we do as coaches, so is Positivity (Fredrickson, 2009), passion and perseverance (Duckworth, 2016), and emotional intelligence (David, 2016). When we put these elements together intelligently, we get wisdom. In traditional societies, people rely on their elders for wisdom. In modern societies, they turn to experts, but most experts are in the advice-giving business. Which brings us back to coaching...

A wise coach will help you establish great self care, first and foremost, because getting our physical needs met, as well as our most pressing emotional needs, allows us to be present and open to growth (Maslow, 1962). From there, clients are ready to begin becoming who they need to be to realize their most heartfelt goals.

If being a successful coach and helping your clients reach their dreams is a heartfelt goal for you, you owe it to yourself and your clients to master the tools of self care and growth.

This Thursday, I'll be talking about the tools we need to succeed at anything in Success and the Gritty Coach, a deep dive into Angela Duckworth's surprising theory of passion and perseverance (a.k.a. Grit), as one of the most important tools for any type of achievement, plus how this theory integrates with the work of other thinkers and researchers and how to apply it in coaching.

We could have just as easily called it, Coaching Success: The Path of the Wise Coach.

Classes like this one are usually not free, but this one is open to everyone at no charge.

Master the tools of coaching success. Register for FREE here:

Register for Success and the Gritty Coach

Topics: become a coach, Free, personal growth

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