Congratulations to the following coaches who recently earned the Masteries Practitioner Designation!
by: Aileen Gibb
One True and Trusted Conversation at a Time was the message I chose to put out in the world at my recent TEDx talk in Canmore, Alberta, Canada (my home town). Little did I realize when I set out to do this talk that the message was to prove as powerful a learning for me personally as it was to be for my audience.
I'm not a speaker as such. Apart from my appearances on behalf of the IAC at the annual WBECS online conference for the past four years, I haven't really been on stage as a keynote (or any other kind) of speaker. I have however, facilitated leadership groups and teams for many years.
The largest of these I fondly remember as my "platform moment" - standing on a small circular platform addressing concentric circles of 300 technical leaders. I loved that moment. The performer in me was playing to her strengths. I was in a flow and as a result I carried it off with great aplomb, articulation, and impact.
Surely, I could carry off a TEDx talk? At first I wasn't so sure. Two years ago I had applied to speak at our local TEDx and I'd been rejected. This year I wasn't even sure it was worth applying. Then I got a call asking me to apply. Oh yes, I convinced myself, they must be short of speakers this year. Not enough applications. Anyone will do. My inner critic was already controlling the show. When I hadn't heard anything after three weeks, I actually wrote to the committee and assumed I had AGAIN not been accepted. Not so. This time around, I was on the speaker list. Now I had to decide what I would speak about. (Yes, I know you should first have a clear "idea worth sharing" and then apply to present it at TEDx. Not me.)
I started out confident. The theme of our event was EVOLVE. I could speak to the contribution coaching makes to the evolution of individuals, organizations, even society. I could show that powerful questions could evolve conversations and relationships. I could argue for listening as an evolutionary force for change. Yes all of those could work. But none of them did. Draft after draft got scrunched up and tossed in the bin.
You see, the real challenge of doing a TEDx talk isn't being good at presentations, being accomplished as a speaker, or even knowing your topic inside out. No, the real challenge is being able to convey ONE idea in a very short time. I had ten minutes. Now I was really feeling the pressure. My inner voice was saying, you're never going to do this!
So I got a coach. A bright, creative, enthusiastic and at times tough, coach from a theatre background. This was to be a totally new experience of coaching for me. My coach started out with some tough love. When I read through a draft version of my talk, he said: "Yeah - that's pretty boring, Aileen. Let's do something different".
Well I liked that. The rebel in me always wants to do something different and I was having problems conforming to the standard TEDx format. And sometimes doing something different turns out to be a long, tough haul. It would have been relatively easy to take any of those coaching ideas I'd had and massage them into a message to fit with the EVOLVE theme. Much harder was my own personal evolution before I got onto that stage.
As a confident coach and facilitator, I would never have anticipated how much fear showed up for me in the early stages of preparing for this talk. My 'winging it' persona could not have anticipated how hard I was going to work: practice after practice after practice, memorising until I was word perfect. My brain could not even believe it had the capacity to remember what turned out to be a three-character coaching skit that I was to perform on the TEDx stage.
But I did it. On the day, my performer showed up again. I stepped up to the stage and did it. It was over in what seemed like seconds - an attribute I'm assured suggests that I was in total flow. My posse of friends, family, colleagues and clients, assured me it went well. Personally, I'll have to wait for the video.
Trusting myself and being true to the core of my work as a coach, carried me through on the day. My message of one trusted and true conversation at a time served me on that stage. It only took stepping up, trusting my voice and being true to all the authentic practice I had put in, for me to carry it off. I got a couple of laughs as people in the audience recognised themselves in my talk: either as the employee afraid to speak their truth to their boss, or as the leader who needs to listen more to what people are trying to tell them.
One true and trusted conversation at a time, similar to every coaching conversation we have. There only is that one conversation at a time, from which the most amazing experiences might emerge. All you have to do is step up onto your own stage and trust yourself to perform.
(As yet the videos have not yet been posted online but will in due course be found here.)
by: Beth Ann Miller
I’m going to be brutally honest here: I used to be one of those people who rolled their eyes at the concept of life coaching. This feels like an awful thing to confess considering I am now the editor for an incredible coaching organization (the International Association of Coaching) and I am the daughter of a wonderful, successful life coach. But there is no denying that I, like many Millennials, used to believe life coaching was nothing more than a fleeting, cheesy trend.
Why did I think that? It was probably a myriad of things, including but not limited to:
Fortunately for me, I quickly got over my aversion to life coaching once I took a closer look at what organizations like the IAC, and people like my mother, are actually accomplishing. I now understand what life coaching is really about:
When it comes down to it, there are hundreds of kinds of life coaches, all with the foundational mission to help their clients uncover the best versions of themselves. There is nothing cheesy about that. In fact, it’s admirable. It’s brave. It’s necessary.
So the real question is: what brought me, at age 29, to seek out a life coach of my own?
For all intents and purposes, things were great. I live in a beautiful place and I travel often, I love my job and hobbies, I am healthy and adventurous, I am strong and self-sufficient, I have supportive friends and a loving family, and I was about to earn a Master’s degree that I was super proud of.
Objectively, I have a pretty glamorous thing going, right?
Despite how everything looked on paper, I overbooked myself with an active social calendar, rigorous exercise routines, and endless work projects in an attempt to distract myself from the fact that nothing ever felt good enough. I never felt good enough.
I had gone through some rough times and most days I lingered on past mistakes and relived traumas over and over. I was especially good at tormenting myself with revisionist history: re-casting myself as the villain or the victim in various scenarios. Even though my family and friends have been endlessly encouraging and have helped me through dark days, I had convinced myself that their support was blinded by a biased, or required, love for me. I needed insight from someone who could view my life through a fresh lens.
So, six months ago I found an awesome IAC life coach. We never met in person, but we had “phone dates” once a week for twelve weeks. She listened, she shared, she helped me identify what I wanted to accomplish and overcome, and she held me accountable for my own life.
Having a life coach feels like having a gym buddy: it’s so much easier to motivate for a workout when you know someone else is there to cheer you on or to nudge you that extra mile. That gym buddy often helps you recognize how much you’re truly capable of.
Perhaps the most important thing I’ve gained through coaching is recognizing that my qualities are not contingent upon anyone but myself. I am a passionate, motivated, genuine, generous person and it feels great to truly take ownership of that.
Of course, I’m still learning and changing. Sometimes challenging things happen, sometimes I fail. I still have bad days and bad moods, but I’m learning how to be kind to myself through it all. I’m learning to embrace both my bright and dark sides.
(For those of you who are curious about my current life coaching status: My coach and I are still in touch and we arrange calls on an as-needed basis, because did I mention she’s awesome?)
Like anything, coaching isn’t for everyone. But for those of you who are considering finding a coach of your own, here are some bits of wisdom I’ve picked up:
Beth Ann Miller holds an MFA in Writing from the University of New Hampshire and is a native New Englander. She has a professional background in editing and higher education, and enjoys working with youths in the arts. Her stories have appeared in online and print journals and she is perpetually at work on new creative projects.
by: Ed Britton
Should coaching be represented by only one professional organization? Does having more than one create confusion and diffuse power in a world where the powerful reign?
I find it remarkable that a 'yes' answer should gain currency. Who would argue that we should have only one government in the world, or only one financial institution, or even only one grocery store chain? More than one of anything exists so that there is choice, accountability, diversity, and freedom in the world. How can it possibly be argued that choice, diversity, accountability, and freedom should not exist in the coaching profession?
The International Association of Coaching was created for a clear and distinct reason that is even more important now than in its beginning. It became obvious that a professional association was needed that would be inclusive of all genuine and professional coaches, that recognized diverse coaching applications, that certified coaching expertise independently of particular schools or approaches. An association that didn't require a certain income generated by coaching (i.e. that accepted coaching as a public service or in the context of another professional service), did not force junior coaches to pay for the services of senior coaches in order to become certified, that was truly governed by coaches rather than powerful, corporate/government client groups. An organization that avoided the conflict of interest inherent in a school 'certifying' its own graduates, and, above all, provided a rigorous certification based strictly and solely on demonstrated excellence.
The IAC is the coaching association that is of coaches, by coaches, and for coaches who are uncompromisingly dedicated to serving the individual client. Are we purists and idealists? I guess we are. If you want to support the ideal and purity of coaching, join the IAC and help us while we help you.
For more information about the IAC, click here.
To become a member, click here.