Posts Taged coach-approach

Feed Your Head: Dessert Blogs

iStock_000004588562SmallReading is a great way to open your mind to new alternatives.  Once you find a new thought, it becomes a force too powerful to ignore.  I will admit, however, that deliberately looking for new insights can just seem boring some days.  You need to have a few serendipitous pleasures along the way. Have yourself a group of blogs you call your dessert blogs.  You read these as a reward.  And sometimes, they will spark a wonderful thought.  This is Part Five of the Series called “Feed Your Head.”

Part 1 is on finding and subscribing to blogs.

Part 2 is about those blogs that whet your appetite.

Part 3 is about leadership blogs.

Part 4 reviews several outstanding coaching blogs.

Here are my dessert blogs.

Mental Floss.  Little more needs to be said about Mental Floss than its own description as “Random, Interesting, Amazing Facts – Fun Quizzes and Trivia.” If you are like me, there are times during the day you want a quick break, a chance to laugh or puzzle over anything besides work.  I love a two-minute break flossing my mind and am ready to dig back into my key activities.

Dilbert.  No morning is complete without a visit with Scott Adams’ cartoon Dilbert. While Dilbert may not make you laugh, you can find a cartoon or two to add to your inbox to start the day right.  Just Google the cartoon name and you find the opportunity to subscribe.  Frankly, a well-written cartoon puts my inbox into perspective.  I look forward to opening my mailbox in the morning and discovering the Dilbert sense of reality that makes me smile.

Dilbert 8-19-2013

PostSecret.  PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. While this sounds a little like being a Peeping Tom, it’s not.  You’ll find that by reading these postcards once a week that you are not so different after all.

The Homesick Texan. The Homesick Texan left the state around 2005 and discovered that she missed the unique recipes and foods from her childhood.  This blog is her attempt to share those recipes and create some new ones.  When I moved to Texas, my sense of curious adventure pushes me to make some of these foods and her blog has been incredibly helpful.  You can find recipes ranging from Chocolate Cherry Scones (like Central Market makes!) to Carnitas and Hoe Cakes. I challenge you to try out at least one recipe from The Homesick Texan.

One of the great things about reading blog articles is that you get to pick and choose.  Try one, two, or as many as you can read.  Try them out.  If you don’t like one, simply unsubscribe and find another.  Can’t find the time to read much today?  Well then just delete a few and start over tomorrow.

I’ve heard from several people that they have started reading more and really love what they find.  Try it! It just might change your life.

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Seven Tips to Stealth Branding Your Coaching Culture

Minolta DSCStart with an assumption:  you want more coaching in your company. Maybe you are just getting started and want to do more than hang on until “coaching” catches on.  Maybe you want to find those pockets of resistance.  Maybe you are tired of the snickers and snide comments from unbelievers who haven’t bothered to discover what coaching has to offer.  Now is the time to do some stealth branding.

Follow with a confession: I am not a marketer and I certainly can’t teach anyone about branding.  However, I do know branding when I see it.  Branding is what sets you apart.  It’s your difference; your uniqueness.  Now is the time to start introducing (by stealth) some branding elements to introducing a bit of change in the culture.

Here are seven easy ideas to start changing your culture.  They are small ideas that when consistently pressed, will get people talking and thinking differently.

1. Change the language.  Start to introduce some coaching language into the company. As the language shifts, the thought patterns tend to shift as well.

When someone comes to you and asks for help, reply by asking, “How can I support you?” The shift from help to support introduces independence rather than dependence.

Descriptive words and phrase will come to you as you get started.  Maybe a phrase jumps out at you from a coaching book or a class.  Claim it, own it, and use it religiously.

2. Answer with questions rather than statements (thoughtful questions prompt better thoughts and promote independence).  What have you done so far? What gets you excellence?  What’s stopping you?  What’s your breakthrough idea?

3. Work from a model.  When setting a goal, set a SMART goal.  Push others to do the same.  Broader coaching models work well for problem solving situations.  Sir James Whitmore in Coaching for Performance introduces the GROW model (goal, reality, options, will).  At Ultimate coach University, we teach a model called CDDC (connect, discover, design, commit).

4. Tell your Story. As anyone in sales will tell, you, “facts tell, stories sell.”  Use your personal narrative to show your results.  You can give more vivid details about your life than anything else.

5. Find a metric. Discover the one thing that your coaching seems to influence and measure it.  Retention? (HINT: retention is almost always improved.)  Personal performance? Team building? Manager development? Sales? Recruiting?

6. Gather love hugs. As you coaching and use coaching in your other activities, your team will start to appreciate your effort. They will share their hugs. You can share them, too. Put them on your white board.  Add them to the bottom of your newsletter.  Ask them to say something in public. Love hugs are the start of gaining momentum.  Let the MO flow!

7. Shrug away resistance. You know you have a great idea. Would you want to be ignored or resisted? What are you worried about? When the resistance starts to show, just smile cryptically and go about your business.  Your detractors will be curious and their curiosity will lead them into the change.

What do you think?  Are their simplere ideas that come to mind?  Please share.

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Feed Your Head: Coaching Blogs

AppetizerIf all you ever ate was chicken and rice, my guess is that you would get very bored with your diet very quickly.  The same is true for what you read. Pick the two or three main topics you want to more knowledge in and read those areas. In this, Part Four of the Feed Your Head series, you will hear about several outstanding coaching blogs.  The last piece in this series, Part 3 is about leadership blogs.  Part 2 is about those blogs that whet your appetite.  Part 1 is on finding and subscribing to blogs.

A Daring Adventure.  Tim Brownson’s blog, A Daring Adventure is the best coaching blog available in my mind.  He covers topics from goal setting to failure to what’s right and wrong with NLP and other approaches.  He is also very, very funny.  He has a blog, a newsletter, and several free e-books.  If you like what you find, you can also join his Google+ group.

School of Coaching Mastery.  Julie Stewart’s blog covers all of the important bases for coaches.  Julie is a Master Coach through the International Association of Coach.  Her goal is to support coaches in building a business and becoming great coaches as part of the process. She does a great job of incorporating current research on the coaching business and you will see references to the ICF, IAC, and Sherpa Coaching. Her thought pieces like the blog on Top Ten Reasons You Need a Coach are must read idea generators for new coaches.

ICF Blog.  The International Coach Federation has made a strong commitment to their blog and it is showing in the quality of the entries. has entries from top coaches from around the world who are writing about everything from transformational coaching to LinkedIn to develop strong core coaching habits.

IAC Voice. Most coaching blogs have a commitment to helping their readers see the difference between coaching and great coaching.  The ICF and the IAC do that by looking at coaching skills as pieces of core coaching competencies.  The International Association of Coaching Voice does an unparalleled job of clarifying, exploring, and developing the essence of a strong core competency.

The Success Alliance. Karyn Greenstreet has been working with Mastermind Groups since 1994.  She writes about Mastermind topics ranging from the big issues like getting started to the management ones like fees and confidentiality.  You’ll also read occasionally about how to deal with the crazies that can pop up. If you want to get started with a Mastermind, the Success Alliance is for you.

Coach the Life Coach. Tim Brownson has added coach training to his offerings.  As a result, he has added a second blog call Coach the Life Coach. While this blog is too new to evaluate, it holds great promise as a place for new coaches to understand what they need to do to find and keep clients.

Try them out. The worst you could do is decide they are not for you and then you can unsubscribe.  On the other hand, they may just change your life.

Part 5 is coming soon. Every meal needs a desert.  Some blogs are just for fun!

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Enrollment is Open for UCU Fall Launch Workshop

On September 17, Ultimate Coach University opens its door for the next cohort of coaches at its Launch Workshop.  Here are a few things past students have said:

Why should you consider coming? If any of these reasons for attending apply to you, please join us.

IMG_0613You want to see “coaching training” up close to see if it fits your vision. You’ve seen trainers and you’ve seen consultants, and something seems to be missing.  Maybe coaching is it.

Mike Least at Coach SchoolYou are a coach and want more formal training so you can play a bigger game.

You get pumped beyond belief by supporting others to play full-out.

You are looking for the pieces of getting your International Coach Federation credential.

You want to succeed. You want your team to succeed. And you know that with the right type of support you can improve your ability to inspire and hold others accountable for accomplishing significant achievements.

IMG_1021Let’s face it; we all have experienced coaching and have seen coaching in action.  Have you ever thought about understanding coaching without the pressure of results? That’s what the UCU Launch workshop in September offers. Three days to understand coaching.

  • Day One is about thinking like a coach.
  • Day Two is about acting like a coach.
  • Day Three is about being a coach.

When you attend the three day Launch from September 17-19 in Dallas, Texas, you receive:

  • Online DiSC profile to assess your communication style
  • Experience as a coach and as a client (your first three sessions)
  • Your UCU Resource Workbook
  • Online Time Mastery profile and self-coaching application
  • Your copy of Coaching for Performance by Sir John Whitmore.
  • Your copy of StandOut by Marcus Buckingham.
  • New Client Welcome Forms
  • Sample Coaching Agreements
  • Small student/faculty ratio for personal attention
  • Student rates on coaching tools

Cupid Shuffle 2Want to talk about how this might just be what you are looking for?  Email for more details or a personal conversation about how UCU may be for you.







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Three Tips to Listen for What is NOT Said

businesswoman with big earsCoaches work on listening.  We check, repeat, and rephrase our clients’ words to make sure we are hearing them.  We work with clients on their listening skills.  In business, in families, and in communities, better listening creates better communication.

Peter Drucker once said, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”  I am not sure I would agree that is it the MOST important thing, but I do think that there is merit in using all of our senses to “hear” what is not being said.

Here are three tips you might find useful in determining what is not being said.

  1. Use all of your senses to listen.  Check body language, close your eyes and see the person as they describe a situation.  Try to experience the smells, sounds, and touch when the other person is sharing what is happening to them. Picture what is happening to them. One coach describes his sessions as a seeing a movie of the clients life, complete with all of the camera angles, music, and color.
  2. Avoid autobiographical responses.  The more we enter into the other person’s world, the more we leave our own story at the gate.  Too often coaches make the mistake of filling in what is not being said with their own experience, depriving the client of self-discovery.
  3. Listen to the “absents”.  What is missing in the picture they are painting for you? There is a story of a person who struggled with getting a promotion.  He knew that he did all of the work.  He was prompt, showed initiative, and received great reviews on this accuracy.  As he told his coach all about the situation, she noticed what was absent.  He never mentioned any person, relationship, or conversation in his story.  She made the observation; he was stunned and began a conscience journey to work on awareness of people.  Now as a senior vice president in a large corporation, he listens to what is being said and what is not being said.

Coaching is dialogue.  The more we listen to what is said and what is not said, the more we enhance the dialogue.  What do you do to improve your listening?


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Feed Your Head: Leadership Blogs

iStock_000005835000SmallThe main reason that you read blogs is to grow your capacity and knowledge in your profession; to feed your head.  These blogs are one of your main courses.  This is Part 3 of the Feed Your Head Series.  Part 2 is about those blogs that whet your appetite.  Part 1 is on finding and subscribing to blogs.

For me, the main category of blogs I read are on leadership development. and coaching.  This is what I want to feed my head.  You may have different topics. If you like this areas, let me share some of the top ones that I read.

Linked2LeadershipL2L is a group blog designed to support it’s readers in building their leadership so that you can build others. They have a great goal on 2013. “Imagine a “virtual year-long leadership development conference” where members and interested readers can come to read and participate in 12 related topics that we have selected for the 2013 season.”

Leadership Freak. Dan Rockwell is crazy about leadership development. His blog, Leadership Freak, reflects that. Right now he is using his Facebook page to take suggests about terms related to leadership.  He’s up to “H.”

Brian Tracy’s blog.  What can I say; it’s Brian Tracy’s blog. The blog is concise, helpful, and you will never leave without know what the core idea is.

Blanchard LeaderChat. See comment on Brian Tracy.  Except call it the Blanchard Leaderchat.  It’s a little more of the big picture ideas and a little less of the personal leadership development approach.

Great Leadership. Dan McCarthy is the Direct of Executive Development Programs at the University of New Hampshire. The blog title, Great Leadership, says it all. He covers the breadth of topics on leadership development.  His insights on personal development will leave you asking why you haven’t done that before.

Try them out.  The worst you could do is not subscribe.  On the other hand, they may just change your life.

Part 4 is coming soon.  Any meal would be boring if you ate the same thing.  These are the other main course: coaching blogs.


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Feed Your Head: Read Blogs

beautiful woman holding rss logoYou are what you eat, and that’s especially true about your brain food.  While you’ve heard all of the reasons to read, think about what happens if you don’t stretch your brain.

You will never ever get any better than you are now.

You give up your right to be called “professional.”  By their very definition, professionals are always working to improve.  You have chosen to be an amateur.

You cut yourself off from other people.

One of the best ways you can feed your head is by reading and one of the easiest ways to access reading material is through blogs and newsletters.  How do you find them and how do you access them easily?  Here are a few ideas.

CaptureThe best way to find blogs that you like is to follow the breadcrumbs that others leave.  May be you’ll find a link in a Facebook post.  If you like what you find, subscribe.

I love to uncover lists.  Here are three recent ones that were very productive for leadership coaches.

Wouldn’t you like to find Hidden Gems? Maybe you want to check out socially shared blogs.  One of my favorite lists comes from Julie Stewart, who gives previews of the entries in her list of coaching blogs.

Once you find a blog you like, subscribe.  Honestly, every blog wants you to subscribe so you won’t have any problem figuring out how to do it.  There are three basic ways to subscribe.

Subscribe by email.  Nearly 90 percent of the Ultimate Coach University blog subscribers choose email.  That means whenever something new is posted, it shows up in your in box.  The biggest problem with this method is when you are buried in emails.  You delete the blog posts or simply unsubscribe in frustration.  How about something different?  Create an email folder called blogs and just shove them in that folder until you have a chance to read them.  Better yet, create an Outlook rule that sends the emails directly to that folder.

Subscribe by online RSS. This is the most popular way to subscribe.  Until recently, Google Reader was the app of choice.  When Google decided to end their reader, others have sprung up.   I started using the old reader.  It’s a lot like the Google reader and I think it is actually easier to navigate.  If you want to try this approach, Duct Tape Marketing has a great list of alternative blog readers.

Subscribe by Outlook RSS. If you use Outlook 2007 or newer, you have a blog reader built into your outlook.  It’s relatively easy to start using and the blogs will automatically go to separate folders. (The worst part about the whole process is understanding the Microsoft instructions.)

So go hunting!  Feed your head.  This is the first in a five part series about reading blogs.  Part 2 is on appetizers:  those great bits of head food you just can’t skip.


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Educating Others about Coaching is Worth It

Direct Selling Association ConventionIn early June,  Neil Phillips and I had the opportunity to represent Ultimate Coach University at the Direct Selling Association national conference.  Over 1,000 corporate executives and supplier members were in attendance and it was a great time to discover the best practices in the direct selling industry.

I was privileged to present a workshop on coaching as part of leadership development for company employees and independent contractors.  My assumption that people don’t really understand coaching was spot on.  After the session, people came up to us with comments such as these:

“I think we haven’t been coaching at all.

I didn’t realize companies like PepsiCo, ATT, Xerox, and IBM have coaching programs for internal leadership.

Our company has been calling one-on-one training ‘coaching’.

We are ready to look at coaching as part of our overall leadership development strategy.

The big aha for me was that coaching bridges the gap from what I know to what I don’t do.”

As coaches, we know coaching works!  We know that coaching raises awareness.  We understand the distinctions between coaching and training.  We have a tremendous opportunity to share everyday about the benefit of coaching for self-discovery, personal and professional productivity, and permanent change.

My challenge to coaches today: create a short and engaging answer when people ask, “What is coaching?” and be ready to share.

What is your answer when people ask?

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Six Ways to Create a Coaching Culture

coaching culture

We usually think of culture creation as a haphazard process that just happens.  That doesn’t have to be the case.  While you can’t order people to absorb the team’s culture, you can do things to push it along.  Soren Kaplan recently wrote an article on Six Ways to Create a Culture of Innovation for Fast Company.  The article is a great blueprint for creating cultural change in a big sense.  What if you were to apply his six ideas to creating a culture of coaching?  Here are the six ideas (in bold) and how they fit a coaching culture:

1. Be intentional with your innovation intent.  The goal is to frame the world in the terms you want to see. 

  • Why would you want to support coaching?
  • What does it give you that nothing can or will?
  • How does it affect your team and your customers?

One client of mine is working to develop a team of leaders building leaders.  She knows that’s more than having a coaching element.  She also knows that it won’t happen without coaching.

2. Create a structure for unstructured time.  Think of this as an incubation time.  Eggs don’t hatch as soon as they are laid.  The baby bird has to develop in a protected atmosphere for a while. 

  • How will you take away rigidity in your work expectations?
  • How will you let them explore their ideas about coaching and what it can mean for their life?
  • What will you do to guarantee your team time to incubate and grow under your protection but without your direction?

3.  Step in, then step back.  One company I work with regularly has “lunch and learn” sessions designed to provide a structure that allows exploration.  The participants decide how best to use that time. Within a company, you can find ways to put people together.  For entrepreneurs the task is a little different but still doable. For example, a mastermind group gives you a structure to play around with your ideas.

4.  Measure what’s meaningful.  How will you know you are successful? Finding your return-on-investment is sometimes a difficult if not impossible task.  However, you can measure satisfaction levels.  Ask your people “How is this making a difference for you?”  The answers will be enlightening. Retention is often an important measure of coaching effectiveness.

5.  Give “worthless” rewards.  Find ways to celebrate every day.  Who doesn’t like to get recognition for who they are and what they do?  Just imagine encouraging peer coaching for personal growth opportunities.  What’s stopping you from buying lunch as a way of recognizing people who are exploring new horizons through coaching? You should check out the article from Sean Blaze on 35 ways to do this cheaply.

6.  Get symbolic.  You know when you have entered a church, police station, government office, or YMCA.  You see their symbols everywhere.  What are your symbols that say “we coach here?” Your mission and vision statements, stories, key phrases are all part of the culture.  When you figure those pieces out, your culture become even more obvious.

What do you think?  Which piece strikes you as the one for your focus?

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The J. Hilburn Coaching Culture

It’s rare that I get to see our students get resounding applause for their coaching.  That occasion occurred this past week at the International Coaching Federation-North Texas Chapter Prism Awards.  This is a big deal.

J. Hilburn Prism Award recpients

(L to R) Neil Phillips, Dana Phillips, Larry Novak, Karen Bejjani, Angie Howell receive Prism Award

Two of Ultimate Coach University’s students are key performers in J. Hilburn’s coaching culture. Karen Bejjani and Angie Howell led the charge in developing a coaching culture among the sales force.  They both spend most of their workdays coaching top performers, upcoming stars, and groups of new leaders.  Karen and Angie will both tell you that coaching is energizing and they are passionate about its importance to productivity and the personal development of leaders.

J. Hilburn received a special recognition for “demonstrating a deep strategic commitment to coaching across the organization.”  Top honors went to BNSF Railroad.  The other finalists were AT & T and Frito-Lay.

THIS IS HUGE.  I can’t emphasize enough the honor they receive with this award. Here’s why this demonstrates such an incredible achievement.     

 The ICF-NT Chapter has a storied history.  The ICF got its start with the work of Texas coaches and the ICF-NT is the first chartered chapter of the world’s largest professional association for coaches.

North Texas is known for quality coaching. Big claim?  Need proof?   In 2005, the global office of the ICF adopted the concept of the Prism Award and has been recognizing organizations that have enhanced excellence and business achievement through their commitment to coaching ever since. In the 8 years that the international award has been given, North Texas companies have been honored 3 times.

The Prism Award recognizes excellence.  The North Texas Prism Award is recognition that the coaching initiatives are meeting and exceeding globally recognized standards. The award is a public acknowledgement of their efforts in creating a culture that embraces coaching. The Prism Award celebrates:

  • Effectiveness: How has the coaching initiative been effective in achieving the intended goals and purpose?
  • Impact: How has coaching improved the culture of the organization?
  • Strategic Significance: How has the initiative addressed significant issues within or for the organization?
  • ROI/ROE: What are the tangible results or the proven return on investment or return on expectations for the organization because of the coaching initiative?

If you have an opportunity, please leave a comment and congratulate J. Hilburn for their accomplishment.

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