Tag Archives: Coaching

Upskilling Season

I’ve mentioned in other posts that I’m currently working on my co-active coaching credential. Phase one was attending five three-day in person classes. Now during certification, I meet weekly for 90 minutes with my pod for 25 weeks straight. There’s homework, I’m actively coaching no less than five clients and have individual supervision. It’s amazingly powerful and some days overwhelming. Yet, I know it’s 100% what I’m designed to do.

I’ve been calling certification upskilling season because I will finish and this season will be over. I struggle at times to see the big picture and have to remind myself that sacrifices now will be worth it tenfold later. When you’re in the middle of the marathon, it can be hard to see the finish line.

During this season, I’ve been careful about what to say yes to personally and professionally as I only have so much capacity. So when my friend invited me to the Women in Non-profit Leadership Conference, I was hesitant. I wasn’t sure how the content would be applicable and wondered if it was worth six hours of my time, a precious commodity.

After some debate, my curiosity beat out my uncertainty and spending time with a friend wouldn’t suck either. I showed up as my authentic self, all in, ready to learn and boy did I. Here are a few of the highlights that I would have missed if I didn’t consciously choose to embrace upskilling season.

  • The first keynote, Sue Fulton shared that there’s no excuse for not planning for success; it’s typically harder to manage in non-profits that failure
  • During the fundraising strategies panel, the resounding message was the brand of a company/campaign must align to its mission.
  • The most impact session for me was the breakout about building a diverse board, led by Sulaiman Rahman. So much so that I have to share two takeaways (among many): 1) What ideas are being passed down that need to be challenged? 2) You can disagree with an idea but that doesn’t mean you disagree with the person. The picture above was also shared in the session…still thinking about it.
  • The Building Coalitions and Partnerships panel over lunch featured Diane Cornman-Levy from Women’s Way, who highlighted that when you invest in women, you then invest in the community. Can I get an amen for that?!
  • We ended the day with Deesha Dyer, who I definitely have a girl crush one! She was so relatable and shared tons of great nuggets. She talked about her experience of working for the Obamas and how they expected more from her than she thought she was capable of. It struck me that we all need mentors like that and should mentor that way too.

I’m definitely in upskilling season right now, where I’m trying to absorb as much as possible to become a more well rounded coach, professional and person. This season is more intense and requires more focus than being naturally curious and wanting to learn. My experience at WINPL shows that saying yes to the right upskilling will always serve me (and you) well.

Awakening Our Intuition

Did you know that humans are the only mammals that don’t follow their guts? We often ignore that feeling deep in the pit of our stomach or the words choking us, paralyzed in the back of our throat. How many times have you reread a text or email message before hitting send? *Raises hand slowly.* Don’t worry, you’re not alone my friend.

Since March (and probably before then), I’ve been on a journey. I started what I call coach school at Coaches Training Institute (CTI) to become a co-active coach. This included five three day weekends where I learned and practiced techniques in a safe space. As I type this, I finished the final course and am heading towards certification.

A coaches most powerful tool is his/her intuition, that gut feeling that guides the coaching. I’ve always felt my intuition and knew from a young age that it held great power. Yet, early on in class, I let fear of being wrong or judged hold me back. As I practiced and grew, I saw that when I trusted myself and trusted my intuition, it was powerful beyond measure and resonated with others.

So what if you’re not in coach school? Why might your intuition be useful? Well, for starters, who knows you better than you?! No one is more equipped to understand you needs, wants, hopes and dreams better than your inner voice. You might call it something different – inner goodness or Winston Churchill. You name him/her/it and talk to them often. Listen to what he/she/it is saying and sense the response. At first, you might need a quieter place to do this. After some practice, it will become natural and you’ll have a track record of success.

And what if you don’t listen to your gut because sometimes you won’t. Each day is a new beginning, you still have a powerful intuitive sense that you can further cultivate. Find others who you trust and ask them to tell you a story. Listen with all of your intention, ask follow up questions and try to name emotions that might have come up for the storyteller. That’s one way to build your intuition muscle.

The more you use intuition to guide you and eventually others, the more you’ll seen it’s power. It is your North Star that shines its light so you can see the way. Intuition doesn’t create the journey but it does allow you to flow through energies and challenges with more confidence and ease

Braaaaave

That’s how the final scene from the First Wives Club starts. Bette Midler’s character reminds her girlfriend to be braaaave and they all break out into song. If you’ve never seen the movie, go watch it now.

Recently, the word brave keeps coming up for me. I’ve seen people make brave decisions, taking leaps of faith into an unknown world. Or being vulnerable in front of a group of women who she doesn’t trust. Most recently, I spent the weekend at my third CTI course as part of my journey to becoming a credentialed coach. I can’t even describe what happened other than everyone showed up and were brave; brave in how they coached and in how they shared.

What do I mean by brave? There are plenty of definitions. Mine include:

  • Leaving your comfort zone
  • Speaking up because you know it’s the right thing to do even if the words are hard to say
  • Holding space and embracing silence
  • Taking risks even if that’s as small as trying a new restaurant.

You get my picture.

It’s a privilege to witness acts of bravery, big or small and they occur every day. The thing about being brave is that it has to matter to the person. Maybe asking a provocative question to a stranger is easy for you. But maybe trying Indian food isn’t. It’s all a matter of perspective.

I’d offer if you’re feeling stuck, trying on your brave hat (or shoes or shorts) might help. Find a quiet, like actually quiet place, where you won’t be interrupted and close your eyes. Slowly, take a few deep, deep breathes. Now listen. What’s that inner voice or rockstar as I call her say? What shift do you need to make? How could you show up differently?

For some, that exercise might be brave. If that’s the case, go you for trying it! Being brave is personal, it’s listening and trusting yourself to act or pause or say no.

Now I need to walk the talk right?! I had to practice coaching Saturday night and asked my friend, a coach himself with a wealth of extraordinary experience, to be my client. And I coached him. And I didn’t suck. When I did the same thing back in June, I most definitely had an anxiety attack. #babybravesteps #itshard

There’s my moment of bravery for the month, rockstars. I have a few more all around courageous conversations that I can share with you. Comment with yours if it feels right. I’d love to hear them!

For the Love of the Game

I’ve played softball since age six and have parents who played. Playing under the lights is in my blood. Point proven last night when my co-ed team beat the third ranked team in a come from behind win, advancing to the second round of the playoffs. The energy and excitement was electrifying as we headed into extra innings, a feeling like no other that any athletic could relate to.

a league of their ownI’ve felt this feeling before, earlier this year when I was coaching little league. Thirteen wide-eyed eight and nine year old boys, wanting to play for the love of the game. They accomplished so much in such a short period of time; a coach couldn’t have been prouder!

Whether it be with my little leaguers or my adult teammates, the game (like most sports) has taught me lessons that are important to remember in the most important game: life.

1) Try it out: My boys on the little league team were willing to give most positions a shot. The smallest kid on the team pitching? Sure why not! They weren’t afraid of failure and just wanted to try something new. With no risk comes no reward. Those little boys were a perfect example of that.

2) Perseverance: The pitcher on our co-ed team wasn’t get the calls on certain pitches yesterday. It’s super frustrating but he didn’t let it get him down. He managed to come back better each inning, ultimately winning the game. If he stopped fighting, who knows what the outcome would have been. You always have to push through no matter how many people try and stop you.sandlot

3) Energy is contagious: I’ve watched this happen with both teams. Someone makes an outstanding play or strikes out the best player. Everyone gets hyped up and energized. It’s a feeling of invincibility, like you’re on top of the world. That feeling spreads through the dugout like wildfire. When you stay positive, it spreads to the people around you, making for a more happy environment.

I will forever love the game, baseball or softball and know the life lessons its taught me are invaluable. The quotes featured are from my two favorite baseball movies: The Sandlot and A League of Their Own.

Have sports or other activities impacted your life positively? Share with me!

Taking the Good with the Bad

go afterAs a professional, gaining feedback from your supervisors and colleagues is extremely important. Regardless of your career path or level in the organization, learning your observed strengths and weaknesses is essential to improving, building your personal brand and moving your career forward.

For young professionals who are just starting out, feedback discussions and mentoring is even more important. When you’re just starting out, you’re aren’t as self-aware as more seasoned professionals. That being said, it can be difficult at times to hear some of the more constructive feedback. I’m no expert but here are my tips on handling and getting the most out of your feedback conversations.

1. Go in with an open mind: Every time your supervisor wants to talk to you doesn’t mean you are in trouble. Be grateful he or she is taking the time out of their day(s) to give you some comments about your performance. Not every manager is willing to do that.

2. Be receptive and responsive: Don’t go mute during the conversation. Share your thoughts respectively and ask for specific instances when they observe whatever type of behavior you’re discussing. Try their approaches and solutions before claiming they won’t work. Taking notes also helps so that you have something to reference in the future.

3. Raise your hand: If you aren’t getting feedback from your supervisors, don’t be afraid to ask for it.motivation You also shouldn’t receive it once in a while. You and your manager should have a consistent schedule for these types of conversations. This also allows for proactive coaching so that you (and your supervisor) aren’t just reacting to things that already happened. Instead, you both are planning for situations you might encounter in the future.

The only way to turn your weaknesses into strengths is by understanding your areas of improvement. Coaches, mentors and supervisors are great resources to help you identify these areas. It is your career, you need to own it and only you can improve your performance.

Do you have regular feedback conversations with your manager or mentor? How have you learned to handle constructive criticism?

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