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One of the cornerstones of Co-Active Coaching, what I’m certified in, is addressing the client’s whole life–not just the business aspects. If I sense interference from a client’s partner, family member or other outside force I acknowledge it and bring it to the table.
I didn’t even have to bring it up in a coaching call this week. My client said that her agenda that morning included a recap of her successes and a desire to talk about her mother-in-law. I could feel my stomach turning in empathy as she described the demands being put on her by her husband and his challenging, ultra-negative mother. He wanted her to place a daily call so that his mother would not feel so alone. I asked her if she would be willing to say no.
From that moment on the level of energy in our conversation shifted. She realized she had a choice in the matter. Although she was nervous about taking that stand, she was coming from a place of empowerment. She could immediately feel the freedom in that decision and all of the possibilities it opened up for her.
Of course, I was anxious to hear how she fared after we hung up. I didn’t have to wait very long. She’s an amazing client. She told her husband she would not be making the daily phone calls. He said, “Okay.” I wished I’d had my Staples Easy button there for her to push and celebrate that victory.
She did all the work, which is monumental, even in its simplicity. She ended her email report to me with these words:
I feel years of anxiety and stress lifting from me from all the things I have been doing.
…and then went on to describe all of the actions she was taking to move her business forward.
I’ve been working with a new client for less than two months. In her Discovery Session we determined that her dream–her Big A agenda–is to unleash her creativity. Given her corporate job in the financial sector, you can see the stretch that could entail. The more immediate goal for her was to create an exit strategy from that position.
As I do with all of my clients, I requested that she begin to make time for her creativity while she worked the day job. Her energy level began to escalate, her gremlins got quieter and a few mini-miracles began occurring in her life. She began spending time in her creative space finding expression for her ideas in fabric. She connected with a woman who could teach her the sewing techniques she wanted to learn. The perfect roommate situation appeared–someone who would share part of her living costs, but spend only one night a week actually on the premises.
Then, this week, came the biggie. She was taken aside by a higher-up at her company who whispered that a compensation package was coming her way. She’d be able to leave the company with extended pay for six months.
You may call it a coincidence, but when I labeled it a miracle, she agreed.
When I began my coaching certification a few years ago and was trying out new skills, I didn’t want to practice on existing clients. They had different expectations for what our sessions would be like. Instead, I offered several colleagues a greatly reduced price to get coached. For me it was an opportunity to practice and swing out and not worry about getting fired. Without that performance pressure, I was able to ‘rehearse’ and get responses. The result was far beyond my wildest dreams. My practice clients were growing dramatically and helping me see my value. The new tools were so powerful that I soon began employing them with all of my clients.
Now, I just got back from that great weekend I’d mentioned last week–the course I took in Boston on coaching relationships. It was superb! And I want to practice, practice, practice. Get ready for a bargain! Here’s my offer: the first 10 people who take me up on this will get a session for $25 to discuss a relationship they want to focus on.
- A 30-minute (to one hour session) to design a partnership alliance, to get clarity on an issue with a relationship, to promote positivity in a relationship or to resolve a conflict in a relationship.
- Sessions are by phone at a mutually convenient time.
- Calls can be with you as an individual discussing a relationship, or you with and the other person.
- Sample session rate offer: $25 payable by credit card
Since I’ll be taking four more courses in this area, stay tuned for future offers. First come, first served!
Tuesday night I spoke at the New York Library of Science, Industry and Business relating the lessons I’ve learned as an entrepreneur. A full house showed up, mostly men and women under 40, many in their 20′s and 30′s–not my usual crowd. I had everyone introduce him/herself for several reasons.
- I knew that with a 5:30pm start time folks would be drifting in after work, and I didn’t want to begin my official talk until people were settled into their seats.
- It’s always a good exercise to stand up, introduce oneself and speak your message. Most people don’t like doing this for themselves, but they enjoy listening to everyone else and learning what others are up to in their business lives.
- I like to offer a marketing opportunity, which the self-intro segment provides.
- I could get a sense of the crowd, where they were in their business development, to gauge and respond during my talk.
What knocked my socks off was one young man’s self-introduction. He said that he had just arrived (last week) in the U.S. from Seoul, South Korea, and wanted to learn as much about business as he could. It took my breath away.
It inspired me to see someone seizing opportunity. It underlined for me what an incredible country we live in, in spite of the craziness of the current situation. And it was a reminder of our intensely competitive marketplace and what it takes to succeed.
What are you doing to stay competitive?
Remember New York’s Mayor Ed Koch’s mantra: “How’m I doing?” It’s what kept him in touch with the pulse of New Yorkers and his impact on the city. Feedback is critical in everyone’s business. Since I just got an email from a friend and colleague asking me that question in the following words, I thought it would be a good time to address it and ask you the same. Here’s what she wrote:
How have you kept a grounded and positive mindset about all of this? I would love to hear more about this in your blog and newsletter, as I think we can all benefit from hearing a positive and optimistic approach when facing uncertain times. Have you felt any impact on your business at this point?
My reply: I’ve never been better. If I didn’t read the newspapers or watch Oprah or hear conversations in public, I would not be aware of the crisis–except that gas prices are so much better now. I had to give some thought to what makes it so for me. And here it is.
I have spent the past two decades surrounding myself with positive people whose mission in life is to look for solutions. I have immersed myself in a culture that is overwhelmingly conscious of something greater than ourselves. There is little time for victimhood, catastrophizing and ‘woe is me’.
Some of my daily practices include writing a gratitude list, making outbound calls when I’m afraid, being of service to someone else. Listening to anyone else’s struggles lifts me out of my own. I do what’s on my schedule for the day and stay with myself, an instruction I received from my first therapist. It was sage advice then and holds true now.
My self-care includes daily meditation and prayer. Journaling helps, too–a place to put the fears so I don’t carry them around in my head.
Also, I’ve been debt-free for over a decade. My business does not require cash infusions via credit, so the credit crunch is not affecting me directly. Clients are still coming to me for my services. I work directly with small business owners who control their spending. Should my current market dry up, I trust that my resourcefulness and ambition will lead me in another direction.
How are YOU doing?
I was thumbing through a copy of Big Money Speaker magazine: The Ultimate Financial Freedom Guide for Speakers as I sipped my morning potion. I’m fascinated by how they market. The pages were filled with quotes like:
- “It’s worth more than anything you will ever pay for it!”
- “Sign up and enroll now and…you’re going to be thanking me and everyone else who told you to come here!”
- “I’m going to reveal ALL of My Personal Secrets that I NEVER reveal like How I got paid $2500 for a 5-minute talk.”
Talk about appealing to our fears! I couldn’t take anymore, tossed it aside and picked up the November issue of O.
In my talk 21 Results-Driven Strategies for Growing Your Business, #14 is Teach and Take Courses. I advocate getting out there, investing in yourself and keeping up with your industry and entrepreneurship. You get to choose the outcomes you’re looking for. Personally, I stay far away from promises of instant success, build-a website-this-weekend and ‘earn $10,000 a week in your spare time’ offers.
This month I’ve enrolled in a program called Organization and Relationships Systems Coaching. It’s right up my alley, doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and has been highly recommended by my peers. I start classes October 25 in Boston.
What classes are you taking? Are you continually investing in yourself–the Golden Goose? Please share these with me.
Last night I attended another outstanding WBDC event in Stamford featuring Faith Middleton who has become an ardent supporter of their mission to help women entrepreneurs. Her talk focused on WBDC’s success stories–women who had started and are thriving in business ownership. In addition, Faith added a few observations that underlined WBDC’s role.
The most important question Faith invariably seeks to answer is, “Does it add to the quality of our lives?” The answer for both WBDC and its clients’ contributions is a resounding YES. Faith also mentioned the vast number of jobs provided by women owned businesses, in CT particularly, and their positive economic impact. She said that “statistics are simply people with the tears washed off.” She shared several stories about WBDC clients who had overcome huge odds as illustration.
WBDC classes provide support and education as women learn how to build their businesses. Observed Middleton, “Talking to family members can sometimes be detrimental. WBDC peers encourage you because they’re in the same boat taking similar risks.”
Another highlight of the evening for me was that I had the pleasure of meeting Faith’s spouse before the program began–Fern Berman, owner of Fran Berman Communications, Inc. We were chatting about Faith and her award-winning radio show. Fern meets a lot of people who would love to be a guest on Faith’s show. “We have a firewall between our personal and professional lives.” Fern will never suggest anyone as a guest to Faith as a way of honoring that commitment. I love that!
I met several impressive women attending the MORE Magazine Re-Invention Convention last week. I often evaluate the quality of an event not as much by the speakers, but more by who else is in the audience. Last Monday’s event surpassed my expectations.
The women I will follow up with are:
- a holistic health counselor
- a seat-mate who I convinced should bring women to see her magnificently decorated home in Africa (I put myself first on her list.)
- a “mommy blogger” turned blogging phenom
- LIsa Johnson who offered a Master Class at the Convention
- Darcey Howard, Chief Style Officer of LifeStyled
Darcey was there with a whole group from the Pacific Northwest. She was part of featured speaker Lisa Johnson’s breakout “Living in Your Sweet Spot.” Darcey talked about branding yourself with style.
What I loved about Darcey was the clarity in her message. I really got what she offered: to help her clients integrate their entire appearance as an extension of their brand. She represented herself impeccably with her up-to-the-minute look, marketing materials and talk. When we chatted she handed me an attractive and impressive package including her video, a brochure and card. Totally polished, professional and unique.
People like Darcey inspire me. She reminds me what a great impression you can make and how you can stand out at any event. When you go through the process of figuring out who you are, you know what your message is, and you spend the time and resources to create that for the public to see–it shows. She stood out in my memory from that day in a positive and professional way. Isn’t that the impact we all seek?
Every few days I stop by my neighbor’s house to drop off my recyclables. Mrs. Young collects cans and bottles from everywhere, does the returns and donates the money to charity. For years and years (and years) she’s been giving back to our community, including being named Volunteer of the Year (pictured below with Norwalk’s Mayor Moccia).
When I dropped off a bag of empty soda bottles yesterday Mrs. Young was sweeping her garage. She told me, “Today’s my birthday. I’m 98.”
Now, I knew she was getting up there, but this had me in total awe. She lives in and maintains her own home, drives regularly and is frequently tending her garden. Last week she brought over a bag of the freshest, most aromatic basil you could ask for. She has occasionally given me her children’s contact information when she’s on her way to Italy. Should I notice anything unusual at her house, I’ve got their numbers to alert them.
You may be wondering why I mention Mrs. Young. Inspiration. I look at her, her vitality, independent spirit, get-down-to-business attitude and think, “I’m young!” Each year the birthday number gets higher. Mrs. Young reminds me that I can still have a 30-40 year plan, and that makes me happy.
Diane Lohman, owner of Seed, is a member of one of my current Mastermind Groups. Her goal for January is to gross a specific dollar amount, to the penny, per month through her own contributions.
Diane is a jewelry designer and has pieces available in several shops in Connecticut. Her short-term goal, after our first session, was (1) to figure out how much she had in inventory, and (2) to create a list of stores where she would like to sell her product.
I also challenged her to role-play her sales pitch at our second session as though we were prospects.
In addition, Diane noted that she was willing to work at a part-time job 20 hours per week to supplement her business until it becomes fully self-supporting.
Rarely have I seen a more confident woman walk into our Mastermind Conference Room. Diane appeared yesterday with a new bounce to her step and a more commanding presence than I’d previously witnessed. I could hardly wait to hear what had happened in the two weeks since we’d met.
In doing her field work for our sessions, Diane brought her samples to the WAVE Gallery in New Haven. Her sales pitch must have been right on the money, even without rehearsing it in front of our group. Not only did they invite her to sell her work there, but also were so impressed with Diane’s presence that they offered her a job–part-time–in the store.
It’s the perfect environment for her. She’ll be working 2 1/2 days per week in the center of creative hand-made products, can keep her finger on the pulse of her buyer as well as ‘talk up’ her jewelry to customers.
Diane moved into action, took several steps in a positive direction and got results that affirmed her vision and what she wants to create in her life. That’s a miracle!