Friday, December 23, 2011

Making the most of the (new) Provisional Member category

Beginning April 1, 2013, all ICF members will be required to have completed at least 60 hours of coach specific training* to be a member (or maintain membership) with the ICF. Unless you hold an ICF Credential or have already completed the obligatory 60 hours of coach specific training*, you should now consider how to fulfill your training hours.
This is a great opportunity for you! ICF has developed a Provisional Member category that will allow current members one year (beginning April 1, 2012) to obtain the 60 hours of coach specific training prior to the policy taking full effect on April 1, 2013.

So now for the tough question, how will you fulfill your hours? If you aren’t already enrolled in a program, now is the time to find the program that best suits your needs. If you are starting at the very beginning, this may seem like a daunting task. For tips on how to choose a coach training program, check out this August 25 post.

You are by no means required to use an ICF approved coach training program, but if that is the route you choose to take, you can search all ICF approved programs by various criteria at in the Training Program Search Service

Still trying to wrap your mind around the new membership eligibility requirement (MER)? Download the frequently asked questions document and bookmark the MER page at for the most up-to-date information. 

*Definition of Training that is accepted as coach specific training:
(These are aligned with the requirements for the
ACC Portfolio Application credential path.)
  • Training from an Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP) or a program that has received the ICF Approved Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) designation.
  • Training from a Continuing Coach Education (CCE) Provider, subject to these limitations:
         - All hours approved in Core Competencies will be accepted.
         - A maximum of 12 hours outside of the Core Competencies will be accepted.
  • Training that is specifically marketed as teaching coaching skills, that teaches coaching skills or teaches how to apply technical skills in a coach-like manner and teaches coaching skills in accordance with the ICF Core Competencies.
Requirement for 60 hours:
At least 48 of the hours must be:
  • Direct interaction with a trainer (voice-to-voice or in-person training; not cyber courses, mail-in courses, or self-study).
  • From a program other than ICF conference, SIG, Virtual Education, or chapter events.
  • Teaching the ICF Core Competencies (all Core Competencies must be covered).
The remaining hours may be self-study, from an ICF event, teaching coaching-related topics, or a combination. However, all hours must be part of a program with the purpose of training coaches.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The path to better networking

Taking a cue from a November blog post on networking tips, we asked our Facebook fans for their best networking tips. Take a look below to see how our Facebook fans responded:
  • “Taking a genuine interest in the one I’m talking to, and make that person feel really special.” (Jacky Chua)
  • “CARES which means coming from a place of commitment, abundance, result oriented, excellence, and resilient.” (Johan Van Bavel)
  • “Be strategic. It’s not a ‘spray and pray approach;’ it’s a ‘connect with a few and offer value in the process.’” (Tammy Redmon)
  • “Connecting, connecting, connecting!” (Katerina Kanelidou)
  • “Listen, truly listen. Engage. Be genuinely curious. Always be prepared with something to leave with whomever you’re networking with. If there is a real connection, set up a specific next call of action. (Example: ‘I’ll call you Tuesday at 11 a.m..’)” (iPEC Coaching)
  • “Remember you always have something in common. Be inquisitive.” (Nora Whalen)
  • “I like BNI. It’s a business network. I’ve got several new customers from there. But, off course, always be prepared with whomever you are meeting.” (Wändell Coaching & Consulting)
  • “Smiling and listening.” (Rodolfo Rosales)
  • “What intentions do you set before you network? What is your first impression like? What is your 30 second intro? How can you refer business to someone before you ask for business? How fast do you follow up with the people you meet?” (Harvest Sales Coaching Café)
  • “Listening, commitment, result-oriented.” (Sercan Savran)
What about you? What are your tips when it comes to networking? We’d love to know—leave a response below or join the conversation at

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Neuroscience of Coaching and Stress

Stress is, if not one of the main reasons people come to coaching, certainly is something that comes up with almost every client. I once heard the amazing (and now deceased) Dr. Paul Pearsall speak at an ICF Conference about having a balanced, healthy unstressed heart. His conclusion--it is perhaps impossible in today's world unless you live on a remote South Sea island.

In neuroscience, we use the term "emotional regulation" for what is basically the ability to deal with stress. And as I read through the literature, it dawned on me that this is a huge amount of what we do with our clients. We help them not only "emotionally regulate" in the moment of our conversation, but we also help them build skills for more competency in this area. In order words, we help them become more resilient and capable in the face of day to day life.

So let me walk you through what current neuroscience research has found are the effective tools for dealing with stress, and how we most typically do this through coaching. In order of effectiveness (from lowest to highest), we have:
  1. Controlling the environment so as not to encounter stressor. Interestingly, this may sound bad at first, but it is actually quite effective if you can do it. And we help our clients do this all the time. For example, we might explore options with them to get rid of a 60-minute commute. Or help them see they can make boundaries with an in-law. As coaches, many of us (myself included) have designed our lives for a more peaceful experience. I dislike office environments with fluorescent lights and people asking me for things all day long. So I am a coach and trainer, I often work at home in my pajamas while hanging out with my cats, voila, stressor controlled.
    The reason I have this near the bottom of the list when it actually works so well (and some scientists argue is actually the most effective strategy) is that relying on control is probably a losing proposition. We simply can't (and shouldn't try) to control everything and everyone so as not to bug us. And the feeling of needing to be in control when you can't be actually causes more stress. Still, it works great when you can do it.
  2. Naming the emotion. As coaches, this is often how we start when someone is dealing with an emotional challenge--we ask, "What's going on?" We reflect what we are hearing, often teasing out deeper understanding for the client. The challenge of this strategy (as anyone who has worked with human beings for any length of time knows) is that people often don't know what they are feeling. As coaches, we help them understand and name through metaphor, by using our own intuition, through body sensations, and basically, any tool we have. Over time, we help people develop competence in this area so that they have more words and understanding of the vague sensations within.
  3. Reframing–finding an empowering way to look at the issue. The act of reframing (also known as taking a new perspective) invites our powerful thinking brain to the party, which calms down our limbic system (aka "stress") responses. In other words, reframing enables our clients to actually think and not react. Being asked to try on a new perspective is like stopping a runaway train. It gets us out of the limbic system, which got activated by stress, and into the pre-frontal cortex. And when we can think about things using our higher, more developed mind, we do pretty well.
  4. Mindfulness–meditation, being present to body sensations, focusing on gratitude/love. The number one, hands down, most effective solution to any neuroscience challenge. Stress, creativity, improving memory, being more emotionally intelligent -- being mindful has been proven again and again to make a huge difference in all these areas.
    As coaches, I believe we absolutely help our clients become more "mindful." Even just a good coaching conversation brings people present into the moment and makes them pay attention to what is going on, rather than putting their attention on regrets from the past or worries about the future. In many schools they call this "process coaching," where we take our clients deep into what they are experiencing, right here, right now. It can be almost like a guided meditation in dialogue, as we walk with them through a metaphor, or help them put their body sensations into words. It's powerful, and can release old patterns and issues that have been stuck for years, simply by helping people be present.
Trust me on this one: If you do ONE THING for your client's brains--and your own--help them find a way to spend time being present. This calms and strengthens and develops the parts of the brain we need the most. Fun brain fact: Einstein's brain? Not bigger than yours or mine, but bigger in areas that are shown to increase through meditation.


Ann Betz, CPCC is the co-founder of BEabove Leadership and is on the faculty of the Coaches Training Institute, where she also serves as a consultant on the neuroscience of coaching. A long-time student of consciousness, she is currently pursuing a graduate degree in neuroscience. In addition to her more academic studies, Ann uses poetry to help people understand and integrate new awareness, and is the co-author of the new book "Coaching the Spirit, poems of transformation," available in December 2011. Ann coaches and trains internationally, and writes blogs on consciousness (, coaching and neuroscience ( and poetry ( Ann can be reached at or at 651-253-5798.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Three simple ways for ICF members to connect and save more

So you belong to the ICF…but are you really maximizing your membership? This occasional topic series will highlight those things you can do to ensure you are making the most of your connection to the ICF.

  1. Connection with ICF and other members via social media. The ICF has a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. If you haven’t already connected with the ICF through these channels, they are a great resource for small snippets of information as well as meeting other ICF coaches.
  2. Community with local coaches through ICF Chapters. There are more than 120 ICF Chapters in over 50 countries across the globe. Chapters provide ICF members educational and social opportunities. Search ICF Chapters.
  3. Valuable monetary discounts. By holding membership with the ICF, you are eligible for valuable discounts when it comes to applying for an ICF Credential, registering for the ICF Annual International Conference, as well as other special offers. Learn more so you can save big!
If you do not currently hold ICF membership, treat yourself to the gift that keeps on giving beyond this holiday season. For only $195 USD, you can join our borderless community of 19,000+ coaches.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What We Hold-- Holds Onto Us

SIG: Energy Work and Coaching: The Next Wave
Host: Rhona Post MA, MCC, Certified CI Practitioner
December’s Topic: How What We Hold-- Holds Onto Us

My meditation teacher, Michael Gregory ( provides straightforward guidance for mindfulness practice. Watch your breath. Observe yourself as you observe your breath. Although simple in theory, breath watching can be challenging as we are constantly pulled toward our senses, qualifying what we think, feel, see, hear, and smell. We are captivated by our stories. I think of my mind as a large screen television with access to more than 150 channels. Whether I’m watching dramas, horror, documentaries, commercials, or re-runs about my life, I’m pre-occupied with my narratives.

I am not alone. Our stories explain why we do what we do, how we see the world, who we can trust, who we should avoid, what we want or don’t want, etc. Not to mention the many hours of the behind-the-scenes interviews we conduct where we berate or deliberate with ourselves, act as the hero or the victim of our stories.

It’s a merry go round, for sure, and some of us want to get off. Why? We want more peace, more joy and a greater sense of equanimity.

The purpose of the Energy Work and Coaching SIG is to provide coaches with another vantage point from which we can work. Using an open forum approach, we explore topics that will help us coach from a strong centered presence, using our intuition to guide us to work more deeply. We practice with a variety of somatic, energetic and ontological coaching tools. Our goal is to foster community—a place where our unique gifts are received. The more we model what is possible for our coaching clients, the easier it becomes for them to take the risks necessary to transform their relationships to their stories.

In November, my coaching colleague, Sandy Mobley ( and I led a discussion about the power of positive thinking as it relates to changing our neural programming. We practiced with several tools, including the GAP, Length, Width and Depth ( and a loving kindness meditation. 
Rhona Post, MCC

December’s topic is all about holding patterns—from the physical to the emotional clutter keeping us from experiencing joy. As a Core Individuation practitioner, I have learned to energetically remove holding patterns so that my clients feel whole. During the month of December, I am offering a discounted rate to ICF coaches for a healing session. Please call or email me at I look forward to our SIG call Monday, December 19 at 11 a.m. (New York).

For More Information: Contact: Rhona Post via email at or via telephone at +1.941.554.8466. You can also find me on Facebook or Twitter.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Stop following the herd!

If you have you ever gone furniture shopping, you will relate to this story. My husband and I were in need of a new bedroom set. So, one day, we set out going from one furniture store to another, searching for that “perfect” bedroom set. After five hours of going from store to store, we finally found the “one” but because it was more than what we had budgeted, we decided we would go home and sleep on the decision.The next morning, we awoke to discover that we BOTH had forgotten which store we had found that one particular bedroom set that we both loved (and no, we did not write it down…as that would have been the smart thing to do!).

WHY could we not remember which store it was? Because most furniture stores look and “act” alike. They carry similar furniture, most (if not, all) finance your purchases with their credit departments, they have delivery and set up options and sales people that follow you around like puppy dogs. They all follow the same play book. That was until IKEA came along. IKEA looked at what all the other furniture stores were doing and then...did the OPPOSITE. IKEA carries very distinctive low quality, low cost, Scandinavian furniture. As other furniture stores try and sell you on the longevity of their furniture, IKEA sells you on the fact that it won’t last long which allows you can “change your furniture look” often.

As you walk around the IKEA, you write down the aisle and bin numbers of your products and then venture into their warehouse where, you, not a salesperson, retrieve your furniture parts. Yes...I said parts. Then, what about set-up, you ask? Not at IKEA. You take home tons of boxes, unwrap everything yourself and then put it together, piece by piece, following their so called “directions.” And as far as salespeople, well, let me know when you find one of those too! But what they do have is babysitting for your children and a gourmet fast food restaurant for customers with picky taste buds. The experience starts the moment you walk into the store. And today, they are one of the most highly successful and profitable furniture brands out there, with millions of LOYAL customers (I am actually one of them!). Why? They broke the mold and gave customers what they truly wanted (which is not necessarily what customers always tell you they want!).

So the lesson…Be different…be very different. In some shape or form…

Just be Different.

You can differentiate via price, features, services, niche market, and/or customer service, to name a few. To be successful, you must distinguish yourself from the herd. Find your differentiator (I call it your black jellybean – people either love them or hate them and they do not appeal to everyone (that’s ok!) but they always stand out from the other jellybeans). GO FOR IT!

Gail Nataupsky founded The Republic of Engagement in 2011 with the clear and passionate vision of improving the lives and experience of all business owners, employees and customers. With THE REPUBLIC Of Engagement, her attention is focused on the success of her clients as reflected in their business growth, their achievements in their personal lives and their overall happiness. As an expert in evidence-based strategic engagement, Gail teaches business owners how to solve and overcome business challenges and prosper from the opportunities. Professionally, she holds a B.A. in history from Boston College and a graduate certificate in Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design Currently, she is working on becoming a certified professional coach from the world renowned leader in coach training, the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (IPEC), and a certified Energy Leadership Index (ELI) Assessment and Energy Leadership Development System coach. She is a Certified Marketing Specialist, a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a member of the Internet Marketing Association (IMA) Please visit her blog at or feel free to email her at  

Friday, December 2, 2011

How's your business plan looking?

December is Write a Business Plan Month. If you have a business plan in place, take time this month to review it and make any changes you have wanted to make. If you don't have a working business plan, take time to write one!

For those who have a business plan in place, what sorts of tips can you provide those starting from scratch? What resources do you recommend?