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15 Jun

Research Paper By Samantha Castro
(Transformational Coach, THAILAND)

Emotional coaching: Helping children understand their emotions to create emotionally intelligent adults.

Children must be taught how to think, not what to think. — Margaret Mead

Introduction

According to a 2018 report by the World Health Organization (World Health Organization, 2018):

  • Globally, depression is the ninth leading cause of illness and disability among all adolescents; anxiety is the eighth leading cause.
  • Mental health conditions account for 16% of the global burden of disease and injury in people aged 10–19 years.
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15–19-year olds.
  • Worldwide, it is estimated that 10–20% of adolescents experience mental health conditions, yet these remain under-diagnosed and under-treated.
  • Childhood behavioral disorders are the sixth leading cause of disease burden among adolescents
  • Worldwide, the prevalence of heavy episodic drinking among adolescents aged 15-19 years was 13.6% in 2016
  • In 2016, based on data available from 130 countries, it was estimated that 5.6% of 15–16-year old’s had used cannabis at least once in the preceding year. Many adult smokers have their first cigarette before the age of 18 years.

Statistics show us how the inability to handle and understand emotions has a significant impact on the growth and development of children into fulfilled adults. We are part of a society that until now has value, more than anything, what we so call intelligence.

Intelligence understood as

The whole of cognitive or intellectual abilities required to obtain knowledge, and to use that knowledge in a good way to solve problems that have a well-described goal and structure (Thiel, 2019),

has lead us to neglect the role emotions play in the successful application of that knowledge. The lack of emotional support children are facing has a direct relation to the struggle more, and more adolescents and adults are experiencing when faced with situations where emotions are involved. Among the different factors that impact our ability to handle emotions, two play a significant role. Most people do not know how to express their emotions, and in some cases, also fail to understand their feelings.

Dr Bruce Lipton, PhD, bestselling author of The Biology of Belief and recipient of the 2009 Goi Peace Award, explains that 95% of our life comes from the programs we get in the first seven years of life. Our programming is an unconscious behaviour that is passed on to us as children from our families and communities. After seven years old, if you want to reprogram the subconscious mind, repetition and practice are needed to make the new programming work. Once you have practised enough, you learn it, and the new program stays with you (Lipton, 2018).

In the coaching practice, it is said that regardless of the approach with which the coaching relationship starts (Business Coaching, Leadership Coaching, Health & Wellness Coaching, Career Coaching), all coaching becomes life coaching after the 3rd session. The coach understands that the first step toward growth and lasting change is to awaken the client’s understanding of the role his/her values, underlying beliefs, habits, behaviour, mindset and intention plays in his/her life. All these elements are part of the client’s perception of reality.

This research paper supports the idea that a strong emotional foundation set in children translates into happier, mature, successful adults. As such, Emotional Coaching presents itself as a tool to help children build emotional intelligence and create positive, long-lasting programming as well as support their development towards becoming more fulfilled adults (The Gottman Institute, 2018).

Literature and research supporting emotional coaching

Even though Emotional Coaching is a relatively new coaching niche, the practice has its roots on its more popular name and application in adults known as Emotional Intelligence.

Over the years, emotions have been a mostly unexplored scientific field. However, Daniel Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence, explains:

…the scientific studies of emotion conducted over the past 30 years have seen an unparalleled burst. The glimpses of the brain at work have made visible one of the deepest mysteries of our time, understand how the brain operates while we think and feel, imagine and dream. The flood of neurological biological data let us understand more clearly the brain’s centres of emotions, and at the same time it offers new remedies for our collective emotional crisis (Goleman, 1996).

On his book, Goleman refers to a research conducted by Joseph LeDoux, a neuroscientist at the Center for Neural Science at New York University, on the role the amygdala plays in the emotional brain. More specifically, LeDoux turns to the role of the amygdala in childhood. He says:

…the interactions of life’s earliest years lay down a set of emotional lessons based on the attunement and upsets in the contacts between infants and caretakers. Since these earliest emotional memories are established at a time before infants have words for their experience, when these emotional memories are triggered in later life, there is no matching the set of articulated thoughts about the response that takes us over. One reason we can be so baffled by our emotional outbursts, then, is that they often date from a time early in our lives when things were bewildering, and we did not yet have worlds for comprehending events (Goleman, 1996).

Goleman recognises that:

…much evidence testifies that people who are emotionally adept are at an advantage in any domain in life. People with well-developed emotional skills are also more likely to be content and effective in their lives, mastering their mind to foster productivity. Childhood abilities such as being able to handle frustrations, control emotions and get on with other people make a great difference in their adult life. By encouraging children to develop a full range of the abilities that they will draw on to succeed or to be fulfilled with what they do, we are educating them in life skills (Goleman, 1996).

Another advocate of emotional intelligence and good parenting, John Bradshaw, in his book Home Coming, he explains that children need security and healthy modelling of emotions in order to understand their inner signals. They also need help in separating their thoughts from their feelings. Bradshaw warns us about the consequences of an unhealthy family environment and the neglection of children emotions by saying:

…when a child’s development is arrested, when feelings are repressed, especially the feelings of anger and hurt, a person grows up to be an adult with an angry, hurt child inside him. This child will spontaneously contaminate the person’s adult behaviour (Bradshaw, 1990).

According to Bradshaw, a hurt inner child sabotages adult life with one or more of the following displays:

  • Co-dependence
  • Offender Behaviours
  • Narcissistic Disorders
  • Trust Issues
  • Acting out/Acing In Behaviours
  • Magical Beliefs
  • Intimacy dysfunctions
  • Non-disciplined Behaviours
  • Addictive/Compulsive Distortions
  • Emptiness (apathy, depression)

Furthermore, in Buddha’s Brain, Rick Hanson, PhD and Richard Mendius, MD refer to research from Dan Siegel and Allan Schore on attachment models between children and caregivers. The authors say:

Your childhood relationships with primary caregivers – notably your parents – have probably had a great influence on your expectations, attitudes, emotions and actions in your important relationships as an adult. To summarise the research, the recurring experiences a young child has with her parents will lead to one of four models of attachment to them: secure, insecure-avoidant, insecure-anxious and disorganised. Attachment models tend to persist into adulthood and become the underlying, default template for important relationships (Hanson & Mendius, 2009)’.

Emotional coaching – origin’s

The idea of emotional coaching emerged after research conducted by Dr John Gottman at the University of Illinois and then at the University of Washington. For his research, Dr Gottman studied children between 3 to 15 years old and developed the concept of meta-emotion. The term refers to how people feel about emotion, specific emotions such as anger, emotional expression and emotional understanding in general (The Gottman Institute, 2019).

Research on emotion coaching, on the impact of marital discord, and the transition to parenthood are all elements of Gottman’s parenting research agenda. At the heart of these projects are the emotional lives of children and the emotional communication between parents and their children. As Gottman and his colleagues studied parents and children over time, they made a number of observations and discoveries about the powerful impact that emotional processes can have on children and their parents.

Much of today’s popular advice to parents ignores emotion,” says Dr Gottman. “Instead it relies on child-rearing theories that address children’s misbehaviour but disregards the feelings that underlie that misbehaviour. The ultimate goal of raising children should not be to have an obedient and compliant child. Most parents hope for much more for their children (The Gottman Institute, 2019).

Gottman’s research also discovered that love by itself was not enough. “We found that concerned, warm, and involved parents often had attitudes toward their and their children’s emotions that got in the way…when the child was sad or afraid or angry,” he writes.

The secret to being an emotionally intelligent parent lay in how parents interacted with their children when emotions ran hot (The Gottman Institute, 2019).

The researchers ultimately determined that successful parents tended to do five very simple things with their children when they were emotional. Gottman calls these five elements “Emotion Coaching.” He discovered that children who had “Emotion Coaches” for parents were on an entirely different, more positive developmental trajectory than the children of other parents (The Gottman Institute, 2019).

Further research by parentingcounts.org, shows that:

With Emotional Coaching, children develop a set of skills to self-soothe or calm down. Children are allowed to experience the full range of emotions. Children learn to understand how their feelings lead to their actions. Emotion Coaching helps children develop empathy. Empathy is the ability to identify and relate to the feelings or thoughts of another person. The ability to show empathy is predictive of future success in relationships at home, at school and work (Parenting Counts).

What is emotional coaching?

Emotional Coaching is a 5-step method that builds emotional intelligence and creates positive, long-lasting effects for children. Easy to learn, and used by parents, educators and caregivers, it supports kids through life’s ups and downs in a way that builds confidence and helps them grow socially, emotionally and intellectually (The Gottman Institute, 2018).

The five steps of emotion coaching (Parenting Counts).

Step 1: Be Aware of Emotions.

The more aware you are of your feelings, the better you will understand how your child is feeling. When appropriate, share your emotions with your child. Children are learning about emotions by watching how you show yours. Listen to your child for clues about what she is feeling.

Step 2: Connect with your Child.

Take your child’s emotions seriously. Be willing to understand your child’s perspective. Encourage your child to talk about feelings.

Step 3: Listen to your Child.

Listen to your child in a way that lets her know you are paying attention. Try not to judge or criticise emotions that are different from what you expected. Research shows that it is essential to understand the emotion before you advise the behaviour.

Step 4: Name Emotions.

Start identifying emotions even before a child can talk. Talk about emotions like happy, sad, and angry and when people feel them. Name a range of emotions. Talk about what these emotions mean and when people feel them. Avoid telling children what they ought to feel – try to identify the emotions they are feeling. Model identifying your own emotions – children learn by watching and copying what adults do.

Step 5: Find Solutions.

When children misbehave, explain why their behaviour was inappropriate or hurtful. Encourage emotional expression but set limits on behaviour. Help children think through possible solutions.

Summary

Emotional Coaching is a coaching niche with great potential to support children’s development to become emotionally intelligent adults. Such intelligence will support them through different areas of their life from personal to professional endeavours and make it easier for them to have a fulfilling life.

Emotional Coaching has to be taught to the parents before they can deliver it to their children adequately. Therefore, the benefits it offers extend to the parents, who learn to control and understand their emotions to set the example for their children, and at the same time, it provides a framework for a more effective and loving couple relationship.

Emotional coaching can very well be the first step toward healing and building a more loving, understanding, open society where we start to see more encouraging statistics on happiness, satisfaction, peace and fulfilment levels around the world.

Works Cited

Bradshaw, J. (1990). Home Coming. Reclaiming and healing your inner child. United States of America: Bantam Books.
Goleman, D. (1996). Emotional Intelligence. Why it can matter more than IQ. Great Britain: Bloomsbury Publishing.
Hanson, R., & Mendius, R. (2009). The practical neuroscience of Buddha’s Brain. Happiness, love and wisdom. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
Lipton, D. B. (2018, September 20). Dr. Bruce Lipton Explains HOW WE ARE PROGRAMMED AT BIRTH (an eye-opening video). (L. R. Academy, Interviewer) Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TivZYFlbX8&feature=youtu.be
Parenting Counts. (n.d.). Information for parents: Emotion Coaching. Retrieved from parentingcounts.org: http://www.parentingcounts.org/parent-handouts/information-for-parents-emotion-coaching.pdf
The Gottman Institute. (2018). Emotional Coaching. The Heart of Parenting. Retrieved from emotioncoaching.gottman.com: https://emotioncoaching.gottman.com/
The Gottman Institute. (2019). Parenting. Retrieved from The Gottman Institute. A RESEARCH-BASED APPROACH TO RELATIONSHIPS: https://www.gottman.com/about/research/parenting/
Thiel, D. E. (2019, February 19). What is IQ? What is intelligence? Retrieved from 123 test. Free psychological tests: https://www.123test.com/what-is-iq-what-is-intelligence/
World Health Organization. (2018, September 18). Adolescent mental health. Retrieved from World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/adolescent-mental-health

 


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15 Jun

A Coaching Power Tool Created by Giulia Villrilli
(Transformational Coach, GERMANY)

At the core of living is the courage to move, to step with doubt … but step nonetheless.

This power tool partially draws on my Master Thesis on Experiential Learning. The assumption is that the coachee is an adult.

Sitting in a cafe and brainstorming about my power tool, it was clear to me that it had to do with action, experience and courage. So many times, I heard myself, friends and coachee say:

  • “it’s too late to do that”
  • “I don’t even know where to start”
  • “I am stuck in this ** situation”
  • “that experience made me suffer so much, since then I am simply not doing anything”
  • “I do not see the light, I am completely lost”

In all these scenarios, the person is stuck and the coaching relationship could support in breaking the loop of inactivity and stagnation. My power tool stems from my curiosity for this behaviour and my willingness to bring different questions and forces into the coaching sessions, in order to potentially initiate a change of state, actions and transformations.

Part I – Definitions

Inertia

The word comes from the Latin word “inertia”, which means “inactivity”.

Among the definitions of inertia, one can find:

  • the tendency not to change what is happening;
  • lack of activity or interest, or unwillingness to make an effort to do anything;
  • the physical force that keeps something in the same position or moving in the same direction;
  • a situation in which there is very little activity or interest, or people are unwilling to make an effort to change.

If a coachee is “stuck in inertia”:

  • he/she is not doing anything at all (absence of action);
  • he/she is keeping doing the same things every day even if the result is unsatisfactory (continuous movement in the same direction).

Learning

There is a multitude of definitions of learning. The fact that we do not know what learning is directly but rather can only infer it is supported by Cronbach’s statement: “Learning is shown by a change of behaviour as a result of experience” (Cronbach, 1963). David Kolb (1984) defines learning as “the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience”.

Experience

Experience has been defined by John Dewey as “an individual’s interaction with his/her external environment”. “An experience is always what it is because of a transaction taking place between an individual and what, at that time, constitutes his environment. The environment is whatever conditions interact with personal needs, desires, purposes, and capacities to create the experience which is had” (Dewey, 1938).

Experience can bring an individual further or not. To push him/her, the experience has to be qualitatively good and it has to have an influence on subsequent experiences. Dewey speaks of an experiential continuum, whereby each experience that one gain has an influence on the next one (Dewey, 1938).

Experiential learning

To describe it in a simple way, “experiential learning means learning from experience or learning by doing”. It begins with the immersion of learners inexperience and it is followed by the reflection about that experience, which leads to developing new skills, attitudes or ways of thinking (Lewis L. H. & Williams C. J., 1994).

The first justification for learning by doing was presented in John Dewey’s Experience and Education (1938). Dewey underlined that the creation of new knowledge or the transformation of oneself through learning to perform new roles was more fundamental than simply learning how to do something.

According to him, “experiential learning means a cycle of “trying” and “undergoing” by becoming aware of a problem, getting an idea, trying out a response, experiencing the consequences, and either confirming or modifying previous conceptions.

This process has the potential to result in a person’s cognitive reconstruction of experience and significant personal learning such as overcoming one’s biases. Such ongoing meaning-making over time leads to learning to learn experientially” (Lewis L. H. & Williams C. J., 1994).

As shown in the figure below, learning is conceived as a four-stage cycle. Immediate concrete experience is the basis for observation and reflection. These observations are assimilated into a “theory” from which new implications for action can be deduced. These implications of hypotheses subsequently serve as guides in acting to create new experiences (Kolb, 1984).
ModelGiulia_Villrilli_Power_Tool_1
Many times, one is stuck simply because information and data are missing. Experiential learning provides data. Starting with action and experience, going through reflection and landing on learning, one creates a virtuous loop which then enables a second, third (..) loop of experiential learning.

This means that the coachee can voluntarily interrupt his/her inertia with new behaviour, observe without judgement what happens in that experience, collect the relevant information for it’s his/her goal and then build on those to create new learning and awareness. Once new awareness is created, the coachee will start the loop again from a higher perspective and, with the time, this process will become a natural process to progress and learn.

Part II – Coaching Applications

Application to me as a coach

Since I started my coaching journey, I am focusing on finding ways to create action, instil courage and foster self-improvement. As always, one recognizes resistances and stagnations also in its own life and I am acting upon my improvement areas in order to train and find ways to inspire others.

Experiential learning helped me enormously as it provides a space to experiment and get feedback from my body, mind and senses to new situations and behaviours.

“Nobody said it was easy” 😉 … but yes, it is worth it.

Application to the coaching sessions

As a coach, I am honoured every time I can support and facilitate a transformation process and that gives me a deep sense of meaning and joy. It is said that we live in a VUCA world, that is, volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity are part of our life. All these traits could be inertia-generators. To these, one can add personal tendencies, bad luck, unfavourable conditions or even simple laziness.

In my coaching sessions, I encounter inertia very often. If one wants to overcome inertia, one has to apply a force. The force could generate change, fluctuations, movement, action, passion, vitality, willpower.

Using my power tool in coaching sessions where inertia plays an important role, I would partner with the coachee to successfully shift from inactivity to experiencing and learning and finally to change.

The following questions can support the session:

  • what makes you feel alive?
  • when was the last time you did something for the first time?
  • what do you want to achieve/get done before you die?
  • which legacy do you want to leave?
  • what makes you unique?
  • what do people say about you, if you are at your best?
  • what is the worst thing that can happen if you break this loop?
  • what is the best thing that can happen if you try something new?
  • which are your inner drivers / passions?

On the action plan (starting with the action plan could be an interesting option):

  • which information you want to have before taking the first step?
  • what is missing now to move to action?
  • what is the first little step you are willing to take?
  • when will you do it?
  • which obstacles may you encounter?
  • how will you keep yourself accountable?
  • who can support you to do what you intend to do?
  • how can I support you to reach that first step?
  • how will you feel, once you will have done it?
  • how will you celebrate this first step?

Follow up questions after the first step(s) have been done:

  • what did you learn about yourself?
  • how will you use this new learning?
  • how did it feel, in your body, to experiment that?
  • now that you have reached this point, what is your next move?

These are only some of the questions that come to my mind and, of course, the art lies in doing the right ones at the right moment, not overwhelming the coachee with a massive number of questions, that again, immobilizes him/her.

Personally, as a coach, I would offer the coachee the opportunity to physically move during the session. Jump, walk, sing, scream, breathe, dance, laugh – whatever brings him/her out of inertia and creates a space for change. Experience can start in the coaching session and the coach can provide a safe space for it.

Part III – Reflection

Awareness, acceptance, action, improvement. In my view, the role of a coach lies in gently being there, trusting the process and the ability of the coachee to walk through these stages and reach a higher self. I had the pleasure to experience already some transformations and this deeply motivates me to improve my skills and presence as a coach, to enable many more.

We all have our personal journey, every one of us has personal challenges and stages of inertia. But, as coaching widely shows, we also all have our personal strengths, ideas and forces to go back to action and achieve our goals.

What does your body say right now?

References

Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education (1st Touchstone ed.). Kappa Delta Pi lecture series. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Cronbach, L. J. (Ed.). (1963). Educational Psychology (2nd): Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc.

Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development.

Lewis L. H., & Williams C. J. (1994). Experiential learning: Past and present. New directions for adult and continuing education. (62), 5–15.

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/inertia

https://unaparolaalgiorno.it/significato/I/inerzia


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15 Jun

Coaching Case Study By Giulia Villrilli
(Transformational Coach, GERMANY)

Who are the main players in this case study?

The main player is Joy, a senior manager in a company. I had a discovery session with him and this was our first coaching session. Both sessions were audio only.

What is the core problem or challenge you applied your coaching skills to?

Joy enters the coaching session with many concerns. The company he works for just lost the extension-contracts for the projects he is working on. He and some colleagues got the information that they will lose their current job, but the company has an interest in keeping them employed. However, the new positions and possibilities are not defined yet and there is no clarity around the new employment plan.

The issue represents a problem for Joy in several aspects:

  • if he wants to go on working with his current projects and clients, he would have to change company (a competitor got the extension of the business): in this case, he would be loyal towards the customer but not towards his current colleagues and employer, as he would move to the competition;
  • if he stays in his current company, he does not know which is the new role he will have. He is not even sure that his current company will be able to offer him a new position any soon. Moreover, he will probably disappoint the customers by stepping out of the projects. The customers know that it is possible for Joy to be employed by the competitor and thus have continuity on the projects;
  • he definitely needs a job and a “safe” environment, as he has four children. This means, he cannot and does not want to wait for a long time for his current employer to find a solution.

The worst thing about this problem is the feeling Joy is experiencing: he has the impression of being torn between disappointing the customer or his current employer and colleagues.

What specific coaching skills did you use in this case?

I enter the session empty and ready to be there for the coachee. I only have one point that I want to keep in mind “set a clear coaching agreement and do not move on until it is set”.

Despite a very noisy background, I feel trust is established early in the session and the conversation is open and honest. The voice of Joy is calm, yet I can clearly perceive the concerns he openly shares and his low energy. Although I cannot see him, I know he is calm but not smiling.

Setting the coaching agreement: we walk through the goal for the session, its significance, the current status and desired one. The goal of the session is to reach more clarity around the problem and on personal values. Then, decide on a response and next steps.

Joy states his current clarity level is a “5 out of 10” and he wants to get to 8 or 9 at the end of the session. “What has to happen to reach the 9?” Joy answers that he wants to be peaceful, reassured, gain confidence. Also, talk through the issue and the competing values he sees and considers all players involved in the situation.

At this point, I have a little doubt on the concreteness of the goal but considering the experience and solidity of Joy (from what I know from the discovery session), I decided to move to exploration.

Active listening: I start by mirroring back one sentence which came up during the discussion on the coaching agreement: “I feel torn about this decision”. I only play it back and Joy explains more in detail what he perceives as a dilemma: this change is coming, and, no matter what he will choose, he will disappoint someone. This makes him concerned and unable to decide.

I paraphrase often to be sure not to misunderstand important details, due to the noisy background. I ask permission to share my first observation: “I have the impression that you know already what you want to do”. I pause. Joy: “Yes, indeed, but it’s complicated”.

Then I ask: “What is blocking you?” and Joy: “the fear of disappointing someone and burning bridges”. He goes on sharing details about the situation and his feelings.

Powerful questioning: at this point, I go into some questions that bring the coachee back to himself and his core values and desires. The purpose of my questions is to let him “zoom-out” and see what he finds there.

My first question is not asked properly and thus misunderstood: “you mentioned many times someone will be disappointed, what about yourself?”. Joy’s answer was again linked to the situation.

I let him answer without interrupting and then I frame my question differently: “which decision would make you proud of yourself?”. Joy stops for a moment, answers something but then adds that he needs time after the session to reflect on this.

At his point, I check with Joy if we are going in the right direction and how he perceives clarity. He answers that he is gaining a better clarity. He shares with me that he is thankful for this job he got, the employer treats him well and the working atmosphere is very good. The job is rewarding and he believes he served the company well and with loyalty. However, now he feels caught in the middle of this issue.

Raising awareness: I share another observation: “I have the feeling that you want to keep a fair and good relationship with your employer but at the same time you do not want to pay the price for their business loss, as you were not involved and responsible for this” – here Joy replies with a big YES. Full awareness is raised on this knot.

Acknowledgment: I acknowledge Joy for his caring attitude, for considering his family in the picture, for the value he places on people and for his long-term strategic thinking. He welcomes the acknowledgment and moves from there: he does not want to burn bridges as he believes the situation can change again in the future and he might be able to work with these players again.

Raising awareness: we are in the last 15 minutes and so I choose to ask: “what did you learn about yourself in this session?” Joy greets the question positively and says: “that I set a high value on relationships. I value more cultivating relationships than having the money or a short- term win”. This brought him back again on his values, independently from the situation.

Action: at this point, I try to sum up and reflect back the actions that he shared during the session, to see if they are still valid:

  1. he will not move to competition;
  2. he would start looking for other job opportunities that involve no or less travelling;
  3. he will inform his current employer about step 1 and 2.

Joy confirms on the actions.

I share the last observation: “I have the feeling that this is not a good situation, but actually it could be seen as an opportunity to elegantly change job and have more time for the family, as you desire” (change of perspective). These actions would actually match what he shared during the session:

  • his desire to have more family time (fewer business travels);
  • the desire of not burning bridges with both employer and customers;
  • his values (with those actions, he would be proud of himself).

He confirms the points are exact. I can feel a little smile (but unfortunately, I did not ask if my feeling was correct).

Action: I offer my support beyond the session. Joy says he knows how to move on and that he will use our next sessions to tackle further issues on this topic.

We close the session.

What were the results of your process? Was your coaching/program effective?

All in all, I would say the session was effective. The feedback was good and actions and direction were set. I shared observations without expecting them to be right: I was honest and straightforward with what I shared and this helped the coachee to take a position by confirming or denying what I was putting on the table.

As always, improvements possibilities can be defined:

  • Establishing the coaching agreement was effective, it set the direction. However, it could have been even more specific. I did not dare to ask more specific questions due to: the level of experience of Joy, the fact that it was the first session and the low energy I perceived. Next time: dare to dig deeper, if possible.
  • Higher clarity was reached → I checked in the middle of the session. Next time, I want to clearly ask again at the end. I missed this opportunity.

If you could approach this problem again, what would you do differently?

  • I would go deeper into the values – we touched on that but at the end of the session, my feeling was that they were not explored enough /stated clearly enough.
  • I would dedicate more time to action: we reached the action items but we could have gone more concrete into action: when, how, who could support, and so on.
  • I would ask the question at the end: “how would you like to close the session?”. I feel this question allows a well-defined closing. My final question was “is there anything that I can do in the next days to support you?” and then I express support for Joy. I did not like 100% closing with that, as it did not leave Joy the possibility to be fully responsible for the end of the session.
  • I would have asked if my feeling of a little smile at the end was correct (to raise awareness on his side).

What are the top 3 things you learnt from this experience?

  1. I entered the session in my evening. I had an open and quiet mind but my day up to that moment had been sad and with very low energy. This session demonstrated again to me that one can achieve a good coaching session by emptying oneself and being fully present for the coachee. I had this situation other times and the session always went well, despite my personal situation or state of being. This is a wonderful insight for me, as I am not scared to enter the session and on top of that I know, that after the session I will even feel better.
  2. Trust can be established early in the process. Enablers of trust are the coach full presence, with heart and mind, no judgment in all questions, a genuine curiosity and no fixed agenda. In this case, I believe that another trust-enabler was the fact that I entered the session not with my usual power and positive energy but with a quiet pace and attitude. This somehow matched with Joy’s state of mind and emotions.
  3. Finally, I learnt that I learnt many things in these months. Of course, I am far from being a master coach, but I could observe myself during the session. The fact that I paid attention to the coaching agreement, to the different ICF competencies areas and to the process itself, showed me that I grew so much in these 16 months with ICA. This is the last piece of the puzzle for my ICA graduation and I have a special smile while writing this assignment. A smile that shows happiness but also awareness of the journey and all its ups and downs.

A new journey begins. Cheers:)!


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15 Jun

A Coaching Model Created by Gemma McFall
(Expat Coach, SRI LANKA)

How To Unpack Your Identity and Love Yourself

At Curious Monkey, we specialize in coaching Expats.

Being an expat can be an exciting life adventure full of new opportunities. But living and working in another country also come with its own set of challenges.

You arrive and don’t know anyone. You need to set up a bank account. Work out how to get to the shops. What do you do if your kids get sick? Where are the doctors? How do I make friends?

On top of all this, you have the misconception of your family and friends you left behind. They think you are on one long holiday and getting to escape ‘real life’.

As an Expat I’ve been through the ups and downs. It is not unusual to go through the full spectrum of emotions daily. The simplest things abroad can become impossible to achieve.

Wouldn’t it be great if you had tools at your disposal to help you navigate life as an expat?

This is where Curious Monkey Coaching comes in.

One of the most useful traits you can have as an Expat is to be ‘Curious’. You are curious about the new culture, the food, the shops and of course your new friends. But where the power lies are when you apply that same curiosity to yourself.

We will help you figure out what are your natural talents. Once we know this, we will help you learn how to apply these talents to your personal goals in your life as an Expat.

The Curious Monkey Coaching model will guide you on a journey of self-discovery.

Curious Monkey Coaching Model

Here you will find the journey that you will take with Curious Monkey Coaching.

1 – Your Suitcase

You have arrived at coaching with your identity packed in your suitcase. What do you think is in there? Who are you? What type of expat do you want to be? What type of expat life do you desire? What do you want to achieve whilst you are on this posting? What are your current frustrations, passions and dreams? This stage is all about looking at where you are now and dreaming about where you want to go.

2 –Your Assessment

You already have an amazing identity. Your suitcase is full of potential waiting to burst out and get going.

First, you will take the Clifton Strengths Assessment. This will help us put your identity into tangible words we can play with. This will take 30-40 minutes. This assessment is used by 90% of the Fortune 500 companies. If it is good enough for them, I am confident it is the best tool for you too.

3 –Your Unpacking

Now it is time to open up that suitcase and see what we have. Your assessment will present you with your top five talents. Each one of these talents is in your suitcase. Your talents have always been there. Your talents may have been hiding or showing up in strange ways but I promise you they were always there. We will take each talent out and start exploring and playing around with them. You will discover the real you one talent at a time.

There are 34 talents in total. Each one is amazing and special. But of course, we can’t be everything. You are who you are. At Curious Monkey Coaching, we focus on what is right with you. There is no benefit in trying to fix what you think is wrong with you. No matter what talents you find in your suitcase you will learn how to use these to succeed in your Expat life.

4 –Your Conversion – Turn your talents into strengths

Once you know and understand your talents it is time to develop them into strengths. We will do this by linking back to your goals. You will discover practical ways to use your talents to navigate life as an Expat. You will learn how your talents can make you think, feel and behave in different situations. This will make you feel more in control. It will feel as though you have found the operating manual to your own brain. I promise you will understand and love yourself a whole lot more.

How about others?

Understanding your unique combination of talents is only the start. You will begin to notice talents in people around you. You will become curious about other’s talents. You will start to appreciate traits in people. Before going through this journey these same traits would have annoyed you. Your irritation turns to appreciation.

Now What?

If you are an Expat (or even if you are not!) I am sure by now you are ready to unpack that suitcase and discover the best version of you. Are you ready to be happier and more in control of your life?

 

<<Find out more about how to create your own Coaching model at ICA>>

 


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14 Jun

A Coaching Power Tool Created by Gemma McFall
(Expat Coach, SRI LANKA)

When a client comes for coaching it is often because they need a coach to help them with a situation. Before choosing to take the situation to a coaching session they have probably tried unsuccessfully to find their own solutions. We know from our own experience that it is difficult to find your own solutions because the brain will tend to come up with the obvious surface questions and find predictable and obvious solutions which may not work.

It is, therefore, the job of the coach to elevate the client away from the obvious by taking a curious approach to questioning which in turn leads to curious solutions.

In any given conversation with a client, you are either looking at situations from a curious perspective or an obvious one.

Definition of Curious:

1 – Eager to know or learn something

2 – Strange or unusual

Definition of Obvious:

1 – Easily perceived or understood; clear, self-evident, or apparent.

2 – Predictable and lacking in subtlety

There are many benefits to taking a curious approach with your client:

  • Keeps your mind active instead of passive
  • It makes you consider new ideas
  • Opens new worlds and possibilities
  • It can be exciting and fun
  • It is non-threatening – a curious question is not leading
  • Can move client from comfort zone in a safe way
  • Can test and try different approaches in safe environment

Curiosity = new options + abundant mind

Obvious = Tried and tested methods + limited mind

To be curious you need the following:

  • Self-awareness – that the current state is predictable
  • Imagination – To explore new creative ideas
  • Courage – To dare to dream what could be

Curiosity can come from both the coach and the client but for some clients, it will be easier than for others. Helping your client to gain greater levels of curiosity is possible and will come with time. The more curious both the coach and client are the greater the potential.

Children have a natural curiosity for the world around them and what could be. As people grow older they learn to suppress their curiosity and instead tend to live and think in the status quo making it difficult to explore options.

The great thing about this power tool is that as a coach we can help our clients jump back in years and experience this level of curiosity again to explore their thought patterns and options that may be open to them. It is creating a shift in consciousness.

As a curious coach, it is my role to help the client move to a state of curiosity. This can be done using genuinely curious questions.

Not being open to curiosity can be a disempowering state. The client will be limited options available to them.

As a coach, you can almost imagine placing the curiosity glasses on your client’s eyes. Anything the client sees through them is virtual reality. The beauty of the curious approach is that what is observed/realized can be turned into reality or in fact specifically avoided as the future unfolds.

This tool is used to free the mind from the status quo allowing limitless possibilities to appear.

Examples of curious questions could be:

  • What would happen if you took this route?
  • What would happen if you took no action?
  • What do you really want to get out of this?
  • I’m curious what would you do right now if you could?
  • I noticed that you said this……I’m curious what led you to say that?
  • If you could do anything in the world in your situation what would it be?
  • If money was no obstacle what would you do?
  • If you were 10 years older / 10 years younger what would you do
  • If you were to put your curiosity glasses on what question would you ask yourself?


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14 Jun

Research Paper By Clotilde Vassal
(Transition and Expat Coach, FRANCE)

Introduction

Living in Japan for more than 2 years, I am exposed to their zen culture and habits every day. That has aroused my curiosity and I try to understand where it was coming from.

Japanese culture is a mix of Buddhism and Shintoism. The Zen philosophy is about sophisticated simplicity – and attention to detail. The Shinto value is about being connected with nature. This is how Japanese are expert at bringing nature and technology together: it is a union of man and nature – not man versus nature.

What I discovered through their philosophy is the ability of Japanese people to take the body and mind to the next level, according to one’s ikigai.

Japanese people believe that everyone has an ikigai, which means a reason to get out of bed each morning.

Ikigai « the happiness of always being busy » explains the longevity of Japanese people especially the one living in Okinawa.

Who does not dream of having a happy and long life? This is the secret of Japanese ikigai!

Let’s have a look first at what ikigai is, how to find your own ikigai and what the benefits of having one are. And then we will see how to link ikigai to coaching.

What is ikigai?

Ikigai is a reason for being, what makes you get up in the morning. It is used to find the meaning of our lives and bring happiness.

Our ikigai is the reason we jump out of bed in the morning: with a strong and clear ikigai, we do what we love until our dying day.

It is the talent and passion we have that gives meaning to our days. And leads us to share the best of ourselves with the world.

Ikigai could be translated as Iki: Life + Gai: Worth: Life’s worth. That means it is the life purpose.

Ikigai has 4 directions:

Mission

Passion

Profession

Vocation

And it is as well an action:

to serve

to create

to delight

to nourish

to provide

to teach

to heal

to connect

to build

Ikigai helps people find their purpose in life. What is the purpose of my life?

Everyone has an ikigai‘raison d’être’, hidden deep inside each of us. To find it requires a patient search.

The search for meaning is to discover our life’s purpose; the path of finding our ikigai, our meaning of life. Once we find it, it is only a matter of having the courage and making the effort to stay committed to our mission.

A meaningful life can be enjoyed right now and any time we want to. A little bit of joy every day.

How to find our ikigai?

To find our ikigai, we can ask ourselves 4 questions :

  • What are we good at?
  • What do we love?
  • What can we be paid for?
  • What does the world need?

Ikigai is at the intersection of these 4 questions where Mission, Passion, Profession and Vocation meet.

Clotilde Vassal research paper 1

How finding our ikigai will change our life ~ how we will benefit from it?

Finding our ikigai can drive our daily life and make it happy – according to Hector Garcia and Fracesc Miralles :

  • finding flow in everything we do and remaining active,
  • taking it slow and not worrying,
  • cultivating good habits including good nutrition,
  • nurturing good friendships,
  • living an unhurried life and exercising daily,
  • being optimistic and smile,
  • reconnecting with nature,
  • giving thanks and having resilience,
  • cherishing Wabi-Sabi,
  • living by Ichi-Go Ichi-E.

Let’s have a closer look at these two other Japanese’s philosophies – as described by according to Hector Garcia and Fracesc Miralles:

Wabi-Sabi: It is the imperfection of nature. That shows us the beauty of the fleeting, changeable and imperfect nature of the world around us. Instead of searching for beauty in perfection, we should look for it in things that are flawed, incomplete. Only things that are imperfect, incomplete and ephemeral can truly be beautiful.

How to appreciate the beauty of imperfection as an opportunity for growth.

Ichi-Go Ichi-E Living by being focused on the present and enjoying each moment that life brings us: this is why it is so important to find and pursue our ikigai.

The knowledge that this moment exists only now and won’t come again.

Life is pure imperfection, as the philosophy of wabi-wabi teaches us, and the passage of time shows us that everything is fleeting, but if you have a clear sense of your ikigai, each moment will hold so many possibilities that it will seem almost like an eternity.

To find this happiness in both mind and body is important: the health of one is connected to the health of the other. There is no magic recipe for finding that, for living according to our ikigai, but one key ingredient is the ability to reach this state of flow. Which means the creativity, pleasure, process and delight when we are completely immersed in our life.

Happiness is not in the result, it is in the doing. By being focused on enjoying your daily rituals we can use them as tools to enter a state of flow. It’s important to always have a meaningful challenge to overcome in order to maintain that flow.

Joy flows from people and guides them through the long and enjoyable journey of their lives. It also comes from feeling part of a community, having a high degree of emotional awareness and a positive attitude.

How to find this flow in everything we do: by having in mind that there is no future, no past. There is only the present – which is the Ichi-Go Ichi-E concept.

That will bring us a lot of advantages such as:

  • a focused mind,
  • living in the present,
  • being free from worry,
  • the hours fly by,
  • feeling in control,
  • preparing thoroughly,
  • knowing what we should be doing at any given moment,
  • our mind is clear and overcomes all obstacles to the flow of thought,
  • it’s pleasant.

This flow is coming from our ikigai and it could also be a reverse process – use it to find our ikigai. What we like by spending more of our time in the activities that make us flow. Flow is mysterious. The more we train it, the more we will flow, and the closer we will be to your ikigai.

It is important to flow with our ikigai at all times by having a clear and concrete objective.

Mediation is a way of training our mind to get a place of flow more easily. Its goals are calming the mind and observing our thoughts and emotions by centring our focus on a single object.

How having found our ikigai will extend our longevity?

According to Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles, the international superstar of longevity in Japan, which has the highest life expectancy of any country in the world. In addition to a healthy diet, longevity in Japan is closely tied to its culture: the sense of community and the fact that Japanese people make an effort to stay active until the very end, are key elements of their secret to long life.

What I learnt from the testimonies of people living in Okinawa knowing their ikigai and living life through it :

  • they are smiling all the time,
  • they are relaxed and enjoy all that they do,
  • they celebrate all the time with music, song and dance,
  • they are passionate about everything they do,
  • they help each others,
  • they keep themselves occupied with tasks that allow them to relax,
  • they face the world with strength, joy and serenity – which bring body, mind and soul into balance.

A healthy and purposeful life, these are the secrets of long life. Supercentenarian offers us inspiration and ideas for bringing energy and meaning to our lives.

With a clear purpose, no one can stop you.

To stay busy even when there’s no need to work, there has to be an ikigai on our horizon, a purpose that guides us throughout our life and pushes us to make things of beauty and utility for the community and our-self.

Celebrate each day, together, smiling and having a good time.

Always pursue your own ikigai but never in a rush.

We can summarize this Japanese life philosophy, ikigai and secret to longevity by :

  • no worry,
  • cultivate good habits,
  • nurture your friendships every day,
  • live an unhurried life,
  • be optimistic,
  • healthy diet,
  • be active and move.

How to integrate the search of ikigai in a coaching process?

The search for ikigai coud be compared to the search of the session goal. Gaining clarity on where we go with the client has the same power of living our lives knowing what is its purpose.

By exploring these four powerful questions, the goal of the session is defined :

  • What is important to you about that?
  • What would be different about your life once you have done that?
  • What do you need to do to get there?
  • How will you know you have reached your goal?

Once the goal is clear, the session is built from there. There is a frame for exploration. The coach then checks the agreement and go on with the flow.

This flow of the coaching session could be compared to the daily life flow resulting from having found our ikigai.

Once the client has its ikigai on the mind, everything is built from there. That helps the client understand what is really important. That shows its values.

Using this ikigai in a coaching session is a driver of choice. Gaining focus and clarity in clients’ goals give a clear direction for their life. That helps them stay motivated and inspired.

Once the client finds his own ikigai, (s)he will find some goals which will drive his(er) action.

The coach will assist the client to achieve these goals which will match his ikigai. That will allow some changes in his behavior. With that, (s)he will move forward to a new level closer to his ikigai.

At the end of the coaching session, the client will have gained some clarity on his pathways, driven by his ikigai.

Assisting the client – by using some tools – to find his(er) ikigai will be a driver of transformational changes.

Expressing and showing the client what having this life purpose will bring to his(er) life. Power of changing and bring happiness.

Here is an exemple of tools which could be used in a session to assist and energize the client to find his(er) ikigai :

  • Visualization is a powerful strategy for looking at life purpose, values and life vision. It could take the client goal setting to the next level. By picturing our goals as done, we can see the path towards it and how to face and overcome obstacles. That helps a client maintain their hope of achieving their goals.
  • The wheel of Life support the client to improve its life balance. By identifying the 8 key priority areas of their life they refine the search of their life purpose. Based on their values, they identify the areas in their life they want to devote more energy and focus on. That motivates them to take actions to balance their life better.
  • Mindfulness mediation could be associated to the Zazen meditation in Japan. Zen Buddhism meditation is a way to become aware of our emotions and desires and to get ourselves free from them. By reaching a state of mind in which the client observes thoughts, emotions or actions without judgment, as they pass through awareness. It is also a way of being in the present. That develops a positive curiosity about what motivates the client.

Once the goal or the ikigai is found it is time to identify the self-accountability structures.

Everyone with a clear ikigai brings meaning and joy to his(er) everyday life. They pursue their passion no matter what. They never give up: resilience!

Be focused on the important things in life – not on the urgent ones, and keep ourselves from being carried away by negative emotions.

Proper training for our mind, body and emotional resilience is essential for confronting life’s ups and downs. Like this Japanese proverb says: fall seven times, rise eight.

That means being flexible and adaptable to change and reversals of fortune by staying focused on our objectives. Better concentrate on things that we can control and don’t worry about those we can’t.

This is the art of living with ikigai: by being committed to our goals.

Summary

Once our ikigai is discovered, pursuing it and nurturing it every day will bring meaning to our life. Once our life has this purpose, we will achieve a happy state of flow in all we do.

Follow what we enjoy, and change or get away what we dislike. Be led by our curiosity, and keep busy by doing things that fill us with meaning and happiness.

Just remember to have something that keeps us busy, doing what we love while being surrounded by the people who love us.

I will conclude with these 10 rules of ikigai – as Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles say :

  1. Stay active, don’t retire
  2. Take it slow
  3. Don’t fill your stomach
  4. Surround yourself with good friends
  5. Get in shape for your next birthday
  6. Smile
  7. Reconnect with nature
  8. Give thanks
  9. Live in the moment
  10. Follow your ikigai

There is a passion inside all of us, a unique talent that gives meaning to our days and drives us to share the best of ourselves until the very end.

Ikigai is the driver of moving forward.

The coach is devoted to keeping his(er) client motivated to move forward.

Resources

Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles – Ikigai

Mark Winn Diagram

How to Ikigai | Tim Tamashiro | TEDxYYC

happiness.org


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14 Jun

Research Paper By Mihoko Kobayashi
(Leadership Coach, JAPAN)

The greatest cause of difficulties in global business transactions is not a lack of technical expertise, hard work or good intentions – it is a lack of “people skills” for relating successfully across style differences due to national culture, organizational culture, job function, and personality. – Ernest Gundling, PhD, author of “What is Global Leadership?

1. Introduction

In this research paper, I would like to state how coaching will help workers in different cultures to cope with differences to perform and how it will further develop the self-awareness of the clients.

I’ve been exposed to diversity in my professional life. Working as an expatriate outside of own country both in India and Egypt and being a female general manager which is not yet popular in my industry of automotive, my professional life has given me rich experiences how to manage differences. Sometimes, differences are invisible and you may face sudden crashes in your work communication with colleagues or bosses. These cultural differences demand workers to have painful “try & error” to adapt and gain the capability to handle.

I believe providing coaching service with the knowledge to expatriates or employees who are exposed to cultural differences would facilitate and speed up higher performance for the company by maximizing the teamwork.

Having said that, I also have to mention that differences are not only for expatriates. Actually, differences are existing anywhere in the world. Even in a mono-culture looking organization like 100% Japanese men in Japan, yes, there are differences like age, career background, life stage (having kids or having elderly parents who need care), etc. In the end, each one of us has a different background of life and different value of life.

That’s why I’m sure coaching service focusing on differences & helping clients have self-awareness through differences would help any type/profile of client at any background. Through understanding and learning from differences, we will find, accept, respect and love oneself more, and consequently, that will lead us to find, accept, respect and love others more. This is the goal of my coaching service.

2. Factors of Differences

A) Different Differences

First, let me talk about the variety of differences. When it comes about “Diversity”, gender and culture tend to be highlighted but they are just examples and there are more and more.

Age is one of the key factors which is not so visible in the organization but 50’s middle-aged men and 20’s young generation have lived in a totally different era in terms politics, economy, technology and society. It is risky to assume what 50’s value is the same as what 20’s value. Of course, there should be tremendous differences.

Career background and industry background are also important when we talk about differences in a corporate. The heavy industry like automotive & IT farm has a totally different aspect of the time schedule. Employees are always influenced by their career background and the differences are invisible, not like gender.

Similar to age, life stage also affects people’s behaviour at work. A recent trend in society is that middle-aged workers who are expected to perform in the management are facing serious issues of aged parents caring. They may have to change the working style, however, this is not visible either unless the workers speak out.

Another essential difference is value to life. Everyone has different value to his/her life. Even if two workers seeking the same job and same salary, one may need it for living safely and one may need it for his career growth. This difference is impossible to be identified until having dialogues.

B) Cultural Difference as an Example

Here I would like to pick up cultural differences how they affect corporate performances.

According to the research done by Geert Hofstede, there are identified 6 criteria to compare behavioural tendencies of nationalities (Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind,1991, newest edition 2010, co-authored with Gert Jan Hofstede and Michael Minkov).

  • Power distance
  • Individualism
  • Masculinity
  • Uncertainty avoidance
  • Long term orientation

Also Aperian Global provides “Globesmart” providing individual profile as below criteria to compare with countries’ average. (https://www.aperianglobal.com/modes-of-delivery/globesmart/)

  • Independent – interdependent
  • Egalitarianism – Status oriented
  • Risk-taking – Certainty seeking
  • Direct – Indirect
  • Task-oriented – Relationship oriented

Case 1)

A boss has a tendency of “Direct Communication” and “Task-oriented” while the subordinate has a tendency of “Indirect Communication” and “Relationship oriented”. The boss would give his subordinates very direct feedback even if it is negative trying to improve to get the expected outcome. This direct negative feedback would be a shock to the subordinates who don’t have direct communication & focusing on the relationship, and highly possible that he or she would perceive it very personal and the trust relationship would be at risk.

Case 2)

A boss has a tendency of “Status oriented” while the subordinates have “Egalitarianism”. The subordinate may feel his/her boss is too bossy and arrogant without understanding his background. If the case is vice-versa, highly possible that the boss is regarded as a weak person who cannot be decisive in front of the team because he is open to any opinion while the subordinate expects boss’s order.

The above small examples are enough to estimate how a misunderstanding of cultural background can negatively affect corporate performance. Besides those misunderstanding leads to emotional feeling in the work environment so it affects employee satisfaction & happiness.

It is quite important not only for employees but also their corporate to find a way to learn how to manage differences.

3. How to Manage Differences & “RULE” Coaching Model

Ok, it is important to manage differences. But how? I believe the coaching process will help manage it. Below is how coaching will help to serve those who are facing differences and trying to cope with them to perform.

“RULE” coaching model

R: Recognize that differences exist
U: Understand the differences
L: Learn about oneself & others through the differences
E: Engage with behaviour changes

“R”: Recognize that differences exist

Recognizing that differences exist. It sounds simple and easy but it is not in reality. We believe our “common sense” is only one and universe and tend to judge others based on it. Once we judge people in a manner of automated reaction, it became our perception and difficult to correct. It is a tough trap to avoid an unconscious mind.

It is exactly underlying belief and unconscious bias, which is difficult to be aware by oneself. Sometimes there is emotional resistance to accept as well. A coach can help clients recognize the fact that there are differences, by active listening, observation, and providing right feedback with direct communication.

“U”: Understand the differences

Once clients are aware of the existence of differences and ready to explore, the coach invites them to mutually agree on trying to understand the differences. There are multiple tools to support understanding.

1) GlobeSmart

This is provided by Aperian Global and a tool to profile one’s cultural tendency as described in Chapter 2. The interesting part of this tool is they provide an individual profile on top of national tendency like “Egyptian”, “Japanese”. This tool helps the client where they stand in terms of cultural criteria.

2) MBTI

Free self-test to find out the one out of 16 personalities based on the Myers- Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) inspired by Carl Gustav Jung’s theory of psychological types, helping clients understand more about themselves. This test consists of 5 aspects;

  • Mind: how we interact with our surroundings (Introvert or Extravert)
  • Energy: how we see the world and process information (Observant or Intuitive)
  • Nature: how we make decisions and cope with emotions (Thinking or Feeling)
  • Tactics: our approach to work, planning and decision-making (Judging or Prospecting
  • Identity: how confident we are in our abilities and decisions (Assertive or Turbulent)

3) Strength Finder

This assessment is focusing on TOP5 strengths out of 34 talents for those who take the assessment, which is a similar approach to Appreciative Inquiry in a sense it is focusing on strength & positive aspects. It is focusing on what people can naturally do as their strength and encouragement to utilize in their life & work.

  • Strategic thinking: How to absorb, think about and analyze information and situation
  • Executing: How do you make things happen?
  • Influencing: How do you influence others?
  • Relationship building: How do you build and nurture strong relationships?

4) Career Anchoring

As we are primarily talking about managing differences in corporate organization, it is useful to understand the career motivation of the team members. Edgar Schein, one of the founders of modern organizational psychology, suggests that everyone has a particular orientation towards work with a certain set of priority and values. He calls this concept our ‘Career Anchors’. A “Career Anchor” is a combination of perceived areas of competence, motives, and values relating to professional work choices.

  • Technical/functional competence
    like to be challenged and use their skills to meet the challenge, doing the job properly and better than anyone else
  • Managerial competence
    like to be managers, problem-solving and dealing with other people, thrive on responsibility
  • Autonomy/independence
    the primary need to work under their own rules and prefer to work alone
  • Security/stability
    seek stability and continuity as a primary factor of their lives, avoiding the risk
  • Entrepreneurial creativity
    like to invent things, be creative and run their own businesses, finding ownership important
  • Service/dedication to a cause
    driven more by how they can help other people than by using their talents
  • Pure challenge
    seek constant stimulation and difficult problems that they can tackle
  • Lifestyle
    focused first on lifestyle look at their whole pattern of living

“L”: Learn about oneself & others through differences

After having self-understanding by various tools & dialogue with the coach, it is the time to learn about clients themselves as well as others surrounding them.

Having self-assessment results and hopefully having an understanding of others either guessing or getting their own assessment results, the coach invites clients to explore more about why they are who they are. It requires a deeper journey to the self because, behind any behaviours, there are always hidden beliefs and values to life which clients put importance on.

This is the process when clients required a coach’s support to explore by receiving feedback and acknowledgement with active listening & presence.

“E”: Engage with behaviour change

Once clients have self-awareness about their beliefs and values with a better understanding of authenticity who they are, the coach invites them to the last step which is engaging with behaviour change.

Care point is that clients don’t need to change themselves. They can remain authentic to themselves, otherwise, we all have to pretend to be someone else in different cultures to perform, which is not right.

Imagine you are standing on the ground, keeping one leg as pivot leg which is you as authentic as you are, while the other leg is flexible and moving around freely which is behaviour adjustment in a different culture.

A coach can help clients to build actions on how to make pivot legs in their situations and support them to keep authentic by sharing acknowledgement.

4. Value of Coaching at managing Differences

Here are my highlights of why coaching is valuable in the process of “RULE” model to manage differences.

1. Differences are invisible at the initial stages.
The client may not be able to notice them. A coach can help them to notice by having observation and feedback.
2. It is not easy to notice an underlying belief and unconscious bias.
Everyone has bias and its impeded in our perception so some help requires which coach can provide
3. Facing own imperfection is tough.
in the process of understanding about oneself, clients may face their imperfection, which is when they need acknowledgement and unconditional support.
4. Journey relates to “WHY” and “value” of life.
By understanding the differences, the journey will lead to clients “WHY” and “Value” of life. The topic of how to cope with differences and perform may go beyond the original purpose and may reach the life purpose. A coach can serve them as a life coach.
5. All the learning will be useless without the action of behaviour change.
Having an understanding of difference only does not serve performance enhancement. Clients need to take actions to adjust their behaviour for better performance in different cultures. A coach can encourage them to build an action plan and be committed to it.

5. Conclusion

Differences are anywhere. I believe the coaching process will help anyone who is living in the world with various differences;

Value “who I am” as I am
Value “who others are” as they are
Then we work together and enjoy maximum output with joy.
Knowing oneself is the step to knowing others.
Accepting oneself is the step to accepting others.
Respecting oneself is the step to respecting others.
Loving oneself is the step to loving others.

I hope I would serve people as a life coach as well as a business coach to help them know, accept, respect and love oneself.

6. Reference

“Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind”,1991, Gert Jan Hofstede and Michael Minkov
“What is Global Leadership?” , 2011, Ernest Gundling
“The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business”, 2014, Erin Meyer
“Strength Finder 2.0”, 2007, Tom Rath
“Coaching Across Cultures: New Tools for Leveraging National, Corporate and
Professional Differences”, 2003, Philippe Rosinski
“Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action”, 2011, Simon Sinek
GlobeSmart https://www.aperianglobal.com/modes-of-delivery/globesmart/
MBTI 16 personalities https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test
Strength Finder https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/home/en-us/strengthsfinder
Career Anchoring https://www.careeranchorsonline.com/SCA/about.do?open=prod


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13 Jun

A Coaching Model Created by Lea Weyermann Lozar
(Business Coach, SWITZERLAND)

Who is it for?

STAR, a unique coaching model, is intended for business leaders of all kinds that are in particular new to their leadership role, have transitioned to a new role, are looking to improve their leadership style or have found themselves in a roller coaster of many changes/challenges that are yet to be embraced.

Why STAR?

We get inspirations from our surroundings, places we visit, the people we meet and have in our life. I got mine from my 2-year old daughter Stella (Stella means a star in Italian). From far away, we are all the same just like the many small blinking lights in the sky, but getting closer, it is all about the uniqueness, talents, personality and other attributes of every individual. We are all different and diverse and this is more than fine. Just as the many blinking stars make up the sky so magnificent on a clear night, leaders are stars surrounded by teams of other stars to deliver and perform what they are best at.

Be a star, make your own stars, be surrounded by stars.

What is it about?

The model is divided into four phases and each of the phases plays an integral part in achieving the desired outcome. To the simplicity of the model, several coaching tools are incorporated to best support the personal development of a client.

What makes it powerful?

Inner-outer self-cycle.

Can you recall the last time when you had some minutes to think just about yourself? About your needs, your wants, your goals, your desires. If it was very recently, congratulations. If it was a long time ago that you can’t even recall, welcome to the club of many.  It is essential to slow down, even make a full stop and look inwards – deep down at your soul, your roots. What makes you who you are, what is it that is so important to you, what are you good at, what do you inspire to achieve.

I LEAD THE PROCESS, YOU LEAD THE WAY!

In the first phase, we look at your current Situation. Where do you stand right now? And, what is needed to get you to where or who you want to be? In the process of discovering your values, beliefs and perspectives we create additional awareness that leads us to the establishment of a solid development foundation. As it is the most intensive phase, it is also particularly rewarding; filled with numerous “aha” moments and new learnings of who you truly are.

In the second phase, we focus on your desired goal – Target. What do you want to achieve in this transformation? This phase goes way beyond daydreaming. What seems impossible, becomes reachable. What seems unrealistic, becomes convincing. We create clarity.

The third phase is all about Action that leads to performance. We explore all the small and big steps needed to get you to perform at the level needed to reach your goal/s. We overcome obstacles, add confidence and commitment. We make you aware of your strengths and ability to use them at the right time for the right cause. We empower you. Now you are ready to get out there and make a meaningful impact.

The final fourth phase is Reflection. You return back to your inner self and in this very humble process, reflect on the reached achievements, learnings that were made through the entire coaching process.

We measure the results. And, we celebrate – YOU- A STAR!

It is simple. It is proven effective.

 

<<Find out more about how to create your own Coaching model at ICA>>

 


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13 Jun

We would all probably agree, helping create awareness in our clients is an important part of coaching, after all, it IS one of the ICF Competencies. But recently in class, a student asked, “What if a Client resists our efforts and doesn’t want to explore something? What if they say, “No”? What then?”

GREAT question! It’s a situation that will eventually happen to every coach AND is one that might lead us to ask ourselves a few more …

(1) Why do I want to know this information?

Sometimes it might feel that certain character traits, habits, self-limiting beliefs, etc. of our clients should be addressed in the situation. But we need to ask ourselves, “Is the topic or question I want to explore directly related to the coaching agreement set for that session?” Exploring a self-limiting belief can be helpful to clients, but if it is not relevant to the topic at hand, ignore it (for now).

If it is directly related, acknowledge the client’s choice, and simply move on. Remember, a client telling you they don’t want to talk about something doesn’t necessarily mean ever, it might just mean not right now. If you feel this topic is important, you can always try to broach the subject again at another time. They may be more receptive.

(2) What might their reluctance be telling me?

What is said (and not said) can tell us a lot. A series of vague answers like, “I don’t know,” is often a signal for a Coach to return their focus to rapport building—deepening the sense of safety and comfort the client feels.

We might also ask ourselves if we see any patterns? Is there a particular person or topic the client seems to be avoiding? Could a core value, belief, or emotion be at play? Some patterns may signal to a Coach that they, or coaching, may not the best support for the client—and signal a conversation and possible referral. (I often use the analogy of sitting in a car with my client. In this case, if it seems like we keep driving in circles, or are stuck in the ditch, it may be time to say good-bye.)

(3) Am I practicing the “Art of Non-Attachment”?

Can you easily let the client’s refusal go? Or does it bother you? Do you find yourself being distracted by a thought like, “This is important!“ or, “They need to explore this.” As a Coach, we need to always remember that this is our Client’s journey. Ideally, these types of thoughts won’t pop into our heads, but if they do, we need to stay mindful—acknowledge them and then let them go. If we go back to my car analogy, we want to avoid putting our hand on the steering wheel—influencing the direction of the client. If the urge is too great, again, it may be time to say good-bye to that client.

So there you go—a few possible questions and strategies to consider the next time a client says, “No.”

By: Rob Stringer – ICA Coach Trainer


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13 Jun

Acknowledgement is a powerful tool in a Coach’s toolbox—helping clients feel heard, encouraged, and even motivated to stay the course. But what if you disagree with your client’s actions? Or their goals are out of alignment with your own core values? Today, let’s explore a topic that often comes up in class … what to do if acknowledgment feels awkward?

(1) Acknowledgment ≠ Agreement

A common worry about acknowledgment is the idea that it means you agree with your clients’ decisions or actions. It doesn’t. It merely shows that you are recognizing or noticing something about them that you feel will support them. For example, clients often get down on themselves for achieving or doing less than they expected between sessions. Telling a client, “Although you didn’t meet your goal, I want to acknowledge the progress you DID make this week. You are closer to your goal than if you took no action.” Remember, acknowledging is not about you—it’s about your client, and it must sound authentic. That said, if you ever feel you cannot suspend judgment, it would be time to have a conversation with the client. (E.g. “I’m not sure I’m the right Coach to help you with that goal.”)

(2) Get Curious About the Discomfort

There can be many other reasons why acknowledging others might feel uncomfortable. For example:

  • Are you afraid of making a mistake?
    Don’t worry if it doesn’t sound perfect, or you stumble over your words. Remember the wise words of Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
  • Are you not sure WHEN to acknowledge a client?
    Here are a few perfect times: to cheer them on; to celebrate an accomplishment, or to raise awareness about the effort/skill/quality/progress of the action or some aspect of their character.
  • Are you uncomfortable with praise?
    Depending on your own upbringing, you might be uncomfortable with receiving (and giving) praise. However, think about how acknowledgment is often different than praise. Praise can be hollow and unfounded and used to manipulate people. However, acknowledgment is based on noticing the clients’ actual actions/behaviors. You are commenting on what you have seen, heard or directly noticed.

(3) Practise

Just like any skill, deliberate practice helps us to refine our efforts. You might decide to:

  • Practice acknowledging others in your day-to-day activities outside of coaching
  • Work on this with your own Coach
  • Make this a focus for your next Mentor Coaching session. Tell the student observers you’re working on this skill and would like some feedback

So, there you go—a few strategies to potentially help raise your comfort level. But before I go, I just want to acknowledge you for reading to the end of this article! Well done! 😊


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