In June, we attended the ICF Midwest Conference in Kansas City along with a couple hundred other enthusiastic coaches. From the pre-conference workshop for chapter leaders to the closing keynote three days later, I felt like a sponge absorbing the insights, energy, and strategies shared. My notebook overfloweth!
I’ve highlighted my top 10 takeaways from the event – some directly from speakers I attended, others my own thoughts pulled together from the collective inspiration that forms in a room full of coaches. In the spirit of coaching, I offer them to you as questions upon which you can reflect in your own practice.
1. How are you hiding out in your business? I loved keynoter Simon T. Bailey’s advice, “Stop tapping and start yapping.” Make sure you’re not burying yourself behind email, social media, and texts; strengthen your relationships by picking up the phone and connecting in-person.
2. To what do you wake up each morning? Science shows that the happiest people wake up to clear, challenging goals, says keynoter Caroline Adams Miller. We, as well as our clients, need a combination of long- and short-term goals that stretch us beyond our comfort zone in order to reach our full potential.
3. What experience do you create for your clients? Rather than thinking of your coaching work in terms of sessions or calls, consider the experience you want to create. Discern how you can prompt this experience during coaching conversations, with materials you share, or any other time during your engagement.
4. What’s in it for them? Whether speaking to a group, proposing coaching to a corporation, or meeting with a prospective client, engage this longstanding “WIIFT” perspective. Like the saying goes, no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
5. What valuable space do you hold for your clients? For many, especially in our busy world, the coaching experience may be the only time they have a safe space to explore, experiment, or even just think. Don’t underestimate the power of holding this space for them.
6. Are you dreaming big enough? Although we (and our clients) need realistic goals, we also need a certain percentage of crazy impossible goals – especially high-achievers. I often ask my clients the question, “What will the world look like once you’ve finished changing it?” and make sure to frequently ask it of myself, too.
7. What do you want to be known for? It’s not enough to say you’re a coach, or a business coach, or even a business coach for real estate professionals. What transformation do you prompt for people? Get clear on that, and everything from marketing to meeting agendas will fall into place.
8. What is your vision? Mission? Target objective? While coaches love to coach, many of us also wear the hat of business owner – which means we need to be visionary and strategic if we want to thrive. Create a brief (about one page) business plan to set your course – and create one for your ICF chapter as well.
9. What positive ripple are you putting out? Media expert Kristen White asserts that 95 percent of the news is sensational and negative. Coaches, however, tend to live and work in the 5 percent focused on growth and potential. Continue to put all the positive energy out into the world you possibly can via what you say, write, post, publish, tweet, and any other mode of sharing.
10. Why do you coach? Perhaps you, like me, are reminded of your purpose with every client interaction, coaching conference, or experience where you get to participate in human flourishing. My ‘why,’ which I review each morning, fuels my energy and keeps me clear, focused, and working hard. The conference gave me the space to revisit and reinforce my purpose – always a profound activity!
If you did not attend the ICF Midwest conference, I hope these prompts allow you to experience some of the same inspiration and “re-calibrating” in your coaching practice. And if you did attend, what were your top takeaways?