Archive for December, 2010

Dinners on! or what do you bring to the table?

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Today I went to my storage space in order to find one piece of paper which I needed as a guide to create a piece of marketing material. While I was there, I stumbled on my notebook from my first year lab. In the notebook were feedback forms from people who I had done trios with. I was in the counselors chair.

The comments were over all positive. The few areas where there was concern were areas which I also felt I needed work on, but even the feed back I received in those areas was not about raising my abilities from above a 5 on a 10 point scale, but going from an 8 to a 9 or 10. Not bad.

But this got me thinking, what do people expect when they hire a Coach? And what distinguishes one from another?

Let’s look at it this way: if I were a client, I would look at the Coaches training and background. Does the Coach have a particular philosophy which resonates with me? When I speak with them, do they engage, are they actively listening? Do they reflect their training? What model do they follow and how do they propose setting up our agenda?

Once you get through that, then it becomes a question of what else does the Coach bring to the table?

What got me thinking about this is reading over the comments. There were certain themes which came forward in every case.

– Patient
- Actively Listened
- Non Judgmental
- Willing to gently make constructive suggestions
- Insightful / Observant
- Flexible in approach
- Focused
- Able to keep the Client on track
- Able to quickly cut to the heart of the matter
- Able to assist in the creation and organization of supportive structures

The other thing which I would add to this list, which is obvious to me, but in the setting of school and even in private practice, difficult for Clients to see, that I am able to suspend what ever is happening in my life in order to focus completely on the Client, the Clients needs and Agenda in order to assist the Client to move forward.

While I have always thought that these were skills which everyone had, I have recently been informed that this is not the case. So for me, these are very tangible and measurable things which I bring to the table. While Coaching itself is the main course, the additional skills are side dishes which add flavor and variety to the meal. Some of the other things which I bring to the table are:

Knowledge of management skills
Experience in a variety of industries
Understanding of the Executive Mind Set
Masters in Psychology
A great sense of humour
strongly intuitive
Immensely enjoys my clients and their process
Strong understanding of human nature

The list goes on. All of these things add value, although many are never actually spoken of when a Client engages my services. Or the services of any Coach. Making this list, and sometimes asking others to contribute so that you can see things from another perspective, can allow you – and me – to really step into valuing ourselves and our contribution. But this begs a question: if asked, what would you be able to tell someone that you bring to the table. Both meat and potatoes, side dishes, sauces and deserts? What do you add to the banquet which is work, personal relationships, home life? And what would you do to improve the flavors?

Something to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman

Setting intentions, or what did you want again?

Monday, December 6th, 2010


When I was at Practicum (or this one time at band camp. . . )

Okay, due to multiple issues, I didn’t graduate with my class. I went back and participated in Practicum with the next class. Which was interesting because there were several subtle but important changes in the way things were done. One of which has to do with the setting of intentions for each session by both the client and the facilitator.

Now previously, this had been a suggestion. I do this with some clients, others aren’t as comfortable with it. My intention, stated or not, is always to be present for the client and assist them to the best of my abilities within the session.

(For those of you who want more information about setting intentions and how this works, I would suggest the book, THE INTENTION EXPERIMENT by Lynne McTaggart as well as THE POWER OF INTENTION by Wayne Dyer. While I don’t agree with everything in either of these books, both are good resources.)

Now, when I do use intentions, I suggest to my clients that their intentions be very clear and focused. The reason for this is pretty simple: if I state exactly what I want to focus on, it is easier to actually get some movement in that area.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. “My intention is to gain the highest understanding and healing for the situation at hand.” That’s nice. But it doesn’t really tell me, the facilitator, what the client wants to work on or achieve in this session. A better and potentially more effective way of stating this might be, “It is my intention to explore any roadblocks I am currently experiencing around situation X and finding ways to work with and potentially remove those roadblocks for the last time.” If healing these issues is part of the clients plans, then that can be added as well, although healing tends to be seen as therapeutic as opposed to Coaching.

The second way takes a few more words, but has been proven to be much more effective. Because it is focused.

Now, there will be times when there is nothing really to focus on. Sometimes the client simply is in a place where there isn’t a lot going on on any level. This is a good thing, but also gives the Coach and the client an opportunity to have a conversation and evaluate progress. This can be very valuable and can bring forward insights and opportunities to adjust the clients agenda. But even these types of sessions can be done with intention.

The nice thing about setting clear intentions is that it also gives both the client and the facilitator a clear frame work for the session. Sometimes sessions can wander all over the place and this can actually be an avoidance tactic. When a clear intention is set, it is less likely to happen. Back on Topic is easier to get to.

By the same token, some discernment should be used. Sometimes intentions are in conflict with larger agendas. As the Coach, it is my job to point this out to the Client and see where is goes. Sometimes, the intentions need to be thrown out the window because there is something else which is really going on and needs to be addressed and sticking to the stated intention is simply not supportive to the client and what is really going on in their lives.

Try this experiment: today, set an intention. It can be a simple as “I am going to enjoy myself today,” or much more complicated. Doesn’t matter. Set it, then let it go. When you find yourself shifting away from that intention, see what happens on all levels. And what happens when your intention comes through? How do you feel? You might find that there are interesting results.

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman

On stress and aging. . .

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

On one of the discussion groups I am involved with, the question of the effects of stress have on the skin and aging came up. The person who posted the question was concerned that her skin was beginning to feel saggy and looked pasty. She has been in a stressful situation for the last 18 months and is concerned that it is causing damage. Here is my answer:

Yes, stress and it’s associated behaviors – not sleeping enough, not eating right, not getting enough exercise, or staying hydrated – are all key causes of premature aging. Not just with skin, but with the entire body.

The good news is that there are lots of ways to reduce stress. Drink lots of water. Get up and away from your desk on a regular basis, even if it is just to walk around the office. Trust me, the work isn’t going anywhere! It’ll be there when you get back! Desk Yoga! Really! Who cares what your other stressed out co-workers think! Once every 90 mins, take 5 and go to Youtube and find the funniest videos you can and LAUGH OUT LOUD!!!! Drink plenty of water through out the day, listen to and respect your body. If it is telling you to go pee, go pee! And remember to count your blessing.

Double check that everything in your environment is working – lighting , the setting on your chair, the height on your keyboard and monitor.

Additionally, doing things for yourself such as a massage, mani / pedi, facial, having your hair cut can help to make you feel better about yourself. This goes for the guys as well as the gals.

Now I am assuming that this is mainly work related. A lot of this can be transferred to other areas of your life. Sometimes rearranging the furniture is enough to change the energy. But really, the bottom line in all of this is to make the adjustments necessary so that you are taking care of yourself first, that way you are available to take care of others and the responsibilities you have chosen to take on.

And finally, check your priorities. Remember that what ever you are doing is a choice. And how you choose to come to it – your attitude and your world view – will make all the difference in your stress levels. So, what can you shift to lower them?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman