Posts Tagged ‘Coaching’

It’s your house, is it designed to support you and who you are becoming?

Monday, January 21st, 2013


So I have chosen to step up my game lately. I am currently creating an agenda in order to really move forward with my life. Which is great. But one of the things which I know I need to look at if I really intend on moving forward without a lot of resistance, is my environment. Or more specifically, the 9 areas of my environment and to see if they support where I am headed and, if not, what I need to do in order to shift them to do so.

Nine areas? you ask? How can there be nine areas in your environment? And how can they not support you? This is actually pretty easy. The 9 environments include: Relationships, Network, Finances, Technology, Physical, Spiritual, Self, Body and Memetic. And the question is, do they work for you?

In Coaching, Proficiency number 14 is Assisting the Client to Create Supportive Environments. It’s part of the definition of what a Coach does. So over the next 5 weeks, I will be writing about each of these environments, the questions which will help you, and me, to elicit information and opportunities to change, along with some suggestions about how each environment can be improved or possibly where to find information on how to develop more supportive ways of being and doing which reflect what you are trying to bring forward.

This will be fun! What area would you like to work on? Where do you see room for improvement?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Physical expression

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

I have been working with some people who have been looking at physical expression of beliefs, thoughts and ideas and where they reside or show up in their bodies. One became very tired when ever they were presented with certain tasks. The other, who had been conducting a series of workshops for several years and was having problems getting a grip on the, was experiencing pain in her hands. It’s is amazing what our bodies are telling us if we listen. the challenge for the Coach and the Client is recognizing these signals and finding ways to address them which help to realign and support the Client and the Clients agenda.

Things to think about . More, soon.

Tip of the day:

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Everytime you have a serving of meat or starchy carbs, have 2 servings of low fat fruits or veggies. And don’t forget the H2O!

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

30 day Challenge – days 4 & 5 RESISTANCE!!!!

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010


The last two days have been interesting ones for me. Not because I have discovered anything new or shocking. But because I have run into my own resistance to change. And this happened fast.

I knew that I would hit some resistance. This is normal and natural. By our nature, humans don’t like change. Even when the change is good for them. There is a reason we have, in the past, done things that way that we have and voluntarily changing them is NOT FUN!

Why not, you might ask.

The short answer is that we have become comfortable with our previous way of being, and even when we know that that way of being, that world view, is no longer serving us, we tend to cling to it because it is familiar.

The other answer is that we might have to admit that the way we have previously chosen to look at things is, well, wrong.

Let’s address the second, first. Just because sometimes I enjoy being contrary!

In the world of Coaching, there are very few things which are wrong or right. Patterns which we have developed over the years previous to our being Coached generally are simply accepted as being choices which we have made which, for the place and time which they were made, worked. That now, in the present, we have more information, have grown and changed, and the pattern / decision is no longer valid or no longer supports us with the direction which we are now choosing to go. It’s actually pretty easy. So, if we are willing to accept that the way we were is not a wrong or right thing, but simply a need to do it differently thing, letting go of that judgment, we are able to move forward with ease and grace.

The first reason for resistance is a little complicated. Because this is predicated on the idea that we (or in this case) have consciously made a decision to change a particular aspect of my life. And that aspect isn’t happy about it! Many groups call this the DEATH OF THE EGO. (Where is the echo sound effect when you need it.) Sounds scary yes? It’s not. This is simply a struggle between our very human need for security and our very human desire to evolve. Evolving can be very easy, or very painful, depending on your point of view and your chosen attitude at any given moment.

Lets me show you. Both yesterday and today I have fulfilled my commitment to my list. I have walked, exercised, drank plenty of water, journaled, looked into more ways of expanding my Coaching practice. Did I do this with ease and grace? No. Did I enjoy myself? You’re kidding, right? Did I find peace and serenity and a feeling of accomplishment having completed my list? WHAT?!?!?!? Someone get me a piece of cheese cake as a reward! I deserve it!

WAIT!!!!!! What is going on?

(I should let you know that many of the things on this list are what I worked on in on of my projects during my second year in my Masters program. So on those, I am amping them up. The fact that the resistance showed up this quickly in those ares should no be a surprise.)

When I sat and thought about this, my thought process went something like, what am I trying to achieve? What does it matter? Is anyone going to notice? Will it make a difference? Shouldn’t I be focusing on something which will have much more visible results? Did this work last time? Will anyone care?

It was that last one which really triggered me. I took a moment, stepped back, and looked at that and looked at the counter part: Do I care? And where is the conflict.

What I found was that the conflict is in a deep misbelief that it is somehow wrong to care for yourself. I think there are a lot of women out there, especially women who are mothers and women who are in their 40’s and older, who still buy into the idea which we were raised with that as women we needed to sacrifice and put our family and by extension, or world, before ourselves. That by focusing on the rest of the world, we were, in essence releasing our egos and were then “good” women. (I know men who also do this. But I believe that it is much more common among women.) I know that I was taught and my mother and grandmothers really modeled this principal for me. And it’s actually a little shocking to see that this script is still running in my life.

So what do I do? Well, first off, I choose to recognize that this belief is not true. Or it may be, but it is not the only way of being. And that I have choices in my way of looking at and interpreting this information. That I don’t need to make this past model – or the women who modeled it – wrong. Simply choose to understand and accept that that particular way of being and doing things no longer serves me and that it is time to find something which will serve me better. And move forward into that set of beliefs with ease and grace.

After that, it was time to look for some new motivators. What were some things I could choose in order to keep me focused. Well, both yesterday and today I was feeling very tired. So, in the spirit of self nurturing, I took a nap. When I woke up, I had an e-mail asking me to perform at a wedding in 10 days! Talk about a motivator! Not only does it keep me involved in the physical side, this also gets me engaged on both the creative areas and the intellectual. Not to mention, I get to practice good business principals including marketing, negotiations, time management, communications! How cool is that?

So, when you start to hit resistance, ask yourself, what is the resistance really about? What old scripts are running through your head? Is this showing up in your body? In your attitudes? What belief would benefit from being realigned? And are you willing to take the risk and do so?

Things to think about. Until net time.

Nancie Kay Shuman

30 day challenge, or taking a the time to take care of myself

Thursday, October 7th, 2010


The last couple of weeks have been an interesting time. I have sent my son back to Uni, dealt with a nasty cold, and a multitude of other things called life which have a tendency to get in the way of, well, our plans.

But I intend to change that. . .

In my practice, I use what is call a 30 day process. It is a simple tool to help set up and change patterns. There are three parts to this process: 1) an agenda, 2) a check list, 3) a journal. Every part is equally as important because each supports a different aspect of the process. Let me explain how.

First, we set up an agenda. This can be very simple or very elaborate. I encourage simple at first, as there is less of a chance of self sabotage due to over thinking or committing. This is also a time to set a clear intention about what it is that the client wants to achieve or bring forward.

Secondly, we make a list of actions step to be taken. I encourage my clients to be clear as possible so that they know exactly what they are committing to. While saying doing ab and core work is great, what does that mean? By saying that you will do an average of 5 set of exercises from a list of ab and core exercises 6 times a week, you get a much cleared idea of what you are committing to. (I also encourage that when the list is being made, that the client give themselves several options in order to keep things interesting.) Keep the list at least 50% believable, and see what happens. Adjustments can always be made.

Finally, there is daily journaling. This can be as extensive or as simple as the client chooses. Some days there isn’t a lot to talk about. And if that is a pattern, that is something to look at. Sometimes, the actions steps trigger an emotional reaction in the client, and this is an opportunity for the client to look at any world views which the action steps are challenging. And then adjust those views accordingly.

My challenge? It is two fold. One of my intentions is to better take care of myself on a physical level. It includes things such as ab & core work, making sure that I am diligent in my oral hygiene (WHITE STRIPS! Do I need to say more?,) applying moisturizer, taking time to meditate every day even for 5 mins. Oh, and dancing every day.

The second part of my intention is to support myself in expanding my business. In support of that, it is my plan to identify and do one thing every day which will enhance my business and expand my communication with potential clients. And to act upon this as is appropriate. My horrorscope a few days ago told me that I didn’t need the latest bells and whistles in order to be relevant in my work. That what I have to offer is good enough, in fact more than. I think this is a great point, and a fabo reminder that sometimes the basics are the best way to move forward. Working from that.

And lastly, journaling. Journalism is an amazing way to watch your patterns and how they develop, change and expand. If you journal and truly allow the journal to be the repository of your thoughts and emotions in connection to this experience, you (I) will find many things which clearly point to where I have resistances to change. Or serve as a reminder of the growth which I am experiencing.

So, is anyone with me? Anyone want to set up their own 30 day challenge? It’ll be fun and maybe life changing!

Tomorrow – the lists!

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman

Be careful what you ask for (you will get it!)

Saturday, September 18th, 2010


It has been almost 2 months since my last post. In that time we have had a family wedding, an illness, I have defended my thesis and graduated. It has been an incredible journey all the way with many opportunities for growth.

One of the things which came up during this time was about asking. Asking for what we want. And being clear about our expectations and does what we are asking for get us what it is we really want.

Let me give you an example. While I was off in the desert at Practicum, I facilitated a trio. For those who have never done trio work, this is a great training tool. You have a client, a facilitator and a neutral observer. In most cases, at the end of the session, the client and neutral observer give feedback to the facilitator. When I sat down in the facilitators chair, the client looked at me and explained to me how they worked. It included facilitating themselves and please don’t talk unless I saw something egregious. The client then immediately moved into Gestalting with herself while I was still in the chair, so technically, the client was projecting at me, which is generally considered a no-no if you are doing Gestalt*. I quickly got out of the chair, and listened to her interaction. Now, I am honest. For a moment, I thought to myself, if the client isn’t going to take advantage of having me there, I may as well go out, have drinks, go dancing, meet the future Mr. Shuman, get married, have a couple of more kids and then come back, because the client was going to be exactly where they are when they started.

I quickly decided that that was unworthy of me, and re centered myself in the session. At one point the client stopped and let me know that they was stuck. I made some suggestions which the client was able to work with, but overall, neither of us were terribly happy with the progress which was made. Their comment was, I was technically very good at what I did, but there was no connection.

Um, it’s kinda hard to be connected with someone when they have told you to not talk or be involved with the process?

So the question I have is this: what did the client really want? What they asked for was basically non direct involvement from the facilitator. When they got that, there was a complaint. Not saying that they may not have gotten it from someone else, but because of the restriction they had placed on me, the facilitator, it proved very difficult to interact and give relevant feedback. In other words, the client got what they were asking for, but not what they wanted.

But this lead me to think about how many times do we do this to ourselves? We put restrictions on ourselves and then suddenly realize that we are running duo agendas or agendas which are, by design, incompatible. Or have the potential of being so. An this can also be about the letter of the law, not the spirit. We deliver what we are being asked for, but we don’t go out of our way to do anything more. Because stopping just ‘there’ is all that is necessary. This goes for both the client and the facilitator in the above case.

From a Coaching stand point, this is about taking responsibility. The client made a definite choice about how to proceed. Anywhere along the way, they could have said, I am feeling unsupported here. Can we talk about this. As the Facilitator, I could have stopped the session and made several suggestions which may have prompted a more satisfying outcome for both of us. Instead, I made the choice to allow the session to run it’s course.

But how to avoid having this happen? Or at least mitigate this kind of conflict of agenda? One is setting a clear intention for the session along with having a clear, larger agenda. Then be willing to be courageous and transparent during the session. If you, the client, are not feeling it, not feeling supported, stop and talk to the facilitator about it. In a non – victim way. Perhaps this is a good time to simply have a conversation as opposed to doing deep processing. No one says that every session has to be emotional and stressful. In fact, if they are, and you, the client are not feeling as though you are moving forward, why are you going to therapy or Coaching? Why are you putting yourself and your facilitator though this?

I can tell you as a Coach, it is exhausting when you have a client who won’t let go of their resistances. Who sets boundaries which prohibit interaction and proactive conversations. In the real world, I can suggest that clients such as these go somewhere else or look at their motivation to change. Their willingness to let go of old patterns and ideals which are no longer serving then. And if they are unwilling to do so, then create ways to live with those patterns, etc. which will help them to have a more fulfilling life until they are willing to let go.

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Shuman

Occupational hazards, or what was that pattern again?

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Yesterday I was on the phone with my sister. She told me about something which had happened and my reply was, you’ve gotten better.

Then I laughed!

You see, as a Coach, I look at patterns. Speech, actions, movement. Where does the Client support themselves, where do they undercut themselves? What small changes can they make in order to better support themselves and their choices.

This is great, and when I am COACHING, being able to pick up these sometimes subtle clues makes me a good Coach. But there are times it makes me less than stellar dinner companion! And on a date, it can be a bit daunting. I have been known to put my date in his place by reading his character back to him. Let’s just say that we choose not to repeat the experience.

So what can a Client expect from me in this regard? Well, one is that we look at their patterns and make adjustments which will hopefully better support their agenda. Some of these changes are subtle and many times do not feel as though they are actually directly connected. Let’s look at an example from my life: I am starting to read Rumi. A little trite I know, but it appeals to me on several levels. But more than that, I am starting to pattern my brain to think along more romantic terms, to be open to a romantic relationship. Something which has a connection on all 4 levels – Mental, physical, emotional, spiritual. What better then Rumi? (I’ll let you know my progress.)

But why read Rumi instead of signing up for on line dating services, or going to multiple singles events? Because my pattern is to be very logical and, as I have mentioned, rather laser when meeting people. I am ready to cull the herd very fast and sometimes with an axe where a scalpel would be better. So, Rumi.

Now, part of my pattern is to resist what I know is going to help me. What can I say? Like everyone else, I don’t enjoy change. Even change which I KNOW is going to be good for me, I am going to enjoy, and which will improve my life. Not to mention will be fun. But I have to fight because it’s part of the process!

Now, in the spirit of “better” what would happen if I simply surrendered that part of the process and dove in? what might happen if I dove in with joy and abandon? What would happen if I were to add curiosity to the mix? Excitement?

Now may be a while before I start seeing direct results from this. But the key at this point is, as I expand my openness, to keep awareness of where else I sabotage myself and my goal. And when I see it, note it and make the changes – sometimes called course corrective actions – which will bring me back into alignment with my agenda.

Sound hard? Not at all. It’s all about choices. Here is a challenge: find one pattern which you can change or adjust. It can be simple, such as taking a word out of your speech pattern. See what happens.

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman

A ramble about discretion, integrity and confidentiality

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Discretion, integrity and confidentiality, kinda no brainers, right? You would think that there would be no question in anyone’s mind regarding these things. But you might be surprised.

Several years ago, I had a job in Contract Administration at one of the studios. Overall, it was an easy gig, I did basic admin work plus reveiwed contracts and deal memos as they approached their anniversary dates to make sure that they were handled in a timely and appropriate manner. It was actually very interesting. But also basic contract law.

One day on my list came the contracts for one of my former employers and his company. Before opening the file, I took it into my boss and let him know that I was going to defer to him to make the decision whether or not it was appropriate for me to review the contracts as I not only had worked for the principal in the past, but was also still friends with him. After an hour, Tom, my boss, came to me and let me know that he has spoken to the other legal eagles in the company and they didn’t see any conflict of interest. I reviewed the contract.

A couple of days later I meet my former boss for lunch. His assistant brought it into the office for us and we were talking about my latest post. They started asking me what various people at the studio made. I refused to tell them.

Oh, come on, Nanc, we can find out by looking at the Trades!

Then look at the trades, says I. But I can’t tell you. It would be unethical.

Who is ever going to know? Stop being so stiff!

Looked him in the eye and said, I know exactly how much you make both in salary and percentage.

Silence followed. Then he decided I was bluffing and asked me how much.

His assistant left the room.

I wrote the amount down on a post it, slid it across the desk. When he nodded, I took the post it back, tore it up and stuck it in my pocket. I later shredded it.

Because that was no ones business but his. And I did not want the information getting out because of something which I had inadvertently said.

How often do things get leaked which should never be talked about outside the confines of the file which hold it? When I was working for RazorGator, which is a secondary market place for hard to get tickets, one of the executives accidentally gave away his source in an interview with the press. The source who had trusted this executive to not reveal his name. The source was fired. There are many examples of agents, managers, executives meeting up for drinks and spilling about the latest hush-hush project, only to see it in the trades the next day because a writer was sitting at the next table.

If you are in any kind of company town, you know many examples of this.

What got me thinking about this subject is this: I was walking home from Starbucks tonight and I overheard someone talking on their mobile phone, very loudly. They were talking about a patients case and used the patient name in the conversation along with history of the patients conditions. And while I am guilty of eves dropping, the truth is this conversation should have happened in a confined, controlled space. And it got me to wondering about discretion, integrity and confidentiality.

Don’t get me wrong, there are areas in my life where I am completely open! I’ll tell you my age, my opinion on many things, and sometimes with a few trusted souls, I’ll talk about business issues which I need help straightening out. Although even then, I do so in a way which is discrete. Once upon a time I followed a certain amount of celerity gossip. Don’t do that anymore, but these people were not my clients, not my work. And in general, I was sympathetic to the celebs as opposed to the gossip rags.

Going into Coaching mode for a moment, here is the question: Are you in integrity, do you practice discretion and confidentiality? Are those in alignment with your agenda and who you are becoming? And do you improve on any of those qualities? If so, what can you do, who can you be, inorder to do so?

Things to think about. Until next time.


Sometimes, learning to communicate is scary!

Friday, May 14th, 2010

I am a member of several Internet communities. A few I have belonged to for a long time. After you have been around for a while, you get to know the people, the personalities and peoples circumstances, or at least what they are willing to share. You learn their vibe and if you are observant, you will pick up on when someone is going through something without their telling you.

Take my friend Susan. Susan is a great person. She is a single Mom, teachers yoga, pilates, works hard. Has reinvented herself several times. One of her on line characteristics is that she is always very diplomatic and supportive. She has a very compassionate and understanding voice. People feel safe with her.

What I have noticed recently is that Susan has become more confrontational, more ready to take a stand and argue a point than before. In a rather defensive way. This has lead me to wonder what is going on.

I was warned several years ago by Lowell Habel who was teaching a class at UCLA called Interpersonal Communication in the Workplace that once you started to study and learn about how we communicate and what people are actually saying, it can be a little scary. Because people tell the world what is going on even when they don’t say a word about what is going on.

Think about for a moment. Have you ever said “Hello” to someone and had them dump their entire life story in your lap? How about the guy who asks a girl on a first date and has her explain the rules which include no sex unless there is a serious commitment involved? What about the store clerk who is filled with vitriol towards every customer, or the nurse who grimaces at body fluids? What are they telling you?

Actually, they are telling you a lot, if you know what to look for. In fact, every single one of us does this. What we say, how we say it, the accent we use all tell a story. What we focus on in our conversation also tells the world a great deal about us.

I think I have talked about the boss I had who related everything to sex. Common wisdom is that he does not find fulfillment in his sexual activities, whether he is active or not. But that this – sex – is his standard of success and power.

I am reminded on someone I used to work with who, when asked, how are you, would tell you all about her family. One day someone said, that’s nice, but how are YOU? She cried. Because she hadn’t focused on HERSELF for a long time and through her speech, she had been telling everyone, although it took a long time for anyone to recognize this.

Now here is the good news! You can change. By choosing to become more aware of what you are saying, you will start to notice themes and patterns. And I am talking about the words here. For example, it is very hard to believe someone is spiritual if all they talk about is physical world reality and personal possessions. But if that person were to choose to talk about the physical world in terms of beauty and joy that they get from having these things in their lives, they come off as way more spiritual. It is a subtle difference, but it changes everything.

And a major step in this evolution really is simply to become more aware. Once you do that, you are able to figure out better ways to support your agenda through language. The choice is yours. Take a moment or two over the next few days to check in. Look at what you are saying and how you are saying it. Youmigjht be surprised at what you find.

As for Susan, we’ll see if she returns to her previous way of communicating or if she reveals what is going on in her life. Either way, it will be interesting to watch.

Things to think about. Until next time.