Archive for 'Your Questions'

Is Your B.S. Detector Working?

It’s no surprise that Thomas once said having a “sensitive B.S. detector” was one of the most important factors in having a coaching practice that stood out powerfully from the rest.

Why?

Because it’s often the self-made excuses, inconsistencies or sheer B.S. that hold our clients back from having the lifestyle or business they desire.  It takes a true professional to not only pick up on this, but to call it out in such a way that the client moves into a place of clarity….not denial or defensiveness.

Here’s a specific example of how Thomas dealt with putrid B.S. in the room:

“I am NOT one to call the client on their b.s. It’s my view that that approach is a power trip and not professional. However, I can/do detect inconsistencies in what the client is saying (and/or how they are saying it) and I do point those out, gently, simply, easily, fearlessly and in what’s called a “charge neutral” tone, meaning there’s no “charge” to my voice. It’s a clean communication. And it’s part of what the client is paying me for. Because most clients don’t even know when they are b.s.’ing and they APPRECIATE your asking for a clarification.

As a coach gains experience, they hear the subtle inconsistencies or things that just don’t ring true. And, the coach who has the Edge brings this up within sixty seconds of hearing it. Not as a confrontive challenge (unsophisticated, unseemly, amateurish) but rather as a simple, shared observation or question. Just doing this will advance the relationship you have with your client, which leads to more honest communication and faster results.”

Have you noticed similar breakthroughs with your coaching clients when you learned how to quickly and neutrally address their B.S.?  Or do you still feel awkward and uncomfortable bringing such inconsistencies to light?

Please leave your personal experience with us here on the blog…and as always, let us know how the timeless words of Thomas still continue to impact your life today.

Time to Seek Professional Help?

Do you need professional help? Help in whatever key area of life where you find yourself struggling, frustrated or overwhelmed?

Here’s what Thomas described as the worst time of his life: “Living out of my car for 3 weeks, because I was dead broke and too proud to ask for help.”

Did you catch that last part? He was too proud to ask for help.

Fortunately he did break down and ask (as you may need to now, in an unexpected area, if you think about it) and here’s what he had to say about the experience:

“Big life transitions can be overwhelming to accomplish on your own.

There is no shame in asking for help from your friends, relatives, or from a coach. In fact, enough of the right kind of support can make a seemingly difficult transition, relatively easy.

I’ve had a lot of help in making a couple of big transitions in my life. Being a former lone-ranger, asking for and accepting help from others was difficult at first, but really nice once I got used to it. Now I wouldn’t think of starting a major project or making a big change without relying heavily on my support system of close and loving friends, and my coach.

Do whatever is necessary to make change easy on you. You’re worth it.”

Where could you use some help today? Do you need support in your business? More help around the house? Financial advice? Quit burying your head in the sand and reach out for the help you need. Identify one place that you could use some help and take steps to fill the void this week.

Finally, post in the comments what you plan to do to help yourself (accountability is key to staying on track!) or the steps you personally took to overcome this same problem. Let’s lean on each other and get the help we need.

Feature Article | 5 Ways to Add Value, For the Sheer Joy of It

To make money in business, you need to add value to customers. And to have a very attractive life, adding value is, of course, key. In this Top 5 List, you’ll learn how to add value to others in ways that can also bring you joy.

In fact, the aspect of the practice of adding value which will make you most attractive is the joy that you experience in doing so, not the quantity or quality of the value you are adding. Big difference. The bees do it right.

They do their thing, going from flower to flower collecting pollen as they go. The byproduct/value being added? Pollination of the trees and flowers. Often, the best value is the byproduct to others of what you do for joy.

1. Find out what the other person places a high value on.

Everybody has their own opinion as to what adds value to their life. Take the time to ask and get to know what other people define as value.

You may not want to package or deliver what you have to fit their exact description, but the process of being open will add value to you because it will sensitize yourself to what matters to others. With this expanded perspective comes wisdom.

2. Discover what brings you joy and do lots of that.

Very few people know what brings them joy, but when they find out, they become more attractive to themselves. What does bring you joy? Is it intellectual pursuits? Giving to others? Solving problems? Designing something?

Usually when you’re expressing your values, you’ll feel joy. When you experience joy, you’re probably adding a lot of value to others at virtually no cost to yourself.

3. Find ways to broadcast/share what you have/know, without a cost to yourself.

Thanks to the Internet and electronic distribution of information, you can add lots of value to others, without it costing you any extra time or money. Set up a weekly e-newsletter, teach a TeleClass, trainer trainers/teachers, write a book, create audiotapes.

These are all ways to increase the distribution of what you know, which add value all along the way.

4. Stop trying to sell, convince, enroll or hype yourself or what you offer.

Part of the process of becoming more attractive is to stop pushing yourself or what you offer onto others. Adding value usually occurs least expensively to both parties when one party takes it from ‘your doorstep’ instead of you knocking on their door. It’s a pretty big change in style, but few people who are pushing hard experience joy.

So, stop, and find a better way to make your business work or reach your goals.

5. Help others create tremendous value from what you provide; instead of just giving them more value.

You can overwhelm your customers and potential customers with too much value, just as you can fill your mouth so full with food that it’s hard to chew. So, one way to add more value without adding a thing is to show your customers/potential customers how to make the most of what you’ve got.

Giving them instructions, coaching them, staying with them as they use your product or service, challenging them to invent new ways to use it, etc., are all ways for more value to be created without you having to give more product.

Which one of these points most resonates with you?  How do you personally add value in your business?  Please post your comments here.

Environments – The Elements of an Ecosystem (Excerpted from the 15 Coaching Proficiencies Book – by Thomas Leonard)

Success becomes sustainable when there are environments and fail safe structures which support it. After all, who wants to rely on fortitude and willpower to get things done or to develop oneself?

Designing and installing these environments results in an entrepreneurial ecosystem that sustains your thought leadership for the long term.

Within a given ecosystem, there are many sub-elements which we can call environments which we can design.

Thomas Leonard taught intensively about designing supportive environments in a way that’s very useful for thought leaders.

Key Points/Topics:

1. Environment as partners.

This is a paradigm shift for most people. Your environments can be designed to make things easier for you, to automate processes – whether it be actions, mental processes, or personal habits. Being deliberate about your environments creates a relationship with them – which allows them to support and sustain you in reaching your goals. By creating a relationship with your environments they become much more then tools.

2. Almost anything can be an environment.

You might have to introduce this notion slowly since not many people think actively about their many environments. For example, people, technological systems, the television, office space, pets, the Wealthy Leader training, special interest groups, etc.

3. Environments vs. Self-Reliance.

Relying on willpower to get things done can be done – often at the cost of physical or mental strain and stress if relied on too long. Environments, on the other hand, reduce the stress by setting things up to get done more easily, with less effort.

4. Environments create safety.

Environments do this in two ways. First, they are based on fail-safe structures that provide certainty and reduce stress for the client. Second, by focusing on designing environments, it takes the pressure off us to have to be a certain way – changing the environment to fit them vs. changing themselves to fit the environment. This eliminates, or at least reduce, self-judgment.

You have a right to …

… perfect environments for you.

… to imagine your environments as you wish.

… to craft and recraft your environments.

Environments work as a …
… system so that you don’t have to do all the thinking and working.

… filter so that you can deal with smaller amounts of information or distractions.

… solution to the overwhelm of information you can experience.

Environments naturally …

… evolve you. They keep you responding and growing even when you don’t want to.

… develop. You will re-engineer your environments as your needs and capabilities change.

… support you. They help you do more work with less effort and attention.

Please share – which of these ecosystem elements will you integrate into your environment?

Defining Success

What does Defining Success mean?

It means that you have identified the 3 key relationships, things, or other elements of life that that are most important to you in your life at this time.  These 3 items can be things like “The love I experience from my wife.” to “How creative I’m being.”  The idea of defining success may sound pretty obvious to you, but there is a subtlety to this process that you’ll learn about in just a moment.

What seems to be true about the notion of defining success?

  • Until you take the time to define success for yourself, it is most likely being defined by others, your culture, the past, hope or advertising.
  • Only you can truly define success for yourself.  And, you can use feedback from others to help you articulate your 3 success definitions.
  • These success definitions set you free to enjoy life completely; they do not define you or box you in.  Rather, they release you from priorities that are not relevant or that meaningful.

Why is it beneficial for me to define success?

Given the number of influences, past and present, that one is subjected to, it’s very helpful to know what’s most important to you.  This, so that you don’t get seduced or distracted by the demands of others, your job, advertising or other sources which will tend to define what’s important to you if you haven’t taken the opportunity to define yourself first.

The 3 Steps

How do I define success for myself?  There are 3 steps…

Step 1.  Ask yourself this question.

I know I am being successful by… [fill in the blank here]

It’s very important that you use the exact sentence structure and words that you see above because this sets you up to articulate more clearly how you not only define success but how you know you’re being success at any given moment.  See, we promised you a subtlety and that is it.

Step 2. Tweak your 3 responses until they resonate.

You’ll know that a success definition is phrased well when you feel a tingle in your body, or the light bulb goes on or you feel otherwise excited.  Not feeling that way yet?  Not to worry.  This exercise is new for most people and it may take a couple days of tinkering with your success definitions before they zing.  And they will.  You will also find yourself thinking about success as you are redefining it; that is good!  If you are truly stuck and just can’t find resonating definitions, then simply start over and pick totally different ones.  This, because sometimes people confuse what they should or could want for their success definitions with what they really, really want.

Step 3.  Notice the tugs you feel.

As you feel your success definitions resonating over the coming weeks, notice the way it tugs at you to make small, or perhaps significant, changes in your life. You’ll catch yourself fairly quickly when you feel pulled away from your definitions.  You’ll find it easier to say no to people or situations that just don’t fit anymore with what is most important to you.  It’s up to you if you want to make these changes right now, but at least you’ll know what your body and heart are suggesting.

Who is defining your success? Just three steps to make sure it is you.

Everyone wants to be successful.

WHO’S TO SAY WHAT COACHING IS OR ISN’T?

Are some forms of therapy coaching?

Is consulting coaching?

Is managing coaching?

Is parenting coaching?

Is teaching coaching?

Is mentoring coaching?

Is ministering coaching?

Is loving coaching?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.  It’s all coaching, or at least it’s becoming coaching. 

bread2For years, we coaches have spent time educating the marketplace on what coaching is, and is not. But over that time (the last 20 years), and especially during the past 5 years, I believe we’re seeing coaching being used to describe a lot more than ‘just’ coaching, at least as we’ve known coaching.  Coaching is a catch-all term and I believe the term is big enough to include therapy, consulting, parenting, teaching, mentoring, ministering and loving.  I think we’ve spent a lot of time drawing the distinction between coaching vs other ‘professions.’  But the marketplace has quickly caught up with us and is now overtaking us coaches and that’s very, very good news.  If you think of coaching as sourdough starter, a lot of great bread is being made and enjoyed using the principles and methods of coaching.

There’s more to say here. My view has always been that coaching is simply a set of advanced communication and relating skills that elevate relationships to a higher place.  Heck, that’s what managers, therapists, consultants, parents, mentors, ministeres and just plain people are smack dab in the midst of getting better and better at.  Coaching is becoming FAR bigger than just we coaches coaching.  It’s also been my view that everyone is a coach, period.  And that everyone is getting better at coaching, through experience, training, awareness and modelling.  Think about it.  If coaching is truly a more evolved way of communicating and relating, coaching is something that benefits everyone worldwide.

That said, the specific and high level coaching work that we do as professional coaches continues to play a vital role in the acceptance of coaching as a skill set and of coaching as a valued profession in the marketplace.  We coaches will continue to be very special and sought after, even as the coaching approach and skill set becomes integrated into virtually every personal and business relationship.

During the Millennium Coaching Tour, I guesstimated that there may well be over 1,000,000 coaches coaching within 30 or 40 years. Some coaches think I’m way low.  Others wonder what calculator I’m using.  Regardless, the coaching skill set is here to stay and will flourish in multiple ways and via surprising avenues.  Parents, managers, ministers, consultants, therapists, and just plain people will be proud to call themselves coaches over the coming years.  And the vast majority of them will never be ‘professional coaches’ like we are.  But they will learn to coach very, very well.  And we first 10,000-30,000 coaches have ourselves to thank for taking the initiative to make this profession — and even more importantly, this skill set — stronger, more developed and freely available so that the world can benefit as every human being grows into being a coach in how they communicate and relate with everyone they meet.

–Thomas J. Leonard
CoachVille.com
October 3, 2000

THE ZEN OF PERFECT

1.   What is, is perfect.

And, you can perfect it.

2.  What isn’t perfect, is perfect.

Because there is something to learn.

3.  You are perfect.

Even when you are not.

4. Others are perfect.

Especially when they are not.

5.  Life is perfect.

But only when you see that it is.

6.  Weaknesses are perfect.

Their perfection is simply unrecognized.

7.  Your strengths are perfect.

So, continue to perfect them.

8.  What already is perfect is perfect.

Leave it alone.

9.  Tragedies are perfect.

We just can’t see the perfection, yet.

10.  Perfect is perfect.

Make perfect an art form.

Key Coaching Principles

1. SYNERGY CAUSES BETTER RESULTS, MUCH MORE EASILY.

PROPER COACH/CLIENT MATCHING IS ESSENTIAL FOR SYNERGY TO OCCUR.

2. WHEN PEOPLE ARE FULLY HEARD, THEY MOVE FORWARD IMMEDIATELY.

NOT BEING HEARD SLOWS DOWN PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND HUMAN EVOLUTION.

3. ANY SITUATION CAN BE OPTIMIZED, TURNED AROUND OR IMPROVED.

AND IF IT CANNOT, GET OUT OF IT RESPONSIBLY.

4. FEWER PROBLEMS OCCUR WHEN ONE HAS A STRONG PERSONAL FOUNDATION.

RISING ABOVE THE MUCK OF LIFE IS STEP 1 IN COACHING.

5. SOMETIMES THE CLIENT HAS THE ANSWER, SOMETIMES THE COACH DOES.

IT DOESN’T REALLY MATTER WHERE IT COMES FROM.

6. ONE CAN HAVE A PERFECT LIFE.

IT’S NOT A FANTASY OR PIPEDREAM. IT REALLY IS DO-ABLE, AND IN THIS LIFETIME.

7. HUMANS OPERATE AT 1%, OR LESS, OF OUR POTENTIAL.

COACHING INCREASES THIS FIGURE.

8. SUCCESS IS A BASIC HUMAN RIGHT.

SUCCESS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH DESERVINGNESS, PRIVILEGE, OR BACKGROUND.

9. WHEN THE CLIENT PROPERLY DEFINES SUCCESS, COACHING BECOMES EASY.

AND CLIENTS KNOW BETTER HOW TO USE THEIR COACH.

10. MOST PEOPLE DON’T REALLY KNOW WHAT THEY TRULY WANT.

A COACH CAN HELP CLIENTS DISCOVER WHAT THAT IS. IT’S USUALLY SIMPLE.

11. WHAT ONE PUTS UP WITH COSTS ONE DEARLY.

TOLERATIONS WASTE ONE’S SPIRIT, ONE’S HEART, ONE’S MIND, AND ONE’S POCKBOOK.

12. WE ARE ALL PICASSOS-IN-TRAINING

THE WORLD IS WAITING FOR PEOPLE TO DISCOVER, EXPRESS AND SHARE THEIR CREATIVTY

COACHVILLE.COM

VERSION 1.0

WWW.COACHVILLE.COM

21 Personal Evolution Strategies

To evolve more quickly and easily…

1. Surround yourself with new ideas instead of recycling your beliefs.
Beliefs can limit your ability to experience life as it unfolds.

2. Make chaos your friend.
The unexpected is a good thing as long as you’re open to it.

3. Let your environments do most of your evolutionary work for you.
Evolution occurs as you adapt to such environments.

4. Use tolerations to your advantage.
Every single thing you are putting up with is an opportunity waiting to be leveraged.

5. Constantly experiment.
Synchronicity is the reward.

6. Spend more time in nature.
Nature nourishes and recalibrates our natural systems.

7. Become the host of a thriving network.
Let your network evolve you as you serve them.

8. Continuously integrate all aspects of your life.
Integration evolves you from being needlessly complicated to being richly complex.

9. Invest in your virtual environments, not just your physical environments.
Life is becoming more virtual.

10. Design your sources of energy.
You can then operate at a higher frequency.

11. Become superconductive.
Reduce the energy you consume by 90% by reducing your resistance to life.

12. Master the evolving set of Cyber Skills.
Extend your intelligence by connecting with everyone.

13. Surround yourself with people who are eagerly evolving.
They spark you. You spark them. Evolution occurs effortlessly.

14. Stop resisting.
Assimilate events the first time they occur.

15. Choose a goal that is bigger than you are.
Be pulled forward by it, instead of pushing yourself.

16. Get over yourself in every possible way.
Arrogance holds you back.

17. Learn how you naturally operate.
Come to honor your personal dynamic.

18. Know your gifts.
And design your life to fully express them.

19. Emotionally heal.
Healing maximizes your emotional IQ.

20. Cause something and surprise yourself.
Initiative is a muscle.

21. Make what you don’t know is more interesting than what you do know.
Enjoy learning more than teaching.

Commemorating Thomas Leonard, Father of Coaching | Part 3

Greetings to day three of the Memory of Thomas newsletter. Last email we took a lengthy, but intriguing look into Thomas’ condo in central Phoenix and, hopefully, gained some mind-shifting insights into the importance of the physical environment. Today we are lucky enough to take a peek into two more of Thomas’ important environments: his RV and his Millennium tour.

One of the most fascinating and legendary aspects of Thomas’ life was the RV that he called home during much of his coaching work, made famous in a Newsweek article on February 5, 1996 that featured Thomas coaching from his RV in a different location every night.

Thomas and RV

The RV itself was the subject of a great deal of conversation in Thomas’ courses including “A Perfect Life”. He would often talk about fixing little things around his RV and how he reveled in and enjoyed the fact that it was such a small space because it actually enabled him to stay decluttered and make sure that every last tiny detail was perfect. Nothing was out of place. He even had a Friday checklist that he completed every week listing the things that he would do to keep his RV maintained. It was all wonderfully thought out and formulaic so that his living needs disappeared into the background and his creativity was fully supported.

rv floorplan

Of course the other part of the RV mystique was the transformation of this living space into the evangelist RV that toured the countryside exposing people to the word “coach” painted across the side. Thomas was a lonely soldier, being the ambassador of, and living this thing called coaching.

This is an incomplete but none-the-less interesting graphical representation of the cities Thomas visited on his Millennium tour.

millenium tour map

Unbeknownst to many, though of course Thomas wanted to spread the word about coaching, the Millennium tour also supported his own personal evolution. Thomas was the first to admit that he had stage fright and this tour was his way of getting over that in a not surprisingly, over the top, Thomas way: putting himself in front of a microphone over and over again in each of these cities.

A list of a few of the cities Thomas visited helps to give the true scope of this undertaking and reveals just how amazingly passionate Thomas was about letting the world learn about coaching.

San Diego, California
Salt Lake City, Utah
Denver, Colorado
Little Rock, Arkansas
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Nashville, Tennessee
Raleigh, North Carolina
Burlington, Vermont
Vancouver, British Columbia
Montreal, Quebec

Whether working from his home base in Phoenix, or traveling across the country in his mobile coaching platform it becomes clear how absolutely, truly important spreading the idea of coaching to everyone who would and wouldn’t listen was to Thomas. Once again Thomas unique approach to life provides us all with a model to follow when thinking of how we can help introduce others to the coaching profession that, through his love and tireless work, Thomas brought to life.

Until February 16th, to help commemorate Thomas’ passing, we are holding a 20% off sale of all Thomas publications, newly polished and published in print. To activate the discount please use coupon code: MEMORIES when you place your order.

As we continue this week-long commemoration of Thomas in 2010, stay tuned tomorrow when we talk about Thomas his mind nourishment.

We hope you found this enjoyable,
The Best of Thomas Team