Coaching World: February 2014

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From Surviving to Thriving Margaret Moore, MBA p. 18

Cutting Through the Fluff: Hard Facts About EI and Employee Engagement

Coaching World ISSUE 9 February 2014

Ben Palmer, Ph.D. p. 24

Knowing Why Coaching Works: It Matters Janet M. Harvey, MCC p. 16

Coaching Strong Black Women Charlyn Green Fareed, Ph.D., PCC p. 22

The Science of Coaching Work/Life Balance Robert I. Holmes, Th.D., PCC p. 28




03 The First Word 04 Checking In 05 Editor’s Note 06 Keeping Current 08 From the Toolbox

Planning & Goal Setting

10 Business Sense

Ditich Your Marketing To-do List

12 The Coaching Case

Defense Acquisition University

14 Ethics Q & A

Setting Boundaries

32 Global Views

Advancing Knowledge of Science

34 The Conscious Coach

Chaya Abelsky, MCC


16 Knowing Why Coaching Works: It Matters 18 From Surviving to Thriving 22 Coaching Strong Black Women Through the Fluff: Hard Facts 2 4 Cutting About EI and Employee Engagement Janet M. Harvey, MCC

Margaret Moore, MBA

Charlyn Green Fareed, Ph.D., PCC

Ben Palmer, Ph.D.

28 The Science of Coaching Work/Life Balance Robert I. Holmes, Th.D., PCC

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The First Word Coaching World 3

Who says New Year’s resolutions are just for January? Resolve to accomplish these three ck

.c o m

action items this quarter to year yet!



help make 2014 your best

t te

Checking In

Coaching World is a quarterly digital publication of the International Coach Federation. It is distributed via email and accessible online at Coaching World is developed and produced by the ICF Marketing Department.

Fresh Start

a ull re k ma




Lindsay Bodkin Director of Brand Management

Abby Tripp Heverin Communications Coordinator

Ann Jarvis

Marketing Manager

Kristin Kelly

Revise your marketing plan.

Check out Kristen Beireis’ column on page 10 for three questions to guide your process.

Try something new.

In her article on page 18, Margaret Moore emphasizes the necessity of staying curious and open to new experiences. Heed her advice by taking the plunge and trying something new in your personal or professional life.

Build your business know-how.

If you’re an ICF Member, you can gain valuable new learning and earn CCE Units by signing up for ICF’s exclusive 2014 Business Development Series. Learn more at

Marketing Specialist

Stephanie Wright Brand Designer

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own and not necessarily endorsed by Coaching World or the International Coach Federation (ICF). Content may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission.

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As a lifelong logophile, I anxiously count down to the annual announcements of various publishers’ and organizations’ words of the year. The end of 2013 brought several gems: “selfie” (via Oxford Dictionaries), “privacy” (, “because” (tapped by the American Dialect Society as a result of its new grammatical uses) and my personal favorite: “science,” the word selected by Merriam-Webster after it showed the largest year-over-year increase in lookups on the American publisher’s online dictionary. Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large at MerriamWebster, had this to say about the pick: “It is a word that is connected to broad cultural dichotomies: observation and intuition, evidence and tradition. … A wide variety of discussions centered on science [in 2013], from climate change to educational policy. We saw heated debates about ‘phony’ science, or whether science held all the answers. It’s a topic that has great significance for us. And it fascinates us— enough so that it saw a 176-percent increase in lookups this year over last, and stayed a top lookup throughout the year.” Science has certainly been a buzzword for ICF Members in recent years. As we strive to maintain our global standards system per the goals of our strategic plan, we’re continuing our efforts to enhance research protocols, expand the body of knowledge that informs our profession and identify new avenues for research. Recently, we launched a global search for a Director of Coaching Science. With the addition of this new staff position, we’ll be able to collect and curate information around the science of coaching so that you, as a coach, can better

inform clients about the theories and science that shape your practice. Our most recent application of ICF’s body of knowledge research is visible in the ICF Virtual Bookstore, which we relaunched in January. This new-and-improved online storefront will connect you to a host of resources that will help you take a deep dive into the science of coaching. Science will also be at the center of ICF’s newest branded educational event, ICF Advance 2014: Science of Coaching, taking place May 29 – 31, 2014, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Learn more and register to attend in-person or virtually at Finally, we’re keeping science at the forefront of this issue of Coaching World, which includes feature-length articles by ICF Advance 2014 presenters Margaret Moore and Ben Palmer, insights into coaching for work/life balance and better health from ICF Professional Certified Coaches Robert Holmes and Charlyn Green Fareed, and a provocative reflection on the significance of science to coach training by ICF Past President Janet Harvey. 2014 promises to be an exciting year for our organization and our profession, and it’s also an exciting time for Coaching World as we continue our evolution with the addition of several new columns and departments. I’d love to hear your feedback on our new format: Email me your comments or questions at

Abby Tripp Heverin

Communications Coordinator

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Editor’s Note

Word Nerd

Recent research suggests that creativity in young Americans is declining, even as their intelligence (as measured by IQ tests) continues to rise. However, a new study from the University of Washington Information School and Harvard University demonstrates that the dynamics of creativity are more complex than initially believed. Through intensive assessments of two decades’ worth of student creative writing and visual art projects, researchers have found that while some aspects of creativity, such as those that contribute to crafting nuanced pieces of writing, are indeed declining, others, including those that impact the production of visual art, are on the rise. Katie Davis, an assistant professor in UW’s Information School, and fellow researchers studied 354 published examples of visual art from a monthly magazine for teens, along with 50 examples of creative writing that appeared in a similar annual publication of student fiction. All of the pieces were published between 1990 and 2011. The researchers analyzed and coded the works with a focus on style, content and form. The review of student writing showed the teen authors adhering to increasingly conventional writing practices and demonstrated a trend toward less play with genre, more mundane narratives and simpler language over the two decades studied.

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Although these findings have the potential to change the way we think about creativity, Davis cautioned against taking an oversimplified view of these trends. “There really isn’t a standard set of agreed-upon criteria to measure something as complex and subjective as creativity,” she explained. “But there are markers of creativity—like complexity and risk-taking and breaking away from the standard mold—that appear to have changed.” Because this research was conducted in a naturalistic setting, versus a laboratory, Davis noted that her team ceded a degree of control over the characteristics of the sample being studied. As a result, she said, the findings cannot be safely generalized to all American youth. “It remains an open question as to whether the entire U.S. has seen a decline in literary creativity and parallel increase in visual creativity among its youth over the last 20 years,” Davis said. “Because society … depends on the creativity of its citizens to flourish, this is a question that warrants serious attention in future creativity research.” The researchers’ findings were published in the January 2014 “Creativity Research Journal.” The article’s lead author, Emily Weinstein, is a doctoral student in the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Its other co-authors, Zachary Clark and

Donna DiBartolomeo, are former Harvard graduate students. —Abby Tripp Heverin



Keeping Current

A New View on Creativity

The review of visual art, on the other hand, showed increased sophistication and complexity of both subject and design between 1990 and 2011. The artwork, Davis said, seemed “more finished, and fuller, with backgrounds more fully rendered, suggesting greater complexity.” The researchers also found that pen-and-ink illustrations grew less common over the period studied, as the range of mixed-media work expanded.

Stress is a State of Mind For years, we’ve been told that stress makes us sick, leading to all sorts of health issues and even premature death. Turns out, that isn’t the whole truth. Recent research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has shown that the problem lies in our beliefs about stress. The research comes from a National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) that surveyed 30,000 adults in the U.S. over an eight-year period. Participants were asked how much stress they’d experienced in the previous year, and if they believed that stress was harmful to their health. Public death records were used to find out who died over the eight-year period. The study found that people who experienced a lot of stress had a 43 percent higher risk of dying—but only if they also believed that stress was harmful to them. Amazingly, the people who experienced a lot of stress but did not view stress as harmful were no more likely to die. In fact, they had a lower risk of dying than anyone else in the study—even people with relatively little stress.

The Takeaway

Clearly, how you think about stress matters. When you change your

mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to stress.

Put It to Use

The next time you feel yourself getting stressed, remind yourself that your body is simply rising to whatever challenge you’re up against. Breathing faster? Counter it by taking long, deep breaths. Heart pounding? Pump yourself up with positive self-talk. Muscles tightening up? Stretch and stand (or sit) up straight. —Kristin Kelly

Vasya Kobelev/

The physical changes your body experiences during times of stress (e.g., a pounding heart) are typically viewed as signs of anxiety. Instead of associating those changes with anxiety, view them as signs of your body being energized and preparing you for a challenge. From there, it is only a matter of channeling the energy from these changes into confidence and positivity.

Small Businesses and Social Media New research from LinkedIn and market-research firm TNS confirms something that many professional coaches already know: If you’re not marketing your practice on social media, you’re missing out.

that 81 percent of SMBs currently use social media to drive business growth, while nine percent plan to use it in the future. However, marketing and lead generation aren’t the only reasons that SMB pros log on to social media. According to the study, nearly one in two SMBs (49 percent) said they used social media as a learning tool, turning to their networks for information, expertise and answers to their questions. If you’re a coach whose target clients include SMB professionals, social media represents a golden opportunity for you to establish yourself as an expert info source for this audience—and potentially acquire new clients along the way. —Abby Tripp Heverin

In a survey of 998 North American small- and medium-business (SMB) professionals, researchers found

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From the Toolbox

Core Competency #10:

Planning & Goal Setting

Developing and maintaining an effective coaching plan with the client.

A Flight Plan for Goal Setting Sophie Bizeul, PCC Sophie holds a master’s degree in coaching and neurolinguistic programming from Kingston University (London). In addition to her private practice at, she serves as a Mentor Coach on the Erickson International team and works as an elite results coach for a worldrenowned peak-performance strategist. She specializes in voluntary career transitions by executives in their midlife years. Her previous articles on the science of setting goals include “The Art and Science of Career Goal Setting” and “Tighten Your Seat Belt: Taking Off for 2009!”

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Beginning a coaching session or engagement without a specific goal in sight is like putting a client on a plane with no destination: She ends up going from place to place, unsure of where she’ll land next and running the risk that she doesn’t like where she ends up. This in turn means she might not perceive much value from coaching. In the absence of specific goals, clients tend to be like passengers on an aircraft they don’t feel responsible for—their coach’s or their story’s. By contrast, if we help our clients set goals for themselves, they’re more likely to feel like they are at the helm. As a result, they are better able to enjoy both the journey and the destination. They may not be aboard a

direct flight and they might encounter unexpected disturbances along the way, but being captain of their own lives allows them to freely adjust the itinerary until they reach an arrival point that truly inspires them. So how can we support our clients in designing a flight plan that helps them reach their desired destination in a fulfilling way? In its simplest form, a client’s insession flight plan should answer three consecutive types of questions: what, why and how.


These questions should get the client to determine what she is looking to create, experience, identify and explore within a given session that will help her move forward in life. A typical question here is, “If you were to walk away with a truly powerful outcome today, what would that be?” The coach needs to listen to the client’s answers through a SMARTER filter (see sidebar on opposite page) and make sure that the goal is defined in a truly

stage (such as, “What will happen if you don’t achieve that goal?”), especially as a starting point to get a client motivated to take action. If you choose that route, I recommend you always come back to the vision your client is looking to create and to the compelling reasons behind it; otherwise, she may experience the journey to her goal as a battle against what she doesn’t want. This creates a negative emotional charge that actually decreases the chances of lasting success.

ICF Business Partners ICF partners with various groups through the ICF Media Partner and ICF Business Solutions Partner programs to offer discounts or special pricing to ICF Members on goods and services. Learn more at



compelling way with a specific, in-session evidence procedure.


This type of question addresses the relevance criterion of the SMARTER filter (see explanation, at right). It connects the goal to its deeper purpose and, as such, is all about getting the client’s emotional buy-in. While the “what” space is more visual in that it helps clients see in their mind’s eye what they are going for, the “why” space is more of a feeling space that associates them right here and now into what achieving a goal really means to them. Typical questions at this stage include: • “Why is achieving that goal important to you?” • “Who will you become in the process of achieving that goal?” • “Who else will be impacted?” • “What will the ripple effects be in the rest of your life?” Some coaches also recommend using a more negative type of leverage at this

The last question, “How can you achieve your goal?,” can be about the planning and strategizing part of goal setting, but more often than not it is really about helping clients align their psychology with what it will take to get to their goal so they start feeling a sense of flow where they used to struggle. Whatever course they choose, chances are that by answering those three consecutive types of questions, clients will increasingly feel like they are the inspired creators of a fulfilling life.

The SMARTER Filter The SMARTER acronym, whose “SMART” roots have been credited to both Peter Drucker and G.T. Doran, provides a mnemonic device for objectivesetting criteria in project management, performance management and personal development. While there exist many variants for the meaning of the acronym, I like to break it down as follows:

Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Time-bound Ecological Relevant

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Business Sense

Ditch Your Marketing Todo List Kristen Beireis Kristen is the Trust-building in Marketing Expert at Coaches’ Marketing Source. She believes that marketing can be easy for anyone, including soul-honoring entrepreneurs who just want to help people create better lives for themselves. She uses personal values to set (or reset) a foundation for marketing that feeds your soul and attracts the right clients by trusting in who you are first. Learn more at

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Do you have a mile-long marketing to-do list that seems to get longer every day? When will the list be done? I’m sorry to inform you, but marketing to-do lists never get done. Think about it. You can check off that newsletter article, but there’s another one to write next week or next month. You can check off follow-up calls you need to make, but there will be more after your next networking meeting. It’s an endless cycle. Why? If you are marketing for success, you’re going to be consistently putting

marketing out into the world. That means there’s always something to do. However, you can shorten your to-do list. I know, I know. Everyone says you have to “do” this and “do” that in marketing. You can’t go a day without getting something in your inbox that tells you you’re not doing something you’re “supposed to be” doing. Um, Ok. Coaches, what do “supposed to” and “have to” mean? When you hear those words in a call with your clients, what comes to mind? Toleration! Yup, that’s it: This endless marketing to-do list is a toleration of yours. It’s time to ditch your tolerations.

Ask the Right Questions

What’s working for you? When was the last time you went through your marketing to-do list to determine what’s working and what’s not? If you’ve been doing something for eight or more months and it’s not working, ditch it!

Ines Bazdar/

What are you procrastinating on? If you are procrastinating on an activity, it’s probably because there’s something about it that you disagree with, doesn’t match your values or is just plain uncomfortable for you. If that’s the case then it’s unlikely you’ll consistently keep up with it. Instead, you’ll just keep beating yourself up because you didn’t do it. Why put yourself through that torture? If you keep telling yourself you “should,” “have to,” or “want to” tackle something on your list but you haven’t gotten around to it, ditch it! How much time do you have? Have you ever evaluated how much time it takes to complete each marketing task? Is it possible that you are doing more marketing work

than you have time for? Take a look at your schedule and determine how much time you can reasonably devote to marketing your practice. Compare that to how much time it takes to do all the marketing tasks you have on your to-do list. Chances are good there’s an imbalance. Determine what you can delegate or ditch in order to regain control of your schedule. If you answer those three questions honestly and adjust accordingly,

Ditching the List

If you’re a go-with-the-flow, ratherdo-what-I-love kind of person, then there’s another way to stay on top of your marketing tasks. Once you know what will work for you, ditch the list. Yup, that’s what I said: Let go of the written list entirely. For many of us, the list itself creates “have-tos,” “shoulds” and other stressors. Once you’ve gotten rid of all the tasks that aren’t a good fit, then you know what you need to do. Simply do what fits when you are ready to do it. Consistency is still a requirement, of course, but that doesn’t mean you have to commit to a set schedule. It may mean stockpiling some marketing to be scheduled out later. It may mean giving yourself one day a week to be creative and work on whatever marketing you want to work on. It may mean giving yourself some time every day to work on whatever marketing tasks strike your fancy. It’s up to you to decide when, where and how you want to work on your marketing.

All About Trust the result will be a manageable todo list aligned with your schedule, energy and personality. If you’re a detail-oriented person who can work through a small list without getting overwhelmed, turn your to-do list into a monthly marketing checklist and commit to sticking with it. Make sure you revisit your list regularly, checking in with all three questions: An annual review is a good standard to set. Another great time to check in is when your business shifts into a new phase. Finally, be sure to check in if a sense of overwhelm is creeping in again. Listen to your gut: If it doesn’t feel right, re-evaluate.

What if you go with the flow, but a member of your team or your virtual assistant does not? Invite him or her to be keeper of the list. Design an alliance that will honor your free spirit, creativity and desire to work in your own time frame, as well as your colleague’s desire to consistently get your message out into the world. Find the happy medium. Trust yourself, too. Have faith in your own way of marketing, and let it guide you as you spread the word about the amazing work you do.

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The Coaching Case

Celebrating Impactful Coaching The Defense Acquisition University received an honorable mention through the 2013 ICF International Prism Award Program. In June 2013, DAU was also recognized at the 10thanniversary Capital Coaches Conference as the recipient of ICF Metro DC’s Chapter-level Prism Award. In 2005, ICF Global adopted the Prism Award, a concept developed by ICF Toronto recognizing businesses and organizations that demonstrate how professional coaching pays off on many fronts. This award represents the epitome of what professional coaching can accomplish within organizations of all sizes and in all sectors. The 23 programs nominated for the 2013 award were evaluated by a panel comprised of ICF Members from around the world according to four criteria: fulfilling rigorous professional standards, addressing key strategic goals, shaping organizational culture, and yielding discernible and measureable positive impacts. To learn more about the International Prism Award, visit

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Skills Acquisition As the corporate university for the United States’ defense acquisition workforce, the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) is charged with providing learning opportunities and leadership development to the 152,000 military and civilian defense acquisition professionals involved in the largest buying enterprise in the world. In 2008, DAU began to explore the possibility of adding coaching to its portfolio of offerings in order to improve acquisition outcomes and enhance the leadership capacity of key defense acquisition leaders. After extensive research and benchmarking efforts DAU launched a rigorous coach-training program centered on ICF’s Code of Ethics and Core Competencies and adapted to the unique needs of the acquisition profession’s operating environment.

DAU’s coaches—all of whom are senior faculty members and seasoned defense acquisition professionals— are subject to a rigorous nomination, training and qualification process. Of DAU’s 600-plus faculty members, only eight to 10 individuals per year are nominated for coach training. Trainees participate in five, two-daylong workshops where they explore and put into practice the ICF Code of Ethics and Core Competencies. The training includes numerous opportunities for active learning and constructive feedback in the form of peer-coaching, audio and video recordings, group critiques of one-onone peer coaching sessions, and a peer 360-degree feedback assessment. Each trainee is also partnered with a DAU mentor coach. In order to be qualified as a DAU coach, trainees are required to successfully complete a practicum experience and successfully coach a key leader for at least six months. At the midpoint and end of the practicum, DAU conducts a qualitative and quantitative assessment of each trainee, including a client interview and an online survey. Once

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“...the demand for coaching has multiplied, with the percentage of key leaders who express an interest in coaching ... climbing from 10 percent to between 20 and 35 percent.”

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qualified, coaches are required to complete eight hours of continuous learning annually and maintain a roster of at least one active client per year. To date, more than 49 DAU faculty members have completed the training. Through one-on-one and team coaching engagements, they have reached more than 225 key defense acquisition leaders. Additionally, more than 4,400 mid- and senior-grade leaders have benefited from DAU’s portfolio of leadership-development courses developed with the ICF Core Competencies in mind. These four courses—Leader as Coach, Leading in the Acquisition Environment, Integrated Acquisition for Decision Makers and Forging Stakeholder Relationships—have extended the understanding and use of coaching skills throughout the defense acquisition workforce. DAU’s coaching program is designed to ensure 100-percent confidentiality around the coaching engagement. Although the clients who partner with DAU coaches value the program’s

confidentiality provisions, the growth of a coaching culture in the defense acquisition workforce means the absence of a stigma around coaching. As key military and civilian leaders have touted the individual and business impacts of partnering with a DAU coach, the demand for coaching has multiplied, with the percentage of key leaders who express an interest in coaching during their executive management courses climbing from 10 percent to between 20 and 35 percent. DAU coaching clients have reported a high return on expectations in areas including organizational change, networking, strategic thought and leadership, leadership confidence, and time management. End-of-coaching surveys collecting Kirkpatrick Level IV data illustrate positive impacts at all four levels: reaction (positive 92.5 percent value), learning (positive 90 percent value), application (top four impacts: improved strategic communication, better change implementation, enhanced stakeholder relationships and enriched leadership/people interactions) and business impact (top four impacts: increased self/group productivity, increased customer satisfaction,

increased resources and reduced cycle time). With an annual acquisition budget of $350 billion, the defense acquisition operating environment demands a high return on every investment. DAU’s initiative has met this demand, with a reported nonfinancial ROI of 330 percent and a reported financial ROI of 743 percent. DAU’s ROI measurement techniques and findings were documented in a doctoral dissertation and subsequent monograph, “Coaching ROI: Delivering Strategic Value Employing Executive Coaching in Defense Acquisition” (Xlibris, 2011), by former DAU coach Alphronzo Moseley. As they look to the future, the program’s leaders are striving to advance a coaching culture in the acquisition, technology and logistics enterprise while providing an example for other governmental organizations. In addition to building a community of practice around governmental coaching, DAU is working to form partnerships with other government coaching programs that will provide the foundation for a common ICFaccredited training program for government professionals.

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Ethics Q & A

Setting Boundaries Jane M. Faulkner, PCC A highly respected coach and sought-after leadership consultant in Seattle, Jane helps a diverse range of clients transform challenges into signature strengths and leadership mastery. As a Leadership and Executive Coach, she works with professionals, emerging leaders, executives and business owners in the areas of leadership development, team building, communication and conflict management. She serves on ICF’s Independent Review Board. She is a Certified Professional Co-active Coach. Learn more at

Q: I’m an external coach for a large corporation where I’ve been tasked with coaching Dave*, a manager within the organization. The company’s human resources department is sponsoring the coaching engagement. During my first meeting with Dave, I learned that when his current position was originally open, his manager, Sue, wanted to promote one of his direct reports, Barb, instead of him. Dave explained that, as a result, he feels challenged in his ability to manage Barb and depressed by the whole situation. After my first meeting with Dave, Sue called me and reported receiving complaints about Dave’s management skills and style from Barb. She then asked me to share information about Dave with her for inclusion in his next performance review. How can I navigate this situation in an ethically appropriate fashion while still meeting the needs of the organization and the department sponsoring the engagement? A: Sue’s requests blur the lines between her management responsibilities and your coaching engagement. Fortunately, the ICF Code of Ethics provides clear guidelines for how to handle her queries appropriately.

rangizz z/Shu

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Item 15 of the ICF Code of Ethics requires coaches to have clear agreements with clients and sponsors, while items 22 and 23 mandate that coaches maintain strict confidentiality with their clients and have clear agreements

on how information will be exchanged among coach, client and sponsor. This situation highlights the need for clarity in your agreement with HR about whom the coach responds and reports to in the company. If your agreement with HR provides that your coaching of Dave will be confidential, then you can respond to Sue with a firm, “No,” referring her to HR if she has questions. If your agreement does not address Sue’s requests, consider amending the document in collaboration with HR so that everyone is clear on what information can be shared without breaching confidentiality and how it will be requested and delivered. Perhaps broad themes can be shared without specifics? One option is to agree that in your monthly billing statement, you will indicate whether or not Dave is fully engaged in the coaching process. If all requests and responses go through HR, it will provide a clear boundary, replacing the blurred lines that arise when Sue approaches you directly. You might encourage Dave to share the progress of his coaching with Sue. You can even offer the extra support of attending a three-way meeting with her so that Dave has your support, with the goal of finding out what Sue expects and how she can support Dave in his goals, especially in terms of managing Barb. In this case, the coaching agreement should specify that Dave has the option to choose to report his progress to his manager and provide for three tripartite meetings with Dave, you and Sue at the beginning, midpoint and end of coaching engagement. Finally, if Dave’s depression seems serious or clinical, refer him to his company’s employee assistance program or to HR to find a therapist. (You can also refer him to a therapist on your referral list if he does not want HR to know that he is going to therapy.) If you do make the referral yourself, it’s a suggested practice to provide a list of at least three names and make it clear in writing that you are not endorsing any of them. *All names have been changed.

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Knowing Why Coaching Works: It Matters

Janet M. Harvey, MCC, ICF Global Past President With 30 years of experience as both a corporate and entrepreneurial business executive, Janet is a leader, business owner, coach, mentor of coaches and trainer of coaches at inviteCHANGE, an ICF Accredited Coach Training Provider.

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The benefit of a scientific approach for coaching is that we accelerate learning, adapt learning processes to diverse populations of learners and expand the scope of impact possible across diverse populations of clients. The ICF accreditation and credentialing systems provide a framework for curriculum standards and associated assessment approaches that invite coaches to demonstrate their knowledge of coaching and practical grasp of coaching skills and behaviors. High client satisfaction and the adoption of coaching interventions by individuals and organizations of all sizes suggest that what we are doing works. Yet, how do we know for sure without a scientific discipline? The point here is not to determine whether coaching works; we know that it does all over the globe. Rather, it’s that a commitment to systematically understanding why coaching works, which interventions are best suited to specific clients domains and contexts, how to best support and accelerate coaches’ development (e.g., reflective practice, mentor coaching and coaching supervision), and what hinders achieving sustained, positive impact with clients is essential in order to improve education, training and, ultimately, the health of the field over time.

Achieving a disciplined science of coaching at this stage of evolution is one of the most exciting frontiers in our field of practice and is a critical step toward recognition of coaching as a profession. Without exception, a field of practice must submit to disciplined observation, analysis and interpretation on this journey. While we have seen the body of coaching research expand exponentially within the last decade thanks to the effort of a pioneering group of researchers and practitioners, a disciplined science of coaching can only take shape with the processes of coach training and education as its foundation. The foundational knowledge supporting an understanding at which coaching behaviors are and aren’t effective is central to consistent efficacy in practice, and the coachtraining environment provides a laboratory for this. The result will be a virtuous circle, whereby our enhanced understanding of the science of coaching informs education and training to sustain continued excellence and stimulate further useful innovation. In practical terms, the journey of becoming a coach is as much an unlearning as a learning process. Understanding this scientifically will allow greater clarity and congruence for coach trainers and educators. Ways of listening for understanding, engaging in conversation to get a point across,

being curious to seek information, and being direct in order to establish a clear request or call to action are all skills learned at one or more points in an individual’s professional career. Every one of these skills transforms in coaching. Coaches listen to recognize what is meaningful for the client, engage to invite a client to deeper awareness, ask questions that evoke, and challenge clients to declare chosen actions and decisions. Distinguishing coaching from other human potential and development professions, such as psychology, organizational development, performance improvement and training, is crucial to generating clarity about why the impact and influence of coaching are so positive relative to alternative interventions. Observing and measuring which specific interventions are effective with clients will yield an invaluable feedback loop as standards for coach training and education curricula and practices evolve, boosting trained professional coaches’ efficacy and heightening the likelihood of consistently high-quality practice across diverse approaches to coaching. The result is valid, reliable and consistent coaching practices that transcend disciplinary boundaries and empower practitioners to overcome skepticism in the marketplace by making the benefits of coaching explicit to all of our clients.

As coach artfulness grows so does the quality of being beyond competence to an inspired experience that trusts what is created in the moment-tomoment exchange with a client. Neuroscience reveals that radical shifts in attention open new possibilities, which at the start may appear illogical but ultimately activate something meaningful in the client context. Performance has no place in effective coaching. Deep trust of self, client and the coaching process is more intention than engineering, more spontaneous experience than diagnostic or formulaic approach. These aspects of the coaching practice are more subtle and difficult to measure, as clients often report a felt sense; i.e., an emotional or somatic response, rather than objective criteria as the basis for their satisfaction. As our profession advances, it is incumbent on all of us to seek out and work toward a marriage between art and science as we cultivate sustainably effective coaching practice. Structures for education and training can only benefit from a thorough understanding of the science of coaching, but must remain flexible enough to allow a notknowing field for learning and innovation.


“In practical terms, the journey of becoming a coach is as much an unlearning as a learning process.”

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From Surviving to Thriving One of the most popular songs today (with more than 300 million YouTube visits), Katy Perry’s “Roar” speaks to the power of the human life force to make the world a better place. Katy sings from her jungle perch, “I am a champion and you’re going to hear me roar.” Sadly, our collective roar is weighed down by the realities of being human today. Gallup’s 2013 “State of the American Workplace” survey shows that only 30 percent of Americans are emotionally engaged in their work. Meanwhile, findings from the Centers for Disease Control reveal that two-thirds of American adults are literally weighed down by overweight or obesity, while 95 percent aren’t enjoying the physical energy unleashed by engaging in the top health behaviors, including daily exercise and adopting a Mediterranean diet.

Margaret Moore, MBA Margaret (aka Coach Meg) is a 17-year veteran of the biotechnology industry. In 2002 she founded the Wellcoaches School of Coaching for health professionals, which has trained 8,000 coaches in 47 countries. Margaret is co-founder and co-director of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, and co-director of the annual Coaching in Leadership & Healthcare conference offered by Harvard Medical School. She co-leads the National Consortium for Credentialing Health & Wellness Coaches, which is developing national standards, certification and collaborative research. She is co-author (with Bob Tschannen-Moran) of the first coaching textbook in healthcare, the “Coaching Psychology Manual” (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2009), and (with Paul Hammerness) the Harvard Health Book, “Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life” (Harlequin, 2011). This article is a preview of the next Harvard Health/ Harlequin book (forthcoming in 2015).

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The big and brilliant human prefrontal cortex, upon which we depend to move the human race onto a better trajectory, is struggling under terrible operating conditions: chronic deprivation of sleep and reflection time, a low-octane diet, nervous-system overload, and inadequate fuel sources (e.g., meaningful purpose, creative expression, physical movement and more heart-to-heart moments). The vast majority of us are just surviving or even languishing—far from thriving, certainly not roaring. This state of affairs is an unimaginable waste of human life force, potential and competitive advantage. It’s also generating a tsunami of chronic

Ten Primary Capabilities of Being Human

Source: “Coaching the Multiplicity of the Mind,” by Margaret Moore (in Global Advances in Health and Medicine, July 2013, Vol. 2, No. 4, page 78-84.)

disease—consider the fact that today, even teenagers are being diagnosed with early-stage heart disease and type 2 diabetes—that is poised to wreak economic and social havoc in the next few decades. How can we help ourselves and our clients shift from rapidly wearing out our hardworking human genes to getting them to sing, dance and even roar? Given the immense diversity and complexity of the human genome, it’s not surprising that an individual can spend an entire lifetime figuring out how to get his or her genes to thrive. Professional coaches can accelerate this experimental process by helping people better engage a set of primary capacities or needs that have been shown by researchers to be vital to human well-being (see graphic on opposite page). Let’s take a quick tour.

1. Mindfulness

A good starting point is to begin tuning into the signals sent by our genes, which work ceaselessly to get our attention. Negative emotions and physical sensations indicate that some needs of our genes are not being met, while positive emotions and physical sensations are signs that some needs of our genes are being met. Not only is emotional intelligence a vital skill for emotional thriving, so is what my collaborator, psychologist Jim Gavin, and I deem body intelligence: the awareness of, knowledge of and engagement in health habits that generate physical energy and thriving. To develop emotional and body intelligence, simply move your conscious attention into a ‘brainset’ Harvard psychologist Shelley Carson calls the “mindful absorb” brain state (shown at right). Note that the prefrontal cortex (top of drawing) is blue, signifying cold. In this mindful brain state

you are not thinking, analyzing or planning; instead, attention moves deep and back into the sensory, or “experiencing,” brain regions. Regular visits to this brain state increase awareness of whether you are moving toward or away from thriving in a given moment and over time.

one’s own drummer—is a primary organismic need. To thrive, we need to be authentic and author a life aligned with our values. Autonomous motivation that taps into one’s life force is not only a standalone force for thriving, it is the type of motivation that enables elusive habits, including healthy eating, exercise, and weight loss and maintenance, to be sustained. It is a far superior fuel source to external motivators, such as incentives, prizes, or the fear-based “stick” of external or internal critics.

4. Making Meaning and Purpose

2. Body Regulation

Along with all living organisms, humans have a primary need for a healthy and calm equilibrium of our physiological systems—a need to move from chaos to homeostasis, over and over. As Stephen W. Porges outlines in his polyvagal theory, our bodies seek a balance of exertion with rest and recharge. They strive for homeostasis, stability and a healthy autonomic nervous system, balancing sympathetic (stress) and parasympathetic (rest and recovery) activity. Listening to the body’s signals tells us when it’s time to calm the nervous system, which calms the mind and improves brain function in the short term and delays disease and death in the long term.

3. Autonomy

Psychologists Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan, who have studied human motivation for three decades leading to their robust theory of self-determination, conclude that autonomy—the drive to march to

Clinical psychologist Paul Wong is the most passionate spokesperson for the importance of making meaning and purpose beyond oneself in each moment, in each domain of life and over the arc of a lifetime. In his forthcoming chapter, “Viktor Frankl’s Meaning Seeking Model and Positive Psychology,” he keeps alive the legendary psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor’s story, told in “Man’s Search for Meaning,” of how an unshakable purpose was essential to surviving four concentration camps. A sense of a higher purpose is a potent source of life fuel, especially when times are tough. For example, a team of researchers at Chicago’s Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center and Rush University Medical Center found that a sense of life purpose significantly improves cognitive function in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Meanwhile, Barbara Fredrickson and Steve Cole made scientific headlines in 2013 with their experiment showing that people with a low level of life purpose had three impaired gene pathways in their immune systems, while people with a high level of life purpose had healthy gene expression of their immune systems. Our genes appear to reward us for being connected CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE >

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to a cause larger than ourselves by fighting off cold and flu viruses and other invaders that could make us ill.

5. Relationships

Serving others, taking care of others, and being compassionate and kind are important sources of human thriving. Indeed, Deci and Ryan identify relatedness as another innate psychological need. In “Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do and Become” (Hudson Street Press, 2013), Fredrickson encourages us to “make love all day long;” i.e., to infuse each moment in another’s company with your full attention, your head and heart in it together. In addition to simply feeling good, sharing positive emotions with others creates micro-moments of connection which calm the nervous system and improve brain function. Over time, these micro-moments accumulate to help delay disease and avoid early death. Compassion for negative emotions experienced by ourselves and others is Mother Nature’s soothing balm. Just like crying babies, negative emotions need a warm, appreciative embrace to settle and allow us to get on with our day.

6. Confidence and Competence

Recommended Reading

Confidence—what Albert Bandura put on the map as the psychological

BOOKS Curious?: Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life, by Todd B. Kashdan (Harper Perennial, 2010) Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel H. Pink (Riverhead Books, 2011) Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, by Daniel Goleman (Bantam Books, 2005) Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi (Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2008)

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term “self-efficacy”—is a strong predictor of successful performance in work goals and creating new health habits. As Henry Ford suggested, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t— you’re right.” Deci and Ryan’s selfdetermination theory identifies competence as the third primary need, suggesting that acquiring new knowledge and skills, applying our chief strengths, and continually growing confidence are all vital lifetime pursuits. A wellness-focused coaching engagement can get us on the right track, instilling confidence in the ability to combine a full work and family life with a focus on self-care and well-being: exercising safely, cooking well, keeping weight stable, sleeping peacefully and taming the overwhelming frenzy brought on by a “life switch” stuck in the “on” position.

7. Curiosity and New Experience Seeking

Psychologist Todd Kashdan asserts that curiosity is a primary driver of human well-being, writing, “When we experience curiosity, we are willing to leave the familiar and routine and take risks, even if it makes us feel anxious and uncomfortable. Curious explorers are comfortable with the risks of taking on new challenges. Instead of trying desperately to explain and control our world, as

Love 2.0: Finding Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection, by Barbara Fredrickson (Plume, 2013)

a curious explorer we embrace uncertainty, and see our lives as an enjoyable quest to discover, learn and grow.” Our primary need for new experiences—to explore, learn and change— is easy to see in curious children but is often squashed by the demands of adult life. This is an important capacity for adapting to an ever-changing world: being evercurious, never taking anything for granted including one’s assumptions and beliefs. Life is just one big set of experiments with unpredictable outcomes. Indeed, Kashdan notes that declining curiosity is one of the important early signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. You may recall Frank Zappa’s quote: “A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.”

8. Creativity

We also readily see in children a primary capacity to be creative, generative, imaginative and spontaneous, but these traits often seem out of reach for adults, with our overscheduled days and overstretched minds. Creativity improves both mental and physical health. It works best when our brains are unleashed to wander about, unplugged from deadlines and goals . This part of us has fun brainstorming, playing games and being impulsive. When in full flight it produces flow

Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control, by Albert Bandura (Worth Publishers, 1997)

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol Dweck (Ballantine Books, 2007)

Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-Motivation, by Edward L. Deci and Richard Flaste (Penguin, 1996)

Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life: Train Your Brain to Get More Done in Less Time, by Margaret Moore and Paul Hammerness (Harlequin, 2011)

Your Creative Brain: Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity and Innovation in Your Life, by Shelley Carson (Jossey-Bass, 2012)

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, by Kristin Neff (William Morrow, 2011)

WATCH NOW! Meg Moore’s “How Can I Thrive?” Also check out “Strive to Thrive.”

states that Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi (pronounced cheek-sent-me-hi) describes as key to optimal wellbeing—those moments when we are enjoying an activity so much that we lose track of time. Without undue effort, we execute the activity to the best of our abilities. While the workplace is the best place for experiencing regular flow states, most people do not let themselves enjoy flow states every day because their minds are polluted by overwhelming to-do lists and distractions.

goals. This capacity is highly polished in the workplace (although often at the expense of other capacities described here). Those among us with attention deficits need to work harder to build self-regulation skills, and to learn to set aside disruptive emotions, impulses and distractions so that we get the important stuff done. Executive function gets a powerful boost when we tame our frenzy, exercise regularly, sleep well and eat a Mediterannean diet.

9. Executive Function

As the most social animals on the planet, humans share a primary need for approval, appreciation, validation and fair treatment. No man is an island. We want to be accepted and valued by our tribes.

Thank goodness the brain has a primary capacity to be organized, plan, regulate our emotions and impulses, and keep us on track to get through to-do lists and meet our

ARTICLES AND CHAPTERS “Body Intelligence: A Guide to Self-attunement,” by Jim Gavin and Margaret Moore (http://www.ideafit. com/fitness-library/body-intelligence-aguide-to) “Coaching the Multiplicity of Mind: A Strengths-based Model,” by Margaret Moore (in Global Advances in Health and Medicine, July 2013, Vol. 2, No. 4, pages 78 – 84)

10. Standard-setting

“Emotion: The Self-regulatory Sense,” by Kathrine Peil (currently in press, Global Advances in Health and Medicine) “Facilitating Health Behaviour Change and Its Maintenance: Interventions Based on SelfDetermination Theory,” by Richard M. Ryan and Edward L. Deci, et al (http://www.selfdeterminationtheory. org/SDT/documents/2008_ RyanPatrickDeciWilliams_EHP.pdf) “A Functional Genomic Perspective on Human Well-being,” by Barbara L. Fredrickson and Steven W. Cole,

This capacity allows us to set the bar or standard, to set goals for our performance and then evaluate and judge that performance in ourselves and others across all domains of life, from getting good grades at school to dying well. “Am I good enough?” it asks. At its worst, this capacity is difficult to please. It can be an inner critic, scanning for flaws and faults, or a perfectionist, ever raising the bar. According to findings from the Gender and Body Image Study, only 11 percent of women over the age of 50 report satisfaction with their bodies, their inner critics depleting their self-esteem every time they look in a mirror. At its best the inner standard-setter is accepting and content, setting the bar to challenge performance, while adopting a learning mindset when performance falls short. Unleashing our collective “roar” is the life calling, the higher purpose, for a whole new generation of thousands of professional Health and Wellness Coaches. This small army has emerged in the past decade to focus on unleashing positive mental and physical well-being and make a dent in the epidemics of chronic disease and overweight. But frankly, we need all hands on deck—not only coaches, but anyone who wants to join this effort. Let’s all roar together.

et al ( early/2013/07/25/1305419110.short) “The Polyvagal Perspective,” by Stephen W. Porges (http://www.ncbi. “Viktor Frankl’s Meaning Seeking Model and Positive Psychology,” by Paul Wong (in Meaning in Positive and Existential Psychology, edited by Alexander Batthyany and Pninit RussoNetzer [Springer, 2014])

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Coaching Strong Black Women Charlyn Green Fareed, Ph.D., PCC Charlyn teaches in the EvidenceBased Coaching program at Fielding Graduate University and is senior consultant of Genesis Coaching & Consulting, a Career and Leadership Coaching and organizational development firm. She has written several articles on coaching, gender and culture and contributed a chapter to “Innovations in Transformative Learning: Space, Culture, and the Arts”(Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 2009). She is a lifelong learner of transformative learning theory and holds certification in Transformative Learning for Social Justice. Charlyn is a Board Certified Coach. Learn more about Charlyn’s Strong Black Women Project at

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On a warm summer day, six women gathered in the comfort of a home environment to begin what some described as a “lifechanging” experience that forever changed the way they understood themselves as Strong Black Women. All were co-inquirers, seeking to examine and respond to the same research question: “How do African American women understand and experience the relationship between the Strong Black Woman ethic and their health and wellness?” Their responses gave shape to my 2006 research project on the Strong Black Woman Cultural Ethic.

Understanding the Strong Black Woman

The Strong Black Woman Cultural Ethic is an often-unconscious, culturally embedded message that promotes (and often celebrates) toughness and self-sacrificial behaviors—frequently at the expense of Black women’s health and wellness. These behaviors are rooted in African American culture where, from slavery to the present day, many Black women have little choice but to persevere, carry on, and sacrifice for family and others. However, there is a serious health and wellness impact from this constant striving. Numerous research studies have shown that Black women are overwhelmed by the pursuit of perfectionism, meeting goals, mediating family conflicts, and challenging the criticisms and doubts of others. Findings from the 2001 Kaiser Women’s Health Survey pointed to the numerous health and wellness challenges facing African American women. Among African American women aged 45 to 64, 57 percent reported suffering from chronic hypertension. Nineteen percent

Transformative Learning Resources


“Innovations in Transformative Learning: Space, Culture, and the Arts,” edited by Beth FisherYoshida, Kathy Dee Geller and Steven A. Schapiro (Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 2009) “Learning as Transformation: Critical Perspectives on a Theory in Progress,” by Jack Mezirow and Associates (Jossey-Bass, 2000) “Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America,” by Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden (Harper Perennial, 2004)

complained of anxiety and depression, and nearly half the African American women in this age range reported that they were taking prescription drugs regularly. Meanwhile, recent age-adjusted data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control shows that African American women are 2.4 times as likely as their White counterparts to die from diabetes.

Transformative Learning Theory

In the 2000 collection that he edited, Jack Mezirow describes transformative learning (TL) as “a process by which we transform our taken-for-granted habits of mind or frames of reference, to make them more inclusive, discriminating, open, emotionally capable of change and reflective so that they may generate beliefs and opinions that will prove more true or justified to guide action.” In the same volume, Stephen D. Brookfield connects the TL concept of critical reflection to the life experiences

of the co-inquirers from another perspective, describing critical reflection as “a process where individuals engage in some sort of power analysis and try to identify assumptions they hold dear that are actually destroying their sense of well-being and serving the interests of others.” Both of these TL perspectives allowed the women in my study to be in relationship with the ethic in order to fully understand the health and wellness impacts.

Coaching Strong Black Women

Findings from my 2006 study revealed four major themes supporting earlier studies: • Generational Behaviors. Observations from Mother models on how to be strong against all odds. • Treadmill/Constant Striving. The sense of being forever in pursuit of a goal or set of goals. • “I Can Do it by Myself.” A behavior of extreme independence in almost every aspect of life. • Tired. Emotional, mental and physical exhaustion—often all at the same time. All or some of these behaviors may be present in the context of a coaching engagement and may be especially pronounced among African American women senior executives. To a coach, many of these behaviors may appear to be familiar themes that have been presented by other clients with similar behaviors. The key difference is that, for Black women, many of these behaviors are culturally embedded via our enslaved experience, are culturally expected, and are generationally learned and maintained. When the Strong Black Woman ethic announces itself in the coaching engagement, there are

several steps the practitioner can take in line with the ICF Core Competencies: Be present. Coaches can best assist African American women clients by remaining flexible, curious and open to understanding how the ethic may be at play. This requires coaches who honor cultural differences and avoid a one-sizefits-all approach to coaching. Create awareness. Ask powerful questions that provoke critical thinking and opportunities for TL. Questions such as, “How did you learn that behavior?”— which connects to generational behaviors—ask clients to respond in what Mezirow calls a “more inclusive, discriminating, open” manner. Provide options. Give clients the opportunity to make choices that can help them change culturally learned behaviors and take responsibility for greater health and wellness. Three actionoriented options emerged from the Strong Black Woman study: awareness/acceptance, control/ change and balance. Coaches can make clients aware of culturally learned behaviors by asking them to consider the ethic as a possible factor impacting their goal-related behaviors. Often, when given the opportunity to become aware, Black women can accept it as a contributing factor. Once accepted, strategies can be designed to help control and/or change and maintain a balance between healthy and unhealthy Strong Black Woman behaviors. For coaches who provide services primarily to women, being aware of the ethic can enable them to offer African American clients added health and wellness value when the clients’ goals are connected to one or more of these behaviors.

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Emotional Intelligence

Copyright © 2013 Genos Pty Ltd

Ben Palmer, Ph.D. Ben is the founder and CEO of Genos International and creator of the Genos model and measure of emotional intelligence. A widely recognized academic expert on emotional intelligence, he has an extensive publication list in the field. He has received numerous academic awards, including the 2006 Australian Institute of Learning and Development Award for an outstanding contribution to the practice of learning and development. He holds a BAppSci (Hons) and Ph.D. from Swinburne University and is a member of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence. He is currently lecturing at the Sydney Graduate School of Management as co-facilitator of its program on developing human capital. For more information, please email

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Cutting Through the Fluff: Hard Facts About EI and Employee Engagement For coaches who are passionate about the topic of emotional intelligence (EI) and its application, the business case for EI over the last decade has usually coalesced around one of two themes. First, there’s the body of global research that proves when higher levels of EI are present in leaders, salespeople, customer service reps or just about any role within an organization that involves interaction with other people, it results in greater individual effectiveness. Salespeople with higher levels of EI drive more sales than those with lower levels of EI; leaders with higher levels of EI are better at creating the conditions where motivation, inspiration and innovation can flourish. The research and supportive conclusions are abundant in number (for specific examples of this research, visit the EI Consortium website or the knowledge center of our website at Second, and perhaps more important, is the intuitive sense of what is possible when high levels of EI are present in business. Imagine what is possible when individuals— leaders in particular—are self-aware, empathetic, authentic, expansive, resilient, empowering and centered. These seven powerful words (mapped in the above graphic) represent the being states of the emotionally intelligent leader.

However, despite global research, powerful stories and passionate proposals, at times there is still resistance to EI. In business conversations with heads of human resources or learning and development, as well as with business leaders themselves, words used to describe EI still include discretionary, soft, new-age, touchyfeely or, worst of all, fluffy. Often, these comments come from individuals in organizations that most need EI development and bear the greatest competitive risks from ignoring it. Many of these organizations happen to reside in “left-brained” sectors, such as technology, financial services, health care and pharmaceuticals, where rational, technical and logical thinking skills are developed, rewarded and celebrated, but inter- and intrapersonal effectiveness are often relegated to the “nice-to-have” column. Relegated, that is, until productivity levels drop, innovation wanes, key talent is hemorrhaging and, most tellingly, employee engagement levels fall. And it is frequently when some or all of these conditions arise that executive management calls on the services of a coach or consultant.

A Tale of Two Leaders

With these client conditions and resistance to EI as a backdrop, our organization launched a global research study in 2010 to examine the correlation between leaders’ EI and employee engagement. To illustrate the purpose of this study, let’s use an example. Think for a moment about two different leaders: one who frequently demonstrates emotionally intelligent behavior in the workplace, and a second leader who is not aware of, doesn’t value or doesn’t care about

EI and therefore infrequently demonstrates emotionally intelligent behavior. Recall the seven being states of the emotionally intelligent leader. Then, think about a leader who demonstrates low levels of EI and name the leadership qualities or being states you’d associate with that individual instead. (Some words that come to mind might include disconnected, guarded, insensitive, limited, temperamental, indifferent and reactive.) Now, think about the two leaders’ direct reports. Which leader is better equipped to lead, inspire, motivate and ultimately engage his or her team? It doesn’t take a psychometrician with a doctoral degree to guess which leader will be more effective. Our intuition and experiences in business indicate clearly which leader is better equipped to create the conditions where motivation and engagement flourish. Of course, intuition is all well and good. But hard numbers and facts are better—particularly when making the business case for EI to left-brained, rational, logical, technical clients.

A Global Study of EI and Employee Engagement

Genos International’s global research study on EI and engagement commenced in November 2010. The ongoing study, which now includes participating organizations across 3 continents and is growing by the month, is aimed at proving this hypothesis: Leaders who demonstrate high levels of EI in the workplace drive higher levels of employee engagement in the organization as evidenced by the individual engagement levels of their direct reports. The structure of the research is fairly straightforward. Participating

client organizations assess the level of emotionally intelligent behavior of their leaders with our EI multirater assessment. This behaviorbased, multi-rater assessment tool reports self-perception and the perception of individuals who work with leaders, including peers, managers and, most importantly for this research, direct reports. Direct reports evaluate the level of EI demonstrated by their direct managers and complete a supplemental 12-question engagement survey that measures their own level of engagement in three specific facets of employee engagement and specifically the degree to which they: • Praise the organization to others. • Perform above and beyond what is expected of them. • Persist in the face of adversity. Together, these three dimensions of our engagement model (and other engagement models used around the globe) correlate directly with a raft of company performance metrics, including productivity, retention, shareholder return, profitability, employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. Organizations with highly engaged employees outperform their counterparts with low levels of engagement. Employee engagement, like EI, is a wellresearched field with compelling business outcomes. The “hard” nature of these outcomes has captured the attention of business leaders globally, including and especially those in left-brained industry sectors. Correlate EI in leaders with driving employee engagement, and you have a powerful business case for EI. As data continues to accumulate from around the world, it indicates CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE >

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individuals reported themselves as “not engaged” or “actively disengaged”—engagement levels that are particularly problematic for organizations. It’s difficult to help individuals at these lower levels of engagement shift into a state of “engagement.” What’s worse is that many have effectively retired on the job, with zero chance of reengaging.


“Leaders who demonstrate high levels of emotional intelligence ... drive higher levels of employee engagement...” what most of us already intuitively know. A sample of 99 direct reports assessing the EI of 31 senior leaders in one organization showed a positive correlation between the demonstrated EI of those leaders and the employee engagement of their direct reports as follows: Praise the organization = +0.55 correlation Perform above and beyond what is expected = +0.50 correlation Persist in the face of adversity = +0.53 correlation A positive correlation of 0.40 or above represents a strong statistical link between two independent variables. Correlations of between 0.5 and 0.6 suggest that when high levels of EI are present higher levels

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of employee engagement are also present. The above graphic represents an even more compelling translation of this data. Each point on the diagram represents a single direct report, with his or her level of engagement on the vertical axis and perception of the manager’s EI on the horizontal axis. The green horizontal bar represents “engaged” employees, and the yellow, pink and red bars represent various degrees of disengagement (”nearly engaged,” ”not engaged” and ”actively disengaged”). This preliminary data suggests direct reports who assess their supervisors at the 75th percentile or higher are almost uniformly “engaged.” More importantly, none of these

As leaders’ perceived EI drops, levels of self-reported employee engagement begin to drift lower. To what degree does developing the EI of leaders, as a single lever that drives engagement, actually create a better result? The difference between top- and bottomperforming leaders in terms of EI appears to be between 18 and 22 percentage points. In other words, by developing the EI of its leaders as a single engagement driver, an organization could see a lift of 18 to 22 engagement points on a 100-point scale.

From Discretionary to Mission Critical

This study’s results are preliminary. More extensive global research will be published in the coming months about the correlations between the EI of leaders and employee engagement. But the data is clear and compelling—and what was once intuitive is now becoming fact. By developing the EI of their leaders, businesses can boost employee engagement. The next time a potential client says to you that EI is soft, fluffy or discretionary, pull out some hard facts that will help him or her to see EI development in a new and different light.

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The Science of Coaching Work/Life Balance Robert I. Holmes, Th.D., PCC Robert is CEO of Australia’s Frazer Holmes Coaching. He has developed more than 240 hours of ACTP coursework and is the author of six books on leadership, coaching, community and theology. He holds a doctoral degree from Phoenix University of Theology, a business facilitation certificate from Melbourne University of Technology, a graduate diploma in accounting and finance from Macquarie University, and a bachelor of commerce in management sciences and economics from the University of Canberra. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

It is important for our clients to achieve work/life balance because the “life” part of the equation is the support environment for the “work” part. Our clients need to enhance the environment they are coming from in order to cope with the stress they will face at work. Getting this right reduces stress leave, sick leave, turnover and the costs associated with individuals leaving their jobs.


“When focusing in on work/life balance ... keep in mind that stress might be arising from life at home or at work.”

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There are different kinds of stress—some are good, some are neutral and some are bad for us if experienced in the long term. When focusing on work/life balance, coaches also need to keep in mind that stress might be arising from life at home or at work. Research shows that work is a leading cause of stress for adults. Consider that 65 percent of respondents to the American Psychological Association’s 2012 “Stress in America” survey cited work as a significant source of stress in their daily lives. As coaches, however, we know that our clients’ performance and resilience in the workplace are strongly influenced by the goings-on in their non-work lives. It may be helpful to visualize your client’s day as divided into three segments: pre-text, context and recovery. Each of these segments impacts the other two.

Pre-text The pre-text—what happens before the workday begins, including the morning routine and daily commute—plays a major role in determining your client’s work performance. I have found that the single most important element in a client’s pre-text is the home life, and especially the family dynamic. On the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (aka the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale), which measures the stress load carried by an individual, family dynamics account for eight of the top-10 stressors. Techniques clients might use to boost resilience to stress include: • Building role distinction. When at home, clients should make an effort to focus on their identity as partners, spouses and/or

parents instead of bringing work home. • Being fully present at work. Taking personal calls during the workday can decrease resilience to stress. • Maintaining good physical health. Support your clients in planning to eat more healthfully and exercise for at least 30 minutes daily.

Context Take into account how stressful the workplace itself is. Each job is different: Consider that in 2013,’s annual survey of the least- and most-stressful jobs identified university professor and jeweler as two of the lowest-stress professions. On the other end of the spectrum were careers in military service, firefighting and law enforcement. Techniques for improving coping mechanisms include: • Developing boundaries. Clients need to know when to say yes and when to say no. • Recognizing the signs of stress. Coach clients to recognize warning signs of stress, such as increased heart rate, distraction and sweating when stationary. Taking regular breaks or making time for a longer walk during the workday can help keep stress at bay. • Learning mindfulness. Support clients as they learn how to separate self from activity and performance.

Recovery Does your client have a close-knit work group to provide support through tough times? What about a strong support network away from the workplace? Does your client volunteer in the community after-hours? Although

volunteerism can boost positive emotions and decrease stress, this isn’t always the case with more stressful obligations, such as volunteer firefighting or participating in local government. Clients can enhance their ability to bounce back by: • Taking the long way home. Getting some physical and chronological distance from the workplace before arriving home yields dividends in a person’s home and professional life. • Seeking new experiences. Encourage clients to try something new, meet someone new or eat something different. • Unplugging. Setting a technology curfew will help your client “turn off” the workday and ensure more restful, intentional time spent away from the workplace.

Measuring Stress The Social Readjustment Rating Scale (see next page) was developed in the late 1960s by Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe to measure the impact of common, stressful life events on individual health and well-being. The mean value (or life change unit) assigned to each event is based on how traumatic it was perceived to be by a large sample group. An individual’s SRSS total is the cumulative total value of life changes experienced within the last 12 months or expected to be experienced in the near future. If an event has occurred or is expected to occur more than once, its value is multiplied by its frequency. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE >

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Life Change Index Scale (The Stress Test) Event

Impact Score

Death of spouse




Marital separation


Jail term


Death of close family member


Personal injury or illness




Fired at work


Marital reconciliation




Change in health of family member




Sexual difficulties


Gain of a new family member


Business readjustment


Change in financial state


Death of a close friend


Change to a different line of work


Change in number of arguments with spouse


Mortgage over $20,000


Foreclosure of mortgage or loan


Change in responsibilities at work


Son or daughter leaving home


Trouble with in-laws


Outstanding personal achievement


Spouse begins or stops work

My Score


If an event mentioned in the table at left has occurred in the past year, or is expected to occur in the near future, copy the number in the score column. If the event has occurred or is expected to occur more than once, multiply this number by the frequency of the event.


The body is a finely tuned instrument that does not like surprises. Any sudden stimulus which affects the body or reordering of important routines that the body is used to can cause needless stress, throwing your whole physical being into turmoil. The following chart will give you some idea of how to informally score yourself on Social Readjustment Scale. Since being healthy is the optimum state you want to achieve, being sick is the state of being you most want to avoid.


Life Change Units

Likelihood of Illness in Near Future

Begin or end school



about 80%

Change in living conditions



about 50%

Revision of personal habits


less than 150

about 30%

Trouble with boss


Change in work hours or conditions


Change in residence


Change in schools


Change in recreation


Change in church activities


Change in social activities


Mortgage or loan less than $20,000


Change in sleeping habits


Change in number of family get-togethers


Change in eating habits




Major holiday approaching


Minor violation of the law



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The higher your life change score, the harder you have to work to get yourself back into a state of good health. Adapted from Thomas H. Holmes and Richard H. Rahe’s, “The Social Readjustment Rating Scale” (published in 1967 in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research)

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Global Views

“What strategies do you employ to advance your knowledge of the science of coaching?” I have a variety of strategies to advance my knowledge of the science of coaching. The overriding one is maintaining an open mind to all thoughts and ideas that present themselves during my daily life. I always ask myself, “What can I learn from this?” These thoughts and ideas come from a variety of areas, including personal experience. I find that, by assessing how I respond to an experience, I better understand how others may respond. The rest are activities I pursue to gain knowledge and awareness. In working with my own coaches, I am challenged to look at my coaching style, learning from their experience and seeking for them to stretch me. By networking with coaches of various experience levels at ICF Chapter events, I am constantly exposed to different ideas and new awarenesses. I learn there by listening, processing and asking questions. By reading and listening to key coaching figures globally, I am exposed to new approaches, new ideas and new ways of approaching an issue.

Daphna Sharon Horowitz, PCC South Africa

“Just as we assist our clients in stretching themselves and pushing boundaries, we need make sure that we are doing it ourselves as well.”

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Austin Parry, PCC Australia

“...maintaining an open mind to all thoughts and ideas that present themselves during my daily life.”

I believe that as coaches it is our duty to be at the forefront of new thinking and practices relating to the science of coaching. Coaches add value by helping our clients to look deep within themselves, create change and push beyond their comfort zone to achieve results. Just as we assist our clients in stretching themselves and pushing boundaries, we need make sure that we are doing it ourselves as well. Advancing my knowledge in the science of coaching means that I am constantly developing myself in terms of my own learning, knowledge and personal growth. I’ve recently completed a master’s degree related to Leadership Coaching, and I continue to increase my knowledge in different areas related to coaching by keeping in touch with current trends by attending training courses, seminars, webinars and coach networking events. Having a supervisor and keeping my ICF Credential current is part of maintaining professionalism and ensuring that I am accountable to a professional body. My next goal is to achieve my MCC through ICF by year’s end!

May 29-31, 2014 Atlanta, Georgia (USA) The body of knowledge that shapes the coaching profession runs deep, with a diverse set of theories and frameworks contributing to the science of coaching. For coaches who want to set themselves apart in today’s marketplace, deep familiarity with cutting-edge research and the cultivation of an evidence-based practice are musts. Join us for this educational event!

Visit for more information and to register!


Dr. Ben Palmer

Founder & CEO of Genos International and creator of the Genos model and measure of Emotional Intelligence


Margaret Moore

Founder of Wellcoaches School of Coaching and co-founder and co-director of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate

Stephen Hopkins

The Conscious Coach

Chaya Abelsky, MCC Crown Heights, Brooklyn, N.Y.

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A Triumphant Journey At 36 years old, I was a married woman with three children and a stifling career in computer technology. Like many women I know, my life was devoted to taking care of others: my daughters, my son, my husband, friends, parents, nieces and nephews. I didn’t pay much attention to my own needs—or potential. An unexpected conversation with a perceptive young colleague changed my life forever. “Chaya,” she said, “you aren’t happy. You have so much to offer to the world. What would you have to do to create the life you really want to lead?” We could call that conversation a mini-session of coaching. It was a catalyst for a deep fundamental change in me. I began to think about what my dreams really were. How could I bring my buried desires to the surface? This process sparked a whole chain of questions as I looked around at the women in my community, wondering what they might be capable of if they could make the space to explore their own gifts. This exploration led me to my true passion: I decided to become a coach. Eight years later, I feel accomplished as I watch the women I personally coach blossom into their best selves, and I feel nourished as I get to enjoy the chain reactions of the women who are participating in the coaching program I’ve developed and will in turn begin their own coaching practices, empowering others and themselves in the process. ­—Chaya Abelsky, MCC

Are you a conscious coach?

The Coach Questionnaire Number of years coaching: 8 Favorite powerful question: I have many. The favorite powerful question has to be the most profound powerful question in the moment. Favorite quotation: I was raised speaking three languages: Hebrew, Yiddish and English. To quote in Yiddish, my mother tongue, “Tracht gut vet zein gut. Think positively, and you will see positive results.” The concepts of positive thinking, affirmations and positive psychology have significant merits for coaches. Science has shown that just by thinking positively, we can experience positive results. The triumph we discover in the process of the coaching journey begins with this favorite quote! Advice for fellow coaches: My quintessential piece of advice and my own tagline is based on AbrahamHicks’ Law of Attraction: “You attract as good as you are.” Walk your talk by having your own coach; you’ll find the money invested in yourself comes back to you and that your own personal growth is mirrored in your clients and in your coaching business. Most amazingly, as you get past real stuck points in your own life, you’ll hear the same thing happen in your clients.

We want to hear your reflections on professional coaching and what it means to you. Email the story of your coaching journey to to be considered for a future issue of CW. Please aim for a word count of 100-150 words and include a highresolution photo of yourself with your submission.

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“Joining the ICF allowed me to connect with likeminded, heart-centered people... This has created a ripple effect in my clients and business.” —Frederique Morris (Australia)


ACHIEVE MORE WITH THE ICF IN 2014 Gain instant credibility and become part of the largest community of professionally trained coaches by becoming a member of the International Coach Federation.

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