Celebrate International Coaching Week
- POSTED ON MAY 16, 2021
Every May, the International Coaching Federation promotes International Coaching Week as a weeklong celebration of our profession. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Defying Challenging Times,” so let’s extend the positive benefits of coaching out into the world to help us recover from these challenging times.
International Coaching Week, 7-Day Plan: Amplify the Benefits of Coaching Skills in Your Daily Life
This 7-day plan is designed for coaches in celebration of our profession and to amplify the benefits of coaching. Adapting your daily routine this week will help you take coaching skills to the wider population and become an even more positive force in the world—especially in these trying times.
Monday: Acknowledge Others
Start the week by practicing the skill of acknowledgment. It does not have to be grandiose. Whether you are sitting around your kitchen table with your family or on a Zoom call with your colleagues, take some time to really see the people in your life and acknowledge who they are and what they are up to in the world.
Many people confuse the practice of acknowledgement with praise. Praise can have a wonderful impact as well, but for coaching week, focus on sharpening the skill of acknowledgment.
Here’s a key difference. Praise focuses on what people do and how they make you feel. For example, “Great work on launching that initiative. I was excited to see the exceptional results” is a compliment. An acknowledgement focuses on who that person was being and highlights what you see is their inner character and strength so that they feel truly seen. An example of an acknowledgement would sound like this: “For the last two weeks you poured your heart and soul into that initiative. I can see how fiercely committed you are to the business and our success.”
The skill of acknowledgement is a valuable one that we, as coaches, use constantly. Acknowledging others draws attention to the important characteristics of a person so they can focus on continuing to grow that part of themselves.
From an organizational standpoint, a company culture that is rich in acknowledgement also improves employee engagement. Research shows that companies with higher employee engagement can be up to 21% more profitable.
Acknowledge the people around you today, and watch how the practice helps them gain more access to their own internal strengths.
Tuesday: Use Your Intuition
Intuition is a powerful Co-Active coaching competency. But out in the real world, people tend to ignore their intuition. Since intuition is a gut feeling, and often there is no observable evidence to point to, it is hard to explain.
While all that is true, intuition is a valid source of information. Research from the University of Leeds found that intuition is a very real psychological process where our brain uses past experiences, internal cues and the environment to make complex plans and difficult decisions. The information is processed so quickly in our body that it doesn’t register on a conscious level.
One of the most effective times to tune into your intuition is when you hit a roadblock or feel stuck in some aspect of your work or life. You may have tried all the reliable approaches to solving the issue but none of them are having the results you want. It’s those times in particular when intuition can be your source of inspiration and provide the clarity you need to propel you forward.
Today, pay attention to the thing that’s stuck or moving in the wrong direction. Relax and observe the stuck-ness of it. Feel into it and pay attention to your inner knowing of the situation.
Here are some scripts you can try using to start articulating your intuition:
- My instincts tell me...
- I have a feeling that...
- I wonder if...
- I have a hunch that...
- I’m sensing that...
Wednesday: Listen Deeply
As coaches, we have fine-tuned the art of listening. Deep, global listening combined with curiosity in coaching is what opens the door for all the important observations, acknowledgements, and powerful questions that lead to growth and transformation.
In a recent blog post, we elaborated on how practicing listening at level 3, especially with people whose faces are hidden behind a medical mask, is a transformational way to create intimacy, connection, and love in a world that is overcoming such a challenging time.
Today, in honor of coaching week, let’s make a concerted effort to take our listening superpowers beyond the coaching session and out into our world.
What methods do you use to deepen your listening in everyday life?
Thursday: Seek Connection
Connection. This is a biggie. Finding connection these days is such a trending topic. This past year has taught us so much about what it’s like when connection is lost and how to create connection in the face of physically distancing.
In fact, many people have stopped connecting all together—putting it on hold until it’s safe to be together again in person. Our ability to connect as a community has been completely transformed in the face of strict regulations around in-person gatherings. Our birthdays, funerals, holidays, weddings, and extracurricular activities often fall short on the connection spectrum. Yet feeling connected with and supported by others is something we long for and need.
During coaching week, let’s do everything in our power to use our coaching skills to amplify the amount of connection we create in the world around us. Pull out all the skills from your toolkit. Global listening, curiosity, acknowledgment, intuition, and designed alliance—all these skills help foster relationship and build connection.
Friday: Be Curious
It’s surprising how many people are not in touch their curiosity—perhaps because the expectation out in the world is for you to know and have all the answers. And if you already know the answer, then curiosity is not needed.
But often, we think we have the answer when we do not. We make all kinds of assumptions every day that are flat out wrong. It is especially evident in close relationships. Take, for example, a couple who has been married for five years. There is an expectation in the world that when you love someone, you know them better than they know themselves. And so, you make all kinds of assumptions about that person based on who they have been for the past five years. But people are constantly changing—evolving their perspectives and shifting their beliefs based on every life experience they have.
Also, consider a time when someone made assumptions about you—and how that made you feel. It is not a great feeling to be metaphorically trapped in a box.
As coaches, we stand in the context of curiosity to ensure we don’t trap our coachee in any kind of box. Let’s expand this curiosity out into the world beyond coaching.
Today, in celebration of coaching week, practice indulging your curiosity with everyone in your life. Open your heart and ask questions without any assumptions or clue about what the answer will be. Listen for the answer and see what new curiosity will unfold.
An article published by the University of Berkeley talks about how curiosity promotes psychological, emotional, social, and even health benefits. So, make it your goal this week to help others tune into their own curiosity.
Saturday: Embrace Failure
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”—Thomas A. Edison
Failures are part of life. We all make mistakes; it is what makes us human. Failures are also a critical point in almost every journey toward success. Coaching does an amazing job of using failures as an opportunity for learning and development.
Yes, fear of failure is a very real thing. Everyone worries they will be judged in the face of failure. As coaches, we need to remind others that every failure is a gift and help our coachees mine those experiences for meaningful insights and growth opportunities.
What are some of the tools you use in your daily life to create from failure and turn losses into lessons? We’d love to have you share in the comment section below.
Sunday: Design Your Relationships
In Co-Active coaching, we don’t take relationship for granted. We consciously design it at the beginning of any initiative or engagement, and we call it a designed alliance.
The Designed Alliance looks at questions like these: What’s needed for the two of us to work together effectively? What might go wrong with us during this engagement? How are we likely to respond to one another when things go wrong? What do we need from one another to ensure our relationship comes first?
Designing an alliance helps each person know each other’s intentions, expectations, fears, and actions, so you’re both aligned around how you’ll both “be and do” during the event, making you both more empowered and conscious.
In coaching, we design the alliance at the beginning of every coaching session. But designing an alliance can be part of any initiative.
- Parents can design alliances with their kids at the start of a vacation.
- Spouses can design an alliance around buying a house or doing renovations.
- Colleagues can design and alliance before an important presentation or meeting.
The good news is, designing an alliance is simple and can take as little as 5 minutes. Just ask yourselves the questions at the start of this section, and you’ll be on your way.
Today, in celebration of coaching week, choose a non-coaching relationship to mentor and practice your alliance designing skills.
We would love to hear more about YOUR daily practices. What is missing here?
Please let us know here in the comments, and Happy International Coaching Week!