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Snow Days and Life Tune-ups

Snow days provide a wonderful opportunity to pause and reflect in life.  Whether you’re held up in a hotel or hunkered down at home with family while the world outside is brought to its knees by Mother Nature, the best thing to do is to utilize it!  So on this fine Ontario Snow Day, I’d like to suggest that you take some time now to reflect, re-assess and re-align your direction.  I call it a life tune-up!

Here are some ways to do that:

  • What course correction is needed in my life right now?  Based on all the new information and experiences and learning since you took a pause and reflected on things last, what needs to change to make sure you are tracking on target once again?  A full review of all areas of your life is in order once in a while to identify adjustments that might be needed on the plan.
  • Where have I stopped honouring my boundaries (that is, my values and beliefs)?  As time goes on, sometimes we let our boundaries slide, and then we find ourselves in a situation that is uncomfortable, frustrating or downright ugly.  Often this is a direct result of not honouring our own boundaries.  Now is a great time to ask, “where did I say ‘yes’ when I should have said ‘no’?” and, “what truth of mine do I need to communicate in order to honour my self?”.  And example might be, “I am not willing to be around people who
  • What do I want?  So often we forget how to allow our ‘wanter’ to be activated, by believing something unattainable, too much work, or a pipe dream.  But every now and then it’s good to let those lost dreams bubble up, to play with them and adjust them until we gain some new clarity about that positive future outcome that we’d just love to create.  So pause and ask yourself, “what do I really want? really?”
  • What’s the first step I need to take? Backtracking from that exciting dream or goal, what are the milestones that need to occur back to now?  It’s far easier to figure out the immediate next step if we work backwards from the final outcome and identify the milestones needed to be achieved back to the present.
  • What’s holding me back?  Really, what’s getting in the way?  What gets me stuck?  And what support do I need to get through or around the obstacle to get back on track? Sometimes the thing that’s in the way is removed simply in the process of identifying it.  Other times, some work is required to uncover the root cause and to devise a solution.

So I hope you enjoy this break from the routine, even if it only afforded you a remote work situation for the day.  And I wish you all the best as you re-align your life towards more of what matters most and more enjoyment and success.

How do you keep you life on track?  Please share!

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What to Look for When Hiring a Coach


There are many reasons why people hire a coach, and we covered several in our blog post titled Why work with a coach?.

If you have never worked with a coach before, it’s worthwhile to give some thought as to what you want your selection criteria to be. The quality of the relationship between coach and client is a key success component – the level of trust between both, and how “safe” the conversation feels to both is crucial in

Here are a few questions you should ask when searching for a coach:

1.      How much experience does your coach have in their work? What relevant or interesting pre-coaching career experience that the coach have that may interest you?

2.      What training have they taken? Are they certified and/or credentialed by a reputable training organization?

3.      Are they a member or the International Coach Federation (ICF)? The ICF is the governing body of professional coaches, so members of the ICF are governed by professional practice and ethics guidelines. This is an important point.

4.      Are they a full time coach? These day many people “borrow” the name coach, but they might actually work in other areas, or are trainers or facilitators.

5.      Do they meet with you in person or by telephone/email? Find out the price difference in case they offer both options.

6.      If your prospective coach offers a free practise session, take them up on it. Look for level of ease in the conversation flow, professionalism, rapport between you, and listening skills (who talks more, the coach or you? It should be you!|). Also: A real professional does not need to do a hard sell!

7.      What is your budget? More experienced coaches typically charge more than junior coaches – but there are a number of trade-off’s to offset the price differential that come with more experience and training.

Finally, you need to know that working with a coach is most often an enjoyable, rewarding, enriching and often life changing growth experience. Who else focuses entirely on you in any of your conversations, with no other agenda other than to have YOU be successful – however YOU define success for yourself? Listen to your gut when you are ready to make the final decision – it is almost never wrong. Integra Leadership keeps in touch with numerous coaches with various skill sets and background experience, so there is always a choice for you. You will know when you have found the right person.

For those of you who have searched a coach before, what did you find?

Do you have additional selection criteria to add? Let us know – let’s add to the list!

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Why Work with a Coach?

The coaching profession has grown tremendously in the last few years – worldwide revenue produced by coaching was $1.5 billion (USD) per year in 2009.  According to a 2009 ICF research study, the top areas where clients felt the “overall positive impacts of coaching” were:

  • Self-esteem/self-confidence
  • Relationships
  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skill
  • Work performance
  • Work/life balance

So when does it make sense to hire a coach?

Here are the top 10 reasons we see people retaining coaching services:

1.      You feel stuck and want help finding direction to move forward purposefully. A coach will help you get clear on your goals, identify your obstacles and help you overcome them.

2.      You have leveled out in your career, or you are put into a new position demanding different competencies from you, and you want to prepare yourself for the next level of success. Retaining coaching services, sometimes with involvement of your supervisor, is an effective way to advance professionally.

3.      You have learned something new and want help implementing it effectively. A coach will support you by designing strategies for application to deepen the learning.

4.      You are unhappy with certain interactions with people at work or at home, and you are stressed by the conflict you need to manage. A coach helps you identify underlying issues, develop helpful perspectives, and helps you find and execute options to deal with the issues at hand.

5.      You are so busy and stressed that you cannot see the forest for the trees. A coach helps you identify priorities, and supports you in planning for more effective time management.

6.      You are bored and uninspired, maybe even resentful of certain areas in your life. A coach can help you find your areas of passion so you can return to living with positivity and purpose.

7.      Your family or relationship is in a state of change or crisis, causing stress and anxiety. Hiring a coach for you, the family or a couple, will alleviate the stress by involving a neutral third person to take the heat out of the discussions. Your coach helps to identify the key issues as well as core goals for everyone, and then helps everyone reach their goals.

8.      You have a goal but want help getting there. A coach focuses you, acts as a cheerleader and a sounding board and reality check, holds you accountable and celebrates interim results with you until you reach your destination.

9.      You are successful in your career but your personal style often leads to negative interactions or results. You feel you have blind spots you want to explore and manage. Your coach will act as a confidential critic, helping you understand what behaviors, conscious or unconscious, are preventing you from reaching your objectives. You will practice new more effective behaviors and approaches.

10.  You are new in your position, and you feel lack of confidence, confusion and overwhelm. Your coach helps you transition into the new role by identifying patterns to adopt and those to leave behind. You will also work on designing effective new relationships to support your new role.

If you find yourself anywhere in those 10 scenarios, get in touch with us and we will discuss how we can help. Or forward this blog to someone who might be looking for some support.

So – have you worked with a coach before? What was it like? What worked for you, and what didn’t?

If you are thinking of retaining a coach,and you want tips on how to look for a coach that suits your style and needs, read our blog post on What to look for when you hire a Coach.

“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” Albert Einstein

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The Corporate Valentine

It is here again – Valentine’s Day! Roses, chocolate, intimate dinners, handholding, gazing into each others eyes – it is so wonderful to connect at this intimate level with a loved one. It really is a little piece of paradise – a cloud of wonder and delicious bliss that surrounds us at that moment.
Ok – so you are at work, and you don’t have a loved one to share a moment like that with. No reason to cry the blues, because here is the good news…you are ALWAYS in relationship, whether you have a lover or not. If you are at work, you are certainly in relationship with a number of people and concepts. Booooring – you say. No romance here. Well yes, abstaining from office romance may be a good thing – depending on your corporate etiquette.
What I am talking about is taking a close look at relationships around your place of work.

First, what are the relationships like with the people at work? What about your business partner? How would it be if just for today, you brought a little more of YOU to those people…what if you showed up with a side of you that your colleagues don’t know and would really enjoy? You just may give opportunity to some transformation to a relationship. All relationships are work in progress – any positive input you provide will generate a positive return – whether you see immediate rewards or not.

Secondly, let’s look at your relationship with the work you do. What kind of leadership are you exercising over the way you manage your job? Is what you are doing congruent with what you want to be doing? Where are you in default mode? What results might you achieve if you were intentional about those areas? Effective leadership, personal or managerial, means self-awareness and a measure of control. Look closely at why you chose the work you do, and how you feel about it currently. Analyze the gap.

Last but not least, how is your relationship to your employer – the firm or corporation that you trade your waking hours with for pay? How committed are you to their goals and strategies? When you contemplate that question, do you feel blah, or are you energized by reconnecting with their core business mission? What is it costing you and the firm to have you feel the way you do? What would it take to improve this?

How engaged you are at work every day is based on your overall commitment to the company and/or its people. Engagement has so very much to do with commitment – and every solid, successful and profitable relationship has commitment right at the very core. As corporate coaches we see how people’s business relationships can be rescued from a downward spiral, once they are addressed. Maybe you don’t feel much commitment at all towards your employer or the people you work with – there is much information there as well. You always have the relationship with your Self. What are YOU committed to? What do YOU stand for? What are the “Must Have’s” in your life?

Today, on Valentine’s Day, go and indulge a relationship – have some fun, show up with a hidden side of you, and transform someone’s day, as well as your own. That is a surefire way to have a Happy Valentine’s Day, no matter where you are.

“The true voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

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Revisiting the New Years Resolution – 3 Steps to make it happen

Here we are almost at the end of January. What’s happening to your New Years’ Resolution? If you are like me, you have started it with some success, but the resolve is waning. Things come up … old habits creep in … I am definitely not defending my new routine with enough fervor. Yikes! The “old” reality is taking over, before the “new” one has had a chance to get established. Why do we permit for this to happen time and again? No matter. Enough of the pity party. Let’s get back on the proverbial horse and focus on the resolution we made for this year.

I believe the secret lies in the concept of “preparation”. (Right now I am clearly suffering from lack thereof.) Preparation means staking out the terrain that leads to our goal. What and who is involved in the successful achievement of my goal? Today, let’s focus on the “who”.

Most parts of our lives are connected to other people. Ergo, other people are also interconnected with our goals. It is a matter of involving these key people, and identifying what may keep us from involving them. We need to have conversations. Are we afraid of embarrassment? Shy? Or maybe there are unresolved issues that keep us from talking to someone? Even fairly simple changes in routine can lead to conflict and frustration when we don’t have clear buy-in from those who are intertwined with our routines.
So, here are 3 steps towards a successful New Year’s Resolution.

Step 1: Identify the parties on your path.

  • What are the main causes of your procrastination?
  • Who is the person/people involved with that cause?
  • Who is presently an obstacle in the achievement of your goal?
  • Who are the key people that can support you in reaching your goal?

Step 2: Assess Roles and Level of Involvement.

  • What do you need from the person to support you?
  • How might enrolling them affect your relationship?
  • Who might you enrol instead of the ones who refuse or don’t participate?

Step 3: Preparing for the Conversation

  • Check for any assumptions you are making about the person, and consider assumptions they may have about you.
  • What might they need from you in order to support you? What are you willing to offer?
  • What happens when they do/don’t support you? What is your best alternative?
  • Be clear on the ideal outcome of the conversation. How do you effectively communicate your message with this person? Be clear on what the 2nd best outcome is.

Success may hit us as a surprise some of the time – but it’s rare. Mostly it takes many little steps – many little conversations – strategic involvement of various people and stakeholders, to reach a goal.

So, now that I’ve convinced myself of all this I need to clear my calendar to have some very important conversations! Let me know how your journey towards your New Years Resolutions is coming!

Integral Insight…

“A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.” (Harvey Mackay)

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