Saturday, May 17, 2008

What is Coaching?

I am often asked what is coaching? How does it work? How can it help me? There are several articles and places to find the information but I found this article that explained all these questions very well. I was first introduce to coach by Anthony Grant. He's positive outlook on people convinced me of the posibilities of individuals. This article was published on the Coaches Plus web site.

What is Coaching?
publication date: Apr 22, 2008

author/source: Coaches Plus

Coaching is a partnership between a coach and an individual that supports the achievement of results, based on goals set by the individual.

The individual chooses the focus of the ‘conversation’, while the coach listens and contributes observations and questions as well as concepts and principles which can assist in generating possibilities, potential and actions. Coaching can be seen as a collaborative process in which clients discover answers for themselves through the coach’s use of questions. Through the coaching process the clarity that is needed to support the most effective actions is achieved.
Coaches are trained to listen, to observe and to customize their approach to individual client needs. They seek to elicit solutions and strategies from the client; they believe the client is naturally creative and resourceful.

Coaching presupposes that and it is not the coach’s responsibility to ‘fix’ the client. The client is an expert on themselves and the skill of the coach, and their role, is in allowing the person to come up with their own solutions. This doesn’t mean that the coach brings nothing to the relationship – they have knowledge based theory, methods, exercises and questions that help the person move forwards. Nevertheless, the coach’s skills are based around processes, not solutions.

In essence, coaching has two main facets. First it is performance focused, which means it is concerned with helping individuals perform tasks to the best of their ability. Second, it is person-centred, which means that the individuals being coached are seen to have the important insights.

Coaching is:

  • an equal partnership of trust between the coach and the person being coached.
  • involves ‘conversation’ rather than advice giving, discipline, or therapy.
  • built on client accountability
  • results orientated
  • is a fairly short-term activity and time bound
  • consists of one-to-one developmental discussions or whole team/group sessions in team/group coaching – these can take place face-to-face, or over the telephone and can be supported by online interaction
  • focuses on improving performance and/or developing/enhancing individuals’ skills.
  • works on the belief that clients are self-aware and do not require a clinical intervention.
  • focuses on current and future performance/behaviour rather than the past
    a skilled activity.

Descriptions used by some of the major coaching bodies and authors on coaching include:

International Coach Federation “Coaching is an interactive process that helps individuals and organisations to develop more rapidly and produce more satisfying results. Coaches work with clients in all areas including business, career, finances, health and relationships. As a result of coaching, clients set better goals, take more action, make better decisions, and more fully use their natural strengths.”

Sir John Whitmore, author of Coaching for Performance “..unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”

Anthony Grant, University of Sydney, 2000 “….a collaborative solution-focused, results-orientated and systematic process in which the coach facilitates the enhancement of work performance, life experience, self-directed learning and personal growth of the coachee.”


-Assist people to identify specific goals and then reach those goals faster and with ease.
-Provide clients with the tools, perspective and structure to accomplish more through a process of accountability.
-Reframe beliefs and create a point of focus for clients to reflect upon"

Types of Coaching
Coaches can be directly employed by an organisation to coach or have coaching embedded in their role as a manager or Human Resources professiona. (Intermal Coaches). Alternatively, they can be contracted by organisations or individuals to deliver coaching (External Coaches).

Coaches can also specialise in particular types of coaching – some examples include:

Business Coaching
Provided to employees as a professional or personal development tool, or to small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Career Coaching
Provided to employees or individuals who are looking to make a career change, or those who are facing redeployment or are experiencing redundancy.

Executive or Leadership Coaching
Often provided to high flyers or those with the potential to be a high flyer – at CEO or board level.

Performance Coaching
Often provided to managers in order to improver performance and productivity.

Skills Coaching
Tailored to the individual and focused on the individual being able to perform specific well-defined functions effectively. Examples include public speaking, team working, interpersonal skills, and decision making.

Personal or Life Coaching
Working with individuals who want to make some form of significant change happen in their lives, Personal or Life Coaches assist their clients by offering support and challenge based on their individual context. Here a key role of the coach is assisting the client to maintain the motivation and commitment needed to achieve their goals.

Coaches can also specialise in working with particular clients – for example - in:
Relationship Coaching
Parent Coaching

Youth Coaching
Group or Team Coaching
Retirement Coaching etc.

Author: © Sonia Thomas, April 2008
Coaches Plus http://www.coachesplus.comfind/
Find more coaching resources at http://www.coachesplus.comfind/
Terms of Use: You may use this resource, with clients or to inform your practice, as long as you reproduce the information in this box with it, to acknowledge its origin. Please note that you may not sell this resource to clients or customers. You can publish this resource on your website - if you reproduce this box.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Predictable Role Confusion in Step

This article comes from Stepfamily Foundation and was written by Jeannette Lofas and Trisha O'Shea. Both have been in steprelationships and are very involved in making a difference in stepfamily living.

Dr. Lofas is the founder of Stepfamily Foundation. For more information on her and her organization, go to

Roles – What Works and What Doesn’t Work

by Jeannette Lofas and Trisha O’Shea

1) Biological Father


The greatest curse that awaits the biological father after divorce and/or in a re-coupled situation is that he puts aside his job of being a father/guide/leader to his children. Instead he tends to not discipline his children, instead trying to win their favor by overindulging, becoming a “Disneyland Dad.” He doesn’t heed the complaints about his parenting from his current partner. This is a naturally occurring phenomenon for those parents who have divorced and/or remarried.
“I feel so bad, so guilty for leaving those children with her.
I see the kids so little. Sure, sometimes they’re fresh to me…
but I don’t want to use our time together to discipline them.
I want to be their friend. Their mom poisons their minds against me and my partner.
Sure, I let them stay up late….
They watch TV while my partner and I cook and clean up.
I don’t make them do anything that they don’t want to do.
When they come to visit, my partner and I go over the house rules we have created with them.”


“It’s my job as a father to teach them what a father should teach, such as the rules of sports, how to win and loose in good spirit, how to treat women with respect, and certainly to treat me with respect. I intend to be a role model they will look up to.
We have created rituals with them, like a bedtime ritual and the forms and norms of our family meals together. These rituals allow for us to bond in the short time we have together. They have duties and responsibilities which I enforce.”

2) Biological Mother


Remember there are no ex-parents, there are only ex-spouses. The mother teaches the child how to get along in the world; manners, responsibility, etc.


Too many divorced mothers focus their attentions towards becoming “friends” with their child. Many times the mother will do all the chores and take on all the responsibility, while little is expected of the child(ren), again the phenomenon of diminished parenting post-divorce. Often the mother is otherwise directed to working on her career and seeking a new man in her life, so her attention is directed away from her child.

Tip: Biological parents are often moved to a dysfunctional role due to the shame and guilt that occurs naturally after divorce. They must grapple with this phenomenon and still work to continue their job as parent. An additionally accepted phenomenon in our society is to bad-mouth your ex, the other parent of your child. Don’t do it! In so doing, you divide the child’s loyalties and cause diminishment or the lessening of self esteem in a child. Parents must never stop parenting.

3) Stepmother


She may come on with caring, wanting the house to run well, and giving the children responsibilities; but if she has no agreement with the father, her efforts may propel her into the role of “stepmother monster.”


A stepmother is never the “mother,” she knows that the words mother and father are sacred words for a child, and must be regarded as such. She holds her urge to discipline and take charge. She knows that is the clear route to becoming the “cruel” stepmother. She knows she must work out rules and responsibilities together with the biological father. The stepmother knows that her primary role in this family is as partner, and female head of the household. To achieve this, she works hard to draw up an agreement with her partner, the father, and together the house rules, chores, and expected manners. This takes work! She knows that this takes work, and without this work, the stepfamily is seldom successful.

4) Stepfather


The stepfather to see a mother and child in need of a man, and a man’s sense of order and the way things “should be.” Sometimes he comes on way too strong, or he withdraws when the children or his partner does not agree with him.


The stepfather learns to go slow! He learns the dynamics of step; that predictable behavior in this new family not so easy”. He knows that building couple strength and communication is vital to achieving success. He knows he must learn all he can about building good couple strength and communication to achieve it. Like the stepmother, he must come to an agreement with his partner on boundaries, rules of behavior and responsibilities are expected by children and of each other.

Tip: Unlike the biological family, the stepfamily is not born, it is created. Disputes over discipline, manners and expectations of children are high ranking in cause of break up. These issues must be addressed ASAP. To succeed, the rules of the house must be carefully defined by the couple in a positive voice and then written and posted for all to see. Then the stepmother/father is able to say, “Your father/mother and I have decided that in this house we…”
Whenever possible, the biological parent disciplines, and the stepparent says “in this house we…”

5) In-House Biological Child


Often the child says…“You are there, where my mom or dad should be…I don’t want you there, I want to disappear you… (I want my family back).” The child may also act out against the stepparent, by trying to dominate and move in on the space of the new couple, demanding the attention of the biological parent. “My dad left me and now my mom is with him…and I have no one. Mom/Dad pays more attention to him/her than to me.” The child may not do well at school or with friends, “I was here with my parent way before you were, and you are taking my parent away from me.” Often, the child isn’t even consciously aware of his or her actions. (I’m 10, I like to sit on my daddy’s lap and cuddle…and She doesn’t like it. I feel left out.” These words and actions are classic for the child living with a parent and a parent’s new partner.


Parents acknowledge that the new situation is hard on the child, and refrain from allowing the child to dominate the home and relationship. Parents explain with words the child understands, and in positives of why mom and dad will not be together again. They are told by the parent “I need a grownup in my life. I love you, and I expect you to abide by the new rules that we will set up for this family as it is now.”

6) Biological Child who Visits


“I don’t even know her, but I just don’t like her (him)…she bosses my dad around.” Often parents don’t make rules for the visiting child. As a result, the child doesn’t know what is expected or what their role is. Most parents don’t explain to the child what their expectations are, leaving the child even more confused about his position in the new stepfamily.


Parents carefully explain the rules of this home, and what is expected of the child. Parents must avoid the natural tendency to make the child the center of attention, by overindulge them since they see them only four days a month. forget to catch the child doing something “good,” remember there are positive and negative consequences to the visiting child’s behavior! Parents are always parents, not just playmates, and they are certainly not peers.

Tip: Realize that children of divorce have a tendency to bring the absent biological parent (the prior spouse), into the household by talking about her/him. Parent and stepparent need to graciously accept this behavior; the more you accept it, the less it will become. These are classic dynamics, and normal feelings. Remember, as a nation of divorce and as adults we must accept the child’s natural desire to want to include their missing biological parent. It is important for them to understand the confusing and often complex dynamics of stepfamilies. Parents must explain these dynamics to them. Also, no matter what their age, children must be respectful to the adults in their life

7) Biological Child of the Nuclear Family


Parents must be careful to keep expectations, manners and gifts on par with the stepchildren in the home and those who visit. Also, watch over what grandma and grandpa does when favoring the biological child.

I’m so lucky! I live here and don’t have to go back and forth like the other kids. My parents are together and I think they love me best.”

8) Female Ex-Spouse

Usually the custodial parent, she must be recognized as the main influence in the children’s lives. Often, her standard of living decreases dramatically after divorce, taking her into a place of fear and anger. She may be feeling alone, other-directed with a new job, and/or looking for a partner. Often, no matter how hard her ex-husband tries, she finds she is angry with him. She never thought being divorced would be this difficult.

9) Male Ex-Spouse

Very often he is in a household with a new partner and her children, doing for them what he is too limited to do for his own children. Often he withdraws from his partners children, feeling resentment towards them, as he’s only able to see his own every other weekend.

N.B. Regarding ex’s, nothing would make us happier than parents being civil, conversing about the child and showing respect for each other, especially upon pick-up and delivery. Sadly this is not the case in over 70% of divorces. It is the child who suffers when his parents don’t treat each other with respect and good manners.

10) Grandparents

Grandparents must be careful to treat all children the same way. Once a guiding force in the lives of their children and grandchildren, in our society of divorce today, they seemed to have pulled back, feeling as if they shouldn’t interfere in the tenuous and fragile new relationships post-divorce.
We urge grandparents to take their rightful place in the family and to mark for their sons and daughters and grandchildren the greater decades of experience they possess, and with that wisdom they have to share. Grandparents are to be respected.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Enjoying your day on Mother's Day

Women are nurturers by nature. We often are very busy taking care of our children, our partner, and friends. We are out there doing something to help out at school, at work or in the community. But how often do you sit down and say " Wow, I need to take care of myself". We don't do it enough. We even wait until we get frustated or upset. This Mother's Day, give yourself the gift of giving yourself some time to take care of yourself. Sure, you may have the children prepare you a nice card, have your partner take you out for brunch or even cook something for dinner. But what about yourself? What have you done for you? Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

1. Take the time to be by yourself and read a book. The house will not fall to pieces during that time.

2. Take a nice long bubble bath with some soothing music. Bring your favorite beverage while you're in there and enjoy. Put a "Do Not Disturb" sign outside the door.

3. Go for a nice manicure and if you can splurge, go for the pedicure too. It will make you feel a little more special!

4. How about a nice massage. This is one of my personal favorite thing that will really take care of me and my spirit.

5. Meditate for an hour. This replenishes you as a person.

I am often reminded of the importance of taking care of myself whenever I take the plane. They remind us to put our oxygen mask on first and then assist others. Taking care of yourself is doing exactly the same thing. It gives you the energy and willingness to continue to be the great Mom everyone sees you as.

Have a great Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Law of the Garbage Truck

The Law of the Garbage Truck™
Copyright 2007 David J. Pollay

How often do you let other people’s nonsense change your mood? Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day? Unless you’re the Terminator, you’re probably set back on your heels. However, the mark of your success is how quickly you can refocus on what’s important in your life.

Sixteen years ago I learned this lesson. And I learned it in the back of a New York City taxi cab. Here’s what happened.

I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station. We were driving in the right lane when all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, the car skidded, the tires squealed, and at the very last moment our car stopped just one inch from the other car’s back-end.

I couldn’t believe it. But then I couldn’t believe what happened next. The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started yelling bad words at us. How do I know? Ask any New Yorker, some words in New York come with a special face. And he even threw in a one finger salute! I couldn’t believe it!

But then here’s what really blew me away. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was friendly. So, I said, “Why did you just do that!? This guy could have killed us!” And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, “The Law of the Garbage Truck™.” He said:

"Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they look for a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you.

So when someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Believe me. You’ll be happier."
So I started thinking, how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me? And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the street? It was then that I said, “I don’t want their garbage and I’m not going to spread it anymore.”

I began to see Garbage Trucks. Like in the movie “The Sixth Sense,” the little boy said, “I see Dead People.” Well now “I see Garbage Trucks.” I see the load they’re carrying. I see them coming to dump it. And like my taxi driver, I don’t take it personally; I just smile, wave, wish them well, and I move on.

One of my favorite football players of all time was Walter Payton. Every day on the football field, after being tackled, he would jump up as quickly as he hit the ground. He never dwelled on a hit. Payton was ready to make the next play his best. Over the years the best players from around the world in every sport have played this way: Tiger Woods, Nadia Comaneci, Muhammad Ali, Bjorn Borg, Chris Evert, Michael Jordan, Jackie Robinson, and Pele are just some of those players. And the most inspiring leaders have lived this way: Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King.

See, Roy Baumeister, a psychology researcher from the University of Florida, found in his extensive research that you remember bad things more often than good things in your life. You store the bad memories more easily, and you recall them more frequently.

So the odds are against you when a Garbage Truck comes your way. But when you follow The Law of the Garbage Truck™, you take back control of your life. You make room for the good by letting go of the bad.

The best leaders know that they have to be ready for their next meeting. The best sales people know that they have to be ready for their next client. And the best parents know that they have to be ready to welcome their children home from school with hugs and kisses, no matter how many garbage trucks they might have faced that day. All of us know that we have to be fully present, and at our best for the people we care about.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let Garbage Trucks take over their life.

What about you? What would happen in your life, starting today, if you let more garbage trucks pass you by?

Here’s my bet: You’ll be happier.

David J. Pollay is the author of “Beware of Garbage Trucks!™ - The Law of the Garbage Truck™. Visit to join the No Garbage Trucks! Revolution. His book, The Law of the Garbage Truck™, is due out this summer. Mr. Pollay is a syndicated columnist with North Star Writers Group, creator and host of “The Happiness Answer™” television program, an internationally sought after speaker and seminar leader, and the founder and president of

Posted with permittion from David J. Pollay, author of "Beward of Garbage Trucks!™"