Let’s Agree on What Agreements Mean

Agreements.

Do they bring to mind any of these thoughts?

“Don’t fence me in! … I don’t want to have to comply … I better get it right or I’m in trouble … I feel guilty because I didn’t do what I said I’d do!”  🙁

Why do we not always jump in and make agreements?

Maybe: We are afraid that what we want isn’t what the other wants.
Consider: This assumes that the two of you won’t be able to find creative options, alternatives, and solutions. This is an invitation to get creative!

Maybe: We don’t want to be held accountable or hold the other person accountable.
Consider: Do your agreements involve creating situations that you truly want?

Maybe: We don’t want to feel guilty if we don’t follow through.
Consider: How about giving yourself a dose of self-compassion when you don’t follow through? Welcome to the human race.

Maybe: We forget to be intentional.
Consider: Create tiny habits that help you be intentional. For example, as you pass from one meeting to the next, pause to take a breath and ask, what are our intentions for our time together?

Agreements are Good

So if you have any hesitations or negative feelings about agreements, consider associating them with positive meaning, such as:

  • Agreements help our brains to focus on what we want.
  • Agreements give us healthy boundaries.
  • Agreements are positive intentions in action.
  • Agreements lend us a sense of what to expect.
  • Agreements add a layer of psychological safety.
  • Agreements are ways of expressing respect to one another.
  • Agreements can and should be re-aligned when they aren’t working.
  • Agreements, when not met, are invitations to connect and co-create with our fellow human beings

What kind of agreements would you like to make with yourself?

What kind of agreements would you like to make with others?

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Conscious Coaching

Transformation. It’s a big word. For many, it conjures up the thought of “having” to do something difficult, such as change longstanding behaviors or beliefs. We think, “I have so far to go” or “I have so much to learn.” The transformation trajectory can look like a long and unending arc.

I’ve just finished reading (for the second time) Dr. David Hawkins book, “Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior.” The book reminds me that transformation comes through progressively higher states of consciousness.

Hawkins arranges a hierarchy of levels of consciousness—from shame and guilt at the bottom of the spectrum, to love, joy, peace, and enlightenment at the top—and calibrates/logs each at a specific number.

As coaches, we can be aware of this framework and compassionately make observations or ask questions that shift the client from a “Force” state (calibration of 200 or below) to a “Power” state (calibration of 200 or above). Force states create struggle and drain energy; power states create ease, and buoy energy.

Note that we do not want to tediously move a person step-by-step from Shame, to Guilt, to Fear, to Anger, etc., because anything below Courage is a Force state. However, any upward movement is positive. 

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You Belong

Belonging means to be a part of something—part of a friendship, or a romantic relationship, or a work team, or a community, or a group working toward a common cause, or, or, or.

The longing to belong, like the longing to be loved, is wired-from-birth within each one of us—it is a human need that every one of us has. We find meaning and inspiration in connecting and co-creating with the people we belong to; and we find comfort and solace in walking through the moments in life that are disappointing or painful.

So in honor of the month of Love, consider these 28 belonging messages:

  1. You are loved…Love.
  2. You are wanted…Go.
  3. You are equal…Respect.
  4. You are human…Feel.
  5. You are wise…Know.
  6. You know…Speak up.
  7. You are creative…Create.
  8. You are brilliant…Shine.
  9. You are welcomed…Collaborate.
  10. You are accepted…Enjoy.
  11. You are enough…Be.
  12. You have value…Contribute.
  13. You are appreciated…Appreciate.
  14. You are connected…Find commonalities.
  15. You are perfect…Evolve.
  16. You are imperfect…Breathe.
  17. You are safe…Create.
  18. You are guided…Align.
  19. You have enough…Rest.
  20. You are protected…Accept.
  21. You are alive…Expand.
  22. You are beautiful…Blossom.
  23. You are in process…Be grateful.
  24. You are where you should be…Keep moving.
  25. You are energy…Flow.
  26. You are needed…Show up.
  27. You are powerful…Generate.
  28. You belong…Thrive.
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Connecting with “Yes-Perts” on my Recent E.R. Adventure

I’ve been a bit preoccupied the past few weeks, healing from a nasty fall on the dance floor that sent me on my first ambulance ride, a nearly all-night-long visit to the Emergency Room, and a follow-up surgery that yielded permanent “bling” to hold together my right wrist.

With this month’s topic on Connection, I wanted to share my Emergency Room experience with the Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs. I had the good fortune to have a terrific ER doc—calm, caring, and confident yet unassuming (at least, that is my recollection, which may be foggy, given the narcotics being pumped into my system at the time). X-rays determined that I had dislocated bones in my wrist, which was pretty obvious from the unnatural “S”-shape that my arm had turned into.

As the night wore on, the 5-person ER team discussed how to best manage this “relocation” process. I noticed that the ER doc in charge asked her team what they thought might work best to easily hold my fingers upright for the time it would take to put things back in place. Surprisingly, I was coherent enough at that moment to join the conversation and share with them the concept of “yes-pertise.”

Here’s the back-story on “yes-pertise”: A few days prior to my dance-floor mishap, my coaching colleague Kristy Posocco, who facilitates our MBA career coach program, had shared with me an article on “yes-pertise.” “Yes-perts” have confidence in their own expertise, yet are also open to others’ ideas. This can create magic, with increases in ideas, innovation, collective intelligence, camaraderie, and team trust.

I witnessed my ER doc demonstrating “yes-pertise” in her collaboration with her intern and team. And when I explained the term to the people surrounding my hospital bed, I noticed something change in the room. Prior to this time, the new specialists who had come in for the procedure had not looked me in the eye—they had been quite professional and efficient, but the connection of “human being-to-human being” seemed to be missing.

After the discussion of “yes-pertise,” the energy in the room seemed to shift. The team members were smiling more, we were making direct eye contact, and a lovely connection of common humanity ensued. I felt less scared and a bit less pain as a result. And, a week later, when consulting with the hand specialist about surgery, he commented on the good job that the ER team had done to patch me up. (You can see his handiwork in the accompanying pics!)

So, here’s wishing each of you a year filled with Connection on myriad levels—with colleagues, coworkers, clients, family, friends, grocery store clerks, random strangers, and (not that I’m wishing this on anyone), the occasional medical professional, who isn’t afraid to be a “yes-pert.”

The concepts of Connection and Creation are vital components of The Academies’ coach training programs: Certified MBA / University Career Coach, Certified Leadership Coach, Certified Career Management Coach, Certified Capacity Growth Coach

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