Best Practices to Inspire Your Writing

We find that many of our coaches are called to write books; and many others within our community as well.  Yet, we can sometimes get overwhelmed in bringing that book to fruition.

We are excited to have Brad Stauffer share with you some insights on moving through the process and offers great tips.  For those of you who don’t know, Brad played a key role in the branding of Source Point Training and in the production of our training materials.  He is a great resource!

Warmest wishes, Barbara

Best Practices to Inspire Your Writing

by Brad Stauffer

The world of publishing has changed forever. Newspapers are few. Most non-newsstand magazines are either extinct or online. Many books are now digital and available on download demand. While many of us are saddened by the loss of our favorite bookstores; the good news is that the technology transformation in publishing has opened outstanding opportunities for all of us who have ever considered getting published. If you have goals including writing and getting published, there is no better time than now to jumpstart your book.

After 25+ years in the magazine publishing industry, I worked with writers and editors every day, yet I never thought about writing a book. As an entrepreneur over the last ten years, I coached and helped clients create and produce e-books, printed books and launch other creative projects. And all the time I wondered, “Why don’t I write my own book?” Well, my doubter voices loved that question, as they bombarded me with all the reasons why I wasn’t capable, didn’t have time, and just wasn’t good enough. Well enough is enough, I declared one sunny, Southern California day a few years ago.

After spending too many months writing and rewriting my book outline and purpose statement, declaring my intention to my coach and coach friends, and reorganizing my research and data umpteen times, I’ve come to better understand my avoid-tactics. My personal tricks and methods of procrastinating are now fully exposed. I’ve learned what to truly avoid, how to stay inspired, and what works to support myself to actually write and finish my book.

Here are my best practices to stay on track.

Best Practice #1: Stand strong knowing you are a writer.

I haven’t always felt like a writer, and was very critical of anything I wrote. However, as an introvert, I eventually learned that I could use writing to express my feels and thoughts better than I could in conversation. Journaling really helped. Eventually I wrote newsletter and magazine articles; and expressed myself online and in social media. As a result, I became more confident in both my writing and conversations.

You are a writer. If you can have a conversation, talk on the phone, or express your passions and points of view verbally, you can write. If you can write a letter or email, have an opinion about a movie, PBS program or a comedy show, you can write. If you speak, present or provide training, you can write. And most of all, if you have a dream, mission, purpose or passion, then you can absolutely write. If you haven’t started to write yet, just give it a chance.

Best Practice #2: Clarify your purpose and objectives for writing a book.

To help keep me grounded and focused while writing my book, I created my purpose, desired outcomes and a brief plan (very similar to the 3P’s). On this same document, I also maintain a document of my book title ideas, market statement and the core outline. Overall, it’s a “book plan” that leads with my purpose. Below is an excerpt:

My book title is: Make Your Mark: The Power of Being Your Brand. 7 Keys to Authentic Personal Branding forMakeYourMark Solo-Entrepreneurs

My book purpose is: To inspire and educate solo-entrepreneurs, so they can make their mark in the world.

My audience is: Coaches, speakers, authors/writers, trainers, facilitators, personal trainers, graphic designers and other professionals working solo.

Writing a book is a commitment, and sometimes you may get uninspired, stuck or stalled. This is the time to pull out your purpose statement and remind yourself why you are writing the book in the first place. Who will you be serving? How will you feel when it is complete? What will you have accomplished for yourself when it is in your hands? Set yourself up to win by being clear on your purpose.

Best Practice #3: Create a working book title and cover design.

I am inspired by visuals. Having images or words posted close to me keep me focused and inspired. So I had a designer create initial book covers. I keep them posted in my writing areas, and keep digital versions on my phone and computer. Keep a handy list of your book title ideas, and some sort of cover mock-up. It’s a good visual to keep you inspired.

Best Practice #4: Create a writing structure with accountability.

Create a realistic writing structure. Here are my tricks:

a)  Set writing quantity goals: When you have a writing session, know what works best for you: time, word count or page count. I like to set word count goals. That creates the most measurable results for me.

b)  Create a writing ritual: My personal writing practice starts early Sunday mornings at a particular Starbucks here in Los Angeles. I set my word count goal and usually plan on staying 3-4 hours, including at least 45 minutes to navigate a table, get my “Venti Skinny Hot Chocolate,” put on my headphones, answer a few emails and piddle around on my computer before I get down to business. Then I begin to write. My goal is to just let my heart and fingers connect, and let the message flow. I avoid overthinking too much. (Go for quantity first. Resist going back to previous sentences to edit first time around. You will have plenty of time to rewrite and edit, after your first draft is done.)

c)  Establish outside accountability: Having a writing buddy or writing coach provides great support, as well as feedback. Create goals and accountability with someone that knows your games, excuses and potential. I’ve also set up a remote writing session with friends. We declare our writing goal and schedule a follow-up call three hours later. Then do it again. Another trick I use is to declare my current writing goal to friends and family: “I’m going to write 3,000 words this weekend!”

Best Practice #5: Be kind to yourself.

For me, writing a book is probably the biggest and most challenging dream I have ever had. So it’s easy to judge and doubt myself and be extra critical every time I miss my writing commitment. So be kind to yourself without letting yourself off the hook. Honor yourself for creating this huge goal and for your progress to date. Lastly, know what works for you. I have learned over and over again, that I exhaust my creativity and focus after 2-3 hours. It is just more information to set yourself up for success.

Bonus Best Practices!

Keep it simple. When I’m in the groove, writing flows quickly, and I can easily go down a path that is different than my original goal. My coach encouraged me to save some content for my next book. We don’t have to give away everything we know in one book! So I have learned to capture my new ideas, while sticking to the point of each chapter. Know that you have more in you than you think. Once you write one book, there’s probably another one too!

Be sure to backup your writing! If you don’t have a regular and dependable back-up system, then at a minimum, email your writing documents to yourself. Ideally backup your writing multiple times to multiple places.

So are you ready to write? If not, what are you ready to commit to? Remember: there is no better time than now to write your book. In today’s publishing world, you can set up a blog and be seen worldwide within a couple of hours. Over a weekend, you can write and create a PDF e-book, using software already on your computer. Or you can even begin writing your book. What will you do?

Resources:

National Novel Writing Month, http://nanowrimo.org/

National Non-Fiction Writing Month, http://writenonfictionnow.com/about-write-nonfiction-in-november/

Writer’s Digest, http://www.writersdigest.com/

BradStaufferBrad Stauffer is an inspirational speaker, trainer and writer. He is also a Certified Relationship Coach (Source Point Training), Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (Coaches Training Institute), Certified Dream Coach® (Dream University), and has earned his Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credential through the International Coach Federation. He is co-founder of Inspired on Demand, a business development program for coaches, and was co-owner and publisher of choice Magazine. Brad is a member of the International Coach Federation, and ICFLA. Brad often presents on personal branding, publishing and small business marketing.

To hear about the release of Brad Stauffer’s new book, Make Your Mark: The Power in Being Your Brand: 7 Keys to Authentic Personal Branding for Solo-Entrepreneurs, visit http://www.bradstauffer.com/make-your-mark-book/.

 

A Glimpse into ICF’s Recent Global Conference in Malmo, Sweden

by Paul N. Larsen, MA, CPPC

swedon300
Conferences scare me. Not because of the endless and sometimes pointless speeches punctuated by lukewarm buffets of “chicken surprise,” rather because as a solo coaching practitioner, I am always wondering if the ROI will meet or exceed the time and money I put into attending a conference.

However, that was not the case with my recent participation at the International Coach Federation’s September 2014 Global Conference in Malmo, Sweden. What I invested in my time and my dollars to attend this event, was thankfully returned to me in an enormous windfall of critical professional development, new and valuable connections, and many treasured memories of spirited life discussions with lots of laughter…(which, it turns out is the language everyone understands!)

I committed as a newly Certified Professional Performance Coach to place myself within an environment that would stretch and expand my possibilities. So it made perfect sense that for my first ICF event, I would choose to attend a global conference titled “Courage to Change.”

Although I have been in “coaching” roles for most of my professional life, I had decided, in the Fall of 2013, to focus on deepening my skills as a leadership coach and get certified as a Professional Performance Coach with Source Point Training. Taking that disciplined plunge to becoming a certified coach allowed me to look beyond my current worldview and see the potentials that existed to serve the global communities that I had always enjoyed experiencing when I traveled.

Five ICF Chapters jointly hosted the conference: Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Poland.   Support was provided by team members from several ICF Chapters from across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, including Bulgaria, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Romania, United Kingdom and Mexico.   A truly global team!

The conference program was focused on 4 content tracks so that every type of coach should have been able to find content that resonated with their expertise:

“The Body and Beyond”

“The Brain and Beyond”

“The Spirit and Beyond”

“Coaching and Beyond”

From a networking perspective, I committed to nurture 5 new relationships of coaching peers that I could add to my network of experts and respected colleagues. I came home with 5 times that amount…pretty good for an introvert, who’s first inclination is to choose to network only with my cat.

I will not bore you with the details of each of the programs, but suffice to say, I was able to garner key points and nuggets out of each presentation and for the vast majority of the sessions, my learning has continued well past the conference. As you can see, the topics I encountered featured a wide-range of strategic viewpoints while some offered very practical coaching tools:

Developing Innovative Thinking

Coaching with the Emotional Brain

From Contempt to Curiosity – Creating the Conditions for Groups to Collaborate

Change Your Mind about Stress

Profit from the Positive: 4 Tools for the Coach’s Toolkit

Using the Discomfort Zone: How to Coach from Blind Spots to Breakthrough

Coaching Leaders in Turbulent Times: Dealing with Complexity, Chaos, and Constant Change

I have been to many conferences both as a speaker and certainly as a attendee. Since ICF has only been around for 20 raisedhandsyears, they are still relatively young from an association timeline perspective.  So there was an informality and approachability at this conference that I have not consistently experienced before.  People seemed more open (me included).  People seemed more approachable (me included).  People seemed more willing to share their knowledge, mistakes and successes (me included).  Hmmm, maybe my own openness had something to do with that.

There was a lot of mingling and conversations over lunch and dinner that provided for in-depth interactions beyond the superficiality. In fact, on our last evening, 6 of us, including 2 of the speakers, enjoyed a wonderful and intimate dinner at one of Malmo’s lovely restaurants.  We lingered over dessert and coffee to reflect on the conference and our learnings.  That was a nice way to debrief.

Although the speakers were there to serve the audience of coaches, and most of them exceeded our expectations, by far the biggest gift that I received was the diminishing of my “degrees of separation” within the global coaching community. From all of my conversations, I came away with a better, and shared, understanding of the trials and tribulations of the coaching business from my colleagues in Mexico, UK, France, Latvia, Italy, Estonia, Spain, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, and China and of course, from our Scandinavian hosts as well.

Did the conference meet my expectations? It exceeded them!

Would I recommend it to others? If expanding your worldview with a friendly group of coaching globetrotters sounds right up your alley, then, yes, sign-up!

Oh, I forgot to tell you about the ABBA sing-along…we were in Sweden after all! And that’s another story in itself…

Feel free to contact me with any questions or feedback at: [email protected]

 

Asking for What You Want

I watched the news last week where Denmark was identified as one of the happiest countries in the world.  I found that laughintriguing and watched the program that included talking about Yoga Laughter.  Basically this is where people come to a yoga class and the instructor leads them in continued laughter.  Laughter is great for the body and the mind as it opens the lungs and creates endorphins like most good exercise.

I began to think of other ways people can be happier in life. As a coach, I hear my clients complaining many times about an event or circumstance they find themselves in.  One thing most people want is to feel in control at some level in their lives.  And when they don’t have it, they usually feel some sort of negative emotion.  In coaching, I remind clients if they want to be in control then they have to take control of the choices they are making and the relationships they create.

Learning to make requests of others and to ask for what you want can be very empowering.  Complaining and blaming will only create negative feelings. Practice this exercise with a friend – a very good friend.  Ask them to sit and listen to you complain for 10 minutes and then share with you how they are feeling.  Negative energy creates negative emotions.  Your attitude is a choice you can make – yes, it can be chosen but most people are used to just letting their emotions fly.

In order to have what you want in life, you must be willing to ask for it – or as I say, enroll people in accepting a clear request from you.  John Gray, noted author, became well known for his book Men Are From Mars and Women Are From Venus which helped people understand that each gender has certain characteristics on how they respond to situations.

One very important tool I coach clients around is the protocol for making a clear, complete request.  Here it is:

Step 1: Get very clear on what you want. You may even practice writing it down first.  Be specific.

Step 2: Prepare to be a committed speaker and share what you want. Find the right time to make your request and be clear whom you will make it to.

Step 3 : Have a committed listener – the person with whom you are making the request Be sure to have their attention. Do not do this while you are walking down the hall or dashing out for an appointment.  The person you are speaking to must have your full attention and you must have theirs.

Step 4 : State the conditions of fulfillment.  Exactly what you will have when your request is met.

Step 5 : State by when you want it – specifically.  For example, “tomorrow afternoon by noon.”

Step 6 : This is the most important part.  Wait for a response of either yes, no or a counter offer on time and conditions.gift

Many people do not take the time to make requests in this way and then complain because people do not give them what they want, in the way they want it, and when they want it.  Some people resist making requests because they are afraid that the person will say no. A “No” is good because then you have a clear understanding and expectations and it gives both people a place to negotiate a clear agreement.

Practice using this model in all areas of your life and you will be amazed at how much more responsive people are and you will certainly be getting more of what you want your life.

Warmest wishes, Barbara

 

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Business coaching is the 2nd fastest growing profession following technology professions.  With over 80,000 coaches in the US alone, it has become a $2 Billion industry.  A large contributor to this rise is the increase in businesses investing in performance coaching, either through the addition of in-house coaches or through outsourced services of private coaches.  Join us tonight to gain the answers to the questions above and to learn more about this exciting career opportunity!  

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Launching Your Business . . . What You Need to Know

I recently had a coaching session with one of my clients who was excited to share that his business was beating his yearly projections and he was ahead of his forecast.  What great news to hear.  This reminded me of a presentation I gave almost 5 years ago to a group of professional coaches at an International Coach Federation Chapter in Silicon Valley California on how to accelerate their coaching business.openbusiness

Today, there are more new business start-ups in the San Francisco Bay Area than ever before. So if you are contemplating starting your own business or if you have your own business, here are things to keep in mind to have a successful “lift off”.

Gain Clarity – on your values and your value proposition.  In other words, evaluate your personal values and be sure that you establish clear guidelines on how you want your customers to experience you. You will be tested on this so it is great to lay it out and align on the importance of being guided by your values.

Explore Your Purpose – Why are you starting this venture?  Why is it important to you? What about it lights up your passion?  Starting a business requires time, energy and commitment.  The business you are beginning must align with your purpose and passion.  This is what will keep your creative side alive and continuing to find new ways to deliver your products or services.

See Your Vision of Success – This means look to your future 5 years ahead.  What are the outcomes you want?  Be willing to have your vision be BIG – you will be amazed at how things will unfold if you allow yourself to think big – beyond your wildest dreams! Be sure that your vision includes your whole life – not just your vision for your business success.  Family and friends will be a part of what you are creating; if they have a relationship with you they will be impacted by your success.

boatDevelop Goals – This might seem hard at first but will become a natural part of how you grow and develop your business.  Without clearly defined goals, you can get lost and fall off course.  Goals are also a great accountability system.  You must be willing to look at results – even when they do not match up to your goals.  This will be your way of  knowing when to make adjustments.  I have a favorite way of explaining that purpose is like the rudder on a boat; but goals are your steering mechanisms.  They help you adjust to the current and the wind.

Use All Forms of Communication – Social media has become the fastest way to stay in touch with your market so you must begin to unleash the writer within.  Be authentic in your communication.  Let people know who you are, why you have this business, what you offer, and how you will serve them.  Tell your story; people today love to hear about the people behind the business.  This is one of the quickest ways to establish a relationship.

Define Your Niche and Expand Your Network – Having your own business means there is no time to be timid or shy.  If this is truly your passion and what you want to create and provide, then be out there telling everyone you know all about it.  Go to places where people who want what you have will be meeting. This includes conferences, trade shows, even webinars and blogging groups.  Let people hear from you.  Become known as the subject matter expert for your market area.

The ” lift off” can take a lot of energy and work; this is where your commitment will be tested time and time again. But once you take flight, the joy of soaring can be the most accelerating experience of your life.  Here’s to your success and soaring to new levels!

Warmest wishes, Barbara

 

YOUR Journey Begins in November

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Share this opportunity with a fellow coach who is working towards their ACC Credential with ICF and needs their 60 hours of coach training or someone who is considering becoming a coach.  

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Now More Than Ever!

As someone who has been coaching for more than 20 years, I must admit how proud I am to be a coach now – at a time when individuals and organizations are realizing the value of professional coaches.

valueofcoachingIt seems like every month, there’s a new survey report on the value, impact and growth of coaching – finally giving coaches hard evidence of what we’ve always known – coaching gets results!

As the global leader in setting the standards of coaching, the ICF has been sharing their survey results for a few years now.  And they have worked diligently at raising the bar on the profession.  With their impactful marketing campaigns, consumers – whether individuals or organizations – are now actively seeking coaches and they are being well educated in the importance of engaging with a coach how istalking certified through an ICF approved training organization.  This assures the client that the coach is equipped with the Core Competencies of coaching.

I am proud to have been certifying Professional Performance Coaches for over 12 years now through our ICF approved coach training program.  Source Point Training continues to offer coaching skills training for organizations who see the value of their leaders having core coaching skills.  We are recognized by the ICF with additional CCE approvals on all of our programs.

If you are ready to take your first step towards being a coach – independently or within your organization – be sure to join us for our next webinar presentation:

RAISING THE BAR ON PROFESSIONAL COACHING

LIVE WEBINAR EVENT

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 @ 6:00pm Pacific

Register to JOIN US for this Free Event TODAY!

If your organization is interested in learning how you can integrate a coaching culture as a means of developing up leaders within your organization, contact us to learn how we can assist you and share how we are doing this for other organizations who are committed to empowering their employees to be top performance, independent and creative thinkers, and promotion ready leaders!

Turning vision into reality,

Barbara Fagan

CEO/Co-Founder, Source Point Training

 

 

Where Has The Time Gone?

woman enjoying herself on a tropical beach in the bahamasIt really is true – the older you get the faster the time flies.  I can attest to this.  Here we are in the middle of the year – seems like we just celebrated the New Year!  Perhaps I can blame a busy schedule.  We all want to feel productive.  But are you enjoying the experience of your life?

Summer is typically the time for vacations – getting away, enjoying down time, being with family and friends, enjoying the good weather or traveling someplace new.  Take some time this summer in your down time to look at where you spend time; to see where you can experience more of what you really want in life. Let’s face it, waiting until you have time to do what you want may never come.

Here are some reflective questions you might ask yourself:

  1. If I could spend time doing what I love most, what would it be?  What gives me the greatest sense of fulfillment and real purpose?
  2. How can I bring more joy into my life each day? For some of us, it is spending time with good friends, enjoying play time with the kids – just being silly.
  3. What brings out my creative juices?  All of us have a creative side.  What is yours?  Could be something as small as completing a puzzle to remodeling your home.  Hi Lou – this is for you!!!  When we are creating something new – even a project at work, it challenges us to be in the moment to invent new things or new approaches to what we are doing.
  4. What would I like to say “NO” to more often? This is a big one as it impacts how we spend our time.  Many times we say yes when we really want to say no.  What if you could choose to liberate yourself from many social obligations?  Or say “NO” to people you really do not want to spend time with?
  5. What have I been putting off or waiting until I have time for?  We all have good intentions –  visiting friends, learning something new, taking a trip – and yet, we never seem to find the time to just DO IT.  What if you did have time?  What would happen?  What might you experience?bikeonbeach

As you reflect on these questions, do not judge yourself with “should have” and “could have”.  See this as a new opportunity to take the time to do what fulfills you and have the experiences you really want.  It is your choice.  And if you do not take the time to create what you want – who will?

Warmest wishes, Barbara

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UNDERSTANDING 

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Join Kate Macks, Certified Relationship Coach and Relationship Facilitator, as she shares with you these 3 Relationship Pillars:  Commitment, Trust & Communication. Strong, effective relationships have these three areas in equal harmony.  Tomorrow night, Katie will share how you can create this balance in all of your relationships! 
 
 
WEDNESDAY, JULY 9TH @ 5:00pm Pacific
 

Attention Ladies!! Check This Out!!!

BE the Source of Creating Intentional Relationships

September 27-28, 2014    

Women Coaching Women to

New Levels of Trust and Intimacy

 Ladies, we are in a unique time in history.  A time of transformation; transitioning, defining and questioning our relationship with ourselves as females in the 21st Century, with our families, loved ones, professionals and intimate partners. 

As we work, love, parent and live day to day, where can we find the heart, the source of relatedness and center that we all yearn for?  Many of us find ourselves constantly doing more and being more to achieve more and this cycle can be challenging and lonely. 

If you are ready to invest in yourself and restore yourself to what really matters to you in your life and your relationships, this 12 weeks of women coaching women to create intentional relationships is for you! This is a powerful opportunity to explore what it means to live your life consistently relating to the world around you from a place of authenticity, freedom, power and joy. 

Join Us For a Powerful 

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UNDERSTANDING THE 3 PILLARS OF POWERFUL RELATIONSHIPS

Wednesday, July 9th @ 6:00pm Pacific

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Join us and meet the powerful coaches who will take you on this 12-week journey to discover:

The three powerful pillars of all healthy relationships; trust, commitment and communication
– The heart of communication and making an impact through language 
– How to create trusting and authentic relationships in every area of your life
– How your belief systems impact your behaviors – both conscious and unconscious  
– The areas of relationships that are working and not working in your life
– Most importantly, how to generate a loving and powerful relationship with yourself  

STRUCTURE

Attend an exciting 2-day weekend of discovery – September 27-28, 2014 – experiencing new ways to be in relationship with other women committed to the same goal of reaching new levels of trust and intimacy.

12 Weekly meetings with your Certified Relationship Coach who will guide you on new ways to communicate, understand your commitment to your relationships, and ways to build trust with yourself and others.

Attend a second 2-day weekend – January 10-11, 2015 – to celebrate and acknowledge ALL of your accomplishments and participate in an exciting event designed to have you experience your new found freedom and self-empowerment.

This is a “do not miss” opportunity for YOU!  Don’t hesitate to register – space is limited and we will sell out quickly!  Call Katie Macks, Facilitator and Certified Relationship Coach, at 510-847-9757 if you wish to learn more before the webinar event.  You can also email at [email protected].  

Turning vision into reality, 

Barbara Fagan, CEO/Co-Founder 

Source Point Training