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What happens when two trained life coaches fall in love and start a family? They do the crazy thing and chase their dreams. From May 2017 to June 2018 Coach Training EDU co-founders John and Amois are traveling with their young family across the US on a #doyourlifeswork tour. They are speaking, connecting, and learning as they show their two girls and infant son the US. Here’s their instagram feed.

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What’s the question again?

Sometimes, when you ask your client a generous question, it sparks a completely different train of thought. Your client ends up in a completely different place and when she’s done, she asks, “What was the question again?” The general best practice in coaching is to start fresh and ask a new question. But sometimes there was a reason she avoided the question in the first place.

How do you know the difference and decide where to go next?

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Wave or Particle

A thought experiment: what happens when we shift perspective of life and time from a wave to a particle. The wave perspective is the more usual. It views life as a rhythm with each week having its own usual pattern. The particle perspective usually happens around New Year’s or if you’re disciplined enough to hold yourself accountable on a daily practice.

What do you notice when you start to think of your life as a numbered list instead of a pattern?

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The ethic of work

I was asked recently how I created all the training manuals, books, and website content while leading up to 20 hours of life coach training webinars a week. And I had little ones under the age of 5 while putting the bulk of the material together.

I thought about it, and the one lesson, if you want to call it that, I learned as a kid was how to work hard. The two places I learned how to work: the farm and the wrestling mat.

I grew up in southwestern Pennsylvania. Puritan country. Work then play. Summertimes, I worked on a farm. I picked corn in the morning, tomatoes in the afternoon. 8 hours a day.

I also wrestled from the age of ten to college, Division I at Brown University. Wrestling in southwestern PA is tough. I wrestled guys who trained by throwing around bales of hay and picking up a baby cow each day until the calf is just too big for a human to squat.

Now I’m working as an academic life coach for teenagers, and I’ve put all that work ethic into creating programs helping people, especially young people, do the inner work necessary to live a flourishing life.

The ability – and willingness – to put in the work is the one skill I see that makes the biggest difference in a student’s happiness and fulfillment.

The best part of learning how to work, and doing work for the sake of work, is that it plays into a growth mindset. Longterm, meaningful accomplishment isn’t so much a function of talent as it is of effort.

When I was 13 my dad asked me to dig a ditch for a french drain. It was a hot and sticky Pennsylvanian June day.

I dug that ditch all morning. It measured 10 body lengths (my unit of measurement at the time).

I was proud. So happy that the task what finally done. Ready to go off and do something fun.

I ran to show my dad.

He took one look at it and said, “It’s a great ditch, but it’s in the wrong place. You need to dig it over here instead.”

When I was just a little older in high school I used to make fun of the fact that my parents asked me to dig ditches and fill them back in again.

Now I think it was a brilliant lesson and wonder if he told me to dig the ditch in the wrong place to begin with so that I’d have to hustle a whole day. I wouldn’t put it past him.

The best part of doing the work, is that when it does come time to play, you feel really, really good about yourself.

Now let’s get to work. 🙂

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Seeking Feedback

Especially in a coaching session, defending your idea or pushing back on a client’s feedback is sometimes useful but often has the opposite effect. People have a natural tendency to justify thought, emotion, and actions. But the master coach ignores this tug and instead focuses on the more powerful instinct to connect and be of service. The art is in trusting your core ability to grow.

How often do you find yourself defending versus seeking feedback?

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Life Coaches are Space Creators

I admit, when I first heard the term life coaching, I thought it sounded ridiculous. The dialogue went something like this:

Me: “You mean there’s some expert on life who was going to coach me to live an awesome life like they are?”

Life Coach: “But this person isn’t going to offer you any advice. Just ask questions.”

Me: “Oh, of course. An expert who isn’t going to offer any expertise.”

Life Coach: “It isn’t like that. You just have to experience it.”

And I did. Because I trusted my wife, Amois, who encouraged me to do a sample session.

And the coaching session was amazing. I still remember my first life coaching session and coaching homework.

Now more than a dozen years later, I find myself not only being a life coach, but training others to be coaches. And I see the profession and its concepts as central to a paradigm shift in education, industry, art, and culture.

We are now living in an age of clutter.

Mass production has solved the problem of not enough stuff. Factories now produce more stuff than humans can possibly consume. Houses are stuffed to the point that people need outside storage units just to store all the stuff they don’t use.

It’s not just the tangible space that’s cluttered. Consider the mental and the emotional space that gets cluttered as well. The digital age enables us copy ideas and share them as videos, posts, and tweets literally an infinite number of times.

The Internet has solved the lack of information problem but instead gave us a tremendous amount of digital clutter to sort. It’s one problem exchanged with another.

One way to consider being a life coach is to think of yourself as a space creator. Instead of giving more stuff – more advice, information, or options – you listen, ask questions, and give your client the gift of space.

In the age of clutter, the most valuable asset becomes space: tangible, mental, and emotional space.

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Is it Ignorance or Next Level Brilliance?

When the outcome is bad, it’s easy to tell what you missed or didn’t know. Ignorance sinks many projects, and the real work is figuring out what you don’t yet know. However, when the outcome is favorable, it’s not so easy to tell if you got lucky, or if you’re good. Yet if you want to repeat your success, it’s helpful to gather as much information as you can.

How do you know you’ve gathered enough information to act?

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Happy International Coach Week

I’m honored to be a part of the International Coach Federation’s International Coaching Week in Switzerland. I want to think Christine Billy, a coach training based in Basel for setting up this series of talks. I spoke in Basel last week, and I have two speaking events today, one in Lugano, the other Zurich before heading back to Oregon tomorrow. My biggest takeaway: when I follow through on plans that I’ve dreamed and talked about for years, magic happens.

When is the time to turn the dream into a plan?

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When you go down the to depths

I was in a leadership workshop with Laura Whitworth as a leader. She was instrumental in establishing early standards and foundational ideas in life coaching. I remember once feeling down, lost, sad, generally down in the dumps. And she scolded me not to waste the feeling without letting something go that needed to go.

When you’re feeling low, what is your life asking you to release?

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