Coach Pep Talk – The Power of Saying No (with Heather Thorkelson)

In EPISODE 16, Heather Thorkelson shares a captivating story about how saying, "No", (despite public opinion) changed her life.
Categories: Coach Pep Talk, Inspire Me!, Life Coaching, Podcast, Saying No, Season 2 | Leave a comment

(Almost) Everything You Need to Know About Managing Interruptions! | By Emma-Louise Elsey

Originally Posted on The Coaching Tools Company as (Almost) Everything You Need to Know About Managing Interruptions! | By Emma-Louise Elsey

How focused are you? Do Interruptions Get in the Way of Achieving Your Tasks and Goals?

How often do you get into a state of flow? You're super-focused, you're making fantastic progress  and suddenly, you're out. You're interrupted. You pick up the phone to answer a call, you're tempted by a "ting" on your cellphone to check your messages, your friend/partner is bored and comes to talk to you, your colleague has an "urgent" (for them) request. The list goes on.

Interruptions take us away from whatever we're working on. When we need a break this can be a good thing, but at its worst an interruption can cause us to lose our sense of "flow", we can lose a wonderful creative thought, forget something important - or even lose a deal!

So, this article is for both you and your clients! Inspired by and based on our popular Interruptions Blaster Workbook, you will find something helpful here. Whether you could do with more focused time to work on your business, or have a client that keeps being interrupted at work or whose family prevents them from working on their coaching goals with you,  I share the key for dealing with all interruptions and 3 helpful ideas to manage your (or your client's) interruptions better, including 12 specific strategies to take in the moment!

The KEY to Managing ALL Interruptions:

When it comes to dealing with interruptions there is a never-ending list of possible responses.

The KEY with ALL interruptions is to STOP and PAUSE before you take any action.

  • STOP, take a deep breath and evaluate the situation.
  • Then, ask yourself, "Is this interruption more important than what I'm currently doing?"

What you choose to do next depends on many things - including WHO the interrupter is, whether it's URGENT or not, whether the interrupter is a repeat offender, whether it benefits YOU or not, whether you're in a state of flow etc.

TIP: If you find you're welcoming interruptions AND not getting things done, you may need to have a deeper review around your motivation.

Here are 3 Helpful Ideas to Help You Deal with Your Interruptions

Idea 1 - Get to know the source of your interruptions

Do you understand the source of your interruptions, your interruption habits? Because when you do, you can respond effectively in future, instead of simply reacting on auto-pilot.

Try keeping an interruptions log for a week or two - making note of:

  • What the Interruption is (name it & briefly describe it)
  • WHO IS the Interrupter? (remember it could be you!)
  • DAY & TIME
  • TIME SPENT on Interruption
  • WHO BENEFITED from the Interruption? (this can be very interesting to see!)
  • How IMPORTANT is the Interruption? (score out of 10)
  • Was it an URGENT interruption?

As you write out each interruption you could also briefly ask yourself what could I do differently NEXT TIME? And jot down any ideas that spring to mind.

Then at the end of a week or two, review your log looking for themes, common patterns and interrupters! Now you have the information you need to come up with a plan...

The average American worker has fifty interruptions a day, of which seventy percent have nothing to do with work. W. Edwards Deming

Idea 2 - Have pre-prepared strategies for dealing with your interruptions

Here are 12 Strategies for dealing with Interruptions in the Moment

  1. Simply say "No" to the interrupter's request.
  2. Delegate the interruption. This could be delegating back to a family or team member or to someone you know would really enjoy - or even benefit from the experience of - dealing with the request.
  3. Give it back to the interrupter. "I know you're more than capable of handling this on your own"
  4. Reschedule the interruption or request for a time that suits for you. Try "I’m just in the middle of something/a tight deadline. Can I get back to you tomorrow?"
  5. Ask the interrupter to schedule a meeting with you to discuss it.
  6. Ask your interrupter, "Is this urgent?"
  7. Share what you're doing and ask if the interrupter's request is more important than what you're working on. This is a good strategy if it's your boss who is regularly doing the interrupting.
  8. Ask the interrupter for 5 minutes to make notes/wrap-up so you don't lose where you are.
  9. Offer the interrupter a set period of your time to work on the interruption, after which they must schedule another time with you.
  10. Ask the interrupter to summarise the issue or request in an email - including what they want you to do about it (you may even find they will go away and deal with the issue themselves once you do this!)
  11. Buy yourself some time and ask them to come back in 30 minutes/an hour.
  12. Self-Interruptions If the interrupter is you, you can say "No, I'm not doing that now" out loud to yourself. Then agree with yourself that you will attend to your self-interruption later eg. I'll look at that message at lunchtime, I'll browse YouTube this evening, when I'm not working.

Bonus Tip. Remember that kindness and respect are essential - whether you're dealing with yourself or someone else. It can help to think of it like this: Say "Yes" to the person, but "No" to the task.

Idea 3 - If you're working on something specific, try to prevent the interruption in the first place:

How to Prevent the interruption (this is great for set periods of time where you really need to focus)

  • Go somewhere you won't be, or are less likely to, interrupted.
  • Close a door between you and the outside world if you can.
  • Putting on headphones and listening to non-distracting music can put you in a super-focused zone, and also is an unconscious signal to others that you are working - creating a barrier to their interruption.
  • Put your answer machine on and/or switch the phone ringer off.
  • Close distractions like social networking sites, email programs and email 'pingers'.
  • Turn your personal cellphone off.


Interruptions can be frustrating or they can be stimulating - giving you a welcome break. To handle interruptions more effectively you need to stop reacting and instead take a deep breath, giving yourself a few short moments to evaluate how you are doing, and then make the best decision for you.

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Categories: Be More Productive, Business Coaching, Career Coaching, Coaching, Coaching Tools & Exercises, Effective Time Management, Emma-Louise Elsey, Executive Coaching, Focusing, Interrupting, Interruptions, Leadership Coaching, Life Coaching, Maximising Effectiveness, Productivity, Productivity Tips, Raising Awareness, Self-Management, Time Management | Leave a comment

There’s a Bright Future for Wellness Careers

With all the aging baby boomers and the rise of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and cardio-vascular issues, wellness careers will be hot and stay hot well into the future. If you are looking for a career, or looking to change careers, wellness just might be your ticket! 5 Best Career Options in the […]
Categories: Health Coaching, Wellness Careers | Leave a comment

The Top 5 Resources for Making an Online Coaching Video

Making an online coaching video can seem like a difficult task for individuals who are technology challenged. But, with the right resources, it can be done by even the least technologically skilled among us. 4 Reasons Why You Need Online Coaching Videos Coaching is a competitive business – anything you can do to increase exposure […]
Categories: Online Coaching, Online Coaching Video | Leave a comment

*UPDATED* Be an Inspiration to Yourself! (Graphic)

Originally Posted on The Coaching Tools Company as *UPDATED* Be an Inspiration to Yourself! (Graphic)

We updated this infographic as part of our theme on Motivation this month. What could motivate more than inspiring ourselves? This month's graphic is inspired by our our Role Model Confidence Boosting Exercise. Enjoy!

Graphic for you to enjoy and share: "Be an Inspiration to Yourself"

Like it? We'd love you to "Pin" or "Share"!

Be An Inspiration To Yourself GRAPHIC


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Categories: Building Self-Esteem, Coaching, Coaching Inspiration, Confidence, Graphic, Infographic, Inspiration, Question Sets | Leave a comment

3 Ways to Help Motivate Your Coaching Clients! | By Ruby McGuire

Originally Posted on The Coaching Tools Company as 3 Ways to Help Motivate Your Coaching Clients! | By Ruby McGuire

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

Have you heard this old proverb?

It's especially true when it comes to motivating clients: with all of the coaxing in the world you can't force someone to take an opportunity or action. If you've ever had an unmotivated client, you'll know what I mean!

Ultimately, our clients need to be motivated in order to take action. And there will always be something that gets in the way.

Your client might start off feeling very motivated and then their mind-monkeys start kicking in and self-sabotaging. Their little chimps start telling them they're not good enough, they're scared, the work's not perfect, so they go off and do everything instead of the goal they said they wanted to focus on.

Maybe you've even found yourself doing it too (I know I have). It might be that you start checking Facebook 20 times a day, or reading random LinkedIn posts, maybe doing the washing-up, reading the paper or walking the dog instead of the task in hand?

As time passes, the goal doesn't seem quite so enticing. Perhaps the hard work that's needed to achieve the goal starts to kick in, and there are now a few more ways to lose motivation.

As coaches we can only motivate our clients to a certain point. After that they need to take responsibility and be committed to achieving their goal. We can't achieve their goals for them.

We can however, work with them to feel more motivated. Here are 3 ways to help:

1. Help Your Client Make a Decision that Aligns with their WHY!

When working with my clients on visibility, one of the top tips I share is for them to make the decision to be visible. Because when we make a decision, we cut off all other ideas in pursuit of that one direction.

When our clients make a decision to be more visible in their business, they are committing to a course of action. That commitment, with the usual goal, plan, milestones etc. can be a big driving force for them staying motivated to achieve it.

I love this extract from Susan Jeffers in her book, Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway:

"Each experience is a lesson to be learned. If you choose Path A, you will learn one set of lessons. If you choose Path B, you will learn a different set of lessons. It really doesn't matter. If you take Path A, you get to taste the strawberries. If you take Path B, you get to taste the blueberries. If you hate both strawberries and blueberries you can find another path."

Reminding your clients of this will enable them to have more freedom around the decision they make, knowing they can still change direction if it doesn't work out as planned.

But it's more than just a decision

A decision on its own isn't enough. They first need to know WHY they want that particular outcome.

For my clients, when we explore being more visible in their businesses, we also explore WHY they want to run a business. Why is it important to them to do that particular work with clients? Connecting to the WHY is powerful, and creates a strong foundation behind any decision that is made.

When we know our WHY, it can be the difference between make or break.

Our WHY is what motivates us to get out of bed when a duvet day is way more appealing. When clients know their 'why' they can remind themselves of why they're going through this, what's on the other side of their goal, why they should swap their PJ's for their day clothes and drag themselves out of bed.

What can you do to motivate your clients? Do some brainstorming with your client to help them figure out the right direction and goals for them. Help them understand the WHY underneath their goals. What outcomes are they looking for? Then help them make a CLEAR decision, that aligns with their WHY.

2. Understand Your Clients' Motivational Drivers - Extrinsic or Intrinsic

You'll have heard about extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

Extrinsic motivation is where you're driven by things outside of you; such as money, celebrity status, praise etc. So if you're extrinsically motivated you're more likely to be highly motivated by getting thousands of likes on your Facebook page for example. You don't mind if you don't enjoy the process, your drivers are the external reward or outcome.

Conversely, with intrinsic motivation, you're more driven by internal things such as a feeling of accomplishment. Perhaps you run a coaching business because you love helping people reach their true potential. The reward is the thing you're doing.

When working with a client, you'll need to consider what's important to them. And while in different situations we're motivated differently, often one will be a dominant driver.

A couple of examples: 

If I'm working with a client that is extrinsically motivated who wants to earn money and status, it's very easy for me to motivate them by working with them on actions that will produce money, raise their status, credibility and standing in the business world. We could explore how to write great content to showcase their work, run their own podcast shows to get that go-to-expert status, and build online programmes and coaching packages that serve their clients while also filling up their extrinsic motivation pot.

With a client that's intrinsically motivated, who wants to help the world, they're less concerned with money or status. Yes, they need an income, but it's not their main driver.

Sadly I see this a lot because it's very common in coaching. I say sadly, because it can cost coaches a lot of heartache. We become a coach with the intention to earn money by helping others. Then we find out that our desire to help others isn't always enough to pay the bills... To motivate coaches, talking about money doesn't help because money isn't their motivation. Their business is their passion, their life purpose. The money is just a bonus (even though we all need money to live!). With someone like this you need to build a plan that helps them make money - but that focuses on the link between the money they make and helping others.

What can you do to motivate your clients? Understand the difference between these two types of motivation, and understand which drives your clients! Then you can work on creating a plan based around what truly drives them.

3. Fake it to Make it - and Do it Anyway!

When I worked in the weight loss industry, I worked with many motivated people that wanted to lose weight. And there were many that struggled with motivation. At times it can feel like you'll never hit your goal - it seems a million miles away. Weight loss can be a long journey which, having lost 4 stone (56 lbs) myself, I know all too well.

What I observed was that if I could get people to notice the results of taking action, a deeper motivation would then kick in.

So we'd talk about following their plan strictly for just a couple of weeks, even though they didn't want to. Essentially they were faking that they had the motivation by taking action on their goal anyway, whether they felt like it or not. This included things like not having the extra piece of cake, eating smaller portions or adding an extra 30 minutes of activity into their day.

Do it just for 2 weeks. Do it anyway. Just get started. Fake it.

And when they "did it anyway", faking their motivation, they lost some weight. This was enough to be inspired all over again to achieve that fabulous bigger goal for themselves.

I've used this same method many times with clients who get stuck in their businesses and don't want to take action; it's about getting clients to take that first step. Then, as they start to gain momentum, their motivation to keep going kicks in.

What can you do to motivate your clients? Get your clients "doing it anyway", even if they don't feel motivated yet. They can fake their motivation, just for now. Get them moving enough so they can see some results, and see the possibilities just ahead. Then help them see those results - and use those to motivate your clients to the next step, and the next.

So there you have it, 3 ways to motivate your clients:

  1. Help Your Client Make A Decision That Aligns With Their WHY, so they're committed to one clear path.
  2. Understand Your Clients' Motivational Drivers - Extrinsic or Intrinsic so you'll know how best to motivate them.
  3. Get them to Fake It To Make It - and Do It Anyway so that as they take action the motivation will kick back in when they start getting results.

Final Thought: There will always be those clients that just aren't ready to be coached and make changes in their lives. They 'think' they want to achieve a particular goal, but they don't have the willingness to make change or take action right now. Remember, you can take a horse to water, but you can't make him drink!

Ruby McGuireContributing Author: Ruby McGuire, Visibility Diva, aka Queen of Connection, is a mum, wife, cappuccino lover and introvert. She helps unseen solopreneurs step up and shine on/offline so they can make money doing what they love. She's a Co-Author of Awaken Your True Potential, a Trainer, EFT Practitioner, writes for International Coaching News and heads up Business Support for IIC & M's Invenio Magazine. If you liked this article you might like her podcast show, Rock Your Fabulous Biz. You can find Ruby at her pretty online home, on Facebook. Failing that she may be satisfying her obsession of pinning on Pinterest!

So what about you? Are you ready to start working on your mindset, and stop being invisible? Let's work on visibility to get you more profitable. It's time that you and your fabulous business were seen, both on and offline. If fear is the thing holding you back, then you'll love my new programme, Fearless Visibility Divas – it's time to become a fearlessly visible, fiercely profitable, and hugely impactful solopreneur.

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Categories: Coaching, Coaching Tips, Decision Making, Goal-Setting, Guest Author, Maximising Effectiveness, Motivation, Ruby McGuire | Leave a comment

What is the Role of a Success Life Coach?

A success life coach is a fancy name for a life coach – all life coaches are seeking success for their clients. But, if you are going to brand yourself with “success” in the title, you better have outcomes for your clients that bring success! Adding Success to Your Title Means That You Better Get […]
Categories: Success Coaching, Success Life Coach | Leave a comment

It’s Different for Girls – the Psychology of Coaching Girls

The psychology of coaching girls is different than coaching boys. Seems logical, right? After all, biologically and socially, there are differences – it only seems logical that the way they experience coaching is also different. This brief article is mostly concerned with sports coaching, and is based on my experience as a youth coach and […]
Categories: Psychology Coaching, Psychology of Coaching Girls | Leave a comment

The Next Wave of Entrepreneurship – Ease and Balance

I don’t know about you, but I have been soulfully rethinking my own approach to business this year. I’ve been asking big questions of myself like; “What do I really want?” and “How can I best use my unique gifts to help the world and also be fulfilled myself?”. Interestingly, in the last 12 months, four of the handful of mentors I follow are also in the throws of transition.
Categories: Inspire Me! | Leave a comment

5 Myths About Coaching – and What’s More True! | By David Frank Gomes

Originally Posted on The Coaching Tools Company as 5 Myths About Coaching - and What's More True! | By David Frank Gomes

One of the ways I think coaches can help themselves become more empowered is being familiar with some of the central myths around coaching. The truth is, although business and executive coaching is fairly ubiquitous, personal coaching is still in its infancy. And there are a tremendous amount of sticky sweet self help slogans out there that I believe do more harm than good.

I believe we've created a narrative around coaching that involves creating some kind of perfect life,  in a perfect bubble, where everything is magical and everybody knows their purpose at every moment.

And this implies that in order to be a masterful coach, we must first have a perfect life, in a perfect bubble.

The coaches I have coached over the years have all had central themes that haunted them in moments of doubt:

  • "I'm not good enough."
  • "What right do I have to be doing this work?" and
  • "I can barely get it together myself."

We've all been there, and that's ok, it goes with the territory. But I have arrived at a conclusion I think is more helpful: "Every thing is perfect as it is, and there is always room for improvement!"

So, you can breath a sigh of relief because it's not about perfection, but more about creating the space for brave conversations and to have a process to help others explore their lives from a fresh perspective, in a safe and non judgemental way.

You don't need to be a perfect person to be a masterful coach.

I realized that in some form I was hearing these narratives again and again, so I thought it might be interesting to explore the big 5 myths I see - especially the ones I feel don't reflect the true spirit or power of coaching. And when you recognize them, you'll be in a much better position to help people understand what the essential work of coaching really is.

MYTH #1: Coaching is about peak performance, goals and problem solving

We often spend so much time at work focusing on outcomes and hammering on results, that we leave fulfillment by the side of the road and forget to savour the steps and moments along the way. And we often forget why we're doing what we're doing in the quest to hurry up and get there.

The question we all face is… how do we start to enjoy ourselves on our journey to success, if we don't figure out how to enjoy the ups and downs along the way?

The Reality: 

  • It's not about problem solving, but problems get solved.
  • It's not about performance, but performance improves.
  • It's not about goals, but they are achieved more easily.
  • It's not about results, but results improve naturally.

So, one idea it's important for coaches to communicate to potential clients is that coaching is not about making life problem-free, but about giving depth and value to your experiences that come from mindful living and thinking.

Instead as coaches we tap into the human need for collaboration in a non judgmental way. We support people to empower themselves, find their own answers and support and nurture that process.

MYTH #2: You need to be a rock star to coach one

This myth is incredibly popular in our niche obsessed world, especially for executive coaching. In essence, it's the idea that in order for a coach to be effective, they must have a resume that matches or exceeds the client's. So if your client is running a Fortune 500 company, the coach should have run one too.

But a similar track record doesn't mean an ability to coach effectively. Of course, every masterful coach must have the ability to understand the heartbeat and rhythm of the industry and what the client is trying to accomplish, but the "just like me" myth is flawed because it assumes that the right fit to take your game higher is always someone who knows what you know.

A coach that too closely mirrors the client may share the client's blind spots and biases, and it may not take the client anywhere other than deeper into what they already know.

The Reality: The reality is that executive coaching is about the softer skills of developing a leadership presence, refining the mission and purpose of the organization and how to formulate and present an overall vision that influences and creates a culture of inspiration. Organizations are already filled with nuts and bolts experts. Instead the client often needs the opposite kind of person to coach them to get somewhere new in thinking and outlook - not someone who looks good on paper and seems familiar.

You've probably heard of rock stars like Jon Bon Jovi, Annie Lennox, Cyndi Lauper, Phobe Snow or the Dave Matthews Band. However, I'll bet you haven't heard of Katie Agresta, their renowned coach and vocal trainer! You really don't need to be a rock star to coach and mentor one...

MYTH #3: Personal coaches only help you reach personal goals. Business coaches only help you reach business goals.

Some clients want to focus on personal goals such as relationships, time management, work-life balance, stress reduction, simplification, health, etc. Other clients may be more interested in professional or business goals such as developing a leadership presence, getting a promotion or becoming more of an influence, starting a business, or leaving the corporate world to find a more meaningful heart centered career.

A masterful coach is someone who is accomplished at helping others create change in their lives. A masterful coaching space is created when you listen to the very best in others, even when they can't can't hear it in themselves.

The Reality: Everything is connected to everything else in our lives. Once we stop carving ourselves up into little slices, we can see the whole picture with increased clarity. So, it's not about finding the right TYPE of coach, but instead about the client finding the right coach for them, at that moment in their lives.

MYTH #4: Successful people don't need coaches. Coaching is for lightweights who can't succeed on their own

Coaching isn't about fixing, it's more about fine tuning.

It would not be a stretch to say that modern living has been designed more around stress than health, more for speed than quality and more for endless growth than sustainability and happiness. So, a sustainable lifestyle needs to be designed - it doesn't happen magically on its own.

Look around at your world. Except when we're in nature, everything you see is purposefully designed. The society you live in, the corporate culture you work in and the processes you use. And perhaps most importantly the way you think and operate on a daily basis has been designed; by you.

An effective coaching and mentoring relationship helps people to unravel the complexities of daily life and design a richer, more meaningful experience. It's not about cotton candy self-help slogans and positive affirmations. It's about skillful living.

Reality: People who take life seriously have coaches; amateurs do not. Coaching is about optimizing yourself. It is foundational. I believe our world needs more conscious design, and it begins by creating work and play that is balanced and purposeful, rather than just a endless rat race to run till you die.

MYTH #5: Personal Development is a luxury, not a necessity

Coaching conversations are compass conversations, without borders and judgments. This compass points at cultivating a richly expressive and meaningful life at work and in society. It's about identifying how to make your life more alive, finding a holistic approach to living a balanced, prosperous lifestyle.

Is this a luxury? I don't think so. There are two skills we must concern ourselves with if we want to live satisfying lives, without going crazy in this modern life we live. One of these skills teaches us how to make a living. The other teaches us how to live.

Reality: Many people focus only on making a living, at the expense of how to live. It is in striking a balance between the two, that we find the optimal flow state. If you want to enjoy the success you build, you need to design how you think and operate, or someone else will do it for you. And guess what? Most likely, they don't have much planned for you.

Coaching is the power of WE instead of ME.

Contributing author: David Frank Gomes is Coach → Catalyst ← Mentor at Whole Life Coaching. He unravels the dilemmas of career, ambition and relationships in the complexities of the 21st century by working at the intersection where dreams crash into reality. He is one of the principles of OrangzDog- a coaching, training and consulting company that helps organizations build better cultures through innovative training and coaching programs, and the founder of Woo Talks, an evening of storytelling and relationship building, which takes place every once and a while in Vancouver. Connect further with him here on Facebook and Linkedin.


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Categories: Coaching, Coaching Inspiration, Coaching Myths, David Frank Gomes, Executive Coaching, Guest Author, Running a Coaching Practice, Self-Management | Leave a comment

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