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The difference between ‘I knew it!’ said with regret or with joy could be explained by whether or not you took action.

What drives our actions? Many things. Emotions, like fear, or love, reasons, like commitment. Whatever the driver may be, it carries a seed of knowledge of a most likely outcome. We are not right all the time, but, enough times to start noticing a pattern. Call it intuition, hunch, vision. Sometimes, we take chances when we rationalize, and think the odds are in our favor. Sometimes, we get stuck, and can’t act, even when we think we should.

Lack of action is still action. Inaction sounds like a combination of two words: “invisible” and “action”. The reason for inaction could be lack of information, to make a compelling case. Unfortunately, there are situations, where a compelling case represents the harsh reality. Examples are loss of health, or a loss in one’s professional life, or of business opportunities. The lost opportunity could have been avoided with actions taken preemptively. In that case, we say, “I knew it”, with regret.

Action for the sake of action is not a foolproof strategy. If action is taken against the prior knowledge of a negative outcome, the result is often negative. In that case, we also say, “I knew it”, with regret. To illustrate the point, I often use a power outlet analogy. No matter how optimistic the outlook we may psych ourselves up to be, every time we touch the exposed wires, it gives us a jolt!

Through live coaching, actions, or lack of thereof, are carefully examined for certain reasons. The reasons, in turn, are carefully examined, in order to understand what they represent in the client’s life. Acting out of a deeper meaning, or a purpose, is more desirable. For some, this will mean a slight change, while, for others, a longer journey, to establish new habits. Personally, I had to work hard with my coaches, to bring my actions in line with what my values and beliefs are. I had to do a lot of thinking and soul searching, before a vision of a new me would emerge. It was like putting a puzzle together. Once that happened, I knew what to do.

The true gift of being coached is the fact that now I have an awareness of what I am doing, and why. I am aware of what needs to be done, and why, and it is my responsibility to act. If I delay, I am now better at catching myself, and can come up with a good strategy to move things forward, or to take another moment to think, and not to pursue a certain path.

Old habits die hard, and change does not come easy. With the help of a life coach, we can train our way of thinking, and the emotional responses, to keep us on the straight and narrow. We can learn to a see a larger picture, and how not get caught in the moment.

“I knew it”, said with joy, is a goal of life coaching, along with other attributes of what you consider to be a magnificent life. It is never too late to start working toward your goals, at your own pace. With life coaching, there are no hard deadlines (compare that to the Olympics), while some flexibility is encouraged.


“The best way to understand coaching is to experience it”

This may sound self-explanatory, except for fear that may stop some from arranging for a complimentary session. The fear may come from not knowing what to say, or what the coach’s reaction may be. Thus, I think it is a good idea to talk about what exactly happens during the complimentary session.

One of the things that professional coaches are trained to do is to provide a judgment-free feedback. No matter what the client says, or how he/she feels about the self or a situation, the coach will carefully choose the words to avoid even a hint of judgment. Moreover, the coach will steer the client away from self-judgment, and more towards positive thinking. As simple as this may sound, the shift is very powerful, and opens a door to a happier state of mind. For some, this may be enough to see a path towards the goal, while, for others, more time is needed for exploration. In both cases, the clients will feel that they are being supported in a way that they have not been supported before. Having this experience during a complimentary session is a great way to understand how coaching feels.

The complimentary session is an example of a coaching conversation that takes place inside a coaching space. I am yet to come across a formal definition of the concept; thus, I will use my own understanding of it, as I explain it to you.

Think about a time you had a great conversation with a close friend or a relative. The conversation may have taken place in person, or over the phone. You may have had a question, or just started to talk, and the conversation went a bit deeper than usual. Suddenly, you felt an urge to share something, that, up until that moment, you kept only to yourself. The outcome was a relief, a greater clarity, or even the formation of an action plan.

Now, just like in a movie, freeze the frame, and rotate the shot, so that you can see yourself and the other party you are talking to at the same time. What does the space between you and the person you are talking to look like? What is the space filled with? The “filler” may be anything, from smells, to emotions, and certain states of mind. The concept of this space can also be applied to a space between the coach and the client.

Hopefully, the initial fear of unknown has subsided a bit, and a little visual exercise has helped to feel your way around coaching conversation. But, coaching is not just a great dialog. There will be homework which would involve some type of action. After all, coaching does mean practice time. The difference is that you are supported along the way. This support makes action possible, and gives it a relative meaning.


“Stop asking me how coaching works! It’s complicated!”

The reference to the “relationship status” on Facebook as well as 2009 romantic comedy It’s Complicated is here to add some lightness to the topic of life coaching. The way coaching works is not that complicated and if you were to ask me “how does the coaching work?” I’d reply “I am glad you’ve asked!”

The most important point to understand is that a client has to come to coaching with an idea about what he or she is trying to accomplish through life coaching. Many people are seeking the answers to the questions like “why is my boss unfair to me?” or “what is purpose of my life?” These questions are not for your life coach. Coaches do not provide answers. During a session the client shares information with the coach and addresses the area of concern. The coach is the one asking the questions for the client to think about and to reply to. Client talks 80%-90% of the time and not the other way around.

The “thinking through and talking through” process that client is actively involved provides valuable information to the coach. The coach listen intensely to every single word uttered by the client and may reply by asking a question or by commenting to what was said. The client replies again and the dialog continues. The content or agenda of each session is brought by the client, not the coach.  This may sound odd or even contradictory to what you know to be life coaching. Therefore, let me repeat these important points again. It is clients who bring their own agenda and do most of the talking, while coach is the one asking questions along the way. Any questions that clients may have could be restated in a form a specific goal. For example: “I am looking to improve my relationship with my boss” or “I am seeking for a meaning of my life”.

Every coach has its own unique style of coaching and subscribe to one or several of hundreds of coaching models. Looking up coaching models will, for the most part, confuse you. If you have ever tried to look up information about a prescription drug or illness you know what I am talking about. If you are looking for evidence of the benefits of coaching, I invite you to visit and look up “benefits of using a coach”.

In choosing life coach, some will rely on testimonials posted on coaches’ websites. Some testimonials will incorporate clients’ name, occupation, geographical location, and even clients’ pictures. Yet, the best way to get a feel for a coach is to have a conversation. Most will offer a complimentary session.

Trust is the essential for establishing the relationship between the coach and the client. Coaches must keep the content of coaching sessions in strict confidence. The deeper the level of trust and willingness to share, the more effective the outcome will be. Think about the time you shared your secrets with a stranger. What made you trust the stranger? How did you feel after the conversation?


“The most loyal client of a coach sits between his or her ears”

Referring to a coach’s brain as a “client between his or her ears” this “quote” brings about several things worth mentioning. First is the fact that coaches always have “tools” that are used during the session with a client to be used for his or her benefit. It is true to some extent. The coaching process is a process of co-creation. It takes two to dance. However, the coach’s ability to see his or her actions through the eyes of others, or the ability to monitor the emotions, greatly improves the self-awareness.

Awareness is a must when it comes to something we desire to change. In term of tools, awareness is a scope that bring into focus things from far, like a telescope, or from within, like a microscope. Once we can see what it is we can work with it. Working with it means making conscientious decisions about whether or not to change what came into focus. For example, a client may not realize that certain actions that were not taken were due to some limiting believes rather than logical reasons. Once the client becomes aware of these believes, then the client has a choice to leave them alone or to deal with them. Similar process is available to coaches themselves.

Second, some coaches’ clients may attend a few sessions and move on while others keep coming back. The relationship between the coach and the client is very unique due to the fact that true life coaches do not position themselves as gurus, consultants, or anyone else that are somehow above the client. This has a tremendous positive effect of the client’s confidence and trust. Many find life coaching to be the most helpful in terms of personal and professional development and are more likely to come back.

Unlike his or her clients’, the coach’s brain, has no “time off” from the coach, thus the “loyal” relationship between the two. If this sounds like a psych humor, it is! But this also aims to show the fact that life coaches are just people, not some superheroes.

Coaches will coach other coaches. It is a great way to keep coaching skills up while helping fellow coaches to achieve their goals. I had a privilege to coach some successful coaches. What a great experience! As a coach I had to disregard the titles, the fact that my clients knew what I was doing and why, and just do my best to support them on their road to greatness. 

Do coaches make better clients? Yes and no. I say “yes” because coaches understand the process of coaching compared to someone who never experienced coaching, and I say “no” because coaches are also facing the same life challenges as their clients. The coaches possess the skills to deal with live challenges, yet it still takes a great deal of action to overcome the challenges. Can coaches self-coach as the “quote” suggests? To a certain degree we all can support ourselves, but it is hard to stay objective and to really understand what we are saying or thinking. The coaching process is really designed for two parties: the coach and the client.


“There is a coach for every game. To play the game of Life well one needs a Life Coach”

It is hard to imagine any major sport being played on TV, without the camera showing a coach’s reaction to the game. Coaches are followed by the media just as much as athletes are, and their accomplishments and mistakes are subject to scrutiny. From recreational sports, all the way to the Olympics, sport coaches are an integral part of the structure. The role of a sport coach is well-understood, and multi-million dollar salaries of major league coaches are accepted as a norm.

Outside a typical set of contact sport, there are games like chess and poker. There was a story about a college chess coach, who demanded a $250,000 salary, and when declined, left to try her fortune elsewhere. Bill Gates hired a poker coach to improve his game. What a gig!

Regardless of the type of sport or game, we do not tend to argue with the premise that the role of the coach is to improve the performance of the team, an individual athlete, or a player. Moreover, fans want their team to have the best coach possible, to keep the level of the game up. It makes sense. When thinking about life, in terms of a game, wouldn’t it also make sense to have a life coach?

Before my long career in banking and finance, I had seventeen jobs in six different industries. However, one thing would remain unchanged, no matter what job I had: the use of sports terminology. No matter where I worked, the management would use terms like “score”, “game plan”, “position”, “teamwork”, and many others.  We love sports. From an individual to a large corporation, we embrace the challenge, the drama, the sweet taste of victory, and a bitter one of defeat. Corporate sponsorship of Olympic Games has a long history. For example, Coca Cola has been a corporate sponsor of the Olympics since 1928.

Executive coaching, as we know it today, started to take hold since the 1990s, and this role was carried out by consultants before that time. It is interesting to note that many executives, when being assigned a position of an executive coach by the Board of Directors, thought that the assignment meant a lack of job performance on their part. This could not have been furthest from the truth. Rapid changes, leading to a global economy of today, demanded new behavioral characteristics of leadership. Today, the executive coaches have a saying, “after the third one-on-one session, it is all about life coaching”. Indeed, most job-related matters are deeply rooted in the underlying beliefs that affect all areas of our lives. When a coaching conversation leaves the area of various financial reports, and enters a human realm, executive coaching becomes life coaching.

Think of a game, a sport, or any other activity that you can compare with Life. Try to see the picture of the action, with as much details as possible. Hold on to that visual. Slowly insert yourself in action. How good are you?


Small Business. The story behind the numbers.

Having analyzed thousands of financial statements prepared for individuals and small businesses, numbers are a second nature to me. However, not every small business owner has a business degree or worked in financial services. Passion, risk taking, vision, and drive are the most common traits of an entrepreneur. The success in selling products and services is linked to the ability to tell the story. However, the top line revenue is only a part of the story.

Business coaching offered at Positive Coaching fills the gap between the ability to tell the story and the bottom line and, in doing so, understanding cash flow is the key.

The process of cash flow mastery starts with creating awareness of what a typical cash flow and its elements should look like given the size and the industry. There are many factors that affect cash flow directly and indirectly. Working towards the ideal cash flow, these factors get acknowledged, measured, and improved. A new structure may be put in place to provide for a sustainability of the improved cash flow.

Cash flow is often confused with sales or net income. Think about cash flow is that of a blood inside a circulatory system of a human body. The heart is a checking account. The blood comes and goes. We need blood for a healthy operation of a brain, lungs, stomach, muscles, etc. In a healthy body, the blood travels with minimum restriction in and out of heart. Similarly, a healthy cash flow is vital to an overall health of a business.


How to start building a successful career.

Among other things, a successful career has always been associated with high efficiency.

When people talk about career success, oftentimes it means achieving moving up the ladder in a shorter period of time. Other times, a successful career is characterized by stable growth over a longer period. A third scenario is when a person is building a career for a long time without visible results, but ultimately achieves professionally outstanding achievements, for example, receives the Nobel Prize, and it certainly makes one’s career a success.

People that have built a successful career possess a certain trait: the ability to prioritize, to be very clear as to why they are building a particular career. Everything else – the goals, objectives, resource allocation – are the means to achieve the selected priorities.

For example, if you want to manage your own company in the future, it is today that you should be thinking about a position where you can get valuable technical and leadership skills.

If you want to achieve maximum results in your profession do this exercise. Imagine the most successful development of your career; feel acceptance, joy, satisfaction of getting the best results. This exercise will help you to decide whether or not you should move toward that future. The answer will bring about the priorities naturally.

The first thing that comes to mind when one imagines the bright future is the financial security and independence for the family and children. Millions of people are after similar rewards; however, they choose different career paths. Therefore, there has to be something deep, something very individual for each person that places them on different paths.

First, one needs to answer a question: “What do I want?”, then an action plan must be put in place. Both can be achieved easier and faster with a help of a career coach.

The career coach will also help to develop right habits to effortlessly sift through daily tasks. Your movement towards goals will become more efficient. Much like learning a new workout routine, this too will require time and effort. But it is worth it!

Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail.


Coaching is magic!

I often hear this expression, and while it makes me feel good about what I do, it creates a misconception about coaching process. It gives it less structure, makes it sound like a trick, a fake, if you will.

One of the things that a life coach does is helping the client to become aware of the internal contradictions. Oftentimes, becoming aware of internal contradictions is enough to start dramatic changes in one’s life! May seem like a magic, but only a professional coach can create a safe to share space and has the ability to pick up on the clues that need to be further investigated. A true coaching process leads to the client’s own realization of the internal contradictions, which is way more powerful than having a coach point them out.

The contradictions tend to guide our lives through the choices we make and manifest in many ways. We may fall in one (or more) of categories below:

1) We read, listen, learn, but do not accumulate knowledge.

2) We possess knowledge, but do not act.

3) We act, but do not notice the progress.

4) We notice the progress, but not to recognize our own success.

5) We recognize your own success, yet consider ourselves a failure.

6) We consider ourselves as failure, while being blessed with good fortunes.

7) While being blessed with good fortunes, complain about life.

Life coach will help to put in alignment all the pieces so that a client will start acting according to her or his own core values and believes. The contradictions will eventually disappear like a fog. A new-found clarity gives a client a new perspective on life. Isn’t that a magic?!