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Everyday Transcendence

by Jagruti Gala

jagruti blog1I would like to share a story of this natural life-impulse for transcendence from an after-school community learning centre that I have founded and run in Vadodara, India.

One of the faculty works extensively with the urban poor. She had a new group in her charge, children of rag-picker families who do not have well-built homes to live in. They live in ramshackle huts under trees amidst the refuse of the city all around them.

During conversation she asked them, “What will make you happy? What will you love?” They said they would love to learn. She found herself promising them she would return the next day with learning materials.

That entire night she could not sleep, feeling overwhelmed with responsibility and challenged by the inhuman and very dirty environment. She could not trust herself to work in those conditions. After a night of value conflict, she arose with a resolve to be in integrity with her promise. She gathered crayons, paper and books, and proceeded.

As she got closer, she saw the children sitting atop a heap of garbage, looking out for her. Spotting her, they slid down in excitement and ran to greet her. Brimming with anticipation they took her hands and dragged her to the rear of a little hut. They shone as they showed off an area that they had completely cleared, made spick-and-span, and lined with a low wall of broken roof shingles retrieved from their foraging and piled one atop another. They had created a learning space!

jagruti blog2She was moved to tears with only one thought in her head, “What if I had chosen to not come?”

The children’s faith in their own potential, their sense of dignity and their willingness to trust and connect was overpoweringly moving and humbling. These are children who have less than nothing and a bleak future, and yet they acted from the most fundamental, natural instinct of the human spirit. Their capacity for joy and attunement to their dream remains an ever inspiring and exemplary story of transcendence and heroism for me. It is the direction I turn towards.

I end with a salutation for every unsung hero who has won the battle of the moment.



The above story is an excerpt from "Everyday Transcendence" by Jagruti Gala, recently published in the AI Practitioner journal.  

About the Author:

Jagruti Gala - WebsiteJagruti Gala, PCC is an agent of transformation and is thrilled to push the edges of consciousness in herself and others to create a world of greater fulfillment, compassion and joy. Jagruti has over 10 years experience in training and facilitation with non-profit, educational institutions and corporates. Read her full bio here.

Transforming Health through Coaching: Insights and Advice from a Health Coach

by Karen Florence

Health journey blogEstablishing and growing a successful coaching practice is like any other endeavor in life. It is a journey, a process, and a roller coaster. It requires effort, patience, urgency, and intestinal fortitude. It also requires keeping your finger on the pulse of what is happening in the world. Always looking for opportunities, “natural openings” as a coach would say, where our skills as coaches could be inserted into the challenges of the day to bring clarity and resolution.

One of these “natural openings” is health coaching. There is a huge amount of opportunity for coaches in the health sector. I received my accreditation as a Certified Professional Recovery to Wellness Coach (CPRWC). Through this niche, I have expanded my coaching skills to work with people who have chronic lifestyle challenges that they must change. I use the word “must” because most of my clients have chronic diseases.

So what do I mean by chronic disease and what is it that I do for my clients?

I invite you to take a look around you. The percentages of people with chronic disease is staggering. Obesity, high blood pressure, pre- diabetes, type II diabetes, and heart disease are everywhere. It is a global epidemic. Add to that addictions of every kind. As coaches, we have skills to support people in adopting a better lifestyle filled with better choices.

So what is the difference between transformational coaching and health and wellness coaching?

Only one thing…To put it simply, a client with chronic illness is literally standing on the edge of the cliff. If they don’t do something to change what they are doing it may cost them their lives.

As my own physician tells me, “I tell them what they need to do, but they just can’t do it”. No kidding… They can try. They can force themselves to do anything for a short time. Then the old habits and default behaviors creep back in. What needs to happen is real change. Internal change. No one makes any progress until they deal with their issues. The need to go deeper cannot be ignored. That is where the change is made. Doctors and insurance companies do not have the resources or the skills to do this work. Coaches do.

What can we do to help clients make this change?

I am going to use my own practice as an example. I work 1 on 1 with clients and also in e-workshops that include 1 on 1 coaching, focusing on lifestyle and weight loss. The emphasis is on lifestyle. When habits change the weight falls off. The big question is how do we change those habits?

I use the technical and the adaptive approach. Technical change is something we can learn from a book or someone can teach us. We learn how to drive a car “technically.” Learning how to drive defensively, always being aware of what is going on around us is adaptive. That requires growth and learning. Going from not knowing how to drive to knowing what to do when you are in a dangerous situation while driving your car is a transformational journey. Once learned, it becomes the default behavior. That is what we do in health coaching. We adaptively reset new default behavior.

Goal setting, structure, and accountability are important components of the coaching process. Non-judgment and understanding is key to successful outcomes. The coach creates an environment of trust so that the client is at ease to express his or her needs comfortably. This is intimate work. To change behavior one must understand the driver of the behavior. This is accomplished by looking at all aspects of life. Often lifelong habits must shift. Adjusting belief systems to allow change to occur are part of the process of long-term sustainable change.

I find it so interesting that for my clients it is not what food they put in their mouths that make them gain weight. It is the drivers that make them put the food there that cause the weight gain, making it nearly impossible for them to lose the weight sustainably. Once they see what they are doing and the motivation behind those behaviors they are more able to make a shift that leads to their goal.

It is important to say what coaches do not do.

They do not give advice, diagnose, prescribe treatment, or make decisions for clients. The client’s doctor provides diagnosis and treatment. The coach works with the client to achieve the health goals the doctor has suggested. Often clients seek out a health coach on their own without a diagnosis, wanting to make changes in eating habits, weight loss, and other lifestyle changes. This is fine. Coaches do not diagnose these clients or suggest a course of treatment. Rather, they assist the client in exploring options and making choices that fit for the client. It is the client that makes the decision. The coach assists the client to move into action in a supportive manner.

There are new skills to be learned when you make the leap into health and wellness coaching. One of them is to understand that when it comes to behavioral change, especially around lifestyle, our life behaviors are deeply rooted in us from family and culture. Most of these behaviors developed in childhood. We are not aware of them.

The hidden client method.

Health journey blog 2I teach the method of finding the “hidden client.” This is that part of your client that exists only to keep the unwanted behavior going. You have the part of your client who says he wants to lose the weight while the hidden part of him is eating chocolate cake. We have all experienced this.

It’s evening time. The cake is in the fridge… The part of you that wants to eat the cake starts to justify and reason with the part of you that wants to resist. It finds a way to convince you that having the cake is okay. That part has lots of good reasons. That part is taking control. Soon you are looking at the cake. Next you are eating the cake. It is so good. You are savoring every bite. But as soon as the cake is finished, the guilt and shame sets in. The part of you that wants to lose the weight takes control again and it’s not pretty.

The part that exists only to maintain the behavior is an expert at turning your attention from what you want to do. It is a master of excuses and justifications. The day the client can recognize for himself/herself their hidden part is a beautiful day.

There are always conflicting agendas present when we want to change. To quote Robert Kegan, the Harvard professor who developed the methodology I use for behavioral change with clients called Immunity To Change, “It is as though the client has one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake. They are stuck. Helping them get unstuck is the challenge”. It takes skill, education and experience. Who better to do that work than certified coaches?

Where do you find clients?

With more that 50% of the world population desiring to make health and lifestyle change, your clients are everywhere you go.

The numbers around profit loss for companies because of the poor health of their employees is in the billions. Healthcare costs, sick time and low productivity are just a few of the reasons companies are beginning to recognize a need for programs to bring employees out of the danger zone of poor health and back to wellness. It actually pays them to do so.

Doctors are being crunched by insurance companies and are looking for avenues to provide what is called Root Cause Resolution. They no longer want sick care. They want to provide wellness care. Coaches are working side by side with the medical community to provide a new kind of health care model. And it is working!

Even within your own practice, I am willing to bet there are health issues present in the family. If not your client, then your client’s spouse, child or other family member. Literally, clients are everywhere. With a little bit of education and business building, you can have a thriving health coaching practice.

I invite you to step into the arena of health coaching. It is not about the condition. It is about the person. The person is always at the center of coaching. Coaches know this. And that makes coaches uniquely qualified to do this work in the world.


About the Author:

Karen Florence blogKaren Florence, CPC, CPRWC, is the founder of Tabula Rasa Coaching, an international coaching firm working with individuals, organizations, and governments in the US, Europe, and the Middle East. Karen’s specialty is change. Using brain based coaching she works with her clients to create sustainable change thru 1 on 1 coaching , workshops and seminars . Karen is a graduate of Coaching for Transformation.

As the creator of Transvolution, a coaching program that creates sustainable change used for weight loss and lifestyle change, organizational change and behavioral change, Karen opens the door for clients to make the shifts they need to make.

My Sustainable Client Breakthrough Story: Serving Instead of Coaching

by Sarah Lightfoot

Woman Sunrise STOCK

My whole body was feeling tingly, as I hung up google hangout after a 90 minute, powerful conversation with my brand new client. I was so excited, because she agreed to a rate that would sustain me, right on the spot! Finally, my new marketing strategy of inviting people into powerful coaching conversations was beginning to pay off.

I met her at a party, and she told me about a problem she had -- she said she was too hard on herself. Following instructions from my new marketing approach, I said, "I actually think I could help you with that problem. Would you like to have a powerful conversation," and explained to her about what that meant.

It was pretty uncomfortable to invite people into "powerful conversations" at first, but I was determined to try something different in order to live my dream of becoming a paid coach. I had graduated from Leadership That Works recently, but I had only one client at $50/session. I spent years as a successful fundraiser, so why couldn't I "raise" money for the mission of coaching, a mission that I believed in!? I spent a lot of time networking to find clients, being proactive, but it wasn't working. I tried different language, but nothing I said conveyed the power of coaching as I had experienced it.

When a classmate directed me to read The Prosperous Coach, I was intrigued. In sum, the book suggests that if we simply fill up our calendar with tons of "powerful conversations" and serve people well, the money conversation will happen more naturally, and people will buy into your coaching fee.

I soon found that inviting people directly into coaching conversations was actually easier than just "talking about" coaching in the abstract. As a fundraiser, I experienced something similar: I always preferred to introduce potential donors directly to people affected by a social problem where possible, rather than just "talking about" the people or the problem. There was nothing like meeting clients or community leaders to help a donor "get it."

At the end of the powerful conversation with my first breakthrough sustainable client, she asked about my fee. There was a little voice in me that said, she is going to say, "No way..." but most of me knew that she would say yes. That's because right before we discussed money, I checked in with her about her insights. She said that the parts work we did was "like going in a time machine" and that she was so excited to have discovered coaching. She instantly said, "Great. Where should I send the check?!"

If you are a CFT Grad I hope you'll join me for the upcoming Graduate Teleclass webinar that goes into more detail about what I've learned about this approach. --Sarah Lightfoot


About the Author:

Sarah Lightfoot photoSarah Lightfoot helps Executive Directors and social entrepreneurs raise more philanthropy for impact through leadership coaching and organizational consulting. She completed the Leadership That Works distance learning course in December 2015 and has fully transitioned to a thriving coaching and consulting practice, including a group coaching course for social entrepreneurs and Executive Directors. Learn more about Sarah at her website.


Certification vs. Credential

by Charlotte Morse

A common question that pops up in conversations with graduates, students and prospective students revolves around certification and credentialing for coaches. Is there a difference? Do I need both? How do I get certified? How do I get credentialed?

The International Coach Federation (ICF) is changing their credentialing process effective October 1, 2016 so it is timely to address these questions. If you are already a certified coach, read through the changes below carefully, as it could be advantageous to apply for your credential before the changes take effect.

Before stepping in, let’s throw one more term into the mix—accreditation. This often adds to the misunderstanding, and a quick explanation can easily eliminate this from the confusion.


Only coaching programs are accredited (not individuals). The accreditation application is a rigorous process through which schools commit to deliver curriculum based on the ICF core competencies, while meeting minimum training and mentoring requirements. The ICF has granted the Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP) status to over 200 coaching programs worldwide. We are proud that Coaching for Transformation is an ACTP.


Graduating from an ACTP holds many benefits, one of which is recognition as a Certified Professional Coach (CPC). Certification comes from the coaching school, not the ICF. As a graduate of Coaching for Transformation, you become a CPC and can add those initials after your name wherever you’d like—your resume, marketing materials, professional profiles, etc. There is no additional cost for certification and it lasts a lifetime—it never has to be renewed.

As a Coaching for Transformation graduate, you will follow the ACTP path if you choose to apply for a credential.


A credential is an extra step that is totally optional for certified coaches. The credential adds an additional level of professional recognition and demonstrates a commitment to continued learning and adherence to a detailed code of ethics. The ICF is the world’s largest credentialing organization, and offers credentials at three different levels.

Credentials must be renewed every three years and the current fee for the credential application is $100 - $775. The cost is driven by the level of credential and status of ICF membership (optional).

Choose from Three ICF Credentials

Your coach training and level of experience determine which credential is right for you. All credential applicants must pass the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA).

  • Associate Certified Coach (ACC)
    • 60+ training hours
    • 100 coaching experience hours
  • Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
    • 125+ training hours
    • 500+ coach experience hours (effective 10/1/16)
  • Master Certified Coach (MCC)
    • 200+ training hours
    • 2500+ coach experience hours

Download a comparison chart.

Changes to the Credentialing Application

Beginning October 1, 2016 at 12 am ET, the following requirement changes go into effect for the ACC and PCC credentials:

ACC Requirements

  • 100+ hours of client-coaching experience following the start of your coach-specific training. (At least 75 must be paid hours)
  • A minimum of 25 of the 100 hours must occur within 18 months of submitting your credential application
  • A minimum of 8 clients

PCC Requirements

  • 500+ hours of client-coaching experience following the start of your coach-specific training. (At least 450 must be paid hours)
  • A minimum of 50 of the 500 hours must occur within 18 months of submitting your credential application
  • A minimum of 25 clients

If you would like to learn more about becoming a certified coach, check out the Coaching for Transformation program or attend a free Power of Coaching teleclass.

If you’re ready to add a credential to your professional status, get all the details about the credentialing process at the ICF.

Heart Power From Behind the Wall

by Kanya Likanasudh

Thailand Prison 1

This past spring, I led a training in Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and Coaching at a prison in Chiangmai, which is in the Northern part of Thailand. Twenty-three prisoners, many with life sentences, participated for five days in April and then five more at the end of May. Reading their applications to our training, I was moved by their expression of genuine desire to help others. Their longing to have meaning in their lives despite being in prison inspired me to make this program as relevant to them as I possibly could.

During the first round of training my team of five and I focused on teaching them self connection, listening, and empathy-giving skills. The impact of these sessions was immediate. The prisoners told us the very next morning how they had used what they learned the previous day.

For instance, one of them had transformed her experience of her five-minute weekly phone call. She was on the line with her mother, who lives with a special-needs child. For the first two minutes of the call, the mother was talking with this child while on the phone with the prisoner. The prisoner was frustrated not to have her mother’s full attention during this brief time she was allowed to phone. She told us of her anger and that usually she would have yelled, "Do you want to talk with me or not?" After our day of training, however, she was able to come back to herself in that moment and realize that she was feeling hurt and wanted quality time with her mother. So, she said, "Mom, we have three more minutes and I miss you so much. I really want to talk to you." The mother immediately paid attention to the prisoner, who got her three minutes of quality time with her mother. The prisoner also said that this interaction made her realize that many times she yelled at people and ended up not getting what she wanted.

When my team and I returned the following month, we began working on coaching skills. Many of our students have been in prison for over 15 years. They had no clue what coaching is. We decided to abandon the word “coaching” and to describe the process as “skill for asking questions to help a person connect with their own inner wisdom and find their own solutions.” This also meant we couldn't use the words “coach” or “coachee/client,” so we replaced the word “coach” with “you” and said “friend” instead of “coachee/client.”

We had to simplify everything, and it took us about a day before the prisoners were able to ask empowering questions. We broke it down into 4 steps:

1) in written form, changing closed ended questions to open ended questions

2) asking open ended questions in groups, then in pairs (When we rang the bell to end this exercise, they were enjoying learning about the other so much that they ignored our signal and kept on practicing.)

3) in written form, converting their advice (which they so much love to give!) into empowering questions

4) asking the empowering questions in small groups and then, finally, in pairs, coming up with their own empowering questions.

Here are some examples of the progression:
Closed ended question: Do you want to eat mangoes?
Open ended question: What kind of fruit would you like to eat?

Advice: Don’t be sad, you can always find a new boyfriend.
Empowering question: When you are broken-hearted or disappointed, how do you take care of your heart?

Advice: Hey bitch, calm down. I know you are right!
Empowering question: When you are mad, what helps you to get back to calm?

Advice: You just need to have faith and trust in sacred things. The sacred things will take care of you.

Empowering question: When you don’t feel so confident about life, what helps build confidence inside you?
Empowering question: When there is turmoil in your heart, what do you think of that helps warm your heart and eases your heart?
Empowering question: When you are hopeless, what helps keep you hanging on?

Thailand Prison 2

Many of the prisoners have thoughts that have haunted them over many years around either the situation when they were caught or unresolved relationships with their loved ones. With their new empathy giving and coaching skills, many of them were able to support their “friends” to let go of the troubling thoughts of being betrayed by close friends or family members.

One such person is "Noi," serving a life sentence for drug trafficking. For 16 years she was haunted by the thought that her beloved friend must have been the one who reported her to the police. She wondered, "How can a good friend tell the police about me knowing it meant I would be separated from my three year old child?" Noi explained to us that she so longed for peace that she kept telling herself to let go of this puzzling situation. She repeatedly thought she had succeeded, but each time the troubling thoughts returned.

Then, during a practice session in May, her coach listened empathically using the skills we had taught the previous month. While receiving this empathy Noi felt her heart let go. Her coach followed up with a couple of empowering questions. Noi imagined that if at some point she heard that her friend had died, then at last she would be free of those thoughts and finally find peace.

With this new self-connection, she realized she could have peace even now by letting go of this resentment. Right then and there, she experienced closure, felt at peace, and was relieved of 16 years of suffering. She came to the clarity that if she ever gets out of prison, she will look for her friend one time to ask the question directly. If she can't find her, she would still be at peace. Her coach then asked, "What strength in you helped you let go this time?" Noi replied, “It’s what I have learned in this training--self connection and loving myself.”

One moment that will stay in my heart for a long time. One of the prisoners who is Chinese, had learned Thai in prison and now speaks it fluently, was hired to be an interpreter for a court case. With the translation fee she received, she bought sweetened tea for everyone in the training. When it was poured into a glass, there was froth on top and the tea looked like beer. Glasses lifted, the group toasted each other when someone asked a question, answered a question or for anything significant that was happening in the room. For that short time, we felt as if we were beyond the walls, like friends enjoying a glass of beer together in celebration. We were all smiling.

I wanted to acknowledge that the prisoners had given great feedback to help our team make this curriculum appropriate for their setting. I asked them to name their group so we can put it together with our team's name whenever we teach this curriculum in other prisons. The name they came up with was "Heart Power From Behind The Wall." They also gave themselves a nickname--"Restart."

I am so thrilled that these prisoners can now take NVC and coaching skills deep inside the prison where usually this kind of skill is not to be found. These prisoners now get to help others, thus giving meaning and purpose to their own lives as well to others they touch.

These two trainings, fully funded by a US benefactor, formed the major portion of a pilot program. They were successful beyond my expectation. My team and I would like to go in for a third time to help the prisoners integrate these skills more fully. It would then become a solid curriculum. I also have another prison in the Eastern part of Thailand lined up and ready for us to go in when this third part of the pilot is complete.

If you would like to contribute to us sharing this kind of work in prisons around Thailand, please consider donating at: https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/teaching-prisoners-coaching-skills-in-thailand/x/1437145


About the Author:

Kanya head shot bw.jpgKanya Likanasudh, MDiv. is a pioneer in bringing Compassionate Communication to Thailand. Kanya offers programs in communication, coaching and conflict facilitation across sectors. She challenges people with differing viewpoints to understand each other deeply which helps them discover creative solutions. Kanya’s joy in life is to create heart-connecting dialogue about power, privilege and rank.

This story is one of the many inspiring stories of coaching in action from the second edition of Coaching for Transformation: Pathways to Ignite Personal and Social Change. Get inspired and learn new coaching techniques from around the world when you purchase your copy today on Amazon.

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