sue mcleod master coach

Sue McLeod has over 10 years of experience as a coach, executive coach, coach instructor (trainer), mentor coach, and assessor. She believes that all coaches have the potential to be masterful. When coaches use the skills from their coach training, are aware of what gets in their way, and engage in practice and reflection about their work, they can tap into their best coaching self. Sue's coach training programs, retreats and mentor coaching provide safe spaces for coaches to be open and honest about the challenges they face, and motivation and support to overcome those challenges.

Sue holds a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credential from the International Coach Federation (ICF), and a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) credential from the Coaches Training Institute (CTI). She is a faculty member for Georgetown University's Leadership Coaching Certificate Program, and teaches the Coaching Master Class (an online coach training program on the ICF Coaching Competencies). Sue is a frequent facilitator for ICF New England live events held in Portland, Maine, and is a PCC assessor for the ICF.

Sue lives in Maine and enjoys knitting, hiking, boating, and gardening. She volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust. In addition to her coach training, she does consulting work in public education, board development and facilitation for non-profits, and is a wedding officiant.

The Intoxicating Scent of Lilacs

 

With spring comes new energy, more light, a little warmth (when you live in Maine, anyway!), and the promise of being out of the house and on the water.

 

 
This weekend spring really seemed to have arrived on the Maine Coast, with mild air, blue skies, fluffy white clouds!   
I found myself noticing the “firsts” of the season...
 
First row across the harbor in the dingy.
   First wiff of the intoxicating scent of lilacs.
      First trip around the yard with the weed whacker.
         First planting of the annuals that decorate our summer deck.
 
and.. best of all...
 

 

First Maine Lobster dinner!!!
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Can I get that for Free?

My daughter has enticed me to try “extreme coupon” shopping. For those of you not familiar, extreme couponers buy items that are on sale and have two or more coupons or rebates, looking for items that can be purchased for 70% or more off of the regular price.  Of course, the ultimate goal is .... FREE!
Here’s an example of how it works:
 
 Rite-Aid is selling a brand of baby aspirin for $2.00 and offering a $1.00 rebate credited to your Rite-Aid Wellness card. In the newspaper, there’s a coupon for $1.00 off that same brand.  Final price???  Free!
 
A side effect of buying aspirin, toothpaste and shampoo this way is I frequently ask “Is there a way to get that for Free???” when making any purchase.
 
You're in luck!   I’ve found a Free deal for coaches who are renewing their credential.
 
Free Continuing Coach Education Units (CCEUs)
 
Self-Study CCEUs allow you to do your own studying, at your own pace, focused on what you want to learn. For Free!
 
Here’s how they work.
 
Do an activity, such as reading, writing, or research related to coaching. Track your time. Write a summary of what you did and how it contributed to your development as a coach.  Include your time and this information in your recertification application as Self-Study CCEUs.
 
That’s it!
 
Quantities are limited and some restrictions apply.
 
Up to 16 Resource Development CCEUs can be Self-Study.
They can not be used for Core Competency CCEUs
 
You cannot count time spent coaching, mentoring or supervising as Self-Study.
 
The Fine Print.

 Just like the shopping deals that change every week, the ICF changes the rules and requirements every so often!  I encourage all ICF coaches to double check the requirements a few months before they’re ready to renew.  Here’s the website to bookmark!  Individual Credentialing Renewal

Enjoy!
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The Big Question: Am I coaching or doing something else?

We all bring more than just coaching skills to our coaching conversations
 
Sally and Joan (not their real names) joined the PCC master class for a deeper dive into their coaching skills and competencies. After the usual logistics and introductions we jumped right into a conversation about the ICF Code of Ethics. It didn’t take too long for their big question to surface.  “I’m worried that someone will find out that my‘real’ coaching isn’t really coaching. I do coaching and I add in other things, based on my expertise and knowledge about the areas the client want to work on.  Am I really coaching or is this something else?”
We created the terms “pure coaching” and “hybrid coaching” to hold the distinction.  I was struck by the level of worry these coaches had that what they called “hybrid coaching” wasn’t acceptable.  I was concerned that their worry affected their coaching. Could they be as confident and bold in serving their clients if this was in the backs of their minds?
 
 
I was sure that alleviating that worry would help these coaches be the best they could be. Since I’m committed to coaching excellence, I also wanted to understand this question better. Were they really coaching, or did something need to change for their coaching to be aligned with the coaching competencies?
 
With our distinction between “pure” and “hybrid” coaching in hand, we focused in to understand this big questions, and to find ways to address their concerns.
 
What were they doing in their coaching sessions that was concerning to them?
    
They were using their expertise to frame their questions, provide new perspectives, and explicitly share information that was new to the client.
 
How were they doing this?
    
Sometimes they asked permission - “Can I share something that might be useful?” and sometimes they assumed permission because the client had hired them for that expertise. They offered what they knew, without insisting that the client believe it or use it.
 
 
Why were they doing this?
Because it fit, in the moment, with what the client was working on. Because they believed that it would serve the client at that time.
 
 
What would you say? Is this coaching, or something else?
 
As we worked through the competencies, we came to the following conclusions:
 
When offering your expertise to the client, it’s important to maintain your focus on serving the client and the client’s agenda. This expectation is woven into all of the PCC level coaching competencies. 
 
This means that what you share should be pertinent to the topic at hand. It also means that it’s presented in a way that serves the client’s continued growth, development, and ability to become self-sustaining.  My students talked about offering another perspective, not the “answer”. Even when teaching the client something new, they hold it as “just another perspective”. Allowing the client to choose what to do with the information reinforced their trust in the client - the she is able to integrate new information and make choices that serve her best.
 
There’s  also an Ethical question that arises. Is it “ethical” - that is, aligned with the ICF Code of Ethics and Professional Practices - to coach using our expertise and knowledge in this way?
 
As we read the Code of Ethics, we saw no prohibition on bringing what we know to the coaching. In fact, we noted that we train in different domains of coaching (leadership coaching, relationship coaching, etc.) and engage our client in these specialized coaching services. Of course, our clients would expect us to have perspectives on leadership if they’ve hired us to be leadership coaches!
 
What we saw is that ICF asks us to stay true to the following tenets:
  • Honor our agreements with our clients
  • Do not misrepresent our services or qualifications
 
What is your agreement with the client? What services are they expecting you to provide? 
The agreement should clearly state that you are providing specialized coaching and clarify what that means. Clients should expect that you will bring in your expertise and know how you will use that expertise in the coaching engagement.
 
Are you qualified to provide that expertise or perspective?
Think about your qualifications for sharing your knowledge with your client, including formal training, education, research, and real-life experience. If your client wanted only that expertise, would you be a qualified candidate to provide them? If you can say “yes” to that (and others would agree), offering that experience to your clients would be appropriate.  
 
In the End…
 
After looking at this big question through the lens of the coaching competencies, the students completed the class with less worry. They could see how they were coaching and using their expertise to serve their clients. That was a success in itself!  
 
They also committed to reviewing their agreements with their clients to make sure they were representing themselves and their coaching appropriately.  And, they made a longer-term commitment to pay attention to their motivations for sharing their expertise during coaching sessions, so that they were staying aligned with serving their clients in the moment.
 
As the instructor, I was impressed by the honesty and vulnerability that these coaches brought to their work in the class. Without that, we wouldn’t have learned as much as we did, and the impact on their coaching wouldn’t have been as great.
 
What’s your Big Question about your own coaching?
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On Listening


I had come to believe that the act of being listened to was far more important than being in the documentary itself and could be transformative in people’s lives, because no one had actually ever listened to them. 
David Isay on why he moved from making documentaries to StoryCorps.
 
When I travel, I load up my IPad with podcasts from my favorite radio shows. I can listen while I knit or crochet, so it feeds my need to be doing something meaningful with my hands and my head.
 
This morning, I sat down with my crocheted scarf project and an episode of On Being that all coaches should find interesting. It’s an interview with David Isay, the founder of StoryCorps, and the topic is “The Everyday Art of Listening”.  
 

I was intrigued to find that this interviewer holds listening as a way to transform people’s lives and the conversations they have with each other.  So much of what he shared is aligned with how coaches listen and why we listen, and affirms the transformation that we bring to our client’s by the gift of our listening and by bearing witness to their stories.
 
He also shares how he finds intense listening to be challenging and hard work, and something that he can’t do all the time and with all the people in their lives.  This, too, should be familiar to coaches - it certainly is for me!
 
I encourage you to find a quiet moment to listen to this extraordinary interview.
 
http://www.onbeing.org - April 17 episode.
 

 

StoryCorps is a project that collects the stories of everyday people in audio recordings, which are stored in the Library of Congress.  http://storycorps.org
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A Season of Renewal for Your Coaching

It’s been a long winter!


Here in Maine, we’ve been shoveling snow and dealing with below freezing temps since December. I know from my friends along the East Coast and in the Midwest that it’s been a tough all over. Never ending snow, ice, cold, and cancellations. It’s hard to believe that spring is on it’s way!

One of the delights of my winter has been the PCC Master Class. There are three sessions in progress, each with just a few participants. I’ve been delighted by the level of commitment the students have shown to the process. They are willing to focus in on a specific competency and wrestle with what it means, what they are doing well, and where they need to improve. They share their coaching stories including their struggles and uncertainties - the moments that they’re not so proud of in their coaching. They learn from each other’s experiences and questions. And they design their own assignments to observe themselves more closely, and try new coaching moves.

I’ve witnessed each student grounding her knowledge, increasing her confidence, and deepening her awareness of what it means to be a masterful coach.

And, now, spring is coming. The birds are returning to the Maine landscape. The ice on the rivers is breaking up and flowing out to sea. The snow is melting, revealing the ground from which our summer grass and flowers will emerge.

It’s the perfect season to spruce up your coaching.

 

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