Insights from Flow

Four Criteria to Choosing A Business Coaching Certification Program

What is Business Coaching?

Whether a start-up or a mid-sized company, business coaching is about supporting business owners and entrepreneurs to help them in the following areas:

  • Developing their vision, mission, and SMART goals;
  • Designing and refining their business plan to achieve success;
  • Supporting them in coping with stress and resiliency, especially in the early years of their business;
  • Encouraging their strategic thinking and implementation skills;
  • Ensuring they focus and use their time efficiently;
  • Working on their habits and prioritizing skills;
  • Building a sustainable management system;
  • Supporting them in their gap analysis, needs analysis, and SWOT;
  • Learning and adopting business development skills such as networking, finance, etc.
  • Aiding in family matters should the need arise in a family-owned business.

A good business coach is the success partner for an entrepreneur. If you want to become a business coach, it is important to work on your own relationship with success and failure.

What should you look for in a business coaching certification program?

  1. Ensure that the business coach training has the right accreditation that will allow you to become a certified business coach.
  2. Look for the ICF ACTP (International Coach Federation Accredited Coach Training Program) or at least ICF ACSTH (International Coach Federation Approved Coach Specific Training) logos.
  3. Inquire about the background of the instructor. Do they have a successful business background, including running their own lucrative business? What is their coaching background and have they ever coached business owners themselves?
  4. Ensure the school is teaching coaching competencies that will allow you to acquire the skills required to lead effective coaching sessions. This will in turn give you the confidence to coach and build the fulfilling career that you deserve.

Talyaa Vardar

How To Become a Successful Coach

Coaching is a general term and still, so many people across the world can claim that they are coaches.  There is no barrier to that. However, when you look at the factors that brought success to coaches who made it to 6K figure and  kept coaching, you realize that these coaches do not hesitate to invest in their skill development. Whether they are a career coach, executive coach, business coach or a life coach; they all have a progressive mindset and believe in continuous development. Do they invest randomly? No, there is almost a success formula  that these coaches followed through.

So, do you want to follow their foot steps?

  • Get certified! The first step is to invest in a coaching certification program. The largest accreditation body around the World is the International Coach Federation (ICF). ICF accredited  coaching certification types are ACSTH(Accredited Coach Specific Training Hours) and ACTP (Accredited Coach Training Programs). The highest level of accreditation is ACTP. ICF ACTP accredited coaching courses will give you more depth with a broader set of tools and processes; not only verbal skills.
  • The ICF has three certification tracks: ACC, PCC, MCC. Do your research and work towards your ACC and/or PCC credentialing. If you want to work with businesses and corporations, aim toards PCC sooner or later. PCC is the gold standard in the world of work.
  • Set your intention: How many people do you want to be coaching at the end of one year following your certification? Then, coach as many people as you can without thinking about your specialty or money. Coaching a wider range of people other than your targeted niche will certainly develop your perspective and give you the experience to understand human nature.
  • Get supervision and mentoring: Coaching is a form of dialogu to help people in their personal and professiponal lives. So, it is important to know where you are and what you are doing in that dialogue. Working with an experienced mentor coach/supervisor will align your competencies with those of ICF’s and help you build your confidence.
  • Hire a coach: Before becoming a good coach, we strongly recommend you to work with one. This way, you will build insight about how the process and relationship of coaching is working and helping.
  • Don’t worry about your niche (success coaching, career coaching, business coaching, executive coaching, corporate coaching, money coaching, life coaching...) in the beginning. Sometimes you find your niche, sometimes your niche finds you. Keep coaching and improving your skills.
  • Use your coaching skills to develop yourself a sound career development or a business plan. Your plan should include your vision, goals and your action plan.

Talyaa Vardar

What is Business Coaching and Mentoring?

Business Coaching is about partnering with business owners and entrepreneurs to take their business from where it currently is to where it can evolve.

A good business coach will support the business owner in growing their business by helping them clarify the vision of their business as well as craft tangible strategies that will bring advancement.

All coaching is future-oriented, and so is business coaching. A good business coach becomes a thought partner for the business owner. It helps if the coach has a successful business background to be able to understand the challenges and opportunities for the business.  This way the coach can use that experience to drive the business coaching process in the right direction.

A good business coach knows how to support the business owner in gaining increased focus, clarity, and strategies. Many business owners live on the edge of burnout and therefore having business coaching support helps them maintain their resiliency and motivation. For every successful business it is important that the owner has a sense of direction that includes both short- and long-term goals. Even though the intention in the beginning is clear for most business owners, they may get distracted and confused when things move slower than their original hopes. That is why smart entrepreneurs hire a good business coach, knowing that it is a sure ROI.

If a business coach has relevant experience in the field, sometimes clients may benefit from their mentoring service as well. If this is the case, the coach might wear two hats: business coach and business mentor. Mentors are responsible to give advice and share their experiences with their clients. Therefore, when there is a need for guidance, the initial agreement should include mentoring in order to manage expectations and set boundaries for the mentorship right from the very beginning.

Talyaa Vardar

What is a Business Coach?

Business Coaching is the relationship and process that takes a business from where it is now to where it can go. Whether it is a start-up, a small business, or a mid-sized company that has been going through some challenges, a business coach will train and support the business owner and its managers in growing their business by helping them:

  • understand and evaluate their existing resources, skills, habits, and patterns;
  • clarify the vision of their business;
  • define SMART goals and their priorities;
  • develop problem solving skills to cope with the challenges they have been going through;
  • increase sales skills and create solid revenue streams;
  • become more agile towards rapid changes in their industry;
  • develop internal communication processes;
  • define the critical pillars for business success;
  • work on the overall performance of the company and its people;
  • develop capabilities that will help the business owner to assess, evaluate, judge, plan and lead clients, products, services, employees, threats, opportunities, business results, etc. effectively.

Why working with a Business Coach is important?
Did you know that only two of five entrepreneurs become successful? What is the secret ingredient behind their success? Why do only a minority make it but many others don’t? Their secret ingredient is working with a good business coach and mentor. Those that don't succeed don't build a strong support system around themselves and their business. A strong support system involves surrounding yourself with people that are willing to partner with you in your journey to success.
The role of a Business Coach is to become a success partner for your clients. Today a success partner does not only work with business goals but they also help the entrepreneur or business owner learn and unlearn habits that will bring them closer to accomplishing their dreams. This allows the owner to move towards adopting functional habits that bring success and leave behind dysfunctional ones that prevent them from achieving what is truly important to them.

Talyaa Vardar

Coaching For Positive Change

Professional Coaching is First and Foremost a Development Model!
The most fundamental outcome of the coaching process is the client's establishment of short-term and long-term vision and goals. In order for the person to accomplish this vision, the coach aids the person in setting efficient and meaningful goals. Another important outcome of the coaching process is the person's increased commitment to the setting and attainment of their goals. With the help of the coach, the person can better focus on accomplishing their vision and achieving the goals they have set out for themselves.

The basic elements of the FLOW Coaching process:

  • Vision:
    The coach encourages their client to discover and express what they want at the end of the coaching process. Sometimes, the time period of accomplishing the vision may inherently be longer than the coaching process and it is especially important to clarify this when setting the success criteria.
  • Goals
    In each coaching session, on path to the vision, the coach encourages the client to define his/her goals of the meeting. This could be done with a very simple question (What might be the best outcome of this meeting?), if the person is not sufficiently clear, a sequence of questions may also be used to specify the outcome or goal.
  • Planning
    In accordance with the established vision and goals, the coach supports the person in planning the most efficient way to achieve their goal and get the outcome they want, as well as creating alternatives and solutions should the goals be unrealistic or unachievable.
  • Action Steps
    In order to ensure development, you need to make a move. Like the Zen master says: "Take a step while praying”. In order for our intentions to be reciprocated in our lives, we must define action steps at the end of each meeting.
  • Results and Sustainable Performance
    Since coaching is a development model, it is important that development is spread throughout the process in order for it to be realized. The coach should bring up this topic and ensure that the client thinks about their commitment and sustainability to the goals of the process that they have defined.

Talyaa Vardar

What is Coaching?

Coaching is a unique opportunity to focus and progress on your personal, professional or organizational goals through the exploration of ideas and authentic dialogue with a confidential and objective though provoking partner.The goal is generating results that can be monitored and measured.
With the support and encouragement of the coach, the individual finds answers within themselves. Coaching is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.
The Benefits of Coaching
Source: ICF Website (2012)
Professional coaching has many associated benefits. Individuals that experience the coaching relationship may gain fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities, their reasoning skills in the decision-making process may become enhanced, they may achieve greater interpersonal effectiveness, and an increased self-confidence while fulfilling responsibilities. Consistent to the degree of decisiveness and commitment to the will of increasing personal efficiency, they attain appreciable results in regards to increased productivity, satisfaction with life, and the attainment of personal goals.

According to the 2009 IFC Global Coaching Study, companies that made use of professional coaching services for business purposes increased their average initial investments, ROI (Return of Investment), seven-fold. Those who received personal coaching stated that this return was 3.44 fold.

ICF Definition of Coaching
The ICF defines coaching as the thought-provoking, creative partnership process that inspires clients to maximize their personal and professional potential.

FLOW Coaching Supports Individuals In These Areas:

  • Achieving flow
  • Setting efficient, attainable, and meaningful goals
  • Supporting individuals to design a more meaningful future for themselves
  • Developing the capacity to perceive him/herself from the outside and from an objective perspective
  • An analysis using an integral approach of the current situation and reality
  • Developing the capacity of the person to deal with problems in a more creative way
  • Developing the person's alternative thinking skills by developing the person's creative capacity
  • The capacity of being able to look from a broader perspective by questioning
  • Becoming aware of answers that they had not previously thought of
  • Designing the desired actions
  • Obtaining meaningful outcomes
  • Being a mediator, making a contribution is not only useful to the person, but also to their surroundings and others who may be affected by new behaviours

Talyaa Vardar

Benefits Of Online Coach Training

Online certified coach training programs can provide a very similar experience to traditional in-person classroom training, in a more flexible style and at a much more affordable cost.

  • Online coach training is available no matter where you are located around the globe, as long as you have internet connection.
  • It helps you to save money on travel expenses.
  • It saves tremendous travel time.
  • It allows privacy.
  • Sit in the comfort of your own home or office oreven sometimes in a hotel room on your computer to receive coaching and advice.
  • Have your questions answered with educated responses by seasoned coaches and instructors.
  • Engage and interact with diverse people from around the world.
  • Build your global network of professional coaches while taking your coaching courses.

Talyaa Vardar

Five signs you need to hire a business coach

The majority of entrepreneurs start their business because they enjoy being independent. Reporting to someone equates to pressure for most entrepreneurs. They like to think and act according to their book, not by the book. Therefore, they start their own business with the motivation of being free. However, the road to freedom can be a full of rocks and boulders, especially considering the challenges that come in the first three to five years. The business then gains some momentum and eventually stability arrives. Satisfaction and fulfillment are immense once stability is in place. This milestone can’t be compared to any other job satisfaction. Imagine creating a business that turned the rocks into a gem, giving you the freedom and purpose you have always longed for.

As most entrepreneurs are fond of their freedom, a lot of times they forget to ask for some help. They believe that they are capable of taking care of everything and guess what? They are not! We are not! As human beings, we are designed to be collaborative with others, not solo players...and frankly, the road to freedom doesn’t have to be so bumpy. If you ask for help, especially from a Certified Business Coach whose profession it is to support you and your business, soon you will discover that your ride will become a smoother one. Plus, you will find out that as you get more support, you and your business will get faster and more positive results.

So, here are the five signs that tell you if you can benefit from working with a Certified Business Coach. If you have one or more of these indicators then it is time for you to start thinking about finding a good business coach that is relatable to you and your business.

  1. Lack of sleep. Your business keeps you awake. You go to bed thinking of your to do list, you wake up in the middle of night with a thought that you have forgotten something or with worry of what you need to do the next day, and you wake up exhausted.
  2. Time management is a challenge for you. You have so many things to do but prioritizing is difficult as you feel like you need to focus on all of your tasks at the same time. Remember, time management and prioritization are two essential elements of efficiency.
  3. Business momentum is slow. You work hard and momentum is either slow or non-existent. Remember Einstein’s wise words: “There is nothing more insane then doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.” You need a fresh perspective.
  4. You are stressed most of the time. Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of patience and resiliency in the first few years. Along with the side effects on your physical wellbeing, stress will block your creative thinking. Building a support system will help you cope with stress. You also need to work on some stress management techniques.
  5. Your strategy is not clear. You had a good idea that compelled you to start a business, but along the way you realized that you have tried many things and yet there are times you feel as if the path ahead is not very clear. Your intuition tells you that you need to work on your strategy, however you don’t know where to start.

All of these signs, and more, give you reasons to start thinking about hiring a business coach, or even pursuing the path of business coaching certification for yourself. At FLOW Coaching Institute’s Online Business Coaching Certification program we not only teach about Professional coaching skills, but we also support you to work on your business by improving your results and accelerating your business momentum. Completing our online Business Coaching Certification program not only means that you will become a Certified Business Coach yourself, but you will learn business development and strategic planning tools that you can directly apply to your own business with the help of your mentors.

Talyaa Vardar

How I transitioned my life and started a multinational coaching business

The story of FLOW Coaching Institute goes hand in hand with my own story as I am the creative person behind the idea of FLOW. When I set out to build this company, I could not even imagine what would evolve from my dreams.

My name is Talyaa Vardar and I am one of the founders of the FLOW Coaching Institute, which started in Vancouver in 2009. I am also an executive coach working with C suite managers and business owners of multibillion-dollar multinational companies. I am very grateful for where I am today with our business and also with my life in general.

However, where I am today has not happened overnight or even in a short time frame – it has been a lengthy process. One thing evolved into another, and with the determination of who I am, the clarity of what I wanted to do, and the resiliency of where I wanted to be is why I am where I am today, and as a result, so is FLOW.

My story goes back to 1993, the year when I graduated from university with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration. I loved my university years, especially the elective courses where I had the freedom to choose what I wanted to learn. When graduation arrived, I did not have the financial resources to pursue further education, so I had to find a job to survive as my father had done his best to support me during my studies. It was now time for me to take control of my life – was I ready? My first job was in a large public bank as a management trainee, and I struggled with being in a routine and doing the same things day in and day out. I felt like I wasn’t the best version of me in this position, so I decided to move into marketing, where I thrived. Year after year I got promoted as creativity and strategy were my top two strengths. I managed large teams, big budgets, and international firms. I enjoyed being in these leadership roles as I have always loved people.

During my corporate years I noticed that most people were trying to fit themselves into something that they were not. As a result, I witnessed so much insecurity, fear, conflict, and avoidance. Back then I didn’t know much about human psychology, but one did not need to be an expert to see that today’s work life is not designed around engaging people at their best. I decided to do something about it and I started to study Jungian psychology and then followed it with developmental psychology. This became my passion so I made the decision to become a Psychotherapist at the age of 32. I started my Master’s degree and before I graduated, I became a mother to my daughter! One thing followed another, and I received a job offer from an institute in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and as a family we made a significant move. There I worked as a therapist and my profile included children from separated families, the First Nations community, and women with cancer who were transitioning to recovery. During this time, I also gained clarity regarding who I wanted to work with and what I wanted to do.

I wanted to help people dare to be the person that they were meant to be.

I wanted to encourage people to pursue a career path that built on their strengths and not their fear of survival.

I wanted to work with corporate managers to build an authentic leadership style of balancing productivity with a strength-based leadership approach.

I wanted to help people design their own flow at work and life, and remember the sense of being whole again. Most people sacrifice their true self with a split personality of being one person at work and another in their personal life.

I wanted to work with young people and inspire them to build an authentic social identity centered around their core values and strengths by going beyond peer pressure and social anxiety.

As a therapist I was concerned that my title would be intimidating. What I wanted most was to help people, but as a therapist I felt my goals had a limit. With such clarity of direction in my mind, I became a certified coach and have never stopped coaching.

What I love about coaching people is that you witness their progress during your time together, starting after just the first session. In the beginning it almost felt like magic as I could not believe the shifts that could happen in someone in such a short timeframe. It took me 32 years to find my life purpose and if I had known about coaching, it could have been a much easier and shorter journey. As I grew as a coach, I regained the sense of flow in my own life. I started to feel like I was the same person in my job, with my friends, at home, and with my clients. I didn’t feel the need to divide myself into “the worker”, “the parent”, “the friend”, “the wife” – I was myself wherever I was, in whatever I was doing. Instead of my roles being split, they were connected and I was whole.

My love for coaching evolved into a program called “The Art of Empowerment” which I facilitated at the University of British Columbia in Canada. We then designed a coaching program for corporate managers (“The Coaching Leader”) and started to teach it internationally. In 2009 we felt ready to incorporate FLOW together with my partners in Vancouver. Since then, FLOW has trained thousands of people as certified Professional coaches and leaders as coaches and mentors. We started as four people, and now FLOW is one of the leading schools in coaching, mentoring, and leadership development. We have hundreds of corporate clients and thousands of student coaches across the world! Our motto is “focus on one person at a time”...we have been focusing on one person, one manager, one business owner, one parent, one student, one child, in order to contribute to the positive change that we want to see in the world.

I wanted to tell you my story in the hopes that it would inspire those of you who are thinking of a career transition into something that feels more meaningful than your current job, but perhaps you do not have the resources and courage to do it. I know that the future looks uncertain to you and you are afraid to take the first step, but I promise you that if you plan your transition as small steps and do one thing every day or every week, it won’t scare you as much as it does right now. Most of the time the idea of change feels more difficult and scarier than it actually is. Start small, don’t procrastinate, focus on doing one thing at a time, create slow momentum...and then suddenly the day will come and you feel ready to take the big step.

If I did it, so can you! What gives you a sense of flow? Where do you feel engaged? Where do you feel whole? What does FLOW look like to you?

Talyaa Vardar

Your Career Is Not Your Destiny

Imagine Ella – a 34-year-old banker with a small child. She is supposed to provide for her family and the sustenance of the household by working and contributing to the mortgage and bill payments. She drags her feet every morning when she goes to work. Her long hours mean that she is impatient and anxious at home. She hates to admit it, but she is jealous of the babysitter who seems to have more patience and spends more time with her daughter than she can. She is unhappy with her position at work and finds the people around her toxic.

Ella has big dreams for her future, however she doesn’t know how to get there. She does know she would love to make a living by finding her passion, but her inner voice tells her that it is too late and not possible. Fear and comfort have definitely gotten in the way. She tells herself that people don’t really like their jobs anyways, and her parents have advised her not to embark on a new adventure at her age. She often feels lonely and unsupported. Her body has begun to hurt – her belly, her neck, her head. She doesn’t know what to do but she does know she doesn’t want to get old and continue living this way. She has zero clue where to start making a change.

If you can resonate with Ella then I am telling you that you are not alone. Your career does not have to be your destiny. My wish is that you start taking the right steps after you read this article in order to understand that you deserve to be in a career you love. Yes, you have one and only one life, and change can happen even with a tiny seed of hope within you. However, making a change is a process and there are certain things you need in place like patience, persistence, excitement, love, compassion, and courage. Along with these characteristics, you need to plan with a rationalist approach, embark in some personal development, hire a professional coach, ask creative and strong questions, and consistently search for answers.

This second career will take some discernment in order to achieve what you are looking for. However there will be a sense of fulfillment as you explore this new path, and the satisfaction and pleasure that will come into your life because you decided to make a change will be worth every drop of sweat along the journey.

7 Step Career Coaching Guide

I prepared a 7-step career coaching guide to take with you on this road. Of course, each of these steps can be expanded upon, but listed here they are a practical way to help you get started and broaden your mind.

  1. One of the foundations of the journey is that you understand the tendencies that come up from your childhood. You need to know and confront your weaknesses. You need to reflect upon and adopt your strengths. I suggest you keep asking yourself creative coaching questions such as “What do I like?” and “What do I want?” as you travel along your path. In fact, literally taking a walk and asking these questions is a healthy way to reflect; the answers will come sooner or later.
  2. You need to be patient and persistent in this journey. Of course you may feel skeptical from time to time, and when this happens you need to talk to someone like a career coach or a therapist to refresh your belief. Just like Rumi says: “Come, come again!”
  3. It will help if you get involved in the research process. For instance, I suggest you make a list of occupations that you are interested in and talk with at least two people in the same career. Ensure that you prepare your questions in advance.
  4. Keeping a log or a journal about this journey will help you go back and see the difference between where you currently are and where you were. It is important to see how far you’ve come.
  5. Do not drive yourself into a tight corner by racing against money and time. If possible, carry out your inner explorations and research while working in your existing occupation. A shortage of time and money will make you panic and change won’t happen as a result.
  6. When you determine some ideas about your career, get equipped by receiving some further training about that field in order to support the growth of your abilities.
  7. Use any spare time to develop a network of people in the new career.

This guide is a great way to begin your journey to a new career destiny – the one that you deserve.

Talyaa Vardar