Nowadays, everyone who is in the world of work is familiar with what SWOT analysis means. SWOT is one of the simplest and yet most effective analyses that can help companies, brands, and individuals to review where they are and where they can be from a holistic perspective.
Looking at the image below for a simple graphic of what a SWOT analysis actually looks like.
At FLOW Coaching Institute, our students learn how to coach through SWOT by using these business coaching questions that you will read below.
Before we come to these powerful business coaching questions, let’s remember briefly what SWOT analysis is about.
To inquire about FLOW Coaching Institute’s ICF Certified Business Coaching program, please click here
“Contrary to what we tend to assume, the normal state of the mind is chaos … when we are left alone, with no demands on attention, the basic order of the mind reveals itself. Entropy is “the normal state of consciousness - a condition that is neither useful nor enjoyable”. – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, 1990
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi discovered that when people's minds were in flow, they experience real (authentic)satisfaction. In this state, the person is completely absorbed by the activity. When they are in this experience, people feel powerful, awake, an effortless feeling of control, disengaged from their conscious state (still aware of themselves, however rather than through the ego, they are experiencing things through the unconscious), and that their skills are functioning optimally.
In Maslow's footsteps, Mihaly maintains that happiness is not achieved that easily. The person has to prepare themselves, and even develop the conditions, by specifying challenges that should be neither too demanding nor too simple.
“The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. “Optimal experience, where flow is realized, is thus something we make happen (in fact make possible)“ - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, 1990
For example, consider that you are skiing down a double black diamond slope of a mountain. You are high in the clouds and the view is breathtaking. You have skied down this slope before, but you did not feel fully in control - until now! In your every move you feel that you are in the zone, moving with precision and control. Your movements are frozen in time; you can feel every sound in your bones, including your breath.
In these moments you may feel that you are at one with the mountain and all that surrounds you. All the skiing classes, all that exercise, and effort are paying off now as you are prepared to traverse the challenges of the slope. This is the experience of a lifetime!
This type of experience can happen in a variety of different activities. Think of a time where you felt you were in the zone similar to the skiing experience outlines above. Maybe you worked on a hard project and accomplished it; maybe through a form of artistic expression; maybe a conversation with a friend that satisfied you mentally and emotionally.
In these moments, your mind is so completely absorbed by the activity that you forget yourself, and with an increased awareness of the "here and now" you can almost effortlessly experience your actions. This experimental state became the research focus for years of the very meticulous psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and with the purpose of defining this experience by an objective condition; he gave it the name "flow".
".....They concentrate their attention on a limited stimulus field, forget personal problems, lose their sense of time and of themselves, feel competent and in control, and have a sense of harmony and union with their surroundings... they cease to worry about whether the activity will be productive or whether it will be rewarded... they gave entered a state of flow (they enter the flow mental state)”
In a world where "serious" work may be regarded necessarily unpleasant but enables us to earn a good living; sooner or later we all enter a period in where we have the desire to make our lives more meaningful.
Whether we are front-line workers, white-collar managers, or CEOs of multinational companies, we may find ourselves trying to resist a state of boredom, anxiety, and alienation/loneliness to find more meaning in our daily lives.
While the dominant environment/culture pursues money, prestige, and constant pleasure, some people pursue meaning and simple satisfaction. Some become curious about the source of unhappiness, lack of meaning, motivation, and dissatisfaction, but they cannot find the answer themselves.
According to the FLOW model, a life beyond boredom and anxiety is possible.
FLOW: A focused action of which the individual is aware while remaining unaware of that awareness. Here, motivation comes from within the person (intrinsic motivation). The FLOW Model shows how we can ensure daily flow by increasing intrinsic motivation.
In the process of experiencing and completing a new task/activity, dependent on the perceived difficulty level and the person's skill/ability, this model demonstrates the emotional state that the person is experiencing.
For example, providing the task is easy and does not require a lot of skill means we probably show an apathetic tendency towards the task. However, if the difficulty level of a task is high and the person does not feel that they are sufficiently competent, this can bring out anxiety and worry. In order to find balance and increase our performance, we need a difficulty level that attracts our interest, we believe is important, and feel that we have the capacity to do it. This feeling brings us to flow.
The state of FLOW can be seen in people who masterwork life, art, sports, or a hobby. From the outside it seems like they are doing the task with great ease, however, if you look at it from within, they have completely devoted themselves to what they are doing.
Reaching this state is not easy and sometimes people go through their whole lives never truly experiencing FLOW or only experiencing it in short bursts with no ability to recreate it when they want to.
This is why at FLOW Coaching Institute we always emphasize working on ourselves alongside learning to become a coach that is able to coach the whole person.
Have you found your FLOW?
As a coach, your most valuable asset is your ability TO COACH. Without that, you render yourself pretty useless to your client. This is why during every coaching session, you will need to be able to read the room, manage expectations and ensure that your client feels extremely comfortable and trusting in your ability to guide them to their next step.
In the world of coaching, there is coaching and then there is ICF Professional Coaching Certification. In the world of ICF(International Coach Federation) professional coaching certification, certain skills need to be practiced for staying on track with ICF’s professional coaching competencies. One of those competencies is to help our coaching clients to design meaningful action steps through coaching sessions.
ICF certified coaches who are educated through International Coach Federation’s accredited schools realize that a true coaching session is incomplete without effective action steps that implement the discoveries and create new awareness, regardless of how transformational the coaching session is.
As a FLOW coach, a coaching session is begun by building trust, setting a focus, and creating a holistic experience to achieve an outcome. Once a person has opened up to the possibilities of positive change and has explored a goal in mind, imagining the details of completion, the next move is to determine specific steps to undertake the plan.
When the steps are defined and taken into consideration as clear and concise action items, they should be linked to what is most important to the coachee. Perhaps, the action steps then can be written down to provide a strong sense of ownership. Doing this helps the person to stay on track to reach the goal with full power and belief.
As the actions become clarified, the session sharpens focus on specific action steps. An ICF-certified coach must lead with action questions that assist the person to begin to formulate his first commitments in the key area.
Action questions may be like:
At specific moments when the coachee begins to determine and select specific action steps, it is useful for the coach to use a strong and decisive tone for the certainty of results leading to inspired implementation and achievement. Action words are very personal and variable from person to person. For example, some people take clear action when they use phrases like “I must” or “I should”. Others like to use words like “I will”, “I can”, “I choose” or “I decide”. It means that if you, as a coach try out words that seem to inspire them, you provide them strong coach support and help them take action.
The key is in active listening to then pick out words that energize the client and the ones that put them down. Are the words the coachee is speaking coming out energetic and inspired or they sound forced? If you are unsure, ask the coachee to rate his motivation from 1 to 10. Check if there are any stronger inner phrases that make them motivated and inspired.
One last step for you as a coach is to check in with the client regarding their timeline for the specific steps. This timeline confirmation brings this last important part of the session to a close with the strongest possible support system from you as a coach.
The dialogue to follow can be like below:
Coach: "So you are committed to doing this by Friday morning?”
Coachee: "Yes! That’s what I meant! I am committed!"
At FLOW Coaching Institute, a powerful ending to the coaching session is for the client to realize and debrief the value of the coaching session. For this purpose, it is important to ask the coachee at the end of the session “What value did you create for yourself in this conversation?” or “What is your takeaway from today’s conversation?”
It is a great exercise for a certified coach to finish with a few words sharing what positive aspects you see in the person highlighting the ones that are essential for his development.
Now that you have the formula to effectively and powerfully complete a coaching session, how might you apply this, not only to your coaching sessions but also to your own life?
For more information about solution-focused FLOW Coaching Methodology drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Does it ever occur to you to think why some managers are better coaches than others? To understand how this works, you first have to understand something called the Growth Mindset. Professor Carol Dweck’s findings on people’s approach to learning and intelligence. She found that a person has one of the two mindsets, fixed or growth mindset when they approach learning.
Those with a fixed mindset believe that intelligence is a fixed trait that can’t be changed. They spend their time showing and channeling their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. However, those with growth mindsets believe intelligence can grow through a process of development and hard work.
What connection does it have with coaching you might ask? If you are someone with a fixed mindset and don’t believe that intelligence can be improved you wouldn’t take the learning process seriously. Researchers Jeffery Pfeffer and Robert Sutton, in their book Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths and Total Nonsense, assert that people who see intelligence as fixed tend to see performance as a measure of their abilities, whereas people with a growth mindset see poor performance as an opportunity to apply more effort or learning to that area.
Managers with this fixed mindset are less likely to try and help their employees through coaching—no matter what they may be asked to do.
Researchers found that managers with a fixed mindset who attended workshops illustrating how people can grow and change were more willing to coach, and the quality of their coaching improved. So, it appears that coaching can be encouraged if you first convince managers it has the potential to make a difference.
With the knowledge of Dweck’s growth mindset, managers can be approached at a workplace in different ways to maximize the chances of them in taking learning seriously and becoming effective coaches for their team. What can be done?
What do you think of the concept of growth versus fixed mindset?
Can you see it in your managers?
Get enrolled in one of our coaching programs that supports the “growth mindset” view the program schedule to choose.
Life is often unpredictable, crazy, and hard. Let's be honest, we've all had a bad day or even week in our lives. No one is free from ever having a life that is just happy all the time. However, we believe that these trying times are what shapes us into the amazing human beings we are today.
Why is that, you may ask? Well, there is no light without darkness. And there is no true happiness if you haven't experience sadness before. This is why having a hard time doesn't mean that it's the end of the world, it just means that you are experiencing something that will shape you for the next hurdle that you might face.
However, it is always easier said than done. We run into issues and obstacles that sometimes seem so bad that it feels like there is no real way out of it. It could be the loss of a loved one or even some serious financial problems. One of the reasons for high suicide rates is also due to financial reasons. This article is in no way trying to make it seem that serious issues are not big and can cause a lot of people to feel like there is no way out.
In this article, we want to show some of the ways you can adopt to try to stay positive when times get tough and they are particularly trying. Especially after coming out of 2020 -- a year that shook the entire world. There has never been a time that the entire human population having to go through the same issue. It allowed for a lot of empathy but also we saw some really crazy differences with reactions to the pandemic that caused some serious rifts between people.
But, that is not the main issue in discussion today. So let's see what are some of the ways you can stay positive during trying times!
According to NCBI, when we have a bad night of sleep, our body has a reduced ability to regulate our emotions. This causes us to feel a lot sadder and more depressed than we actually are due to the fact that our emotions are all over the place due to the lack of sleep. This is why the first thing you should always do if you are feeling down suddenly is to go to sleep.
It might be your body's way of telling you that you need to rest for a bit because it's been working too hard or that you just need to switch off for a bit. However, issues with sleep, be it too much or too little sleep is also an indication of depression. So, do keep an eye out on your sleeping habits if there is a dangerous tip to one side.
When things hit the fan, it can be easy to go into a mindset of "the world is against you" or "why is this happening to me?". This is what we call the victim mindset. It is always easier for you to take the role of the victim compared to being responsible for the issues you are facing. However, doing this will never solve the problem and may also push people away from actually wanting to help you.
Shift your perspective from the victim mindset to a mindset of knowing that you are in control and that there is nothing you cannot do. I know that it is easier said than done but it is much better than being a victim that causes so much bitterness and anger in your life.
Meditating is a huge part of internalizing and calming yourself down. Sometimes when things get tough, your mind goes into overdrive and puts itself in a fight or flight manner. This causes high anxiety and a serious amount of stress. This is why whenever you feel the anxiety or stress coming from the tough time you are having right now, take a break and meditate.
You don't have to do advanced meditation, just sit and take a few breaths to calm your mind down. Clear out your mind and listen to your own breathing. This helps your mind slow down and relax which will in turn free up space in your mind to rationally think about your issues and how to solve them.
This might seem like a no-brainer but it must be said. This is where perspective comes to play. No matter how horrible something might seem -- there is a reason for it. There is always a silver lining to any horrible thing happening. Most times, it makes you a much stronger person in the long run. Right now, it might seem dark and depressing but trust us, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Make some time to watch something that will make you laugh or go outside for a walk. Carve out that 5 minutes of happiness in every day so that you can take the time to focus on the positives.
When things seem dire and you feel like there is no more way out -- remember that you have a support system. There are people out there that care about you and want to see you thrive. If not, find people who have experienced the hardships you are going through right now. Talk to them and listen to their stories. This way you know that there is life after a tragedy or a horrible experience.
And if you can't find anyone, know that you can reach out to us by leaving us a comment on our social media or just sending an email asking for help at email@example.com.
We would love to help.
One of the main ICF coaching competencies is creating awareness. Life coaching is effective in creating awareness and thus facilitating a paradigm shift. When you change the way you think and see things, your reaction to changes and things happening in your life will change alongside the shift in awareness.
During the FLOW Coaching certification programs, we teach how to create awareness within coaching sessions as well as through the overall coaching relationship. One of the most useful tools that help with increasing awareness is the Johari window.
The Johari window takes its name from the combined first names of its inventors: Joseph Luft and Harry Ingram. The four-paned window divides self-awareness into four different types: open, blind, hidden, and unknown.
As a certified life coach, you can use the Johari Window as a tool at stimulating your client’s established habits of looking at and thinking about how they behave and what motivates them, giving them the opportunity for exploring areas of their life they may never have thought before.
The Johari Window as seen above has these 4 quadrants that we will break down below:
What everyone knows about you and what I know about yourself.
These aspects might include: Feelings, motivation, behaviors, wants, needs, and factual information.
Things others know and see about you, but you’re not aware of. Everyone has blind spots. For example, people see you as pretty or smart, but you are not aware of your quality.
This could also include strengths that you can't see for yourself like maybe advanced analytical skills or empathy but it's something you don't realize because you are not on the receiving end of it. Weaknesses can also be showcased here by someone that sees them on your behalf.
Things only you know about yourself and keep from others. You may prefer to keep things to yourself since you care about your privacy.
In this case, your values are keeping you from sharing or revealing those, but in case you are not able to express yourself to others or make some of your qualities visible to the important ones then life coaching can help.
You are never alone in this life, asking for help to understand these parts of yourself that you've chosen to keep hidden because you might be embarrassed or scared to share them is not a sign of weakness.
One of the biggest signs of growth and strength is the ability to ask for help. If you need a coach to help you figure out, reach out to one.
Things you never have been able to recognize by yourself and no one else is aware of them either. You may now be aware of your hidden potential, and therefore that side of you might not be explored yet.
For example, somewhere in your childhood, your music teacher told you that your voice is not good enough and you stopped singing, but you met a vocal coach who helps people like you... then you developed singing abilities that surprised yourself and others.
This switch in your perspective to life is something that is super important if you truly want to grow and understand the things that are happening around you. Having the awareness to see a situation and realize that you can do, think and act better according to your strengths and weaknesses is a real-life superpower.
If you are looking to learn more coaching methods and are interested in becoming a certified ICF life coach, head on over to our program page to learn more about our next intake. Learn the science-backed FLOW Coaching Methodology while finding a great community of world-class coaching to help you on your coaching path.
It is known that silence is something a lot of people aren't big fans of. It gets uncomfortable, it's weird if you are in a room of people and it's just all quiet. However, in coaching, silence is known to be one of the best tools to use to transform a coaching session. In this article, we break down the 6 best ways to use silence as a tool in all your coaching sessions in the future.
Practicing silence is a great addition to any coaching session. It adds that magical touch that helps clients get to solutions and achieve the goal of the coaching session.
It is a good idea to make effective use of silence at the right times during the conversation in a professional coaching setting. Misuse of it may create awkward situations, in order to avoid those, we have created some ways in this article to make correct use of it.
Here are the 6 ways to use silence as a tool in a professional coaching setting:
One of the ways to use silence is to ask an attention-grabbing question and remain silent. The silence prompts the speaker to ponder, react and answer. Giving the person you're speaking to space and time to think of their answer is incredibly useful because coaching sessions are meant to be thoughtful. When you speak too much or break the silence, it might break their train of thought causing them to not give you the best answer they usually have -- it just requires some time to extract.
So give them space and respect that space so that your clients can truly think and ponder to give you and themselves an answer that is honest and true.
People have the tendency to think faster when they talk that’s why it's useful to make use of pauses at the right time during a coaching session to uncover more insights from the client. With pauses, you give your brain time to also think more and formulate your answers better.
When your client sees you slow down and speak to them with more pauses, they would also mimic you and do the same thing. Thus, allowing them to think more when they do speak.
Before making correct use of silence it is useful to pace yourself. It's best to match the pace of your client but sometimes a slower pace can be more helpful. Speaking slower allows people to understand you better as well.
Some of us tend to speak incredibly fast because our minds are working fast too -- but slowing it down helps you to think more thoroughly and also allows for much better conversations.
Showing a gesture of acknowledgment is very effective after a pause so that the client can be sure that you are all ears and listening closely. Always speak to listen and not to answer back. This is especially important in a coaching session where the attention is supposed to be on your client.
Showing interest in their response is crucial so that they know that you are interested. Most times, people just want to be heard. So doing this will help your clients in the long run so that they know that they can come to you when they need to speak and get things off their chest.
When the client is taking his time to answer resist the temptation to reframe the question, let the client hear the question, process it, take his time and then answer before you speak. If you’ve asked the right question, believe that it doesn’t need editing.
Invite your client to walk through a visualization exercise with you. Make sure at some point you remain silent so that your client can let their imagination run. Encourage them to take their time devouring the silence and visualizing.
These are 6 ways to add silence to your coaching session to help dig out more useful insights from your client. It is one of the ways of “communicating effectively” as ICF’s Core Competencies mention.
If you are looking to learn more about coaching and might want to become a coach yourself, head on over to our program page to find the next program suitable for you or just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak to one of our program advisors to get started!
Both managing and coaching are essential to run a successful organization, but they have different objectives and results. So, what is the difference between coaching and managing?
The key to an exceptional workforce is coach them first and then manage. Traditional methods of managing such as annual reviews are a thing of the past and do not qualify as coaching anymore as they lack the provision of quality feedback and there’s never enough time for efficient goal-setting.
The new-age coaching talks about frequently interacting with your employees and providing a way for growth and development. There is a reason why an increasing number of people now opt for ICF accredited online coaching certification programs and online business coaching training to add coaching as a skill on their resume.
It is to go ahead not only as a manager but as an online certified coach, a life coach, a corporate trainer, a business coach, and so on. An online professional coaching certificate gives you a chance to gain that competitive advantage. A coaching incorporated managing may require more time and effort, but the results are far more impressive than traditional project-based management.
A business coach helps to stimulate thinking by not telling employees what to do. Ask in-depth questions like, how can I help you to grow? What is something you don’t understand? What skills do you want to develop? Let the employee come up with solutions by himself, you can come up with ideas on how to support the solution better.
A good coach not only manages the talent but also helps them in becoming the best. A coach knows how to paint the big picture, he asks the employee about his personal goals and relates them to team goals and eventually the company goals.
This offers a bigger perspective and turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. A team may not always have the greatest players, but a true coach knows how to motivate a team by challenging them with new ideas and concepts.
Effective coaching occurs actively on daily basis. Every interaction with the employees should be considered as a potential coaching opportunity. Find out all means to give continuous feedback. If an employee did a good job, try to find out what made them deliver. This approach helps others around to learn from good examples as well.
Nowadays, coaching is all about recurring feedback and continuous improvement.
A good coach understands the game, but more than that, they care about their players. Best managers who are considerate and focused make the best coaches. A true leader is both a manager and a coach. If you can do both, you can create the winning team.
To learn more about coaching and to become a coach yourself, consider enrolling in our ICF-certified coaching programs to build on your coaching skills and become a professional business coach for personal and professional success.
Our 3-month Fast Track Core Foundations ICF Certification program (Module 1-5) https://flowcoachinginstitute.com/fast-track-online-icf-acc-coach-certification/
Our 3-month Business Coaching ICF Certification Program https://flowcoachinginstitute.com/online-business-coach-certification-program/
Does your schedule seem overbooked? Do you forget to take out time for yourself, friends, or family? Do you check and reply to emails while you gulp in your breakfast hurriedly? Being constantly on the go can wreak havoc on your stress levels and before you realize you've reached the tipping point for burnout and exhaustion.
It’s a common misconception that only overly ambitious people reach exhaustion but that’s not true. Burnout can happen to anyone and can manifest mental, physical, and emotional symptoms with continuous stress and burden. When you are really busy and distracted, you end up ignoring small signs and fight your way through the days. Your stress levels keep rising and every task seems important and urgent.
It's like paper jamming in a printer. You cant find your flow anymore and don’t enjoy activities like before. As humans, we are not designed to be always functioning 24/7. You need time so you can rest and charge yourself, energize yourself and reboot otherwise you can crash.
Burnout is very dangerous as it is incremental stress. Every day you get a little more stressed out than the day before and then one day it all hits you like a train and now it's too late to fix it fast because of the delayed effect of it.
If you wait for a burnout to hit -- it will take a much longer time to get out of it when compared to seeing the signs beforehand and realizing when to stop.
If you experience these symptoms, you should discuss them with your preferred health practitioner, therapist, or coach. There are many ways to minimize this such as living in the moment, enjoying the present, and taking care of yourself first. When you put yourself first, the rest just flows.
The pandemic and the number of changes, stress, and anxiety that have been happening around the world have shown us that a lot of people are not taking care of themselves well enough. Sure, a lot of us stay at home but that also meant that we didn't have a clear distinction between work and personal lives anymore.
This is where you need to be more aware of how you feel and what you're doing on a daily basis to take care of yourself.
We hope that this article will help you realize when you need to stop and take a break. If you don't look out for yourself, no one else will be able to.
Coaching based on a Solution-Focused mindset and effective communication can help people conquer old habits and outdated systems to then move towards a positive shift. It stimulates the beyond-conscious mind which can help the client to explore many hidden possibilities.
In a coaching setting when you ask questions that provoke visual stimuli such as “how do you imagine your future state will look like?” it brings images to the mind and engages the beyond-conscious mind. When you visualize a variety of responses you become empowered to formulate exceptional plans and take effective action.
A combination of open-ended coaching questions and curiosity to find out more can open the horizons to new possibilities. It makes the client pay more attention not only to what's going on within them but also acknowledge their surroundings.
Most humans by nature have limited conscious focusing power which we use. This capability can be enhanced to be used with much more flexibility and this is what most coaching questions aim to achieve. With the correct coaching questions, you can achieve widened access to the client’s life development system and the joy of consciously living from their values. They also get much broader access to the vast range of inner planning tools that they already possess.
Some sample coaching questions will widen your horizon and give you ideas on how they create the appropriate coaching questions suitable to your client. Keep in mind that the questions need to be open-ended and developmental.
In short, once you step into a deep coaching conversation with the client you need to awaken their genius so that they can live their highest potential.
You can do so by:
The main goal of Solution-Focused coaching conversations is to create flow states of connection with your client so they can connect with their beyond-conscious mind. As you work with this technique you will find out your own way of awakening the genius in people by effectively interlinking the mind-brain system.
If you are interested in learning more about solution-focused coaching enroll in one of our online coach certification programs.