Insights from Flow

5 Decisions To Make When Building Your Ideal Coaching Business Model

Choosing your ideal business model doesn’t have to be overwhelming.  It is really a simple process of smart decision-making and keeping a ‘winning’ perspective.

Yes, it’s true.  This is sometimes easier said than done. The good news is, it’s all in your control! So, while this article is mainly focused on which decisions you need to make to build your coaching business, let’s start with framing up a constructive attitude on decision-making.

Some people fear making decisions because they are afraid of ‘losing’. Instead, you can turn that around and look at every decision-making moment as an OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN!

Here are three ways to reframe decision-making when BUILDING YOUR IDEAL COACHING BUSINESS MODEL

Youre not failing, youre GAINING. 

You don’t know everything. You will learn new information all the time, sometimes from experiences that didn’t go exactly as you planned. And every time that happens, you GAIN more information about what you can do to make you more successful.  Be open to it.

No decision is a bad decision.

People label things as ‘bad’ after the fact. They judge the decision based on how it delivered against a specific outcome. What if you reframed that ‘judgment’ by asking yourself, what opportunities came out of making that decision? How did making that decision help me move towards my goals, even if it didn’t turn out exactly as I planned?  You’re in control of your perspective.  Choose a winning one!

No decision is permanent 

If a decision you made isn’t performing the way you want, then reflect on what you learned, then shift gears. No big deal. Ask any successful person. None of them made it on the first go. Take the pressure of perfection off yourself, and just go forward.

OK… now that you’re prepped and ready to make some powerful and determined decisions, here are the five decisions you need to make when building your ideal coaching business model.

Note – you don’t have to do these in this sequence.  I’ve listed the key actions in a sequence that makes sense, but let’s be honest, starting a business is not a linear process. All five of these decisions must be made to solidify your business model.  However, it is likely you will circle around these steps a few times before you get to your ideal state.  It’s normal.

Just start somewhere and work through all five.


If you’ve attended an ACTP Coaching School, like Flow, you understand that establishing your niche is a critical foundation in building a strong coaching practice.  Having worked with many coaches who are just starting out, I know it can be a tough decision to make.  And likely, your niche will evolve as you evolve as a coach. But you must choose a place to start.

My suggestion is to start with something you know and feel connected to. Perhaps your niche is connected to previous work experience. Perhaps a personal passion. Or maybe even a personal or traumatic experience that has inspired you to support others.  Those are all rich places to start.

Give yourself a deadline. Do your research. Pick your niche.


No matter what new business support mechanism you choose to embrace, be it a course, training, blog, podcast, etc., they will all say the same thing. In order to be successful, you need to build a clear picture of your potential Client.

This is another place where new coaches stumble.  They are afraid of limiting themselves. And that’s a normal instinct if you’re just starting out.  But I’ll share something with you that was kind of a mantra in my marketing days.


When your messages are so broad, that it encompasses everyone, they aren’t specific or intriguing enough to engage anyone.  You need to pick a bullseye Client and then get into their world.  Build a profile of them, who they are, and what they do.

A demographic profile is useful, but it’s more important to understand them attitudinally vs. demographically. That’s where all the really juicy stuff is.  Find out what makes them tick, what they care about, what keeps them up at night, what their top three problems are, and why they can’t seem to fix them. That’s where you come in.

Don’t get stuck here. Do your best. Ask for help from people who represent your potential client.  Do some research online.  Join some Facebook groups where your potential client may hang out, and just learn as you go.


Money is an important ingredient in establishing your business model. Pick a number based on what you want to make a year, three years from now.  Why three years out? I’m glad you asked.  There are two main reasons;

  • It takes time to ramp up. It will take a few years to build up the skill, volume, contacts, etc., to get to your goal of sustainable income. So, once you establish your ideal income three years out, then you can work back to identify what that means for years one and two.
  • Keeps you relevant and growing. As you revisit your business plan every year, keep looking three years out. Your business will evolve. The trends will change. New opportunities will present themselves. Keeping an eye on the future will ensure you always stay relevant and nurture your business.

My best advice here is to not let your inner critic hold you back.  Send him or her on a coffee break, and pick a number that feels good to you. Be ambitious. Stretch a little beyond what you think is possible.


40 hours? 20 hours? What is realistic for your lifestyle?

And once you pick your working hours, it’s now time to identify how many of those hours will be coaching vs. business growth and maintenance.

On the coaching side, it’s important to be realistic about how many hours you can coach depending on the coaching modality. Let’s say you believe you can effectively coach for 15 hours a week. The next question is what type of coaching will you do in those 15 hours to reach your income targets.

As an example, perhaps (on average) 10 hours are spent 1:1 coaching, and 3 hours spent on group coaching.  The other two hours a week (or 8 hours/mo) are spent building up online content as an income source.

Separately, you may decide to spend another 20 hours a week on the business growth & maintenance side. This may encompass financial management, live and social networking, content generation, website management, marketing, etc.

Decide how much you want to work. And then how many of those hours will be spent coaching vs. other income-generating or business management activities.


There are so many coaching modalities out there.  There are those for the coach purists, like 1:1 coaching, group coaching, and workshops.  And then for the slightly less purist, you have things like masterminds, public speaking, courses, writing, and a whole myriad of online content generation modes.

These are all potential income streams.  Which ones are the best fit for your niche, address your Client's needs and fulfill your lifestyle goals.

Make a list of the opportunities that best suit your skillset, and see what fits. Move the pieces around until you get a picture that feels right.

And then just go for it. Tweak a bit. Go for it a bit more. Tweak.  And repeat.


Mel Savage is a Certified Career Coach focused on helping people find purpose and fulfillment in their careers.  Mel is President of Flow Coaching Institute, Canada, an ACTP Certified Coach, a 20+ year Corporate Marketer & Advertiser for brands such as McDonald’s, Kraft, Ford, and General Motors, and Owner of Savage Success Coaching.


Talyaa Vardar

10 Confidence Building Life Coaching Questions

We all want to be confident. Don’t we? We also all want our children to be confident as we know that part of our happiness is connected to how confident we are of ourselves at school, work, social bonding, and so on.

Confidence is a quality that is part of our temperament. Our temperament shows us as early as when we are four months old whether we tend to have the confidence or not. Then on top of that our early childhood experience with our parents, caregivers, school, etc either help us to build it or vice versa.

However, neither our temperament nor our early social experiences define our destiny. We know that as long as there is an intention, we can change our habits and learn new ones if we use the right strategies.

Part of life coaching conversations revolve around helping people with their confidence. There are specific tools and processes that might be useful for building confidence, but there is no one size fits all approach. All of these approaches and life coaching strategies need to be customized from person to person.

Building healthy confidence in a person requires cooperation with their brain.  Since we are talking about breaking a certain habitual pattern here, we need to invite their brain to get creative in imagining their full potential about confidence. How does a life coach do that? The simplest approach is to ask creative coaching questions that we teach in our core foundations program.

10 Creative Life Coaching Questions To Increase Confidence

  1. What does confidence mean to you?
  2. In what areas of your life you would like to build confidence?
  3. Who do you know that has the type of confidence that you would like to have?
  4. What qualities do these people with confidence have?
  5. If you pick 3 of these qualities, which one would you go with?
  6. Suppose that you have developed these 3 qualities in yourself and now they are part of who you are. What would that look like? What would that feel like?
  7. In order to start developing these qualities in yourself, what would be an ideal plan look like?
  8. Where will you start?
  9. What will you change as a first step? Second step? Third step? More steps?
  10. How will you keep your focus on developing your intention of building and developing your confidence on a daily basis?

Once you start asking yourself these questions you will start to learn just how your brain works and how it responds to these questions. Do this exercise at least every 3 months. Also, pay attention to how your answers change over time. This way you can track your growth and changes that happen to your confidence and the way you think over time.

Coaching methodologies are made to help you improve the way you think and see things. These questions are specifically designed to make you think and internalize so that you can improve your confidence in the long run.

If you are looking to become a coach yourself, head on over to our program schedule page to see when you can join us for the next intake. We can't wait to see you!

Talyaa Vardar

How Can Self-Awareness Help Leaders Succeed?

Is Self-Awareness a leadership practice? According to science, yes. Leaders with self-awareness habits have more resilience than others who don’t. Studies on leadership shows us that leaders with self-awareness are evaluated as more respected and inspirational leaders by their followers than others.

Having a self-check regularly is a practice that is applied by authentic leaders and many others. In our survey with workplace leaders, 50% of executives who are rated as having high self-awareness by their organization through engagement surveys stated that they have an executive coach.

With a good self-awareness habit, leaders are able to work out their strengths and shortfalls, and only by being aware of them, they can overcome their weak points by making use of their strong points.

If one is not aware of oneself it can lead to lots of trial and error based on what they can and what they can’t do. But not everybody has the luxury of making mistakes and learning through them, therefore, it's very important to know one’s capabilities especially when there is a lot at stake such as time, money, and resources.

As we grow into professionals and leaders, understanding our capabilities, strengths and areas of improvement is essential for long lasting success and perhaps the most vital leadership skill.

What Is Self-Awareness?

Self-awareness begins with paying attention to own thoughts, emotions and feelings. It is related to emotional intelligence which stems from honest self-thought. Self-awareness is monitoring the way we act and think and be aware of our internal voice. One must be willing to dwell deep and learn about oneself.

Once we understand our inner world, we make peace with ourselves along with our thoughts, behavior and actions. We are then able to consciously work towards the betterment of our life experiences.

How Can You Increase Your Self-Awareness?

  1. Ironically one of the best ways to heighten self-awareness is to practice keen listening to others. When you listen to others you get into the same frequency as them and understand their emotions and body language. Once you master listening to others it can help you to listen to your inner self as well.
  2. Another way is to open your mind to new perspectives. When you view situations and your surroundings from another perspective it can be refreshing to see how other people view things differently. It makes you ask for and accept other people’s honest opinions.
  3. Most executive coaches would agree that 360-degree feedback on a client is extremely useful during the coaching process as it will help them to recognize their areas of improvement and get a big picture leading to better self-awareness.
  4. Maintaining a journal is also a good way to increase self-awareness as It can help identify what triggers certain behaviors and emotions. It gives an opportunity to reflect on certain habits and actions.
  5. Most people find creating some “me-time” everyday use in creating better self-awareness. Spending time alone can give us a chance to know ourselves without the distraction of technology or other people. It can be a good way to connect with the inner you.

How Does Self-Awareness Make Leaders More Effective?

Most definitely self-aware leaders perform better than leaders who are not connected with their inner self. You must have heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect where people think they are better than they actually are. Sometimes people have inflated beliefs about themselves which results from ignorance of one’s limitations.

Self-aware leaders are in touch with not only their inner self but also have a better understanding of the situation as they have high empathy. Self-awareness plays a big role in the performance of the leader as he works on getting not only the best out of him but also from the team.

Teams that are led by self-aware leaders are less likely to be affected by internal team tussle as a leader who is self-aware also promotes the benefits and understanding of self-awareness to others as well.

For example, Authentic Leadership is a leadership practice where the leader values self-awareness and has a regular habit of self-reflection. Engagement surveys in workplaces show us that authentic leaders are more respected and trusted in their organization than others with lower self-awareness.

The majority of authentic leaders have a mentor or a coach, helping them to mirror their impact in the organization. From Bill Gates to Google’s former CEO Eric Schmidt, leaders with self-awareness agree that everyone-including the CEO- needs a coach.


Executive coaching focuses on working with leaders to help them fulfill their greatest potential as effective leadership is much more than just industry experience and the basic set of skills. Executive coaching is all about focusing on strengths, understanding areas of growth and improvement, and working on developing skills for overall excellence.

A self-aware person doesn’t make assumptions that other people will read his mind and team members will know how to handle the obstacles instead he identifies the factors for conflicts earlier on and addresses them.

If you are interested in becoming a professional coach yourself, or interested to know how professional coaching can help you get in touch with us at

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What Is Professional Coaching?

Professional Coaching, for FLOW, is a creative support and partnership construct that discovers and brings out the real potential of an individual turning it into meaningful performance. Life itself is a creative process that individuals can realize depending on the extent of their self-awareness. FLOW Coaching turns this creative potential into a positive life performance that nourishes the individual and simultaneously supports him/her to make a more conscious contribution to their surroundings. Coaching does not focus on past failures and mistakes, but on generating alternatives related to the future. The goal is to generate results that can be monitored and measured.  With the support and encouragement of the coach, the individual finds answers within themselves.

An example of the definition of Coaching:

“Coaching is unlocking a person's potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them” –Timothy Gallwey 

What is Professional Coaching?

ICF's Definition of Coaching 

The ICF defines coaching as the thought-provoking, creative partnership process that inspires clients to maximize their personal and professional potential. With coaching, someone can very easily elevate themselves to a level that they might not be able to on their own.

A coach is there to supercharge your way into a much healthier lifestyle and they are also there to bring out the best in you. When you are looking for a coach, you should look for someone who shares the same ideals as you and someone with who you can also relate.

With that a coach is there to fundamentally provide coaching, clarity, encouragement, and accountability for their clients in a professional setting. Having a professional coach is a lot like having a professional trainer.

They are there solely for your benefit and well-being.

The Benefits of Coaching 

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 with 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.

When broken down, these are some of the benefits of coaching for those who need it in their lives:

  1. A strong support system who is there to walk alongside you to reach the dreams and goals you want.
  2. A sense of clarity about what you want in life and how to get there.
  3. The ability to overcome difficulties in life that you might not be able to alone and without support.
  4. Someone that will stand alongside you while you explore all your options, wants, and aspirations.
  5. Someone to keep you accountable for the things in life that you want to achieve.
  6. And someone who is truly there to look out for you.

If you are looking to become a professional coach yourself, click this link to go to our program page to find the next intake for yourself. All our programs are ICF Certified as well so when you graduate you will be a certified professional coach.

Talyaa Vardar

The Average Salary of A Life Coach

The salary of a certified life coach varies between $100/hour to $1000/hour depending on the type of life coaching, education, confidence, clientele, and geographical location. The average fee for an hour life coaching session is around $230 USD according to the 2016 global ICF study.

Experience plays a big role in the life coach’s salary increase along with completing a professional coach certification training program.

The number of clients that a life coach gets at one time varies from 6 to 30. The same ICF study revealed that the average income that a coach makes increases over time:

So, what is the average salary of a life coach?

  • 1-2 years $150+/hour
  • 3-4 years $150-200/hour
  • 5-10 years $250+/hour
  • 10+ years $350+/hour

It is obvious that the longer you've been coaching and the more hours you rack up, the higher your salary can be, or rather the more you can demand. In addition to that, if you decide to zone in on a niche of coaching -- like business coaching or executive coaching, you are also able to earn more money that way.

Who are life coaches?

A life coach is someone who is a thought-provoking partner for their client who supports them by:

  • Realizing their true potential and maximizing it through self-awareness and developing new habits;
  • Getting them through a difficult period of their life;
  • Identifying meaningful goals to increase their happiness;
  • Finding a balance between all their priorities including work, finances, family, friends, personal development, self-love, romance, etc.;
  • Closing the gap between where they are and where they want to be;
  • Developing coping skills that will create positive change in life and at work.

If the life coach is a certified life coach this means that they are the experts in the field.

Some ideas for life coaches to create various streams of income:

  • Life coaching with individuals
  • Creating coaching packages
  • Training and workshops
  • Group coaching
  • Writing a book
  • Mentor coaching
  • Motivational speaking
  • Online courses
  • Video series
  • Apps

Choosing to become a life coach as a career path is not an easy decision to make as it's a job that requires a lot of time and dedication. You need to be someone who is extremely dedicated to wanting to help people change their lives.

A life coach has to be there all the time for their clients. And most times, the issues that their clients need to go through are some heavy issues that might take a chunk out of your own cup as well. This is also why a lot of professional coaches need to be mentally and emotionally strong so that they can stay unshaken when it comes to their client's well-being and growth.

You also need to be incredibly attentive and present when it comes to your client's sessions, conversations, and growth. You are there to be a change-maker in their lives. Someone that they can trust 100% that is there and has their back.

If becoming a coach is a dream of yours, FLOW Coaching Institute offers ICF-certified coaching programs for you. You can tune in from anywhere around the world as our programs are online. Imagine that -- you get to become a fully certified ICF coach online. You will be part of an amazing family of world-class coaches who are there to help guide you and shape you to become the coach you are meant to be.

Click here to check out our latest program schedule for an intake that's best for you. We truly can't wait to see you soon!

Talyaa Vardar

30 Business Coaching Questions Through Swot Analysis

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.

Image Credits

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.

  • Strengths: Strengths are the things that you or your organization are stronger and better at in the overall marketplace. Examples of strengths include unique/better products or services, an established customer base, a good reputation in the marketplace, strong management, experience and know-how, experienced employees, ownership of patents and trademarks, or anything else that sets you apart from the competition.
  • Weaknesses: These are the areas that make you or your products/services/brand vulnerable to compete in the marketplace. Weaknesses might include slow agility in a rapid change environment, lack of expertise and market understanding, employee and management problems, high turnover, lack of capital, bad location, poor products or services, a damaged reputation, and so on.
  • Opportunities: Opportunities are things that could make your business stronger, more enduring, or more profitable — for example, the emergence of new technology or the expansion of an old segment; possible partnerships, acquisitions, or strategic alliances; or the recruitment of desired talent.
  • Threats: Threats are the things that could adversely affect a business. Threats might include changing buying habits, changing marketplace conditions, rising company debt, cash-flow problems, the entrance of a strong competitor in the market, decreasing profitability, regulations, laws, or taxes that may negatively affect the overall profit and business success.

30 Business Coaching Questions to Ask Through SWOT Analysis


  • What makes your company or yourself attractive to your industry?
  • What are your inner strengths?
  • What are you more efficient at?
  • What can you do for less money?
  • What can we do in less time?
  • What do we do better than our competitors?
  • What makes you stand out?
  • What do your clients love most about you?


  • Where do you lack efficiency?
  • Where are you wasting money?
  • Where are you wasting time and resources?
  • What do your competitors do better?
  • Where do you lack expertise/knowledge/skills?

Opportunities [keep in mind these are growth areas]

  • What do you know that others do not know?
  • What is missing in your market?
  • What could you create/do better than a competitor?
  • What new trends are occurring?
  • What openings in the market are there?
  • How/where could you grow?
  • Do your strengths open up new opportunities?


  • What changes are occurring in your market's environment?
  • What technologies could replace what you do?
  • What changes are occurring in the way you're being discovered?
  • What social changes could threaten you?
  • Are there any threatening government policies or regulations?
  • What outside resources and companies do you depend on?
  • Do any of our weaknesses expose us to additional threats?

To inquire about FLOW Coaching Institute’s ICF Certified Business Coaching program, please click here

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The FLOW Model In Professional Coaching

“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

What Happens to Your Mind In Flow?

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 powerfulawake, 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

Business Coach

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!

Enjoying Experiences in The NOW!

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)”
            -Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

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.

What is The FLOW Model?

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.

Csikszentmihalyi’s flow model recognizes eight emotional mental states:

  1. Apathy - no interest, the person is apathetic to the subject and situation
  2. Boredom - no interest in the situation, bored, and maybe run-down
  3. Relaxation - calmness or lack of excitement
  4. Worry - focus with worry is negative; (fantasy) problems grow and are viewed as having no solution
  5. Control - the feeling of dominance. Automatizing skills by practicing; the activity is currently hard but the person feels that they have a command of the situation (risk: the person's skill is higher than the difficulty of the situation)
  6. Anxiety - could be the reason for someone freezing or shutting down
  7. Arousal - with the reinforcement of arousal, the person approaches their surroundings more attentively
  8. Flow - the mental state that ensures the person focusing completely on the task or activity - generally results in the action being completed successfully

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?

Talyaa Vardar

Create An Effective Coaching Session With These Steps

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.

What Are Action Questions?

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:

  • Taking into consideration our session today, and your short and long-term goals, what actions do you commit to doing this week?
  • What actions do you commit to achieving this week to solidify the learning from our session today?
  • What would be one step to take?

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

Talyaa Vardar

Growth Mindset At Work

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. 

Growth Mindset at 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.

Dweck's Growth Mindset

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?

  • One-on-One Meeting: By discussing how managers at your workplace perceive and view learning it is possible to gauge their mindset.
  • Invest in Development: Whether you have fixed or growth-minded leaders, investing in efforts that reinforce how performance and intelligence grow through learning and development will make them more willing to coach and invest time in their own self-development.
  • Behavioral Assessment: Behavioral assessments can be done to understand the management and learning styles of the managers and employees. This information will help each person better understand how to interact with others and provide a tangible action plan to develop the behaviors that will set them up for success.

Other Tips You Can Use To Instill Growth Mindset

  • Embrace the idea and word “YET”
  • Develop and use growth mindset statements with staff consistently as part of work culture.
  • Make the connection between “process” and “achievement” in your feedback.
  • Incorporate growth mindset activities.
  • Emphasize learning as a process.
  • Highlight mistakes as an opportunity for learning.

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.

Talyaa Vardar

5 Ways To Stay Positive During Trying Times

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!

#1: Get Enough Sleep

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.

#2: Stop Victimizing Yourself 

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.

#3: Meditate 

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.

#4: Focus on The Positives

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.

#5: Reach Out To Others

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

We would love to help.

Talyaa Vardar