Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Smarter, Faster, Better

Buy this book! This is one of those no brainers where it won't serve you to borrow it from friend, colleague or library because you're going to refer to it time and time again.

For many books I do a summary of why I think it's a valuable addition to your library and that goes without saying when it comes to this book.

However to take it a step further, this book brings insight and understanding at so many levels I can't begin to describe them all.

"As leaders, the way we change the world and our organizations is through taking responsibility for something larger than ourselves. This requires us to ask ourselves a new set of questions..." - Karlin Sloan

I have yet to devote an entire blog post for a book recommendation but this stands on its own. I recommend it for clients, colleagues and students alike. It will bring perspective and create some paradigm shifts no matter what career you're in or at what level within it.

The rest, well, I encourage you to discover for yourself.

Donna Karlin

Monday, April 27, 2009

Teaching in Milan

Last November out of the blue I was contacted by a professional coach in Italy who wanted me to bring The School of Shadow Coaching Advanced Coach Training to Milan. When she first wrote, it didn't remotely occur to me I would be standing in front of a group of amazing internal corporate and executive coaches in Milan a few months later. When a second coach contacted me, I figured it was worth a look. The first question I was asked was "Will it slow you down or make a difference if the class has to be translated?" I answered "The pace will be different yes, but it will only be an issue if we make it an issue and for me, it's not".

So, mid April arrived and there I was standing in a conference room in Milan teaching them the Shadow Coaching methodology; action / experiential learning, fast paced and interactive. A good number of participants spoke little or no English and I spoke no Italian.

By the second day I was translating words from Italian (don't ask me how, but I was) and the class was speaking more English than they did before. They talked, learned, we discussed, translated in real time when needed and percolated ideas. We all evolved because of that class.

Different language and culture aside, coaching is, if nothing else, fine tuned communication between individuals. If we don't understand, we discuss until we do and then discuss again until we evolve.

There were many paradigm shifts as they learned the methodology of Shadow Coaching. One of the participants thanked me because he said before the class, when coaching clients, his head told him one thing but his heart another. Now, through this methodology head and heart came together as one and he would never go back to his old way of coaching.

Looking back, I realize there was never a language barrier though we spoke different languages. As I reflect, I realize it was a huge leap of faith for them to bring in a Canadian coach who spoke no Italian, and who for many, was an unknown entity, however they dove in with everything they had and were, and embraced what I had to offer. I felt welcomed, and in many ways adopted by this ever growing professional coaching community.

Lessons learned or shared would be, don't let what might seem like an obvious barrier stand in the way of sharing your knowledge and expertise around the world. Language, culture, ways of being aside, coaching is one of the few areas of practice that bridges all gaps.

I believe the ability to ask a powerful question at the right moment and for the right reasons, whether to others or ourselves, is what makes a coach masterful. Being there to see that moment unfold and recognizing it, is what takes a coach to the next level, and, in turn, the client and, in this case, I add teacher and student.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Choices go beyond the immediate result. There are ramifications, consequences and results for each choice we make.

We can choose to honour someone which will make them feel valued and worthy or to put them down (for whatever reason) and make them feel small and minimalized.

We can celebrate the important people in our lives so they know what place they hold in your heart, strengthening relationships even more or they can be taken for granted by not letting them know what we're feeling until all of a sudden they're just not there anymore.

We can choose something easy because it won't rock the boat or we can stand for what we believe, with respect, and be respected by others for our choices, even if they don't agree with them.

We can choose what we want in our worlds so we evolve, continue to learn and fly or not choose and let lack of choice guide our lives, bringing regret and perhaps anger, as no choice is a choice in itself.

We can be true to ourselves by choosing what is in alignment with our hearts.... or not. The consequences of all are profound and create the difference between living a life of joy and choice or existence and feeling a victim of someone else's choices for you.

“Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.” - Barbara De Angelis

Donna Karlin

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Who Is The Real You?

Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, "This is the real me," and when you have found that attitude, follow it. - William James

A few years ago a client of mine, at our first meeting over coffee, remarked "You really know who you are". For me that was a profound comment. It took me years to be at one with who I am, and that is a continuous journey of discovery, however I know what I connect with, who I connect with, what resonates with me, and what and who lights a fire in me.

Recognizing it, looking for it and embracing whatever it is fuels that in me, makes all the difference in the world. Many feel they have to behave in a certain manner, live a certain way, live up to the standards set for them and lose themselves along the way, living a life that's been defined for them. It's not easy taking a stand and saying "This is who I know I am and want to remain being"

Have you discovered your authentic self? And if so, are you at one with who that might be?

Donna Karlin