The ICF Conference Experience – Connections, Learning & BBQ!

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We had a great experience at the ICF Midwest Conference and returned feeling energized and connected! This coaching conference was PACKED with learning and inspiration plus I got to meet people I had known only "virtually" before – pictured above is Danielle Cornenchuk and myself. I learned about some awesome Aura-picresources while engaging with all the other vendors and of course my good friend Garry from choice magazine was there (in the third picture above). It just so happened that Belle Star had a booth next to us and she takes "aura" pictures. She did a couples aura picture for Rick and I – pretty cool! And of course, being in Kansas City we had to try some Kansas City BBQ!
Conferences are such a great place to get inspired and current in your profession and to gather fuel for your passion.  If you aren't able to attend a conference like this, consider creating your own "mini conference" experience.
Learning on your own, at home and at your own pace will help keep you sharp and engaged. To make it a "mini conference" experience consider inviting a couple of colleagues to join you. You each pick something cool to learn and then meet for dinner to share – voila – a mini conference experience! If you have attended a conference you know that dining out with colleagues is one of the best parts of the experience.
Here are three suggestions  for learning
1. Marlena Field's Embodied Resources – This is a great program on using the body and mindfulness in coaching.
2. Learn how to use writing as a tool to build your business with Linda Dessau's book Write Your Way To More Clients Online
3. Easily Wired Combo – this is a great tool to learn best practices and strategies for networking for business growth and to advance within an organization..
What are some of your favorite learning products and programs?


“Big Life Big Action Award” Vote Now!

As part of our 10 year anniversary, Coaching Toys initiated three Product Awards. We awarded the "Out Of The Box" product award in March. Now it's time for you to help us choose the winner of the "Big Life Big Action" Award.






Meet the finalists for the 2013 Coaching Toys "Big Life Big Action" Product Award.
The "Big Life Big Action" product category is all about helping people move forward both personally and professionally. The product finalists are all standouts.

The final winner will be determined by YOUR vote.
Voting ends May 28!  If you already know your favorite – go ahead and vote now, or read on to learn more.

"Big Life Big Action" Finalists



Q? Basics. Open-Ended Questions for Coaching Mastery

This training tool has been a best seller since day one. New coaches use it to hone their skills, trainers use it to introduce managers and leaders to the art of open-ended questions and it's a great self-coaching tool.  Open-ended questions empower, shift perspectives, increase awareness and ignite action. Definitely a Big Life, Big Action Contender. Learn more here




Easily Wired, With KW-02-2TNo Unnatural Acts


 Featured in the newsletter recently, this product gives you an easy to use blueprint to leverage and expand your sphere of influence. Your network is gold and this product helps you value and maintain your connections in a way that feels authentic. The tips and tools work equally well for job seekers as they do for corporate executives needing to build strategic relationships. Networking opens doors, builds bridges, and provides the type of foundation that allows you to leap into a big life and take big action. Learn more here





Road to Resilience Values Deck

I love the fact that this deck is really two decks in one. On one side you have a values card sort. Flip the deck over and you have lots of wonderful inquiries to help you explore how to bring those values more alive in your life and work. The perfect tool for coaches working in any arena; business, executive, relationship, teams,life, leadership – you name it. Values are core to living on purpose and with integrity.  Values motivate, clarify, and define who we are in the world. That kind of clarity and purpose leads to big action. Learn More Here


RBBP-AC-03-2TThe Right Brain Business Plan

The world needs more innovators and creatives and thank goodness for this awesome book that helps right-brainers creatively embrace the fundamentals of business. The Right-Brain Business Plan speaks the language of the artist, makes business planning creative and visual and even fun. There are undoubtedly countless creative businesses thriving today because of the ideas in this book. this book is totally committed to big creative dreams and taking action.  Learn more here


Four awesome contenders! Which is YOUR Favorite?
Your vote matters and will only take a few seconds.

VOTE HERE:  2013 Big Life Big Action Product Award

Voting ends May 28!

Besides being recognized as the best product in it's category, the winner gets featured in Choice Magazine and wins a coveted spot on the featured product page of the Coaching Toys Store. (And maybe another surprise or two)



Dream Card Deck & Phone Coaching

DreamcardsDDL-01-2TI just received a great question from a Coaching Toys customer.
Can I use the Dream Cards via telephone?

Since most coaches work by telephone I thought I’d share my answer – which was a resounding yes.

The Dream Card Game content is word based rather than image based – this makes it much easier to use over the phone. What I like about this deck is that it gets clients thinking and dreaming outside their normal range of options.

Here's how I would use the deck.

Set the exercise up properly by letting the client know you will be doing a card sort exercise. The focus for your client is to choose based on what would really inspire, thrill, or interest them.

Take each card one by one and read it to the client. Ask the client to tell you which pile it goes in;  the yes pile (it excites, inspires, interests them) or the no pile.

You will likely need to go through the yes pile a second and maybe a third time to  narrow it down to 3-5 things your client would really love to experience.

Once you have the top 3-5 desirable activities you can begin to coaching around the choices. Were there any surprises? Take each one and explore: What is it about this that inspires/excites/interests you? What would it give you to accomplish this? Whats a first step? etc.

Another interesting activity would be to explore the no pile. Identify the strongest no's and engage in coaching. What makes it a a no?  A great way to clarify values and attachments or assumptions.

To give you some context – here are some examples from the deck:

Dream-islandCultivate your psychic ability
Give a public music recital
Own your own island
Create a new energy source for the good of the planet
Become a yoga instructor
Snow ski in the swiss alps
Star in a hollywood movie
Visit all 50 states

You get the idea – there are 56 to choose from.

What is it that inspires, excites and interests you?

Vote for your favorite products!

As part of our 10 year anniversary Coaching Toys is initiating The 2013 Product Awards. We have created three award categories: Out of the Box, Art Of The Heart and Big Life Big Action. The product finalists are all stand outs in their category and choices were based on concept, design, usability and track record.

The final winners will be determined by a public vote. We will award Out of the Box in March, Big Action, Big Life in June and Art Of The Heart in September.

Here are the 4 finalists for the 2013 Coaching Toys Out of The Box Award. 

See below for links to vote for your favorite!





ShiftDC-01-2TShift Deck

Uniquely packaged prompts to help shift energy and perspective. Who doesn't need a bit of lightness and new energy now and again.

There are so many great ways to use these cards: Shift your own energy before a client session, use to break a stalemate or lighten up difficult conversations and in workshops as a way to introduce humor shift between intense exercises.

The creator of this tool, Diana Chapman uses them with families in conflict. She tells me she received a thankyou letter from a 12 year old boy who says he looks forward to family conflicts because they get to use the shift cards. All I can say is WOW!


HatsFDP-OHC01-2TOne Hat At A Time Momentum Cards

This deck leverages the power of metaphor like no other deck I've seen. The whimsical pictures and creative questions open up learning and shift perspective in a way that is both powerful and light-hearted. 

Everyone knows "hats" making it easy to use in person or on the phone. Ask your client what "it" might look like if they put on the jesters hat? or the artists beret? or a miners helmut?

Perfect icebreaker or debriefing tool for workshops too!


PointsPY-01-2TPoints of You, the Coaching Game

There are a number of imagery based products out there but this one is the cream of the crop. Beautiful images, stellar writing to illuminate the pictures and a wonderful process that can be self-guided or facilitated. And the unique packaging – it's an invitation to engage.

Coaching via images will always yield unexpected results! Use with your clients and you will see what I mean or carve out retreat time and use it yourself!


MetaphorsJS-MM01-2TMiniature Metaphors

Here's another take on using metaphor and I love that this tool breaks out of the box by using tiny objects rather than a card deck. It is so fun to pick up the objects and hold them in your hand. What a great take away from a workshop.

There are as many ways to use them as there are ways to use metaphors and symbols. Use them to check in. Ask participants to choose an object that reflects something about them we don't know, reflects an intention for the day or symbolizes a strength. Similarly use it as a debriefing tool following an exercise. I've seen it used with teams – imagine the dynamic of choosing the symbol as a group – loads of rich learning to be had.

These are the four finalists! Awesome right!

You can vote TWO ways ( just in case you aren't a facebook fan)

On Facebook: Vote Here

Via Survey: Vote Here




Surviving the Roof fundraiser.

FundraiserMy husband Rick and I are reaching out to our community this week for help and the response so far has been amazing and deeply humbling.

It's not easy to ask for help but sometimes situations require it and Ricks fall off of our roof last December put us in that kind of situation.

I've posted an open letter on the Coaching Toys site.

Here is an excerpt:

"I never imagined my home would need to be wheelchair accessible or that a hospital bed and commode would be parked in my dining room. It's amazing how an event like this changes everything; our routines changed, our environment changed, our priorities changed, our financial situation changed.

AND something deep within kicks in and you do what you need to do on a daily basis. My focus is on Rick's healing, in fact it's hard to think of anything else and I'm doing everything in my power to help him literally get back on his feet again. With mounting medical bills, Rick's inability to work and my attention pulled away from my business to take care of him – it's pretty scary."

You can read the full letter here: Message from Marcy 

The fundraiser runs March 12 through March 17 via the Coaching Toys Store. Many of the Coaching Toys vendors are donating 100% of the proceeds of sales during this week. There is also an option to make a straight donation.

If you feel called to contribute or to spread the word, it would mean alot to us. Visit www.CoachingToysStore.com