ICF North Florida News: July 2019 Print

President's Corner

Happy Summer North Florida Coaches! I hope you are enjoying the playfulness this time of year engenders. This is my final president’s message.  Patty Miller, and our incoming leadership team are well positioned to continue our journey together, leading the advancement of the coaching profession in North Florida. Patty brings an abundance of gifts and talents and collectively our association continues to expand as we execute our 2019-2021 strategic initiatives of raising visibility, deepening engagement, and growth. If you are not on one of the three strategic initiatives teams, what are you waiting for? Raise your hand and share your gifts. You will be glad you did and your contributions will create a ripple effect will continue for all of us!

Our rich origins:ICF North Florida began as a small network of professional coaches gathering and supporting one another way back in the 1990’s. The profession of coaching was truly in its infancy then, as this small group of coaches gathered under the name, First Coast Coaches Association. We celebrate our legacy organization, a vibrant and successful, award-winning innovative and creative community.  Several of our legacy coaches are still here, actively supporting and serving our ICF North Florida coaching community. We appreciate their wisdom, perspectives, and insights, as our chapter continues to grow and as our coaching profession matures.

Survey Says:We listened to you, through both the strategic planning process and the programming survey. As we continue to refine and expand, together we are scaling to offer a great place to be throughout North Florida. We are offering more fun and intimate social gatherings, world class learning activities, and community facing service activities wherein our North Florida community experiences what ICF North Florida, and coaching are all about. We are beginning to flex our technology muscles in order to truly serve the vast geography of our North Florida region.

My why:  As a coach, I believe deeply in the awesomeness of the human potential. Everywhere I look I see possibilities. I know our world benefits greatly from our talents individually and collectively. Co-creating an association where people feel welcomed, where we are safe to take risks and make mistakes, where we learn and develop as coaches, and as leaders, as colleagues, and as humans, in an environment where we know we have one another’s backs. We are continuously designing a special community wherein collectively we cannot fail. As our carefree Summer turns toward Fall, it will be time to turn the page to our community’s next chapter. It has been my honor to serve as president, and I look forward to continuing to support our community as immediate past president. Here’s to the lazy days of summer to YOU and to our amazing coaching community!


Terry Hoffmann, MA, PCC, BCC

President, Board of Directors- ICF North Florida  



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Coach Spotlight

Many of you joined us when Laura and Dan Maloney hosted a private 'behind the scenes' tour of the Jacksonville Zoo and while teaching us that traits such as bullying, cooperation and manipulation are common between humans and animals. We now learn a bit more about Laura and her passion for assisting human and animals through her coaching and leadership...

Laura, you have shared that you feel a sense of connectedness and interrelatedness to all living things which formed the foundation of your work today. Tell us how this influences your work as a leader and a coach?

My science training definitely influenced a systemic style of thinking about how various elements work together to achieve a particular effect. Since my early days as an employee, I’ve always viewed organizations as living, dynamic ecosystems. The many aspects of a company ranging from its people to its market position, strategies, and tactics, are intended to work together to help an organization thrive and grow over time. The intertwined facets are continually tweaked as companies respond to internal and external pressures, just as happens in an interconnected natural system. 

Similarly, the members and teams within an organization are both independent and interdependent. People can focus on their particular niche, but they are also dependent on the healthy functioning of the entity as a whole. When one division of a company becomes weakened, other divisions may be relied upon for key support while the temporarily injured team regains its strength. If the entity becomes overwhelmed, however, and too much change occurs at one time (whether self or externally-induced), the system is vulnerable to collapse if it hasn’t developed the resiliency to withstand the pressures. The same applies in nature. 

As a leader and a coach, I’m attentive to the interplay between the pieces. When serving as a leader or consultant, I’m keenly focused on organizational culture as it plays a key role in how people interact, make decisions, and deploy. I observe and listen for what’s happening beneath the surface; those aspects that may not be readily apparent. A great analogy in nature is something dubbed the “Wood Wide Web.” Check out the work of Suzanne Simard, a forest ecologist who has studied the conversations between trees and other species that happen underground, invisible to the human eye. Dr. Simard is also featured in a great Radio Lab show called From Tree to Shining Treethat is truly mind-blowing. It will change the way you view a forest; mother trees nurture younger ones, trees work to reduce root competition, they share sugar with struggling trees, and there is even inter-species cooperation (trees, plants, and fungi) to ensure the forest, as a whole, thrives. Just as in organizations, when a forest or habitat experiences too much pressures from activities such as logging, it can succumb along with the animals who depend upon it for survival. 

As a coach, I’m mindful of working with the whole person, not just one facet of their work. When a client comes to the office in the morning, she brings along with her assumptions that have shaped her current ways of thinking and working, patterns that may have once worked beautifully, but are no longer serving her. She may be ready for her own adaptation or shift in approach as she seeks to grow her capacity to lead (although perhaps not yet perceptible but made more apparent through the coaching process).  

Adaptation and continual learning are important for humans as they are for animals and ecosystems. If we are to successfully meet the increasing complexity of a fast-paced world, it’s incumbent upon us to develop ourselves as individuals, teams, and organizations. Bob Andersen, founder of The Leadership Circle, expresses a sentiment I find myself routinely echoing: The pace of leadership development, individually and collectively, must match or exceed the pace of change in business conditions. 

Adaptation and evolutionary fitness are central concepts in biology. Like organisms in the natural world, our ability to grow and develop resilience can play strong roles in how we function and make meaning.

As an animal lover and former CEO of the Louisiana SPCA can you share similarities between animals and humans that our coaching community might leverage in their work with individuals and teams?

In some ways, non-human animals have a leg up on people. ? If you have pet dogs at home, you may notice how attuned they are to the slightest change in mood, voice pattern, or posture of their human companion. A tucked or wagging tail is a giveaway to how they are reading the room. I’m astounded how our dogs can pick up the slightest change in our daily patterns. They are remarkably tuned-in. 

Wild animals also reveal many signals. Some use vocals to voice their state-of-being, play, convey a myriad of facial expressions, release pheromones, and use tactile and touch based cues. The complex communication mechanisms are impressive! There is more going on between animals that most people realize. 

Like in organizations, there are rules in the animal world. Youngsters get away with nearly anything as juveniles, but as animals age, they will be disciplined by elders or learn the consequences of unacceptable actions. Youngsters who grow up without correction (e.g., young bull elephants are a good example) will often be unruly as they mature. As leaders and coaches, we establish structures of support intended to help create clarity and accountability for clients and the larger group. 

Some species such as Canada geese practice flexible leadership styles. The goose leading the V-formation will be relieved by another when he gets tired. Leaders rotate empower, delegate, and even step down if it’s best for the group. 

There is so much to learn from animals about how to live life. Even lions rest and take naps while people can push themselves to the brink. To quote my husband, Dan, “There is so much to learn from animals about how to live life. Even lions rest and take naps while people can push themselves to the brink. To quote my husband, Dan, “Nature’s all about obtaining and retaining energy. Animals are constantly doing their best to get and save energy without becoming someone else’s energy.” Animals remember and apply what they learn in order to survive. Learnings are passed onto others. Even by trees. 

As coaches, we can apply many of the same teachings in our day-to-day work. How do we help our clients build resiliency? How do we help them build in moments of play and rest, which are so foundational to our happiness, health, and capacity for creativity? How do we coach those who are highly reactive? What may be underlying the threat they feel – whether real or imagined? 

The study of primates, our closest non-human relatives, offers interesting insights, too. They make tools and show high degrees of creative problem-solving. They’re agile, resourceful, and build social ties to rally a team or influence others. Influence in primates is an important factor to where they fall in the ranking order. In companies, the ability to influence are essential skills for leaders to master. Command structures of yesteryear are no longer the norm. Leading today often requires the ability to sway and inspire while leading with integrity. What are the traits of successful influencers? Can we build our clients’ capacity?

As a fun development practice for coaches, perhaps spend some time observing animals in nature or at home. What are the animals around you doing? Are you picking up on their most subtle cues? Reading body language is a powerful tool for leaders and coaches alike. 

What keeps you involved with ICF North Florida?

I adore the people of ICF North Florida. Each member I’ve met has been kind, generous, interested in the lives of others, and they’re continually expanding their coaching capabilities. Pure hearts and smarts. The chapter is growing and the coaches come from diverse backgrounds, which adds depth and flavor to our collective development. At its core, ICF is about sharpening the saw, to borrow a phrase from Stephen Covey. Our chapter offers a safe (and cheerful!) space for experimenting and building relationships with fellow coaches. 

What advice would you give to leaders to help them and their teams to thrive?

I was interviewed recently for another article by Akemi Sue Fisher and she asked a similar question. Here are the thoughts that were top-of-the-mind then and remain today:

Build exercise into your daily life. Make it a habit. Great health and physical and mental fitness are critical to our day-to-day lives. We live in a society that prizes busyness and working almost beyond your capacity. It might impress others in the short term, but it’s not a recipe for a good life. Be disciplined about ensuring you exercise several times a week. You’re bigger than your job regardless of what role you play. Don’t leave your soul on your desk at the end of the day.

Give meditation a try. It’s taken me years of practice, but I now have an ability to call upon a moment of zen in the craziest of moments thanks to building meditation into my daily routine. It’s like brushing your teeth; it becomes a habit and a core practice, and you miss it when you haven’t done it. Check out Insight Timer, which has hundreds of teachers and meditations for everyone from beginners to advanced practitioners.

For myself, my “routine” is really a mix of things depending on how (un)focused I am. Walking meditation has been a stronghold of my practice in recent months. I’m generally at my desk very early (between 5–6am), and then take a morning break for meditation. I know most people recommend that you meditate before you do anything else, but for me, my work is on my mind in the morning, and clearing a few things off my desk first helps me settle into meditation more easily.

Take the task seriously, but take yourself with a giant grain of salt. It can be so easy to lose perspective, especially with the types of high-stakes decisions and responsibilities that fall to a leader. But it’s like holding an egg?—?if you grip your role too tight, you’ll crush what’s trying to grow.

Create a group charter. It should outline your agreements as a team, including how you’ll handle conflict. Make sure you discuss how you will hold each other accountable to it or the charter can be the source of mockery and undermine, rather than strengthen, your efforts.

What advice would you give to leaders about the best way to manage a team?

Be authentic. Learn how to hold the tension between vulnerability and strength. Sharing moments of vulnerability may seem at odds with “being the boss,” but showing your humanity goes a long way towards creating an atmosphere that encourages courage, and that’s open and honest. You’re modeling behavior that can benefit your organization tremendously. After all, if people don’t have the courage to be vulnerable, they’ll never speak up if they have an idea or see something that could go wrong.

Being vulnerable doesn’t mean you fall apart or shed tears regularly in front of the team. Rather, it’s an inner awareness and an honest look at your own challenges. Some leaders want to be seen as bulletproof, but that can also make you seem inhuman. I think resilience?—?which is fostered by a marriage of strength and vulnerability?—?is a far more authentic and inspiring quality in a leader.

Be clear about your core values. Hold true to them as you lead, even though it may be challenging at times. These values represent our unique essence. When we have great clarity about what drives us and act accordingly, we make more rewarding choices in our personal and professional lives. That clarity also helps us to swiftly recognize value conflicts, which enables us to develop strategies that will move us closer to roles and relationships that are a stronger fit with our core beliefs. The result is a richer, more satisfying life.

Question assumptions and beliefs. They may have guided you well up until now, and they may have created blind spots. You’ll never discover that unless you have the courage to take a step back and question what you “know,” especially if they’re black-and-white or either/or perspectives.

Be open to all perspectives. I’ve learned to mine for approaches up, down, and across the organization, and it’s one of the things people who’ve worked for me have frequently told me they appreciate about my leadership style. Learn to look for solutions in unorthodox places?—?you may be surprised where you’ll find them.

Stay away from gossip. Especially in the C-suite, where peers are few, it can be tempting to commiserate about a poor-performing colleague. Take the advice you’d give a mentee and don’t do it. It breeds distrust and weakens your authority. If your team has performance issues, address them directly and honestly (and, of course, compassionately) with that person.

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Unique Events for YOU!


This past Spring, our first ICF North Florida Master Mind was successfully completed!  Diane Liewehr and Lynn Elliott launched this pilot with 8 participants, along with the support and guidance of the original "Master Minds" of the Austin, TX chapter, Kelley Russel DuVarney and Teresa Bitner. The Master Mind group met a total of 6 times, every other week, over the course of a 12-week period.  While the topics and discussion of the Master Mind are held in deep confidence, a tight community was fostered that will extend beyond our 12 weeks together!  Based on the rave reviews of the pilot group, Master Mind will become a truly value-added benefit to the ICF North Florida chapter membership.  Stay tuned for the next Master Mind coming this Fall! 

Overview of Master Mind:  The Master Mind format is focused on Professional Coach Development and provides a forum for brilliant thinking around the topic(s) each coach brings to the Master Mind process. Potential topics include but are not limited to:

  1. management issues
  2. professional development
  3. interaction with clients
  4. building my coaching business
  5. business marketing

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ICF North Florida Chapter Events

Mark Your Calendar for These Enriching Events!

Webinar - 7 Secrets to Designing Unforgettable Coaching Programs:  Aug 14 @ 2 pm

Virtual Happy Hour: Aug 14 @ 5:30 pm

Chapter Meeting: Aug 22 @ 5:30 pm

 All event registrations:  Click Here to Register    




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