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14 Feb 2014

10 Tips to Make Every Day Feel Like Valentine’s Day

Janet Heart HandsMost of my career transition coaching clients come to me because they are facing the challenges with work.  They talk about not being happy in their jobs, not doing meaningful work or not being appreciated.

Sometimes these are the only issues that are addressed.

But more often than not, as we get deeper into the coaching, the topic of relationships comes up.  And suddenly we have switched to relationship coaching or work life balance coaching.  I love these aspects of life coaching.

Today is Valentine’s Day and I’d like to talk about the importance of personal relationships and how we treat our loved ones.  To me, every day should feel like Valentine’s Day.

We should think of it like New Year’s, where we resolve to be loving for the entire year ahead.

Recently I discovered a book called The Five Languages of Love, by Dr. Gary Chapman.  It shares the idea that each of us has very specific triggers that help us feel loved.

I know some people like to receive gifts.  If they don’t receive jewelry or flowers, they don’t really feel special.

But personally, I would rather have a few heartfelt words than a new Coach purse.

This is because my top language of love is “Words of Affirmation.”  When someone says something deep, or writes me a note it triggers something inside me that says this person really cares.

I have a friend who, above all else, enjoys spending time with the person she cares about.  It doesn’t matter what the activity is.  It could be skiing, or going to a movie or simply a walk down a snow covered street.  Her language of love is “Quality Time.”

When you discover your language of love, and pay careful attention to what your partner appreciates, you can quite easily begin building better relationships.

These are the five languages of love and some great life coaching tips when it comes to communicating with your loved one:

Words of Affirmation

One of your deepest needs is the need to feel appreciated. Verbal compliments, words of appreciation, encouragement, kind and humble words are all ways to show love to you.

Quality Time

You enjoy doing things TOGETHER! We aren’t talking about just sitting in front of the T.V. together but really giving each other undivided attention. This means looking at each other, talking to each other, sharing your life with your partner.

Receiving Gifts

You are happy to receive things from your loved ones. They don’t have to be expensive. The gift is a symbol of “s/he cares about me” and “s/he thinks of me”.

Acts of Service

For you, actions speak louder than words! You prefer your partner to do things for you such as cooking a meal, giving a massage, cleaning the room… You like your partner to initiate the acts of service and put efforts into doing them to show that s/he cares.

Physical Touch

You love to receive a hug, a kiss, squeezes on the shoulder, a pat on the back, a touch of the face, and an arm around the waist… Touches can be 10 times as powerful and comforting as any words!

(Credit goes to Dr. Gary Chapman)

As I said earlier, my personal opinion is that expressing love should be done every day.  It should not be left to Valentine’s Day or “Date Night.”

I challenge you to really think about these languages of love and ideally, you should share this with your partner.  By simply opening the conversation and asking what is most important, you might be able to build something special by honoring some deeper, unrealized desires.

Oh yeah… and as promised… here are ten things you can freely give to your loved one each and every day of the year…

1.  Ask deep questions

2.  Do something kind

3.  Write a few words of affection

4.  Give an unexpected hug

5.  Let go of all expectations

6.  Be present and listen without judgment

7.  Go for a walk outside in nature

8.  Express gratitude

9.  Share a good laugh

10. Send a simple text: “I’m thinking of you”

Have a beautiful Valentine’s Day, everyone.  Let this be the start of a new, wonderful journey of love that lasts the entire year and more to come!

All my best,

Janet

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20 Jan 2014

My Night with Felix and George: Thank You for a Great Bash

goq_home_1 A few weeks ago Felix Global hosted a fun social event at George restaurant in downtown Toronto.

Felix is a wonderful corporation that helps organizations with talent and leadership solutions.  I am one of their career transition coaching consultants.

I had a few butterflies in my stomach as I walked along Queen Street to the event. I did not know too many people in the company and had never been to the restaurant before. I was hoping to connect with the few people I knew from the office, maybe share a drink with the boss, and be on my way.

It was a cold walk and I had just finished a very long week of business travel and coaching. I actually debated just turning around and heading home and put on some tea.

Then I walked through the doors of George.

Wow.

George is a beautiful, elegant restaurant.

There were warm comfortable chairs, intricate designs on tall glass windows and gentle lighting throughout. The staff was very welcoming and I immediately recognized my colleagues in the dining lounge. The food turned out to be spectacular, involving lobster, sea bass, quinoa and avocado. Near the end I enjoyed a delightful coconut dessert that I still can’t seem to get out of my mind. And, as it turned out, I did not at all feel like an outsider. The hosts from Felix Global went out of their way to make everyone feel very special. I was very much included, even celebrated, by my colleagues and the leadership of Felix.

Janet Blaha and Mary Legakis Engel at Felixbash 2014

Janet Blaha and Mary Legakis Engel at Felixbash 2014

Less than a year ago I did not know anyone at this company. I remember actually cold calling the vice president from my home office hoping that I could just share a little about my services. Everything worked out and here I was sitting with a new group of friends in one of the top restaurants of Toronto. Near the beginning of the evening they announced a twitter competition. As many of you know, I love twitter and have been tweeting for a few years now. So I was eager to jump in and see if I could win a prize. I started sending out greetings and hashtags (#felixbash #felixfoto) with exclamation marks including @felixglobal and @georgeonqueen.

I took photos of my colleagues and my dinner and launched them into the twittersphere before the main course was even served. I soon noticed that the twitter posts were being projected onto a giant screen at the front of the room. Soon a few people started to notice my little twitter icon repeatedly popping up. The other ladies at my table seemed to get a kick out of it.

Guess what?  I won!

The vice president of the company, Mr. John Higgins, invited me up in front of everyone to present me with a bottle of Amarone Italian wine. While he was doing this, someone clicked on my twitter profile and suddenly the entire room was looking at my twitter numbers. That Friday I had 23.4K followers. I don’t ever make a big deal out of it, but I think it was pretty impressive to some of the people there that I have so many followers. You can follow me at @janetblaha.

As I returned to my seat (and my deliciously decadent coconut banana cream dessert) I was inundated with questions about how I accomplished this. This made me smile. To tell the truth, it is all about consistency and dedication. I will have to write a blog about some of the tips of twitter in the future. I confess I am a bit of twitter-bug. But it was very nice to attend an event feeling appreciated and honored for simply showing up and being myself. As I walked to the subway I realized that the butterflies had been replaced with lobster and the cool winter air had very little effect on my warm grateful heart.

Fun at the Felix Bash

Fun at the Felix Bash

Thank you John, Laurie, Surekha and all the others at Felix Global. It is clear you appreciate the people connected with your company. Thank you for a wonderful evening. (And I really appreciate the wine!)

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07 Jan 2014

Five Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Life Coach

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Toronto Life Coach

Five Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Coach

So you have decided to hire a life coach.  And you have found the name of someone from a friend or a website search.  What now?  How do you know if this coach is best for you?

My suggestion is that you do your research and ask a few key questions.  This will immediately give you some insight and help you make a good, well-informed decision.

Here are five questions to ask before hiring a life coach.

1.  What is your experience?

Today there are coaches who specialize in life coaching services such as helping clients with ADHD, relationship issues, career transition, work-life balance, self-esteem, health and many others.

It is important that your coach has worked with people who have had similar challenges like yours.  When you are investing your own money into career or life coaching packages, you need to be sure you are not the first client for that coach.

Ask for specific examples of people they have worked with.  Ask about their specialty and their interest in different life challenges.  You should be able to tell right away if this coach is comfortable in your area of need well before you disclose the nature of your own personal challenges.

A good coach will be open and honest about their experiences and specific skills sets.

2.  What are your life coaching qualifications and credentials?

Life coaching is a relatively new profession.  There are people who will call themselves coaches without having any training at all.  The trouble is compounded as there are many competing schools.  With all of this it is sometimes difficult to know what credentials to look for when choosing your own coach.

Fortunately the International Coaching Federation (ICF) has changed all of this.  The ICF has become the primary global professional body that oversees the certification of all specialty life coaches.

When seeking a coach, you should definitely ask and check whether the coach is a member in good standing with the ICF.  Just go to the ICF website and type in the name of the coach.

Respected coaches will hold an ACC (Associate Certified Coach) credential.  This ensures that they have met an exceptional standard of experience and earned the respect of colleagues in the profession.  Coaches with the ACC designation have demonstrated a commitment to the values of the coaching profession.

 3.  What life coaching school did you attend?

It is also important to find out where the coach studied.  There are three well respected and best coaching schools: Adler, iPEC and CTI.  You can be confident in your coach if they completed any of these programs.

I studied through the CTI (Coaches Training Institute) program, which is a year long practical and theoretical education system developed out of California.  We use a Co-Active Coaching model, which I will speak more about in future blogs.  CTI has given me the additional qualification of CPCC (Certified Professional Co-active Coach).

If you wish to have a truly deep, respectful and professional experience, I would recommend that your coach have both CPCC and ACC after their name.

4.  Do you offer a free consultation?

The only way to know a coach is to actually speak to them.  Most good coaches will give you a free consultation over the phone.  During this time you should feel free to ask any questions about their services and experiences.

You should be able to tell right away whether the life coaching packages are clear and what is expected of both the client and the coach.

I offer a number of different coaching packages, but I generally need to ask a few questions to learn about the client before I can suggest a program.  Every program I develop is personalized to the individual, but generally involves an in-depth discovery session followed by a minimum of three to six intensive coaching sessions filled with life coaching questions and exercises.

An initial consultation, which is usually a fifteen to twenty minute call is completely free of charge and involves absolutely no obligation.  It is just so we can get to know each other and answer each others’ questions.

5.  Do you offer a guarantee?

Many coaches are nervous about offering any sort of guarantee.  This is because much of the work in making changes in a client’s life will actually require the client to do the work.

A few coaches, me included, do offer a guarantee.  I guarantee that you will receive exceptional value from each and every coaching session.  At the close of every session I will ask if you received value from the session and if I helped you make a difference in your life.  If you feel at all uncomfortable with any part of the session I will immediately address the concern and, if necessary, re-schedule another appointment to ensure your satisfaction.

My guarantee is that you will be given a meaningful and powerful coaching experience each and every time.

Final Word

As a final word, I would like to suggest that, above all, you trust your intuition.  If you feel uncomfortable with someone, if they seem to have their own agenda that is not in line with your direction or needs, even if they have all the credentials and years of experience, do not rush into a coaching relationship with them.

It is important that a trust is built from the very first contact, and if you feel your needs are not being honored, then you need to take a step back and keep looking around.

There are coaches that may be popular on television tor excellent at writing motivational articles in the newspapers.  But if you do not feel a safe, honest connection with this person, do not invest in their services.  It may slow you down when you most want to change direction and go forward.

Give me a call.  I am here to answer your questions.

Take the next step.  Commit2Change now.

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03 Jan 2014

Happy Holidays

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03 Jan 2014

Waterskiing Through 2013

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First Time Waterskiing

First Time Waterskiing

Well it is a brand new year and maybe a good time to reflect on 2013.

To tell you the truth I am actually a very private person.  I don’t like to talk about my family or personal life on social media.  I am friendly and outgoing, but I still hesitate to share.

I confess, deep down, I am a bit of an introvert.

This makes it tricky to tell my stories with people who may want to learn a bit more about me.  It is a challenge for me.  But as this is a new year I have decided to open up a little to share a few stories of who I am and some of what I did in the past year.

Here is my list of the top ten things I did in 2013.

I hope this will let you see through the windows of my world and inspire a few of you to take on new challenges and commit 2 change a few things in your own lives.

The following is my list of top ten things I want to remember for 2013.

Waterskiing:  I still can’t believe it.  But it’s absolutely true.  This August I visited a friend’s cottage and strapped on a pair of skies.   It took a few mouthfuls before I got up, but I did it!  And I loved it.  I felt free, alive, athletic and was overwhelmed with the emotions at doing something I never had a chance to do as a child.  But I gave that experience to me.  And that weekend I also gave that experience to my kids.  What a highlight.  I’ll never forget it.

Website:  One of my goals for 2013 was to launch a new website.  I did it.  I have many people to thank for this including Alan Pollett (SEO, Web Design), Martha Galvis (Graphic Design), Jeff Ramage (Photography, Editing), Edward Blaha (Admin), and many of my clients and colleagues who provided so many wonderful testimonials.

Exploring:  Ontario is a magical province.  It has so many wonderful places to visit, especially for camping.  This year I was able to swim in Lake Huron, climb rocks and trees in Tobermory and canoe in Killarney.  I went on a boat cruise in Muskoka, a hike through Algonquin Park and farmed cranberries in Bala.  Ontario is a beautiful, natural world of lakes and forests, only a few hours north of the city.  I visited many of the sites where many works of the Group of Seven painted.

GTA career transition coaching

Exploring the Beautiful Water Rocks of Tobermory

Cold Calling:  At the beginning of the year I gave myself a challenge to reach out to some large consulting firms.  Every morning I woke up and followed through on a list of contacts.  If I couldn’t reach someone I left a message and made follow-up calls within the week.  It was not easy at first.  But it became an adventure for me.  These cold calls resulted in some very positive business deals for Commit2Change.  I now work for two of these consulting firms.

Cycling:  For me, 2013 was the year of the long bicycle ride.  Specifically I went on two notable rides around Ontario.  The first was a marathon day of beautiful trails and quiet streets spanning the entire city of Toronto.   The second trip was the popular ride from Niagara on the Lake to Niagara Falls.  This was a fifty-five kilometer tour through flower gardens, forests, butterflies and steep hills.

Detoxification:  At some point this year I got frustrated trying to do up my jeans.  Too much chocolate, hazelnut coffee flavor, and buttered popcorn had made me feel like one of those cute, blubbery sea cows from the national geographic channel.  But I changed everything with Joshi’s Alkaline Diet.  I was hardcore with this program and did his 21 day detox for 30 days.  I am now on the maintenance program and lost over ten pounds.

Social Media:  Wow… I can’t believe I have over 23,000 followers on Twitter.  It makes me feel so appreciative of all the people who apparently like what I have to say.  Facebook and LinkedIn have also allowed me to connect with hundreds of interesting people.  Social media is here to stay and I’m glad that I was a part of it in 2013.

Kale:  What a vegetable!  I love it.  This year I started putting it in salads, stir-frys, wraps and protein shakes.  I even discovered a fantastic recipe for kale chips that is good enough to replace my popcorn habit.  I love kale and am going to stick with my green leafy vegetables for a long time in the future.  Here is the recipe… http://allrecipes.com/recipe/baked-kale-chips/

Kayaking in Algonquin Park

Kayaking in Algonquin Park

Presentations:  Being an introvert, it has always been a challenge for me to speak in public.  But this year I broke through the fear and began presenting in public on a regular basis.  This past year I delivered countless workshops, webinars, and group coaching sessions.  The topics included confidence building, resume writing, job search process, and interview preparation.

Eckhart Tolle:  I love to read.  Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favourites.  But this year I began listening to the audiobooks of Eckhart Tolle.  The ideas about being present and the “Power of Now” really resonate with me.  Eckhart Tolle is considered one of the most influential spiritual leaders in the world today.  And I am so appreciative that I am able to learn from these revolutionary ideas.  My understanding about my purpose has being completely transformed by Eckhart Tolle.  The Power of Now has changed my life.

Now I would like to challenge you to make your own list.  Write it down, maybe in a blog or in a journal.  And if you are comfortable with it, I’d love to read your list too. Send me your list of special memories and accomplishments.

Happy New Year!

~ Janet

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