• 03/05/2018 2:08 PM | Anonymous

    When I launched my coaching practice a few years ago, I hired a business coach for 6 months to help me focus on building my brand. I’d spent years as a department director of a major museum, so I entered the coaching relationship knowing a few things about marketing but was by no means an expert. In my initial consultation with the coach, I told her I wanted my primary focus to be on identifying the best marketing platforms for me and putting together a strategy for implementing them. I added that I really needed accountability, because I was transitioning from having been part of a large team to being a solopreneur. I’m a disciplined, motivated person, but I needed someone to stay on top of me as I attempted to build my platform.

    What did I receive for my investment in this coach? One hour of phone coaching per month with zero check-ins and little to no accountability. Looking back, I should have been proactive in telling her I would benefit from brief weekly emails. I also should have asked how often she touched base with her clients, so I take full responsibility for not having done more research before hiring that coach and for not having been clear regarding my needs. I ask this of my own clients and potential clients.

    When it was time for our coaching relationship to end, we never celebrated my accomplishments. I never received a card or an opportunity to evaluate or provide feedback to the coach. It just… ended. To this day I have not received any further communication from her, although I wrote her a letter thanking her for her time. In the aftermath, I felt as though I had made a not-so-beneficial investment, and I thought a lot about how I wanted to invest in my own clients. I decided that  my clients would hear me say-through all my communication- “I’m here for you!”

    As a former nonprofit fundraising professional, I know about “touches,” those ways we interact with donors and potential donors; and while I am not one to use a lot of industry lingo, I have experienced the many benefits of “touching.” Frequent touches help nurture growth, whether in the nonprofit world or with coaching clients, and they keep the lines of communication open. I now incorporate this practice in all my coaching relationships, considering myself a “frequent touch” coach but with established boundaries.

     Being hired as someone’s coach is no small thing! Our clients place their trust in us as qualified professionals who can guide them to clarity and results. We’re also voices of accountability and encouragement. As coaches, we must be fully present during sessions, but it’s just as important to be fully present before and after sessions, in those in-between times when our clients are taking action. In other words, we must be fully present at all times for our clients. We should be cheering them on and holding them accountable!

    What does this mean, and how does it look? How can we be fully present while respecting our boundaries and personal energy? Those in-between times are when the real work gets done, so I think it’s important for coaches to be as present as possible… to be frequent touch coaches!

    Here is a list of 10 ways you can “touch” your clients between sessions and with minimal time investment. By implementing a few that work for you (key phrase!), you can be a frequent touch coach without investing a lot of time.

    *Send a brief recap of the coaching session that includes a bullet list of action items, encouragement, and a celebration of successes.

    * Set aside a special planning time each week to go over clients’ action plans. This helps you stay grounded in what your clients are working on.

    * Write (Yes, really write... in ink!)  occasional cards of support and celebration to clients.

    * Call or send cards to clients on their birthdays, work and wedding anniversaries, Halloween, winter holidays... any occasion, really!

    *Send a monthly newsletter to clients. This can be your regular newsletter or a shorter one that is geared specifically to your clients and former clients.

    *Send “touch” emails a couple times a week with relevant articles, quotes, videos, or questions.

    * Send clients a “How Am I Doing?” evaluation form to provide you with feedback on how you’re doing as their coach. You can also include this as a question in their weekly self-assessment forms.

    * Send a motivational video, blog post, or group email to all clients (BCC, of course!) at the beginning of the week. This will help them start their week on a positive note.

    *Continue to check in with former clients through emails, calls, cards, and monthly newsletters. They may want to work with you again, and your “touches” will help keep you on their radar screens.

    *Make it a part of your morning routine to mentally check in with your clients. This might involve meditating or praying, but the point is to be still and really think about your clients and their goals.

    * Hold a celebration for your client at the end of your coaching relationship. Give a couple of small gifts (tax-deductible!), and write a personal note, celebrating the client’s accomplishments. This doesn’t fall into the “in-between” category, but it does show you have been invested and are proud of them.

    Which of the above practices do you already do?  Which do you think will best serve your clients while respecting your personal and professional boundaries? Choose 3 or 4, and put them in action. Watch how your clients grow when they know that you- their coach- are fully present and invested!

    It’s an honor and a privilege to be someone’s coach. Don’t just show up once a week or once a month, and disappear the rest of the time. Be present for them, and let them know it. Let your actions shout, “I’m here for you!”

    Amy Walton is a speaker, writer, and women’s life coach residing in coastal Virginia. A charter member of ICF-Virginia- Hampton Roads Region, she specializes in Christian life coaching and enjoys working with midlife women to help them create balance and purpose. Connect with her at

  • 08/14/2017 3:13 PM | Anonymous

    Greetings Fellow Coaches,

    As you prepare for the fall uptick in professional activity, I hope you reserve time on your calendar for our chapter meetings in Richmond, Roanoke and Hampton Roads. We also expect to offer more webinars you can take part in right from your workspace. As a community of Virginia coaches, we have so many great professional development options and chances to connect coming up.

    It’s also your last chance to sign up for group transportation to the Converge conference in Washington, D.C., a bargain at only 10 bucks! Register Here. I look forward to seeing my Virginia colleagues among the 1500 conference participants. Registration for this travel bargain will close on August 15.

    On a volunteer note, we have had some shifts on the board in the last few months. To address several departures due to professional commitments, we have shifted Libby Dishner back into the Communications Chair role, and Shizuka Modica stepped out of the Secretary role to support Membership. We need to fill in the board spots of Secretary and Program Co-Chair that have opened up as a result. Please contact me directly at if you would be willing to serve and are interested in hearing more about what these roles entail. The fall is a busier time for the board, and we would be grateful for your interest. Even if you are just curious, please let me know.

    Finally, I am pleased to formally introduce Lee Wiercinski, our new virtual assistant. Lee has been working behind the scenes over the summer to get our messages out, support the board and get up to speed on bookkeeping needs. She also monitors our gmail account. If you have administrative or other questions, please reach out to, and she will respond or get you to the right resource. Happy Summer everyone!

    Gay-Lynn Carpenter

  • 05/04/2015 9:50 PM | Libby Dishner (Administrator)

    International Coaching Week (ICW) is an annual weeklong global celebration of the coaching profession. ICW 2015 is scheduled for May 18-24, 2015.

    Originally started in 1999 by ICF Member Jerri N. Udelson, MCC, ICW is intended to educate the public about the value of working with a professional coach and to acknowledge the results and progress made through the coaching process.

    During this week, coaches around the world offer a variety of activities and pro bono services in their local communities to enable others to Experience Coaching and its benefits firsthand.

    During International Coaching Week 2014 (May 18–24, 2015), the ICF will invite individuals and organizations from around the world to “Experience Coaching.” Here’s what ICF Virginia is doing to celebrate ICW 2015 with your help!

    Monday, May 18 – Evening Social for Members and Guests – Spend a couple of hours meeting with other coaches and talking about all things coaching. Wine & hors d'oeuvres will be served.

    Tuesday, May 19 – Coaching on the Corner - Come to our Coach Awareness Event in honor of International Coach Week! Take part in our 15-minute laser coaching and talk to the friendliest coaches around!! We’ll also have all you need to know about becoming a coach.

    Wednesday, May 20 – Group Coaching for JAM – Come volunteer to coach people in a group setting who are looking for their next career opportunity. We are in need of approximately 12 coaches for this session. If you love coaching groups, this opportunity is for you! 

    What You Can Do to Help:

    • Sign up to volunteer for the week’s events. We are assigning roles now, so don’t delay! Sign Up Here
    • Spread the word about ICW to the members of your personal and professional network, as well as via social media.

    To learn more about ICF Global’s ICW celebration, visit

  • 03/01/2015 11:15 AM | Anonymous

    Greetings Coaching Colleagues,

    One of the things I love about being a Virginian is that we have the opportunity to experience the four seasons each year. While summer is my favorite time of year, I have learned to appreciate the stark contrast of winter. When the temperature dips into the 30's, I look forward to evenings by a roaring fire. When the trees become barren, I notice how earth's neutral backdrop becomes the perfect setting for a cardinal. When the snow starts falling, I pull on my boots and begin anticipating the enchantment of a snow day-no school! no work! And just like that, the realities of what a snow day means-digging out and rescheduling appointments-tempers my spirit. Through the flurry of it all, I ask myself-how truly resilient am I to what life has to offer?

    If you joined us at our chapter meeting last week, you had the pleasure of learning more about the concept of resilience from Hile Rutledge, president of OKA in Fairfax, Va. Hile framed his discussion on resilience around five aspects of emotional intelligence: Self-Esteem, Interpersonal Relationship, Social Responsibility, Self-Regard and Optimism. He helped us become aware of our own level of resilience and learn strategies for adopting new behaviors to combat life's stressors. The session was powerful and enlightening-reminding us all that with just a slight shift in behavior, we can build resilience. If you weren't able to attend, remember that one of the benefits of membership is access to chapter meeting materials and handouts. Just go to our website:, click on the "members only" tab and then, "presentations/tools". I hope that you'll find these resources valuable in helping you build your own resilience.

    Enjoy the best that our winter wonderland has to offer you!

    Melissa Maybury Lubin, Ph.D.
    Virginia Tech Richmond Center and
    Virginia Tech Hampton Roads Centers,
    Newport News & Virginia Beach
    Office: 804.662.7288
    Mobile: 804.387.8377


ICF Virginia Charter Chapter


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