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Steve Mitten's Life And Business Coaching Notes - February  2007

Dear Friends,

As the sun heads north again, and the days lengthen, we colder climate folk begin to venture out into the world again.  And so it was that recently my dear wife and I headed off the wild, west coast of Vancouver Island to watch the storms and walk on the endless beaches. 

The vast power of the sea always opens me up to greater possibilities.

Here are some thoughts that came from that trip.




"I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
and the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying."

-John Masefield.


(Cox Bay, Vancouver Island, February)


1) Personal Alignment.

2) The Power of Inspiration. 

3) Want to Coach Leaders?  Check out the New Executive Leadership Coaching Program

4) Goleman On Coaching.

1) Personal Alignment.

In the busy-ness of our day-to-day lives, it is all too easy to slip into routines or get distracted in such a way that we are not tending to the really important things.  This can leave us feeling empty, disconnected from our passion, and unable to accomplish what would be truly fulfilling.  

To help my clients keep in touch with what is really important to them, and ensure that their thoughts, feelings and actions line up with the intention and impact they desire, I often share a simple "Alignment Check" tool. (I learned this concept from the work of leadership sage Bill Torbert.)

It starts by getting clear on your intention. What are you attempting to accomplish in your life, career, or business at this time? If you are a leader in an organization, you might have an intention of fostering an environment of mutual respect where individuals are highly engaged in accomplishing collaborative goals. If you are a parent, you might have the intention of providing a loving, encouraging, fun home to help develop your children. If you are currently under high levels of stress, your intention might be to establish better balance in your life.

Once you have a clear intention, you are able to perform the alignment check.  To do so simply pause, and take 3 breaths. (This brings you back into the present moment, and slows down your thoughts.) Then:

  • Remind yourself what your intention is.

  • Ask yourself if your current thoughts are in alignment with this intention?

  • Ask if your current feelings or mood, are in alignment with your intention?

  • Is the action you are now taking in alignment?

  • Are the results you are getting in alignment with your intention?

This whole process can be done in less than a minute. As simple as it is, it can be a powerful tool to keep your energies focused on the outcome you most want.

The clearer your intention, and the greater your alignment, the more powerful your results.


"Clarity of mind means clarity of passion, too; 
this is why a great and clear mind loves ardently and sees distinctly what it loves."



2) The Power of Inspiration.  

So there I was, alone, in the cold black February dawn. We had come to Long Beach on Vancouver Island to watch the winter storms.  I had woken early and leaving my dear wife to her dreams, had decided to walk along the shore.  The tide was out. The monster North Pacific waves thundered to shore a quarter mile to the west of me. I was alone with my thoughts as I walked along the endless sandbar. It was a very peaceful moment.

Just then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw an extraordinary black shape speed past me, through the darkness. Startled, I squinted to see what other creature had invaded the remote beach. 

Once the shock passed, I discerned the mystery shape to be a surfer, in a wetsuit, carrying a board.  By the overall size, gait, and the zeal with which they approached the frigid water, it appeared to be a lone teenager. 

I had a momentary thought to intervene.  The waves were easily 10 feet high. It was freezing cold with a drizzle, and still too dark to see clearly.  My thoughts raced. The surfer would be alone and beyond assistance should they get into trouble. Who knows what large sea creatures might be lurking out in the bay.  But by the time I decided to check their mental capacity, it was too late.  The surfer was long past me, in the water and paddling off to catch the first wave of the morning.

I couldn't help but watch out of concern. I grew up on the ocean and know its ways. I am a strong swimmer, and yet I knew that should anything happen to the lone surfer, there was no way I, or anyone else, could be of assistance.  The distance was too long, the waves were too big, and the water too cold. 

This kid was out there alone.  I finished my walk and headed back to the lodge for breakfast. 

As I sat in the cozy dining room of the Long Beach Lodge, enjoying a warm cup of tea, I reflected on what it takes to get a teenager out of their warm bed, overcome their fears, and endure the pain and discomfort (even in a wet suit this is no picnic) of a long winter swim.

I believe inspiration, is one of the most powerful motivating forces in the world. People have taken huge risks, and endured unfathomable discomfort, inspired and in pursuit of their vision.  Inspiration in the heart of great teachers has changed the course of history. (Modern neuroscience is just beginning to understand the mechanisms by which these activating energies of the left-prefrontal cortex can override our usual cautious nature.)   

If there is something you want to accomplish, no matter how impossible it might seem, if you can connect to an inspiring vision of the outcome you really want - you access the power to accomplish amazing things.

Sufficient inspiration, it seems, will always trump fear.

(2 hours later, now in full daylight, the lone surfer - a teenage girl - heads home.)

"Somewhere there's a river
Looking for a stream
Somewhere there's a dreamer
Looking for a dream
Somewhere there's a drifter
Trying to find his way
Somewhere someone's waiting
To hear somebody say....
I believe in you."

-Amanda Marshall


3) New -  Executive Leadership Coaching Program. 


I happen to believe organizations are one of the biggest agents of change (for better or worse) in the world. And I also believe that nowhere does the application of coaching have a greater impact, than when you are working with leaders in organizations. For years a major part of my coaching practice has been working with the senior leadership in some of the world's best organizations. I love the work and have come to understand the size and significance of this market.


Over the years I have also seen how few coaches have successfully made the leap to this work. And here in lies a problem and opportunity. The problem is that the world needs much more effective, aware, responsible, leadership.  And while coaching is the modality that can best deliver this, few coaches know how to access, work and prosper in this market.  


The opportunity is that for those who do possess the right qualities, and do acquire the competencies and know-how, this is a greatly underserved, and high paying market for coaches.


To help more coaches break into this market, I have collaborated with leadership coach and trainer extraordinaire, Dr. Rosie Steeves, CPCC of The Refinery, to create a nine-month plus, Executive Leadership Coaching Program, designed to teach experienced coaches all they need to know to thrive in this marketplace, and make a big difference. (Rosie is a coach and leadership teacher who does world-class leadership development with her team of coaches and consultants at The Refinery.) 


This program is much more than just learning a few leadership models and being familiar with the language, competencies, and best practices of working with senior leaders. It is also about helping you grow so you can engage this important work with confidence and clarity, and help others grow.  


The program starts with a 2-day weekend, where you learn the basics and get to know each other. After this first weekend, and a mutual discussion as to whether this route is a good fit for you, you can decide to proceed with the remaining 4 weekends. 


If you have ever felt called to work with leaders, and want to master the skill set, you can learn more about this unique pilot program at


There is only room for a small number of coaches in this program. So if you are interested, check it out today.



4) Goleman On Coaching.


Frequent readers of this newsletter will be familiar with my belief that coaching is the most powerful modality for accelerating growth and self awareness. Each year it is delightful to see more of mainstream academics and researchers finding evidence to this effect. 


Leadership and Emotional Intelligence gurus Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, in their recent book Primal Leadership, speak to the fact that none of us develop without assistance.  "Others help us see things we are missing, affirm whatever progress we have made, test our perceptions, and let us know how we are doing.  They provide the context for experimentation and practice.... Without others' involvement, lasting change can't occur."   


At another point in the book, talking about the impact of leaders who practice a coaching style, the authors state, "The coaching style may not scream 'bottom-line results', but, in a surprisingly indirect way, it delivers them."


Coaching, it seems, is gaining a lot of serious fans. 



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Life Coach and Business Development Specialist Steve Mitten B.ApSc, CPCC, MCC helps individuals, professionals and leaders find their niche, be their best and make an impact.

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