• 11 Oct 2021 12:54 PM | Muhunthan Chanmugham (Administrator)

      By Scott Messer

      Hello coaches, this is the first of a series of posts on how ICF-certified coaches can become more proficient in doing the thing that drives their practices further, fastest, yet is often the most uncomfortable part of coaching, new client acquisition.

      These posts have less relevance for internal company coaches, but you’ll find value in between the lines; not what is written on the page, but what the thought behind it is.

      As a Sales leader, trainer and coach for over 30 years, I’ve noticed some basic, standard mental blocks all salespeople- oops, business developers (I know you don’t want to be considered a salesperson, even though that is what you are when talking to prospects).  Here are a few:

    • -        Credibility: You don’t think you have enough experience or subject-matter expertise
    • -        Impostor Syndrome: You don’t believe you are as good as they think you are, and you’re afraid of being found out
    • -        “I don’t like to sell”: Sales is a profession, like any other, and you don’t know what selling really is or how to do it

    There are many other blocks, but let’s start out with these three.


    A client, a person with 30-years of experience at the C-level at two multi-billion corporations, and a history of achievement, was going into consulting as a second act, and needed to learn how to sell his services.  The first thing he asked was how to establish his credibility as a consultant?  Let that sink in for a moment.  He didn’t think he had any credibility.  What is your experience and history of success?  Pretty good, right?  Here’s the big takeaway for Credibility:

    The only reason prospects speak with you is because they think you can help them.  Therefore, you have credibility.

    Impostor Syndrome:

    “I know I’m good, but I’m not that good and they’re going to find me out.”  Big-time head trash.  You are the only person who hears the voice in your head, no one else.  Coach yourself and don’t listen to the voice!  Unlock those locks and break the mental chains, and set yourself free.  Here’s the big takeaway for Impostor Syndrome:

    Yes, you are that good, or they wouldn’t think you could help them, and as long as you know more than them and how to reach them, you are more than good enough.

    “I don’t like to sell”:

    Doctor, lawyer, plumber, carpenter, coach.  These are all professions that are made up of people who know their craft, and business development is a piece of all of it.  The people at the top of their field know how to attract and win clients.  That is what sales is about, and they know how to do it.  Successful people don’t like doing the things unsuccessful people don’t like to do, but they learn how to do them.

    Most people’s idea of what sales is about comes from the movies or experiences with bad, untrained salespeople.  Good news for you, it is nothing like that, not at all.  The focus of a bad salesperson is on what they want and how to trick, trap or snare their prospect; the spotlight is on them.  They “wing it”, with no real process to follow. 

    Professional salespeople know that people buy for their reasons, not the salesperson’s (kind of sounds like coaching, doesn’t it?), and keep the spotlight shining on the prospect.  As I like to say, discover their dream and let them buy it back from you.  Professionals in any field follow a process, and so it is in sales.  Do you have a process?  For that matter, do you know what a sales process is?  Takeaway:

    You can be fabulous at what you do, but if you don’t know how to bring in clients, so what, and now that you know it, what are you going to do about it?


    Scott Messer, Sales Evolution CEO

    Scott’s career as a business coach and entrepreneur spans over 25 years.

    Scott has an uncanny ability to cut through the static and get to the real issues in difficult coaching situations. His ability to understand personal motivation is why so many clients turn to him for coaching when confronted with those really tough issues that need resolved.  Coaching Evolution is based around his 30+ years of coaching and sales experience, and recognizing that people do things for their reasons, not for anyone else’s.

    He can be reached at (610) 662-3199 or, or find him at

  • 19 Jul 2021 10:26 AM | Lee Wiercinski (Administrator)

    The results are in! Here are the results of our recent ICF Board election. Congratulations to our new Board Members, Alec Arons, Sharon Brokenbough, Alicia Daugherty, and Steven Jones who have all been elected for a 2-year period. Many thanks to our retiring Board Members, Carl Barringer, Dawn Reid, and Chris Cavalieri for their stellar service in pursuit of Coaching Excellence!

    The new Board from July 1, 2021 is as follows:

    Officer Board Roles

    President - Cassandra Moore, PCC, CPC (2021-2023)

    Secretary - Beverley Doody, ACC, CPC (2020-2022)

    Treasurer – Alec Arons, MBA, ACC (2021-2023)

    At Large Board Roles

    Makeda Brown, ACC, CPC, MSHRD (2020-2022)

    Sharon Brokenbough, MBA ACC, PHR, SHRM-CP (2021-2023)

    Mo Chanmugham, Esq., ACC (2020-2022)

    Alicia Daugherty, MBA, ACC, CPCC (2021-2023)

    Lara Heacock, MBA, PCC (2020-2022)

    Steven Jones, Ph.D, ACC (2021-2023)

    Julie Ketover, JD, PCC (2020-2022)

    Vince Schiela PCC, ECPC (2020-2022)

    Nancy O. Singer, MBA, PCC (2020-2022)

    Special thank you to Dr. Dawn Reid, ACC and Chris Cavalieri, PCC, CDTLF for their official board service over the last two years and their continued active participation.

  • 08 Jul 2021 8:33 AM | Alec Arons

    Scarcity vs Abundance – Inquiring Minds Want to Know

    As a reformed Scarcity-based thinker, I have to admit that living with an abundance mindset has been one of the most transformative experiences of my life. Now, that might come as a shock to anyone who has known me for any length of time. It might even shock you that I am sharing this level of detail about myself. 

    But as I have been developing the discipline of creating my own blog, the best piece of advice I’ve come across was from my friend Richard — and it was free. 

    He and I have talked about how important it is to write from a place of personal passion, from your distinct point of view, to give people the opportunity to engage with you. With that in mind, I am going to try something new this week. I am going to raise a topic and ask you to think about it. And like Linda Richmond, the old Mike Meyers character from SNL, I want to suggest you talk amongst yourselves and leave a comment below.

    Do you have a Scarcity or Abundance Mindset?

    As I said above. I am a reformed Scarcity-based thinker. I was an incredibly competitive person in my corporate days. I shared very little with colleagues and “friends” based on the belief that there are finite opportunities out there to be successful, and each one of us needs to know about those opportunities before anyone else to gain an edge. 

    I have come to realize that not every opportunity I hear about is the right opportunity for me and perhaps that might be the case with others. I also came to realize that if you do not share your ideas and insights with others, you might be robbing the lifeblood of a great opportunity you do not need to own yourself.

    Having gently hit myself in the head with this 2 by 4, I began to listen more to people around me. I started to share more information with my limited network, which in turn has resulted in my developing a more vibrant network. I have also been introduced to a number of new groups and online communities where I have learned about business and learning opportunities that continue to force me into this new world of abundance. And the funny thing is, it always returns my generosity tenfold.

    Let’s get started

    In the weeks to come, I plan to share more from a place of abundance in terms of books I have read, coaching tips, and photography pointers. I am even willing to share some of my most guarded secrets as people return to attending live sporting events. My shortcuts and parking tips to Yankee Stadium, MetLife Stadium, and the Philadelphia Sports Complex. Just subscribe to my blog.

    As for the books I am reading, I have thoroughly enjoyed Thinking Again by Adam Grant. (Please share what you are reading in the comments below.)

    So satisfy my curiosity now. And be honest with yourself now. What’s the level of your scarcity mindset?

    Do you covet information about opportunities, for fear someone else will take them and run with them faster than you will?

    Are you reluctant to share insights and assistance unless you are paid for it? 

    I would really like to know.


  • 04 Jul 2021 9:00 PM | Muhunthan Chanmugham (Administrator)

    By Dr. Dawn C. Reid, PhD, ACC 

    There is a lot of "buzz" around Critical Race Theory (CRT). Many of the coaches I mentor and train (especially those who identify as white) are not clear on what CRT is and why there is so much opposition towards it.  Actually, it appears that many nations as a whole, particularly the U.S., seem to be confused as well. 

    We Are The City/Dr. Yvette Ankrah MBE, used with permission.

    Diverse Community: Source: We Are The City/Dr. Yvette Ankrah MBE, used with permission.

    For instance, in 2020, former president Donald Trump issued an executive order to cease diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training because some of these training courses used CRT as a framework. Specifically, some Republican party members denounced CRT's merit and claimed CRT teaches racism and sexism, is divisive, and blames or scapegoats white men for the social ills that exist. As such, those who oppose CRT believe we should focus on exceptionalism and only the "good"  that has come from our past, ignoring the trauma racism and slavery has played in our nation. In addition, some who oppose CRT also deny that racism or sexism currently exists, which contradicts over 50 years of research and literature in the social science field on this topic. Therefore, opponents of CRT claim that racism is a past issue that no longer exists, and has no application in our current society. Any so-called racially-based experiences are exaggerated, media or liberal propaganda, or an excuse to justify lazy, apathetic behavior.

    What is CRT?

    Before I address the actual topic of CRT and Coaching, I wanted to first clarify what CRT is and why it's important to our field and society overall. CRT refers to the "practice of interrogating the role of race and racism in society that emerged in the legal academy and spread to other fields of scholarship," (George, 2021). Meaning, CRT is an academic or scientific exercise that  examines how the social construct of race is embedded in our institutions (e.g., legal system, education system, laws, policies, etc.). Kimberlé Crenshaw, a legal scholar, coined the term “CRT."  Likewise the concept of CRT has been around since the 1970s and has been researched worldwide. The purpose of CRT is to understand the inherent nature of institutional racism and how it creates a type of classism, where people of color (POC; specifically those of African descent, but also any group not identifies as being part of the dominant social order) are positioned to be a type of "lower" class group and justifies why they may have less success or limited access to resources. Furthermore, CRT proposes institutional racism in our society perpetuates the inferiority of  POC, which impacts how different groups are treated and unconsciously condones our implicit and explicit biases we have towards other social groups. Therefore, CRT suggests institutional racism creates systemic and sanctioned social inequities.

    Additionally, CRT investigates the role of gender, sexual orientation, diverse abilities, and how other social identities intersect. For example, a male who identifies as gay and Black may have different social experiences or social injustices than a female who identifies as Asian, biracial, and Buddhist. Therefore, CRT offers a critique of how intersectionality impacts lived experiences. The outcome of CRT is to identify ways in which society normalizes the exclusion of or deem "abnormal" individuals who identify as non-binary, and outside of the socially determined concepts of male/female roles. CRT also suggests those who do not conform to age expectations, religious expectations or what is socially described as "normal" (i.e., white/Anglo-Saxon, male, Christian, and/or Eurocentric) are relegated to second-class citizenry. I have coined this term "Critical Social Identity Theory" or CSIT, which is a term that I believe expands on the application and implication of CRT towards other social identity constructs, and brings more awareness to intersectionality. I plan to write more about this at a later date. But, a great article to read on the tenets of CRT (and by association CSIT) and its origin would be: "A Lesson on Critical Race Theory" by Janel George. In the reference/resource section, I have also provided additional reading material to support this article discussion and CRT. In particular, review the list of racist and misogynistic laws that were enforced and some are still on the books in some states or towns: A History of Racist U.S. Laws.

    It is important to note that CRT proposes our society can create laws or policies that maintain and enforce equality and dismantle systems that adhere to racism, classism, and other social identity exclusions to establish a more egalitarian and equitable society. Moreover, the goal of CRT is not to demonize white people as a group or to blame an individual white person today for the consequences of our institutions. However, based on our history, we cannot deny or ignore the impact of slavery, Jim Crow, and other laws that were created and maintained by white men. Likewise, these laws and policies were instituted to reinforce white supremacy and deny nonwhites equal protections under the law and due process, equal access to resources, and equal participation in our society. Again, CRT studies the role social identity plays in creating, maintaining and enforcing laws and  policies. It also informs us on how institutions normalize racism (or classism) to distribute resources or apply laws within our society.  Although current white people as individuals may not be directly responsible for the systemic social inequalities/inequities that exist, indirectly the institutionalization of race, age, gender and other social identities, without investigating the role of identity creates and maintains the caste category created by our white forefathers to see non-white people as inferior groups (compared with their own) and thus sanction second-class citizenry and unequal treatment within our institutions.

    Unclelkt. Used under CC0

    Helping hands.: Source: Unclelkt. Used under CC0

    The Institution of Coaching through the CRT Lens

    Coaching as a field is an institution. It has policies (coaching standards and ethics). There are frameworks or theories that govern our understanding and application of coaching in different  areas and other fields. The institution of coaching has a culture, language and approach that members in the field are strongly encouraged to follow. Moreover, the institution of coaching is maintained by people. As such, coach training, coaching services, and coaching organizations are influenced by the same concerns as other organizations when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Meaning,  albeit you and I may be credentialed, experienced coaches, we are subject to our institutional and cultural programming, as well as lived experiences. We all are exposed to our social institutions, concepts, ideologies, and dogma. This includes our education system, religion/faith-based beliefs, and upbringing. Therefore, we can surmise that our implicit biases are a product of our social identity, which has shaped our mindset. In turn, our mindset influences our behavior, thoughts, and feelings/emotions. Meaning, our worldview and how we engage people are shaped by our institutional exposure. Coaching is part of our social dynamic. Furthermore, both experiencing racism AND not experiencing racism can be equally true depending on your lived experience.

    When we partner with a coachee in a coaching session, we bring our whole being, past experiences, as well as biases (Bandura, 1969; Bandura, 1977; Cherry, 2017). Likewise, our client is doing the same. We don't leave our culture or institutional experiences outside of the session. While we are taught in our coach training to suspend our judgments and assumptions, it takes continual practice and awareness to remain a curious observer while being non-attached or nonjudgmental. We must remember that our biases tend to be automatic responses, which are learned, and are institutionalized by our dominant social system. Furthermore, in coaching as an institution, CRT can serve to inform us of how social identity influences goal attainment, motivation, resilience and our worldview based on how we are treated as individuals or group membership, or on how we identify. How we construct coaching standards and ethics, or how coaching is applied, is influenced by the institutions that teach us.  

    Within the institution of coaching, those who founded our current paradigms set the standards. If we examine the makeup of who dominates within the coaching institution we will find that the majority of leaders, coaches, and policy makers are white.  As such, Eurocentrism is normalized into the institution. So, what happens when a coachee does not fit into this paradigm? In my view, the coachee becomes socially inhibited--even at the unconscious level, and their lived experiences can be suppressed by the coach and the coaching approach. Take for example a case study presented in my coaching group. A coachee, who works in a male-dominated industry, had shared that she felt she was discriminated against at work because of her gender. The coach (credentialed and experienced) asked "what else could it be" other than discrimination? Likewise, in a personal coaching experience, I had a Black coach state to me "maybe it's you or how you see things' ' when I shared I felt I may not be taken as seriously as my white male counterparts on a high-visibility project. In both cases, there was no empathy or holding space for the coachee's experience. The questions and statements in these two cases implied that the coachee's perception of the experience may be self-imposed, false or unreal. CRT can be used to examine how race plays a role in the way we view our clients, ask questions, and how coaching organizations create and enforce coaching ethics, policies or standards.

    Another CRT critique in coaching is that some institutions adhere to strict rules about how to apply coaching techniques without considering the impact the approach has on one's social identity. Meaning, if you are a coach then you should only ask questions and share observations in context to the client's responses to your question. We are discouraged from sharing deeper insight from the perspective of storytelling, advice giving, lived experiences, or points of view, for example. While we are prohibited from giving advice and non-coaching approaches, there are some situations where the coachee needs guidance to understand how behavior works under specific conditions. When working with diverse coachees it is very important to hold space for storytelling to sensitively leverage lived experiences as a tool to empower our coachee. Meaning, guidance, mentoring, or advice may not be coaching, but these tools are part of the coaching process and can better help diverse coachees if implemented with coaching. As such, the goal of CRT in coaching is to serve as a tool to critique the coaching institution. The outcome, then, is to ensure we are adhering to the below ICF ethical criteria, and to view the institution of coaching through the lens of race and/or social identity:

    Code of Ethics, Part 4 (ICF, 2021):

    Section I.11: Am aware of and actively manage any power or status difference between the Client and me that may be caused by cultural, relational, psychological, or contextual issues. 

    Section II.23: Hold responsibility for being aware of and setting clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries that govern interactions, physical or otherwise. 

    Section IV.25: Avoid discrimination by maintaining fairness and equality in all activities and operations, while respecting local rules and cultural practices. This includes, but is not limited to, discrimination based on age, race, gender expression, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, or military status.  

    In conclusion, CRT is a tool of study. It allows us to examine our institutions, including coaching, under the social construct of race and identity. It questions if our policies, laws, and institutions are fair to all members who participate in it or who are exposed to it. CRT allows us to identify how we measure, gaze, and respond to otherness in comparison to ourselves and our social order. CRT can magnify the gaps for which our biases and understanding of other people are construed or skewed.  For coaching, we can use CRT as a means to ensure we honor DEI and check or weigh our cultural intelligence to see where our cultural or social identity sensitivity may be lacking within the institution of coaching.

    Resources / References

    Alto Arizona. (n.d.). A History of Racist U.S. Laws. Retrieved from 

    Bandura, A. (1969). Principles of behavior modification. Holt, Rinehart &Winston: New York, NY.

    Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

    Cherry, K. (2017). What is social learning theory? A closer look at how people learn through observation. Retrieved from

    George, J., (2021).  A Lesson on Critical Race Theory. Retrieved from

    International Coaching Federation. (2021). ICF Code of Ethics. Retrieved from

    Munger, F. W., & Seron, C. (2017). Race, Law, and Inequality, 50 Years After the Civil Rights Era. Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 13(1), 331-350. Retrieved from

  • 28 Jun 2021 10:00 AM | Alicia Daugherty

    My husband and I are homebrewers.

    We make beer, serve it to our friends, drink it ourselves and enter homebrew competitions. Sometimes we win, more often we don’t. The real joy is in the process of brewing, sharing what we make with other beer lovers, getting feedback and making it better. Here are some life lessons from the perspective of a brewer.

    (N.B. “We” really means “he” …I design recipes, sometimes hang out while he’s crafting them, and take credit for a lot of it, but Jim is the brewer.)

    Enjoy the process.

    Sometimes we get so caught up in the outcome of our efforts that we forget to enjoy the process. The first time we brewed, it was sort of a disaster. The wort boiled over on the stove. We realized too late that a fair amount of ice is needed to cool it down rapidly. The end product tasted vaguely like dirty socks. It was fantastic! We had done a lot of things wrong, but we had something that resembled beer, and enough lessons learned that we did better the next time. And most importantly, we had fun. We had discovered a hobby we could enjoy together.

    The quality of our beer progressed from bad to mediocre and finally we were confident enough to serve it to someone other than ourselves. He not only drank it, he asked for another. That memory still gives me goosebumps!

    Fourteen years and many batches later, we have graduated from kits to recipes, from extract to all-grain, from bottles to kegs and we continue to enjoy the process. The quality keeps improving and sometimes we miss the mark completely. There are tons of great craft beers you can buy off the shelf – homemade beer is a labor of love.

    What are the things you do for the sheer joy of it? How often do you take time to enjoy the process?

    Savor the feedback.

    Our track record in competitions isn’t shabby. The very first sanctioned competition we entered (i.e. one that is conducted according to the rules of the Beer Judge Certification Program) we won Best of Show. We’ve been selected to brew at professional craft breweries and one year were crowned King and Queen of the Hive by our local homebrew club based on the number of competition points we earned.

    Winning is fun. Usually there are medals and sometimes prizes. But the best thing to come out of these competitions is the feedback from certified judges that tells us specifically where the beer is correct (i.e. aligns with the standard for the style) and where it can be improved. Each scoresheet we receive gives us more insight into how we can get better. It’s sometimes tough to hear but is always offered with goodwill by someone who appreciates the time, energy and effort that has gone into the brew.

    The feedback doesn’t need to come from experts. A few years ago we made a keg for a friend’s party. It was served alongside a couple of commercial craft beers and it was the first one to kick. That people not only drank our beer but drank all of it was among the best feedback we’ve gotten. Our good friends – most of whom know beer but aren’t certified – will always tell us what they think. Those conversations can spark tweaks to recipes or new recipes altogether. Or, we might look at the feedback and say, nah, we like it the way it is.

    How do you receive feedback? Are you looking only for the medal, or do you seek the input that will help you to become better? Do you go into react-and-fix mode, or do you examine the feedback for relevance to your goals? Here is a great Harvard Business Review article on receiving feedback.

    Find your people.

    Our social life is very beer-centric. We belong to two brew clubs: Brewers United for Zany Zymurgy (BUZZ) is officially recognized by the American Homebrewers Association. We have monthly meetings with specific educational topics. Many of our members are certified judges and we are always learning from each other. Our other club, LCD Brewing, is somewhat less formal. It’s a bunch of guys who like to brew and started doing it together years ago. There’s a lot of sharing of ideas, feedback and beer. There are t-shirts. It’s more like a social club that also brews. This group has become like family. Most of the close friendships I have made throughout my life have been situational – we met at school or at work and formed a genuine bond. My LCD family has blossomed from a common interest, a loose set of traditions and a set of shared experiences across many stages of our lives.

    Who are your people? How did you meet them? If you’re looking for connection, I invite you to identify the things you’re passionate about and find others who share your passion.

    Experiment and make it your own.

    I’m one of the leaders of the BUZZ Homebrew Club. We call ourselves the Primary Fermenters (it’s a brewing pun – look it up). Now that our monthly meetings are virtual, I serve as host (i.e. I am the one with the Zoom account that allows 20+ of us to talk about beer for 2-3 hours at a stretch). The virtual sessions actually allow us to more varied topics and guests.

    In our meeting this month we had one of the brewers from Free Will Brewing, Nate Walter, join us to talk about his brewing process. He is a Saison expert and is passionate about the possibilities that a Saison offers. He talked about foraging for flowers and plants that he could throw into his barrel and focused as much on the art of brewing as the science. When some of our members were pressing him for specific insight into how to make a perfect Saison, he pushed back and said that in the age of technology, we are too focused on looking to others for guidance. His advice (paraphrased): Figure out what you want to make, try it, mess it up and try it again. Dump it out if you need to. Experiment. Keep making changes until you get the result you want. Do what works for you and have fun doing it. Own it.

    How often do you look to someone else to see how it’s done? When was the last time you experimented? Are you willing to dump it if you don’t like it (or drink it if it’s just ok) and try again next time? What would be possible if you truly own it?

    Find your wisdom.

    Think about your hobbies and interests. What about them is appealing to you? I invite you to examine the things you’re passionate about and see how they might have relevance for the other parts of your life and your work.  

    And remember…life’s too short to drink crappy beer!

  • 16 Jun 2021 4:41 PM | Lee Wiercinski (Administrator)

    By - Carl Barringer - Past President and Current Board Member

    As I write this, I’m full of gratitude. I’ll be stepping down from the ICF Philadelphia Board at the end of this month. It’s been three years and it is hard to acknowledge, let alone articulate, what it has meant to me.

    First, the past. Our chapter was started more than 20 years ago by Ken Abrams – who happened to be my PCC mentor coach. I wasn’t around then, but the roots were planted – for ICF Philadelphia as well as for coaching. Both have come so far.

    I took over from Lynn Meinke who worked tirelessly for years before I arrived and for my first year when I was the membership director. All of the past presidents as well as the board members deserve an immense amount of appreciation.

    I had the joy of working with a new board (which partially overlaps each year). In a matter of months, Cassandra Moore’s energy and stewardship were obvious and she quickly stepped in to be my Vice President. As the current president (for the last year and at least the next), Cassandra has worked tirelessly on every facet of chapter work. Perhaps the thing that stands out the most for me is her developing and empowering our entire board. This, in turn, has empowered them to powerfully utilize our additional volunteers.

    Even while this last year was entirely virtual, I leave the board with:

    • a much-expanded reach in the community – with volunteers, coaches as well as the business community

    • an awesome start in reaching diversity levels commensurate with powerful creativity, problem-solving and decision-making – this includes diversity of thought, programming and personnel

    • a new good-looking and far more interactive website

    • a vibrant membership as the coaching industry and the chapter attracts stellar professionals at an increasing rate

    I am leaving with a bit of sadness - yet my enthusiasm for the new board and the direction of the chapter fill me with excitement and immeasurable gratitude.

International Coach Federation

Philadelphia Chapter, 2020
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