How the Martial Art Aikido and Coaching School are the Same…

After coaching class last week and feeling like a clumsy oaf, I vividly remembered my first year training in Aikido.  I was an experienced martial artist before I started Aikido having studied both Wing-Chun and Tae Kwan Do to an intermediate level.  But, Aikido is different.  Aikido is a soft art.  This does not mean that it isn’t as intense Aikidophysically.  It means that learning how to receive a technique is as important as learning how to execute a technique.   When I began Aikido, I was pretty good at punching, kicking and blocking.  But, following someone’s energy and direction, receiving a technique and flowing with it?  I actively resisted this…which is at least half of the art of Aikido.  One day I was coming off the mat utterly frustrated, feeling completely incompetent like I had two left feet, two right hands and if I could muster a single coordinated movement like putting one foot in front of the other, it would have been miraculous.  My sensei, when on the mat, was a man of few words. Steve taught like he spoke broken English.  “MOVE YOUR FOOT!!!” sternly spoken with a Japanese Samauri accent was a frequent instruction.  He taught like this because he learned Aikido from a Japanese man who spoke broken English.  Steve was, in fact, a white boy, born and raised in the U.S.  Steve clearly saw my frustration and said something like, “When you execute a technique correctly, you are not learning anything.  You have already learned it.  It is only when you are frustrated that you are learning anything.  What are you here for?”

So, this week after a particularly frustrating experience with a difficult client, sensei’s words came back to me.  I felt similarly to that moment walking off the mat, “What did I do wrong?  What should I have done differently?  Have I gained any competence in this at all?  Can you actually, physically step on your tongue because that’s what it feels like I have been doing all night?” And, I remembered, “’What are you here for?’ This is part of the learning process.  Feeling awkward, unsure of myself, uncomfortable, clumsy, oafish, all of it is part of learning.  So, what am I here for?  If I were an MCC level coach, I wouldn’t be taking the class to begin with.  Do I want to learn or not?  There’s only one way to get there: fall down and get up.  Fall down and get up.  Repeat until lessons are learned…”

‘Sigh,’ it is uncomfortable.  After practicing Aikido, I always wake up the morning after physically sore.  After practicing coaching, sometimes I get up the next day sore but in a different way.  I have learned to enjoy feeling sore.  It means I’m learning.

In the fall, I will be testing for my black belt.  In the relatively near future, I will be testing for MCC level coaching.  These points are reached only after falling and getting up, literally and figuratively countless times.  It’s all good.


Tom Boomershine has been a United Methodist pastor for over 20 years.  Through his ministry, Tom has coached over 100 people in their relationships, life transitions and career transitions.  Author of the soon to be published book, “After Ever After,” he is currently in the process of becoming an ICF Associate Certified Coach through Marianna Lead’s Goal Imagery® Institute, International School of Coaching Mastery™.  Tom believes everyone has unique gifts given by our creator to be used for a purpose.


Season’s Greetings: Giving While Receiving

2015 Lead Holiday Family PhotoImage
One of the best ways to celebrate the holidays is by giving back. I teach that you can do it while also receiving. It’s always great to hear about one of my students successfully putting that learning into practice.

Following my suggestion, Preeta Banerjee, a recent graduate of our Holistic Life, Career & Executive ACTP Coach Preeta_Banerjee_PhotoTraining, found a cause and a non-profit organization she believes in — The Hope Foundation — which works with schools to create successful learning communities. In exchange for having Preeta’s services promoted by another organization, she will donate 50% of her coaching fees to the Foundation to help rescue and educate girls in India* (here’s the link to find out more about Preeta:

Congratulations to Preeta for following through on the kind of practical advice you’ll get when you enroll in our trainings.

If you’re interested in becoming a coach, honing your existing coaching skills and getting clients — inquire for more information about our training programs.

Happy holidays and best wishes for the New Year!

Upcoming 2016 Class Schedule


  • Tues., Jan. 5 at 7 PM EST
  • Thurs., Jan. 7 at 11 AM EST
  • Thurs., Jan. 7 at 4 PM EST
  • Thurs., Jan. 7 at 8 PM EST


  • Mon, March 21 at 6:30 PM EST
  • Wed., Apr. 6 at 11 AM EST
  • Wed., Apr. 6 at 7 PM EST

Coaching Movie Live Broadcast


ICF-Approved Holistic Life, Career Executive Coach Training: New Classes Start Sept. 14 at 7 PM EST, Sept. 23 at 11 AM EST and Oct. 7 at 6:30 PM EST

Chose from any of the above convenient times to start your training towards becoming an ICF accredited and certified coach.

Lessons are live, online, weekly and 2.5 hours each. Please contact us for more information. We cap each class at 10 students.




Appreciation as a Core Competency

In coaching, at times it’s crucial to be able to recognize and appreciate your client’s achievement, new type of positive thinking/behavior and/or a new, healthier response to an old situation. It is just as important to notice and appreciate a new application of our clients’ strengths and abilities. The truth is, we all want to be acknowledged. Not only it strengthens our ego (in a good way) and confidence, it also creates motivation to do even more. Appreciation and acknowledgement increases productivity and, from the position of coaching, it often creates awareness for our clients about their strengths and abilities where there was none or very little. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “I really never thought about myself this way” in response to my comment about my client’s specific set of skills I noticed. 

I was especially made aware of this competency as someone commented via social media on anniversary of my coach training programs at Goal Imagery Institute: “I hope you know how much I admire your work.” The thing is, we don’t really know unless we are told.

However, it’s not as easy as it seems. Not knowing how to do it correctly, we can sound parental or interrupt our client’s thinking if our timing is off. To learn how to express your appreciation the ‘right’ way — you may consider taking the coach training course. Goal Imagery Coach Training starts Jan. 6.




The Coaching Core Competency of Creating Awareness: Competency or Outcome?

The more I teach and experience coaching, the more I’m convinced that awareness is created by implementing all other competencies, such as establishing the coaching agreement, deep listening, powerful questions and direct communication. What are your thoughts?


Coaching Tools: Passion, Strength or Value?

I often see coaching clients struggle with being able to distinguish between their strengths and their passions. And when I begin to enquire about their values they get even more confused.
A question that helps them get unstuck is to ask about the last time they were unstoppable. The coaching client is able to provide at least one instance; usually it turns out to be when they were living in alignment with their values, operating on their strengths and integrating their passions into their life.
Let’s define these terms to better distinguish between them.
A value is a standard of behavior that you hold dear. For example, Reliability, Creativity and Excellence are a few core values.
A passion is something that gets your fired up. It could be writing, designing websites, or planning events etc.
A strength is an innate ability or talent. It could be that writing or collaborating on web design ideas makes you feel strong.
It is easy to see why our coaching clients get confused
  • Values can influence your strengths. Just because Excellence is a value, doesn’t mean that creating perfect spreadsheets makes you feel strong.
  • Strengths sound very similar to passions. You may be drawn to event planning (because of your value of Creativity) while you strengths lie in other areas. It is important to understand that the knowledge or skill gap can be bridged through training or practice.
Whether you are a coach or a coaching client, in making decisions about your life, it pays to be aware of your values, your strengths and your passions. It is this clarity that casts your life’s purpose into sharp relief helping you differentiate yourself from others. With this newfound clarity… is it any wonder that you become unstoppable?
Guest Blog by Kay Fudala, Consultant and Creative Coach at, currently enrolled with Goal Imagery Institute Holistic Life and Career Coach Training. 

Passionate Detachment as Core Coaching Competency

Ask any new coach why she decided to pursue coaching and she will likely say that she is passionate about coaching. “I just care about my clients so much! Coaching is my passion.” The irony is that unchecked passion can only get in the way of being present as a coach. Passion can make you care too much about your client. In your desire to build intimacy with the client, you could infringe on the space they need to find their own insights. It is interesting to me that while building intimacy is listed as a competency, learning to practice detachment is not. Detachment is not indifference. It is recognizing that you are just a guide on your client’s journey, but it is their journey. So even in your passionate desire to help them, you need to distance yourself. You need to allow them to find their own way whether they crawl, walk, run or build a spaceship to get to their destination. What do you think? Do you agree that to be an effective coach, detachment is just as important as passion?

Guest Blog by Kay Fudala, Consultant and Creative Coach at www.kayfudala.comcurrently enrolled with Goal Imagery Institute Holistic Life and Career Coach Training. 



Fringe Benefits of Coaching and Learning to Coach

Thinking about becoming a Coach?

It’s hard work, but there are a number of great “fringe” benefits to going through the program. Here are a few of my favorites:

#1 Collaborating with other like-minded people.
Not only do we share ideas, but we support each other, and as you learn a new skill, that support makes a huge difference.

#2 Coaching is a little like therapy but it can be therapeutic.
It’s not the same as therapy nor it should be, but you do talk out your problems with a supportive listener. And, really, doesn’t everyone need that sometimes?

#3 Our class is part of a much larger network of students and professional coaches.
These are vital connections as we move forward…Need advice? Ideas? Support? Coaching? Just click!

#4 Learning to coach is like having a detailed framework on how to connect with and engage with other people respectfully.
Attentive listening, being in the moment, and asking permission before sharing unsolicited advice…priceless!

As I mentioned at the beginning, these are fringe benefits, and don’t even take into account the main idea…receiving training may very well start you off on a new career path that you love.  Enough said!


Submitted by guest blogger, Santina Devine, who is currently enrolled in the 6-month Holistic Life and Career Coach Training Course at Goal Imagery Institute.


Down The Rabbit Hole Looking For A Life Coaching School

I never thought researching Life Coaching Schools would be like trying to get a straight answer from a CIA agent!!!  It’s so confusing, so frustrating, and absolutely crazy making!  Between modules this, and packages that, fast track, advanced, experiential learning, cycle-to-cycle and city-to-city, pods, face-to-face, teleclasses, telephone, webcasts, virtual classrooms, online, in-person, or any combination of the above, it’s more complicated than ordering a coffee drink at Starbucks!!!

I thought, “OK, maybe if I ask very specific questions, that will work.”  I must admit, some schools actually answered my questions but then there was “Watch the video.”  “Check the website.”  “You must have a free coaching-consultation session.”  A free coaching consultation?  Are you kidding me? I can’t take it anymore!!  Please, Coaching Schools, do yourselves a favor, make it simple and easy, or your prospective students will go elsewhere!  I finally did find a school that was actually easy to understand, so I didn’t feel like I had to take a class to find a class.  It turns out, it was the best deal of them all!

Contact Marianna Lead, MCC, ICF Assessor to receive The Comparison Grid of Coach Training Schools and schedule a complimentary consultation to bring clarity to coach training options and help you make the right decision>> 

Guest Blog by Denise McCanles, Goal Imagery Institute Graduate and Certified ICF Coach Helping Professionals Find Their Creative Outlet to Preserve Their Sanity!