Chapter Blog

NEW! Spiritual Community of Practice

Marisol Rodriguez
Professional Development Director

The ICF Metro DC Chapter has established a Spiritual Community of Practice (CP) to support and provide a community for coaches who coach individuals around topics of a spiritual nature as well as to offer support and community for coaches who are on their own spiritual journey. This new Community of Practice (CP) includes; topical discussions, guest speaker sessions, highlights skills for effective spiritual coaching, recommends relevant spiritual coaching information, and serve as a referral network for anyone looking for spiritual coaching and coaches.

The ICF Metro DC Chapter’ Spiritual Community of Practice supports non-sectarian cooperation, community and understanding among coaches and the larger ICF Metro DC Chapter’s coaching community. The CP is open to all ICF Metro DC Chapter’s members.

Leader(s): Dona Witten, Ph.D., ACC
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Date: 1st Friday of each month
Bridge: 712-432-3900 / 269116#
Contact: DJWconsultancy@comcast.net

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Call for Board Candidates

Steve Heller
Past President

Dear ICF Metro DC Chapter Member,

As Past President of the chapter, I chair the Nominations and Election Committee. ??We are seeking nominations for positions on the chapter’s 2013 Board of Directors: one as President-Elect and others as Directors.

Nominees for President-Elect are making a three-year commitment (one year as President-Elect, one year as President, and one year as Past President). Nominees for the other Director positions will be making a one- or two-year commitment, depending on the remaining term, if any, of the particular position being vacated by a current Board member.

Chapter bylaws state that the Board of Directors shall provide leadership in the areas of strategy, policies, and activities in pursuit of the Organization's stated goals. The Board shall develop the policies and procedures necessary to conduct the business of the Organization effectively.

To be a member of the Board, one must be a member in good standing with ICF and the Metro DC Chapter, nominated for office by the Nominations and Election Committee, and voted into office by a vote of the chapter's members. We have a strong preference for candidates holding ICF credentials.

The structure of the 11-member Board is as follows: President, President-Elect, Past President, Secretary, Treasurer, and six Directors. Bryan Wintersteen will move from President to Past President for 2013 and Barbara Smith will move from President-Elect to President.

The chapter Board meets monthly (quarterly, it meets for half-day, in-person meetings, and the other eight months via teleconference for approximately two hours). Attendance at Board meetings is important to effectively running our chapter, and policy is that Board members miss no more than two monthly meetings each year. Work on chapter activities generally requires 5-10 hours per month.

The Nominations and Election Committee will propose a slate of officers with a variety of backgrounds, including individuals from various accredited certification programs. We are looking for members who either currently have or are working toward their ACC, PCC or MCC. Descriptions for the various roles within the Board can be found on our website,http://www.icfmetrodc.org.

Whether you’ve been coaching for many years and are looking for a way to serve your chapter, or are new to the profession and looking for a meaningful way to connect with other coaches, we would like to discuss the available positions with you.

If you are interested in nominating yourself or someone else, please e-mail me (steve@hellercoaching.com) not later than October 15, 2012, providing the nominee’s name, contact information, and the position for which the member is being nominated. Any background on the individual's prior contributions to the chapter will also be very helpful.  Elections will take place in November. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email or call me, at steve@hellercoaching.com or 703.646.5507 (office).

Regards,??
Steve Heller
2012 ICF Metro DC Chapter Past President?
Chair, Nominations and Election Committee

Committee members:  Todd Dallanegra, Ellen Fulton, Diane Wian

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Agreements Help Coaches Fly Smoothly

Carol Goldsmith
Chapter Secretary

In light of this month's chapter program, "Establishing the Coaching Agreement," I thought I'd share my own story about agreements:

A 747 filled to capacity pulled onto the runway at Chicago's O'Hare. And stopped. For four hours. Delayed by unseen storm clouds. All 372 passengers sat perfectly still.

All except for Brody, the three-year-old sitting behind me.

"Brody, stop it!" cried his mother as he kicked my seat. "Brody, don't push that button. Brody, give me those earphones. Now!!"

I slid my pillow against the window and tried to sleep. I had spent the week hugging 1,200 coaches at my first ICF Global convention. Hard to keep a positive attitude when you’re hungry and tired. Maybe I could dream myself home into bed.

"Brody, NO!!"

Before I could move, Brody yanked down my window shade and caught my hair. I eased the shade back up and glanced at my seatmate, who was shaking his head.

Normally — being the patient, child-loving air traveler I am — I would have glared at the mother and groused the whole flight. But something magical had happened at the boarding gate.

While waiting an eternity in line, I felt a soft tiny hand take hold of mine. I looked down to see a cherry-cheeked baby in a stroller. Michael, I discovered.

"Hi Michael." I stooped down to return his smile. “He sure is friendly," I said to his mom. "Babies don't normally take to me."

"And he doesn't normally take to strangers," she replied. "I've never seen him do anything like this."

For the next few minutes, I chatted with Michael and he burbled back. Then the gate agent called my row.

"Gotta go now, Michael. Bye-bye," I said, waving. To which he reached out his little right hand and gave mine a firm shake, just like a miniature businessman.

Now here I was sitting right in front of Brody, who was kicking and yelling and yanking his window shade down and up, up and down. What could I do? I decided to don my coaching cap.

Standing and leaning over the seat, I smiled at our little red-haired kickboxer. "Hi, are you Brody?"

"Uh-huh."

"Brody, I'm wondering if we might make a little agreement.” He looked at me, waiting, curiosity interrupting his pattern.

"We can either leave the window shade up, or we can leave it down. Your choice," I said, smiling. " So, would you like to leave the window shade up?"

"Noooooooooooooooo!!!" he wailed.

"OK, then you'd like to leave it down, right?"

"Uh-huh."

"Great," I said. "Now we have an agreement. We're going to leave the window shade down for the rest of the flight. I'm counting on you to keep your agreement, OK?"

"OK."

It took another five hours for us to get home. Both Brody and I settled in for a nap. Our window shades stayed in place the whole flight.

After landing, I turned around as his mother lifted Brody up from his seat. "Thank you for keeping your agreement, Brody,” I said.

He turned to his mother and chirped with pride, "I kept my agweement!"

Children, like adults, can respond to coaching. The next time a little one won’t behave as you’d like, take a big person's approach. Make an agreement. Discover what the little one wants, state what you want, and negotiate the difference. Then hold your “client” accountable in a clear, measurable, and respectful way.

Do what little Michael did with me at the gate. Shake on it.
___
© Copyright 2001, Carol Goldsmith

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Terra Incognita: No Dragons, Just Gremlins

Gordon Silcox
 

Set sail at high tide
Lade low cargo and victuals
Secure for rough seas
Chart the course, set the first watch
Now prepared, alert
Eager to greet the future
At the unknown edge

Medieval maps are popularly thought of as marking dangerous, unexplored territories at the edge of the known world with such phrases as, "Here There Be Dragons."  Or, presumably on larger maps: "Here also are huge men having horns four feet long, and there are serpents also of such magnitude that they can eat an ox whole" (quotations from Wikipedia).

Today, even though the notion of serpents lurking in remote watery regions of the Earth has been pretty well put to rest, interest in “dangerous, unexplored territories” is still very much alive. Leadership coaches frequently venture with their clients into the unknown to observe together how the complicated functioning of the mind and emotions affects behaviors. This is where the modern-day equivalent of ox-eating serpents lurk, sometimes referred to as “gremlins” imagined as sitting on one’s shoulder whispering to us with exquisitely reasonable-sounding words of trickery. Gremlins strive to overwhelm the advice of “the better angels of our nature” by encouraging us to maintain the status quo rather than risking change. The result is that we don’t confront our blind spots, or we nurture our denial of certain realities, or we secretly dread and then act to prevent the loss of “something” such as prestige in the eyes of others.

As each of us strives to create order and meaning in our lives we all rely on the habits we’ve formed. Some mental habits can be so entrenched that they prevent us from facing up to our pesky gremlins. Even excellent-performing leaders can be prevented from energizing their untapped potential to reach yet higher levels of achievement. We all know the thinking which the gremlin strives to sabotage:  “I need to get out of my comfort zone,” or “I know I’ve got to think more outside of the box.” But it’s so difficult to act on one’s own! It often takes a skilled coach, working in partnership with the executive client to change habits in order to co-create the kind of results that in extraordinary cases coaches refer to as “transformational.”

Scholar-consultant Susanne Cook-Greuter and others use the term, the “growing edge” to refer to that place within each of us where dwells the potential for self-improvement and fulfillment which can only be approached by doing the difficult, on-purpose work of pushing limits, stretching the boundaries of so-called comfort zones. In coach-speak, we like to call this, “facilitating the client’s self-awareness and assisting her/him to modify behaviors so as to more closely align thoughts, words and actions with his/her own (and others’) meaning-making.” Not psychotherapy, the approach is pure coaching at its best: helping the client become self-generating at a higher level of performance by strengthening and broadening his/her portfolio of competencies – his “bandwidth.” Thoughts-words-actions alignment, in turn, creates a more integrated and fertile environment in which the client can positively influence real-time outcomes — an environment in which the client becomes a true leader.

As a coach, these are the activities that I engage in almost daily, which enable me to regard the arc of my own career as having brought me to the point where I feel I am engaging in my “highest and best use.” And coaches know absolutely that they must be persistent in their continuous efforts to make the journey, just as they assist their clients to do, into unexplored territories to observe and develop their own “growing edge.” At least we know that there is less risk today of encountering “huge men having horns four feet long.”

---

Gordon Silcox, ACC, is an executive coach and career consultant based in Fairfax, VA. He can be reached at gsilcox@wordsonpurpose.com.

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Putting 'Power' Back In Empowerment

Carolyn Thompson, ACC
Communication Dir.

As busy professionals looking to move our practices and careers ahead, we can lose sight of how important empowering others around us can contribute to our own success. Sometimes, we view training someone on a task or area of technical expertise as a time consuming activity when ultimately it can be a timesaving investment if we give that person responsibility for something that we don’t necessarily have to do ourselves and empower them in the process.

In the traditional situational leadership model developed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard, empowerment is used as a cooperative form of personal power, not competitive or self-protective. It is also proactive, positive, and constructive. An effective leader should actively seek to increase the readiness level or capabilities of those around them and within the groups they are leading.

Empowerment is the power to accomplish your own goals, or helping others achieve theirs, through the process of group potency, meaningfulness, autonomy and impact.

Groups, as a whole, profit from their members gaining the ability to succeed together and be effective as a team. The team also needs to have the perception that the tasks they perform are necessary and valuable, not menial and trite.

For a group to accomplish its goals, independence allows members to voice ideas and opinions that will aid in the ultimate success of a task. Autonomy does not imply that you abandon supervision entirely, but that such supervision is not constraining to the group. Finally, the thoughts and reflections of outside individuals on the group and its accomplishments are also significant, and if sentiments of the group and its work are not positive, this will eventually duplicate in the minds of the members and can withdraw empowerment.

Business owners and leaders have often withheld empowerment because they have concerns about employees having the confidence and skill to leave and take the business with them. The question becomes, if those people felt empowered by their leaders, would they leave in the first place?

People need to learn and grow, no matter their job title or level. Empowering someone could take the form of transitioning a simple activity like a weekly or monthly report from your workload giving the employee responsibility and accountability for that action. Or, it could be something more daunting like turning over a portion of client service on a large account. No matter what specific tasks you choose to relinquish, helping someone else learn and grow in their current position will help your practice learn and grow over time.

What steps can you take this week to empower someone around you that will ultimately increase your own productivity and personal success?

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The Business of Mindfulness

In the following article, chapter member Kris Miller discusses Mindfulness and how it can help you and your clients to embrace a concept that will increase awareness and open your mind for more intensive learning.
~Carolyn Thompson, Communication Director

By Kris Miller, MBA, PCC
A few months ago, I had one of the best early morning gym workouts I had ever had. I was totally in the zone. I let go of the rest of my day and just focused on my workout. I was fully present, in a state of mindfulness. I wasn’t even aware of time. It didn’t really matter. All I needed to focus on was my breath, my awareness and my intention for being there … with each step on the treadmill, with each weight I lifted. My sense of struggle ceased, and the work became easier.

We’ve all encountered this place of mindfulness. Sometimes we stumble upon it, as I did with my workout. Other times, we need to intentionally call it in. So, what does this all have to do with coaching? I have found that mindfulness is a great coaching tool. It’s one that enriches the experience for the client as well as for me. I view mindfulness in coaching as the ability to tune in to the client in front of you. It’s about really focusing on where they are at that exact moment, so they experience the felt sense of having been seen and heard.

Most coaches have had some experience with mindfulness and felt the sense of its power and impact. For others, this seems more of “an occasional” often a “retreat-only” encounter. I think there’s an opportunity to embody this experience, making it more a part of our natural reflexive being.

Introducing Mindfulness to Our Clients
For many of our clients, this will be a new experience. As coaches, we can introduce this concept in a number of ways, meeting the client wherever they are and offering the appropriate degree of challenge for growth. Through these practices clients discover tools for increasing their resilience as leaders. 

At the most basic level, coaches model the state of mindfulness in the way we show up in a coaching meeting (our coaching presence, our way of being) when we are coming from a more mindful place. This state also enhances our capacity in core coaching competencies including active listening, direct communications, and building trust and intimacy. As we strengthen our muscle of mindfulness, we increase our mastery of coaching and can more effectively serve our clients.

Another way we can introduce this to clients is to invite them to explore their own practices of mindfulness, again meeting them where they are with this topic. For some clients, this might be inviting them to remember a time when they were quieted, centered, feeling in their power (without using the mindfulness word, which could disarm some clients). Similarly, one might ask the client how they need to be, or how they need to show up, to strengthen their approach related to a stated goal.

Today, one of my clients shared with me the impact that mindfulness had on her professionally. “I can’t believe how great my meetings have gone lately,” she shared. She went on to tell me that coworkers had expected there to be complications in their meeting, but it went surprisingly well.  Later, they asked her, “How did you do that?”  My client responded with this advice, “Take three minutes before the meeting to just stop. Then, take a couple of deep breaths, let go of any stress, and fill yourself with what you want to bring to the meeting.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. She has fully applied the principles of mindfulness in a way that works for her.

Another client shared a personal account. He recalled the impact of arriving 15-minutes early for weekly church mass, and how this created for him a state of quieted internal coherence. He had never considered this state as a competency and inner resource. The client agreed to a practice that helped him access this same state in preparing for a complicated meeting. Other clients are completely open (many more than we might think) to exploring in more direct language a wider range of mindfulness experiences and practices.  

Getting Started
So how can we as coaches further embrace and integrate mindfulness practices into our lives and into our business? The following first two lines from Mary Oliver’s poem, The Journey, help simplify the answer for me:

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began …

Beginning or deepening existing mindfulness practices, and integrating this into our work, is a lifelong journey. The growth objective can be as simple as taking the first, or next, step. Don’t overcomplicate this, as I did. Having discovered a 30-minute sitting practice on a meditation pillow that worked beautifully at a retreat, I returned to Washington, ordered a “pillow,” committed to 30-minute meditations … and failed. I could not get quiet on the pillow alone in my house. The very idea of it made me run the other way.

All was not lost, however. I discovered I could get up early, sit in the quiet of the morning in a comfortable chair, achieving my current intentions for a meditation practice. Building this muscle helps me in the related practice of pausing to think about my mindfulness state before every client meeting.  In this practice I am a relative beginner, and without doubt this attention enhances my coaching performance.

I highly recommend these books on mindfulness: Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and The Art and Science of Mindfulness by Shauna L. Shapiro and Linda E. Carlson. The Kabat-Zinn national bestseller opens the window to holding mindfulness in a lighter and more accessible place. I often suggest this book as a first step to clients who are interested in exploring mindfulness meditation and related practices. The Shapiro and Carlson work provides a broad overview including the science behind mindfulness and the status of ongoing research. 

Another powerful resource is the Generative Well-Being Advanced Coaching Program, in the Center for Consciousness and Transformation at George Mason University. The program is designed for seasoned coaches who want to take their coaching to the next level. I am honored to have been part of this year’s inaugural cohort. The theme of mindfulness is woven throughout six powerful advanced coaching modules—amplifying the experience, learning, and integration of the material.

From an organizational perspective, the being state of mindfulness supports coaches and clients in accessing a fuller potential.

Kris is an executive coach who works with global leaders and teams in corporations, the U.S. government, and non-profit organizations. His prior experience as a business executive serves as a strong foundation for coaching leaders across sectors, helping clients and their organizations to flourish. He has been a contributing member to "Learning," the ICF Metro DC coaching journal, and executive coach and partner in the Washington Coaching Group. If you have any comments please e-mail him at Kris@WashingtonCoachingGroup.com

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Helping New Grads Get to Work

Carolyn Thompson
Communication Director

I remember it like it was yesterday: crossing the stage, shaking the dean’s hand, smiling for the cameras, and feeling ready to take on the world. Now, I see my friends' children taking part in the same ritual. These graduates will come home after their graduation parties and beach vacations to find jobs, but will instead find that they are woefully unprepared to navigate the competitive job terrain that holds their fate in its hands. 
A recent article in the Huffington Post stated half of college graduates won’t have a job offer upon graduation.

Most people are average. Average grades with average income potential. That's where the term average comes from, right? It's the middle of the exceptionally talented, or those with really high GPAs compared to those who may have prioritized the social aspects of college over the academics and may have even worked their way through school. Perhaps they didn't get to take advantage of the career center prior to packing up and leaving campus. Within the average pool of people, there are still exceptionally talented people waiting to be plucked into their destiny of success. Hard work does pay off, and finding a job after college is hard work.

If your recent graduate didn't have summer internships relating to their studies, or part time work to offer them a glimpse of what professional life would be like after obtaining their degree, they are probably going to have to pay their dues now, as painful as that might be for you to watch. Recent grads often feel their education should preclude them from starting with an entry level position, but the fact remains, a job with a reputable company is a great starting point for anyone.

Whether the business is large or small, publicly traded or privately held, full or part time, they need some work experience. They need to prove to an employer they are reliable, dependable, organized, have good communications skills, can follow direction, and that they can work both independently and in teams. The basics. They need to take any job they can get and make it their own whether as an assistant manager at a drug store, or as the administrative assistant in an office. They need to build the list of references that will vouch for them in the future.

For many grads, it's too soon for them to really know what they want to do long term or where their career will take them, so encourage them to just get started. They will learn more about themselves while working than not working and you can learn something from any job, good or bad. Some of the most valuable experience can be gained in the most unlikely situations. 

Many times the amount of rejections the grads face is overwhelming and they will retreat back to school for more education. Here's the skinny on that: Unless the profession they are choosing (like nursing, law, etc.) requires the education to get started, they are going to be in the same boat a few years down the road if they don’t combine that extra learning with substantive work experience. It's better to obtain that additional degree in combination with some practical application of their studies. Many companies offer tuition reimbursement or special executive on site MBA programs that employees who are positioning themselves for promotion can take advantage of. Developing a healthy balance of education and experience is the most strategic and effective way to optimize your value to current and potential employers.

Telling all of this to your grads isn't the easiest task, so you might want to consider hiring a coach to work with them. Through our Find a Coach database, you can search for coaches in your local area that offer career services. The investment there will be well worth your time if you properly vet the coach you choose as someone who has successfully worked with others in the same situation in the past.

Teach your grads to network. Currently, 80% of all jobs are found as a direct result of networking and personal connections. Ask your friends who work in your grad's field for help. You'll be surprised at how willing these personal connections are to help a young person and how quickly a small network can expand with just a little help from family and friends.

Encourage your job seekers to make a list of companies they are interested in so you can easily see if you have contacts there that may be able to assist them. Having a well-thought-out job search strategy they can execute is important. Setting timelines for follow up and evaluating results can't be achieved if you don't have a list to work from.

You might also want to take a look at your grad's online profile because future employers are looking as well. Their Facebook page and LinkedIn profile should be clean and professional. Encourage your grad to remove any photos that may give future employers the wrong impression of their character. Keeping a diligent eye on their online presence is very important and can be a deal breaker. Just last week someone in our office pointed out that a person’s wedding website noted they had yet to graduate when the resume they presented to us stated they had completed their degree. That person was due to complete it this year in December, but they are looking for a job now.

Lastly, they can always do volunteer work to obtain more experience. Many companies and non-profits need help, so don’t forget to consider those channels as well.

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Got Experience?

Carolyn Thompson
Communication Director

I get a lot of questions from people who are in their 50s needing advice about job search, career change, and what types of jobs are good for people over 50. We wrote about why companies might want to hire people with more experience rather than less in the past, but my husband read a recent article from the Washington Post and that, combined with the 60 Minutes tribute to Mike Wallace, shed new light on this subject for me.

Did you know Mike Wallace didn’t even start with 60 Minutes until he was over 50? For 37 years he was a trailblazer of news magazine programming and had an amazing career there, whether you agreed with his style and conclusions or not.  He is a shining example of how to take your experience in a new direction rather than retiring in the traditional way as you approach this part of your life.

Many people who are looking for work later in their careers have become accustomed to traditional employee/employer relationships because that is what they have always had.  Long gone are the days of our parents and grandparents when they were able to retire with a solid pension and live a relatively stress free retirement. 

Becoming a consultant in your field is an excellent opportunity for people faced with unexpected job change at latter stages of their careers. Now is the time where their expertise can lend itself quite nicely to assisting others with their own learning and growth paths. 

Many startups are seeking part time CFOs and COOs to help them grow, and local chapters ofThe Service Core of Retired Executives can help. I have seen many volunteers get snapped up into part time positions, in some cases full time roles, because they made a substantive connection with someone they met through SCORE who found value in their expertise.

Executive coaching is a great business as well, but it does require certification to be held in professional regard. If you are in the DC area and might want to learn more about coaching, theCapital Coaches Conference is an all day event Thursday, June 7, 2012 at George Mason University and the speaker lineup is impressive. Before you make the investment and commitment to becoming a certified coach, a one-day conference like this is a great way to get introduced and meet many successful people in the industry.

Remember, full time employment can come in the form of a couple of part time jobs combined. If health insurance is a concern, consult your accountant about forming an LLC, and an insurance broker can help you navigate what plan you need to accommodate your lifestyle. A coaching client of mine (who happens to be over 50) recently consulted with Business Benefits Group and uncovered a significant savings setting up a plan for himself rather than opting into his cobra coverage.

So, while I might need a little more Advil to get past my morning aches and pains than I used to, knowing that I can take charge of my own career and find new opportunities to utilize my years of experience helping those with less gives me some relief.

Additional substantive articles on finding work over 50: 
http://www.forbes.com/2010/09/30/over-50-job-seeking-leadership-careers-...

In case you missed the Mike Wallace segment, here is the link. 
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7405528n&tag=cbsnewsMainColumnArea.7

Carolyn Thompson, ACC, is director of Dixon Hughes Goodman’s Human Resource Solutions Group.  She is frequently called upon by national news organizations such as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, CNN, and MSNBC among others to contribute content on a variety of topics. She is a member of the National Speaker’s Association and speaks on a national level about a variety of HR related topics. Carolyn is author of TEN EASY STEPS TO A PERFECT RESUME, TEN STEPS TO FINDING THE PERFECT JOB, and TEN SECRETS TO GETTING PROMOTED, available on Amazon.com.

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Tax Tips for Tax Time

Carolyn Thompson
Communication Dir.

Ok, yes, it’s Friday the 13th of April, 2012. Whether or not you are superstitious, this day might be considered lucky or unlucky because it would generally be two days before you were required to file your federal tax return for last year. However, because of a combination of the calendar, a holiday, and tax law, Tax Day 2012 is delayed until Tuesday, April 17.

Why is this? First, April 15 is a Sunday and all federal offices are traditionally closed on Sundays. This means that taxes can’t be filed on April 15, as regularly scheduled. Rather, the tax due date should roll over to the first available business day — Monday.

However, this year Monday happens to be April 16, Emancipation Day, a holiday local to the District of Columbia that has impact nationwide. Since 2005, Emancipation Day has remembered President Abraham Lincoln’s April 16, 1862, signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act, which freed the city’s 3,128 slaves. In honor of this day, Washington, D.C.’s governmental institutions are closed.

And federal law gives taxpayers the gift of an extra day … Tax Day rolls over to the next business day, Tuesday, April 17. (Please note, that you may have tax forms that say they are due April 16. They were printed before the IRS realized the Emancipation Day conflict.)

Remember, state filing deadlines vary by state but most states have chosen to mirror the IRS’ tax deadlines this year even though Emancipation Day is specific to Washington, D.C. Be sure to check with your accountant to confirm your local filing deadlines.

Having said all of that now might be a good time to start thinking about making this whole process a little easier on yourself for next year with some pre-tax planning organization and preparation.

First, get your yearly information to your accountant as soon as you can in January/February.  Many people wait until the last minute before the deadline and then file an extension when, with just a little pre-planning, you can have all your information organized in advance and be nearly done before the New Year's Eve ball drops on Times Square. More to celebrate!

Second, don't just dump your receipts in a box and expect your accountant to figure out what they are all for, particularly if you are a habitual last minute filer.  Using one credit card for business expenses is a great way to keep things more organized but you need to take one step further and allocate those costs to supplies, entertainment, office equipment purchases, etc. Doing so each month when you are reviewing your credit card bill can help ensure the chore is not so large when it comes time to file your return.

Thirdly, seek out your accountant's expertise and ask for tax planning advice. Your accountant is a valuable resource and can assist you throughout the year with ways to maximize deductions on certain items if you consult them in advance.

Remember these tax tips and good luck on Friday the 13th!
--
Carolyn Thompson, ACC, is director of Dixon Hughes Goodman’s Human Resource Solutions Group.  She is frequently called upon by national news organizations such as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, CNN, and MSNBC among others to contribute content on a variety of topics. She is a member of the National Speaker’s Association and speaks on a national level about a variety of HR related topics. Carolyn is author of TEN EASY STEPS TO A PERFECT RESUME, TEN STEPS TO FINDING THE PERFECT JOB, and TEN SECRETS TO GETTING PROMOTED, available on Amazon.com.

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2012 ICF Membership Renewal, With a Twist

Johnny Tatum
Membership Director

The membership renewal season is upon us, and you might have heard that there will be some changes this year. We'll do our best to keep you informed, and we ask that you please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the new requirement for ICF membership. 

The TWIST:

Straight from the ICF Global website, the following new Membership Eligibility Requirement (MER) is being communicated:

"As of April 1, 2013, individuals must have completed at least 60 hours of coach-specific training* to remain a member, in addition to paying membership dues and agreeing to abide by the ICF Code of Ethics." 

To get the specific information on how this requirement is being applied please check out the following link on the Global website known as the MER "landing page"http://coachfederation.org/mer/ .  If you still have questions, please email them tomembership@icfmetrodc.org.

What Do I NEED to DO?

Membership renewal is scheduled to open in mid-February and run through early June. Please be sure you maintain accurate information as you renew by indicating your credential or your completion of the 60 hours on the renewal form as applicable. 

What do I get out of ICF Membership anyway?

The value of membership in the Metro DC chapter of ICF, the largest in North America, is well known to our nearly 700 member coaches. Our chapter provides a vital resource for building your practice through networking, education, marketing opportunities, and community awareness and outreach. Chapter members enjoy our “Find a Coach” service to increase your visibility to those seeking a coach; member discounts to chapter-sponsored events and affordable member rates to help you promote your events, workshops, seminars and speaking engagements; a mentor database for your certification process; and our highly informative, twice-monthly e-newsletter. And each month, the chapter provides opportunities to earn your requisite Continuing Coaching Education Units. Join or renew today to keep these benefits coming!

Your ICF Metro DC Board of Directors highly values your membership, participation and partnership in the ICF and the local Metro DC chapter. We also strongly encourage you to be familiar with this new MER policy and ask that you register as soon as possible and avoid any problems with the MER implementation. 

Again, if you have any questions please email them to me at membership@icfmetrodc.org.

Johnny Tatum
Membership Director
ICF Metro DC Chapter

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