4 Ways to Prioritize Your Professional Development

4 Ways to Prioritize Your Professional Development

When was the last time you learned a new skill, spoke in front of a group, attended a networking event, or connected with a mentor? If it’s been a while, you may want to consider carving out time to do so. You’ll never regret making the decision to prioritize your professional development. Staying current in your field will keep you in the competition, and learning extra skills will set you apart from the pack. Plus, professional development boosts self-confidence, helps you achieve your goals, and allows you to teach others what you’ve learned.

We understand that 2020 has been a strange year for everyone, especially business owners and employees. However, people are finding creative ways to push past stagnation and further their professional development. Check out these 4 ideas for inspiration:

Attend a Conference

If you’ve ever attended a conference for personal or professional reasons, you know how incredibly impactful the experience can be. You learn from experienced professionals, have opportunities to meet new people, and are guaranteed to leave feeling inspired. Here are two to consider attending this year:

INBOUND 2020 on 9/22 and 9/23 is an event designed to educate and empower people in marketing and sales. The event founders are promising that this year’s digital experience will still incorporate the energy and connectivity that their previously in-person event was known for. You can attend for free, or sign up for their $69 “powerhouse” pass for premium access to content and extra perks. 

The Massachusetts Conference for Women on 12/10 is a one-day event that, in the past, has sold out to over 10,000 attendees! The retreat is virtual this year, and attendees will hear from two keynote speakers, have the opportunity to choose 3 of 12 breakout sessions on the day of the conference, coordinated networking, and access to a virtual exhibit hall and bookstore. All 12 breakout sessions will be available for playback for one week following the conference.  Early bird tickets are $125 per person and will be available June 24th.

Invest in Private Coaching

If you like the idea of receiving inspiration and motivation but aren’t sure you’re ready to commit to a conference, consider hiring a business coach! With private coaching, you’re given the opportunity to confidentially share business problems and concerns, and receive feedback and action steps for ways to move forward. Investing in private coaching is a great way to invest in and prioritize your professional development.

Learn Something New

The next time you find yourself with a spare 10-30 minutes at work, fill it with learning a new skill instead of browsing the Internet. Sit back and gain insight on any number of professional development skills, from negotiating to public speaking to updating your social media accounts. Check out Skillshare, Lynda, Career Contessa, and LinkedIn to see the many courses available to entrepreneurs and working professionals! And don’t forget to check to see if your library card gets you free access to business resources!

Gain Insight From Podcasts

Whether you have a steady job or are a starving entrepreneur, you likely appreciate any free resource you can get your hands on! If a conference, coaching, or online course isn’t in your budget right now, plug in your earphones and turn on a business podcast! Here are a few to consider subscribing to:

  • The Authentic Audience – As the name suggests, this podcast is all about helping businesses cultivate an authentic relationship with their customers.
  • How I Built This – Be inspired by the true stories of how entrepreneurs developed their companies, such as FitBit, Ben&Jerrys, and EventBrite. The NPR-produced podcast is currently running a series on resilience, which provides insight into how businesses have navigated the coronavrius pandemic.
  • Goal Digger – Self-made millionaire Jenna Kutcher packs action steps into her podcast, from business hacks, productivity tips, social media strategies and more.

How will you prioritize your professional development this month? We’d love to hear!

What to Know About Attending a Virtual Retreat

What to Know About Attending a Virtual Retreat

Life looks a bit different these days, doesn’t it? Our calendars, once full of happy hours and networking events, now list Zoom call meeting reminders. Social groups are turning to virtual meet-ups — from business masterminds, book clubs, and trivia teams… even Wholistic Woman Retreats! 

I’ve been attending Wholistic Woman events in-person for the past 3.5 years, but I hesitated to join in when their events went virtual. I wondered how the meeting would translate online. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised by my first virtual evening retreat experience, and thought I’d share some key things I noticed along the way: 

  1. You won’t feel out of the loop if you’re new – I think I would be especially hesitant to join in on a virtual retreat if I had never attended a Wholistic Woman event in the past. I assumed the call would start with a few “hellos” and then move right into the materials, but instead the coaches took time to introduce themselves. I was happy to note that the coaches’ warm and friendly nature (a big part of why I enjoy their events) came through despite the lack of in-person connection. Then, one coach shared the mission of the Wholistic Coaching Coalition. Though I’m very familiar with the group, starting out the call this way helped ground the evening in purpose. Then, at the end of the meeting, they briefly discussed their next event — Know Your Money Story with coach Jane Helm. I was relieved to know that if I were to invite a friend, she wouldn’t feel out of the loop as they made everyone feel included and in-the-know no matter how many events they’ve attended.
  2. You’ll receive quality teaching and helpful resources – I attended “Radical Love” with coach Kat Middleton, and was curious if listening to one speaker on Zoom would become tedious after a while. While Kat did teach during the majority of our 90-minute call, she used slides to illustrate her message, requested that attendees use the chat tool to answer questions, and lead everyone in a group activity. She also shared several resources that attendees could look more into on their own, should they want to further their knowledge of self-love. If you want to be able to focus and learn during a virtual meeting, I suggest turning on the “active speaker” setting on Zoom. This will allow you to give your full attention to the speaker. You can easily switch to the “gallery” layout during the portion of the meeting that involves the entire group. Do your part to help the other attendees focus, too! Keep yourself muted (unless told otherwise) and turn your camera off if you need to do anything that could potentially distract the rest of the group.
  3. You’ll have the opportunity to connect in small groups – If you’ve attended an in-person event with Wholistic Women, you know it’s typical to be split into groups or asked to turn to someone next to you in order to discuss the materials presented. My most-pressing question going into the virtual call was, “How will we have quality conversation about what we’re learning?”  Thankfully, Zoom has a feature I wasn’t aware of — separate chat rooms! After being given instructions on what to discuss, the call monitor split up the group and suddenly I went from looking at a grid of 28 people to only two other women. We all turned off our microphones and had a vulnerable conversation about the distorted thought processes we often find ourselves in. Then, we offered one another practical suggestions on how to love ourselves through those thoughts. This relatively short activity was incredibly impactful, and truthfully just as valuable as the in-person conversations I’ve had at previous events. 

Needless to say, it was a great event and I’m glad I attended! While I hope it won’t be too long before we can start meeting in-person again, I hope you’ll join us for our next virtual event, Know Your Money Story. Click here to register for this event, happening on June 24. 

6 Packing Tips for Sedona, Arizona

6 Packing Tips for Sedona, Arizona

Are you planning to travel to Sedona, Arizona with us in October? This city in the desert is a must visit for nature and/or art lovers, with its vibrant art culture and stunning red-rock formations. Today we’re sharing packing tips to help you make the most of your trip.

Pack proper skincare and makeup

If you’re traveling from a cooler or more humid climate, the dry heat of Sedona might be a shock to your system. Our best packing tips for your face and body include gentle facial cleansers, hydrating lip balm, and body lotion. Items that will moisturize and protect your skin and lips are a must. Sunscreen is a must!

One of the bonuses to traveling to a place known for its natural beauty is that you can embrace your own natural beauty. If you plan on spending time outdoors (which really is a must in Sedona), opt for a tinted moisturizer with SPF over heavy foundation. Swipe on some bronzer and lip balm, and you’re good to go!

Layers are a must

While you might find yourself sweating in the sun during a day-time hike, evenings in Sedona are comfortably cool. The best time to visit Sedona is in the fall, when temperatures range from the 50’s to high 70’s. 

Layers are always a great addition to your suitcase, because of how versatile they are. You won’t need a heavy winter coat for Sedona — a light sweater or jacket will see you through the crisp nights. And don’t forget a bathing suit if your accommodations have a pool, or if you wish to visit a spa! 

Select sturdy footwear

Sedona is known for having excellent trails, so plan to pack sturdy shoes if your plans include hiking. If you don’t typically hike much, look for a pair of quality walking sneakers that have good grip. Two to three pairs of shoes should be plenty for your trip. Sturdy walking shoes and sandals are a must, but throw in a pair of dressier shoes if you wish. Some brands we love: Merrells, Chacos, Keens, and Tevas. Want more direction? Check out this list of 20 best hiking boots and shoes from Travel + Leisure!

Travel in style

Don’t forget to think about what you’ll wear on the plane! Consider items that are both comfortable and stylish, such as a maxi dress layered with a soft sweater. If your goal is to pack light, plan to wear your travel outfit twice — both to and from Sedona.

A carry-on suitcase should be plenty big enough for a weekend in Sedona, but plan to use a larger suitcase for an extended trip. Stash a foldable travel backpack in the front of your suitcase to use on your hike or to bring purchases home in. 

Don’t forget travel accessories! 

Be sure to pack a camera (or use your cell phone for pictures), charging cords, and a journal. You’ll also want to pack sunglasses, and perhaps a hat if you want extra sun protection. Leave your laptop at home if you can — Sedona is too beautiful of a place to spend your visit distracted by work. A collapsible water bottle is convenient for both your plane ride and exploring the sights.

Need more packing tips? Check out this extensive list of items to remember on your trip to Sedona!

A Guide to Getting the Best Facilitators for Your Retreat

A Guide to Getting the Best Facilitators for Your Retreat

Planning a retreat can be a daunting task! There is a myriad of details to map out, including the theme for the retreat, the venue, the schedule, and marketing. Whew!

Once these particulars of your retreat are taken care of, it’s time to select a facilitator-the person who will represent your company’s values and make certain that the attendees get the most out of their experience.

Facilitators become “the face” of a single session or group of sessions, and have a major impact on the success of your retreat. So, how do you find the best candidates for such a big role?

DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

In selecting a facilitator there are some key factors to consider:

Experience

Have they done this type of work previously? Facilitating is a unique skill that involves leading a group of people around a specific topic. The person in this role should feel comfortable in front of the number of people attending. The larger the group, the more experience may be warranted in making your selection.

Subject matter

Does the potential candidate have any experience leading discussions about the content of the session? Choosing someone who understands your topic or theme may need less training than other potential facilitators.

Your audience

Can the facilitator create a rapport with your attendees? Selecting someone who can easily establish trust and relate with the participants will be a key factor in making sure the retreat is a success!

Skill Level

The person in this role should have some key proficiencies in facilitation:

Time Management

Making sure your group is working through the agenda in a timely fashion.

Neutrality

An experienced facilitator will understand the importance of remaining impartial while leading a session or group. This allows the participants to be more open to sharing.

Communication

There are several key skills that should be considered:

  1. Can they express the key talking points eloquently?
      • Do they have Active Listening Skills? These include the ability to paraphrase and ask relevant questions to the audience.
      • Can they read the body language of the audience?
        • Can they recognize when there may be a need for an unscheduled break?
        • Is there a need to include someone who appears to be feeling left out? Or is there someone who is dominating a conversation?
        • How would they handle conflict within a discussion?

There is certainly a lot to consider when selecting the facilitator for your upcoming retreat. Their role is significant and can elevate your retreat to creating an uplifting experience for your attendees. By doing your research, vetting the right candidate you can rest assured that your event will be a success.

Today’s Author: Jane Helm is the Principal of Money Mentor Group. As a wealth coach, Jane combines decades of financial services experience with a degree in social work and psychology to bring positive financial change to her client’s lives. She is a Partner Coach with the Wholistic Coaching Coalition and co-founded the Build Your Own Business networking group. Jane can be reached via email at jane@moneymentorgroup.com

 

 

The Power of Group Coaching

The Power of Group Coaching

Brené Brown says “True belonging doesn’t require that we change who we are; it requires that we be who we are.”

Group coaching allows you to be who you are in a group of like-minded people–the ones who are faced with similar challenges and goals. As a participant, you become part of a dynamic form of learning, where you will help others while receiving the support and encouragement from professional coaches and your fellow group members.

Here are some of the powerful benefits of group coaching:

  1. Shared wisdom: Group coaching provides an opportunity to discuss your dreams and goals with similar people and share ideas. It also provides an opportunity to learn from the insights and contributions of others. The learning that occurs in a group from listening to other members’ stories, ideas and concerns provide an insightful mirror for your growth.
  2. Accountability: Group coaching brings an element of accountability to others. This is an awesome motivator when you come to each session to discuss your progress and achievement of goals and the barriers to achievement with others who are empathetic and supportive. You receive constructive feedback from multiple sources, which enriches your own development. Group coaching holds you accountable while still giving you time and space to reflect.
  3. Opportunity to build authentic friendships: Group coaching allows you to make new connections and form authentic friendships with others. It gives you an opportunity, and confidence to explore ways to enrich personal connections. It enhances your own compassion, empathy. By listening to others’ stories, you gain an understanding of your own unique story.
  4. Increase your motivation: This type of coaching is a great motivator. Women often feel exhausted and overwhelmed. Knowing you have the support from other participants as well as from professional coaches will offer the encouragement you need. It builds confidence, and motivates you to keep going with reaching your goals!
  5. Finding your Tribe: By getting to know other group members on a personal level and developing trust with them, you will belong to a group, growing your network of relationships that enrich your life. This type of bonding amongst group members who offer mutual support can act as a powerful catalyst for change.
  6. Affordability: maybe private coaching is out of your financial comfort zone. Group coaching is an affordable option, where you will experience the power of coaching at a fraction of the cost!

At Wholistic Woman Retreats, we like to meet you where you are and offer you opportunities for personal and professional growth. We hope you will consider our group coaching offers as an opportunity to enhance your life while forming new relationships with like-minded women.

As a wealth coach, Jane combines decades of financial services experience with a degree in social work and psychology to bring positive financial change to her client’s lives.

5 Reasons Why Team Retreats are Good for Your Business

5 Reasons Why Team Retreats are Good for Your Business

Have you ever wondered if team building events are worth the investment? How would developing your people impact the overall success of your organization?

Workshops and seminars are great short-term solutions to teach new skills and strategies. A corporate retreat, however, offers greater opportunities to simultaneously reward and improve your employees. Going off-site, whether for a partial day or multiple days, has many benefits for your employees and the overall organization.

Team Building

During a typical work day, your staff may interact with a limited number of co-workers. Team retreats broaden connections between diverse employees allowing them to engage with co-workers from other departments or shifts. New bonds are formed as they converse in a different setting. When they return to the workplace, connections made during the retreat will strengthen the overall cohesiveness and effectiveness of your workforce.

Stress Relief

Retreats come in all shapes and sizes. Choose one that will most benefit your team to provide a break from their daily grind. In these increasingly busy times, workers can release tension through a variety of enriching activities such as escape rooms, scavenger hunts, creative art activities, obstacle courses, personal development, and more. Corporate retreats are especially appreciated as a reward after the busy season. Send a message that you appreciate your team, recognize their contributions and want them to unwind and relax.

Focus

Retreat experiences offer fresh perspectives as staff members get away from their day-to-day operations. A customized program can take a high-level view to explore company values, mission, and purpose. Then take a deeper dive into the details to discover what is going well and what could be better from their vantage point. Identify gaps and areas for improvement while celebrating successes. Participants gain new appreciation and knowledge as they listen and learn from each other, as well as from the program facilitators. Retreats offer time to step back and evaluate both individually and collectively.

Improve Engagement

Disengagement remains one of the biggest hurdles in the current workforce with only 33% of US employees engaged in their work. Gallup believes that unengaged employees cost companies between $480-$600 billion a year in lost productivity. What’s worse is that unengaged employees can be toxic because they have the ability to turn customers away, too.’

How do we improve the engagement of our teams? Buy-in (aka engagement) develops when team members can contribute their input and feel heard, acknowledged and validated. They feel part of the team when they know that their opinions matter. Feeling heard and respected goes a long way towards team engagement, even if their suggestions are not acted upon. Team retreats provide a safe space for employees to brainstorm and give constructive feedback. Such experiences contribute to a positive work culture with a more engaged staff long after the retreat is over.

Invest in your people

Building on ‘buy-in’, a team retreat lets your staff know that you value them. Give them the gift of going to a special location or doing a fun activity together. Ask them what they would enjoy most and then make a custom experience happen for them. A special program such as Strengths Based Leadership will not only develop them as individuals but will also enhance their effectiveness at work. A health and wellness coach can help their physical well-being which translates to a healthier (and happier) workforce.

Follow up the retreat experience by offering staff several one-on-one executive coaching or personal coaching sessions to let them know how invested you are in their development.

In summary, team retreats are a wise and worthy investment in the success of your business, non-profit, or community organization. How will you develop your team today?

Today’s author: Carol deLaski, PCC, is a strengths-based executive leadership coach who guides individuals and businesses to be their best. For more information about her coaching services, and her book Lost and Found: Discovering Strength in Love and Faith, visit www.caroldelaski.com or email her at carol@caroldelaski.com