Provision #520: Chautauqua Diary

Laser Provision

I’m in the midst of a rich two weeks, filled with relaxation and stimulation. Last week I was in Chautauqua, New York at The Chautauqua Institution. This week I am in Harvard, Massachusetts at the NVC for Educators Institute. The two experiences have ended up being closely connected. Read on to get a glimpse of life in the slow lane. I invite you to slow down with me, to savor these musings, and to enjoy the view.

LifeTrek Provision


I would like to share a few bits and pieces of my week at the Chautauqua Institution for this week’s Provision. As I write, my wife is working on a jigsaw puzzle, my daughter-in-law is taking a ceramic’s class, my son is on the Internet (naturally), and my parents are taking a nap. It’s drizzling outside which makes for one of those lazy days of summer. Perfect.

My family and I have made an annual, one-week pilgrimage to the Chautauqua Institution (www.ciweb.org) since 1994, when we were brought here by members and friends of the church I was serving in Columbus, Ohio. It is an experience unique, beyond compare. With its wide mix of spiritual, educational, cultural, recreational, musical, and artistic offerings set in the context of a beautiful, lakeside Victorian village, Chautauqua has a way of casting its spell over people of all ages, races, cultures, and creeds. It’s a great place to renew your balance and restore your soul.

This year, my wife and I had an opportunity to introduce about 50 people at Chautauqua to our latest “find” • Nonviolent Communication (or NVC) by Marshall Rosenberg (www.cnvc.org). At some point I plan to write a Provisions’ series on NVC, after we have had the chance to receive more training ourselves and to work with the process in a variety of situations (including our own household). Although easy to learn the basics, NVC is challenging to practice and master. The more I know about NVC, the more I know that I don’t know about compassionate communication.

That’s how it is with learning something new, it raises our conscious awareness. We suddenly see applications and connections in the most unlikely of places. The other night, for example, we all went to see the new Spiderman 3 movie. Talk about a case study in Nonviolent Communication! The movie frequently showed people imagining events as a prelude to action. The stories people were telling themselves led either to violence or forgiveness, to hostility or tenderness. That was true not only for Spiderman, but for other characters as well.

NVC starts with that presumption. It’s not the events themselves that drive our actions, but the stories we tell ourselves about the events. When we interpret events from the framework of judgment, shame, and blame, we end up playing the game of “Who’s Right?” That game leads to a downward spiral of violence and alienation because no one ever wins. There’s always another “but” as people jockey for position and strive to get in the last word.

When we interpret events, however, from the framework of understanding feelings and needs, we end up playing the game of “What’s Alive?” That game leads to an upward spiral of empathy and enrichment because everyone wins. Instead of arguing about what people think, we attend to what people need in the present moment. That shift, from arguing to attending, makes all the difference in the world. Instead of jockeying for position we end up feeling heard and looking for ways to make life more wonderful.

The Chautauqua Institution has recognized, explored, and encouraged that very shift for many years. On Monday, for example, we heard a lecture by Stefanie Coontz on the historical transformation of love, sexuality, and marriage. Her evidence-based conclusion? Modern marriage has both more opportunities to be fulfilling and more opportunities to fail than ever before. Most of us probably resonate with that description.

I liked her comment about the indigenous people of North America who did not have strict sociopolitical controls on the institution of marriage. When confronted with the “problem” of knowing a child’s paternity and pedigree by European missionaries, they responded, “You people only love children of the body, we love all children.”

That theme surfaced again on Wednesday, in a different way, when Adam Pertman of the Adoption Institute called into question the traditional stigma and shame associated with adoption. When he asked for a show of hands as to how many people were adopted or knew of an adoption among their family or friends, virtually every hand went up in a room filled with more than a 1,000 people. We are no longer people who love only children of the body; we are becoming people who love all children. As well we should.

The theme surfaced several times on Thursday, when we heard from both Gary Knell, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop, and Phil Lerman, author of DADditude. Knell had a clear sense of purpose, one might even say a calling, for taking the message of Sesame Street to the far corners of the globe. My wife spoke briefly with him about bringing the Jackal and Giraffe puppets of NVC onto Sesame Street • now that would get the message out! It fits so well with an organization dedicated to providing children and adults with practical strategies for building respect, resilience, and resolve.

Phil Lerman made it all very personal, as he talked about his journey of becoming a father, for the first time, in his 50s. With humor and love, Lerman made clear the message of the week: children matter. They matter to him as a dad and to us as a world for the ways in which they enrich life.

Next week I hope to share with you another installment in my series on Optimal Fitness. Until then, I am enjoying an NVC Training Institute for Educators in Harvard, Massachusetts as teachers, administrators, and consultants seek to learn how to use NVC in the making of compassionate schools. Since LifeTrek works with educational leaders around the globe (visitwww.CelebrateSchools.com), and since my wife teaches educational leaders at the College of William & Mary (visit www.MeganTM.com), we have a particular interest in becoming better equipped ourselves.

Coaching Inquires: How many times a day do you play the game of “Who’s Right?” How could you shift to playing the game of “What’s Alive?” How could you pay more attention to the needs that lie behind people’s behaviors and words?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


Have a great conference. Your last Provision was perfect • short, informative and informational enough such that I will pass it along!! Thanks!


For whatever reason, I hadn’t gotten •Provisions• for a while. I had missed receiving it • so thanks for getting me back on the list! (Ed. Note: You were never off the list. Provisions must have been filtered out, perhaps because it was so long! Glad this one got through.) 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #518: Thank You!

Laser Provision

Last week I announced my decision to change the publishing schedule and format for LifeTrek Provisions. This week I feature your replies • they have truly touched my heart • as well as a Wellness Pathway submitted for publication by one of you • the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. Keep those cards and letters coming! They’re good for the soul. Until next week, may you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

LifeTrek Provision


Your responses to my announcement about the future publication schedule and content of Provisions were more than I had expected. Please sure to read the Reader Replies for a samplingClick! I feel a deep sense of gratitude for your support and encouragement as well as for your recognition that greater flexibility and freedom are good things.

Your responses, like those of a masterful coach, will hold me accountable to the decision I have made. In fact, I hope you don’t take it the wrong way if I continue to send out something on a more or less weekly basis. It’s not that I can’t help myself or that I don’t know how to relax (I’m working on that!), it’s more that I want to stay in touch and there are ways to do that with far less effort than I have been putting out over the years.

One way is to resend past editions. That’s the “best of LifeTrek” approach as some of you have recommended. Another way is to send noteworthy snippets from other newsletters. A third way is to publish material that you, the readers of LifeTrek Provisions, submit for publication. That’s how we ended up with a Wellness Pathway by Dan Distelhorst, the friend I mentioned last week who owns a running store and who is offering a 10% discount to readers of LifeTrek Provisions Click.

A final way is write one myself, just like old times. I still have about 10 issues left in my current series on the Optimum Wellness Prototype, so be looking for those in the weeks and months ahead. There’s still plenty to learn and to share on the trek of life!

Coaching Inquiries: Who would you like to thank in your life? What would be the best way to do so? How could you make your life more wonderful?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


Thank you for the poem last week and thank you, too, for the honest, heartfelt reminder about making space to live.


Bravo to you on last week’s announcement that you plan to take the time to appreciate all that you are experiencing in the moment and not to be dragged away by your self-imposed deadline.


I want to thank you for all of the times that you have sacrificed to make the publication deadline for Provisions. I know that I have grown a great deal from your work. I am pleased to see your example of taking time for R&R. I do believe that the world would be a better place if we could all take the •proverbial deep breathe• and allow ourselves the time to nourish our own souls before we head out to take on the rest of the world. I am pleased to know that you are able to make a decision that will not end LifeTrek Provisions but just make them a more functional part of your life. I am a LifeTrek junkie and know that I would go into big time withdrawal if it just ended. My life is better because of the work you have done, are doing, and will do. Thanks.


This may sound crazy, but I had a feeling something like this was coming. Don’t know why, but I did. And I think a break would be terrific and, from a selfish perspective, I’m ecstatic to see that you are going to devote time for your books! One thought regarding your weekly Provisions is to have “The Best Of …” series. A lot of programs do that and I don’t want us to step away completely from your wonderful thoughts, insights, and inspirations. Your weekly Provisions could be a quick current thought and then a “Blast from the Past” type Provision that keep your readers plugged in. Just a thought.


This was yet another timely Provision / announcement as I too am making several shifts in my schedule to allow more time for •R&R.• Stress management has been my life struggle and it is now catching up with me. I shot out of bed at 2 am Friday morning in a cold sweat, pounding heart and dizziness that brought on a fainting spell. My husband was out of town and my two young girls were upstairs sleeping soundly and I had to dial 911 for help. I was in the ER Friday morning and they diagnosed me as having a strep infection, ear infection and panic attack??! I can’t help but attribute all of this to a build up of stress that I was unaware of. You are so special in that you •walk your talk• and set such a good example for everyone you share your words with. Thank you. I will miss the weeks that you don’t send out a new message but at the same time I am grateful because this will give me a chance to read some more of your archives. Have a beautiful day!


Congratulations for a great run so far. My ADD brain is absolutely amazed by your dedicated faithfulness to this very worthy mission. Eight years. Wow! Enjoy your new semi-freedom and your summer and we’ll hear from your heart as God teaches through life experiences.


All past efforts on your part are much appreciated. Thank you for your inspiration and reflections. I look forward to any and all future efforts, whenever you are inspired to do so.


Congrats on making your decision. I want to support you by telling you my personal experience of LifeTrek Provisions. It is always one of those emails that I truly enjoy, but they’re long, they take a while to read, and I never want to read them while on Auto Pilot. So when they come in I think, “Oh no! Another LifeTrek I gotta read!” Because of my compulsivity of not ever wanting to miss anything, I file them away until I have the time to read them right. Now, as you take a break, I will get a break as well. Thanks for that! I do so very much enjoy them; now I bet I will enjoy them more. You’re blessed!


Thank you for so many weekly gifts over the years. We owe you so much. You deserve a shift. Thank you again.


I’m glad you are making more room and space in your life for family and friends. At the end of the day what really matters are the relationships you have fostered not the goals you have accomplished.


We understand and agree on winding down a bit. Please take the breather as and when you like. Much thanks for your beautiful contribution. 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #489: Meet Amy Haas

Laser Provision

We’re taking another break this week from our series on Optimal Wellness to introduce you to Amy Haas, the newest addition to the LifeTrek Coaching staff. In the weeks ahead, you will be reading Amy’s thoughts on the Life-Work Equation as she shares her wisdom on what it takes to juggle the demands of career, children, and all that goes with them. We trust that you will appreciate Amy as much as we do and that you will look forward to incorporating her voice on the trek of life. Enjoy!

LifeTrek Provision

If you have contacted LifeTrek for coaching at any point during the past six months, then you may have already met Amy Haas, our Client Placement Coach. Amy is the newest member of the LifeTrek Coaching staff and, starting next week, she will begin contributing a series of Parenting Pathways on the Life-Work Equation to our weekly newsletter. We thought it was time, therefore, to introduce you to Amy and to bring her profile into view on our Website.

Q: So tell us a little about yourself and how you found LifeTrek Coaching?

A: Well, like Erika, I met and got to know you (Bob) long before there even was a LifeTrek Coaching. You hired me, back in 1994, to handle the accounting at First Congregational Church in Columbus, Ohio. That was during your former life, as a pastor, and the experience at First Church proved to be transformational.

Before that time, I had been on a career-track in business. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business from Gwynedd Mercy College, near Philadelphia where I grew up, in 1986. I had started college as a Chemical Engineering major at the University of Pittsburgh thinking I would follow in my father’s footsteps. I tried to make that work for two years but accounting and finance was a much better fit. I did meet the love of my life at Pitt and although neither of us stayed there to graduate, we stayed together and have been married for 18 years.

While at Gwynedd Mercy, I had a professor who both taught at the school and had his own accounting practice. The combination and flexibility of his professional pursuits was very appealing to me and he persuaded me • by teaching and example — that I could do something similar. The accounting profession was a great fit for me to put my analytical and people skills to their best use. And, although I never added the role of professor to my resume, the role of teacher has been a passion of mine that I have indulged and fostered since college. That’s part of what makes LifeTrek so appealing to me.

I married my husband, Dan Haas, in 1988 and moved to Columbus, Ohio, where he was working as a resident and Masters candidate in the Hospital Pharmacy Administration program at The Ohio State University. Since they hired him upon graduation, we stayed on in Columbus. I went to work for one of the Big 8 Accounting Firms (today that firm is one of the Big 4) and became a CPA. My colleagues and I worked all the time • 60 hours a week was the standard, and it was often more.

Ironically, without kids in the picture, I thrived in that environment. I loved working toward a deadline, the press to get things done, and I was good at it. I also found the time to exercise and volunteer for organizations that I cared passionately about. But it quickly became clear that that lifestyle was not going to work if I wanted to have a family. So I made the first of many decisions based upon my calculation of what it would take to work and have a life too: I decided to leave public accounting.

Interestingly, I left my next position for the same reason albeit around different dynamics. I went to work for a client where I had a much less demanding and a much more flexible work schedule. I became pregnant within a year and was in the best physical shape of my life. That part was great, but my supervisor was incompetent and that made my life miserable (as well as the lives of many others). When the company refused to make any personnel changes, I again made a decision based upon my calculation of what it would take to have a better life: I decided to leave.

That was a big deal since now I had the first of my two children and we suddenly lost a big chunk of income. But I knew I had to leave, and I took action trusting that things would work out.

I tried the stay-at-home-mom thing for about three months. It only took that long to realize I needed something more. I did a little work for a friend of mine who was starting his own practice, but that still wasn’t enough. I started seriously looking for work just when First Church started advertising for a bookkeeper. That position, which combined the bookkeeping and controller functions, was way below the level at which I was used to functioning. But I made an immediate connection with the staff and I was intrigued by the work environment. It was different than anything I had ever done before, with lots of opportunities to get involved in the life of the organization beyond the scope of my job description. So I decided to take the job.

Q. What were some of those opportunities and did they make the job worthwhile?

A. If it weren’t for those other opportunities I would not have stayed for 4 years. Where else could you come to work and take breaks in a beautiful Gothic cathedral while listening to live music by artists who some would call local icons! Where else could you come to work as an accountant and get involved with teaching Sunday school, planning Vacation Bible School, sharing input on artwork and music and how best to assist those in need! Where else could you bring your baby to work, nurse her at your desk and set up nap time inches from your feet, without getting in trouble! Where else could you come to work with people who truly loved you! As Tom Rath would say, my bucket was very full indeed.

That proved to be a big deal for me, because I started having a variety of serious health problems while working at First Church. In retrospect, I think my body was trying to tell me, even back then, that the stress of super-mom was not part of the life-work equation. I developed a seizure disorder and several other neurological challenges that I continue to live with to this day (although I now manage them more successfully, through active stress management). The people at First Church were more than just supportive and understanding; my condition became part of the community experience that we worked and lived with as a team. I was never made to feel bad or judged for my condition; I was accepted and loved through it all.

Q. That’s because you are so loveable! As someone who was never a member of the church, and who didn’t even come from the same faith tradition, I remember being struck by how much you gave of yourself beyond the limits of your job description.

A. There was no other way for me to be happy in that job • like I said, I wouldn’t have stayed otherwise. I could have done the “limits of the job description” in my sleep. It was the other things that made the job worthwhile. I came to recognize it as a place where I could use all my gifts, not just those required by my job. By expanding my horizons to other people and opportunities in my environment, by paying attention to the things that interested and energized me, by extending myself in a wide variety of areas I filled myself with life. It was a lesson that is part of the calculus in the life-work equation, and I feel grateful for having learned it when I did.

Q. So how does that factor into your work now, with LifeTrek Coaching?

A. I left First Church not long after Bob did, back in 1998. Since that time, we have stayed in touch and I have taken more than a casual interest in what has been happening with LifeTrek Coaching. Not only do I respect what LifeTrek stands for and does in the world, I also see a connection between coaching and my work as a public accountant. And, like I mentioned before about my passion for the role of teacher, coaching seems like a natural progression.

Public accountants are in the business of helping our clients be successful. We come into organizations not to run them but to make sure they handle the financial piece correctly. So many companies get in trouble because they drop this ball. They may have a great product or service, but if they don’t manage their money properly, they will be out of business in no time.

So I think many public accountants • and this has certainly been true for me • are in the same business as coaches only with a more narrow focus. We help people to be successful. I have enjoyed my role as teacher / trainer / mentor in my various positions probably more than any other aspect of the job. LifeTrek Coaching gives me an opportunity to further that role on an expanded stage.

I could not have been more thrilled when Bob called me about six months ago to handle some of the initial intake interviews with people who contact us for coaching. I don’t know if Bob realized it at the time, but the prospect of working with LifeTrek Coaching filled me great joy. Not only would it give me a new way to serve and to develop myself professionally, it would also get us working together again. I was ecstatic to become part of the LifeTrek Coaching team.

Q. Beyond LifeTrek having a need, our successful past collaborations were certainly part of what made us think to offer you the position of Client Placement Coach. Tell us how things are going.

A. It’s very cool. To be contacted by total strangers from all around the world and to connect with them about how LifeTrek Coaching could add value to their lives • what could be better than that? When the connection works, and when I have great conversations with people about how LifeTrek could assist them, it just makes me feel great.

Q. Six months into your position with LifeTrek Coaching, you now plan to write a series of Parenting Pathways on the life-work equation and to start coach training in the New Year. Tell us more about where those interests come from and what’s stirring inside you.

A. Well, first I want to acknowledge the empowering environment within LifeTrek Coaching. Bob may be the President with clear standards for LifeTrek, but each of us is encouraged to pursue our own interests and to offer whatever we can to the organization. That’s a big part of what kept me at First Church and I’m sure it’s a big part of why LifeTrek has been successful.

In my case, I have always loved writing. In fact, I am working on a novel right now. So writing for LifeTrek Provisions is a natural. It will assist me to find my voice and to share with others what I have learned about the life-work equation.

The notion of writing Parenting Pathways is also a natural. As I have already said, it wasn’t until I had kids that the life-work equation became an issue for me. Let’s just say that kids add many variables to the equation which we often can’t control. By learning to more effectively manage the variables we can control, we can better keep our balance when life deals out a wild card.

In my case, life has dished out some pretty tough lessons when it comes to the life-work equation. With my physical problems at times landing me in the hospital for weeks at a time and often putting me on strong medication, my body has gotten my attention by literally stopping me in my tracks. As someone who once thought she could do it all, I now see that “all” does not mean running myself ragged in order to get things done.

If I don’t manage my stress and my schedule properly, my body will respond in very unpleasant ways. I’ve had to learn the hard way how to do things differently.

Q. So what do you do now? How do you solve the life-work equation?

A. There is no solution, so to speak. It’s more about managing the variables in order to have a balanced equation. The goal is a zero net sum. Now I pay more attention to how my body feels and what my body needs in the present moment. It’s not only about mindfulness; it’s also about taking action. There are times when I change my schedule, at the last minute, in order to be less demanding, less stressful, and less rigorous.

I also make sure that I take regular time for myself. Time to sleep. Time to work out. Time to enjoy nature. Time to read books. Time to write books. Time to knit. Time to ride my bike. Time to listen to music.

One of the things that I do, for example, is that I arrive early for appointments so that I can sit in the car and listen to some of my favorite tunes for an extended period of time. I also use my kids’ scheduled activities in a similar way, always having something handy (e.g. a knitting project or a good book) to turn a one hour wait for a drama class or dentist appointment into time for me. We all need to carve out those little chunks for ourselves wherever we can find them and I hope my Parenting Pathways will enable other busy moms and dads to do that.

The key is to know what you need, and then to find an environment where it will be easy to get what you need. For years I used to fool myself, for example, that I could be in those high-pressure, corporate environments without succumbing to the rat race. My body let me know that I cannot do that. Those environments suck me right back in. I pay a lot of attention to my environments now, as well as to a good understanding of my standards and boundaries. When all those things come together, life really is perfect.

Q. Where would you like to go with LifeTrek Coaching in the years ahead?

A. I am exploring that right now. I have never been satisfied with the title of “accountant” because I bring way more to the table. I’ve been calling myself a consultant, and I see myself evolving more fully into the role of coach.

Q. One of my friends and colleagues, Jay Perry, makes a profound observation about the coaching profession. “I don’t believe coaching is a service profession,” he writes; “it is a modeling profession. We need to be the change that we want to see in the world. We need to model the behavior that we want to see in our clients and our prospective clients.” I’m excited about your evolution as a coach, because it comes from that place of modeling. You have been on a very real, and at times very painful, journey; sharing that journey with others is the heart of coaching.

A. Well, I certainly haven’t figured it all out. But you’re right that I am on a journey and that I look forward to sharing that journey with others. If it can help someone else along the way, then I am twice blessed.

Five years ago, when I was at a real low point in terms of my health, my husband bought me a guitar that came with three free lessons. I still haven’t taken advantage of those lessons! My secret desire is to be a rock star at age 50. I have less than 10 years left, so perhaps my journey will take me there as well. It’s never too late to make the equation work out.

LifeTrek Coaching is part of that journey for me, as it is for many others, and I am thankful for the opportunity. When people contact us for coaching, I hope they know how much it means to connect.

Coaching Inquiries: How are you handling the life-work equation? Are your environments working for you or against you? Are you taking the time to do and to enjoy the things you love? How could you handle your life situation more successfully? Who could you take with you as a partner on the journey? What’s one thing you could do today that would make your life better?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


That was a great Provision on chocolate Click! My personal favorite “fix” is taking a tablespoon of raw cacao nibs and squeezing some raw, dark, amber agave nectar on top. One tablespoon of this is awesome and it is all you need. There is an awesome website that you probably are already aware of, but if not, the link is www.rawfood.com. They’ve got it all here. Nature’s First Law is one of my favorite brands.


Your last Provision included a beautiful tribute to your wife. You both are blessed to have found each other! (Ed. Note: Agreed!)


Must the nuts and seeds we eat be raw? Do they lose something by being roasted? (Ed. note: Yes and yes. Nuts and seeds are best eaten raw since roasting deteriorates their essential oils.)


There was a great essay in the August issue of National Geographic Magazine titled, “A Deeper Shade of Green” by Bill McKibben Click. It really would be wonderful if we could all eat locally grown foods, but I understand where one reader was coming from when he made the following comment:

“McKibben’s experiment with eating locally grown food over a single winter reminds me of Marie Antoinette playing peasant in the hamlet at Versailles. Applying such solutions to Los Angeles County, for example, would have 800 people surviving on each acre of land that produces fruits and vegetables. Suppose that acre be put to potatoes. Each individual would get about 30 calories a day to survive on.”

I think it would be interesting to get your take on how the world we live in today can survive if we had a paradigm shift and began eating locally. Do hundreds of people need to die (because of our current over-population) of starvation in order to better our diets through locally grown, organic foods?? (Ed. Note: I will address these planetary concerns in an upcoming Provision. It’s a tough problem. I remember reading that more than half the food in the waning days of the former Soviet Union was grown locally, even in the cities on small plots of land, because the centralized food system was so dysfunctional. More of us can live this way than we might think.) 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #481: Random Wonders

Laser Provision

For those who are waiting with baited breath for me to resume our series on optimal wellness, you’ll have to wait one more week. Too much happened during the past week that I want to highlight and comment upon. I trust you will appreciate my musings on topics ranging from the writing of LifeTrek Provisions, to computer viruses, to nonviolent communication, to the E. Colioutbreak. Hang on for the ride!

LifeTrek Provision

The research, writing, editing, production, and distribution that goes into LifeTrek Provisions every week is no small matter. It always amuses me when someone writes to complement us on our research staff (which is nonexistent). These Provisions and Pathways come straight from the hearts, minds, and research of the LifeTrek Coaching staff. No one is more devoted to the cause than me. Week in and and week out, with hardly an exception, I make sure that our readers — almost 60,000 strong between our email and handheld subscribers • receive great, dynamic provisions for the trek of life.

We don’t charge for this labor of love, which takes me at least 5 hours and sometimes as many as 10 hours to complete on a weekly basis. That’s a total of 16 days per year spent researching, writing, editing, producing, and distributing LifeTrek Provisions • without even factoring in the time spent researching and writing Pathways by my colleagues. Until I added up the numbers, not even I realized how much time was spent on this enterprise.

One reason the time flies by is that LifeTrek Provisions is my weekly discipline for deep thinking and life-long learning. It is a living journal that I love to wrestle with and produce. That may go back to my days as a pastor, when I had to produce a weekly sermon, or perhaps I just need the push of knowing my public is waiting, but I love to sit down at the keyboard in order to discover what I am thinking and learning.

Many times, I have no idea how the Provision will go when I sit down to write. I just sit and pull on the thread of an idea until it comes fully unraveled. Word plays and alliteration are my favorite tools. I often break forth new truth and light just by playing with the words themselves. When that process generates something wholly unexpected or even profound, it is pure delight. I love to write LifeTrek Provisions.

Even though it is a self-rewarding task, I am also gratified by the many replies that come in from you, the readers of LifeTrek Provisions, on a weekly basis. You often add value to my learning and thought-process, plus you let me know how much you have come to trust and appreciate us as a source of both information and inspiration on the trek of life.

You can imagine my chagrin, therefore, when a combination of events • including my own human error • led to a virus being sent out to our mailing list. This did not effect our handheld subscribers, and it also did not effect many email subscribers who never even saw the offending message because many ISPs (such as AOL, Gmail, and RoadRunner) spotted the virus and blocked delivery of the email. From your point of view, there never was a problem.

But many other subscribers (including those who use Yahoo! and Hotmail accounts) did receive the offending message and if I ever wondered whether people actually read these things, I wonder no longer. I was inundated with concerns, admonishments, expletives, and requests for removal. After I sent out a note of apology on Monday, explaining what happened and what changes we had made in our procedures to prevent this from ever happening again, I received another barrage of replies that restored my faith in humanity.

I was particularly touched by the total stranger who first demanded to be removed from our lists • “thanking” us for the virus • only to write back later, after he learned what happened, to say, “You are a champion, my friend! Thank you for your prompt and gracious reply. I most certainly wish to remain on your e-mail list! Keep up the great work!” That was a heartening turnaround, to say the least. I’d like to share a few of the other replies that warmed my heart in the wake of last week’s fiasco:

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If it makes you feel any better…nothing like that arrived to my computer from LifeTrek. It sounds like you have taken some additional practice enhancement steps and will continue to have an excellent product and service! Thanks for that.
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Life Happens!!! I accept your apology “profusely” …although I wasn’t affected. (smile) Keep those Provisions coming.
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Your Coaching emails are a blessing to me and my family. I was blessed to read your apology email before jumping to it, so I deleted it right away. I am wondering if you could reprint ( re-email ) this weeks Life Trek Provisions at a later date? (Ed. Note: The regular Provision, titled “Resilience Coaching,” was not infected. You can open that email without concern, if you still have it, or you can read it in the Provision archive Click).
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You are, of course, forgiven! Thank you for the explanation and update, and for continuing this ministry.
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How sad for these people to do this!! Shame on them!! Thanks for the good words!!
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I opened this email and am concerned with what it may have done and what should I do about it, please!!! (Ed. Note: If you did not open the attachment, you are not infected. Still, I would now run a virus scan of your entire computer, just to be safe.)
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If your subscribers had an antivirus program running, they should have received a message that a virus was present and that it was removed before any damage was done. At least that is what happened with my machine. I have virus scanning on all of my e-mail. (Ed. Note: Agreed! No computer should be without antivirus software. Such programs are quite affordable and there are even free antivirus programs available for home users to download. Search for “free antivirus software.”)
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I saw the message, suspected it, and then let Yahoo! test the attachments for me. Everything turned out fine. I’m sorry you were hit with this, but it hasn’t shaken my trust in you. It just shows a) bad things can always happen, and b) we (meaning your readers) should always keep the critical faculties turned on! (Ed. Note: To tie this to a quotable quote, “Trust and verify.”)
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No worries! It happens. My antivirus caught it and dumped it. In fact, in a strange twist of fate you guys have bolstered the self-esteem of anti-virus packages all over the world. Re-enforcing their reason for being. I think with all the talk of anti-spyware programs lately, the anti-virus programs may have been feeling a little left out. Nice work, and keep the “regular” Provisions coming.
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You would be God if you didn’t make mistakes. I for one enjoy your dispatches thoroughly, so no chance of unsubscribing.
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There were many, many other replies, but the above made my “Top 10” list. We will, indeed, keep these Provisions coming.

In addition to systems that were not yet failsafe for viruses (they are now), last week’s fiasco happened while I was on the road to run the Lewis and Clark marathon in St. Louis, Missouri with my second cousin. We had a great time together, and I completed my 34th marathon or ultramarathon in my 20th state. That’s 20 states down and 30 states to go before my quest is complete! Given that I have also run marathons on 2 continents (North America and Europe), I may also have to tuck a few other marathons in along the way to pick up the other 5 continents.

Two other things happened last week that deserve attention in LifeTrek Provisions. One, was a delightful synchronicity. Right now I am finishing my Master Certified Coach (MCC) application with the International Coach Federation. In the process, another MCC told me about the work he was doing with Marshall Rosenberg’s material on Nonviolent Communication. No sooner had we had that conversation than what did I receive in the mail as a surprise present from one of my former clients? You guessed it: Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication Training Courseincluding 9 CDs, a 92-page workbook, and 7 training cards Click.

Rosenberg’s organization, The Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) Click, is a non-profit organization founded in 1984 to teach nonviolent communication and to build nonviolent communities around the world. Before last week, I knew nothing about CNVC. Now I’ve become aware of yet another movement that has touched hundreds of thousands of people in 5 continents, including many of the most conflict-riddled areas of the globe. The philosophy and practice of CNVC is being used to “create and participate in networks of worldwide life-serving systems in economics, education, justice, healthcare, and peace-keeping.” According to those who know it well, it is making a difference.

From what little I have been able to glean at this point, I see many commonalities between the work of CNVC and Appreciative Inquiry (AI). Given that we use AI not only in our coaching work but also in our work with schools Click, congregations Click, and other organizations, the discovery of CNVC could not have come at a better time. I look forward to getting into the material and to sharing it with you, over time, in the pages of LifeTrek Provisions.

Finally, of course, the past week has seen the outbreak of a spinach-borne E. Coli problem in the United States. I hate to say, “I told you so,” but I told you so, right here on the pages of LifeTrek Provisions. In our current series on optimal wellness, I have been emphasizing the importance of local food sources. Not only do they typically provide fresher, higher-quality fruits, vegetables, and meats, but they also serve to defuse problems with the food supply, if and when they develop.

To quote Michael Pollan, in his excellent book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, “The real vulnerability in the agribusiness model is that when you highly centralize the food supply.. when there is a problem, the problem is going to get really big.” To avoid this eventuality, Pollan observes that “we may need a great many different alternative food chains, organic and local, biodynamic and slow, and others yet undreamed of.”

“As in the fields, nature provides the best model for the marketplace, and nature never puts all her eggs in one basket. The great virtue of a diversified food economy…is its ability to withstand any shock. The important thing is that there be multiple food chains, so that when any one of them fails • when the oil runs out, when mad cow or other food-borne diseases become epidemic, when the pesticides no longer work, when drought strikes and plagues come and soils blow away • we’ll still have a way to feed ourselves.”

I, for one, don’t want to wait until that day in order to connect with, support, and patronize local food sources. That’s why I have encouraged you to know your farmers, to visit farmers’ markets, to join with Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA), and to learn what you can do for yourself in terms of both gardening as well as hunting and gathering. Last week, I was pleased when a friend shared with us some pawpaw fruit that he had found and harvested in the woods.

Who knew that pawpaws, also called “poor person’s bananas,” are the largest edible fruit native to North America? Who knew that these fruits are ripe right now in Virginia and that they are free for the picking? The people in southeast Ohio probably know, since that is where the commercial growing and harvesting of pawpaws has a strong foothold (they are even lobbying to make the pawpaw the state fruit). But until last week, I didn’t know anything about pawpaws, how to eat them or how to find them. Now that I do, however, it gives me one more toehold in the local food chain.

Next week we’ll be back with the next installment in our series on optimal wellness. We’ll talk about the proper place of starches and legumes in our diet (hint: less is more) and then we’ll move on to consider the specific challenges of eating such staples as dairy, grains, and soy. By the time we get done with the input side of the LifeTrek Optimal Wellness Prototype Click, you may never look at food the same way again. But don’t despair, we’ll be sure to make room for chocolate in the end!

Coaching Inquiries: Does your computer have antivirus protection with up-to-date virus definitions? When was the last time that you ran a virus scan of your entire computer? What do you know about nonviolent communication? What place does it have in families, schools, offices, congregations, organizations, politics, and business? How can we make our world a more peaceful place to live? How could you get more connected to a wide variety of foods and food sources? What foods are lurking right outside your door, that you may not even know about? Who could assist you to find them?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


What an awesome Provision! I’m so excited about the new developments with LifeTrek (Resilience Coaching) Click. I love the fact that you took a “break” from the nutritional series to share these announcements with us. Every week I anxiously await your emails with suspense. It’s like waiting for the next page in a thrilling novel.


Thanks also for adding the CelebrateCongregations.com link to your battery of services. I will promote it to the congregations here in Kansas.


Thank you for the ongoing Provisions. Do you have any brands that you recommend for hemp seed protein and flax seed meal? (Ed. Note:  My favorite brand of hemp protein and hemp seed is:www.LivingHarvest.com. I do not recommend flax seed meal. The meal deteriorates quickly if it is not refrigerated, and there is no way of knowing how it was handled before it got to you. Better to purchase whole, organic flax seeds and grind them yourself, as needed, with an impeller-style coffee grinder.)


Sorry about the virus thing. I hope your marathon in St. Louis was successful! I did a 10K the same day here in Scotland, which was the first race I have run since the Edinburgh Marathon in 2003. I had read your articles on listening the day before so I used some of your strategies to be in the moment during my wonderful race! Hope you fill us in on the race details in the next provisions! (Ed. Note: It was slow and easy until the end, when I picked up the pace to race in the final three miles. It was good to feel strong in the end.)


It sounds like Appreciative Inquiry is aligned with my work in the past with Landmark Forum, Landmark Education, which I really stand for. Glad you are involved with that. 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #480: Resilience Coaching

Laser Provision

We’re taking a break this week from my series on optimal wellness to introduce our new coaching specialty: resilience. If life has a way of getting you down, then you may want to make Christina Lombardo your resilience coach. Life gets a little easier when you have the right coach and the right coaching in your corner. I’ll be running a marathon on Sunday in St. Louis, Missouri, with a second cousin on my father’s side. By mile 25 I’m sure resilience will become an overriding concern! Christina’s Provision offers great wisdom.

LifeTrek Provision


With this issue of Provisions, LifeTrek is pleased to announce a new coaching specialty: resilience coaching. Who couldn’t benefit from more resilience in their lives? In today’s dynamic and fast-changing world, resilience is more vital than ever. It’s what helps us to move past enormous obstacles and to move toward fully living our dreams.

Resilience coaching explores ways of being and doing that bolster our ability to bounce back in radiantly positive ways from even the largest of life’s initially overwhelming developments. To make this happen, resilience coaching has two dimensions. The first looks carefully at our ways of being that support a resilient lifestyle. The second looks carefully at our responses. 

Resilience coaching begins by emphasizing a person’s values, intentions, and motives through a process of reflective listening and powerful coaching. This becomes the foundation we use to create lasting resilient perspectives, skills, and ways of being.

It strengthens our responses by looking at both our perspectives about situations and by looking at our choice of action. The importance of looking closely at our perspectives as a part of being resilient is reflected in Novelist Ellen Glasgow’s quote “Nothing in life is so hard that you can’t make it easier by the way you take it.” 

Often, we hear about individuals who have bounced back from devastating events such as hurricanes, terrorism, illness, job loss, or loss of a loved one. These individuals are inspiring, real-life examples of resiliency. 

My cousin, Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D., is one such individual. On June 13, 1998, her life was transformed when a 3 1/2 ton tree came crushing down on her. In that instant, she became paralyzed from the waist down with a spinal cord injury. Her life was changed profoundly.

Following the injury, Rosemarie looked deep within herself to find new strength and resolve. Today, Rosemarie is a powerful, internationally known speaker, trainer, consultant, writer, publisher, and CEO of Rossetti Enterprises. She travels the globe sharing the lessons she has learned since that fateful day, demonstrating how to rise above misfortune and live life with conviction. Much of what I’ve learned over last decade about resilience I’ve learned from watching Rosemarie create a remarkable life, fulfilling her wildest dreams despite the 3 • ton curveball life threw her (like snow skiing from her wheelchair!). 

Sometimes assumptions are made about people with lots of resilience, as though they quickly plow through their emotions in order to build anew. On the contrary, a key and initial component of resilience is to fully experience and express our feelings in healthy ways. Emotional expression is an important step toward gaining a positive perspective. It is also a crucial building block that enables us to bounce back bigger and better than before. 

Feeling personally in charge of creatively finding a way to overcome life’s difficulties is another key to resilience. Resilience coaching teaches you how do that. By learning how to learn from life’s curveballs, focus on what you want, work toward its creation, and ultimately feel personally responsible for how well your life goes, you end up with a stronger sense of control over your conscious responses to life’s events.

In recent years, the field of resilience psychology has discovered that some people are born with innate tendencies that allow them to be more resilient than others. These attributes that naturally allow some people to be more resilient are part of the resilience coaching journey. 

Consider these resilience-based coaching questions: How do you naturally react when things don’t go your way? How do you interact with ambiguity? At what times might you laugh at yourself? Do you seek to learn valuable lessons from unfortunate situations? How much of your life do you own? How do you use curiosity to move you forward? Are you an observer to your negative thoughts? Do you want to strengthen your resilient ways of being? 

Resilience coaching enables you to explore and to strengthen three foundational choices: 1) to take care of yourself, 2) to care for others, and 3) to learn all you can. These choices break down to include the following attributes and skills:

  • Forgiveness
  • Self Esteem, Self Concept, Self Confidence, Self Efficacy
  • Emotional intelligence including managing your gremlin
  • Setting self chosen goals and asserting your intentions
  • Relying on your Faith
  • Optimal wellness and renewal
  • Self expression
  • Owning your life
  • Problem solving
  • Being light hearted
  • Curiosity
  • Having a synergistic effect
  • Being empathetic
  • Being optimistic and learning from pessimism
  • Exploring your vulnerability
  • Focusing on the future
  • Appreciative and self motivated learning

How well do you bounce back from life’s disappointments? The importance of exploring and strengthening our personal resilience is emphasized by the oldest continuously used book in human history, the I Ching. It traces back nearly 5,000 years and is known as The Book of Changes.

The title, I Ching, conveys three meanings: 1) change is continuous, 2) change is the only constant reference point in life, and 3) the never-ending process of change can be simple, easy, and natural for us.

If you want to put forth optimism and a playful lightheartedness during difficult times, to fully explore and release your emotions, to avoid feeling like a victim so you can own your life, to remain calm under pressure, to improve your problem solving and creativity skills, to stress proof your life, to realize life’s natural learning opportunities, to build a life that works well for you and others, and to convert bad luck into good luck, then resilience coaching can be your guide.

Your life goes in the direction of the words that you speak, the thoughts in your mind, and the feelings in your heart.” Author unknown.

Special Offer: If you are curious about how you can partner with a resilience coach to explore and enhance your own personal whole life resilience, please Email Christina or use the Contact Format our Website to arrange for a complementary conversation.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


So sorry to hear about your uncle’s health. How wonderful that you are able to get away and be there with him. It sounds like this is a “time of transition” for him, so my thoughts and prayers go out to him and the family!

I thought about contacting you last week when my brother had a hemorrhagic stroke, and even more so now that I am reading your newsletter. Hard to believe at 42 years old. He is in probably the best physical condition of his life, and in fact ran his first marathon this summer. He has none of the risk factors for stroke, so it was quite a shocking diagnosis. He apparently had a very rare type of stroke which was more of a “leaky vein.” Thank God he has nearly fully recovered, and should be back to normal in 6-8 weeks.

I feel like we’re far too young to be having such dramatic health problems, so his bizarre medical emergency, though not attributed to poor health behaviors, serves as a great reminder that we need to actively pursue health and wellness. I have referred him to your newsletter as a marathon runner and for great health and wellness information.

So again, I offer prayers and support for your uncle and family, and thank you for all you do to make pursuing a healthy lifestyle more understandable and thus possible.


So sorry to hear about your dad’s brother’s poor health. How very kind of you to accompany your dad and keep him company through the difficult process of letting go. We are never too busy for what is really important. Over the last few years, I have lost my dad, mom, only brother, and my father-in-law. At the current rate of one-a-year, I will be without family in no time.

Each loss has been complex, interesting, and unique, I have found each a tremendous opportunity for growth and learning. I had hundreds of books to help me prepare for having a baby, but failed to find anything as straightforward and helpful regarding the end of life. Having been through the sanitized hospital version of the last days of life, as well as the home-care approach, I have experienced the spectrum. I’ve kept a comprehensive journal for 15 years and, even though I have no advice to offer you or your dad as you face a new finality, I have started a project that begins to get at grief and loss. Sort of the “Lamaze” concept of dying. I’ve written fiction for two decades, but for this work I’m partnering with a therapist because I think it could have genuine value. With the aging of baby boomers, she is seeing a huge growth in patients who need help coping with loss.

I hope things are going as well as they can go for you. I certainly look forward to your Provision each week.


I appreciated your reminder that when we eat miserable animals we are eating their misery. It is only our language that causes us to think of our emotions as being separate from our bodies. On the contrary, emotions are very physical events! I suspect humans are not the only animals who feel that way. 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #438: Back in the Saddle

Laser Provision

Have you missed me? It’s been more than three months since I last wrote the lead article for LifeTrek Provisions, and I’m ready to get back in the saddle. Mike Alafaci’s series on Work / Life Balance Click has been a tremendous blessing in many ways. It has not only provided us with great, practical strategies for balance, it has also provided me with a refreshing S.T.O.P so that I could focus my creative energies on conceptualizing a new book. With all that behind us, we’re ready to start a new series • but not before I share some of the more spectacular moments and discoveries of the past few months.

LifeTrek Provision

In elementary school, we would often start the new school year by writing an essay titled, “What I did on my summer vacation.” Since I’m still a kid at heart, and since I’ve been gone from Provisions for about three months, I want to highlight a few spectacular moments and discoveries before we turn our attention to a new subject matter. A lot has happened in the past few months to inspire and inform life.

Spectacular Story:

Are you familiar with Ode magazine? Click A client gave this to me as a gift subscription and it has become one of my favorite commentaries on the world. Coming out of the Netherlands, Ode is an independent international journal that publishes stories which seek to bridge the gap between thinking and doing, rage and hope, rich and poor. They envision themselves creating an international network of inspiration and cooperation based upon respect, justice, and equality.

Their most recent issue features an interview with Bono, the lead singer of U2, which includes one of the more spectacular stories I have read in a long time. The story reveals much as to how we can best approach our work with others and our way in the world.

“Harry Belafonte is one of my great heroes,” Bono reports, and “he told me a story about Robert G. ‘Bobby’ Kennedy which changed my life. Indeed, it pointed me in the direction I am now going politically.”

“Harry remembered a meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr. when the civil rights moment had hit a wall in the early sixties (impersonating the croaky voice of Belafonte:) ‘I tell you it was a depressing moment when Bobby Kennedy was made attorney general. It was a very bad day for the civil rights movement.’ ‘Why was that?’ Bono asked. ‘Oh, you see, you forget,’ Belafonte continued. ‘Bobby Kennedy was Irish. Those Irish were real racists; they didn’t like the black man. They were just one step above the black man on the social ladder. And Bobby at that time was famously not interested in the civil-rights movement.'”

“‘So we were crestfallen, in despair, talking to Martin, moaning and groaning about the turn of events, when Dr. King slammed his hand down and ordered us to stop bitching.’ ‘Enough of this,’ he said, ‘Is there nobody here who’s got something good to say about Bobby Kennedy?’ We said” ‘Martin, that’s what we’re telling ya! There is no one. There is nothing good to say about him. The guy’s an Irish-Catholic conservative badass; he’s bad news.’ To which Martin replied: ‘Well, then, let’s call this meeting to a close. We will reconvene when somebody has found one thing redeeming to say about Bobby Kennedy because that, my friends, is the door through which our movement will pass.'”

“‘So Martin stopped the meeting and made them all go home. He wouldn’t hear any more negativity about Bobby Kennedy. He knew there must be something positive. And if it was there, he knew somebody could find it. So they befriended the one man who Bobby was very close to, who could get through to Bobby’s soul, and who could turn Bobby into their Trojan horse: his bishop. In fact, they sort of ganged up on this bishop, the civil rights people, and they got the bishop to speak to Bobby.'” It worked.

“Harry became emotional at the end of this tale: ‘When Bobby Kennedy lay dead on a Los Angeles pavement, there was no greater friend to the civil-rights movement.’ Whether Harry was exaggerating or not,” Bono concluded, “this story was a great lesson for me, because what Dr. King was saying was: Don’t respond to caricature • the Left, the Right, the Progressive, the Reactionary. Don’t take people on rumor. Find the light in them, because that will further your cause.” And that’s how we hope to work with people through LifeTrek Coaching.

Spectacular Runs:

In August I ran the Hood to Coast relay in and around Portland, Oregon. The twelve runners on our team covered 197 miles, starting 6,500 feet up Mt. Hood and finishing 26.5 hours later on the beach in Seaside. Our average pace was an 8:05 mile (or a 5:05 kilometer), which I was a little bit under, so my effort helped the team average. This was my first experience with an adventure race and I loved the camaraderie of our team. I nested in the back of our 15-passenger van, when I wasn’t running, and made sure to pay attention to both the sites and sounds of the race as well as the Pacific Northwest.

In October I led the 4:45 pace team at the Baltimore, Maryland marathon and, for the second year in a row, we won the perfect pacer award for finishing closest to our goal. This year the competition was stiff, since another team finished within 4 seconds of their goal. Our team of pacers, however, all finished • hand in hand • within 1 to 2 seconds of our goal. The weather was beautiful during the race and throughout the weekend. Life doesn’t get much better than sitting under the stars, on the breakwall of the Baltimore harbor with my wife and a friend, after a well-run race.

Several weeks later I was mentioning this to my cardiologist, during a routine checkup of my heart-valve murmur, and she was at once impressed and pleased for my having run such a race. What I viewed as an easy and enjoyable pace she viewed as a sign of inner peace and control. “You can run a much faster marathon, right?” she observed. “Anyone can push for the fastest time possible. But not everyone can slow down, especially in those final miles when you just want to finish already. If you can do that, then you are taking good care of your heart.” And with that, she proffered • for the first time • that I did not need to come back to see her for a whole 12 months. That was a good run, indeed!

Spectacular Books:

Not having to write Provisions gave me lots of time to read, and read I did. In fact, the reason I write Provisions, according to my wife, is to justify buying any book that interests me. Here are a few of the more spectacular books that I have read or reviewed in the past three months:

The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century Click by Thomas L. Friedman. If anyone should know about the flat world, it is me. I often feel as though I stand at the vortex of a worldwide conversation, from one hour to the next speaking with people East and West in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. At times the experience is breathtaking. Even so, I learned a lot from Friedman’s book. Who knew, for example, that some fast-food restaurants have outsourced to India their drive-through ordering kiosks? Having read the book, I felt even smarter for having done so when my son, majoring in Systems Engineering at the University of Virginia, told me he had to read it for one of his classes.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference Click and Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking Click by Malcolm Gladwell. Although Gladwell’s first book is now about five years old, I had not discovered him until recently. And what a discovery! I share this man’s curiosity with how things work and how things can work better. The first book was picked up by Seth Godin in another book I read, Unleashing the Idea Virus Click. Little things, like a bird flu virus and the idea of a bird flu virus, can slay millions of people and mobilize billions of dollars. Gladwell’s second book, Blink, is all the rage, especially as people come to terms with the flat world. Instinctive intelligence is perhaps more important now than ever before.

Looking for the Good Stuff: A Guide to Enjoying and Appreciating Life Click by Bob New and Kathleen Rich-New. Although this book is overpriced for what you get (certainly no more than four Provisions), it is well written and it correctly recognizes the application of Appreciative Inquiry to personal development. My favorite quote: “Is the glass half full or half empty? The pessimist would say half empty; the optimist, half full. The appreciative individual would not only say half full, but also that it looks cool and refreshing.”

Motivational Interviewing: Preparing People for Change Click by William Miller and Stephen Rollnick. If coaches are anything, we are change agents. People and organizations hire us because they want to make changes in life and work. They want to do better. They want to realize their goals in a satisfying way. They want to get unstuck, if they are stuck, and to pick up momentum, if they are moving. This book, which summarizes a 20-year-old body of knowledge growing out of addiction therapy, has taught me more about how to assist people to change than most of the coaching books I have ever read. And that’s a lot of books.

You, The Owner’s Manual: An Insider’s Guide to the Body That Will Make You Healthier and Younger Click by Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz was recommended to me by a friend and client who also ran the Baltimore marathon. Except for their indefensible aversion to running and other impact exercises, these two medical doctors have written a great book about health and wellness in easy-to-understand English. I recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about what’s going on inside and how to take care of their body.

Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain Click by Pete Egoscue. Written by an anatomical physiologist based in San Diego, this book suggests simple postures and stretches that can assist people with joint pain or other musculoskeletal problems. The chapters correspond to body parts (feet, knees, hips, backs, shoulders, etc.) so it’s easy to go right to where it hurts. Whether you suffer from a sports injury or a chronic condition this book is worth a try before surgery or other invasive procedures. For a preview of the book, go to Egoscue’s Website Clickand point to where you hurt.

The Sibley Guide to Birds Click by David Allen Sibley. OK, this is not a book that you sit down and read from cover to cover. But as people who were introduced to birds late in life • after moving to the shores of a lake in a bird sanctuary • this book, given to us by a friend after visiting our home for a few days, has proved to be invaluable resource as we get to know our feathered friends. We also recently saw the movie Winged Migration Click, which is an incredible adventure with birds on every continent and in every climate. If you have ever wanted to fly with the birds, find a way to watch this DVD on a large screen with surround sound.

Spectacular Ideas:

In September my wife and I participated in a challenge discovery course that included both high and low adventures. We were invited to climb poles and traverse cables with protective harnesses and ropes held by our team members. Talk about a leap of faith! It was both invigorating and instructive. The low adventure was to get our entire team on a giant teeter-totter without letting it ever touch the ground. We lost our balance on the first try, and succeeded on the second try. Which confirmed what Mike has been writing about for the past three months: balance is a hard thing to achieve and to maintain.

That experience, combined with Mike’s writing, gave me the governing idea for my book which is now coming together quite nicely in outline form. More than balance, I am going to focus on the vital rhythms that make for success and fulfillment in life and work. You won’t be reading this material in Provisions, since it is going to press, but I’m sure you’ll pick up bits and pieces along the way.

Spectacular Conferences:

I have attended two conferences in the past few months: the 4th International Positive Psychology Summit in Washington, DC and the 10th International Coach Federation (ICF) Conference in San Jose, CA. Although both conferences took an asset-based approach to human and organizational development, there was a definite difference in tone and orientation between the two gatherings. The former was more academic and research oriented while the latter was more humorous and application oriented. Coaches sure know how to party when they get together, and this year the ICF Conference was sold out with a record attendance. Perhaps it was the nightly live entertainment!

The two conferences converged around the ICF’s Research Symposium, where I and four other authors presented a paper titled “Relational Flow: A Theoretical Model for the Intuitive Dance.” The paper looks at the coaching method and why coaching works in terms of the relational dynamic between coach and client. When the dynamic is right, when we enter a zone where we are fully challenged at a high level of skill and awareness, it’s as though we are dancing together in an inter-developmental and co-creative partnership. As coaches, we know how it works and we know how it feels, but it is a challenge to find the right language to describe the process. Our paper was an attempt to do just that and it was well received.

Another intersection between the two conferences was the body of knowledge known as Appreciative Inquiry or AI. Growing out of the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, AI has proven to be a valuable strength-based approach to organizational development. The approach works so well that I plan to make this the focus of my next Provisions’ series. Whether you have leadership responsibility in an organization or want to take personal responsibility for your own life, AI offers a dynamic and proven technology for doing more of what works.

That summarizes the highlights of what I have been up to in the past few months. As always, it has been a precious and dynamic time. In the next few months there will be even more excitement, including a visit to New Zealand. What better way to appreciate life than to share it with you, the readers of LifeTrek Provisions.

Coaching Inquiries: What has happened in your life during the past few months? Have you noticed anything spectacular? Were there any half-full glasses that were also cool and refreshing? How could you become more appreciative of life? How could you pick up your spirit when life gets you down? Who is on your support team for change?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


I just caught the tail end of Mike’s series on Work / Life Balance and I enjoyed the recap. As a long-time student of the art of finding happiness, it is all beginning to come into focus. Like buying a new car and then suddenly seeing the same one a few times a day, placing value in being responsible for one’s own happiness has found articles and books manifesting everywhere. Thanks for being a part of my journey. I also believe in the “ripple effect” and hope that somehow you are rewarded for your contribution.


I am writing because I have been reading LifeTrek Provisions weekly, and I want to use some of the publications in my office for team building and self improvement. May I receive written consent to pass some of your information along to my co-workers through presentations? Of course I will give credit where credit is due! You have a wonderful staff that is really helping me create a good life/work balance in my young career, and I want to share your resources with my team. Thanks so much for all of the hard work you do. (Ed. Note: Consent granted! Just be sure to include our Website URL, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com.


I found your website via subscribing to it on my AvantGo PDA program. Thank you for the work you do. I’ve recently moved from an area where I had many friendships and family around to now being isolated and little to no one to turn to. It seemed hard at first but then I realized life’s journeys make you better. I went into this move with the mind set that I need to grow and be stronger. I think this was the best thing for me. I’ve been through this before, a long time ago, so the second time around is easier. Thanks again for helping me realize there are still 23 hours left in this day and I need to live them to the fullest.


I have recently started a walking program. I have encouraged coworkers to join me twice per week. I feel this does double duty. I can enrich relationships while getting some badly needed exercise!


I don’t see Scotland on your list of countries. You may know that Scotland has its own Parliament now and has completed a vast new colony of business offices, conference halls, and a really great government center. Scotland may very well be a Country unto itself once again in short order. Therefore be on the forefront of this important happening and list Scotland in the list of countries. (Ed. Note: Scotland has been added! Hopefully we won’t get in trouble with the Queen!) 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #415: Relationship Wisdom

Laser Provision

What is the secret of a long and happy marriage? That question has been on my mind because my 21-year-old son got married yesterday. In my remarks at the wedding service I suggested that they start with a community of love and then that they develop eight relationship proficiencies: court each other daily, put service above self, share each other’s interests, never be jealous, pitch in, fight fair, keep talking and laughing, and trust in God. This Provision recaps what I had to say.

LifeTrek Provision


I’ve decided to interrupt this series on spiritual wellness not for another running story but for a relationship coaching Provision. Yesterday, my son Evan and his fianc•e, Michelle, both 21 years old, became husband and wife. Some have asked if I was concerned about their getting married so young, but given that they are the exact same age I was when I got married 29 years ago and given that my marriage has become so central to my identity, vocation, and fulfillment in life, I feel nothing but excitement for the life that lies before them.

I tried to communicate that excitement during the message I had the opportunity to give during the wedding itself. For most of the service I sat with my wife in the congregation, as fathers rightly do, but when it came time for the homily I donned my old pastoral hat and did my best to put into words some of the relationship coaching lessons I have gleaned through almost 30 years of a wonderful marriage. I hope you don’t mind if I share my reflections with you as today’s Provision.

Of course, hardly anyone remembers the message given at their wedding. Too many other things, including a host of emotions, are going on. I know I can’t remember a single word of what the minister said at my wedding. So I started my message by having my son and daughter-in-law turn around and look at the congregation. Then, group by group, I had the congregation stand.

First, I had everyone stand who was at my wife’s and my wedding, 29 years ago. Then I had everyone stand who was at the bride’s parents’ wedding, 24 years ago. That, I reminded the couple, was when and where all this started. Next I had everyone stand who received notices of their births, 21 years ago. From there I had everyone stand who had known them since primary school, secondary school, and finally college.

Once the whole room was standing, I had everyone reach back…way back…and on the count of three to blow them a kiss. Now chances are good they will never remember a word of all the coaching they received at their wedding, but chances are just as good that they will never forget being blown a kiss by more than a hundred people all at one time. I could feel the breeze all the way up in the chancel.

Having gotten the important stuff out of the way, I went on to make the following observations about what goes into a successful marriage.

1. Court Each Other Daily. If there is a near universal tendency in the institution of marriage, it’s to start treating each other differently once the wedding and the honeymoon are over. Men are particularly prone to this disease, since courtship so often represents an accomplishment for men. Once we bag our prize, we move on to other things. But women are not exempt from this tendency. It is easy, as time goes on, to take each other for granted and to act as though we no longer have to extend ourselves on behalf of the other.

For some men, this happens within hours of the wedding. At which point you have the duped-bride syndrome: “This isn’t the man I married!” they lament. And, indeed, they are right. When the marriage license becomes a license to use and abuse the other, rather than a license to care and to share till death to us part, it becomes a license that kills the spirit of love. One person starts nagging, the other starts doing their own thing, and before you know it, the two are drifting apart rather than moving together.

Well it doesn’t have to be that way. We can stay in courtship mode for as long as we want. We can go out of our way to do special things for each other, on a daily basis. We can communicate about the big things and the little things, before they become big. We can keep our worst selves in check. We can give and receive pleasure, not only on the honeymoon, but increasingly so as the years go by and as we come to know one another’s habits and delights. By courting each other daily, marriage becomes a continuous source of goodness, peace, and joy.

2. Put Service Above Self. When my wife and I got married, we had a strong sense of being called together because we thought our marriage would enable us to do more good in the world than either of us could alone. We also understood that we had to take that same approach with each other if we had any hope of making our youthful marriage endure. And it has worked out just that way.

If there is one thing people tell us, it’s that they can see how much we love each other. That’s because love is not just a “soggy feeling around the gizzard,” as one of my mentors used to describe it. Love is more a “willingness to extend ourselves for the purpose of nurturing spiritual growth,” to quote M. Scott Peck’s most challenging definition. It’s a matter of putting intention together with action in the service of a higher calling.

Love, in other words, is a decision we make and an effort we take, each and every day. It is a framework that pays big dividends not only in terms of spiritual growth, but in all other ways as well. Those who make worldly success their goal will find that it frequently eludes their grasp. Those who make service their goal, both in their homes and in their way with the world, will generally end up being successful, no matter what their financial bottom line.

3. Share Each Other’s Interests. The other day, when Evan and his sister were home, we asked Evan what, if anything, might contribute to this marriage being difficult. He thought for a minute and then said, “Me.” I know what he means! In spite of Evan’s sweet demeanor, he inherited some of my messy and distractible ways. But I hope he also inherited my appreciation for the importance of listening to and taking an interest in his wife. That has served me well over the years.

Ironically, I learned what I know about listening from her. No one has listened to me more or taken more of an interest in my life. When I became a pastor, she became a pastor’s wife. And she was a far better pastor’s wife than I was a pastor! When I became a runner, she became my cheerleader • shouting encouragement both for me and for all the other runners she sees. When I became a business owner, she became a 50% partner • noodling through the problems and sharing in the management of operations. When I became a coach, she became my coach that I might be successful.

Do you see the pattern here? These things were not necessarily her interests. But because they were my interests, she took an interest and that made all the difference. So it was easy for me to reciprocate. When my wife became a school principal, I became the maintenance man, general contractor, and fund raiser. When she became a Ph.D. candidate, I became Mr. Mom so she could seclude herself in her writer’s garret. When she became a college professor, I became a trailing spouse to move with her and to support her in life and work.

These things were not necessarily my interests, but she taught me to listen and to take an interest. By sharing each other’s interests, we have allowed our passions to enrich rather than to threaten our life together.

4. Never Be Jealous. Thirty years ago, we were working in the hills of Kentucky to assist impoverished mountaineer families with home repair, when we got to know an elderly couple, Jack and Oshie Clark. They had lived all their lives in a remote area without electricity, plumbing, or running water. Those challenges not withstanding, they had been happily married for 60 years, so we sought them out for relationship wisdom before we got married.

Oshie, a woman of tiny stature but enormous strength, grabbed the two of us in a powerful bear hug and simply said, “Never be jealous of each other.” Those were good words to live by then and they are equally good words now.

Never be jealous of each other’s accomplishments. Never be jealous of each other’s friends. Never be jealous of each other’s time. Never be jealous of each other’s interests and passions and pleasures. Accept them all as precious gifts, to be shared and enjoyed together.

5. Pitch In. There’s no way to have a great marriage if you don’t both pitch in and share the workload. M. Scott Peck, the same guy who defined love in such challenging terms, was also famous for his straightforward proclamation that life is difficult. There’s no way to get around the truth of that statement.

But two people, sharing the difficulties together, can sure make them a lot easier. By failing to pitch in and work together, however, they can also make those difficulties a lot harder. Resentments build up and before you know it there is a mountain of guilt and blame, hard feelings and antagonisms to work through. Carrying your fair share of the load, right from the very beginning, will cut all that off at the pass and make your marriage a blessing to you both.

6. Fight Fair. Even the best of marriages get into trouble at times. Everyone has opinions and habits that are, at times, in conflict with those of the other. That’s as true, and sometimes even more true, with those we are closest too than with those with whom we work or play.

The point, then, is not to avoid conflict but to fight fair and to work it through. One decision my wife and I made early on was to never call each other names. There is a huge difference between saying, “I don’t like how you handled that situation,” and saying, “You are such a jerk!” The one is an invitation to conflict resolution and spiritual growth; the other is a put down that slams the door on conversation, reconciliation, and love.

Fighting fair is all about respecting each other even in the midst of conflict. When I work with my coaching clients, I come from the framework that says they are usually doing the best they can with what they have to work with and that whatever they are doing it is always perfectly designed for where they are on the journey of the life. That is a great framework to come from in marriage. It is an invitation to be curious, to look for solutions, and to see the silver lining behind every cloud. Conflicts are not the end of the world. They are a part of life. Treat them as potent opportunities and you will long be married.

7. Keep Talking and Laughing. One of the most delightful things about Evan and Michelle is how much you laugh when you are together. The longest time that you two have ever spent together under the same roof was the summer you both lived at our home in Williamsburg. Your raucous laughter was contagious. It was often enough to get me going as well.

I hope you never lose that precious quality! It adds so much gusto to life. It speaks to the connection that brings the two of you here today. I also hope you keep talking. I know that’s not always easy for two introverts to do, but I also know it’s essential to a good marriage and to keeping the laughter alive.

Talk to each other as much as you possibly can. Don’t just talk about who is going to do the grocery shopping or mow the lawn. Talk about the measure and meaning of life. Talk about the deep places in your hearts and minds. Talk about your hopes and dreams, your hesitations and fears. Connecting on that level will serve you well over the years.

My wife and I have noticed that our environments impact our readiness to talk. It has helped us to establish special talking times and places. Early on we went out on a date every week. Vacations have also proven to be great opportunities, as I hope you will discover on your honeymoon. Going for long walks has been a favorite conversational habitat. Now, as you know, we like to end the day with conversation in the hot tub. Those swirling waters help to coax out our thoughts, insights, and feelings about the day.

8. Trust in God. This last one may be the most important proficiency of all. I know that Evan has a scientific mind, with a utilitarian orientation, so consider this: if life was not on the side of life, if there were more catastrophes than there were near-misses, then we would not be here right now for the two of you to make your vows. As someone who once almost went down a mountain waterfall and, on another occasion, got hit by a car on the 4th of July, Evan knows what I’m talking about. Something there is in life that pulls for us and wants to see things work out.

I call that something God, and I think it helps a relationship to share that awareness and to embrace that presence together. It has certainly been a central part of our home, ranging from habits, like saying grace before meals or going to church, to invocations, as we invite and recognize that something to be an intentional part of our lives.

The U.S. currency routinely proclaims, “In God We Trust.” That’s good advice for a nation. It’s even better advice for a couple. It takes more than money and a solid portfolio to make a marriage work. It takes trust, trust in each other and trust in God, to see our way through the many ups and downs of life. I hope you will find your own ways to cultivate and nurture that trust.

These eight tidbits of relationship wisdom, combined with that great group kiss, are enough to get anyone’s marriage off on the right foot and to keep it there. Court each other daily, put service above self, share each other’s interests, never be jealous, pitch in, fight fair, keep talking and laughing, and trust in God. Do these things and you will always be fit for love.

Coaching Inquiries: How often do you talk with the one you love? Do you go deeper than talking about the daily grind? Do you discuss the meaning of life? What about heartfelt passions? What are you doing to extend yourself for their spiritual growth? How could you make love more central to your life?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


After reading last week’s Provision, Embrace Responsibility, I, like another reader, was surprised to hear a very similar message at church on Sunday. The pastor said we are able to choose how to respond to whatever happens in life. We are response-able. Thanks for a great Provision.


I got your weekly Provision, Embrace Silence, and wanted to tell you that I enjoyed it. I frequently talk about these same issues with my counseling clients and have been interested in meditation, body-mind communication, etc. for some time. In any event, when I was reading your description of Queens Lake I thought that you might enjoy the movie called “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.” It speaks to some of the spirit you were writing about.  (Ed. Note: Glad you enjoyed the Provision. It has been updated online, with new material, so you might want to read it again in our archive.   



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #376: Trust Matters by Bob & Megan Tschannen-Moran

Laser Provision

Trust matters. It matters if we hope to be successful and fulfilled in life and work. But too often we fail to think about trust until it’s become damaged. Then we suffer the often catastrophic consequences. Fortunately, with the publication of my wife’s book on the subject, there’s a new resource available for educational leaders and others who want to make trust a permanent part of the landscape.

LifeTrek Provision

It brings me great joy to announce the publication of my wife’s new book, Trust Matters: Leadership for Successful Schools. This excellent book, published by Jossey-Bass, is available in bookstores everywhere. You can order it online from either Amazon or Barnes&Noble.

For this week’s Provision, I interview my wife, Megan Tschannen-Moran, regarding the background that led to the writing of this book as well as some of the key concepts that she works with in the book.

A more timely moment for the publication of this book could hardly have been found. Trust is everywhere in the news. Political candidates cast aspersions as to the trustworthiness of their opponents. Businesses suffer losses, and at times even bankruptcies, over untrustworthy behavior. Churches lose followers in the wake of scandal and controversy. And the media pounces on every breach of trust they can find.

So what’s a book on the impact of trust to school performance have to teach the general public? Plenty! Tim Sanders, the Chief Solutions Officer at Yahoo!, goes so far as to suggest that trust is the currency of the new economy. We’re no longer just pushing commodities, goods, and services; we are creating experiences that hinge upon such key concepts as authenticity, transparency, and value. Without trust, we lose.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the fishbowl of public education. Everyone’s an expert and everyone has an opinion. The only way to survive, let alone to thrive, is to be a trustworthy leader and to create a culture of trust from which students, teachers, administrators, parents, and the general public can together address the educational challenges of today.

It should come as no surprise, then, that a professor of educational leadership with background in the coaching industry might ply her talents in the service of such a critical construct. And she has written a book that’s both profound and readable, academic and enjoyable, as well as specific and yet universal enough to assist a broad range of people.

Q: So how did you decide to study the concept of trust in the first place?

A: This really grew out of my early professional experience as an educational leader in the context of an under-resourced, non-public, inner-city school in Chicago. I spent nearly 15 years of my life in this challenging setting and quickly learned that trust was essential to our success.

Our mission was to unleash the power of education early in the lives of disadvantaged students in order to break the cycle of poverty. We could not accomplish that mission without the support of everyone involved. Not only did school personnel need to support each other, but we also needed the support of parents, students, and the wider community.

We earned that support by being trustworthy. We didn’t always use that language at the time, and we certainly hadn’t developed a full-blown model of trust, but we did strive to embody what I now recognize as the five facets of trust and we did witness the difference that effort made not only in our own lives but in the performance and experience of our students.

Q: What are those facets and how do you define trust?

A: After a thorough literature review, I found two things to be true. First, trust was under-studied in the field of education. It was all the rage in business literature as well as in philosophy, psychology, and even economics. But educators had not focused much on the concept of trust.

In addition, I found that many people were working with incomplete and inadequate definitions of trust. Some would have a few facets and others would have different ones. So I worked hard to arrive at and to test through my research a comprehensive definition of trust that people could remember and use in real-life situations.

In my book, I define trust as “the willingness to be vulnerable to another based on the confidence that the other is benevolent, honest, open, reliable, and competent.” That definition packs a lot into just a few words:

  • Vulnerability. Trust matters most in situations of interdependence, in which the interest of one party cannot be achieved without reliance upon another. Given the increasing interdependence of our world, that makes trust ever more relevant and important.
  • Benevolence. We lay the groundwork for trust when we have another person’s best interests at heart. People trust us when they believe that we care about their well-being and will not harm their interests. Compassionate leaders are trustworthy leaders.
  • Honesty. This is probably the most common and fundamental of understandings when it comes to trust. We trust people who tell the truth. Apart from integrity and authenticity, no trust is possible.
  • Openness. Many people miss this facet of trust, but it’s a critical ingredient. We trust people who share appropriate levels of information, influence, and control. When these are withheld, it’s easy to become suspicious.
  • Reliability. It’s not enough to be trustworthy some of the time. We trust people who consistently talk the talk and walk the walk. When someone is unpredictable, let alone malicious, self-serving, or dishonest, we quickly lose faith in what they say and do.
  • Competence. This is an integral part of what it takes to build trust. If we don’t have the knowledge, skills, network, energy, and strength to do what the job requires, no one is going to believe we can be successful.

Q: Who is your target audience?

A: Although the book works as a textbook, and a number of college professors have already assigned it for their fall classes, it was not my intent to go through an academic exercise. My primary concern is to make our schools successful. I want them to become better, more humane places for children to learn and adults to work. I believe my book can make such a contribution and I hope it gets discovered by many practitioners.

Q: What has been the response so far?

A: I’m very encouraged, both by the early sales and by the responses I’ve been receiving. Within two weeks, Amazon had to order more copies! And I’ve received many positive email replies and as well as invitations to work with school districts who want to apply this material in real-life situations.

I just returned, for example, from a professional development retreat in New York State with a district that was struggling with some issues of trust and that wanted to use my work as a platform for moving forward on a different basis. Every administrator in the district is receiving my book as part of the process. At the retreat, we studied the core ideas and engaged in critical discussion about the dynamics of trust and distrust in professional relationships. This was tough but important work for them to be doing.

Q: Is it really possible to rebuild trust after it’s been broken?

A: That may be the most important and interesting part of the book. I have chapters on betrayal, revenge, and putting the pieces back together. Yes, it is possible to rebuild trust after it’s been broken, but it’s not easy. There’s a lot of work that goes into the process, which hinges upon the willingness of both parties to make the effort.

In the book I describe a process called the “Four A’s of Absolution”: we have to admit it, apologize, ask forgiveness, and amend our ways. That sounds simple enough, but it is challenging to practice as some of the participants in New York informed me after they tried it.

Although it ultimately takes the willingness of all parties to rebuild trust, there are things that a person can do unilaterally to start moving a distrustful situation in a more positive direction. We can, for example, articulate our intent to refrain from harming the other party, announce our intention to engage in cooperative behavior, reliably follow up on the announced action, and make an explicit invitation to the other party to reciprocate.

There are no guarantees, but setting forth our own trustworthy intentions and, of course, delivering on our promises may be the only chance we have of setting things right.

Q: LifeTrek Provisions has more than 56,000 readers in 143 countries. Which ones would benefit most from reading this book?

A: The target audience, as I’ve already mentioned, is school leaders and prospective school leaders. That’s where the illustrations, stories, and applications come from. Nevertheless, I continually hear from people who have found this model to be helpful in a wide variety of contexts. Any leader of people needs to be concerned about trust, as do husbands, wives, and other committed partnerships.

So I think the book has a kind of universal appeal. Just about anyone can benefit from reviewing and practicing the concepts in this book. If people are in interested in trust, in becoming more trustworthy, or in dealing with a situation of broken trust, then reading this book would be good.

I am quite interested in the international applications of this model. In different cultural contexts, with different expectations as to what we expect from others in situations of interdependence, this model might have more or less relevance. I would love to hear from the international readers of this book as to how they see things.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

A: I quote a philosopher in my book who noted that trust is like air: we tend to notice it only when it becomes polluted or scarce. But we don’t have to wait for trust to be contaminated or destroyed to make it a hallmark of our life and work. That’s like waiting for a heart attack before we get serious about our health and fitness. Better to lift up trust, early on, as one of the core values of an organization, and to practice the principles that make for trust, than to wait for problems.

Also, coaching can be an effective ally in both the establishment and in the repair of trust. There’s no way to work out all these dynamics in one professional development retreat. It takes consistent application over time in order to make them come alive, and there’s no better way to make that happen than with the assistance of an internal or external coach.

Educational leadership coaching is becoming increasingly common. Now that my book is available, it should be even easier for coaches to assist their clients to stay focused on and be successful with the things that make for trust.

Coaching Inquiries: Is trust a part of your personal or organizational mission statement? How often do you consider the benevolence, honesty, openness, reliability, and competence of your actions? Are there ways you could improve in this regard? Is there anything you need to admit to or anyone you need to apologize to in order to start the process of repairing trust?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


I loved Kate’s writing a week ago on “Coaching as Breath Work.” Click When my dad first died we were overwhelmed with the support and love that surrounded us…as days, weeks, and months go on it is easy to forget what wonderful people are with us…she reminded me. Thanks.


Congratulations to you on your Marathon finish in Alaska Click and to Megan on her new book! Thank you, too, for the virtual Alaskan trip. It was spectacular.


We looked at your whole online Alaska photo album and loved it!! It brought back some great memories. Looks like you had a wonderful time. It didn’t look like you missed a thing. Guess we’ll have to go back again.


I appreciate your messages very much, but haven’t taken time to thank you. Your write-up on the Olympics was very moving and truly exceptional; thanks for sharing. 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #283: Adversity Precedes Growth

Laser Provision


This week’s Provision features a guest writer, Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph. D. After being crushed by a tree in 1998, Rosemarie’s life was tragically and permanently changed. But it wasn’t all for the worse. Read on to learn how to cope with and grow through adversity without becoming bitter or broken.

LifeTrek Provision


I just returned from our first Trek for Life Weekend. It was a fantastic experience that will generate more opportunities and enthusiasm for future weekends. Here were some comments people made at the end of the weekend. The weekend “integrated body and mind to recognize and realize my potential.” I “learned principles for living.” The new eating habits “were achievable, affordable, and enjoyable.” These were “not just exercises for the mind, they also fed the soul and nourished the body.” It “helped me create a plan and acquire the tools to make a real life change.” This was about “claiming your PASSION • Peace, Action, Space, Surrender, Introspection, Opening of eyes, and New opportunities.”

Sound like you missed something special? If you weren’t there, you did. But don’t worry. Our next trek for life weekend takes place in the spring.

Before we start in on our next Provision series, I invited the cousin of LifeTrek coach Christina Lombardo to write this week’s Provision. Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D., is a motivational speaker, trainer, consultant, and writer. She is also a paraplegic. I’m sure that Rosemarie’s story will inspire many LifeTrek readers to face our own adversities with greater creativity and courage. Reflecting on how adversity brings personal growth, Rosemarie writes:

“We all experience crisis in our lives. Setbacks such as illness, divorce, layoffs and deaths in our families often come unexpectedly. Our future happiness and success are determined by how we react to our misfortunes. We can learn how to be more resilient from others.

As a survivor of a life-changing event, I have learned from experience how to bounce back in the face of adversity. On June 13, 1998, I was crushed by a large falling tree while riding my bicycle on a pathway. As a result, I am paralyzed. Lost is my ability to stand or walk without the aid of crutches, something most of us take for granted. I am dependent on my wheelchair for getting me around the house and community. Coping with the losses that this tragedy brought me, has been extremely difficult.

When all your hopes and dreams are suddenly shattered, your life is rocked to the core. You look within yourself to find strength. A large dose of self-determination and tenacity can project you forward.

In order to restore my independence, which I so desperately wanted to regain, I had to learn to do many things all over again. This time in a new way. Simple tasks like dressing and showering seemed impossible. I wanted my life back, the way it was before I was injured. My guiding motivation is that there will be a hopeful future. I do what is necessary to move towards restoring function and mobility.

In the past year and a half I have gained new insights on how to step forward after the adversity changed my life. I discovered that by setting goals, more progress was being made. The progress that you want to achieve needs to be in the form of written goals. Make a mental note of what small steps you need to initiate and accomplish in order to achieve your goals. These steps become tasks to attain. In my continuing journey of recovery and rehabilitation, I have learned many lessons that I have turned into rules to live by.

One simple guideline I follow in order to accomplish my goals is to do something new every day. No matter how small the act, let any activity count. You are the judge. Each new pursuit should be in line with your goals.

An example of a new task I was determined to do was putting on my shoes. I had to learn how to get dressed in my wheelchair. My shoes were the last item of clothing that I needed assistance putting on. My feet are paralyzed and I use my hands and arms to position my shoes on my feet. This task involved having the ability to bend one leg and cross it on top of the other knee. It also involved strengthening and flexing the muscles in my legs in order to bring my foot to my knee. A series of exercises which I performed at home resulted in the needed strength and flexibility. Each day brought me closer to the joy of victory. After about a month of practicing, I was finally able to independently put both shoes on my feet.

The act of doing something new every day needs to be a conscious habit. Upon awaking in the morning, and before getting out of bed, focus on what the new activity will be for that day. Your conscious mind may come up with the behavior immediately. If nothing comes to mind, allow your subconscious mind to work on it throughout the day. It is important that you resurface the thought of doing something new, then take action to complete the task.

This may be hard to accomplish at first. The day can get away from you. Do what you can in the time remaining before you sleep. Then the next morning, start contemplating an activity that is feasible to accomplish for that day.

You may find yourself resisting new activities. Sometimes we put up mental roadblocks and say, ‘I can’t.’ Recognize when you mentally limit your pursuits because you believe that you can’t accomplish the task. What at first seems impossible may just likely be possible.

It is important that you recognize your progress and take pride in your accomplishments. Share your achievements with others. Brag a little. The recognition and support of those around you is nurturing.

Adversity precedes growth. As you start working towards your goals and realizing progress, you will be encouraged to attempt activities that are ever more challenging in the days ahead. Take time to look back. Looking back teaches you how far you have come and reinforces your belief in your abilities. Soon you will see that the crisis in your life has brought you new insights and meaning. You will become different in some way having had to face the adversity.”

To book Rosemarie Rosettii, Ph. D. for an inspirational speech, contact her at (614) 471-6100. You can also visit her on the Web at http://www.RosemarieSpeaks.com. You can read more of her writing in Volume Three of Mission Possible from Insight Publishing (Click). Given that we all experience adversities in life, Dr. Rossetti’s testimony has universal relevance and appeal.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


I wonder if anyone would like to participate in an e-group based coaching and support group. (Ed. Note. Wonderful idea. We have our coaching chat room available at http://www.LifeTrekCoaching.com/chat.)


May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #253: Be S.M.A.R.T.

Laser Provision


Have you ever wondered why some objectives go unmet month after month, or year after year? Have you ever accomplished a major objective, only to find no real sense of fulfillment or satisfaction? It may be that your objectives weren’t yours in the first place. This week’s Provision speaks to the importance of connecting your objectives to your vision and of being S.M.A.R.T. in their implementation.

LifeTrek Provision • Introduction

I didn’t start the month of April with the idea that we would showcase our three up-and-coming LifeTrek coaches, but that’s how the month has turned out. Christina Lombardo, Kate Kriynovich, and now, in this Provision, Erika Jackson, have all had a chance to share with you some of who they are, how they work, and what’s important to them. Erika’s been working with LifeTrek since the middle of last year and has a great track record of developing strong coaching partnerships with her clients.

This week’s Provision gives you some insight into how that happens. How people move forward quickly and easily, with the assistance of a coach, in the direction of their dreams. To learn more about this, you can email erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com.

Next week I’ll be back in the saddle again with the start of a new Provisions’ series on navigating life’s transitions. Being in transition myself • from Ohio to Virginia, from active parent to empty nest, from sole proprietor to business owner • I know the feeling and have much to learn as well as much to share about the process.

LifeTrek Provision

If you’ve been in the business world for any significant amount of time, it is likely that you have been exposed to the widely-accepted formula for writing S.M.A.R.T. objectives. Writing S.M.A.R.T. objectives means that your objectives meet the following criteria:

  • Specific: objective is concrete and specific so that any one reading the goal would clearly understand the expectations.
  • Measurable: objective is quantifiable with defined measures for success or failure.
  • Attainable: objective is feasible, appropriately limited in scope and within the committee’s control and influence.
  • Results-focused: measures outputs or results (not activities).
  • Time-Bound: objective identifies target date, interim steps and a plan to monitor progress.

In the business context, the individual objectives of an associate are tied to the objectives of the business. It’s the vision of the business that drives the performance objectives of those who serve the business.

Rummler and Brache, authors of Improving Performance, assert that creating successful organizational systems requires objectives to be created first at the organizational level (or the vision of the organization), next at the process level (or the systems in place to get it done) and finally, at the job/performer level (or what the individual will do to get it done).

This approach within organizations can be applied to individuals, as they craft their personal and professional lives. When people match their objectives to their vision, systems, and actions everything moves forward much more quickly and easily.

As coaches, it is typical that clients see us as partners in working toward their objectives. Some clients come with their objectives mapped out on Gant charts and plugged in to their daily planners for three months forward. Others come with simple statements, phrased more like wish lists. Still others come with only a vague sense of where they want to go. In every instance, the coaching conversation drives clients back to their vision and systems. It’s not enough to just get people moving. Coaches seek to connect people with the what, who, and how.

Objectives without connection to an individual’s vision and systems are objectives written in a vacuum. They end up being victimized by Gremlins (the distracting and debilitating inner voices that tell us what we “should” be doing or “should never” dream to do) as well as the opinions of others that may not be right for us. As critical as recorded objectives are to both success and fulfillment, being committed to the wrong objectives can contribute to continued and perplexing feelings of failure, imbalance and emptiness.

In his book First Things First, Stephen Covey illuminates this point when he writes: “Goals that are connected to our inner life have the power of passion and principle. They’re fueled by the fire within and based on ‘true north’ principles that create quality of life results•. Without this deep connection, we go through life feeling duty-bound to develop sufficient self-control to achieve our goals, to endure to the end, to crawl battered and bruised over the finish line, if it’s the last thing we do.”

The key to successfully achieving your objectives is setting the right objectives in the first place. If you find yourself struggling to meet your objectives, perhaps it’s time to question where the objectives come from and how they are connected to your vision and systems. Perhaps it’s time to work with a coach.

Coaches can partner with you, using a variety of tools and exercises, to untangle your confusion and to get you on track with more integral objectives. As in organizations so too with individuals: this process makes everything more lively, productive, effortless, and exciting. Good things happen when people connect their actions to their vision and systems. It’s that simple.

After the connection gets made, coaches assist their clients to take better, smarter actions. We enable people to find the commitment and develop the habits to realize their own S.M.A.R.T. objectives. Often within a matter of months people find they have taken a quantum leap forward in the direction of their dreams. If that sounds relevant and valuable to you, then now might be a great time to contact LifeTrek coaching.

Erika Jackson, Coach
LifeTrek Coaching

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


Thanks for answering my questions about Christianity. I found you through AskJeeves.Com and thought you would be a good help for me. I checked out your site and got a lot of information. Thank you so very much for helping me.


Are there any more of the free DISC assessments available? Thanks • I love your work! (Ed. Note: Sorry, but they went fast, as expected. But you can get a DISC assessment and coaching session at any time for the full price of $100.)


I once had a gentlemen equate caffeine to driving. He said it’s like stepping on the gas while the emergency brake is on: you’re going to get there but eventually something’s got to give.


I have subscribed to LifeTrek from Australia since the beginning and I love it. Kate’s topic of life purpose is one that I am struggling with deeply and would appreciate guidance to help see me through. I have made a successful career as an entrepreneur/founder of a dotcom and then as the CEO of an Australian Telco. I finished up that role last year and after a bit of time away I am now looking to address my next challenge • if only I knew what it was! While I am capable of many things I am currently in danger of spreading myself too thin! I look forward to some advice or guidance. (Ed. Note: Kate will be a great coach for you to work with.)


I figure I’m too late for the DISC evaluation-coaching offer, but thought I’d try. Thanks much for your work and for ‘donating’ your weekly ‘wisdom’. Oh, and your idea about “leaving your bike in the hallway” a couple months back was just another example of the everyday tips that I’m glad you share. Keep it up: you’re my weekly pep-talk!


I just found on the Internet that one can buy red tea (Rooibos), Organic Cedargrove, in a bag of 250 tea bags from Republic of Tea (http://www.republicoftea.com) for .14196/bag including shipping. That is about half the price that I was paying for 36 bags that came in the tin. Thanks again for telling me about red tea. I drink a lot of it. It is certainly better than drinking carbonated beverages, etc.


Didn’t know if you had seen this article about coaching (http://my.webmd.com/content/article/1674.52049). Looks like you are right on target with LifeTrek coaching. Hope all is going well for you.


You might want to include a date or issue number in the subject (e.g. “LifeTrek Provision of the Week • 4/7/02”) to help the reader distinguish between different issues and also to make it easier for you to know which Provision they are responding to if they send you a message. Also, one of your readers mentioned PalTalk. I’m not familiar with this service but another nice web conferencing service is PlaceWare. (Ed. Note: Done, using the USA date format of MM/DD/YY).


May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services