Wednesday, September 22, 2010


"You cannot teach a person anything; you can only help him find it within himself."
– Galileo Galilei

Effective Coaching

By: Vadim Kotelnikov

Coaching Defined
Coaching is the art and practice of inspiringenergizing, and facilitating the performancelearning and development of  the player. (Myles Downey)7
Each word in this definition is a key word:
art – though there is science to coaching, coaching is an art in the sense that "when practiced with excellence, there is no attention on the technique: the coach is fully engaged with the player and the process of coaching becomes a dance between two people, conversationally moving in complete harmony and partnership. At this point the intelligence,intuition and imagination of the coach become a valuable contribution - rather than being interference for the player."7
inspiring – coaching is about helping the player to unlock his or her true potential through raising awareness, inspiring new ideas and encouraging creativity
energizing – coaching is about energizing the player through effective communication, soliciting suggestions, and building a can-do attitude
facilitating – implies that the player has the capacity to have an insight or creative idea and to think something through for himself
performance – anything a coach says or does should be driven by the intention to improve performance, i.e. to achieve greater effectiveness or efficiency of the player
learning – refers to a broader domain, how to approach a task or master a new technology; looking beyond immediate objectives, the future performance of the organization depends on learning
development – refers to personal growth and greater self-awareness.7
The Goal of Coaching
The goal of coaching is to guide vision, urge excellence, and empower the one being coached – the player – through establishing a firmer connection with his or her inner authority.


The Immigrant

By Lucia Cipriano, Hainesport, New Jersey

In 1972, I emigrated to America from Italy with my two small children. I had no job and spoke no English. It wasn’t easy finding my way at first, but over the years, I created my own successful housekeeping service. Recently, I was at a new client’s home when the doorbell rang. “I’m friends with the man who lives here,” the man at the door said. “I’m here to fix his computer.”
“Yes, of course, I was told you might be coming,” I said.
“Are you Italian?” the repairman asked. He must have recognized my accent, one thing that hasn’t changed much over the years. “Yes,” I answered. We started talking. “My grandfather was an Italian immigrant,” he said. “If it weren’t for strangers helping him when he arrived here, he wouldn’t have made it. So he did the same for others. He used to drag me and my friend along to help.”
“I know what you mean,” I said. I told him about the time I was standing with my two small children in the arrivals area at the Philadelphia airport. I searched for my husband, Matteo, who I hadn’t seen since he left our hometown of San Paolo, Italy, ten days earlier. He was staying at my cousin’s house and I had telegraphed him my flight details. But he wasn’t there.  Six hours passed. It was night and the airport was almost empty. My two children—one three, one 14 months old—were hungry and restless. I had no U.S. money, just a few dollars worth of Italian lira. I had my cousin’s address and phone number scrawled on a scrap of paper, but I didn’t know how to use a pay phone.
“Then two teenage boys approached me,” I told the repairman. “I was afraid, and threw my arms around my children. But then they asked if I needed help.
“The two spoke just enough Italian to understand me. One headed to a food stand and returned with milk and pastries for my children. The other paid for a limo ride to my cousin’s New Jersey home. Matteo had never received my telegram.
“I wish I could have repaid the boys.One of them said, ‘Give each of us one of your Italian bills and sign it, so we’ll always remember you.’ I was happy to do so.”
I finished my story and the man looked at me, stunned. He reached into his pocket and pulled a bill from his wallet. On the back was a faded signature—mine.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I received this video from my former player, Ernest Brown. This outstanding clip is from Atlanta's Booker T. Washington High School 2010 graduation. The first male Valedictorian in 10 years.  Proof that if you never give up, YOU RISE!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010


To help you break out of a “complaining” rut here are five things you can do instead of complain. These tips will help you realize you are not powerless. You have the power to choose your beliefs and actions. And in your focus on the positive instead of the negative you'll find the faith, strength and confidence to take on life’s challenges and identify the solutions to your complaints.

1. Practice Gratitude

Research shows that when we count three blessings a day, we get a measurable boost in happiness that uplifts and energizes us. It's also physiologically impossible to be stressed and thankful at the same time. Two thoughts cannot occupy our mind at the same time. If you are focusing on gratitude, you can't be negative. You can also energize and engage your coworkers by letting them know you are grateful for them and their work.
2. Praise Others
Instead of complaining about what others are doing wrong, start focusing on what they are doing right. Praise them and watch as they create more success as a result. Of course, point out their mistakes so they can learn and grow, but make sure you give three times as much praise as criticism.
3. Focus on Success
Start a success journal. Each night before you go to bed, write down the one great thing about your day. The one great conversation, accomplishment, or win that you are most proud of. Focus on your success, and you'll look forward to creating more success tomorrow.
4. Let Go
Focus on the things that you have the power to change, and let go of the things that are beyond your control. You’ll be amazed that when you stop trying to control everything, it all somehow works out. Surrender is the answer.
5. Pray
Scientific research shows that daily prayer reduces stress; boosts positive energy; and promotes health, vitality, and longevity. When you are faced with the urge to complain or you are feeling stressed to the max, stop, be still, plug-in to the ultimate power, and recharge.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mattie J.T. Stepanek
1990 -2004
On Being a Champion

A champion is a winner,
A hero.
Someone who never gives up 
Even when the going gets rough.
A champion is a member of
A winning team.
Someone who overcomes challenges
Even when it requires creative solutions
A champion is an optimist,
A hopeful spirit.
Someone who plays the game, 
Even when the game is called life.
Especially when the game is called life.
There can be a champion in each of us,
If we live as a winner,
If we live as a member of the team,
If we live with a hopeful spirit,
For life.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Out of the Ordinary

A hummingbird makes friendly with Advocate staffer
Every once in a while we stumble upon an experience so rare and so out of the ordinary that we know there has to be something we are supposed to learn from it. My lesson came in the form of a hummingbird.
After arriving home on a hot and muggy afternoon this summer, I climbed the stairs to my apartment hoping to find relief from the heat inside. But what I found instead was a hummingbird flying frantically back and forth and it appeared to be trapped on the second level of the building.
At first glance I thought it was merely a large dragonfly. But once I realized what it really was I stood and watched in awe of this tiny creature's aeronautical abilities.
Each time she took her flight she would fly from one end of the building to the other and always come back to the same spot on the wreath hanging from my neighbor’s door. I inched closer and closer to her landing pad, hoping to catch a closer glimpse.
After a few minutes, she seemed to figure out that I wasn’t going anywhere so she stopped attempting to allude me. As she became more comfortable with my presence I was able to get closer to her.
Next, I had the crazy idea to see if this bird would land on my finger. So during my tiny friend’s next trip to the other end of the building I put my hand up near my neighbor’s wreath.
On the first few tries she simply avoided me, flying around or above my hand. But eventually, to my surprise, she actually landed on my finger. And she continued to land on my finger time after time. The more comfortable I felt holding her, I began bringing her up to my face to look at her closely.
I noticed that her eyes were blinking and that she was actually about to fall asleep perched on my finger. Amazingly, I noticed that her tiny little eyes showed no sign of fear or terror. She even began looking at me as if she were trying to figure ME out! Realizing that no one would believe this when I told them (because I scarcely believe it myself!) I ran inside my apartment and grabbed my digital camera. I returned outside and the bird continued to land on my finger.
So I held my camera out in front of me and snapped several pictures in order to preserve this unbelievable experience.
I’m not even sure what gave me my next idea but I decided to try to walk her down the stairs since she seemed to be so lost. And once again the first couple of tries failed but on the third try she patiently stayed on my finger as if desperation had taken over her tiny body. We reached the bottom of the stairs and yet my winged friend stayed with me a few moments more…long enough that I was able to snap a few more pictures.
She stayed with me until a car pulled up into the parking lot near us and startled her. But she immediately flew directly back to my neighbor’s hummingbird feeders which had drawn her there in the first place.
Once the experience was over I could hardly believe what had just happened.
So the next day I began researching hummingbirds in order to find out whatever I could to bring some meaning to this experience.
I discovered that hummingbirds are not afraid of any predators, which explained the lack of fear I saw in the bird’s eyes. I found that they have even been known to chase off eagles!
Throughout this experience, I couldn’t help but be reminded of something I had read in Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book, Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling. The passage I’m referring to comes from the chapter entitled “The Language of the Spirit.” In this chapter Dr. Dyer discusses how we can recognize when our “Spiritual Source” (or God) is trying to teach us something or to get in touch with us. He points out that we often dismiss God’s messages to us because they sometimes come in a rather inconspicuous manner.
Dr. Dyer suggests that God sometimes communicates with us through seemingly “inexplicable alignments,” such as alignments with 1) feelings, 2) nature, 3) events, and 4) people. “Noticing the same folks showing up in different settings, running into people we haven’t seen in awhile after we’ve just heard their names mentioned, and repeatedly seeing an individual’s name in magazines, on television, or at the local bookstore” are all examples of God’s way of speaking to us through alignment with people.”
But it was the story Dr. Dyer shared about his personal experience of aligning with nature that I was reminded of by my hummingbird friend. Dr. Dyer states, “Everything in nature is in-Spirit – it isn’t spoiled by ego, nor can it ever be. So when nature speaks to us, we should listen intently. When a wild bird touches us, for instance, or a fish brushes by when we’re swimming in the ocean or lake, I believe that it’s a direct communication from our Source of Being. Since these creations of God instinctively keep their distance, when they depart from their DNA patterns to actually contact us physically, I think we should pay attention.”
I have even had “alignments” with events since this occurrence to encourage me to write this story. I have procrastinated on writing it and just today my boss handed me a magazine with an article concerning hummingbirds because he thought I would find it interesting.
And that is not the first article that had been pointed out to me like that since this had happened to me. So here I am…writing this story.
Dr. Dyer told of the day he had a butterfly land on his finger and stay with him for the next few hours. And this happened to him during the time that he was working on this particular chapter of his book. As soon as that hummingbird landed on my finger I was reminded of his story.
I choose to believe that my experience with this female ruby-throated hummingbird was God attempting to get my attention and speak to me.
I haven’t narrowed down exactly what I feel He was trying to convey, yet when I researched the hummingbird I found many positive symbolisms associated with the bird, such as their lack of fear, their association with the healing properties of flowers and herbs, the figure 8 pattern they create with their wings as they fly which is a symbol of Infinity, and my personal favorite…their physical lightness serves as a reminder to us to “lighten up.”
Perhaps this experience was an avenue through which God can lead me into my passions…writing. Or perhaps this bird chose me to save its little life since I read that a hummingbird will quickly die if trapped or encaged. There are so many possible explanations, it’s fascinating! But I hope that God has been able to use me through this story to inspire others to listen for the little messages He sends us throughout our days. I hope it has opened someone’s eyes to greater possibilities and greater hope. I believe the main message God wants to send our way through these types of occurrences is that He is with us all of the time and He hasn’t forgotten us. It is a great feeling to know we are not alone.
Sophia Richards is a graduate of Troy University and currently works for Greenville Newspapers, LLC as a Graphic Designer.