Lessons in listening

December 14, 2006 - 6 Responses

What did I learn during these weeks of Train the Trainer?

Wow, where do I begin?

1. Listening: hearing with my ears but listening with my heart, letting others be heard, inviting others to share their wisdom and knowledge, and accepting that everyone has something important to say. As a life long learner I am always looking to see what lesson I am learning and what course I signed up for in this “Earth Teleclass.”

I have learned to listen to the energy flow and people’s reactions when I speak. I have learned that each moment is fluid and everyone is unique.

Through facilitation I have learnt that people who feel heard and accepted are ready to listen.

We accept everyone exactly the way they are without trying to fix them, change them or make them better.

The more we listen to , invite contribution and sharing, and accept and acknowledge them, the more they will listen and hear us.

I have learned to listen on many levels while I am speaking:

to listen to my thoughts,

to listen to those to whom I am speaking,

to listen to the silence and stillness for if I fill that space there is no room for others to share

to listen before I speak

to listen so that I can reflect back what I hear, their contribution, their competencies, their wisdom, their brilliance.

to listen with no agenda, to go with the flow and be flexible for whatever awaits you as it will be perfect.
In my teleclass I even had to listen to a third party recording while listening to the questions and contributions of the other coaches on the call.

I have learnt to stay calm, centred, focused and be fully in the moment no matter what is happening. forget about everything and just Be with people in a loving, supportive and accepting way.

2. Be real, be authentic, be yourself : express yourself in whatever way is natural to you. “Who we are speaks more loudly than what we say”

3. Have faith: “Faith grows when you act without knowing the result” Take a risk, step out from the safety zone.

4. Dear friends: I have met many warm, caring and generous people, I dare to call friends.

5. Trust: To march to the beat of my own heart. Nervousness is just bottled up excitement. allow yourself to experience it. Listen to what your heart or intuition tells you.

How have I changed?

I feel more confident, I surrendered to diving in the deep end, coming out of my comfort zone. I have realized that surrender is the key to unlock the door of fear. I will always be guided to the exact events and experiences at precisely the right time. Train the Trainer was the perfect lesson at the perfect time.  I asked for guidance by taking the class, I took action by facilitating a teleclass and put my faith in an outcome I could not see, and it was magical. Thank you all for the support on my blog, and Karen and Bronwyn it has been wonderful, an absolute gift.

With a grateful heart



The Story Behind Your Name

December 13, 2006 - 7 Responses

Melinda, Yuan and myself had to lead the class with the warm up today. What a joy it was. We had to arrange everything by email and I am thrilled I got the opportunity to meet Melinda on skype. We each threw out a couple of suggestions, some that dealt with class material and others that were just fun and light. We finally decided to go with one that would encourage interaction and getting to know each other a little more. The exercise was “The story behind your name” and we went with two options so everyone would feel included.

The first option was : What is the story behind your name or Why was that name chosen for you?

The second option was: If you could have any name what would you choose and why?

Melinda had suggested a neat way for the three of us to work together each weaving in and out of the warm up.

The warm up was so fun with everyone sharing their stories, it ran a bit over the scheduled time, but it was worth it. Everyone had an interesting story to share. Some of us did not get to share because of the time and I would recommend that they share on their blog. Actually it would be fun if everyone did that.

Karen, Sherie, Melinda, Linda and myself were the names I remember that did not share and the two guys Bill and Jim who were absent.

Looking back, I should have been very clear on a time limit for the story so that everyone would have been included.

Well I will share my story here:

My mother was reading a story when she came upon the name. It was of greek origin.

It means “of Lydia” in Greek. Lydia was a region on the west coast of Asia Minor. In the New Testament this is the name of a woman converted by Saint Paul.   She so liked this name she decide that her first born girl would have this name.

However on my mother’s wedding day her father had borrowed this expensive camera from his best friend for the occassion, and on arriving at the hotel to collect my mother, he had forgot the camera in the back seat of the taxi and the taxi had driven away. So my mother began to pray to St. Anthony  and asked him if he returned the camera she would promise her first child to him. No sooner had my mother finished her prayer and ready to leave for the church, the taxi driver was in the lobby looking for them. When she thanked him, he told her that he was in two minds to keep the camera and drove around the block a couple of times and then a voice told him to return the camera. Being born in Madrid, Spain and having a Spanish father I was named Antonia Lydia Sanchez-Ache. Spanish children carry the Father and mothers surname, I guess so everyone knows who you belong to.

Good thing I did not have to share in class.

Some discoveries:

Yuan means round and was named for the full moon that appeared the night she was born. She likes to think of it as complete and perfect.

Louise chose her name Mimi when she became a grandmother

Krizzy – was named by her mom for a little girl who died of leukimia.

Cathy– Tried on a whole heap of names and decided to take her grandfather’s surname Bailey and never change it again.

Jaimee– had a tradition of all members having the middle name Harrison a family name, however her mom refused to call her girl child Harrison and came up with Haley.

Desiree– Was named for a movie by the same name. The story was about Napolean Bonaparte’s mistress

Jo Ann– Was supposed to be called “Fanny” but her mother again would not hear of it. Good thing we have mothers.

Kim – said her name is quite common and there were four people with the same name at the job she once had. She said if she could change her name from Kimberley, she would like to be called Kimber Leigh.

and the last one to share was Bronwyn, that was quite a share. She said her mom had picked this name for her, and that it was welsh. Later on in her life she looked it up and discovered it meant “White Breasts” and she has lived true to her name.

This was really a joyful exercise. I would love to hear the stories of all who did not get a chance to share.

an empowering space

December 8, 2006 - One Response

A reflection of learning of my training teleclass:

Bring a focus to a particular topic –

In preparing for the class I choose four different areas of discussion, so that which everway the wind blew I would be able to facillitate. I asked the class “what would they like to learn or get out of this teleclass?”
I allowed the space for them to explore and I found that even when they came up with something else, during the discussion it could always be guided to the areas of focus.

Open doors for the learners to connect to their own knowledge and wisdom:-

This is creating a safe and empowering space for the learners. As I began my facilitation this was what I wanted to create and achieve throughout the teleclass. I shared three qualities that would be essential for this space to be created and set it up so that all felt safe, invited and comfortable to share.

Relax: There are no wrong answers

Risk: Be willing to step out, everyone has something important to say

Wisdom: We are all learning from each other, listen to your inner wisdom, you will know what needs to be shared.

Create an atmosphere of equality between learners and facilitator:-

Using these qualities helped me set the stage for an empowering space.

I explained that by sharing the wisdom, we would come up with a list of techniques, a toolbox so to speak, a list of information needed to ensure our clients were targeting the appropriate goals.

When a question was asked for a particular technique or instruction, I turned the question over to the forum so that all could get involved in sharing their tips, techniques, strategies, suggestions.

Build safety by demonstrating acceptance and acknowledgment:-

Building safety, comes from accepting everyone’s worth, value, contribution and acknowledging them for it. “A little love goes a long way.” Learners feel safe to contribute and add to the wisdom pool, when each person allows themself to be vulnerable or share a part of themselves all others, one by one, want to participate, contribute and join in.

Competencies I used:

Listening for competencies – Listening to what the learner was sharing, and reflecting back the skill, competency  used to help the client and the value that was provided.

Questioning – Invited the learner to take an active role in understanding the topic.

“What is your role as a coach when your client sets goals?”

What was really valuable for me, was using  questions to illicit all the learning and understanding, and then encouraging them to come up with questions that would be beneficial for both the coach and the client.

Setting up experiential experiences-“Practice makes perfect” when developing a skill or technique we need to try it out, see if it is a fit for who we are and how we operate, and if not what can we do differently to achieve the outcome. So I invited the learners to use a technique for discovering values and and make some discoverie:

What I learned was.. What surprised me was…What I plan to change is… 

Eliciting sharing of insights:- encouraging all to participate, especially the ones that hide in the shadows, with little voices screaming in their heads to participate. I set the stage and let everyone know they have a valuable message to share.

It may not seem important for them, but could prove to be life changing for someone else on the call.  “How sad it would be to have been able to help someone with a few words, and to have kept them to yourself, thinking it was not important enough to share.” 


This competency alone can move mountains, the ability to see the gifts in others when they may have blind spots. Some one who acknowledges and sees you for who you are and what you are becoming while taking actions to achieve certain outcomes. Acknowledgment helps the learner see the journey and appreciate the view instead of being transfixed on the destination – “Are we there yet?”

I believe I was able to demonstrate all of these competencies on my call.

To have presence– the ability to be present with the class inspite of any distractions, and be totally receiving of what is.
Relaxed: stay calm and centred- to relax into ourselves and be real.

Being supportive – when I know I won’t be told what’s “wrong” with me I am able to take risks and not feel uneasy about it. Creating that space for my learners was essential.

How do I create a safe space?

With equal parts of support, relaxing, receiving, inviting, equality, acknowlegment and gratitude.

I always get centred for a coaching session or a call, by getting focused. To do this I sit still, close my eyes and shuffle my Tarot or Grace Cards. I ask myself “What needs my attention here?” When I feel the urge I touch and pull the card that wants my attention. I focus on the qualities of these cards, and how I can bring them into the space to empower the client.  Inevitably during the session these words will come up by the client and I know where my focus needs to be.

This teleclass has been a huge learning curve for me. I signed up for swimming lessons , never knew I would be training to be a life guard. I got pushed into the deep end and I am grateful, as without that push I would still be clinging with my fingers and toes to the edge of the pool. I jumped in thrashed around and then relaxed. I knew I had the best lifeguard watching over me and if I needed her she would just dive in pull me out and resusitate me. Thank you so very much Karen, you are a gem.


My Crazy Goal Setting Class –

December 7, 2006 - 3 Responses

Oh my word! I just don’t even know where to begin.

What an amazing experience.

It started off with Karen and I on the call, and the neighbour’s dog running a muck in my neighbourhood, sending my dog’s ballistic, so all my calm and centred self flew out the window as I tried to lock the dogs up in three minutes. Karen was an angel and knew just the right things to bring me back to my centred and present self.

Then we went on the line and someone came on and put us on hold so we had elevator music that we could not get rid of. When we got rid of the elevator music, the echo started. All I could say in my mind was this is going to be some experience, just relax, laugh and go with whatever comes your way.

So Karen puts the class on mute to get rid of the noises, darling that she is, and introduces me.

So I welcome everyone and begin by sharing three guiding principles that I use to accomplish goals and found that these were perfect for the class, and boom, I’m gone, they can’t hear me, I have some man’s voice on the bridgeline talking to me, giving me a headache, press this key, press that key and I am thinking this is hysterical.

Karen is talking “Lydia can you hear us, we’ve lost you. ” Like I am on another planet.

So anyways, instead of starting over, I share my three words:

Relax -There are no wrong answers – everything is happening exactly as it should.

Risk – Be willing to take a risk -Every person has something important to say.

Wisdom- Every lesson is a widening and deepening of consciousness – listen inwardly and you will know what needs to be shared.

After that I asked them to share any insights from the last class, and we were rolling.

The bridgeline gave me more stress than the teleclass, I kept having this man talk in my head, it was like a gremlin moved in. I don’t know if it was because I was on the moderator line, but the recording was driving me crazy. I think I did a good job following everyone’s comments and acknowledging them for their contribution and any competencies inspite of all the disturbances.

I encouraged all to share their wisdom, including the quiet ones as we know they are the ones who have all the best kept secrets.

I involved the class, making it interactive, by asking them to write down some questions to uncover information they would need to ensure their client was targeting the appropriate goal.

We shared different techniques for uncovering values and determined what our role as a coach was in the goal setting process.

Many people shared and I learnt valuable lessons as well. It is always the things we write down, extras to the module that give us the biggest insights. People shared resources, tips, techniques, books.

I would have liked a two minutes to wrap up and just give an overview of what we covered, but there was so much value in the sharing.

Well “I dived in the water and swam and then turned on my back and just floated in the waters which ever way they took me. Whenever someone bought up a piece of my area of focus, I would guide us back to the discussion and continue with the next wave surfing and enjoying the experience.”

Karen thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity, I know I have grown from this experience and it is only the begining.

So my guiding priciples served me well:

Relax- Everything is happening as it should,

Risk – be willing to put yourself ourt there,

Wisdom -listen for inner guidance, especially when you have “gremlins” in your head.

My Biggest Wow

December 5, 2006 - 2 Responses

I found the warm ups fun to listen to, but was unable to share my wildest thing. Not because men were present but rather I wasn’t certain whether or not the call was being taped. I have no problem sharing with this group, but did not want the story to continue to broadcast whenever new comers came to Train the Trainer.

I don’t know how it works for others, but when I am asked a question, a thought pops into my head and eventhough I may try to shake it, sometimes it will not let me go and I know that is what I need to share.

So my biggest wow was having to sit with my mom, who had cancer and plan her funeral, write her obituary, design her coffin and treat this event as a major party event in her life. I took dictation six months before she passed. We planned, and brainstormed, all the while we laughed, entertained ourselves and made a most serious and morbid experience one of the most treasured and extra-ordinary.

She had a guest list of fifty people she wanted at the funeral, this was totally unrealistic as she was very loved and a social butterfly. We joked about her leaving me and going to “Lalaland” and I would be stuck here telling people they are not on “The List.” She dictated her letter of wishes stating to whom each item of value would go. She planned her private cremation “party” and gave me instructions that the obituary would not go into the newspapers until the day after, so I would not be bombarded with calls. She stated at the end of the obituary that her friends and family were invited to a “Cooler Party” (everyone brings their drinks) at her home by the sea in Blanchisseuse. Come celebrate my life and bring a Pelau ( a rice, chicken, peas dish that is a specialty in Trinidad)it stated.

The wow for me was the most incredible and intimate conversations I had with my mom, and the valuable lesson she taught me. Live, Love and Laugh a whole lot. Laughter is the best medicine.

The best part of this is that every thing I wrote down happened exactly as she had planned, even the night she slipped away in the wee hours of the morning, surrounded by only her family. Every detail of her plan occured exactly as it was written. Even in her last days she could plan a future, have a vision and set her own goals. We were left to celebrate.

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to revisit this WOW moment -Women Of Worth

Warm ups

November 23, 2006 - 5 Responses

Well this being my first class, I felt a little out of it. The “warm up” was fun while I listened to everyone sharing their words. I always find these recall games difficult, and with everyone having different accents I really have to hone in on my listening skills. The momentum picked up and I found it difficult to get everything everyone was saying. It felt more like everyone was “on fire.” When Melinda spoke ahead of me I was unable to get her last words, I shared that and then I guess I was out. You snooze you lose! So I never got to share my words with the group.

I thought perhaps I could share them here:

Grateful Supportive Master Trainer

As a life long learner, and believing we are all here to learn from each other, I would love to borrow a word from everyone in the class to expand my possibilities:

An amazing, charismatic, confident, challenging, powerful, loving, fearless, grateful, trainer, leader, facilitator and manifesting goddess.

On reflection:

I really enjoyed the explanation of the competencies, and Karen’s simple example of “brushing teeth” was extremely effective. It became so clear. At first I was thinking Motor skills, hand-eye cordination, but then realized these could even be broken down further into measurable tasks. It is about seeing and appreciating the small details, the tiny steps within the bigger picture.

A competency is:

observable – skill, knowledge, attitude

measurable – level of competency

inquiring – questions may be asked around them

acknowledging – one can be acknowledged for them

evaluating – level of competency can be measured against mastery.

Competencies for asking Powerful Questions:

Ability to:

ask open ended questions

ask curious questions that elicit information and engage cient in provocative conversation

ask questions that initiate change

ask questions that lead to inquiry

ask questions that stretch and challenge the client

ask questions to clarify focus

ask questions that help clients discover what is true for them

ask questions that open their awareness to how they limit themselves

ask questions that make them aware of unproductive paradigms and replace them with empowering ones

ask questions that inspire and empower client to invent solutions

ask questions that will elicit their greatness and bring their brilliance into focus.

With a grateful heart thank you all for your contributions in class


Living our Dreams

November 21, 2006 - Leave a Response

Hi Everyone,

Just got back from a week long trip to Kentucky with my husband. It was amazing actually living one of the dreams he had on his dream list – Go to the Keenland Thoroughbred Sales, while living one of mine – travelling and visiting far off places with my husband. The excitement of actually being there, a place we only saw on tv, magazines, and to be a part of it. Did not come away with a weenling, yet it was just perfect.

I’m sorry I missed the first session in the Train the Trainer series, but this trip was all about some good old fashion self care – taking a well deserved week off from work and celebrating my 18 – months of training at ICA. It has been the most amazing 18 months.

Taking this seminar is also on my list of dreams – Being able to host teleclasses and eventually coach training in my country. Definitely about giving back and sharing all that I have received. A truly empowering space filled with support, nurturing, enthusiam, encouragement, acknoweledgment, trust, belief and possibility.

Hello world!

November 21, 2006 - One Response

Catching up on what I missed!