Academy Update: Upcoming Webcast and Live Chat

Vista Leadership Academy, a new Vista Global Coaching & Consulting program, invites you to join founder Mary Stelletello and Academy Class of 2016 Alum Cristina Manfre for a special webcast and live chat Tuesday, May 2, 2017 , from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EDT.

Get your sneak peek into the Academy and learn how the program’s unique design can help you!

You’ll hear Alum Cristina share her transformative journey through the Academy’s online classes, individual coaching sessions, and immersive retreat in Oaxaca, Mexico.  Mary will describe the core values and career insights that led her to found the Academy.

Please note: Space is limited. The number of registrations will be kept small to help ensure everyone can participate in the live chat Q&A. Don’t miss your chance to ask Mary and Cristina if the Academy is right for you!

Hierve el Agua, Oaxaca, Mexico


Are you ready to take the lead in your work and life? Applications for the Class of 2017 are being accepted through May 15, 2017. Learn more about our application requirements and register for the webcast.

What We Can Learn from Our Worst Conversations

Judith Glaser’s 7-month course on Conversational Intelligence offers new and improved methodologies for effective communication that you can apply to both work and life situations.

“Conversations are the social rituals that hold us together, the fabric of culture and society.”
— Judith E. Glaser

The course section on “Humanizing Conversations” explores how to down-regulate the behaviors that create distrust and up-regulate behaviors that build trust. No matter what we do in our professional lives, trust is the most important element in achieving extraordinary results. Trust is something that I have explored over the last 15 years through leadership development work. I always believed that listening was the most powerful skill to build trust.

Humanizing Conversations
Conversational Intelligence takes the skill of listening, a step further by providing more texture to “listening.”  Glaser uses the concept, “deconstructing conversation” which looks back to look forward. Examine a conversation after the fact to garner new insights. In the first few moments of contact in a conversation, our brain will determine whether to trust the other person. If that impact “feels good,” we will move in the direction of opening up to more interactions. If that impact “feels bad,” we will close down and move into protective mode.

In the deconstruction process, here are a few questions for exploration and learning.

  • Was either person addicted to being right?
  • Did you experience the “Tell-Sell-Yell” syndrome? (Tell them once, try to sell them why you are right, then yell!)
  • Did you ask questions that you already knew the answers to?

If you said YES to any of these questions, you were operating from the primitive brain (amygdala) pumping cortisol, keeping you in a protected distrust state.

So how do you shift from this part of the brain that is being triggered by threatening behaviors? The very first step is to recognize the neurological response and find ways to head off the fears. Understand where the fears may be coming from, work backward to find a solution.

How do we sideline these signals from the amygdala?

  • Notice how we react to threats (fight, flight, freeze, appease)
  • Acknowledge this reaction
  • Notice if we always choose the same reaction and how much the threat impacts us
  • Choose an alternative way to react in the moment (mindfulness techniques: breath in, breath out, express how you are feeling)
  •  Become more aware of our responses and realize we can override our emotions and shift to other responses
  • Ultimately transform fear into trust

Stay tuned for more tips to have meaningful conversations that transform leaders and organizations!

This is the second in a blog series. Read the first blog at “Listening to Connect.”


Photo credit: Rawpixel via Shutterstock.

Listening to Connect: Neuroscience, Coaching, and Conversational Intelligence

As a credentialed coach, it’s important to stay educated on new and improved methodologies that resonate with clients. Recently, I began a 7-month course on Conversational Intelligence, (also known as C-IQ) facilitated by Judith E. Glaser.

The curriculum explores how parts of the brain influence the outcome of conversations. Just two weeks in, I can already tell how valuable this will be for my clients.  As a coach, I recognize that if clients are in fight/flight mode, it is very difficult for them to find solutions to any problems. Now I have language and context for why.

Harnessing Your Executive Brain

When we are in flight/flight mode, we are operating from our primitive brain, generating cortisol that shuts down our ability to be creative, strategic and engaged. So where do we want to operate from and how do we get there?

The prefrontal cortex (the area of the third eye) is called the executive brain. If an interaction feels safe, we produce oxytocin, which allows us to relax and create a state of trust. This gives us access to empathy, strategic thinking and innovation. When we are able to operate from this place in the brain, we begin to see opportunities for co-creating solutions together.

Listening to Connect

We move from protecting our own self-interest to creating a “WE-centric” way. The first step is: listen to connect. This is not a concept gaining traction just in the coaching field. There has been research published in Harvard Business Review on the power of connecting first.

In Judith’s words, “Everything happens through conversation. Coaches hold the key for transformation of humanity.”

Helping You Get to the Next Level

As we move through the modules, I will share some key “ah-has” and will incorporate these tools into my new coaching offerings that will roll out in Spring 2017. Stay tuned for more tips to have meaningful conversations that transform leaders and organizations.

Interested in coaching? Learn about the coaching process and more!


Photo credit: Rawpixel via Shutterstock.

Coaching Helps You Tell Your Story

Crafting a personal tile is a fun way to express your story and future goals. A great exercise to help focus your life and career coaching, the tile itself can be made from cardboard, paper, fabric, or any two-sided material.  Get creative!

Getting Starting with Side 1 of Your Personal Tile

The first introspective step in this exercise is to craft your personal narrative. To complete Side 1, you’ll need to decide what words define and describe your personal story, from your origins to you current journey.

Begin at the top of your tile and write your name, birthplace, and favorite food.

Then, write the numbers 1 through 6 down the left side of the tile, under your name.  This portion of the tile will be used for your Six-Word Introduction.

Channel Your Inner-Hemmingway

You may have heard the legend that Ernest Hemmingway was once asked to write a novel in six words. His reply was “For sale, baby shoes, never worn.” With those six words, Hemmingway conveyed a sad tale of love and loss.

The first step in your Personal Tile exercise is to craft six words that describe your personal story. The words can be fun and cheeky, or serious and heartfelt. The most important aspect is to describe yourself.  Here are some examples:

  • Love drama. Just not my own.
  • Legacies are the people you touched.
  • Without work, what would I do?
  • Laboring more at love than anything.
  • I knew nothing, I felt everything.
  • I’m happiest when I’m outside.
  • My small stories have big plots.

You can find these examples and more at the Six-Word Memoir archive.

Plotting Your Goals with Side 2 of Your Personal Tile

Every Vista Global discovery coaching session explores 6 key themes. Building on the work done in your initial coaching session, use the tile to write out your reflections on each theme.


Draw 2 concentric circles on your tile. Then draw a line to dissect the inner circle into 2 halves. Then, draw 4 lines to create four sections of the outer circle.

  1. Values: The values that I confirmed in the discovery coaching session
  2. Strengths: My Top 5 strengths
  3. Contribute: What do I commit to contributing to the process?
  4. Learn: What do I want to learn as we move through my journey?
  5. How do I work: How do I work well? What allows me to do my best work?
  6. Leave With: At the end of my coaching sessions, what do I want to leave with?

Participants of Vista Leadership Academy kick-off their journey with this Personal Tile exercise in addition to a robust curriculum for goal setting. If you’re interested in learning more about the Academy or about Vista Global’s coaching services, contact Mary today!

The Impact of Our Cultural Identity as Professional Coaches

It’s not surprising that the results of the 2016 International Coach Federation NPO-NGO Community of Practice survey found cultural competency was a high priority area of interest.

What is cultural competency?

Culture is an abstract concept that can be hard for us to define. Therefore, there is no one set definition for cultural competency. The seminal work of Georgetown University Social Scientists Cross et al in 1989 offered a definition of cultural competence that is still in use today:

Cultural competence is a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency or among professionals and enable that system, agency or those professions to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.

Culture is a set of shared understandings, thoughts, actions, customs, values and so on. Competence is used to imply a capacity to function effectively with others who may not share the same culture. While you may not use cardamom in your family’s traditional recipes, you understand and respect that other people do.

How many spices can you name?

Why does it matter?

Our local communities are becoming more diverse and globally connected through technology and demographic changes. Organizations are “internationalizing” – employees are geographically dispersed, from different countries, and different cultures. The workplace requires individuals to be aware of different cultures, to interact with people from different cultures, and to interpret new cultures as they are encountered.

By 2050, the United States will consist of a majority minority population.  This means that today’s minority groups, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as those of any race other than non-Hispanic, single-race whites, who currently account for only a third of the U.S.’s current population, are expected to increase to 54% of the U.S. population within a generation. As the U.S.’s cultural diversity increases, so will the need for our cultural competence.

These changing workforce and societal demographics are revolutionizing the learning demands for leaders today.

What’s the impact for coaching?

As professional coaches, a critical component of success is that we acknowledge the impact of our cultural identity as well as the cultural identity of our client.

Cultural competence is essential for success. With these changing cultural and demographic trends, how do coaches need to be culturally competent to support today’s leaders? How do we understand our cultural identity as coaches and how does that influence the way we support our clients in designing actions?

Where to start?

Begin by examining your individual cultural identity. By understanding your own cultural identity through self-reflection you are more prepared for the cross-cultural learning process. For example, if your cultural identity is American then you are more likely to place a high value on time as a concept and as a commodity.  Americans do battle with time.  We talk about saving time and beating the clock. Whereas other cultures have a more relaxed view of time.

Professor Geert Hofstede conducted one of the most comprehensive studies of how values in the workplace are influenced by culture.  He identified six dimensions of culture and has plotted the relative comparison of 76 different countries. You can select two countries and compare the dimensions of power, individualism, long-term orientation, etc.

Want to improve your cultural competence?

Vista Global Coaching & Consulting also provides custom trainings and workshops on cultural competence. Or if you’re looking for an opportunity to explore cross-cultural leadership, check out the Vista Leadership Academy.  Currently accepting applications until June 1, 2016,  Vista Leadership Academy is the only cross-cultural, multi-generational leadership development experience that combines a virtual classroom model with a transformative leadership journey in Oaxaca, Mexico. Learn more about the Academy’s Program…

Introducing Vista Leadership Academy


A Journey for Leaders Seeking Change

Vista Leadership Academy is a unique cross-cultural, multi-generational leadership development experience that combines a virtual classroom model with a transformative learning journey in Oaxaca, Mexico.

The Academy is dedicated to gathering community-minded professionals from across the Americas. Academy participants will develop the leadership skills required to spur innovation and impact our global community.

Why Oaxaca?

A special place in my heart, Oaxaca will serve as the background for the Academy because it offers vibrancy and restoration. Oaxaca is the perfect location for leaders traveling from across the Americas.

Calling all Compañeros

I’m excited to share this latest initiative with fans of Vista Global Coaching & Consulting. The Academy weaves together my passion and life’s purpose of leadership development, international travel and coaching.

We are offering a peek at the learning journey with the Vista Global Leadership Retreat to Oaxaca, November 11-15, 2015. Learn more about the fall retreat and register today!

Or if you can’t join the retreat, add your name to the Academy’s mailing list for updates and check out the Vista Leadership Academy website.