Tag Archives: shandel


Discovering the Why Factor

I would like you to think for a moment like a great company.

We teach companies that their why (which we call purpose) must be discovered vs. made up. Your challenge is to discover what lies deep within you, correctly name it and then lead with it – this is your why. While the what is strategized and created, the why must be discovered and brought forth – in other words, it is already in there, so go get it.

When True Life Coaching (now Shandel Group) celebrated ten years in business, we were proud to say that our why had not changed from day one. In contrast, our growth requires the what and the how to continuously evolve. Things never stay the same around here … except our why.

Currently on our roster are two companies in the fifth generation of ownership. Both are in the middle of a huge change of the what and how. What keeps them grounded is their unchanging why, which allows for agility as markets change and business models morph. It is super fun to watch new leadership continue their great-grandfathers’ legacy.

At the same time, we are helping two start-ups who are growing spooky fast.

Company A is choosing to invest in the painstaking process of discovering their big why, defining their culture and strategy while differentiating themselves from the competition. The result is they are on track to make nearly two times their projections, and doing it with fewer people, all who love their work!

Company B start-up unfortunately is still in the weeds. The leader is unwilling to take a moment to invest in the why, believing he can lead with his personality alone. The result is a bottom-line accomplishment of the what with a high emotional drain to other team players, not to mention the lost opportunities.

As a leader – whether of a company, a family or life – can you articulate what you are uniquely good at and why you are so excited about living your life? On that foundation, can you strengthen your what and how until you are not just good, but great?

Why does it matter? Why do you matter?

You matter because you have something distinctive and special to contribute to this world before you leave it. That’s why.

Your Coach,


Ran flying

Using Change for Maximum Performance​

What’s in a name? Well, with a unique name like Shandel – a lot!

When my dad named me, he could not have known what line of work I would spend my life doing. But it would be easy to claim that when he chose Shandel he was being prophetic!

How so? Shandel is an adapted spelling of the original word, chandelle. A chandelle is the term that describes a maximum performance maneuver in which a pilot uses momentum from a 180° turn to gain new altitude.

It was invented by the French to avoid enemy pursuit during air battles in World War I. (We do it all the time now when we take off in one direction and the destination is in the other. But in WWI it was sometimes a matter of life or death!)

Doing a chandelle means not only reversing your direction but doing it full-throttle and while climbing. Not an easy maneuver!

Change of any kind is not an easy maneuver, is it? We may resist at first the painful package change comes in. But the only way we “grow forward” is by looking pain and uncertainty straight in the face and riding them to the next level of life.

New! The Shandel Group

That’s what I get to help my clients do every day: chandelles! What a joy to live out the meaning of my name each day in my work and in fulfilling my purpose.  That’s why I’m very excited to announce my latest change!

We are launching The Shandel Group to serve the need of our corporate clients. This month True Life is celebrating our 14th year in business, and I realized that more than 70th percent of our work involves talent management.

The Shandel Group is not taking the place of True Life Coaching in any way. It simply is a subsidiary. As it is, we now spend a majority of our time coaching leaders on maximizing the effectiveness of their team, facilitated executive off sites and team development workshops, using job benchmarking assessments for hiring, onboarding and developing top A players. My days are spent coaching executives, facilitating quarterly and annual strategic meetings as well as trouble shooting conflict, communication and trust issues so the obstacles can be moved in high growth organizations. My love will always be keynote speaking and the communication workshops we do, but that is a big change from the 1:1 life coaching that True Life, Inc., was birthed out of.

So, nothing has changed, while everything has. Please join me in the soft launch of The Shandel Group! Of course your referrals are the only way we grow our business, so thank you!

Your Coach,


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How to be a Lifelong Learner Part 2

When was the last time you learned a new skill, or attended a career-related conference? How often do you volunteer at work to take on a new challenge? When faced with new advances in your industry, do you jump into researching them and become have a reputation as a resource?

We’ve been talking about how important it is to be a continuous learner. That’s why we’re looking at into specific steps you can take right now to become one. Here are some ideas.

Start with Goals

* Make a list of your personal or professional learning goals, such as becoming certified by next summer or learning to speak another language.

* Set reasonable expectations for your own progress. Relate your goals to specific activities you can accomplish on a regular basis.

Read, Think, Think More

* Read. Read. Read. And read carefully. Read major publications in your field. Read the latest relevant books. Read about topics outside of your area of expertise.

* Work hard to identify at least one critical insight in everything you read and determine how you can apply that knowledge to your daily work.

* Find opportunities to think in a different way from the usual. Take a yoga or literature class or travel to a foreign location.

Network, Get Feedback

* Set aside time to act on and reflect upon your learning goals.

* Network with others, both in your field of expertise and outside of it, by attending special events, seminars, workshops and conferences.

* Ask someone new for input into a project or allow someone else the authority to take action on an important task. See what you can learn from other people.

* Seek honest feedback from trusted mentors or peers and don’t be defensive when you hear what they have to say.

Look at Both Successes, Mistakes

* Learn from your successes. Think about how you might apply the same skills in a different setting.

* Learn from your mistakes. Be willing to identify what events within your control could be changed if the same situation happened again.

* Periodically update your list of goals and, at the same time, create new plans to help you reach your goals for self-improvement.

What do you think of these suggestions? Which one are you going to try first — and by when?

Your Coach,


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Shandel Recognized as Coach of the Year!

True Life Coaching loves to spotlight the accomplishments of our clients and the companies we work with! Today we get to spotlight the accomplishment of our own Shandel Slaten – while she’s away on vacation we are writing this :) .

True Life Coach Mary Beth King speaks …

For the past year I have had the privilege of working alongside Shandel as a fellow True Life coach.

I have seen first hand the genuine caring and commitment that she has toward her clients and her colleagues. She sees each of us for what we can be, even when we don’t see it ourselves.

She passionately calls us each to step up, to grow, to make the difference in the world that we can.

Shandel has been chosen as this year’s Coach of the Year, an honor bestowed on her by her peers. It recognizes that she powerfully impacts the lives of her clients and her fellow coaches, and acknowledges her clear commitment to make the world a better place.

She intuitively walks her talk, and by her words and actions calls each of us to do the same.

- Mary Beth King

Scottsdale, Ariz. January 30, 2014 — Author and life coach, Shandel Slaten, who has worked with business professionals from entrepreneurs to employees of Fortune 100 firms, has been recognized by TTI Success Insights (TTI SI) as 2014 Coach of The Year!

“This network is full of superior performers who consistently lead the way in providing excellent consulting to their clients, whether in selection, coaching, training or speaking,” TTI SI President John Hersey said. “It is truly our pleasure to recognize their achievements with these awards. That’s what makes this network extraordinary.”

Testimonial: “Our Company was going through trying times – primarily around a breakdown of trust. We brought Shandel on to facilitate re-building that trust and more so, addressing the communication styles of the partners and our employees. As emotionally painful as the process was – it became one of the two most awakening moments in my life. Our company went from ‘holding on for dear life’ to a company focused on phenomenal work and growth.” – Mark Dyce, Principal, 206inc / Seattle, WA

Words from Shandel: “What an incredible honor and I am humbled by this recognition!” stated Slaten. “I love coaching executives and professionals who want to better define and execute their purpose, strengthen their leadership skills, and hone their self-awareness. To do so, I use the TTI SI assessments. With the information I receive from them, I can then lead the executive, and their team, to reinforce principles of trust and communication that foster a more successful, productive business culture.”

Congratulations, Shandel!


The Trick to Recognizing Your Own Rationalization – Clarity #35

Think about a time when someone on your team questioned a decision you made. What was your reaction? Chances are, at the core you experienced fear — which shows up differently for each of us: Fear of failure. Fear of looking incompetent. Fear of rejection. Fear of being misunderstood, to name just a few.

So the next morning, you know the decision — and whether it was a good or bad one — it is going to come up. How do you prepare for that meeting? If you are like most, you spend an exorbitant amount of energy concocting an airtight defense. What is your presence in the meeting? You enter in with your armor on, defenses up, and you steamroll the team “with facts” into believing that I’m not a failure. Let me prove to you all right now why I am not a failure.

We must train ourselves to see this pattern. To increase our self-awareness and notice quickly when we are in this state of fear, which leads to rationalization.

If you’re a person with high self-awareness, how would you approach this same meeting? With confidence that you have the facts and context of what happened, courage to let everyone voice their concerns — knowing that this is not personal, it is an issue — and humility to realize you may have a blind spot. You’ll go into the meeting, address the negative feedback, state what happened, reassure the team of their good intent, and allow others to speak into the situation.

Remember, you will never have it all figured out. In fact, if you’re a true evolving leader, you will always seek out new challenges where you’re a bit over their head. People who don’t, become irrelevant quickly. (You know them by the way they refer to their past and how great they used to be.) And that means you will make mistakes, poor judgment calls, and wrong decisions.

Self-awareness is a journey, not a destination. If you truly want to grow your business, your team, and yourself, then be quick to recognize when you rationalize and even quicker to own it, adjust, and keep moving in humble confidence.

Want to learn more? Check out the entire article highlighted in my current newsletter here. Leave a comment and receive a free EQ assessment.

Your Coach,


Four Steps to Conquer F.E.A.R.

We’ve been talking about fear. I shared the success story of my seven-year-old nephew, Ronnie, who conquered his fear of joining a swim team, and is now enjoying success and is feeling pretty good! So I thought I’d share with you the four steps to conquering F.E.A.R. Here’s how:

Fear Is a Feeling So Name It

What exactly is it that you actually fear? When fear is vague and undefined, it cannot be conquered — so name it. What is it that you are anxious about happening or not happening? Call it by name. I fear _____­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_.

For my nephew, the fear was that the older kids would make fun of him for not being a good swimmer. That was the last thing I expected to come out of his mouth, but that was what was keeping him from jumping in with both feet. Now it had a name: Fear of humiliation.

Excavate the Root

Next, you need to ask, How did the fear originate? Is there validity to this fear, or is it a “what if” fear? You must dig deep into the root issue of the fear.

I drilled my nephew with investigative questions to see if bigger kids had ever abused or harassed him. He assured me that no, he just imagined they would make fun of him, and that paralyzed him. Perception is reality — unless it is questioned with truth.

Ascertain the Truth / Reality

What IS the truth? Is this fear irrational, made up, or a control issue of some sort? Maybe you have been hurt before and you need to work through forgiveness or another unrelated issue. OR is it a “what if” that has validity to it? One way to go forward is to think through the worst-case scenarios and how you can live with the outcome. Is the risk in the 90 percent or the 10 percent probability? Get to the truth so you can make an intentional decision.

My nephew had to walk through the probability of the kids actually making fun of him. There might be someone who mocked him, but what was the chance? I challenged him by asking whether he would be mean like that to littler kids. (He was horrified — of course not!)

Replace Fear with Its Opposite

Once the fear is named, the next step is to find the opposite so that you can start retraining your mind. What truth do you need to tell yourself to overcome the fear? In general, the opposite of fear is faith. So you may ask what can you put your faith in to help you get from one side to the other. You see, faith is believing in what you cannot see to be true. “Chances are the bigger kids will not make fun of me.” Fear is believing you can control what you cannot see; it fools you into believing that by worrying you can change reality.

For my nephew, once we worked through the steps, he repeated out loud, “I am not listening to you, fear.” He replaced it with “I am an adventurous boy, a brave leader, and God will help me.” Did I mention his swim coach said he was even better than some of the older kids who had been swimming for a few years? He now has this incredible new opportunity and is already reaping the rewards — because he faced his fear!

Now It’s Your Turn

As you face and replace your fear, what are you now able to turn toward? Opportunity, reward, joy, love — what matters most to you? What do you fear and what do you desire more than that fear?

Name five things you fear right now. Now pick one to conquer by working the four steps. I would love to hear about it on Facebook or in the comments. Let’s conquer this together.

Your Coach,


6 Steps To Change Your Story

You can’t change behavior.

What you can change is your story, by understanding your motivators, which ultimately drive behavior. Lasting change will not happen if you try to change any behavior without first addressing what drives your actions. Sure, there may be a season of performing the actions in the right way, but soon your true motivations override the “trying,” and the old learned behaviors sneak back in.

Without proper motivation and changed belief systems, long-term behavioral change is nearly impossible. Fortunately, the opposite is true as well: When you have meaningful, desirable motivations, change is definitely possible. True change happens when you correctly align your internal motivators, values, and beliefs to initiate and drive the daily actions and behaviors. In fact, I would go so far to say as people are transformed when they change their beliefs! Below are a few tips on how to change your story into one that leads to transformation. Continue reading

Have You Killed Your Curiosity? Clarity #26

This episode of our ASK SHANDEL podcast discusses curiosity and how it affects our relationships, leadership, and other areas. Curiosity can be defined as: the desire to learn or know about anything; inquisitiveness. Like children, great people have an inherent desire to learn from their environment. This hunger drives them to ask questions and explore how all this new information affects their lives.

In Clarity: Focusing on What Matters we are on Week 26 – halfway through the book! This installment is all about how our character is shaped by curiosity. Not only is it a character trait, but curiosity is an emotion, and driven by that emotion, you are led to explore, investigate, and learn.

That explains why people who shut off their emotions and live from their heads turn off their natural curiosity and settle for fact-finding. Continue reading

Confession, Commencement, Conviction


I was an early adapter to blogging, but it didn't last long because I was conflicted about what to write about, and was always critiquing my own efforts. I tried again, only this time with two blogs – like that was a good idea! Well, it was at the time; but, alas, there was no vision, no plan, no discipline.

My name is Shandel Slaten, founder and principle coach of True Life Coaching.
As you'll quickly see, I'm a tell-it-as-it-is gal, and I want to enter the conversation about what we can do to change the world by changing the leader.

Every single day, I encounter people and situations that make me realize the tremendous impact that leaders have on their spheres of influence. Some influence people for the better. Others, unfortunately, for the worse.

Continue reading

The Value of Values. What are your top 5?

Family is one of my values

For the next two weeks we are hitting values hard! Why?

Because if you don't know your top 5 values you will float around like a jellyfish making poor decisions.  Often, I find that when we are living a complicated, adrenaline based, non-stop life, we wake up one day finding no joy, little fun, and lost purpose.

It is imperative that you get back in line with your values. Continue reading