Coaching in the Cyber Physical World.

Coaching in the Cyber Physical World.  A Coaching Conference With a Difference
IAC International Coaching Conference,
December 4 – 5, 2017,
Taj Samudra,Colombo Sri Lanka
by Bibi Ohlsson, IAC Vice President | Head of COMMs

After an exciting three days sightseeing the beautiful countryside of Sri Lanka, the atmosphere was electric when checking in to Taj Samudra; the venue for the very first, thus historical, IAC International Coaching Conference.  

Knowing that fellow board-members and coaches from 13 different nations would soon meet, many for the very first time, made the atmosphere even more special.   It felt like a family re-union; like we always knew each other.   We hugged, talked, smiled, laughed and connected on a different level. The dynamics truly changed. Forever.

Pepe del Rio, IAC President Elect, echoed my thoughts when he said that “Our IAC conference in Sri Lanka was the experience of a lifetime. Coaches from across the globe gathered together for open conversations that included speaking about the future of coaching in a Cyber Physical world. It was a truly historic moment for the IAC to have six members of the Governing Board meet in-person, many for the first time adding to a fantastic learning space and a magnificent event.”


Des Walsh from the IAC Founding Team set the tone for the first day with his presentation on the topic, Coaching in the Cyber Physical World, triggering our thoughts and helping us experience what AI Coaching would look and feel like in a VUCA world.  Des remarked, “Attending the IAC conference in Colombo was a memorable experience, an affirmation of the huge value that we as members of the global IAC family can bring to the world, not just to our own little corners. The wonderful national and cultural of delegates, and the way we were all able to share, collaborate, and enjoy one another’s company professionally and socially, demonstrated the truly international vision and potential of IAC. Thank you to everyone involved in bringing us together and especially to the Sri Lanka chapter leadership and members for the warm hospitality we enjoyed. I’m personally re-inspired to further develop as a coach – and as a human! Let’s be better than any coaching robot – I know we can! 

Ben Croft, the founder of the largest on-line coaching event, WBECS, shared insights on what our clients will want and how we can stay empowered and competitive in a constantly changing world.  “I was truly blown away by not only the quality of the speakers but also the quality of the Attendees. I felt very honoured to be invited to speak at the event,” was the impression that Ben was left with. He went on to say,” The event was run flawlessly and the organizing team should be very proud of themselves. I left with friendships that transcend business and am very much looking forward to deepening these. Bravo to the IAC and its leadership team for curating such an excellent community of coaches. My only recommendation is that you do this again!”


We changed paths on the second day when, Professor Devdas Menon, supported our deep dive into Inner Fulfilment, Self-Awareness and Compassion; the what and the how. We present impressions shared by other delegates and many IAC team members that illustrate the deep and lasting impact attending the Conference has made on them.

Our organising team lead by Shan Moorthy, IAC Vice President and Kanthi Disnayake, President, IAC Colombo Chapter  in Colombo did some fabulous work in putting together a global event with the added flavour of showcasing for our many overseas visitors the cultural diversity and beauty of Sri Lanka. Shan comments, “The President and the conference team’s design of the conference catered for both experienced coaches and to those who wanted to explore Coaching. The atmosphere was like that of a family reunion, with senior members of the IAC and the younger members engaged in conversations that mattered to inspire the global Coaching community. Personally, it was great meeting and interacting with our Executive team, exchanging ideas and insights. The experience gained from attending the conference was invaluable.

Leanne Chan, IAC Board Member: Precious Moments! I was delighted to attend the IAC Global Conference at Colombo, to mingle and connect with groups of smart, brilliant and passionate coaches from different parts of the world, sharing a diversity of culture.

It was a unique opportunity to meet in-person my colleagues on the Board of Governors and our dedicated Executive Committee team, with whom I have till now been connected virtually over the past year and a half. How marvellous that we could exchange cultural perspectives and indulge in innovative thought provoking conversations!

These creative conversations are moving us ahead and bringing significant positive changes in the IAC Global structure and system that will transform us to a more lively and well-known association of coaches from around the globe. 

I am proud to be the member of IAC and thank President Krishna and all the other Board Members to take us forward towards becoming IAC coaches who bring Distinctive Professional Values to our profession.


Martha Pasternack, IAC Secretary and Board Member: Ayubowan! I offer my deep gratitude and respect to all present at the IAC conference in Colombo and to those organizing the conference and supporting our well-being. The gracious reception, the nourishing food, the beauty of Sri Lanka and her people filled me with joy and appreciation.

Radiant beauty, generosity and kindness surrounded the conference as we engaged in purposeful conversation about how we each wanted to be coaches in the world as it is today. The doorway has been opened to a radiant future of powerful relationships that will carry us towards peace. Thank you for including me in this circle of life. May the brilliance of compassion meet your steps, at home and at work, on the pathway of masterful coaching. May we meet again.

Tamal Bhatia, Delegate & Conference Speaker: The Colombo conference was a great confluence of thoughts and ideas of how we can move to the next level of coaching conversations that can include AI in a meaningful manner. Above all the sheer quality of people and interactions provided for an amazing experience. 

Surabhi Chadha, Delegate and IAC VOICE Co-Editor: One of the most well thought through, organised and enriching conferences, the IAC Global Conference was a perfect blend of inspiring presenters and deep content on coaching! Kudos to the entire IAC planning team for their energy and participation to make this event successful.

Abideh Saleh, Delegate & Member, IAC Communications Portfolio: My definition of success for the 1st ever IAC Coaching Conference in Colombo Sri Lanka is not in the number of attendees or the popularity of the Speakers. When I observe the engaging conversations that the attendees have and how each of us can learn through sharing and giving, that is when I say Kudos because this is the kind of conference that I would go to. Not to mention the group of passionate coaches locally and globally, whose sole intent was to organise a great conference. IAC truly has a family amongst us coaches.


Nikhil Chadha, Delegate& HR Leader: The conference was a coming together not only of the minds, but more truly of hearts – all inspired by similar purpose of creating value and enabling people to reach their aspirations.

It felt like coming home to a set of warm hearted brilliant and experienced minds, supportive, collaborative, and stretching to grow. I was delighted to have been able to be a part of this experience.

Ritu Mathur, Delegate and President, IAC Bangalore Chapter: Really enjoyed interacting and hearing the coaching greats, to see the incredible passion and depth they bring to coaching. For me it was also the conversations I had with those who are in similar journey to be a coach was also immensely engaging and satisfying.

Nigel Cumberland, Delegate and Member, IAC Collaborations Committee; The Conference was a wonderful opportunity to spend a few days with an incredible variety of aspiring and experiencing coaches coming from all over the world. It was great to have met the incoming President, Pepe del Rio, who had travelled all the way from Mexico City for the event. Dr Devdas Menon from Chennai’s IIT insights about the bigger picture and our place in the world was really meaningful and inspiring.  In addition, I found the chance to build new and re-establish relationships with friends in the coaching community very welcome and the opportunity to share some of my wisdom with younger coaches was very uplifting. I am looking forward to IAC’s next global conference.


Well said, Nigel!  Having spent two days at a conference or rather in the IAC Global Village; with the perfect blend of presentations, experiences, conversations – and not to mention all the delicious food – we hugged and said “See you next time”.   We learned so much on many levels.  It is impossible to put a monetary value on the experience.  Two words that would best wrap it all up; Social Impact.


Truly, a coaching conference with a difference!

Ayubowan!   (Sinhalese greeting; meaning wishing you a long life)

Bibi Ohlsson

IAC Vice President & Head of COMMs

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