From the President

by Bob Tschannen-Moran, IAC-CC

The IAC: Coaching in Society

By now, I hope you have heard about the upcoming international coaching forum in Kaohsiung, Taiwan on Saturday, March 19, 2011. If not, you can download the brochure from the IAC website.

I am really quite excited about this event for many reasons, not the least of which is the opportunity to connect with my colleagues and friends on the IAC’s Board of Governors. The last I heard, the following current and former members of the Board will be in attendance: Angela Spaxman, Bonnie Chan, Karen Lim, Jin Lee Teo and myself. How delightful!

In addition, Ed Britton, the IAC’s new Capacity Building Specialist, will also be in attendance. That time together will give all of us an opportunity not only to get to know each other better but also to represent what the IAC has to offer the coaching world and society at large.

"Coaching in society" is the theme of the coaching forum in Kaohsiung and it could well be the theme of the IAC’s strategic plan. The IAC not only wants to serve the professional coaching community, it also wants to serve coaching clients as well as the wider global community.

What is the impact of coaching in society? I like to think of it as instigating nonviolent revolutions. That may sound rather dramatic, and perhaps even dangerous, but the message of coaching moves people beyond traditional models of compliance and control into the free-wheeling world of self-awareness and self-responsibility. What can be more revolutionary than that?

Self-awareness and self-responsibility are the two main themes of Sir John Whitmore in his classic work, Coaching for Performance (now in its fourth edition). These themes also come through in my own new book, Evocative Coaching, where they are described in terms of the No-Fault Turn and the Strengths-Building Turn. The point of both turns is to ramp up awareness and responsibility without ramping up evaluation and blame.

These dynamics of self-awareness and self-responsibility come through clearly in the IAC Coaching Masteries®. Mastery Two, “Perceiving, Affirming, and Expanding the Client’s Potential” and Mastery Six, “Clarifying,” are all about increasing self-awareness. Masteries Eight and Nine, “Inviting Possibility” and “Helping the Client Create and Use Supportive Systems and Structures,” are all about increasing self-responsibility.

What happens when we increase self-awareness without increasing self-evaluation, criticism or judgment? What happens when we increase self-responsibility without increasing anger, fear or shame? We energize people and unleash potential. Instead of playing the blame game or waiting for someone to do something, we accept the perfection as well as the promise of the present moment. Simply put, we become change agents.

No wonder so many people and organizations view coaching as subversive. The world has long been organized around “tell and sell.” People get told what to do, and then get sold on doing it, often with the use of extrinsic rewards and punishments.

Coaching moves in a different orbit altogether. Masterful coaches awaken self-awareness and self-responsibility so people can find their own best path to their own best future. Although this may sound rather self-centered, this orientation actually makes people even better team players. Instead of doing what has always been done, self-motivated and self-designing people are more likely to find new ways to collaborate and innovate a rewarding future.

The IAC’s strategic plan makes clear statements regarding the impact of coaching in society. It happens through values such as:

  • Lifelong learning
  • Innovation and change
  • Diversity and inclusiveness
  • Partnership and caring
  • Openness and transparency
  • Abundance thinking and trust
  • Sustainability and responsibility
  • Inner peace and centering
  • Integrity and high ethical standards

Such values are not everywhere apparent or even universally embraced, but they are the values of the IAC and they are the values that coaching awakens in professional coaches, clients and the world at large. They are among the values that bring good things to life.

If you want to get on the value train towards self-awareness and self-responsibility, or if you want to volunteer and help the IAC embrace and embody these values, then I invite you to join or to renew your membership in the IAC today. The world is hungering for such life-giving values, and the IAC is privileged to share the vision as well as the work of bringing them more fully into being.

May you be filled with goodness, peace and joy,

Bob Tschannen-Moran, IAC-CC, is CEO & Co-Founder of the Center for School Transformation and President of LifeTrek Coaching International. Bob has co-authored a new book, titled Evocative Coaching, which incorporates the IAC Coaching Masteries® in a coaching model designed for leaders and coaches in K-12 schools.

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