From the President

by Bob Tschannen-Moran, IAC-CC

The IAC: A Life-Giving Organization

I don’t know where the IAC would be today without Past President Angela Spaxman and Vice President Joan Marie Johnson, but one thing is clear: we would not be an organization with a long-range, strategic plan. Although many people have worked on the plan, including other Board members, volunteers and interested outsiders, none have worked harder or more consistently than Angela and Joan. The IAC owes them much gratitude and appreciation.

And the IAC is not the only one who ought to be celebrating. Unlike the strategic plans of many professional organizations, the newly-adopted “IAC Vision and Strategic Plan: 2010-2015” goes beyond how the IAC hopes to serve its members and the profession of coaching. It focuses just as clearly and just as passionately on how the IAC hopes its members and the profession of coaching will serve the world. Coaching is not an end in itself; it exists to inspire and invigorate its clients and the wider world with life-enhancing energy. To that end, the new Vision and Plan of the IAC goes beyond the customary focus on helping our members to set and achieve high standards and to make more money. We are bold enough to focus on the contribution our organization and profession can make to the continued evolution of the world itself.

Although this orientation comes through in every section of the Plan, I especially appreciate the following values, affirmations and conceptual frameworks:

  • “The IAC is on a MISSION to provide a highly accountable learning/certification framework for aspiring and experienced coaches, so their mastery of coaching is valued and contributes to evolving human potential worldwide.”
  • “The IAC aims to be an inspirational magnet for governments, organizations, clients and coaches who want to learn about coaching mastery in practice.”
  • “Coaching is a powerful, viral process that can create a paradigm shift toward collaborative and proactive ways of working among humans in a wide variety of public and private fora.”
  • “The IAC enVISIONs a world where coaching professionals commit to continuously learning, growing, collaborating and holding themselves accountable; coaching recipients are inspired to achieve their desired outcomes; and the world benefits in many surprising, life-giving ways.”

That’s pretty heady stuff, yet that is the stuff that has gotten me so excited about the IAC. As coaches, we are not in this business just to make a living (although we certainly enjoy ourselves more when we do). As coaches, we are in this business to make a life-giving difference. We truly hope and believe it is possible to change the world, one conversation at a time. Our new Vision and Plan calls the IAC to be an integral part of that transformation.

You’ll be hearing a lot more about this Vision and Plan in the months to come. It will affect everything we do, including our approach to certification and licensing. I will leave our many excellent BOG members and IAC volunteers to explain and execute the details. I do, however, want to highlight an overarching theme in our Vision and Plan that speaks to both our orientation and approach when it comes to making these bold claims: personalized learning agreements.

I don’t know of another professional association that takes such an approach. In every other instance, professionals are told both which hoops they have to jump through and exactly how they have to jump. In the case of the IAC, however, professionals are invited to define their approach to achieving and maintaining coaching mastery. This goes for certification of coaching professionals as well as for licensing of coach training programs and mentors. The IAC sets a high standard with our nine, internationally-validated Coaching Masteries®. That is the bar we seek to hurdle and maintain. But how each coach, training program and mentor goes about that task is a highly personalized affair. The IAC affirms, recognizes, supports and celebrates such individuation.

One inspiration for this approach is a story from Ben Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic and teacher at the New England Conservatory of Music. To unleash the creativity, potential and genius of his music students, he announces at the start of each academic year, “Each student in this class will get an A for the course, however, there is one requirement that you must fulfill to earn this grade: sometime in the next two weeks you must write me a letter dated next May, which begins with the words, ‘Dear Mr. Zander, I got my A because…,’ and in this letter you are to tell, in as much detail as you can, the story of what will have happened to you by next May that is in line with this extraordinary grade.” (The Art of Possibility, 2000, p. 27)

That is the something like the approach the IAC hopes to take through our new Vision and Plan. We intend to require coaches, training programs and mentors who seek IAC certification and /or licensing to, in effect, annually write and submit a letter that describes the story of what they will have done over the course of the next year to achieve and to maintain coaching mastery. We do not define a path of development or a portfolio of business that all coaches have to follow or achieve; we rather define a process for accountable, personalized learning that invigorates and brings out the best in us all.

If that sounds as inviting, exciting and refreshing to you as it does to us, then perhaps it’s time to join or to renew your membership in the IAC today. I look forward to sharing the journey with you in the months and years to come.

May you be filled with goodness, peace and joy,

Bob Tschannen-Moran, IAC-CC, is President of LifeTrek Coaching International. Together with this wife, Megan, Bob has written a new book titled Evocative Coaching (Jossey-Bass, July 2010), which incorporates the IAC Coaching Masteries® in a coaching model designed for leaders and coaches in K-12 schools.

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