Four members of our Board of Governors had the privilege and pleasure of attending
this year’s Conversation Among Masters (CAM ’09). Nearly
130 master coaches from around the world gathered in Branson, Missouri, USA
May 3–7 for this unique, invitation-only event. We exchanged ideas, explored
innovative directions, made new friends and had a lot of fun!
Our IAC attendees included President Angela Spaxman; Secretary Bob Tschannen-Moran;
Volunteer Coordinator Kristi Arndt, and Communications Chair Sue Brundege. Not
only was it great to meet one another in person, we also had the opportunity
to educate many well-established coaches about IAC’s mission, our unique
certification process and the benefits of being a member.
Our four board members share their perspective on what was most inspiring about
attending CAM this year.
This is what inspired me about this year’s CAM event:
1) Masterful coaches love meaningful conversations. We don't have much time
for small talk, so each conversation I had with fellow coaches was stimulating,
allowing me to learn so much from others' experiences.
2) Masterful coaches want to contribute. It was very heartening to have a chance
to share and develop together our aspirations for bringing coaching to the world
for the good of humanity. Masterful coaches have developed their lives so well
that they are overflowing with passion to help others, and coaching is an ideal
tool to use in so many ways.
3) Masterful coaches can be stupid, testy, mean, fearful, hopeless and much,
much more! The Big Mind Process that Genpo Roshi led us through was hilarious,
highly emotional at times and very useful. We all become more attractive, effective
human beings when we allow all aspects of ourselves to do their good work, rather
than disowning them.
What most inspired me about CAM this year was the time I spent with my IAC
colleagues. I know that sounds strange, since we had such wonderful speakers
and workshop leaders, but I came away with a wonderful sense of community with
my IAC colleagues as well as clarity as to the mission of the IAC and how we
fit into the landscape of the coaching world.
The IAC and its credential are not for the novice or beginning coach. For them,
the ICF training programs are a great place to start. The IAC and its credential
are for seasoned and masterful coaches. Without requiring a particular path
of development, the IAC assesses and celebrates coaching mastery.
We’ve said that from the beginning, of course, but the conversations
we had at CAM affirmed the important place such a credential has in the coaching
community. Many of the coaches at CAM were not ICF-certified, MCC coaches. There
was great interest, therefore, in an alternative credential that did not require
backtracking on or apologizing for one’s experience or education. I love
how our credential promotes innovation and creativity in coaching. I think many
people will be joining the IAC and checking out our credential as a result of
the CAM Conference – especially after they saw our President dance.
More than anything, what distinguishes the Conversation Among Masters
annual gathering from other events is the creativity, innovation, love and devotion
demonstrated by the organizers, volunteers, presenters and participants. It’s
not easy to put into words; you almost need to have been there to know what
I’m talking about.
Imagine walking into a typical conference ballroom but rather than theater-style
seating, the room is full of bright red, blue, yellow and silver exercise balls
to provide seating for an exhilarating and really fun peek into the future with
Jody Turner. Her quirky, fast-paced presentation was followed by a fishbowl
experience facilitated by Ann Clancy and Jacqueline Binkert. Twelve chairs at
the front of the room were available for anyone who was moved to create and
contribute to an evolving conversation; participants stayed to say their piece,
then went back to bounce on their balls, leaving an open seat for someone else.
Last year was cool, too, as we sat comfortably in our rocking chairs while
conversing with Martha Beck, fellow mystics coming together to recognize ourselves
as members of a common tribe. Such purposeful environments contribute something
uniquely powerful yet mysteriously intangible, making a memorable shared experience
for everyone involved.
These are just a few of the special moments I’ve experienced at CAM.
The best part, however, is spending time with such wonderful, interesting people
who are doing amazing work in the world. The conversation really never ends
as there is always further to go and more to discuss well beyond the conference
itself. Good thing there are so many ways to stay connected and share thoughts,
ideas and inspiration with others, whether they attended or not!
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what was most inspiring about CAM ’09.
To experience so many intelligent, insightful, creative and courageous coaches
in the same room was awe-inspiring in and of itself! And if that weren’t
enough, each day we participated in a unique dialogue, initiated by thought-provoking
speakers. Each master coach attendee had the opportunity to stand up, speak
their idea, respond to another’s comments or take the conversation in
a completely different direction—it was a dynamic example of the co-creative
process en masse, both reflecting and magnifying what we all do with our clients
Against this stimulating backdrop, I was delighted to engage in both scheduled
and impromptu meetings with fellow IAC board members Angela, Bob and Kristi.
It was such a treat to meet these wonderful coaches/leaders in person, and brainstorm
on how to make the IAC even more valuable to our members. I was also excited
to see the growing interest in IAC from masterful coaches around the world who
attended the conference.
Looking ahead to next year, CAM ’10 will be held near Albuquerque, New
Mexico, USA. To learn more about CAM and its invitation criteria, visit www.conversationamongmasters.com.
Sue Brundege, IAC-CC, is a CTA- and IAC-certified coach, communication consultant
and trainer, writer, and public speaker. Through her business, Self Made Self
LLC, she helps service-based professionals gain confidence in public speaking,
writing, and networking to attract ideal clients and grow their business. Sue
also serves on the IAC Board of Governors as Communications Chair.