Coaching is a field of constant expansion and growth. In this issue of the VOICE, we're focusing on our geographic and (more importantly) our cultural expansion as coaching becomes more important all over the world. One of our Governors, Parker Anderson explains how the IAC is approaching the challenge of being a truly international organization.
This international focus is timely from me as I've been traveling in Canada and the US, experiencing the huge differences between those places and my home in Hong Kong. I had the great fortune to attend the Conversation Among Masters conference in Monterey, California this month. President Natalie will tell you a more about masterful coaches' interest in the IAC.
In coaching, expansion and growth also refers to our continuous development of new tools and techniques. I'm very pleased to provide this month an article (for members only) about Ontological Coaching provided by Alan Sieler of Newfield Australia. This timely piece includes some very clear explanations and examples of specific tools that differentiate Ontological Coaching from other varieties.
As usual, Janice has contributed a sensuous Coaching Moments especially for spring.
Since spring is the time for planting seeds, please join us and thereby plant a seed that will support an ever expanding, improving and professional field of coaching.
Answers from the President by Natalie Tucker Miller
VP Diane Krause-Stetson, Editor Angela Spaxman, and I had the wonderful opportunity of attending A Conversation Among Masters (CAM) conference in Monterey California the first week in May. Listening to masters of their field discuss mastery and enlightenment as currently shaping our lives illuminated coaching as the Zeitgeist. Take a moment to visit the CAM website. You'll get a sense of how powerful this gathering was for the profession.
The majority of our time was devoted to discussing the mission and initiatives of the IAC. Business owners expressed a desire to include IAC certified coaches in their organizations and/or find ways to strategically align with the IAC for the benefit of their constituents. Additionally, many people had the opportunity to view the IAC Masteries and were visibly impressed learning about the creation of these standards. Upon reviewing the Masteries, the interest in the IAC grew before our eyes. This is a thrilling time for coaching and for the IAC's universally high coaching standards.
The final day of the conference included the launch of the Coach Initiative. This non-profit organization's mission is "to be the central gathering point where professional Coaches can volunteer their experience and expertise in support of global projects that focus on the betterment of the human condition and uplifting the human spirit." Coaches are agents of positive change by the very nature of what coaching represents: expanded thinking, profound personal transformation, removal of ego-driven patterns, and disencumbered communication. The Coach Initiative stands for "the fundamental belief that every professional Coach holds the intention to positively change the world one person at a time, and that by doing so in unison with their colleagues, they can effectuate that change at an exponential rate." Isn't it wonderful to be part of a profession which claims this responsibility?!
On the home front, it is a pleasure and honor to introduce our newest members serving on the Board of Governors: Bonnie Chan and Des Walsh. Bonnie is a multi-lingual IAC Certified Coach from Hong Kong. Des is a blogging expert and coach from Australia's Gold Coast. Please take a look at their bios on our Board of Governors webpage. We look forward to the contributions to the IAC and to coaching that these two coaches will provide.
And a special thanks to all of you, our dear and faithful members and subscribers. As always, if you are interested in getting involved at a deeper level, please fill out a volunteer application with your area of interest highlighted. As a membership organization, our strength comes from the devotion and dedication of members who wish to contribute their time and talent.
Mission International: Creating a Global Coaching Community through the IAC
by M. Parker Anderson
A global coaching community
The very name of our organization, the International Association of Coaching, speaks to what is essential in fulfilling our goals. While we continue to evolve on all levels, including expanding our membership, providing strong professional guidelines and an influential leadership base, the IAC is fundamentally interested in promoting and strengthening the skills of coaching in an international arena.
In the midst of all the work that needs to be addressed as the IAC grows, we must ensure that internationalization sits at the core of maintaining and sustaining our integrity. With our world becoming ever smaller, and with the coaching community increasing in numbers, mastery and complexity, we are faced with the question of how do we ensure that our international focus remains actively present and genuine?
Below are five areas that serve to guide the IAC or other organizations that are committed to being international.
Be rooted in a mission that encompasses international
The very mission of the IAC is in "furthering the interests of coaching … worldwide…". The language of this mission invites a sense of stretching and expanding into a global world community. The mission is like a guiding beacon constantly reminding the organization of its true desires. This poses a constant challenge and opportunity for members and leaders of the IAC as the practical implications of the mission unfold. Following our mission is integral to maintaining and ensuring the authenticity of our organization.
Cast a broad net
In an international community there has to be room for everyone to find a place to contribute and to participate in whatever way makes the most sense for them at the time. The IAC is fortunate to have a strong and talented group of unpaid leaders at the helm of the organization, who dedicate untold skill, time, and energy to growing and strengthening the field of coaching. The Board of Governors purposefully and actively seeks the participation of members from all over the world and regularly casts a broad net to invite and encourage leaders motivated in our mission to emerge from across the globe.
Members can get involved in many different ways, including volunteering for a committee, writing an article for the Voice, participating in online COGs, Local Chapters and tele-seminars and many other activities that are constantly being added. Inasmuch as the leadership needs to invite members to participate and contribute in an open-minded way, it is also incumbent on members to step forward and be willing to contribute whenever possible. Signing up and joining is one huge step in the right direction. Members and potential members are encouraged to take an active part in the organization.
Overcome differences and barriers
When speaking about things international, there is a compelling need to consider a laundry list of issues including time, language, cultural and economic differences that can be obstacles to true inclusion. Most of the time with patience and consideration these obstacles can be surmounted and swept away as being little more than minor inconveniences rather than major obstacles.
Recently the IAC considered the international implications of setting membership fees. We wanted to set fees that would both support and sustain the organization without being enormously cumbersome to coaches in communities with lower income levels. One member of our Board raised the question of "How would one fee amount or another impact the global coaching community?". It is through asking these seemingly small questions that the possibility of internationalization is accomplished.
Explore the possibilities
When a company or an organization is truly international, full consideration must be given to searching for the common ground. The organization must consider all possibilities and respond to the "what ifs". This takes time and requires patience. Learning from colleagues halfway around the world must be more than "here it is and do it this way". There must be an invitation to examine and uncover the possibilities that can further our goals internationally.
Embed the essentials
Each and every organization motivated to be truly international must learn to embed the essential components of globalization into their everyday work. First, we must reconnect with our mission and with our members. Second, we must reexamine the areas where the organization may have been wrapped up in tradition or in "have to's" that don't serve the international needs of the organization. We should reconsider the relevant issues and policies and be willing to reinvent in consideration of a broader set of needs. Third, organizations committed to being international should continuously recommit to ensuring the continued involvement of a global community.
Mission International: Mission Possible
The strength of any organization lies in who is leading and who are those who are willing to follow. The IAC has made a commitment to being an international coaching community that furthers the interests of coaching worldwide. The call is made for all to contribute, join in, and participate in making coaching a mission international and a mission possible.
Your active support and involvement is needed from across the globe. Join with us in "furthering the interests of coaching…worldwide."
M. Parker Anderson, PCC
Parker is a member of the IAC Board of Governors and CEO of The Anderson Advantage Group, an international coaching and executive management firm based in Washington, D.C. Often considered an internationalist, Parker has lived and worked throughout the globe including Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and South America. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.taagroup.org
The Transformative Power of Ontological Coaching
by Alan Sieler, Director, Newfield Australia
"Real learning gets to the heart of what it means to be human. Through learning we re-create ourselves." (Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline.)
Ontological Coaching is an approach to coaching that gets to the heart of what it means to be human as the means for generating profound positive change. Two examples are provided in this article on the application of this remarkably powerful coaching methodology.
Excerpts from the article:
"… After a range of exploratory questions about money and her life circumstances the coach asked, is "What is the story you hold about yourself not having enough money?" Karen said that it meant she could not have fun, and with that her body lurched back slightly and her eyes widened. Although a simple statement, this was a revelation for her as she came to see how life had become serious and heavy for her. …"
"… Way of Being consists of three interrelated spheres of human existence. These three spheres are language, emotions and physiology (body posture). Our Way of Being can be thought of as the internal reality we live in, which especially includes the relationship we have with ourselves. …"
"… Stella was gradually introduced to the domain of the body as an important area of learning. The body learning aspect of the coaching had two components. The first was developing an awareness of how she had developed posturally in response to living in her core negative self-assessment and a mood of Anxiety. The coach encouraged her to become aware of how she held her head and neck, her shoulders, her chest and torso and her hips, and asked her how the world was for her from this posture. …"
To read the whole article, click here. (members only)
"Coaching Moments" takes a thoughtful, and sometimes lighthearted, look at how coaching can be interwoven into our daily lives.
all kinds of gardens by Janice Hunter
I love our garden in May. Last spring, I spent hours outside with an MP3 player, relishing the coaching sessions my colleagues had sent me to critique. This year, I've been blessing the person who invented the wireless laptop that allows me to work outside on ebooks, websites, teleclasses and articles and to correspond with friends and colleagues from all over the world.
Scotland's not renowned for its glorious weather – it's lush and green for a reason! But when the sun comes out, there's a flurry of activity as people celebrate the chance to spruce up and preen their front gardens. Lawnmowers rev and back gardens become relaxed outdoor living spaces where laughing neighbours, friends and families spontaneously gather around sizzling barbeques to chat and drink beer. As I sit on our back steps with the sun on my face, gently crushing the fragrance of rosemary and mock orange blossom between my fingers, my garden always reminds me of my coaching.
The mossy, winding path of weathered paving stones we laid years ago leads into little secret patios inviting me to pause, still my thoughts and enjoy the birdsong or a breeze rustling through the branches. Bordering this path is a tall, dense patchwork of planting which pretty much takes care of itself now. I'm not the world's best pruner or weeder so I play to my strengths and plant evergreens, easy perennials and ground cover. Reliable old favourites and the odd surprising newcomer. As I'm a coach who talks too much, it'll come as no surprise that I'm a gardener who plants too densely. My narrow strip of garden's always teaming with birds, bugs and grubby kids and you never know what you'll discover next!
Slim, blue-green conifers, purple tipped hebes, laurels and rhododendrons form the evergreen backbone of the planting. Softening the hard edges of the paving are delicate pink flowering alpines, fat green elephant's ears bearing spears of mauve flowers, burgundy heucheras and deep purple daisy-like blooms set against a crown of arching, russet cordyline spikes. A few well chosen plants, but all working hard. Flowing colour harmonies, contrasting heights, leaves and shapes all combining to serve more than one purpose in a small, confined space. Over the years, I've learned by trial and error what works and what doesn't and now I just trust my instincts, have fun and play it by ear when I plant. I've learned to do the same with my coaching.
Everywhere I go in my garden, every day, every season, even in the winter as I gently brush the snow off branches bowed and about to break, I hear, see, feel and smell something different, something perfect. Every coaching session has its own rhythm too, its own harmonies and unexpected treasures, just as every coach has their own reliable evergreens and well trodden paths.
Many coaches are anxious about whether their coaching style is a ‘fit' with what the IAC is looking for in a thirty minute exam submission. Yet, while each of the IAC examiners must wander through all kinds of ‘coaching gardens', savouring sounds, silences, shapes, colours, movement and fragrances that resonate with their own unique perceptions, we all know that true beauty can show up in the smallest of spaces – and when it does, it's unmissable, carrying with it the power to unite hearts and minds across time and space. A truly masterful coaching session can do the same. ______________________________________________________________
My thanks to all of you who wrote to comment on my piece last month and apologies to anyone who tried to respond but got their email sent back. I had a server problem for a few days. I'd be very grateful if you could resend anything that was bounced back as I love hearing your input. ~ Janice
Janice Hunter is a writer, teacher and IAC certified coach who currently specialises in homelife coaching – helping people create authentic, spirit filled lives and homes they love – and in supporting coaches on their certification journeys. She lives in Scotland with her husband and two children.
The IAC® is a community of progressive and diverse coaches. With coaches from 80 countries, and even more languages, from all walks of life, you’ll have no trouble finding a coach or colleague you can connect with. If you are a client, this is a great way to find the most masterful coaches in the world! *
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