The Global Summit on the Future of Coaching

by Natalie Tucker Miller, MCC (IAC) and Kristi Arndt, MCC (IAC)

The Global Summit on the Future of Coaching was held at Queens University in
Charlotte, North Carolina on July 26-28, 2012, and was an historic event for
the field of coaching. The Summit Steering Committee, composed of Board and
staff leaders from the Association of Coach Training Organizations (ACTO), European
Mentoring & Coaching Council (EMCC), the Graduate School Alliance for Executive
Coaching (GSAEC) and the International Coach Federation (ICF), with additional
representation from the Australian Psychological Society (APS), met throughout
the past year to organize and plan this important gathering. The 29 voices at
the table represented five continents (Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North
America) and 14 not-for-profit professional coach organizations, generating
a rich conversation and idea exchange. Jane Watkins and Ralph Kelly, co-authors
(with Bernard Mohr) of the book Appreciative Inquiry: Change at the Speed
of Imagination
(2011, Second Edition, published by Pfeiffer), facilitated
the dialogue.

Initially, we were asked to consider what is required for coach preparedness
and what coach credentialing can do, and does, for the coaching field. Four
questions were posed prior to the Summit:

  1. What conceptual frameworks for coaching competencies are possible, recognizing
    the diversity of the field, of practitioners and of stakeholder needs?
  2. What frameworks for coach preparation would serve to address the diversity
    of competencies and program standards?
  3. What frameworks for coach certification might offer consistency and credibility
    for the profession while acknowledging theoretical and philosophical differences?
  4. What role can professional organizations play in supporting credibility
    and standards in the field?

As we considered these opening queries, the conversations grew in diversity
and complexity. It was clear that the participants shared a commitment to contributing
to a sustainable vision for coaching as a field of professional practice. There
were also many aspects of alignment among the organizations, as well as obvious
differences. What we did agree upon was that skills are required to create a
sustainably transformative experience for clients of coaching.

Learning about the aspects of alignment was an exciting and encouraging outcome.
The coaching industry has felt many growing pains over the past several years
as it grapples with its identity. The field has taken some major hits because
of its rapid growth, not unlike other professional practices that in their early
years felt the sting of confusion in the marketplace (e.g., chiropractic, counseling
and massage therapy). Commonly asked questions include "What is it?";
"Who is qualified?"; "How are they qualified?" and "Who
determines the qualifying body?"

One of the more obvious problems is the confusion that arises when answers
to these questions are unclear. Many organizations have been disappointed when
they have turned to coaching as a solution in their companies. They have not
seen the results they were promised or expected for the dollar amount they invested.
One suggestion was that in the present economy, many people who have been downsized
or laid off have put out their "coaching shingles" without fully comprehending
the discrete and specific nature of a coaching relationship. There are also
many individuals who have adopted the term "coach" and have capitalized
on the "no barrier-to-entry" reality of the field. Anyone can, and
many do, present themselves as coaches, while lacking this important understanding.

Much work remains to be done. We are honored that the International Association
of Coaching is participating in this crucial, ongoing discussion. We would love
to hear from you, the members, as to what you have discovered in the coaching
field as a coach, as a recipient of coaching, or perhaps both. We are honored
to represent all of you and want to be able to express your views as we move
forward with more Future of Coaching events!

Also, stay tuned for more specific information from the event. There were five
transcriptionists as well as several of the participants compiling notes, and
these will be developed into a more formal report as well as an academic paper.
We look forward to sharing details contained in these documents with you.

Natalie Tucker Miller 
Natalie Tucker Miller, MCC
(IAC), is the Lead Certifier and a certifying examiner at the IAC, as well as
Past President. Natalie is founder of Publishing (,
and creator of the literary genre, Picture Books for Elders™.

Kristi Arndt 


Kristi Arndt, MCC (IAC), serves the IAC as Vice President, Professional Development
Portfolio Head and Coaching & Professional Associations Liaison. Kristi
integrates extensive knowledge of the Human Design System into her personal
coaching services to guide her clients according to life strategies that are
correct for them.



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