Earlier this month, I was able to attend the first ever ICF Philippines International Coaching Summit which was well attended by coaches, top management, academe and aspiring professional coaches just like me.
So what is Coaching?
After listening to different resource speakers, it became clearer to me that Coaching is NOT consulting, mentoring and training. It is definitely not counseling which I had a formal training way back in high school and college when I became a peer counselor.
Coaching is future focused with the primary focus on creating actionable strategies for achieving specific goals. Below is the exact definition by ICF.
To help us better understand what Coaching really is and how it ignites transformation, here are some of the key pointers shared by the plenary speakers:
Transformation and the Power of Coaching
Dr. Marcia Reynolds discussed about Discomfort Zone and the role of coaches to create that moment of uncertainty so that clients can see themselves in an entirely different way.
While there is no one way to coach, she emphasized that coaching happens we got the client to “stop and think.” Coaches help their clients to stop and question themselves. To create that crack in the wall where breakthrough and transformations happens.
“We do not tell people what to do!” but instead coaches brings their client to their discomfort zone, to an unchartered space leaving the person vulnerable enough to learn.
"Coaching happens in that moment of uncertainty, that space where we make that crack by asking that questions, by making that moment for disruptive reflection and the light shines through, we create transformation…"
Coaching is about receiving, not just active listening. Coaches listen with curiosity, care and courage to receive what is keeping the person from moving forward. Listening is truly receiving. We listen not only with our ears, but coaches must listen with their mind, heart and gut.
During break time, I was also delighted to see one of my closest friends in college. Oskie is one of my fellow peer counselors and we both have a stint as a student-coach too. Now, we would like to pursue professional coaching that's why we attended the ICF Summit.
Accelerating Leadership Development
“We need leaders to learn faster and faster; and learn new different kind of things in a new different ways.”
Dr. David Peterson, Google’s Global Girector of Executive Coaching and Leadership, stressed the need for leaders to expose themselves to VUCA intentionally. In a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous environment is where we need leaders; to make more things efficient and to make things happen.
It is in this context that managers needs to learn how to coach. More than just active listening to employees, leaders in organizations needs to advance their skills, particularly in coaching.
Grow and Evolve...
It it during this time when Coaching can provide exercises for leaders to have clearer vision of the future and the decisions they need to make. It challenges them to pinpoint what’s the right decision today.
He also reiterated the need for coaches and leaders to put ourselves into the Discomfort Zone and be in different situations that challenges us instead of choosing comfort and familiarity because that's how we can truly develop our skills and grow.
Transformation level is where coaches and leaders need to focus... Coaching is more valuable when leadership challenges are difficult, complex and ambiguous. When things are simple and straightforward, you don't need a strong leader.
"Most leaders do not keeping phase with the phase of change. They are not growing as fast as the phase of change. Coaches need to learn faster than leaders and to always look forward."
Coach Transformation: Learning Masterful Art of Coach
During the coaching demonstration of Damian Goldvarg in one of the 4 breakout sessions I attended, he showed how important it is for the client to realize what he needs to achieve within the given timeframe. This can be done when the coach ask follow-up questions based on what the client tells him and then redirect the conversation to the objectives of the session when the topic seems to be off.
Quality of Time, not Quantity. He emphasized the importance of putting “quality” on the time spent with client by coming up with clear goals through active listening and powerful questioning.
Organizations nowadays spend more money and time in building a coaching culture as they realize that it makes a difference in the lives of people. In his plenary speech, Damian Goldvarg shared that in designing a coaching culture, it is very important to answer these questions at the first phase:
With his sharing, I realized that building a coaching culture in any organization will entail a lot of humility, especially for leaders... Humilty to seek for assistance to see what they don't see. Coaching is a vehicle for employee development at all levels that's why more and more organizations are realizing its importance. "When you coach, it brings the best in you and in your organization." he said.
Transformational Skills for Changing Times
Eileen McDargh of The Resiliency Group perfectly ended the summit with her overwhelming presentation. Her title as Chief Energy Officer was way indeed a testament of what she does best... channeling positive energy in the room full of eager learners. I love it when she started her talk with a groovy song and a little dance!
In her sharing, Eileen talked about how coaches challenge people at looking what's possible. She said that coaching is about exploring new choices and different possiblities by asking effective questions. "Ask me questions to see what I'm not seeing." Curiosity is one of the major trait of a coach, she added.
What do we need to adapt? She emphasized the need for us not to be "too comfortable" especially in the workplace. We need to unlearn things and learn new things in a totally new different ways. For her, "to know and not to do is not to know!" This is her 5 Tips for Holding Work and Yourself Together:
Top 10 Tips for Leading Yourself and Others in Challenging Times
It's also important to remember the top 5 characteristics of a resilient coach... Adaptability, Agility, Laugh-ability, and Alignment. At the end of the day, it's our WHY that keeps us moving despite all the challenges and difficulties.
This ICF International Coaching Summit also reminded me of my WHY... I'm inspired to pursue a professional coaching career knowing that coaches makes a difference in the lives of other people... It also aligned with my blog's purpose.
"Coaches dedicate themselves to make that difference... we will change this world."