On June 5, I attended the DC ICF sixth annual Capital Coaches Conference: Coaching with Impact, Innovation, and Integrity to Create Sustainability. We had about 225 coaches in attendance, two keynote speakers, many breakout sessions, and a master coaching demo as well. I know it’s a bit late, but now that I’m recovered from all that learning, I’m happy to share a few of my notes, take-aways, and observations from that day for those of you who could not or did not attend.
First up, I attended a breakout session called Secrets of Leadership Alchemy led by Kanu Kogod, PhD., and Gail Williams., MS. For seven years they’ve been leading the leadership coaching program at NASA Goddard Space Center, and they taught us about their work and results in creating a community of learners that unique culture. Their program integrated appreciative inquiry, emotional intelligence, somatic presence, action learning, and reading/reflection. Each participant engaged in a “pay it forward project” for their action learning. Here are a few gems from Kanu and Gail:
“A coach helps break coherence so they can re-organize in alignment with their vision.”
“For the sake of what?” A conversation about intentional commitment.
“What if you were 10x bolder? What might the future look like?”
“What you choose to pay attention to creates your life.”
“Trading up for a larger context.”
“Practice generative thinking, think in a new field, stay in the question.”
“In what ways can you turn the iciness of fear into the ice cream sundae of delight?”
“Adults learn best in a community where there’s lightness.”
Next, we had the morning keynote by Kevin Cashman: The Art and Science of Executive Coaching: Eleven Lessons Learned Over 30 Years. Some highlights from his session:
“Executive coaching in times of challenge yields bigger results.”
“Leaders remind people what’s important. Coaches as leaders do the same.”
“A crisis is seldom what it appears to be. For example, we are not actually in a financial crisis now. We are in a character crisis, an innovation crisis, and a leadership crisis, all of which created the resulting financial symptoms we now experience.”
“Coaching builds awareness, authenticity, commitment, practice, accountability, especially if you coach the whole enterprise: leaders, teams, the whole organization.”
“Leaders and coaches go beyond what is. Every effective leader goes beyond what is. It’s called transcendence. Managers, by contrast, enhance, improve, and expand what is. Coaches foster a shift from managment to leadership.”
Cashman talked about using coaching and leadership gifts in service of what’s most important to us, alignment, congruence with the core. He discussed 7 developmental shifts of focus: Shift from problem to opportunity, from short term to long term, from circumstance to purpose, from control to trust (Self trust is the core of leadership), from self-focus to service, from expert to listening, from results to results+people.
“The core competency of executive coaching is presence. Innovation will be the new leadership. How present are we with ourselves? This is crucial to development.”
Then after lunch, we had the pleasure and joy of our second keynote with the brilliant Michael Bungay Stanier. He shared with us his powerful video (Find Your Great Work Movie), and talked with us about focus and courage. He facilitated a number of activities and dialogues with our colleagues, and guided us when stuck to think, “What wouldn’t you do?” a question which leaves all you CAN do and illuminates possibilities.
The afternoon breakout sessions I went to were about Coaching Towards Political Savvy: Helping Clients Navigate Office Politics With Emotional Intelligence (“influencing with integrity is about harnessing the power of office politics”), and Innovative Techniques to Impact Unseen Influence which was about tools we can use and teach our clients to use to manage their energy in difficult times.
The most fun I had was in the MCC coaching demo, though. Five of us (myself included) were asked to do a demo of masterful coaching for a volunteer in each of 5 breakout rooms. We each introduced the demonstration, asked for a volunteer in the room, and coached for 20 minutes whatever was the challenge facing that volunteer. Then, we facilitated a dialogue with the participants about masterful coaching and debriefed using the ICF core competencies.
Okay, now you’re caught up. The DC ICF hosts this event every year, typically the first Friday in June, so mark your calendar to attend next year!