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ICF 2010

2010 ICF International Conference, Forth Worth, Texas, US

Here’s our reflections and takeaways on the conference…

The Opening Super Session – The Annesci Quartet

This string quartet from France gave us a look at a typical day in their rehearsal life and used the experience as a metaphor for a working team…as well as some fantastic music!! Here are some things we took away from this session.

  • All parts of the team have to be together and yet individual.
  • Leadership changes to suit circumstances.
    Co conducting (leading) was excellent exercise in co leading (they had volunteers from the audience come on stage and co-conduct/lead).
  • All parts of the team are important no matter how small.
  • Great conductors/leaders have an ability to drop into any experience.
  • Great teams know when one part needs to be loud and when soft.
  • High performance teams integrate egos for good of the music/teamwork.
  • Reciprocity and interactivity are everyday features.


The Art of Storytelling – Empowering and Inspiring You and Your Clients! with Lisa Bloom, PCC (Israel) will encourage us to embrace the universal language of storytelling to define our experiences and gain insight into the essence of our being. Storytelling allows each person to create meaning and it inspires and empowers us to create the lives we desire.

  • Everyone has a story
  • We naturally speak in stories
  • Stories are emotional and therefore more impactful
  • Listen to your clients stories, where they are repetitive, where they are the client’s go to place
  • Bring awareness of the stories to the client
  • Recognizing patterns can create awareness, broaden perspectives, and encourage action
  • Stories are both useful and entertaining

 Would it be OK if Coaching Got Easier??  How to Bring Clarity, Focus, Ease and Grace to Coaching?with Maria Nemeth, Ph.D., MCC (USA) will lead off the Art of Coaching presentations on Thursday with this highly interactive session that will have us learning how to create luminous coaching experiences for ourselves and our clients. You will create possibility by using the Four Box Model, learn three things to get past personal “show-stoppers” and use The Life’s Intentions Inventory to gain clarity and focus about what is important

  •  Use a life intentions inventory to gain clarity
  • Learning to discern thoughts worth thinking brings focus
  • Looking for ways to press the easy button
  • Grace is the capacity to experience gratitude thus savoring your life
  • Miracles as I know them are simply a change in perspective
  • Creating ultimate coaching environment embraces all 4 features, Clarity, Focus, Ease, Grace

The How, What, and Why of Happiness: Experimentally Boosting Well-Being Through Gratitude, Optimism, and Kindness with Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D. Sonya, an award-winning researcher on the subject of happiness, will address two important questions in her engaging presentation: “Is it possible to become lastingly happier and, if yes, how?” and “Why is this important?”  The answers to these questions will serve to inform our work with our clients as they seek greater happiness and fulfillment in their lives.

  • Happiness is cognitive, sense that one’s life is good
  • Positive psychology is the new happiness medium
  • We can induce happiness by changing it’s set point
  • We can make it a life-long trait through hedonic adaptation
  • It is an affective, experience of frequency and emotions, example, she had Laser eye surgery which was miraculous but after a time it became commonplace
  • Count your blessing by starting a gratitude journal?
  • ARK, random acts of kindness can increase happiness
  • Gratitude and optimism are common denominators


The Art of Coaching Energetically: Introducing a Coaching Evolution with Jayne Warrilow, PCC (UK) invites each attendee to develop a higher level of energetic awareness by embracing and more fully developing his or her intuition.  You will more easily move into flow in your coaching and use your energy to support and enhance transformation.

  • Getting people ready for a new global marketplace by knowing yourself
  • The intention for workshop is to get clear on next coaching evolutionary phase
  • What drains me? What energizes me?
  • Energy operates on 4 levels
  • Continue to look to your head heart and gut
  • To get an energy boost, tap on thymus, k27 (under your bra wire for women)
  • When you step into energetic awareness you can shift yourself and clients into alignment and flow 


Discover the Power of Laughter with Sherrie Dutton, ACC & Rona Fluney, CPCC. Sherrie and Rona will present on research about how laughter creates chemical changes in the brain that lead our clients to those A-HA moments.

  • Contract for laughter in your discovery sessions
  • Continue to keep laughter present to enhance coaching interactions
  • Laughter is kinetic and experiential, keep clients aware of these features
  • This a powerful tool that can unblock clients and make coaching fun

The Magic of Metaphor with Cynthia Loy Darst, MCC (USA) will take us on a fun-filled romp leading to a deep exploration of the Land of Metaphor.  We will learn to use words to create powerful images that invite energetic and emotional awareness for our clients and that have the power to unlock imagination, creativity and resourcefulness.

This session was so interactive we never took notes. But just let us say that Cynthia’s way of having us look at that “burr under our saddle” (to use a Texas metaphor), from not just an initial metaphorical perspective but using the entire room as a lab to search for other usable metaphors was extremely enlightening. We got to look at the “burr” in a variety of ways and we had a coach along to note each piece of awareness and if avaialble in the moment, put out possible courses of action. It was a wonderful experience. Thanks Cynthia!

The Lost Art of Voice: A Missing Ingredient in Coaching with Louise Mahler, Ph.D. (Australia) will lead us on a humorous and very interactive adventure to develop, expand and improve the way we use our voice so it reflects our authentic being. Increasing your Vocal Intelligence will enhance your ability to communicate and lead. 

This was a unique way to look at your own voice and your client’s voice to see was might be going on in the moment. But click here to see a copy of her handout…it says it all.


Coaching for Strengths Use and Development with Robert Biswas-Diener, Ph.D. Robert, an expert in the field of positive psychology, will present on  the science of strengths psychology. The heart of the program will be highly experiential activities that aim to hone coaching skills including strengths vocabulary building and strength spotting.

Since we both come from a strengths based approach this session was right upur alley!

 As part of the conference this year there were a series of “Global Conversations“. Each session was graphically captured by some very talented artists and the context for the sessions follows as well as a link to the very insightful pictographs.

 Complexity Science, People, and Organizations
Roger Lewin, Birute Regine

Intel’s former chief, Andy Grove, once said, “With all the rhetoric about change, the fact is that we managers hate change, especially when it involves us.” But as we well know, in our fast-moving, interconnected, global economy, change is inevitable, and with it comes uncertainty. The challenge for managers is to guide change in positive directions, so that their organizations can adapt and transform uncertainties into new strengths. The challenge for coaches is to work with their clients create conditions that nurture such change in positive ways, at the individual and corporate level.

The new science of complexity offers a novel perspective of business organizations as complex adaptive systems, rather than the traditional machine model. In such systems, the interactions within them are the source of novelties that emerge from them. What develops from human interactions in organizations is the culture, innovation, and creativity. Complexity science provides insights as to how to enhance those interactions so that desired outcomes grow from the seeming chaos of an environment of creativity and rapid adaptation.

Participants will learn practical steps coaches can use to assist their clients with issues around uncertainty and change, in the realms of organizational structure and culture.


  1. What are the greatest obstacles you encounter for engendering change, in individuals and in organizations?
    2. What are some strategies your clients can use to tolerate uncertainty?
    3. What is your response to this statement: How leaders deal with vulnerabilities in themselves and with others characterizes their leadership style.
    4. Feminine characteristics such as inclusion, relational and emotional intelligence, collaboration, and empathy, are powerful skills to have in interconnected, interdependent realities like complex systems, but they have been marginalized as soft. How is “soft” the new hard?

Internationalism Becomes the Norm
Peter Kerr

The future belongs to people who can adeptly navigate the multicultural landscapes of tomorrow without getting lost in the challenges posed by diversity and globalism.  It’s not uncommon for coaches to encounter a dozen different cultural contexts in a single day, and often they are all inside the same organization!  People from widely divergent ethnic and business cultures are no longer separated by national borders, but are more often only separated by cubical half-walls.  As globalism increasingly breaks down barriers between people, coaches must recognize cultural differences, reach out to increasingly diversified customer bases, and be prepared to adapt leadership and management styles to fit any occasion.  Coaches furthermore must learn how to demonstrate genuine respect for all kinds of people and encourage businesses to recruit and train cross-culturally savvy talent. 

This Global Conversation will introduce you to the major factors separating cultures, familiarize you with behaviors that increase your cultural intelligence, and allow you to discuss and learn in small groups about the cultural challenges facing coaches today and tomorrow. 

Participants will break into small groups and will discuss at least three of the questions below.  Group leaders will report out at the end of the session to share their group’s unique insights.

1.     Have you ever been frustrated by an intercultural difference? What did you do to overcome it?
2.     The ICF is committed to being international; how do we embrace and become the international organization we aspire to be?
3.     What point on intercultural behavior did the speaker make that most resonated with you?
4.     What single tidbit of advice do you have to help people be more culturally intelligent?
5.     What’s the difference between personality and cultural differences?  How does our response differ between handling interpersonal conflict   and intercultural clashes?
6.     What skills do ICF coaches need to develop to help others with intercultural issues?
7.     How are ICF coaching practices being held accountable for this increasing need in our world?
8.     How do we stay respectful to other cultures without giving up our own distinctives?

Transforming the Fragmented Community Through Deep Dialogue
Ashok Gangadean

The absence of belonging is so widespread that we might say we are living in an age of isolation, imitating the lament from early in the last century, when life was referred to as “the age of anxiety.” We talk today of instant sharing of information, but it doesn’t create a sense of belonging. It doesn’t create the connection from which we can become grounded and experience the sense of safety that arises from a place where we are emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically a member. The cost of our detachment and disconnection is not only our isolation, our loneliness, but also the fact that there are too many people in our communities whose gifts remain on the margin.

If we care about transformation, then we will focus on bringing the gifts of those on the margin into the center. If we have any desire to create an alternative future, it is only going to happen through a shift in our language by posing, reframing, and inverting questions that create depth and opening for authentic change. This is a call for the collective intelligence of ICF members, who will be accountable and committed to what we create as a result of this Global Conversation (Peter Block, Community, 2009).  

The questions for the coach are:

  • How can we lead conversations about our interdependence, our relatedness?
  • What is the means through which the coaches can contribute to shape a future in which we rebuild cohesion and a sense of knowing that personal success and safety are dependent on the success of all others?
  • How will the world be different tomorrow as a result of our Global Conversation today?

Aging: Increased Life Span and How Long We will Work 

Helen Harkness, Judy Feld

There are many reasons why people all over the world are now working longer–actively engaged in paid work (or expect to be) at later and later ages. Many of these reasons may not be to our liking, but we’d like to put forth our choice for the most positive reason: To live longer-keep working!

Coaches and our clients are facing a rapidly changing world in which:

  • Traditional “retirement age” is a disappearing concept.
  • There are many new options for part-time and remote work.
  • Retirement benefits and pensions are shrinking or disappearing.
  • We have four generations in the workplace-often vying for influence, control, visibility and security.
  • There is rapid growth in small business development for people over age 50.


Challenges and Opportunities to be aware of: 

  • Lifespan estimates are increasing by up to five months every year and there is up to a 90 percent chance that those under 50 will live to 100.
  • The ratio of workers to retirees is shrinking.
  • Older workers must consider: changing our lifestyles to reduce our spending, ensuring that we will be healthy enough to keep working and keeping our skills and capabilities relevant.
  • Many older workers have difficulty communicating across generations.
  • It is up to the “Boomers” and “Traditionalist” generations to build bridges with Gen X and Gen Y to stay relevant and successful.
  • Many companies are concerned with the “brain drain,” or the loss of institutional wisdom. This is a good sign for seasoned professionals who want part-time work.
  • How do the needs and attitudes of the Boomer population balance out with our current myths/misconceptions and researched realities about aging?


Questions for coaches to discuss:

  • What are you noticing about approaches to aging and retirement among your individual and organizational clients?
  • What valuable insights can a coach bring to conversations about aging and life and career planning?
  • What are some important powerful questions coaches should be asking our clients?
  • What resources can we bring to the table?
  • What would you do if you were 20 years younger? What is your “functional age”?


Listening Organizations and Chief Listening Officers – an Innovative and Growing Trend
Jeff Hayzlett

“Listening can make the difference between a mediocre company and a great one. That means listening to people up and down the line at every level of the organization to customers, workers, and other leaders.”  –Former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca

Traditionally, companies have spent thousands of dollars on sophisticated, and in many cases ineffective, marketing campaigns and strategies in an attempt to influence consumer’s buying activities. Yet the consumer’s buying decisions are really influenced by family and friends, those with whom they have close relationships and explicitly trust. Similarly, organizations have had a top down model, where all ideas and decision-making were driven by management.

A current trend turns this old model upside down. It begins with listening. Listening increases the value of feedback as people share more openly when they feel they are being engaged and listened to. Companies have learned that listening generates an emotional connection, creates and strengthens relationships. Thus companies are beginning to value the feedback they get when they engage and deeply listen to consumers and employees.  Those who embrace the power of listening will develop relationships and earn trust-giving these Listening Organizations an edge. In fact, these Listening Organizations value this model so much they have created the position of Chief Listening Officer and Chief Blogger.

Listening Organizations…:

  • Utilize all the social media tools available such as Facebook and Twitter to open dialogue and get feedback from the consumer. They recognize their brand will suffer if no one is listening.
  • Have a listening department whose sole purpose is to listen to customers in social channels and route them to the appropriate department; bloggers who establish contact with customer and consumers and keep the dialogue flowing.
  • Are headed by leaders who see their workforce as a valuable resource and stakeholders. They create work teams, hold town hall meetings to tap into creativity, innovation and talent and engage their staff in problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Have leaders know that ROI is influenced by the hearts and minds of consumers which is based on developing good relationships. They also know they need to embody the principles of being a CLO…every day.

Questions to stimulate your thinking:

  • How can coaches incorporate the principles of a CLO to grow their coaching business?
  • How might social media change the way coaches do business?
  • How can coaching assist in the development of listening organizations?
  • What skills do leaders need to develop to become aware of the hearts and minds of their customers and employees?

The Wrap Up Session for Global Conversations