Have you ever had the experience where you begrudgingly undertake a task that must get done, only to discover sheer joy upon completion? I’m not talking about the ‘I finally completed the task’ moment; I’m talking about experiences of sheer wonder! Moments of deep gratitude and excitement at the realization that the leadership team you signed up with back in May 2014 not only demonstrated what an amazing group of people they are, but they exceeded all expectations with collective achievements, in a way you couldn’t have imagined!
Such was my experience when I completed our Chapter’s Activity Report – a requirement from ICF Global (previously known as the Annual Report).
This year, ICF Global changed the structure of the report, asking Chapter leaders to ‘tell the story’ about four key questions they posed. With the help and contributions from my friends, aka fellow Board and Committee Members, I proceeded to respond to the questions, re-visiting old News messages from our website to jog my memory, and reliving very special moments shared with you, our members, from exciting announcements to stimulating learning opportunities! ICF Vancouver’s 2014-2015 term has been an incredible period!
Although I did my best to capture contributions from our Board and fellow Committee members, the report is not perfect, and dear readers, please remember the intention behind it is good. Without further ado, here are the responses to ICF Global’s four questions.
ICF Global Activity Report 2014-2015
- Tell a story of a time in the past year the chapter has successfully raised the awareness of ICF and coaching in your community. Please explain the process for the activity and the impact.
This year, ICF Vancouver’s Board took a collective, deep breath and said, “In this, the 20th year of ICF globally—and our own Chapter’s 15th Anniversary—we are going to ‘go big or go home’!”
As Canada’s first ICF Chapter (incorporated in 2000), our vision is to “have the largest pool of highly trained, engaged, successful, and credentialed professional coaches that are connected to the community in Canada; and to be the “model of excellence” for ICF Chapters globally.”
We successfully raised awareness of ICF and coaching in our community this year through the design and development of the new CoachingWise designation—a continuous improvement, recognition initiative launched on May 19, 2015 in the presence of Janet Harvey, Past President, ICF Global, and current President of ICF Foundation; and some 100 ICF members and representatives from dozens of organizations. Video highlights of the North American launch can be viewed here: CoachingWise Launch
The brainchild of Donna Howes, Director for Membership portfolio, the process, and ultimate success of creating CoachingWise relied on our volunteer Board of 4 Officers and 6 Directors coming together as a model of excellence. Over a six month period, a core group of individuals (3 Board Directors and a valued Chapter Member, Martha Sales) co-created the CoachingWise model through a structured project management approach.
From developing a project charter and business case for Board approval, to meeting time-sensitive deliverables, these four determined souls embodied a coach approach and an unwavering focus on returning value to stakeholders throughout every phase of the project, consulting with:
- ICF (Global, Regional and Local);
- seven (7) organizations from diverse sectors who piloted the CoachingWise criteria maturity model (non-profit, health, utility, restaurant and academic/university);
- external Alliance partners (Human Resources Management Association);
- Accredited Coach Training programs; and,
Leveraging ICF’s own Building a Coaching Culture (2014) findings, the new CoachingWise designation engages organizations with established coaching programs based on “organizational and leadership beliefs and practices that reflect coaching as a strategic business driver and critical talent management tool.”
The impact of the new CoachingWise designation is already being felt throughout the Pacific Northwest region, with buy-in from the inaugural recipient organizations, two WRAC committees, and soon to be introduced to ICF Australia.
Since the launch, a financial sector organization has begun marketing itself as CoachingWise to recruit new employees; another, from the restaurant industry (a 2011 Global Prism Award winner) has promoted its CoachingWise status via website and social media; and one of Canada’s largest, national telecommunications companies has requested information how it can qualify to become CoachingWise; adding that they intend to enroll 50 managers to join ICF Chapters across Canada.
Looking ahead, a CoachingWise Community of Practice will share best practices and add value to a flourishing pool of CoachingWise organizations through peer-to-peer learning and knowledge sharing. In particular, the new designation can be expected to benefit individuals, the organizations in which they work, and the profession of coaching itself.
2. Tell the story of the greatest struggle for the Chapter in the past year. Was that struggle overcome, and how?
To align the Chapter with ICF Global and Regional timelines, the May 2014 leadership team was responsible for an extended 18-month term, from May 2014 to December 2015. In light of this prolonged period, a strategic planning process was created by Tricia Hollyer, Treasurer, and I to set the team up for success.
This process was designed to build team relationships, encourage individual engagement and accountability, and create a clear strategic plan. The term kicked-off with a day-and-a-half program including a team-assessment debriefing session to understand individual differences along with our team profile, followed by an externally facilitated strategic planning session. A follow-up planning day was held 8 months into the term to re-visit original goals, determine the top three goals to focus on and course-correct as required. To ensure a smooth transition for the new leadership team, a final session including budget planning for 2016 and portfolio handovers is planned for incoming and outgoing board members in early December to complete the cycle.
Then, the unexpected happened! An avalanche of unanticipated attrition was triggered, starting with the Vice-President (VP) moving countries; followed by a Director resigning to focus on his new family addition and new business; and yet another to focus on a professional opportunity, closely followed by two changes to the interim VP position! It’s probably no surprise to that the greatest challenge for our Chapter was managing changes within the leadership team and the resulting fall-out, all the while keeping up with ‘business as usual’. The executive team decided to be strategic and deliberate in their approach to fill vacancies, not rushing to fill the gaps but rather to consider the best way forward. This led to time spent re-assessing, reviewing, recruiting and interviewing individuals, aiming to find the most suitable fit for the roles. A by-product of board vacancies led to increased workloads for several individuals, multiples roles being juggled and the need for creative solutions to move forward. It is fair to say that based on over three years of board experience, this was an exceptional year for changes to the leadership team.
When overwork, overwhelm and over-promising started to take over, it was helpful to remind ourselves and each other to go back to basics and ask the simple question: ‘What top three goals MUST we deliver to our members this year?’ This grounding practice helped us navigate many a storm!!
3. Tell the story of how the Chapter has sought to engage other organizations in the spirit of social change for the better using coaching?
During its 2014-2015 term, ICF Vancouver Chapter launched the Non-Profit Leadership Coach-Giving program, the brainchild of former ICF Vancouver President, Karole Sutherland. This initiative aims to offer executive coaching to mid- and senior-level leaders in non-profit organizations who ordinarily may not have the resources nor the opportunities to seek coaching, and pillars themselves to the empowering work in social change their organizations are dedicated to.
In 2013, the idea was piloted amongst 20 such leaders at a handful of non-profit organizations. Under the stewardship of Pooja Khandelwal, Director for Coach-Giving portfolio and a strong committee comprising of Linda Finkelstein, Tony Arimare, Louann McCurdy and newly recruited member, Sean Wang, the Coach-Giving Committee set the target for the 2014 launch, to double the initial number, thus impact 40 leaders with this program. Like any great initiative, it was received with resounding excitement and enthusiasm amongst its audience, and the team saw the number quadruple! In addition to a major health care provider, other organizations whose leaders were empowered through coaching were part of two main consortiums: the Community of Social Services Employers Association (CSSEA) and HR Roundtable for Non-Profit Organizations. Through partnerships with these two consortiums, leadership coaching was provided to 80 leaders from 41 non-profit organizations across the province of British Columbia. A list of these organizations is available upon request.
This success was made possible with the support of 40 ICF credentialed coaches along with a streamlined process and resources developed by the committee to support the organizations and coaches. This included marketing to potential organizations while simultaneously planning and implementing a coach recruitment strategy to build capacity for coaching even more leaders. Leaders in the organizations received a Pre-Program Package to determine their readiness along with preparation questions and guidelines on how to select a coach. The coaching engagement, which is customized to the leader’s needs, is up to 8 hours of one-on-one coaching in a 6-month timeframe. Each coach received an honorarium for every client they worked with, thus accruing paid coaching hours for accreditation or re-certification process.
The Coach-Giving Committee organizes 3 activities for coaches during the 6-month program to connect with each other, work through challenges and share learning opportunities. Finally, robust post program surveys (coach/leader) are affected to measure results.
The 2015-2016 year has already begun by attracting a strong team of 70 ICF credentialed coaches and counting! With an entrepreneurial vision and planning to double last year’s number of clients, the Coach-Giving Committee are taking the program online. This will be a milestone upgrade to the program enhancing the professionalism of coaching, while continuing to strengthen the roots of non-profit organizations, that in-turn enable social change, truly making the world a better place!
4. Tell the story of your Chapter’s growth over the last year and great steps that have been taken to encourage the local community to remain engaged.
Building on the success of our predecessors, the 2014-2015 leadership team can stand proud for what was achieved during our term; through tireless effort, commitment and a collaborative approach, we exceeded the goals we initially set, to which this activity report is testimony.
This is reflected in our membership numbers, achieving just under 70% retention rate and increasing our membership from 340 members in 2014 to 385 by fall 2015.
In addition to the new CoachingWise initiative reported in Question 1 and the Non-Profit Coach-Giving program reported in Question 3, a third launch rounded up a year of great success for our Chapter.
Based on a new partnership between ICF Vancouver, represented by Mike Jahraus, Director for Professional Alliances portfolio, and the British Columbia Human Resources Management Association (HRMA), represented by Ceyda Gultan, the ‘Coaching Roundtables’ inauguration was held in October 2014, the first of five sold-out sessions, with over 30 members and practitioners from this professional association attending every time, including at the featured session for International Coaching Week.
With a mandate to develop coaching awareness, forge alliances and build bridges to help our members succeed, the Professional Alliances portfolio enthusiastically led the program intended to:
- raise awareness about the benefits of coaching within a workplace,
- demonstrate the importance of using ICF credentialed coaches and
- feature ICF accredited coaching schools.
These interactive sessions were delivered by seasoned ICF accredited professional coaches, providing first-hand experience of coaching along with information around the distinction in ICF credentialed coaches. Five ACTP coaching schools were invited to get involved as sponsors for each individual session, providing them with the opportunity to meet potential clients.
This new partnership with BC HRMA continues to deepen as joint-events are already in the pipeline for the New Year.
In addition to initiatives focusing on organizations, non-profits and human resource professionals, an ingenious program specifically targeted at meeting members’ needs was created by Maria Malmgren, Director for Programs portfolio.
This portfolio’s vision is to provide dynamic, innovative speakers that provide membership value along with CCEUs, meeting members’ requests for ‘more networking opportunities, business training and wisdom sharing from tenured coaches’. As such, a series of programs was created including:
- The Journey to Mastery Series
- The Build Your Business Series
- The Coach Like You Mean It Series, and
- The Perspective and Paradigm Shifts Series
Over 500 people attended nine events during this term, made-up of 7 in-person meetings and 2 webinars for broad reach to our members further afield, featuring globally renowned presenters. Chapter meeting program attendance grew from an average of 51 attendees per meeting in 2013/2014 to an average of 55 attendees for 2014/2015. This series of program provided a total of 6 hours of Resource Development CCEU’s and 13 hours of Core Competency CCEU’s.
Most of these initiatives and events were made possible thanks to our sponsors and due to the diligent work of Mandasmita Singh, Director for Sponsorship portfolio. By continuing to build and maintain relationships with existing sponsors and creating new sponsorship opportunities, Mandasmita played a crucial role in ensuring continued success for our Chapter. Bringing her business acumen, she focused on creating simplicity, consistency, and an easy on-boarding process for sponsors, securing both financial and in-kind service sponsorship support.
With Cherie Williams, our Past President, now leading us through the election process, it won’t be long before our successors get to play their part in continuing the legacy and vision “to have the largest pool of highly trained, engaged, successful, and credentialed professional coaches that are connected to the community in Canada; and to be the “model of excellence” for ICF Chapters globally”, thus playing a part “to be in service to humanity flourishing”.
On a closing note, it truly has been a gift, an honor and a privilege to work alongside such an amazing team of esteemed colleagues including Heather Walker, our Virtual Assistant, and for this I thank our members for trusting me with the very important role of serving our Chapter as their leader.
President, ICF Vancouver