What a whirlwind! I just returned from the wonderful annual international coaching conference (ICF) held this year in Las Vegas, NV. This is my sixth conference – Quebec, Saint Louis, Oakland, San Jose & Montreal – and each have been a great experience well worth the money and time.
Here in Nevada, we had approximately 1,000 coaches from 42 countries attending bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to this four day conference. My head was spinning from first attending our own state-wide NV coaching conference to hearing from the incredibly inspirational key-note speakers (Michael Gelb & Steve Farber) to soaking in the rich content offered by renowned coaching professionals in the many breakout sessions. The evening wine & hors d’oeuvres events in the exhibit hall finished off each day beautifully.
Coaching is Growing World-Wide
But the very best for me is always meeting coaches from all over the United States and the world. During the opening session, it is truly a thrill to see the world map up on the big screens and then as each country is called the country’s coaches stand to thunderous applause. This year there were more coaches from Africa, the Middle East and the Eastern European bloc than I remember in past years. The UK, Canada, China, Australia and South America have hundreds of coaches attending as well.
The International Coach Federation (ICF) is the industry recognized professional association for coaching. Currently, there are 8,000 credential ICF coaches and 125 chapters in 109 countries. It is relatively young for a professional association – just 16 years old – but then again our profession is young as well with its formal beginnings in the early 1990’s. At the conference, I saw a significant trend toward corporate internal coaching, business development and leadership coach specialties.
Individual Conversations with Coaches
And what a delight to have great conversations with Anne-Marie Sevenster, South Africa; Vedat Erol, Turkey; Alexander Vreede, Netherlands; Gilles Gambade,Greece and Angela Kontgen & Victoria Stikeman from Toronto, Canada. I also had a chance to work in small groups with coaches from Mexico, Brazil, Sweden and Romania – even got an invitation to meet with the coaches in Greece! There is such a positive energy, an incredibility strong entrepreneur spirit and a willingness to think BIG – all in the service of others world-wide.
Ideas, resources and business cards were flying back and forth. Some of my training materials are going to South Africa and others are going north to Canada. What fun to share our expertise, our experiences and our support for each other and for the emerging profession of professional coaching. These individual conversations are truly what I treasure after each conference. I feel connected and honored to have several more friends and colleagues around the world . . . and I think I just might followup on that invitation to visit the coaches from Greece!