Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I just returned from the 10th International Coach Federation Conference in San Jose, California. 1752 coaches from approximately 44 countries. Boggles the mind! I had great expectations of an event marking this special milestone in any organization, especially one in a field as young as Coaching. On one hand I was quite disappointed that there was no ‘meat’ to the conference for seasoned, experienced coaches. On the other hand, because the breakout sessions as a whole didn’t attract me or entice me to stay, I did one of two things: I either went to a session that intrigued me as a person, even if it didn’t relate to my work or, I networked with other coaches from across the Globe and listened to who they were, what they were doing, and made connections. Connections….not only for myself, but when I heard something that would connect to a colleague or friend, I’d pass on their name so connections could be made even after the conference was over. Some connections were by chance…by hearing something somewhere that sparked my interest and instigated a longer conversation off line. Those were the best.

I listened to a narrative coach (who greatly intrigued me as I believe the best way to capture one’s attention and imagination is through narrative). I listened to a first nation member who lives the art of listening and communication. I spoke to coaches from Singapore to Europe, Mexico through Australia. They all had different perspectives, insights…. ideas to share.

So even though the conference itself didn’t inspire me, the people who attended it did.

I connected with old, dear friends who I don’t get to see often enough. And I made new ones who I know I’ll be connecting with for many years to come. All of this created a synergy that goes well beyond venue. It goes to the heart of why we become coaches in the first place. It’s all about people.

It’s about people defining their dreams and living them, helping others achieve their level of excellence by support, interaction and collaboration. It’s about connecting and seeing where the dots lead you and it’s about knowing no matter what the content of an event like this presents, you will leave with a feeling of time well spent as the people are the ones who make it extraordinary.

On the way home we suffered a series of airport delays and bumpy rides. A combined six hours of flying turned into more than ten with lost luggage thrown into the equation. I was lucky enough to spend most of that time with coaches from the conference who I got to know better, and meet other ones who I hadn’t come across through the week. We laughed and shared and processed and decided to collaborate on projects all because of the extra time sitting in airports and on planes.

All in all I learned a lot, taught a lot and came away with a feeling of anticipation as I know these connections will enrich my life and career exponentially. So many possibilities ahead.

Donna Karlin

*Note: Welcome new subscriber from Morocco. 66 countries and counting!

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