In May 2018 the International Coach Federation (ICF) held International Coaching Week (ICW) with events across the globe. Many activities were held in the UK with a common theme relating to what coaching is, what coaches do, and the benefits of coaching to individuals, teams and organisations. The intent was to allow interested parties and prospective customers to Experience Coaching to develop understanding of where and when it might be used to best effect.
The Southampton ICF group hosted its first open event in the region as part of ICW2018. Delegates were invited to attend a programme facilitated by the Southampton ICF group’s talented and experienced coaches. We were hosted by Grant Thornton at their Collaboration Centre located on the University of Southampton Science Park (Chilworth).
We were delighted to have 23 delegates take up our invitation to attend the whole event or to drop in for sessions that they judged particularly relevant to them. They came from public and private sectors as well as from the Services. There were also some coach organisations who attended seeking opportunities to network and share best practice. Our Grant Thornton hosts were fantastic in providing meeting room facilities and break out spaces, encouraging collaborative and collegiate working.
The programme was rich and diverse, delivered by members of the Southampton ICF group with guest appearances from the Grant Thornton team. Our first session offered delegates the chance to reflect on what coaching is in relation to other learning and development strategies. After a short presentation and discussion, the nature and power of coaching was showcased by a live demonstration with Clare, the Southampton ICF convener, coaching a volunteer from the delegates. The rest of the morning involved an activity led approach to thinking about how to develop a business plan, one that appropriately makes a case for how coaching could add value to an organisation. Delegates were invited to think on the key issues of defining the challenge; creating a vision of the solution; demonstrating coaching as part of that solution; communicating to mobilise support and realign resistance ; and understanding how to measure success. There was a chance to reflect on this in relation to each individual’s experience of their workplace or in groups sharing experiences and discussing best practice.
Throughout the whole programme there were breakout sessions for networking and all delegates had the opportunity for a free coaching session. Around of third of them took full advantage of that with another third asking for a coaching opportunity after the event.
The afternoon programme continued with a great balance of coaching practice and thinking about how to bring coaching into an organisation. There was a session on how to go about engaging external coaches. How do you ensure that the quality and skills of a particular coach or coaching organisation match the particular needs of your organisation?
Following on from this were two case studies on how to embed a coaching culture within the organisation, one from each of a public and private sector perspective. Throughout these sessions delegates benefited from seeing how using external coaching expertise while building internal coaching competency is a powerful mix in helping unlock the full potential of an organisation.
The programme concluded with a short taster of some coaching models and how they are applied in conversations (both formal and informal), with our delegates having a go with them during the session. We concluded with a short, yet powerful summing up delivered in a group coaching format and engaging with the delegates and the presentation team. Everyone was invited to reflect on their experience, how it would influence their personal landscape, and what first steps they were committed to taking to implement their learning.
The reflection from the delivery team is that this event would be the first of a regular annual programme to help colleagues Experience Coaching and to understand the benefits of it to them, their teams and organisations. We already know the date will be 9th May 2019. Hold that date and watch out for more information! Or let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org that you are interested.
If you would like to know more about the Southampton ICF group, the ICF nationally and globally, and the Grant Thornton Southampton Collaboration Space please use the follow links.
Southampton ICF Coaching Circle: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8609339
UK International Coach Federation: https://www.coachfederation.org.uk/
Grant Thornton Collaboration spaces: https://www.grantthornton.co.uk/about-us/our-spaces/