Chapter Blog

Master Coaching Workshop

by Librada Estrada

On Saturday, February 22, I attended the Master Coaching Workshop hosted at the Bethesda/Chevy Chase Regional Services Center. The purpose of the workshop was to provide coaches an opportunity to observe and ask questions of four master coaches regarding core competencies for our profession. As part of the workshop, participants would also have an opportunity to practice and receive feedback, as well as earn continuing education units towards our credentials.

Outside of a local Coaching Coffee event, this was the first ICF Metro DC event I have attended. I was not sure what to expect and was a little nervous because I was not sure I would know anyone in the room.

I walked in as the master coaches, Sandy Mobley, Margaret Echols, Cynthia Way and Karen Gravenstine, for the event were introduced and the agenda for the morning was explained. The group would be split in half and have an opportunity to observe two coaching sessions by two master coaches. Participants were asked to pay attention to the 11 core competencies, identified by the International Coach Federation, and to listen to when and how each coach demonstrated them. The 11 competencies are listed in the table below. For a full explanation, please visit the ICF website.

I had the opportunity to observe first Margaret Echols and then Karen Gravenstine coach a participant. Both were truly masterful in their coaching and my brief description does neither justice.

Sitting in the audience and observing the coaching sessions briefly took me back to my coach training. With a learner’s mind I listened to Margaret begin the conversation with a centering practice that grounded herself as well as the client as she established a connection between them. Margaret actively listened and reflected what she heard, asking for clarification, and had the client define certain words for her throughout, instead of assuming that she knew what the client meant. Margaret used powerful questions to move forward and raised the client’s awareness by sharing her observations while incorporating words stated by the client to design plans of action.

After a short break, the next session began with a few minutes of conversation.  Karen established the coaching agreement by clarifying what topic would be the focus of the conversation. She used her body language to establish trust and intimacy and modeled active listening by mirroring gestures made by the client. Karen interacted positively with the client first by asking, and when necessary, becoming more directive in the conversation and in doing so was able to grant the client permission to share without feeling judged.

Following each session, the group at large shared observations and asked questions. Questions were specific to competencies demonstrated by each coach as well as those that related to different scenarios from interactions with our own clients. While listening, I was reminded of the different levels of practice and experience in the audience—we had individuals who were relatively new to coaching, some established professionals, and others who had years of experience. Additionally, it was wonderful to see the generosity in the room and the richness in the responses shared, not just by Margaret and Karen, but also by other coaches in the audience.

The workshop ended after practicing in two triad sessions. While acting as coach, I was reminded of how uncomfortable it can be to be inside the fishbowl and I was grateful that Margaret, Karen, and their clients that morning had been such willing participants. I also know how challenging it is to give myself permission to fail but how much knowledge can be found when I am open to it. On the flip side, I became aware of how far I have come as a coach and the competencies that are now part of my everyday practice. While in the triad, I had an opportunity to connect with two coaches that are from Northern Virginia and who completed their training through different programs. I appreciated their feedback and their willingness to share their own experience with me.

Reflecting on the day, I walked away with several nuggets. Margaret highlighted that entry points into the center of the topic may come from the person’s body, mind, spirit, or heart and that powerful questions engage these different areas. Karen beautifully demonstrated that coaching presence may be re-established throughout the coaching session with simply a touch, word, tone of voice, or question. For me, while observing the master coaches in action, I was reminded of the depth that I could use tools that I already have in my toolbox in order to continue to grow as a coach.

Although this was my first chapter event, I know that it won’t be my last. I look forward to the next ICF Metro DC event and am hoping to see some familiar faces there! 

Librada Estrada, MPH, CHES, CPCC, ACC is a ICF Metro DC Member, Certified Professional Coach and Facilitator.

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Member Spotlight!

In case you haven’t heard, one of the latest perks of being an ICF Metro DC Member is our new Member Spotlight feature on our website’s homepage! After our 2013 Member Survey results were tallied, we understood that members wanted more opportunities for exposure and the chance to be seen by more potential clients. In order to give you what you want, in a fun and interactive way, we’ve developed this brand new section on our homepage and we can’t wait to see everyone’s face in it!

Here’s how the Member Spotlight works:

Attend an ICF Metro DC Chapter event and enter your name into the drawing by dropping your business card off with us.

Ensure your ICF Metro DC Member profile page is up to date! This means you should have a great headshot, a stellar bio, and a link to your website.

Wait for your email congratulating you on being selected to be featured on our website!

A total of three names will be drawn at each event. The first two winners will each be featured in the Member Spotlight section of the website for a period of two weeks and the third name selected will receive a credit to attend a future ICF Metro DC Chapter event (excluding the 2014 CCC) for free!

In order to be eligible, you must have your member profile current and looking good so update it right away and be sure you attend some upcoming events to enter into the running for a feature in our new Member Spotlight section! We can’t wait to help you grow your coaching practice!

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