Chapter Blog

ICF Metro DC Chapter meeting held at GU’s School of Continuing Studies

By Jan Canton

On October 3rd, I had the honor of attending an International Coach Federation (ICF) Metro DC Chapter meeting held at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies in association with its Institute for Transformational Leadership. This combined venture introduced a panel of coaches made up of previous Prism Award recipients and the three Prism Award nominees.

Each person on the panel spoke about their company’s innovative practices on how they had applied coaching internally. They explained the positive results and how clients had advanced as individuals. When discussion was opened to all attendees, small groups brainstormed ways to better spread the word on the professionalism of coaching as a support tool and looked at what organizations are currently doing to advance professional coaching.

Earlier in the meeting, President-elect for the Metro DC chapter Carol Goldsmith had explained how the ICF Prism Award recognizes organizations that had leveraged the power of coaching to enhance performance and accelerate results. She explained that the original design of the Prism Award was a simple, elegant quartz crystal to represent the pinnacle of collaboration between coaches and their client organizations. In the same way a prism refracts light into the full spectrum of colors, coaching has the power to open client’s minds to the full spectrum of possibilities in their work and in their lives.

Everyone gained new insights from listening to the views of those on the panel and hearing the comments from the wider audience. One thing in particular that stood out was the diversity of the organizations represented. The panel had coaches from Arlington County Government, Booze Allan, Hamilton Management Consulting technology and engineering services, the UN Secretariat, Defense Acquisition University, U.S. Customs & Border Protection, and Hillel, The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. Yet, regardless of background, age, race or creed, their coaching clients had provided them with enthusiastic feedback as to how their coaching experience had helped them grow in self-understanding, self-management, self-empowerment, self-worth, self-leadership, self-confidence and self-awareness, and toward self-actualization.

The specific ingredients that had made these results and outcomes possible and consistent can be found within the word PRISM! How perfect this word is for highlighting the essential layers, elements, characteristics and deliverable, quality actions that lead to consistent winning results and the formula of coaching success. 

Within PRISM, five characteristics consistently shine to form the foundation colors and the three layers for successful leadership. These first five characteristics build the next layer of essential ingredients for “action,” which identify the five practical and deliverable leadership skills for coaching success. Let’s identify them here.

First Layer                    Five Personal Characteristics:

Presence          –           self-centered understanding.

Respect            –          for self, first – then respect for others.

Integrity            –          authenticity shines through.

Sincerity           –          without sincerity there is no light.

Mindful-ness     –          conscious awareness begins from the inside out.

Second Layer – these next five personal actions are essential ingredients that enrich and lead.




Self-centeredness – all evolve into…

Masterful coaching

The Third Layer enhances the five practical and deliverableleadership skills of being:






The outcome from applying all these levels will allow the profession of coaching to spread and grow rapidly. Why? Organizations and individuals will appreciate and embrace the differences that make the difference – knowing all three integrated layers demonstrate leadership. And by knowing how leadership transforms, leadership then is a key word to unlock and describe authentic coaching.   

Jan Canton is a Certified Professional Coach visiting from Hamilton New Zealand

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