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My brush with International Coaching Week 2021

Compared to the usual 10 or 12 sessions spread out over several months, the standard protocol for professional coaching engagements, the Benchmark sessions lasted only for 45 minutes for each coachee



The International Coaching Week (ICW) began last week with several activities of the International Coach Federation Philippines Chapter (ICFP), led by its president Jen Ocsena, kicking in as well.

Benchmark Consulting and its CEO/founder and ICFP prime mover Julius Ordonez started the ball rolling with several pro-bono coaching sessions for its selected roster of corporate clients and advocacy beneficiaries.

I was one of those who volunteered to be part of the coaching team for the sessions. It was an interesting and unique experience. Compared to the usual 10 or 12 sessions spread out over several months, the standard protocol for professional coaching engagements, the Benchmark sessions lasted only for 45 minutes for each coachee.

I was tasked with coaching three corporate executives. For those who have never experienced coaching either as a coach or as a coachee, let me describe the experience, that is to say, my personal takeaway. Other more experienced coaches, however, might think differently.

Since a coaching session is meant to be premised on an honest, open and trusting relationship between the coach and the coachee, when two strangers meet for the first time to talk about issues deeply personal to the coachee, it would naturally take a little while to warm up before a freewheeling, sincere conversation could ensue.

The process can be quite draining for both coach and coachee, mentally and, at times, even emotionally, from setting the stage for the coachee’s self-realization to the penultimate phase when the coachee reaches the eureka moment of self-discovery, until finally the next stage of moving forward with what the coachee’s next steps will be.

Next would be the follow-through sessions to assist in the coachee’s execution of his game plan. Obviously in a one-time pro bono session that lasts for only 45 minutes, it’s almost impossible to achieve all of the above.

If I were to compare it to a chess game, which should resonate with those Netflix followers of the hit series The Queen’s Gambit, it’s almost like playing blitz chess where the grandmaster quickly moves from one chessboard to another, making chess moves in a blink of an eye.

But that’s for a grand master, and I am no grand master in coaching. It was certainly a most challenging experience for me.

The great satisfaction though as a coach about these blitz sessions was when the coachees openly expressed delight at reaching their “aha” moments even only after a short session. It was quite gratifying that made the exhaustive sessions well worth it. You can’t put a price tag on the feeling that somehow as a coach you are able to help another human being unlock his innermost self.

The next activity I signed up for was a webinar, “Reinvent Your Coach’s or Leader’s Posture Now,” with French Executive Global Coach, Jean-Francois Cousin, an author of several books on coaching. This webinar almost felt like I was attending a humanities class, complete with art exhibits of artists like Degas, Gauguin and Picasso and sayings of Lao Tzu and Rumi in full display.

Jean-Francois, clearly an artist himself, cleverly and creatively likened coaching to an artwork.

It’s like starting with a blank canvas where the artist can set free all his creative inner juices into a painting without regard to any boundaries that we would ordinarily be limited to.

As he succinctly put it, “Expand the size of your inner world,” “Unleash more of your and others’ personal power,” and not be constrained by the “shadows in life,” so that in the process, coaches can “inspire others to dream big.”

The launch of the Coaching Beyond Borders event organized by the Professional Development Committee of Ina Teves was another activity I signed up for.

For the next few weeks, I will have the opportunity to coach and be coached by a professional coach from Costa Rica. Something really engaging to look forward to.

The final ICW event I participated in was the ICFP-JFINEX coaching advocacy spearheaded by the Community Relations team of Trixy Gabriel, Raul Dimayuga and Jing Remo. Close to 50 students from universities from all over the country were gifted with free professional coaching.

The opportunity to interact and listen to the innermost aspirations of the young was a most refreshing and meaningful experience particularly as the conversations evolved into their final “aha” moment of realization of what they need to do to attain their dreams.
Until next week… One big fight!
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