Recently I was invited to spend the day with the coaches at the University of British Columbia to think about how we could nurture and grow the coaching community that has been serving staff and faculty for almost 10 years. The day was facilitated by Peter Lee, and hosted by Julia McLaughlin, the Coaching Lead at UBC.
The room was full of familiar faces – many graduates of the Royal Roads Executive Coaching program who work as internal coaches, or who volunteer their time on the roster of external coaches, like many Executive Coaches from Essential Impact. Marjorie Busse, Molly Edge, Dave Busse to name a few. All coaches who saw and nurtured the vision of UBC and gave of their time in its early days. It was equally inspiring to meet coaches from other coaching schools who have joined this enthusiastic community.
One of the creative activities we engaged in was to pick a metaphor to interpret the vision for coaching that has been developed by UBC. The one which stuck with me was the metaphor of a garden. As we looked out the window of the beautiful UBC campus there were buds bursting on the trees, and the flowers were showing off purple, yellow, and that fresh green of spring that brings hope.
It stirred thoughts of well planted coach seeds which have flourished in this coaching environment. From the first coaching workshop that I had the honor and pleasure of delivering at UBC during my early years as a coach, there have been some amazing champions who have nurtured, watered and weeded those seeds. Erna Hagge sat eagerly in that classroom and caught the vision for how coaching could impact the big world she lived and worked in. Erna continued gardening there for many years, strongly supported by Julie Stockton, a leader in Organizational Learning and Development.After many years of teaching the Excelerator Coaching model at UBC, they grew and developed their own framework with the large talented and splendid flower patch of UBC coaches.
It blossomed into a service that invited coaches, both on and off campus, to volunteer their time to coach staff and faculty. The initial pilot was evaluated, and UBC’s coaching initiative won several awards, including the 2005 International Coach Federation, Vancouver Prism Award. Getting there took clear vision, consistent strategy, and sustaining effort by many many coaches.
What struck me in 2012 are the life-giving nutrients that are being added to the roots of the coaching garden by the new leader, Julia McLaughlin, Certified Executive Coach. Her invitation to the day highlighted the values that she stands for and lives by – collaboration and generosity. These themes were felt in the room as the landscape architects were honored, new connections were made, and the future blooms imagined.
Lessons for other coaching gardeners laying out the design, tilling the soil, or ready to plant in their organizations.
Don’t underestimate the power of the seeds. All kinds of sizes, shapes and colors.
Identify and nurture horticulturists who will champion the efforts
Invite others to pitch in with the digging, fertilizing, watering and pruning that will be inevitable over time
Remember to nourish the roots!
At Essential Impact, we are constantly refining our understanding of what it takes to plant, cultivate and nourish coaching cultures. We partner with dedicated leading edge leaders who are highly self-aware, and organizationally aware. They understand the need to continuously examine their organizations and be aware of areas to encourage growth. Shifting to a culture that works for the company and supports the growth of people, product, and the bottom line.
We have learned that one size does not fit all. We continuously adjust processes and systems to engage leaders at all levels, while learning from our ‘fascinating’ moments. The importance of our aligned values around people development and organizational potential, along with strengthening partnerships and relationships, becomes the foundation for mutual meaningful success.
As the master gardener for your business and life:
What are you planting?
How is your garden growing?
What are you harvesting, now and in the future?
By, Carollyne Conlinn
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