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  • Writer's pictureAlexis Goggans, PCC

New Learning Objective: Coaching & Social Change

When Christian and I started the IFCE in October of 2020, society was undergoing dramatic changes. From the Covid-10 pandemic, the Great Resignation, a racial reckoning from police brutality, a global recession, conflict and wars abroad, severe weather from a changing climate, and an increasingly hostile political environment, it was obvious that we would be starting our business during a time of tremendous uncertainty and need. We always knew that we wanted to integrate economic empowerment, mentorship, and inclusion into our program. But as we continued to reflect deeply on how we can lean into our vision of empowering a diverse community of students to become future coaching leaders, we realized that it was also important to ensure that our program considered larger social changes that were impacting our students, our clients, and the coaching industry.

Introducing the NEW Learning Objective

That's why we we have developed a new learning objective for our training program; students will think critically about the connection between coaching and social change! This new objective will live alongside the 4 existing course objectives, which collectively serve as our definition of excellence for every student. And while we continue to integrate the ICF Code of Ethics, Competencies, PCC Markers, and business development into our program, this new objective means that we are also integrating social issues into our coursework via new discussion questions, homework prompts, readings, resources and an exploration of ethical issues in every class. Below is the complete list of the learning objectives for our program;

  1. Master the ICF’s Code of Ethics and Core Competencies

  2. Obtain a PCC Level coaching proficiency

  3. Complete the Business in a Box to start & grow your business in 6 months

  4. Complete a final Capstone Project to launch your coaching business

  5. Think critically about the connection between coaching and social change

How is coaching historically connected to social change?

Social change and coaching are inextricably linked in many ways. Historically speaking, the birth of the modern workplace in the 1950's, the cultural and political revolutions of the 1960's, and the emergence of globalization in the 1970's, created new levels of social unrest and complexity. During this time we see the mainstreaming of therapy, as well as the rise of specialized consultants and coaches who were hired to fill the gap. You can learn more about the connection between coaching and human development by reading The Secret History of Coaching, by Carol Brock, PhD MCC. It's one reading we share with our students!

By the time the International Coaching Federation was founded in 1991, coaching wasn't just for athletes or artists. By then executives and business owners were seeking highly skilled individuals to help them navigate a changing world. Today the coaching profession continues to address social change and uncertainty in the workplace and at home. This has increased demand for coaching services and fueled the introduction of new niches including anti-racism, ADHD, Autism, social impact, trauma-informed, somatic, systems-based, and climate focused coaching. This has led to an explosion of leading-edge coaches who are creating new language, new frameworks, and partnering with their clients to challenge dominant cultural practices and beliefs.

How does society impact coaching (and vice versa)?

New coaching niches and social complexity also creates ethical concerns. For example, how does an abortion ban impact a coach who specializes in sex positivity if they coach a client who needs support finding care? How can they partner with their client and ensure their confidentiality and safety while still meeting the ICF's ethical guidance to "Avoid discrimination by maintaining fairness and equality in all activities and operations, while respecting local rules and cultural practices..." What if a coach in California is working with a client who mentions that they regularly use marijuana to treat chemotherapy induced nausea but they are located in a state where it is not legal and a court orders the coach to share session notes? These are just two examples of how society also impacts coaching.

But coaching is also a powerful tool for human development and social change. According to the 2020 ICF Global Coaching study, over 80% of clients indicated that coaching helped them become more confident, 73% reported that it improved their relationships, and 72% of survey respondents said that coaching improved their communication skills. Coaching matters! Every time a coach partners with a client to make meaningful change, it has a ripple effect. Some of those clients will go on to speak up when it counts, take accountability when it matters most, or work to overcome unbelievable challenges and accomplish amazing things. Some of those accomplishments may seem small, but they can have profound affects on our clients sense of agency and well-being, change the trajectories of families, and have powerful impacts on organizations and cultural norms.

Our Fall 2023 cohort that launched this past September, will be the first cohort to dive into this new learning objective. We are excited for the depth this new learning objective will bring into our curriculum and are confident it will position our students as industry leaders who are capable of having an even greater impact on their clients, communities, & society.

Want to learn more?

Join us at an upcoming Information Session to meet our instructors, explore program activities, review the graduation requirements, and course expectations. We also invite you to follow us on LinkedIn, TikTok, and Instagram to learn more about our culture of practice and past students. Classes start January 23 and we still have 10 spots left!

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