Getting fitter going forward!
“Enough is enough,” I told myself as I stepped into my Bangkok home after consecutive trips to Europe, Latin America and Iran, where I had succumbed to the pleasures of the flesh—savoring local delicacies, as much as of the mind, meeting amazing people….My cruel mirror concurred as it reflected sharply, “You are overweight.”
Under such duress, I remembered a foresighted friend telling me, “I have a fantastic personal trainer, named Kevin,” in a way that prompted me to write down Kevin’s phone number.
I immediately called Kevin, who let me know how we’d go about planning, goal setting and managing progress and accountability, as if he were reciting our beloved ICF Core Competencies 10 and 11. I felt bad for not applying them in the most important “place,” despite Jim Rohn’s wisdom, “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”
And, I felt worse at the first training session. After endless push-ups and other sophisticated forms of physical torture, I was lying on the floor, drained. Kevin observed quasi-scientifically, “About 50 percent of your muscles are activated. You’ll progress fast at first because it’s easy to wake the other 50 percent up. Strengthening you beyond will be far more arduous. You’ll need to be disciplined and persistent.” As I was still lying down, Chaplin’s thought popped up in my mind, “You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down.” I exhaled a deep sigh, looked up and weakly stood up, probably like J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit:
“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible!
Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!”
Lesson painfully relearned: reflect and act more about how I can apply my competencies and wisdom as a coach to my own life and effectively manage progress and accountability.
Full-disclosure: I had no excuse for having forgotten such lesson as I had just joined our ICF Global Board meeting in Buenos Aires, where my fellow directors and I had focused much of our strategic work on “planning and goal setting” and “managing progress and accountability.”
We had convened in an optimistic mood, especially so as everyone had visited one of the nearby ICF Chapters in Peru, Chile, Argentina or Uruguay. We were enthused by the infectious energy and go-getter attitude of our colleagues there and by the generative conversations we had enjoyed with them. We were also feeling great because the 2017 International Coaching Week had just reached new heights in visibility and impact.
Optimism helps us, as a board, sustain the high ambition level of the strategy, taking ICF and the coaching profession forward. It is fueled by the extraordinary work the ICF staff tirelessly delivers and by the many attractive opportunities we can discern. Yet, we also recognize a number of areas needing improvement and multiple sobering challenges, while our resources are limited, like any other organization.
To keep our optimism in check and the hard truths in the room, we tacitly take turns in playing the role of the “black hat” on the Board.
At the beginning of our latest meeting, we experienced a new discipline: sharing our potential “personal bias” about the agenda items, in all authenticity and vulnerability. We then committed to keep our bias at bay and asked our peers to keep us accountable. I was amazed at how such simple practice enhanced the inclusiveness and quality level of our discussions.
“What gets measured gets done” is a credo for both the ICF staff and Board members, and it keeps us grounded in reality as we set goals and manage progress and accountability. We monitor a set of “Indicators of Performance Excellence” focused on the most critical organizational health factors, such as membership retention, global member satisfaction scores, credentialing process satisfaction and advocacy scores, credentialing and accreditation timelines, additional language opportunities for PCC applications, etc. We also follow closely other indicators about our strategic focus areas in 2017-2018, such as
- “ICF will deliver and maintain presence at quality global events”
- “ICF researches, develops, and implements robust standards, governance and operational procedures/structures, and applicant requirements for all aspects of the Credentialing Program”
- “ICF develops and progresses plans to expand the scope and influence of the organization”
We believe as well that the transparency of the ICF strategic work and its continuity from board to board help steer greater progress and accountability in the service of members. Therefore, we share strategic plan updates and board meetings reports.
I now recognize more value in such disciplines for my life and business. May I invite you to share other good practices in managing progress and accountability?
I am looking forward to our October Board meeting, committed as my fellow directors to keep raising the bar and getting fitter going forward!