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Cheers to a New Year when We, Coaches, Help Make the World a Better Place

Posted by Jean-François Cousin, MCC | January 15, 2019 | Comments (13)

Here’s to wishing you and your loved ones a very healthy, happy, loving, inspired and transformational 2019, and to hoping that many of your dreams come true!

At ICF, we dream that, ultimately, everyone in the world has the opportunity to experience the transformative power of coaching and that society thrives as coaching transforms lives. May I invite you to reflect, today, about how, together, we can make our cherished profession even more of a force for positive societal progress in the next 12 months?

Our World Deserves Transformation

Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old Swedish climate advocate, challenged world leaders at the COP24 conference in Katowice, Poland, and went on to say, “I have learnt that you are never too small to make a difference. […] To do that, we have to speak clearly, no matter how uncomfortable that may be.”

Other brave thought leaders advocate higher standards for education, measures for greater well-being, and attempt to shift our mindsets from scarcity to abundance.

Can we, humble coaches, united by our values of integrity, respect, collaboration and excellence, do more, to help improve the course of humanity this year?

Together, We can Help

ICF coaches are spread over 140 countries and are a fast-growing, passionate family; almost 1,000 new members joined ICF every month in 2018!

With our skill set and our shared belief that every human being is creative, resourceful and whole, we help people:

  • Become aware of and truthful to who they are
  • Unleash their best and find the courage to make a positive difference for themselves and those whose lives they touch
  • Enhance the quality of their relationships
  • Develop further their empathy and critical thinking
  • Enable collective intelligence in their organizations or communities for a better outcome

We model coaching skills for our clients—in business, civil society or government—and to coaching students. And, we occasionally speak to and inspire audiences and journalists about the transformative power of coaching.

The ripple effects of our combined actions may well be far greater than we suppose. How many lives will ICF’s more than 33,000 Members positively influence in 2019?

Shall we attempt a quick calculation?

Say, we each coach 30 clients in 2019…We’ll then collectively serve 1 million people!

We also help our clients enhance the lives of people around them, right? Let’s estimate each one of our clients impact seven other individuals. Now, that’s another 7 million people.

Many of us teach coaching skills in organizations or coaching schools, and probably will inspire and upskill another 1 million people around the world, who will then positively influence the lives of a few more millions of people in 2019.

What if, in addition, we all create opportunities to engage our communities and the groups of leaders we know about the transformative power of coaching? If we each talk to 200 people this year, we’d reach more than 6 million people who shall inspire many others.

What a ripple effect we can have!

It all starts with you and me. We need to leverage our passion to the next level of impact.

Ready already? What will it take for you to reach out to 200 people this year?

ICF will Strive to Help Coaching Make a Greater Difference in 2019

In 2019, our ICF Global Board Directors, volunteer leaders and staff around the world will partner ever more closely and open exciting new frontiers for coaching growth and impact worldwide.

Together, we are committed to further enhance:

  • The value people place on professional coaching
  • ICF support to Members around the globe
  • Our partnerships with training and education providers, thought leaders, organizations, HR leaders and nonprofits, with a service mind and ever-higher performance standards

Persian poet Hafiz wrote, “The sun never says to the earth, ‘you owe me;’ look what happens with a love like that. It lights up the whole sky.” I believe our kind of love for those we serve, our values and our skill set will help advance the societal transformation we aspire to and brighten the future of individuals, families, companies, systems and humanity!

Here’s to doing together all we can to make 2019 another year when we, coaches, help make the world a better place!

Jean-François Cousin, MCC

Jean-François Cousin, MCC, has been an Executive Coach for more than a decade. Previously, he served in senior leadership positions in Asia and Europe for a global company. Jean-François coaches CEOs, CXOs and board members worldwide on topics including leadership development, board relations, strategic planning, organizational and cultural change management, onboarding and role transition. A longtime member of the ICF Singapore Charter Chapter, Jean-François has contributed to multiple coaching conferences and actively supported the launch of ICF Bangkok. Dedicated to the growth of the coaching profession, he has advocated coaching to numerous corporate audiences, co-authored two books promoting coaching and written Game Changers at the Circus about unleashing greatness in organizations with a coaching culture. Jean-François currently serves as the 2019 ICF Global Board Chair and was Secretary/Treasurer on the 2018 ICF Global Board.

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

Comments (13)

  1. mary britton says:

    Dear Jean-François , Congratulations on your new role : ) Thank you for your New Year message. I love the idea of working incrementally each in our own sphere to reach a critical mass where Coaching is available in many ways and forms to many more people every year; it feels to me as if this where an ability to work in collaborative ways to listen and build concensus for change and agreed actions can happen. The world feels ready, the need feels big! Let’s do this : )
    sending aroha from New Zealand, sincerely, Mary

    • Dear Mary,
      Whakawhetai koe for your kind wishes, and all the best to you in 2019! 🙂
      I am so grateful for and inspired by your insights, and energized by your conclusion, “The world feels ready, the need feels big! Let’s do this : )” Yes! Together we can! 🙂
      Sending you aroha from Bangkok,

  2. Thanks for an inspired and inspiring new year letter to the ICF membership. I love the idea that “even” I, a new ACC who mostly coaches ADHD adults, can potentially increase the well-being of our planet by my efforts as an ICF-affiliated coach.

    • Dear Judith,
      Thank you very much for your message, I am so glad that you found inspiration in this blog and that you too see ways to ‘potentially increase the well-being of our planet’ through your coaching service! 🙂
      Here’s to wishing you much joy and growth and fulfilment in your practice all along 2019!

  3. says:

    Thank you, Jean-Francois, and my dreams for you are the same as you wish for others. Very best wishes for your year as President.

    Your article resonates deeply and powerfully with me.

    I have been thinking deeply about the role of coaches in the world.

    As the complexity of challenges ramps up even further – as our global carbon emissions continue to soar and resources such as water become scarce (I read this week that Germany’s economy has been weakened by the low water level impacting the transportation of goods on the Rhine for example. And here in Australia, we are sweltering in a heat wave the likes of which are rarely experienced – another day of over 40C in our cities today – resulting in an estimated 1 million fish dying in the Darling River.) These problems are not separate from us as coaches nor from those people we coach. The inter-dependency is there.

    How do we coach these issues in our day to day work? I believe that employing principles of complexity or interconnectedness helps and i have been experimenting with this in my individual coaching and organisational development work.

    My experience is that it takes my courage – all I can muster sometimes – to raise these topics, but when I do, I find many other people are concerned too but feel too small to make a difference and are too fearful to mention a topic that seems to be taboo within ‘business as usual’.

    Maybe we should add ‘courage’ to the list of values we coaches share as we bring the gift of expanded awareness and permission to discuss what is really on their hearts, to our clients too.

    • Dear Josie,

      Much gratitude for your very kind wishes and for sharing your words of concern and wisdom, which resonate deeply with me too 🙂

      It is so inspiring to know that you are reflecting about the question, “How do we coach these issues in our day to day work?” and that you are courageously experimenting with the “principles of complexity or interconnectedness” in your individual coaching and organisational development work.
      I am sure that you are dispelling taboos in the minds of your Clients -such a precious gift you are offering them-, and that we all stand to learn a lot from your exploration.

      Thank you also, Josie, for inviting us to consider “add[ing] ‘courage’ to the list of values we coaches share as we bring the gift of expanded awareness and permission to discuss what is really on their hearts, to our clients too”.



  4. Christine PUECHBROUSSOU-MOULIN says:

    Congratulations Jean François and many thanks for your ambitious vision and inspiring 2019 whisked.
    What about an hashtag
    #coaching4change or #coaching4all ?

  5. Christine PUECHBROUSSOU-MOULIN says:

    Congratulations Jean François and many thanks for your ambitious vision and inspiring 2019 whisked.
    What about an hashtag
    #coaching4change or #coaching4all or

    • Dear Christine,

      Thanks a lot for your kind words and for inspiring us to use hashtags such as #coaching4change or #coaching4all or #coachingthatimpacts! I love them all and I am taking them on-board right away 🙂



  6. Manon Talbot says:

    Congratulations Jean-François !!

    I love the citation ” I have learn that you are never too small to make a difference … ”

    I wish you a very happy new year !

    • Dear Manon,

      Thank you very much for your kind words and wishes. I love that quote too, that “we are never too small to make a difference”! 🙂 All the best for you and us all to make a great difference in 2019! 🙂



  7. Congratulation for your new role Jean-Francois and many thanks for your inspiring letter.

    Yes, the world needs us coaches more than ever!! I truly think we make a contribution, each of us at our level. And then the ripple effect kicks in!

    All the best for 2019,

    • Dear Claire,

      Thank you so much for your kind words and wishes, I wish you also the best of health, and much joy, inspiration and success for 2019!

      I am so glad that you also see our potential for a greater contribution society-wise, Claire! Together we will do a lot of good 🙂

      Have a great day!



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