See what's new with COACHING WORLD

The Power of Community

Posted by Marcia Reynolds, PsyD, MCC | August 15, 2017 | Comments (18)

When I decided to run for the board last year, many of my colleagues wondered why. Hadn’t I done my service as president of the ICF Board in 2000? Wouldn’t I be bothered with the current board structure, so different from the Wild West days of ICF? Would I be helping or getting in the way?

I know the questions came from good intent. I had many conversations with my coach and myself before saying yes. When I raised my hand, I was sure of my decision.

I have never stopped being in service to my coaching community since ICF came into existence. When I left the board, I stayed active, supporting coaching schools and speaking at coaching conferences around the world. I served as president of the Association of Coach Training Organizations (ACTO). I study neuroscience to understand the learning process of coaching and to contribute to our body of knowledge. I attend my local chapter meetings as often as I can. My community keeps my spirit uplifted and my mind active.

As the world is changing, so must ICF. I trust the ICF leadership to guide the organization forward. I also feel change must be balanced with the values and dreams those of us held for our community in the early years. When I asked my heart and gut about my service, I accepted a board nomination.

I am grateful for ICF because of what it provides for our 1) profession, 2) our community and 3) the world.

Our Profession

We are a professional association, not a club. In the early years, we knew we needed ICF to be strong to keep our profession alive as a unique offering in the world.

A profession is defined by a specialized body of knowledge and a repertoire of behaviors and skills.  ICF maintains the integrity of our profession and helps us grow our businesses by providing standards of practice, certification and educational accreditation; by expanding coaching awareness with research and marketing; and by creating events for our community to come together for learning, inspiration and connection.

We build trust with our clients by adhering to the ethical standards, supporting the certification process, and committing to the promises we make in our contracts. Both your success and the success of ICF move the profession forward.

Our Community

As ICF coaches, we have faith in humans to be whole, resourceful and creative. We work together to bring this light to our individual clients and organizational cultures.

That is why I love ICF conferences. At the first ICF conference, I coordinated the huggers. We greeted every attendee with a hug, appreciating their desire to contribute to our budding profession. I was welcomed to the ICF Board at the conference where ICF and the Professional and Personal Coaches Association (PPCA) merged to form a strong base for coaching and to make changes in the world, despite our differences. I have attended almost all the global, European, and Asia-Pacific ICF conferences, forging lifelong relationships and working partnerships to expand our work.

Conferences give us the opportunity to go beyond connecting ideas online to connecting as a vibrant community that champions the human spirit.

I hope to meet you this month at ICF Converge. ICF is providing us with an event that promises to strengthen our coaching skills, build our businesses and engage us in significant conversations about the impact and future of the coaching profession.

Above all, we will make new connections and strengthen existing relationships as we meet in “neighborhoods” with other professionals interested in similar topics. More than 70 sessions will be delivered through 10 different formats, including workshops, learning labs, role-playing and mentoring demonstrations, pitchfests, discussions and explorations of mastery.

The final day is the Unconference, where we, the participants, get to choose the topics discussed. We’ll dance and play together, building valuable relationships with each other, while developing practical solutions that will contribute to own our practice and to the future of the coaching industry.

We’ll also have an opportunity to gather in small groups to dialogue and receive support on any challenges we may be working through in our own practice. The hope is to create a dynamic and engaging experience that can only be done when hearts and minds converge in a retreat-like space.

Our World

I love being a significant member of a global community where we stand side-by-side to bring coaching to all corners of the world and help the planet thrive.

We rise above self-protection and self-interest, engaged in a community that is in service to others. Together, we evoke our best human qualities to persevere, create and work for good.

This is my ICF. It is your ICF, too. When we believe in, support and expand the power of coaching together, we shine a bright light in our uncertain world. I never question my contribution to ICF. What I get in return is far more valuable than the time and energy I spend.

It is my honor and privilege to serve my community on the ICF Board, again.

In gratitude,

Marcia Reynolds, MCC

2017 ICF Global Board Director

marcia reynolds headshot

Marcia Reynolds, PsyD, MCC

Marcia Reynolds, PsyD, MCC, has 35 years of experience in organizational training and development, with 20 years as an Executive Coach. She also teaches classes and presents at conferences around the world, with an emphasis on emotional intelligence and advanced coaching skills for leaders. She is a past president of ICF and of the Association for Coach Training Organizations, Training Director for the Healthcare Coaching Institute at Virginia Tech, and on the faculty of coach-training programs in Russia and China. She earned her doctoral degree in organizational psychology from the Professional School of Psychology and holds a master’s degree in communications from San Francisco State University and a master’s degree in adult education from Arizona State University. She currently serves as an ICF Global Board Director.

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 (18)

  1. Thanks Marcia for the reminder of just how important it is to belong to an organization that upholds strong principles and values and supports coaches to be the best they can be.

    It”s astounding to see how many credentialed coaches there are at this point considering there were only several hundred coaches when ICF got started.

    And thank you Marcia for your unwavering dedication – it helps all of us.

    • Thank you Marion. It is always a pleasure to see you at ICF events. Although there are many ways to use our time, we keep showing up! That is what keeps our organization strong and important in the world.

  2. Marcia, we so need our community – and we as coaches are rich with resources to maximize the potential of our global community. Thanks for your leadership and service. It’s an honor to know you.

  3. Micki, I feel the same about you. You have always been a shining star in our coaching community, even though your name isn’t well known. It should be!! Thank you for your contribution.

  4. DJ MITSCH says:

    Well said Marcia!

    It has been my privilege to serve alongside you from conception to creation to this converging conversation. Thank you for your service and wholehearted commitment to our community and to Coaching. We are changing the world, one leader, one conversation at a time. This is indeed our chance to serve the universe.

    Thanks my dear colleague!

    • It has been an honor traveling this coaching road with you DJ. The challenges were great and here we still are, standing by the vision we had decades ago for how coaching would impact the world!

  5. Marcia,
    Thank you for your beautiful words.
    I am sooo sad that I will not be with you and with this great community, this year!
    In the other hand as I know that Angela Pulcherio, our Rio de Janeiro Chapter’ leader, and several others Brazilians coaches will be there, I feel accomplished because Brazil will be very well represented in this community.

    Please wellcome them with a big hug. (Brazilian people are great huggers)

    • Elaina, your wonderful presence will be missed! I will look for the Brazilians and graciously hug them to thank them for their commitment and hard work to strengthen coaching in Brazil. The growth of coaching in South America is awesome. I look forward to helping both ICF and ACTO in their support of coaching in the region.

  6. Chris Padgett, PCC, CPCC says:

    Marcia, thank you for serving and thank you in the last board video for being the one director who was authentic in communicating about problems that have existed with the ICF credentialing process. We need more authenticity — not less of it.

    I love hugs too and had I been around in the early days, my guess is I would have found myself somewhere near the “huggers.”

    On a personal note, I agree with you that we are not a “club” and I would hope you would join me in encouraging the ICF Foundation Board to add more diversity to its leadership. I cannot support the ICF Foundation going forward when its leadership is all-white and all representing corporate interests. Where is the diversity? Where are the non-white leaders? Where are the leaders representing social interests v/s corporate interests?

    I have stopped making personal contributions to the ICF Foundation until it gets serious about diversity. We live in a world filled with racism. I cannot stand for it in my professional association’s foundation.

    I am encouraging all ICF members to withhold future donations to the ICF Foundation until they get serious about adding non-white and non-corporate leaders to their ranks.

    We need leaders on that organization with non-white perspectives and non-corporate perspectives. I cannot believe in 2017 our professional association non-profit is being led in this manner.

    • Hi Chris, your energy would have fit right in during the early days of the ICF as we had many discussions, dialogues, and debates about the philosophy and direction of the organization. It is important we continue these conversations as we globally grow.

      I completely agree with you about the need for diversity in all ICF communities and functions. Not just diversity of race, but of age, social status, religion, life experiences, and more to ensure we have diversity of thought as well as global representation. Sometimes it is difficult to ensure this because other than staff, these are volunteer positions. So the best ICF leaders can do is to try to recruit diverse participation even if they can’t guarantee they will have a diverse pool to choose from.

      The need to expand coaching in non-white communities around the world has been a complex endeavor that ICF has faced since it’s inception. I understand your frustration with what you see. Please know that the problem has been recognized. No one is excluding members based on race. Our ongoing problem is inspiring a more diverse population to be involved with coaching around the world. As we grow globally, we expand our diversity. I encourage everyone to help spread coaching and encourage diverse leadership in our organization. Thank you for supporting this effort.

  7. Chris Padgett, PCC, CPCC says:

    Marcia, thank you for your response. I’ve been raising this issue for well over a year and you’re the first leader to genuinely acknowledge the problem is being recognized. Thank you. I realize the difficulty in identifying volunteers, but I also know there are ample quality leaders who would bring rich, non-white, non-privileged perspective to the ICF Foundation. I am happy to supply a list over over 20 highly qualified non-white and non-corporate director candidates if necessary. Having attended GLFs in Cleveland, Charlotte, and Atlanta, I had the opportunity to meet many quality coaches who would fit the bill. What concerns me about the nominating processes for the ICF is I believe they are generating candidates that are “like” the people in power and have a bias against anyone different.

    Probably like you, I didn’t get into this profession to be a steward of the status quo. As I have told Magda repeatedly, I am not participating in this community to play patty-cake. I am here to make an impact and to bring about transformation — not only to my clients — who are largely non-white and immigrants or refugees — but also to this global community. The status quo isn’t working and isn’t acceptable.

    • Hi Chris, I do know the ICF board nominating criteria is robust and does not exclude by race or status. I’m sure we could do a better job of encouraging more people to apply. Applications are being taken now. Maybe you can convince some of the wonderful leaders you met at the GLF to apply? The Foundation board operates separately. I am not sure about their process though I know they don’t intend to exclude either. I hear your concerns and I thank you for wanting to see ICF leadership better mirror the human experience. I will carry your words with me as we look to make changes in the future.

  8. Chris Padgett, PCC, CPCC says:

    Hi Marcia, thank you for this suggestion. And thank you for engaging with me. You see, as a member, my engagement opportunities are extremely limited (perhaps this is by design by Associations International). My sense is this is why few members volunteer because the opportunities to engage — outside of chapter participation are extremely limited. I respect you highly for listening, responding and leading. You are the only director I’ve had an experience with so far — who I feel actually listens and is responsive. I can’t thank you enough.

    My concern about the nominating criteria is it has a bias towards coaches who have held a leadership role in a global organization. I know this first hand as it was told to me by the head of the nominating committee.

    Unfortunately, latent and blatant discrimination limits the opportunities for people of color to hold these global leadership positions. As I understand, the global board director competency model was developed not based upon data or science — but rather the bias of the individuals who created it and codified into ICF policy. So as an example from my perspective, this is how we have three directors (one leading the Foundation and two on the global board) currently serving who previously or currently work for IBM. You see, when the people setting up the selection criteria aren’t checking their white privilege, what happens is we get leaders who look like them, vote like them, and make policy like them.

    Last year, I raised a red flag when it was pointed out to me by a concerned member that two of our three global board director officers (the chair and secretary/treasurer) and another director were all employed by the same ICF coaching school based in London. Magda told me the fact I raised this issue caused one of the directors to resign her employment from that school. This “clubby” behavior is unacceptable.

    I’m glad you’ll carry my sentiment forward. ICF leadership needs a wake-up call. Revolution — not incremental change — is needed. I’ll be watching you and your colleagues very closely and I encourage the 30,000+ members globally to do the same.

  9. Hi Chris,
    Thank you for sharing your concerns about the need for diversity on the ICF Global Board. Marcia Reynolds is a supportive leader in our profession and I appreciate that you reached out and posted your thoughts.

    For the past 2+ years, I have been a part of a workgroup looking at how to integrate issues of diversity, power, rank, culture and privilege into coach education worldwide. I would like to personally invite you to the Calling In Power & Culture Summit created to address many of the issues you raised. The summit will be held September 16-17, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. Your voice will be heard and from all you have shared above, I can see that you would find this event of value. Here is the link for more information.

    Join me at the Calling In Power & Culture Summit: Revolutionizing Coach Education
    Sept 16 & 17, 2017 in Toronto, Canada
    For details or to register:

    I hope you can join us!

    • Chris Padgett, PCC, CPCC says:

      Jodi, thank you for the invitation and thanks for noticing this thread. I agree with you that Marcia is clearly different from the other directors I’ve interacted with and my intuition tells me she “gets it.” I reviewed the material for your event and it appears to be a gathering of kindred spirits. Unfortunately, my schedule doesn’t allow me to attend, but I have signed up for the mailing list. I noted a couple of exceptional coach trainers I know are are attending on the RSVP list for the event that are also focused on some of these same issues. I also really value the actual language used for the event invitation. Whoever created it truly understands the coaches in this space.

      I have repeatedly tried calling others forth as this is how I was trained (as opposed to calling them out), but at a certain point, the calling forth just doesn’t work. The corridors of power in this profession need a really loud wake-up-call. Know that I’ll be there with you in spirit. We have to attack the latent racism and paternalism in this profession from multiple fronts.

      Previously I was part of a closed network ICF Basecamp — just of ICF chapter leaders — and wrote extensively about these issues and asked a lot of questions that few people had answers to and that are to this day unresolved. My investment there went nowhere — which is why I now focus my efforts on the ICF public blog. I also co-chaired an ICF committee focused on improving communications (it was a waste of time) as our recommendations didn’t conform to what Associations International wanted. Through this forum, I brought up many of these same issues (or variations on a theme) — there too, the conversations were ignored.

      If the corridors of ICF’s power — the global board and the management of Associations International — don’t want to address these issues, they will continue to hear from me every time I have the opportunity. White people have to use their privilege and start calling bullshit more often. I have the patience of Job and will not be quiet until this association is truly working to advance the art and science of professional coaching for ALL PEOPLE. Marcia said eloquently in her post, “we are not a club.” To me, that is an awesome rallying cry.

      Thomas Leonard and Laura Whitworth are the role models I think about when I engage on these issues. We need leaders — and an association — in this profession ready to play a bigger game.

      P.S. Toronto is the perfect city to convene conversations of this nature. I will always fondly recall my CRR Global training in Toronto a few years ago. It’s a beautiful city and the perfect climate to ignite a dialogue to bring about much needed change to the issues of race, rank, power, etc in the ICF and professional coaching more broadly.

  10. Dear Marcia,
    Thank you for your commitment and inspiring message about it. I will end my term as ICF Chapter Leader in Switzerland at the end of this year and If you allow me to do so, some of your words might be in my mouth to express that we are not a club, and that in addition to be in service of the Coaching Profession we are in service of Humanity flourishing … and this has been my main driver since 10 years being part one way or another of the volunteering task force. This is also why Chris and Jodi’s words resonate so well also here in Europe.
    Dear Colleagues,
    to keep you in the loop let me share that The next EMEA Leaders Meeting will take place in October and in South Africa…
    yes EMEA Chapter Leaders voted for Cape Town… and be sure we will keep the dialogue alive about diversity and transparency for the good sake of our so loved association and profession.
    Huge hugs
    Nathalie Ducrot, MCC

  11. Nathalie, Jodie, and Chris,
    Thank you for the conversation. Yes, we should all be watching and noticing if our leaders are not inclusive. I appreciate that Jodi is spreading the word about the Calling In Power & Culture Summit. This came out of the passion of ACTO membership (Association for Coach Training Organizations) hoping to ensure we include a broad awareness of power, privilege, and culture in our coach training schools worldwide.

    We all have unconscious, subconscious, and conscious bias as we look out at our world. When we have the willingness to come together, to own our stories, and listen to each other with the desire to understand what we did not know or deny, then we can begin to bridge the divisiveness and heal the wounds with love. I see much of this happening in my coaching communities. And we still have many blind spots to reveal. Thank you for caring!!

  12. Chris Padgett, PCC, CPCC says:

    Marcia, I can’t thank you enough for your leadership and I encourage you to run for president of the ICF. We need a strong leader who has a high emotional intelligence to move our community forward and I feel you are so different from other leaders I’ve interacted with. I walk away from interaction and communication from you with new question, possibilities, and hope. Conversely, I was contacted after posting this thread by the ICF nominating committee chair and I feel she intentionally spoke down to me and made me feel like I needed to get back in my box because I was a “negative person” and needed to embrace “positivity.”

    Natalie, good to “see” you again. I still firmly believe your core competencies card deck is one of the most innovative education tools to emerge from our global community. If ICF were smart, it would translate and send one of these to every new member in their mother tongue (and existing members too). You are a bright star in this global community. I would hope you’d run for the global board at some point and bring some strong leadership to our community.

    As for me, I’m going to take the advice of the global board nominating chair and go back in my box and think about how I can embrace “positivity.” Smile.

Leave a Reply

Not a member?

Sign up now to become a member and receive all of our wonderful benefits.

Learn more