What’s in a Coach’s Job Description Anyways?

I was initially ambivalent about participating in a job analysis panel for ICF. I know that those who know me can appreciate that I get glassy eyed when the talk turns to the details of writing job descriptions. In my typical “intuitive” way, I prefer to live in the world of big picture and possibilities. However, I thought it was time to flex and challenge myself to participate and learn something in the process and meet interesting people. Maybe if I stayed curious, I would have a small part in shaping the updating of the job of a coach and possibly the updating of the coaching competencies. And so, off I went to Fort Lauderdale (February 20/21) to analyze what a coach actually does and what skills are needed in order to be successful.

There were 19 coaches from around the world participating in the job analysis panels. Not only did we come from around the world, we came from different industries, different and varied experiences and different genres of coaching. At the session, we were divided into two groups: one group looked at the job of a professional coach (external to organizations) and the group that I participated in looked at the role of an internal coach. Our role was to identify the key duties and then the steps for each of these key duties. We had two skilled facilitators from The Ohio State University take us through the DACUM process. At times, it was frustrating, and yet, we laughed, debated, shifted and in the end, we ended up with a product that we all agreed to. And this product is just about 10 percent of the full project. The next steps are to validate our findings with ICF membership in the form of a survey and then take those results and see what needs to be updated. It will probably take at least a year (or more) to get to final results.

Here are some of my own personal learnings:

  • Coaches, regardless of where they live and work, are very passionate about what they do. We see it as a calling. Most business schools neglect to recognize the need to incorporate teaching about how to start a business. In fact, many of the “external” professional coaches were very insistent that marketing and business development was a key duty, with very specific steps. This is an obvious gap that is an emerging trend/topic in the coaching world.
  • Most internal coaching models have operational staff/managers coaching a percentage of their time, while maintaining other related or not related duties. This can be tricky and ethical boundaries become very prominent (who pays us, who’s the client, internal politics and hierarchy, independence as a coach, who we can coach and maintain confidentiality, etc). And, as more and more organizations hire internal coaches, which is a trend, what are the implications?
  • I really appreciated how the conversation around the table centered around how we can “be” as a coach and as a person in the world. It’s not just the skills we learn and who we coach. It’s about modeling the way, and I saw lots of that at the panel event.
  • More importantly for me, I met some very interesting and passionate people from all around the globe. I learned how things are set up in different countries and in different organizations, and I am in awe of how coaching is spreading and the difference we all are making around the world.

So, I’m very glad that I took the time to engage in this event. It will be one of the many highlights of my career as an ICF coach. I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to participate in an ICF Global event of any kind, to say yes…you never know what you will learn and who you will meet. ) At the top of this blog you will see a picture of a small but mighty group!)


Lily Seto, President, Vancouver Island Coaches

Spring and New Beginnings

A message from our president: Hello, everyone; Spring is my favourite time of year, signalling new beginnings; some regrowth and some new growth. And, it seems like an appropriate metaphor for where our Chapter is heading this year. Here’s a sampling of what the new board has planned for the year: Our Leadership Team met on February 27 for an all day strategic planning session and we have a three year plan that is aligned closely with ICF Global’s recently announced Strategic plan and will put more focus on professional development opportunities and interface with the business community. The strategic plan is also in response to the recent survey that was conducted, that indicated that this what our membership is looking for. We also want to be more mindful of the geographic spread of our membership (all of Vancouver Island plus the Gulf Islands). We are planning five (5) Armchair Discussion events (over and above our regular events)…one will be on the value of your ICF membership (all the resources and free marketing tools available); one will be on a debrief on the learnings from the recent Business Development Series (anyone who participated and who would like to sit on a panel discussion, please let me know), one Armchair Discussion on Ethics in Coaching, one on Credentialling, and one on Using LinkedIn, Twitter and FaceBook to market yourself. These are hot topics these days. In addition, Annette and I are happy to share our learnings from the Global Conference as well as the job analysis panel that I participated in. We are looking for committee members in the following areas – Communications, Events, Community Relations and Membership. …for more information, please contact the Directors listed…I encourage everyone to get involved in your Chapter…it’s only as good as we make it to be!

  It’s exciting to know that ICF is celebrating our 20th year anniversary … stay tuned for events happening this year by visiting ICF Job Analysis- DACUM meeting I was fortunate to be invited to participate in a panel discussion on a job analysis on the role of a coach. I participated in the internal coach role panel and learned much about the various models of internal coaching across the world. Most organizations have internal coaches who are operational people, coaching a percentage of their time. Fewer organizations have full time coach roles…here’s further information on what I was involved in…and then next stage will be to conduct a global survey to validate the work that we undertook last month. Keeping up with trends and changes in the world of professional coaching is an important aspect of the International Coach Federation’s (ICF’s) work. This is why ICF invited 19 coach practitioners representing different countries, diverse backgrounds and varying experience levels to a two-day meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, to discuss the duties and tasks associated with running a successful coaching practice. With the help of two seasoned facilitators, the coaches used a DACUM process to structure their conversations. The group was divided into two clusters: One discussed the general duties of a coach practitioner, while the other focused on the responsibilities of internal coach practitioners (professional coach practitioners employed within an organization who have specific coaching responsibilities identified in their job descriptions). The clusters identified specific roles that coaches play in building and maintaining a sustainable practice and also categorized the skills, behaviors, tools and knowledge that allows them to be current, relevant and effective. This work provides vital information that may influence future coaching practice. It will form the basis for a validation survey that will allow for input from ICF Members and Credential-holders—as well as, potentially, from non-ICF coaches. The results of this survey will be made public and used to create robust guidelines, inform curriculum design and influence assessment processes. ICF Global Leaders Forum On March 5-7, Annette Siewertsen (Past President and Steering Committee Member on Western Regional Advisory Committee) and I attended the first ICF Global Leaders forum in Atlanta, where the chapter leaders discussed challenges and opportunities to look at alignment to the global brand. We met Chapter Presidents from all over the world, learning about their successes and challenges in their Chapters. I will offer a briefing at an upcoming armchair session. Looking forward This year promises to be an exciting year. The Leadership team is strong and committed to ensuring that our membership is well served. I encourage you to reach out to any or all of us to have a conversation. We have our regular events scheduled, as well as our annual International Coaching Week. The Leadership team now meets virtually (on the Zoom platform) to even the playing field for those who are from outside the Victoria area. Consider volunteering for a Committee or to stand for a nomination to next year’s Board. Lily  

Lily Seto

President, VI Coaches

Giving Yourself Permission

Popsicles (2)Do you give yourself permission to celebrate your achievements – even small achievements? What about going through changes in your work, home or volunteer environments? We at ICF Vancouver Island Coaches Association have lots to celebrate and we will be going through some changes so are hoping that you will give us permission to make mistakes as we go through these changes and celebrate with us as we get through them. Thank you to our Vice President Tammy Dewar who organized an inspiring International Coaching Week for our membership. I attended The Wholehearted Resilient Coach based on the research of Brené Brown and facilitated by the energizing Laurie

Hillis. Lots of learnings – a big one for me was Brené Brown’s amazing words – “I am imperfect and I am enough”. Such a great reminder and always something to celebrate! I also learned to give myself permission to Be Brave and Afraid, Ask for Help, and to be OK with good enough. Tough stuff yet real. One of our celebrations this year is to bring our June Membership meeting to Saltspring Island. Lynda Monk will be facilitating Group Coaching: Change and Growth in Community from 1:00 – 3:00 on Saturday, June 21st. Some of us will be heading over early to enjoy the Saltspring Market and lunch before the session. We hope to see some of you there! Another celebration will be hosting Damian Goldvarg, President of the International Coach Federation in our beautiful city on Monday, July 14th. Details of this exciting event will be released this week. We are hoping that you will support us through a change that is coming up with our Chapter. Tammy Dewar has had to make a difficult decision to step down in her role as Vice President. We will miss Tammy’s energy, wisdom and leadership and we support her wholeheartedly with her decision. We are inviting you to reach out if this role would be of interest to you or if you know of anyone in our Chapter who this role may be

of interest to them. This is a 3 year commitment and will require someone who has ICF knowledge, has been in a leadership role and who is actively an ambassador for coaching in our community. The 3 year commitment is one year (the remainder of 2014) as Vice President (President Elect), one year as President and one year as Past President of the Chapter. Again, I am asking you for permission to possibly make mistakes as we transition through this change and look forward to celebrating with you once we are through. What will you ask permission for?

Coaching Happenings in our Broader Community

heartinhandsVancouver Island Coaches Association has so many exciting things happening that involve our broader coaching community.


Starting with the International Coaching Events this month from May 20 – 23:

We are pleased to welcome Laurie Hillis who will be presenting ‘The Wholehearted Resilient Coach’ based on Brene Brown’s inspirational The Daring Way™ program on Tuesday, May 20th from 8:00 – 12:00 at the Victoria Executive Centre.

We invite people to experience the power of coaching with Coaching Demonstrations in the Square daily from May 20 – 22 from 12:00 – 1:30 in Centennial Square. Do you know anyone who would like to benefit the experience of coaching to help them understand how coaching can contribute to a vibrant community? Why not send them down Centennial Square to give it a try?

We have a series of webinars from May 21 – 23:

  • Coaching as an Essential Tool for Organizational Development
  • Happiness Works Best
  • Create Your Inspired Life
  • The 4 Key Ingredients of a Sustainable Coaching Business
  • How to Integrate Coaching into International Change Programs

Which events will we see you at? To sign up for any of these events please go to:

CCE’s are available for each event.


We are taking our June Member Event to Saltspring Island where we will explore the differences between Group Coaching and Team Coaching with Lynda Monk. What a wonderful way to meet and learn from our

fellow neighbour coaches on Saltspring Island who may not have had an opportunity to join us in Victoria for our events. Plus for those who don’t have an opportunity to explore the Saltspring Market here is your opportunity to combine fun and coach learning. Complete details tbd.


On July 14th we will be welcoming Damian Goldvarg, President of the International Coach Federation to our beautiful city where we invite you all to come and hear him speak about Mentor Coaching and Coaching Supervision. This is your opportunity to meet your ICF President and ask him questions about what is happening in the ICF Global community. Complete details tbd.

We thought these events would be a perfect way to help our members to get to know each other and the broader coaching community.

Which events will we see you at?

Coaching and Resiliency

Resilient PicThe International Coach Federation defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines resilience as an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.

What is resiliency and why is it so important? Resiliency is important because it is what we need to do when faced with life’s challenges and stumbling blocks.

One of the reasons I became a coach is because I have always been told how resilient I am. I, like many others have had challenges with my health, my daughter’s health, personal issues – we all know what this is like. When I was completing my coach education my alumni coach gave me a tag line of “Building Resiliency Through Change” – and this has stuck with me ever since.

My daughter just went through

major spine surgery and had a couple of stumbling blocks during her healing journey. Even through the difficulty of these stumbling blocks she was still thankful to be able to walk and I kept reminding her that one day this will all just be a memory.

As a coach when coaching someone to develop their resiliency, we want to focus on their successes as well as their struggles. We want to build their confidence by keeping their focus on the process of their achievements. We support our clients with bouncing back from struggles or setbacks and help them stay focused on their goals.

Having a coaching conversation is the perfect opportunity to overcome these challenges and get to the resiliency piece that we need to move forward.

Resilience is something we do rather than something we have.

How do you as a coach support your clients working towards resiliency?



Presidents Message – Sustainability and Coaching

2014 has certainly started and has been full of wonderful new beginnings to a hopeful new year! As I start my term as President of our Chapter for this year – I am reminded how much happens in such a short time and how quickly time passes if we allow it to.

As we embark on this year as a Chapter and develop a year of fun and learning – I invite you as coaches and colleagues to participate in Chapter activities, contribute to our blogs, reach out to us with ideas and/or questions to continue to shape the future of our chapter. One contribution makes a difference.

What would you like to see as a member of this growing coaching community? How can our Chapter’s Leadership Team contribute to this vision? How can you contribute to this vision?

What I envision for this year is involving our coaching community and the local community as a whole while still valuing our health, wellbeing, relationship and contributions.

This brings me to one of my all time favourite stories and one of the reasons why I believe in coaching and being in service to others. As coaches we do make a difference…one conversation at a time.


a chapter…we will make a difference one contribution at a time.

Looking forward to connecting and making a difference this year with you all.




Announcing Our ICF VI Coaches Board of Directors for 2014

It is with gratitude and awe that I reflect on our Chapter’s 2013. We have accomplished much! Our chapter is now 133 amazing members strong, and more are credentialed.

We’ve piloted a Coaching in Community

project; updated as well as introduced new policies, procedures, and processes; offered a variety of CCE learning events; as well as focused on our key priorities to engage our fabulous members, explore new ideas, expand conversations, and contribute to our community.

Thank you for making our first Board of Directors electronic election process a resounding success! We are thrilled to welcome the 2014 Board, both those returning and new. I love the shared energy, inspiration, vision, and united commitment. We look forward to continuing to stand in service of our membership.

President – Annette Siewertsen

Vice President – Tammy Dewar

Past President – Sarah Evans

Secretary – Carolyn Crow

Treasurer – Sharlet Poole

Director, Membership – Ricardo Manmohan

Director, Communications – Tracy McMicking

Director, Events – Heather Beaton

Director, Community Relations – Scott Mitchell

A heartfelt thank you to the Board members who have completed their terms. Sherry LeBlanc (Past President), Phyllis O’Grady (Secretary), Ingrid Abma (Treasurer), and Yvonne Mann (Director, Community Relations) have all served with integrity, compassion, wonderful humour, and dedication to our ICF chapter.

As we start our new year together, please plan to attend the first ICF Vancouver Island event of 2014 on Tuesday, January 14th – a short AGM and a fabulous learning event.

Like you, I truly believe that coaching has the potential to evolve humanity. May 2014 bring many opportunities to contribute to this evolution! Together, we can advance our profession and make a real difference in the world.


Abundance and the Happiness Advantage

happiness-2As we are in the season of thanksgiving, I’ve been reflecting on gratitude, abundance, and happiness. I recently watched a program on PBS entitled, “The Happiness Advantage”. Shawn Achor, a researcher on the science of positive psychology, spoke about his findings regarding the ability to experience more happiness in our lives.

In his presentation, Achor suggested that we tend to think that by accomplishing success and wealth we will ultimately find happiness. We think if good things happen to us (external factors) that we will see the happiness for which we yearn (internal joy). However, just the opposite is true. We find happiness by first working with our internal thoughts and attitudes. As we do this, the external begins to manifest events that bring us joy. The reality of finding and maintaining happiness in our lives is in understanding that we need to make a mental shift – literally change our brain. By engaging in some very simple daily acts and creating a source of positive habits in our lives, we can fundamentally shift to living in contentment and joy.

Here are five easy steps that Shawn Achor offers as a way of making that mental/brain shift in our lives:

1. Practice Three Gratitudes. Identify three specific events or things that have happened in the last 24 hours for which you can be grateful. By doing this practice your brain is actually lighting up when you are thinking and re-living that experience. By expressing a sense of gratitude for a particular experience you are in essence imprinting that experience as a positive one in your mind. He suggests

doing this activity for 21 straight days.

2. Journal. Journal or write down at least one positive experience. This act of writing, like stating something out loud, reinforces the brain’s belief. Anytime you are activating more than one of your senses, you are building neuron connections when you go beyond just thinking. You reinforce by the sound of your voice (which is why declaring positive affirmations can be literally life changing), and this is also done by the act of writing (or typing).

3. Exercise. The physical movements we add into our daily lives are also reinforcements to our brain. In the PBS special, Achor recommended adding three more smiles to your day. Smile at anyone you meet. By adding more smiles to your face your brain will register an additional level of the happiness ‘juice’ – dopamine. He suggested that if smiling feels like it may break your face, hold a pencil (horizontally not vertically) in your mouth to cause the corners of your mouth to go up. Additionally, the advantage to smiling is you get smiles back. Your actions are often mirrored right back to you.

4. Meditation. We need quiet time to focus and give thoughtfulness to our lives. This quiet refocusing is crucial to finding happiness. You can only rid the anxiety you feel by quieting the mind and focusing on what you desire.

5. Random Acts of Kindness. Achor recommended sending an email or connecting by a telephone call to someone in your circle of friends and acquaintances. This is not done via a FACEBOOK post. You need to send a personal note to someone you know. Spending even just two minutes connecting to that person will ignite dopamine in your brain again. Not only that, but your circle of real friends will start to expand and grow!

Achor acknowledged that most of us will say “I know all this stuff — this is nothing new!” But KNOWING is not the same thing as DOING! If you apply even one of these five techniques, you will find that your happiness scale may actually start to change. If you want to see huge changes then act on these recommendations for a minimum of 21 days.

View Shawn Achor’s ideas on gaining happiness to your life:

Or read his books: The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work (2010) and Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change (2013)

Here’s to happiness, gratitude, and abundance,


President’s Message: Breaking Boundaries

AutumnWith the transition to fall and ‘back to school’, my thoughts have been on learning and growth. ICF President Damian Goldvarg’s recent message nudged my thinking to consider breaking boundaries. He asked an evocative question: “What are the boundaries you need to break to have a life you love and a successful coaching practice?”

He went on to say that we are seeing unprecedented growth and development in the coaching industry, and that it is “the best time ever to be in the coaching profession.” I agree! Yet, I also know this growth does not necessarily equate to our own experiences. It can be challenging on so many different levels. In these times, it is important to remember that we are not alone – that we can draw on the strength and support of our coaching community. I witnessed this in action at our recent Coaches Café, where we came together to not only share favourite tools from our toolboxes, but to engage in conversation about that which truly matters to us.

As you reflect on what is next on your path of personal and professional mastery, I invite you to consider Dr. Goldvarg’s questions: “Do you need to break any boundaries to reach out to your coaching colleagues to share your needs and challenges? How can you be connected and committed to the profession you so

love in a more tangible and real way?”

Like our ICF President, I believe that we are powerful together and can affect the world in positive ways. And, I challenge

you to reflect on what do you desire most from coaching and your ICF chapter? What are you giving that supports this possibility?

I am honoured to engage with such a wonderful group of people who do the work I love most in the world.

In appreciation,


President’s Message: It’s Been a Big Year for Our Chapter

Support and ConnectionHappy Summer! I hope everyone is enjoying the beauty and bounty of this land and season, and taking some time for relaxation, rejuvenation, reflection as well as play.

Your VI Coaches Board was hard at work this past year. I thought I would update you on where we’ve been and where we are going. Your insightful comments and candid suggestions were instrumental in the shaping of our four overarching strategic themes in September 2012 as well as how we worked to deliver on these priorities during the past term. I am proud of what we’ve accomplished on behalf of our membership:

1. Create a value-adding membership

We grew the VI Coaches membership from 110 to 135 this past year. We worked to enhance our communication in a variety of ways, starting with the new member “Welcome” package, the website, E-News, and Twitter. A “members only” page has been developed on the website. And, of course, we offered fabulous Pro-D opportunities (3 Cafes, 3 Webinars, and 2 Workshops – 8.5 CCEU credits, 203 attendees). If you haven’t already done so, we encourage you to join the newly created LinkedIn Community of Practice Group.

2. Establish strategic alliances and create collaborative partnerships

In this area we continued to strengthen our relationships with professional strategic partner associations as well as increased our subscriber list. Through the efforts of the 2012 ICW, we presented education and a cheque to Heart & Stroke Foundation. We also established ‘Legacy’ roles for Community Coach Giving (Past P), ICW (VP) & Western Region Advisory Council (P).

3. Enhance the image and awareness of both coaching and this Chapter

We successfully met the ICF Global brand compliance requirements. Member profiles on the website continued to be promoted. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to add a profile, we would invite you to do so. One of our biggest wins this year was in establishing our Pro Bono Community Coach Giving Initiative. The pilot project for this initiative is currently underway with Bridges for Women – Coaching for Mentors.

4. Build a high performance Chapter, and specifically a high performing Board

Through the SGM resolution, the annual cycle for operations was changed to a calendar year to align with ICF Global, and the term for current board extended until December 31. We continued to develop board succession and sustainability processes including developing policies (Event Submission, Social Media, and Volunteer) and revising bookkeeping processes & yearend financial reporting. We also took the opportunity to review the Association Constitution & Bylaws and prepared resolutions for the AGM.

It has been a busy and rewarding year! We as a Board have committed to continue everything we’ve undertaken for the “short year” term until December. We will be looking to you, our membership, for involvement in various committees, and an enhanced focus on community relations. We will also continue our work on sustainability processes and practices.

I would like to offer a heartfelt thank you for the dedication of the board members. It is truly an honour to work with amazing individuals who are committed to this Chapter and to the coaching profession. We’ve had a few members move on to other pursuits – a special thank you to Delaney Tosh, Tracey Gibson, and Maureen Clarke for their incredible work and service.

A warm welcome to our newest board members who have been appointed to serve until the end of the current term – Yvonne Mann is serving as the Director of Community Relations; Ricardo Manmohan is the new Director of Membership; Tracy McMicking is now the Director of Communications; and Heather Beaton is the new Director of Events. They each bring a fantastic energy and vision to their roles.

As a Board, we share a unified purpose to stand in service of our membership. Our key priorities are to engage our fabulous members, explore new ideas, expand conversations, and contribute to our community. This Chapter belongs to you – we depend on your feedback and active participation. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at our events and activities.

Mark your calendars for our fall Coaches Café on Tuesday, September 10th – further details coming soon.

Enjoy the rest of your summer,