One of the greatest values of membership in VI Coaches, from my perspective, is the opportunity of co-creating a vibrant and dynamic community of practice.
Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. – Etienne Wenger-Trayner
According to Wenger-Trayner, who coined the phrase with Jean Lave, three characteristics are critical in cultivating a community of practice.
- The domain: A community of practice is not merely a club of friends or a network of connections between people. It has an identity defined by a shared domain of interest – in our case that of standing in services as coaches and advancing the coaching profession. Membership implies a commitment to this domain, and therefore a shared competence that distinguishes members.
- The community: In pursuing their interest in their domain, members engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other. Having the same job or the same title does not make for a community of practice unless members interact and learn together. An example that Wenger-Trayner uses is that of the Impressionists, who used to meet in cafes and studios to discuss the style of painting they were inventing together. These interactions were essential to making them a community of practice even though they often painted alone.
- The practice: Members of a community of practice are practitioners. They develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, and ways of addressing recurring problems – in short a shared practice. This takes time and sustained interaction.
We encourage you to engage with us in developing and contributing to these elements. As we do this together, our VI Coaches community of practice will flourish.
A heartfelt thank you for who you are and what you do in our community!
Sarah Evans, President, VI Coaches
PS Please remember to renew your ICF membership