From the Top Coach Blog with Katrina Burrows, MCC
This is the second blog of a series from an interview of Patrick Williams, Ed.D., MCC, the founder of The Institute for Life Coach Training, the first-of-its-kind training institute that specialized in training psychotherapists, psychologists, counsellors and helping professionals in building a successful coaching practice. He co-authored Therapist as Coach: Transforming Your Practice and Total Life Coaching: 50+ Life Lessons, Skills, and Techniques to Enhance your Practice and Your life and Becoming a Professional Life Coach: Lessons from the Institute for Life Coach Training. He is interviewed by Katrina Burrus, MCC, Ph.D. is the host and interviewer. Katrina authored When the Visionary is Blinded: Coaching Brilliant and Toxic Leaders andGlobal Nomadic Leaders: How to Identify, Attract and Retain Them. Katrina is founder and CEO of MKB Conseil & Coaching that helps managers, leaders and organizations to excel. Patrick mentioned, “creative leadership conversations” and her next question was the following:
Can you comment on the creative leadership conversations?
There’s a little bit of story with that. So in 2009, I heard from the Center for Free Leadership who was doing a youth leadership development conversation and I contacted them. They were excited what I was up to. And so, we joined forces to create our coaching skills toolkit.
But coaching does not translate all over the world in a way we want. And so the belief was, what we’re really doing is helping a person develop leadership capacity in anyone who is willing to be part of a solution to a challenge. So the philosophy is that leadership is an activity not a position. And I follow the works of Margaret Wheatley who has written many books. The one we used a lot is “Turning to One Another”.
The Center for Creative leadership Cambridge Associates would teach the philosophy that leadership is as an activity, not a position. So, anybody who steps up to be part of that energy can shift the challenge and is, indeed, a leader. The innovative part of it is that we’re using the coaching approach. So it’s probably the type of conversation they’ve not had. Instead of problem solving and/or conflict resolution, we’re teaching this ability to ask question that you don’t know the answer to and be comfortable with not knowing. Explore the creative bounds of impossibilities. And that’s what coaching is really about.
What results do you get after giving a two day training and following up after three years?
Well, to be very honest people don’t do great follow-ups. We just have anecdotal information of how much they liked the training. But we do have reports on our website of our various projects that have been written up in great detail and it’s very encouraging. Our training is there to ignite people, to ignite new thinking, to fan the flames. And the follow-up is to keep the fire burning, to keep the coals hot so that you can always bring life to that passion and that commitment.
Have you been asked to come back a second time to re-ignite a conversation or training?
We have in a couple of places. We were very lucky in Kenya because I had a donor. I had a sponsor who for three years funded our programs. Our sponsor wanted to combine it with getting people to go on safari. So we said, “All right. You can go on safari but we’re also going to use this money for helping at people at the local level.”
So we were asked back. I did training with a missionary group, a non-denominational Christian missionary group in Charlotte, North Carolina and their staff. These are all international leaders and building new churches in South Sudan, Africa, and parts of Europe. They then hired me to go to Ghana to train their regional directors and we followed-up with them via Skype and email. This project was very powerful.
I also did a local program called, “Road to Success” with at risk kids in the school district here. And the results are very, very good. We’re not just teaching the coaching approach, we’re also doing life skills trainings. So we went beyond the bounds of teaching the coaching approach and taught the kids life skills while embedding the coaching skills.