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Leadership Development and Executive Coaching: Reflections from a Summit

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What is the role to be played by “senior” coaching leaders as mentors to the next generation? Should experienced coaches be coaching their younger colleague? What are the pieces of wisdom that should be passed on because they have “stood the Test of Time and as one group put it: “are relevant or more relevant now than then.” If nothing else, should the senior coaches serve as role models in being “in service” to not only their clients but also the field of executive coaching?

One other question was raised by NECS participants regarding the next generation. Should the learning that occurs be two-way in nature? Should the “newcomers” offer their own fresh perspectives and suggestions regarding how to engage the VUCA-Plus world—with which they, in particular, are fully acquainted? What about senior coaches learning from one another as well as from the newcomers? Can’t senior coaches serve as role models for those entering the field by not only being servants to the field, but also by being life-long learners themselves?

Several other themes emerged regarding the future. First, challenges and opportunities associated with the globalization of professional coaching were identified. Not only are there emerging opportunities for North American coaches to work with clients from other continents (either in person or virtually) there is also the opportunity to gain greater understanding of and appreciation for the perspective and practices of leaders living and working in quite different societies. One group labeled these as “multi-cultural moments.”

A third theme focused on the ways executive coaching can help facilitate the “on-boarding” of leaders who are entering a new organization or moving into a quite different role in their current organization. Much more should be learned about the “on-boarding” process and related issues of “transition management” and “adaptation” to the culture of an organization one is newly entering.

The final theme reiterates the emerging interest (and concern) of many NECS participants about the role played by spirituality in the profession of executive coaching. Should members of faith communities share their own insights regarding the building of a coaching culture that has a strong values-based and spiritual foundation.

Do members of faith communities share some of their own “truths”. They should not do this to proselytize for their own faith-based perspectives. Rather, they would share their “truths” to further enrich diverse and multi-tiered perspectives on the nature of belief that any executive coach should acquire. This fuller appreciation regarding the nature of “truth” can enhance the coach’s appreciation for the internal and external worlds in which the leaders they coach now live and work–and the globalized, multi-cultural, VUCA-Plus environment in which they are likely to live and work in the near future.

Conclusions

Where do we go from here? How might we serve most effectively as stewards to the fields of leadership development and executive coaching? Do we offer another executive coaching summit? If so, should this be an annual event? If this gathering is ongoing, then what should be its mission? What should be the outcomes of either one more summit or of annual summits? These questions were posed by one of the NECS small groups.

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