What does it mean to be at your coaching edge? For Leadership that Works Coach trainer, Coaching for Transformation grad, and business owner, Ana Polanco, it means following your intuition and allowing a plan to unfold by following its own energy. Having visited LMHQ last December for a women’s breakfast, Ana fell in love with the space and the energy of the women there. Guided by her sense of rightness in the moment, Ana pitched the idea to Tracy Candido, LMHQ’s Programs & Events Director, saying, “I want to bring a bunch of coaches here and coach women! Our coaching model and our coaches are a really good fit for your Center.”
Seizing on the energy of their exchange, Tracy responded that she had been looking for this kind of event, and “it just clicked.” LMHQ, a creative event and meeting space in downtown Manhattan, New York, has as its mission to “work with individuals and organization to offer new connections, flexible workspaces, and ongoing inspiration through diverse programming and a robust network of members and visitors.” Created by the Downtown Alliance in 2015, LMHQ has been steadily growing a community of downtown makers, thinkers, and doers looking to collaborate, learn, and network.
And so Women’s Career Coaching: Creating a Long-Term Vision was created and slated for March 6, 2018 in recognition of International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
Ana’s next intuitive step involved reaching out on Facebook and holding the intention of diversity to match the diversity of the intended audience. She highlighted a bigger point that the event brought into focus, “we tend to assume that, if we send the invitation out to the universe, it will arrive – that’s not always the case. People are working on their own parts within the larger system with experiences that keep them from seeing themselves as whole. We have a responsibility to actively engage underrepresented populations.” Ultimately, six CFT coaches answered the call and joined Ana to comprise the event coaching team: Sheila Azad, Kori Burkholder, May Flam, Wendy Rodriguez, Julie Simon, and Pam Singh.
Reflecting on the design experience, Ana noted that it was all about meditation and intuition. Once the coaching team came together, planning the event flow was organic, and the coaches breathed life into it in 45 minutes. This process reinforced in Ana one of the greatest lessons, “Sometimes with our thinking brain we overthink, but when we use intuition, we manifest easily and truthfully.”
Being at the coaching edge means saying YES to serving new audiences in new ways. One lawyer-turned-CFT Coach, Sheila Azad, saw the call on Facebook and responded hopefully. “It felt exciting and purposeful to be connecting with the CFT tribe as graduates who are moving out in the world and creating change.” Sheila found the range of participants’ backgrounds to be especially compelling. The 50 women who attended seemed to represent all ages, beginning pathfinders, nearing retirement range, and a variety of industries – doctors, artists, marketing professionals, etc. Sheila noted, “There was a consistent vibe that their careers mattered to them. They were serious about their work and what they wanted to create. The buzz in the room was about insights, clarity, what’s next. People were in the place where the wheels were turning around transformation, asking themselves and each other, ‘what do I want and how can I make it happen?’.”
The coaching team’s commitment to show up fully seemed to infuse the room with possibility as participants moved from whole-group experiential exercises to small group discussions. “Everybody took their masks down and showed up real and whole,” Ana noted. Sheila agreed, saying that the authenticity of the women was tangible. Women were engaging with what was true for them, sharing their fears and hopes in meaningful conversation where everybody’s talents were recognized, and participants and coaches affirmed each other.
Tracy’s enthusiastic feedback confirmed the coaches’ perceptions. “It was a wonderful experience working with Ana to curate this event, and I really enjoyed all of the coaches she brought in. The attendees loved working in groups, since they were able to both hear from the coaches and also gain insight from their peers. It was a wonderful night! We could absolutely host more coaching events like this focused on different topics or areas of growth!”
Being at the coaching edge means catalyzing change. Among the take-aways from the experience are the desire for the CFT grad team to remain connected at their coaching edge. According to Sheila, “Being part of CFT, our common training, feels like being part of a tribe. When we go out together, there’s coherence.” The coaching team feels empowered to find other spaces to engage women directly outside the constructs of their offices and has formed a Mastermind Group across generations of CFT alum to continue exploring the possibilities for helping women take up more space in the world.
Leaning on our thinking brains may limit us, but what if we listened to our intuition? Where do we find our passions leading us as coaches? Consider venturing out to your coaching edge and hosting a pop-up event in your neighborhood during International Coaching Week, May 7-13, 2018.