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By: •  2 years ago •  

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The Global Landscape

The International Coach Federation (ICF) is the
leading global organisation dedicated to advancing the
coaching profession.  It achieves this by setting high
standards, providing independent certification and building a
worldwide network of trained coaching professionals.  ICF also accredits
programs that deliver coach-specific training that adhere to a rigorous review to
ensure their curriculum aligns with ICF Core Competencies and its Code of Ethics.

In June 2018 there are 34,615 members in more than 70 countries across the globe.

The International Coach Federation in Australia and New Zealand

ICF Australasia Incorporated (ICF Australasia) is a Chartered Chapter operating across two geographies, Australia and New Zealand to support more than 1,600 members.

A member-elected Board of Directors and 10 local branch leadership teams – all volunteers – manage all facets of the virtual organisation with the support and services of an administration manager.

Growth Graph

Benefits and Challenges of a Virtual Organisation Led by Volunteers

I was saying to a colleague recently that we are fortunate to live in a world today where systems that allow working flexibility and convenience is the norm.  Once upon a time, there were few options other than to travel to a common venue to attend a meeting or training event ‘in person’.

Today, it is a treat to meet face-to-face and more often than not, ICF Australasia leaders and members are meeting over Zoom (virtual meeting and webinar platform) and only on some of these occasions with the Brady Bunch-like video images onscreen!  In between meetings there are, of course, phone calls and emails among the leadership and most importantly, for our members, there are a range of local Branch offerings such as communities of practice, coaching circles, networking and professional development events.

For the most part, the virtual arrangement is efficient, and it works well; we are after all, dispersed from Perth in Western Australia right across to Christchurch on the Southern Island of New Zealand.  In daylight savings season, we span five time zones.  I’m based in Brisbane, Queensland and at a client site only today I heard someone who had just returned from leave saying that he’d driven North for 18 hours and was still in Queensland!

This concept is unfamiliar to our European colleagues and, while the United States and North America is also a vast geography, the critical mass of ICF members is significantly higher there, with more than 16,000 (ten times that of ICF Australasia).

Critical Mass Matters

This critical mass concept is particularly important for ICF Australasia due to its vast geographic distribution of ICF members, and it underpins our focus on collaboration and reducing duplication of effort and across the Chapter.  Part of the challenge of virtual organisations and especially those that are not-for-profit and run by busy volunteers across multiple locations is the risk of expending energy and hard-earned funds on trying to be everything to everyone all of the time.

With 10 Branches of varying sizes across the Chapter, the central core of the organisation is funded to support shared services and the technological infrastructure on which ICF Australasia operates.

Strategic Focus

All of the ICF Australasia teams are passionately committed to realising the ICF Global vision that “coaching is an integral part of a thriving society and every ICF Member represents the highest quality of professional coaching.”  In New Zealand and Australia, we want to enable a thriving community of professional coaches.

At a Strategy Session held in December 2017, we created the opportunity to bring together – in person – Board members and Branch Presidents for two days to focus on building foundations and relationships, and to establish plans for the next phase of working together, i.e. smarter not harder.  We reset the three strategic pillars to be:

  1. Coaching Excellence to support and build best in class professional coaching capability and confidence in Australasia.
  2. Membership Engagement to increase attraction and engagement of our member community and volunteer leaders.
  3. External Stakeholder Engagement to increase awareness of the ICF brand in Australasia with potential members, volunteer leaders, clients, educational organisations, professional associations and stakeholders, and other potential partners.

The activities and initiatives being delivered now and the 2018-19 budget have been aligned to these pillars.  The gathering also provided the invaluable opportunity to reflect on and acknowledge all the work and commitment that has brought ICF Australasia to the place we are today.

What the Future Holds

The past three annual membership renewal cycles have seen ICF Australasia grow, with an increase of 3.3% from 2016 to 2017, and over the past 12 months to June 2018 a further 10.4%.  [see Figure 1 – ICF Australasia Member Growth 2016-2018]

Many factors contribute to this success, including the growing awareness of the benefits of coaching globally.  This can be attributed in part to the increasing recognition of the ICF Brand and the combined efforts of ICF Australasia volunteers in Australia and New Zealand.

We’ve also seen an increase in formal requests for ICF credentialed and accredited coaches in tenders and standing offer arrangements by purchasers of coaching services.  We see this growing as a trend as buyers continue to become more aware and savvy of the benefits of coaching and the importance of engaging a qualified coach in a self-regulated industry.  It’s also important for buyers to be able to easily access credentialed coaches who abide by a code of ethics and provide professional services.

As ICF Australasia continues to transition from a central ‘umbrella’ with 10 separate branches to a stronger collective group, we will better leverage collaborative initiatives and technologies throughout the Chapter and globally.  We couldn’t have been delivering the same level of service and variety to our members, or connecting with our global colleagues as frequently 10 years ago.  Emerging technologies will continue to provide more innovative options.

Along with technological changes, we are looking at how best to organise ourselves to streamline the organisation and still deliver to the three strategic pillars.  The legacy each of us passes to the next volunteer leader is key to the continued sustainability of ICF Australasia.

Two Decades of Passion, Commitment and Hard-Working Volunteers

ICF Australasia will be celebrating its 20th year in 2019 and we are planning to party hard!  This article provides an opportune time to not only flag this milestone, but also to thank everyone who has been involved in making ICF Australasia the growing organisation that it is today:

  • Members, present and past;
  • Coaches and Credentialed Coaches;
  • Volunteer Leaders, present and past, (and their families!);
  • Volunteer Team Members;
  • Elected Directors and Office-bearers (also volunteers);
  • Sub-committees and Working Groups;
  • Guest Speakers and Facilitators;
  • Regional and Global ICF Staff and Board Members;
  • Supporters;
  • Event Sponsors;
  • Partners and Service Providers.

Melinda Horton ACC, is the President of ICF Australasia and Board Chair.  She is an ICF credentialed coach, an experienced executive, business owner, facilitator and consultant. 

Melinda works with individuals and leaders to develop their best self in all they do.  Frequently partnering with organisations undergoing significant transformational change, she develops and supports initiatives that drive action, improve communication and build strong relationships to deliver results.  

Melinda is passionate about values-based leadership and supporting the development of self-awareness and individual accountability; the essential foundation on which great leaders are developed.

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