Arriving at the International Coach Federation’s 2012 Conference in London, England, Johnny Manzon-Santos and I were nervous about how our session would be received. After all, Innovative Applications of Coaching is about social justice, cultural awareness and recognizing that there is something more that coaching could be doing on behalf of the world and many people aren’t familiar with that. So it was very exciting to find ourselves with about 40 folks, most that we didn’t know and who were really excited by this idea.

We found our approach of providing inspiring examples, facilitating interaction, and using cooking metaphors (everyone can relate to food and eating!) really changed the energy in the room. It worked really well to have folks go into breakout and answer questions for themselves about what Innovative Applications of Coaching could look like based on their knowledge of their communities and their work. They loved that it was interactive and we loved learning from them. We emphasized the primacy of social justice and cultural awareness as essential ingredients and several people came up afterwards to thank us. They felt they weren’t hearing their values of and commitment to social justice and cultural awareness discussed at the conference and appreciated that we created an environment where the commitment to these values were prioritized.

We went to London representing a small learning community. And, now that learning community has become international, we can all be in this coaching test kitchen, experimenting with new recipes, and learning from one another. Our sights are set on a 2013 gathering of folks working on Innovative Applications of Coaching and with all these new friends from around the world, we realize the gathering could be international.

Stay tuned.