“The opposite of war isn’t peace, it’s creation.”
~ Playwright Jonathan Larson, from Rent

I see coaching as a means for surfacing and affirming our interconnectedness. So much of conflict is about feeling disconnected from one another. How then can coaching frameworks, approaches and techniques help shift the culture of our cities and communities to create, for example, more inter-faith, inter-generational, and inter-racial spaces and dialogue? How transformative to scale what coaching has to offer from the individual to the institutional and societal. As we become more connected, we become more creative and grow our capacity to address whatever challenges come our way.

I was fortunate enough to attend the 2012 International Coach Federation Conference in London, England, is search of inspiration and of allies. Belma González and I have been working with other practitioners, innovators and champions of coaching as part of a “Test Kitchen” collective of ‘chefs’ for several months, and London offered an international context in which to share our ‘recipes’. We used the metaphor of a test kitchen to promote and structure our session, and to invite others to marinate in the question: How can we use coaching in service of social justice? We were thrilled to brainstorm, heartstorm, and connect with new colleagues and friends from Sweden, Chile, South Africa, Germany, the U.K., France, Uruguay, Canada and the U.S. And we will look forward to Detroit in September 2013 where our Test Kitchen Collective will convene a national (and hopefully international!) gathering focused on Innovative Applications of Coaching that are grounded in cultural awareness and social justice. Belma and I offered to our colleagues in London a paraphrase of a Biblical quote: Charity is giving to others what belongs to me; justice is giving to others what belongs to them.

Johnny Manzon-Santos