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The Columbia Coaching Learning Association (CCLA) Program Committee began the conversation today (8.11.15) about establishing the theme for our 2nd International Columbia Coaching Program Conference scheduled for October 2016! Columbia Coaching Programs Faculty Director, Dr. Terrence E. Maltbia, outlined strategic inputs that should inform the creation of the conference theme.

The ideas below align with both program and university priorities of FY 2016 and beyond, theme should:

  • Highlight Columbia's University-wide emphasis on Neuroscience (i.e., cognitive, social, and behavioral) with the planned opening of the Jerome L. Greene Science Center (;
  • Provide an invitation for the exploration of the generation of evidence-based practices focused on executive and organizational coaching;
  • Be a continuation, expansion of the 1st Conference Theme: Spaces for Executive and Organizational Coaching; and
  • Shed light on expanding the profession's emphasis on differentiating coaching from other helping work (e.g., mentoring, consulting, therapy, etc.) to laying the necessary work of aligning coaching with other important development work and processes in organizations (e.g., talent management, leadership development, organizational development, change management/leadership, facilitation, and so on).

Given this framing, we invite our growing learning community to provide suggestions for consideration for our 2016 Conference!


Dr. Terrence E. Maltbia

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  • Dear Dr. Maltbia and community, [TEM: Dana, thanks for contributing the conversation - you have provided lots of rich insights, that I've responded in the context of your comments]

    It's exciting to look forward to re-gathering and expanding the group of scholars and practitioners who joined us a year ago (feels like it went quickly!) [TEM agreed!]

    Reflecting on the themes, it struck me that the theme of neuroscience, including mindfulness as Jun mentions, is evolving how coaches and clients work- we are at the tip of the iceberg in terms of knowledge and impact. [TEM, yes, and neuroscience, as a body of knowledge is very broad, there are segments that align with practices such as developing emotional intelligence, social competence, mindfulness, and a host of other positive approaches to personal/organizational learning and change (i.e., cognitive, social, and affective neuroscience); yet there is also segments that are more aligned with, what some will call, hard business/organizational practices, behavioral neuroscience, behavioral economics, and so on - so when you get deeper into this board and emerging body of knowledge, neuroscience, there are fewer contradictions and one realizes it is instead a very broad and comprehensive knowledge base that can be applied to a variety of individual, group, organizational, and social problems, challenges, and opportunity; thus Columbia University's commitment to Neuroscience, and the new center, as a interdisciplinary hub | we really want to leverage the university's investment and bring it to bear on our 2016 conference!]

    And at the same time, on a very different note, the organizational context as you mention is complex - so now that organizations have more history with coaching, where does a coach fit in (or out) of the organization? Are they a business leader, a neuroscientist, a retired CEO, an internal resource, a manager who has been trained, etc? [TEM: Dana, you highlight a number of important points, we want to keep in front of us, in planning the 2016 event: (a) organizations and the environment in which they operate are increasingly complex - this suggest that professional executive coaches, in addition coaching competencies, need business/organizational acumen to operate in this fast pace, competitive, and complex context - organizational models can help here; (b) coaching, as a practice, skill-set, and/or competence, has a history that dates back prior to the formation of any of the current professional coaching associations, e.g., ICF, IAC, WABC, EMCC, etc. -NOTE: for example one of the first published peer review article that I'm aware of dates back to the late 1930s, and it was related to the practice of, what we would now call, managerial coaches, NOT professional coaches (Gorby, C. B., 1937 - Everyone gets a share of the profits. Factory Management & Maintenance, 95, 82-83; this suggest that our 2016 conference should have a clear focus on the form of coaching for which the event is focusing on, i.e., "Executive Coaching" and the context, i.e., "Organizational" - doing so will allow us to be clear in our language, this area of coaching, "Executive and Organizational Coaching" has many relevant sub-areas to explore including; Executive Coaching, Leadership Coaching, Managerial Coaching, Peer Coaching, Group and Team Coaching, for example]

    It's a fast moving profession (or space) and so both these themes suggest we are questioning the future of coaching: where will the field be, not next year but in five or more years? And how can we educate coaches and influence leaders to make the most of it? [TEM: this is clearly a useful frame, e.g., an inquiry into the Future of Executive Coaching; Coaching in, and for, Organizations]

    Dana, again, thanks for your important inputs into the formation of our 2016 conference theme!


    Terrence E. Maltbia (TEM)

  • Dear Dr. Terrence E.Maltbia,

    Thank you so much for weaving all the ideas together and providing us a good stunning start this year. It is important to connect the past participants and the future learners.

    I have some ideas on the Neuroscience part: 
    1.I know Mindfulness has been a important role player in connecting Neuroscience and modern life/work. It calms one when he or she makes decisions. And a more mindful team performs better.
    2.If we can invite any Mindfulness candidates/lecturers/speakers, I have a good Chinese coach to recommend, as well as other western scholars and practitioners.

    In case of the volunteers,
    I am very willing to commit my time and energy on this. Because I am still a student in my master program. I think either my time or my new energy can help the conference smooth better.

    Thank you very much.


    • Dear Dr.Terrence E.Maltbia,

      Thank you still for organizing all these events. It just reminds me that Margaret Nichols has been a good candidate as well for the speaker. Talk to you more soon.!!


    • Jun,

      Thanks for sharing ideas for the 2016 Conference Theme. I agree that there is a clear and important connection between: (1) Neuroscience, (2) EQ/SQ/CQ, and (3) Mindfulness - so this is a good point for our planning committee to keep front and center as we finalize the theme and agenda for the conference. Please do share any speakers you have in mine, we plan to start sourcing and screening potential speakers in September, so the timing is good. We'll also be posting a "call for volunteer" shortly, so stayed turned!


      • Hi Dr. Terrence E.Maltbia,

        Let me sorry but ask again. Is it for the 2016 Conference Theme? The 2015 conference one is already set right? Or the conference biennial?


      • Dear Dr.Terrence E.Maltbia,

        Thank you so much for this quick response. The speakers in mind that I have are: (1) A Chinese Coach who teaches Mindfulness in China (2)Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Full Catastrophe Living, first book on Mindfulness and basic teaching (3) Thich Nhat Hanh, a buddhist monk teaching on Mindfulness. These are just some cases that I think of so far. There might be other potential speakers who are keen on this topic and most importantly, who can be well-melted into our theme this year.

        I will wait for the "call for volunteer". Thank you very much and wish you a nice day.




  • I love the neuroscince theme, enjoyed being a client at the last graduation and will like to say the following

    1- Evidence based coaching should be specific to the coaching approach as each approach has a very different coaching focus. For instance, the impact of a  person-centered coaching approach will be measured very differently from a systems-oriented approach. In other words, if I use the person-centered approach which focuses on the coachee or the systems oriented appraoch which focuses on the paying organization,  what is the best practice in measuring the impact on the organization/coachee?

    2- How about talking  about the top 10 challenges that executive coaching is most approriate as a solution as compared to therapy and consulting; and which corresponding coaching approach(es) is/are more applicable and why. We all know of prospective clients who claim that executive coa`ching does not work. Sometimes I wonder what approach to coaching was used and why. Could we come up with a more comprehensive "How to hire an executive coach" than that of  the ICF? If so, we can use that to promote this forum by offering members the possibility to upload it on their websites or something of the sort

    4-Have a forum of actual clients of executive coaching to tell us what they actually want (and why) from an ideal executtive coach - and publish a report that could be widely distributed. Such a report could also be contrasted with what executive coaches think their clients want. There is a number of such differences are brought up in an artilce at

    4- I am interested in helping anyway possible 

    • Samuel,

      Good to hear from you! Thanks for your input, these are some good ideas for us to take forward! We will be asking for volunteers shortly. If other ideas come to mind, please add them to this discussion thread!



  • I greatly enjoyed the first conference, and would love to contribute to the 2nd one.  However, the dates of the October 2016 conference coincide with a Jewish holiday, which runs from Oct. 16-25.  Is there any way to shift them later and avoid all the fall Jewish holidays?

    On the question above:  All sound great, esp. evidence-based practices and continuing the broad "spaces" exploration theme.  

    I would love to also see included the practices, research, models, and/or literature from other countries.  For example, the UK and Europe have a different core set of models and frameworks than we typically use in the US.

    Another frontier would be to explore how to include and share practitioner-obtained empirical knowledge with applied research, and create a symbiotic conversation.

    • Dr. Abrams,

      Thanks for being the first to provide input and the great ideas. These will be very helpful as we begin the process of crafting the 2016 Conference Theme. Regarding the Jewish holiday, one of our challenges planning for multiple events, targeted toward a diverse and global audience, is almost every week there is an important holiday somewhere around the world, that combined with space limitations compresses our options. One thing we are looking into for this conference is remote access via live streaming, so that might be an option for at least segments of the conference. We'll keep you posted.



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