Lessons From The Georgetown Leadership Coaches Conference

I love spending time with my clan. Being around people who share my passion for leadership is inspiring and fulfilling.

This past week, I attended my first Georgetown Leadership Coaching Conference. The conference brought together over 300 coaches from around the world. The focus was on resilience and for two days we took a deep dive into the topic. The conference included 4 tracks - personal resilience, professional resilience, client resilience, and global resilience. There were 29 excellent sessions.

Kudos to the people who made this event happen - particularly the coordinators and speakers. The content was exceptional and I learned a lot from my colleagues.

What I Learned About Leadership

  1. Resilience matters - Life and work can be demanding. Change is constant and chaos appears to be the new norm. Leaders lead in challenging times. Workers work in stressful conditions. Resilience, therefore, is necessary. Resilience matters because life is worth living despite all of the stressors that bombard us. Our capacity to sail our ship through the storm, navigate through rough waters, experience difficulties, and reach our destination in tact is important and necessary. All of us will face hardships in life. Resilience keeps us moving despite those hardships.
  2. Embrace your hardships - The challenges we face in life are necessary. They serve us and shape us. Don't try to avoid these hardships. They are a vital part of your journey. Whenever you face a hardship remember that you are like a jagged rock thrown into a river. If the river is calm and motionless, thousands of years will pass and the rock will remain jagged. You will keep your rough and sharp edges. However, if the river is quick and raging the rock will be smooth and polished within a century.
  3. Inquiry is a powerful teaching tool - Conferences often select speakers who talk too much. The Georgetown Leadership Coaching Conference did not. Many of the speakers encouraged involvement by asking questions of participants. Questions that encouraged thinking, discussion, and learning at a personal level.  One example of this was Lloyd Raines' session on silencing one another. The questions he asked stimulated learning at a personal level and equipped us to deal with the topic of resilience. By asking us three simple questions that did not have simple answers, Lloyd encouraged us to look within for answers. Looking within is a vital skill for leaders who need resilience. Our stories, thoughts, feelings, and experiences surface when times are tough.
  4.  We need to meet people where they are - All professions have their acronyms, jargon, and buzz words. If you are a coach, leader, engineer, lawyer, HR professional, or basket weaver; you share this curse. It is comforting to be around your clan because you all speak the same language. Be careful though! Many of the people you work with don't share your vocabulary. The words you use can confuse and misdirect others.  Scott Eblin drove this point home with an excellent session on "A Mindful Leadership Solution". His session explained how to help leaders become more mindful and shared a preview of the content in his new book. Scott's solution was pragmatic and instructive. He introduced mindfulness with language that will resonate with leaders. He avoided language that would confuse leaders or imply that he was trying to convert them to an eastern or new age religion. Scott's solution was an excellent example of meeting people where they are. His message will resonate with leaders who need mindfulness but avoid it due to the stigma attached.


The conference was outstanding. This only scratches the surface of what I learned. Thanks again to everyone who participated and the great team who put this event together.


Which of the four takeaways are you willing to try? What can you do to implement one of these in the next two weeks?