The CoachAccountable Blog

What's new with the CA platform, tutorials on using it, and customer spotlights.

Speaking at the ACTO Conference

For some time now I’ve thought to myself it might be cool to be invited to speak at a conference, to share about what I’ve learned over the years in my quest to make coaching better by way of technology.

In late April Halli MacNab, incoming president of ACTO, the Association of Coach Training Organizations, reached out with a simple inquiry:

We had a presenter drop out – and are wondering if you are interested in a conversation about presenting at the conference – about the benefits of merging coaching with technology?

“Why yes, that sounds like fun!”  In our first conversation I was happy to report that that very subject was something I felt quite comfortable with and qualified to speak on.

I imagined I had to prep something like 20 or 40 minutes for my talk.  Turns out I had a 90 minute session to fill!  Right-o, then.  I got to work on crafting a suitable presentation (goodness knows at over 6 years into this endeavor I have sufficient things to talk about).

There’s something great about having to put together a work like this.  Like having guests over to your place (which prompts you to tidy up so as to make it suitable to receive those guests), crafting this talk forced me to organize a swirl of insights and ideas into a coherent narrative.  Just as those guests leave your home in a much nicer, more organized state, putting this talk together revealed some unexpected ideas that bring the whole of what CoachAccountable is all about into much clearer focus.

Two assertions that underpin pretty much the whole operation revealed themselves:

  1. Technology has the power to make people better at being coached.
  2. Technology has the power to make coaching more demonstrably results-based.

Assertion 1 is the stuff of having structures that help clients to actually apply the coaching to their lives, rather than leaving it to chance that the coaching will simply fade as just a bunch of really good ideas.  Assertion 2 is the stuff of making coaching more readily understood and its value more clearly evident, to win over the skeptics, prove the worthiness, and quell concerns that coaching is just a bunch of woo woo fluff.  Together they are the stuff of coaching being able to resonate with, and make a difference for, a much broader band of humanity.

I should mention at this point that Halli challenged me to make this talk essentially have nothing to do with CoachAccountable.  She wisely explained that nobody wants to attend a 90 minute commercial from a vendor, not even a well veiled one.  So this talk, rather than be a more straightforward exposé on CoachAccountable itself (“Hey, here’s the system I made, and here’s why it’s cool!”), was a deep dive into the underlying principles of HOW technology can be used to make coaching meaningfully better, and WHY it works to do so.  All of the abstract concepts, none of the concrete implementation.

If you’re curious, check out the slides.  They’re sparse on words but give a good sense of the ideas.

All told it was a delightful experience and a real treat to get acquainted with such a fine community of leaders in the coaching world.  My thanks once again to Halli and ACTO for inviting me to speak!

I’m hunched over the table to get more in frame, because super tall. Oh yeah, we had a table! That was fun.

Leave a Comment