Log in

Executive Coaching at GeekWire Summit 2018 Earns Solid Reviews

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 3:21 PM | ICF WA Editor (Administrator)

ICFWA Delivers Outstanding Coaching Experiences for Attendees

Technology and coaching proved to be a perfect match at the recent GeekWire Summit 2018 in Seattle. To help leaders navigate rapidly changing landscapes and to raise awareness about the power of coaching, the Washington state chapter of the International Coach Federation (ICFWA) partnered with GeekWire, a fast-growing tech-based news site, at this event.

ICFWA set a goal of offering 60 complimentary coaching sessions to tech professionals attending the two-day summit, led by ICF-credentialed coaches. Even though coaching was offered for the first time at this summit, there was an overwhelming demand for coaching. The ICFWA coaches ended up logging 83 sessions, lasting 25 minutes each.

“You gave me inspiration that I'm using to propel myself.”

Tech Professional who received coaching at the GeekWire Summit

“Coaching is entering the mainstream for people who want to advance to the next level, be better leaders, improve their communication skills, or reach a work/life integration that works for them,” said Sharmin Banu, current ICFWA President. “We’re excited about the response to coaching at the GeekWire Summit. It was obvious that our offering tapped into a glaring need since far more people took advantage of it than we anticipated. The coaching experience provided a ‘personal oasis’ at a busy conference and people walked away with immediate value to their lives and work.”

 “Absolutely incredible, completely awesome.”

Daniel Rossi, GeekWire Chief Business Officer on having coaching at the Summit

The GeekWire leaders were delighted about the results of this first-ever coaching offering at the Summit, calling it a “smashing” success. According to Daniel Rossi, Chief Business Officer for GeekWire, tech professionals attend the summit because they want to “rise and shine and conquer.” Rossi said he had conversations with the sell-out crowd, and “they are talking about how absolutely incredible, completely awesome it was to have a (coaching) session.”

While most of the coachees experienced this “taste of coaching” for the very first time, nearly all of them wanted more of it. The results of the follow-up survey confirm the demand for coaching at the future GeekWire Summits.

Ahead of the GeekWire Summit 2018, ICFWA surveyed technology leaders and executive coaches about the typical leadership challenges today. While there are many, the findings reveal that the challenges of today will only be growing in the era of AI.

  • Organizational leadership leading teams and organizations, developing collaborative relationships
  • Personal leadership work/life integration, career progression and managing transitions

Themes that emerged from the coaching sessions at the Summit bear out those concerns. Coaching topics over the course of the two days included:

  • Career development navigating new challenges, changing roles, career clarity, strategies, decision making, career transitions
  • Entrepreneurship scaling the business, hiring, and developing an elevator pitch
  • Leadership - providing feedback, being present, new manager challenges, employee development, empowering teams, creating impact and influence, expanding presentation skills and executive presence
  • Emotional intelligence – coping with ‘impostor syndrome,’ managing emotions at work, coping with burnout

“I gained so many great insights from my (coaching) session. Experiencing it firsthand really showed me how valuable it is to invest in your professional self via a coach.”

Tech Professional who received coaching at the GeekWire Summit

Coaching is no longer only for C-suite level executives. And it is not about providing “the last chance” for a failing executive. Forward-looking companies around Puget Sound – and the world - are hiring coaches to develop leadership capacity and high-performance cultures. Being coached is a highly personal experience that leads to insights and new habits. Accountability is built into a coaching relationship so that a coachee’s good intentions became a reality. Other benefits include clarity about navigating the intricacies of gaining a promotion, becoming more confident as a presenter or increased awareness of how they’re perceived.

A recent article Every Manager Should Have a Leadership Coach in ‘Talent Management and Human Resources’ quotes former Google CEO and chairman Eric Schmidt as saying, “The one thing people are never good at is seeing themselves as others see them. A coach really, really helps.”

Choosing the right coach

When considering a coach for your company or yourself, ICFWA President Banu suggests the following:

  • Search on the ICF Coach Database
  • Conduct interviews to learn about their coaching style and engagement format
  • Review credentials and training
  • Ask for referrals

ICF is advancing the standards of coaching profession and promoting coaching as an integral part of society. With more coaches entering the profession, it’s even more essential to have an independent, professional organization such as ICF to provide appropriate guidelines, accountability and enforceable standards of conduct for all ICF credentialed members.

Contributors to this article include the ICF Washington State Chapter members: Margo Myers, Kristiina Hiukka, Sharmin Banu, and Anu Arora.

About ICF: Founded in 1995, the International Coach Federation (ICF) is the leading global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of credentialed coaches. With almost 30,000 members spanned across 137 countries worldwide, ICF seeks to advance the art, science and practice of professional coaching.  For more information, please contact ICF Washington Chapter at