Debrief Third Americas Coaching Supervision Conference, June 15, 2020
The Americas Coaching Supervision Network held our 3rd Annual Conference on May 7-9, 2020. Originally, the plans were to be in Mexico City and the hotel and catering were organized and our Mexican colleagues were busy planning dinners and parties and Mariachi bands for us. It was to be a big party as only Mexico City knows how to throw! And then COVID-19 arrived and we challenged ourselves to switch from Mexico City to a virtual format in the six weeks leading up to our dates. So many decisions to be made about platforms, numbers, cost, whether we have the same presentations, format, preparing speakers to shift from in person to virtual, and the list went on. A decision was made to seek CCEs from ICF Global as an added bonus and we dropped the participant price and offered scholarships for those hardest hit by the pandemic and who have been faithfully supporting ACSN. How to build community and connections and learn and have fun virtually, while raising the profile of our community here in the Americas? We hoped 60-70 attendee would keep it intimate and allow for some connection and community. In the end, we had 115 participants from 20 different countries sign up. What an exciting time!
In the end, we are very happy with the results. All the speakers who were to present in Mexico agreed to present virtually, additional guests could now attend who were unable to attend if the conference had been held in Mexico, and we were able laugh and sing and dance and still learn from each other (I’m still dancing my sillies out…”). Professor Peter Hawkins and Pam Maclean (from the Hudson Institute) set a lovely provocative tone with their questions around “The most important question I and the world need me to inquire into at this conference is…” (Peter) and “supervision interrupts practice and it wakes us up to ourselves and our way of being…and it nudges us to see our stories…” (Pam). We watched and reflected on demonstrations in smaller breakout groups, and learned through experience, visualizing and attended to theory. 94% of attendees rated the conference either “very good” or “excellent” and we appreciated all the individual emails sent about what participants learned and the connections made.
I always know that I have attended a great learning event when I end up with more questions than I entered with. Some learning highlights and questions that I am left to ponder from the conference included:
- With deliberate effort and design, a virtual event can be fun and engaging!
- “We are all in different boats in the same storm”
- How do you need to be in order to navigate COVID Spring?
- How do I breathe differently and how do I mindfully break my patterns and frames of reference?
- What is the most important work that we need to do together in supervision given all that is going on in front of us?
- What attention do I need in order to attend to the edges of my scripts?
- Our presence is an intervention and an invitation in itself.
- What’s the impact if we value “busy badges”?
- Comfort is rarely transformative
- What is possible in my supervision today that was not possible before the pandemic unfolded?
What questions are you still savouring?
Thank you to everyone in the space who supported my learning and challenged me to think differently. It was a grand event indeed and I look forward to what can be created next year, virtually again, on April 29-May 1.