International Coach Federation
Posted by: bakkagirl ()
Date: May 07, 2018 02:45PM

Dear Members,

I am a senior executive coach who is researching the history and current practices of the International Coach Federation.

The ICF has, mysteriously, become the de facto certification body in the field of coaching, though many psychologists and coach practitioners have expressed extreme concern about its positioning and its practices.

My research has thus far indicated that the ICF was founded by individuals closely associated with est and Landmark, Landmark Education, Forum. It would seem that many early materials published by the ICF, or its founders were simply recycled from Landmark. Also, coach training has now come to encompass 'group awareness' activities that have had very negative consequences for some participants in my environment, Asia (Japan, China).

The ICF is often accused of using revival tent tactics to enlist new members, and then enrolling these members in rounds of training and mentoring. The quality of coaches being produced is not very high, and this is damaging the field, and the credibility of the discipline.


I believe the ICF may still be involved with Landmark. There are a shady cast of characters, celebrity coaches involved in this picture, and many have Landmark ties.

If anyone in this forum has had experience with the ICF, or information they would like to share, it would be much appreciated.

Bakkagirl

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Re: International Coach Federation
Posted by: not moses ()
Date: May 10, 2018 07:03AM

I'll post here what I did over on reddit:

I go all the way back to 1975 with Werner and his minions. Like the CoS, Landmark got into the "life-coaching" racket in the '90s, but it seems to me that it was one of the very earliest human potential cults to identify and pursue the "corporate culture change" market in the 1970s. I was sufficiently "taken" with est back then to try to introduce it to several corporate and governmental organizations in the LA area at that time. I found out quickly that, while Werner (aka Jack Rosenberg) himself "had a plan," his subordinates really didn't "get it" (yet). And I walked away from what would have been bad karma for my own credibility at the time.

Since then, however, est evolved into The Forum, the Landmark Forum, Landmark Education and Landmark Worldwide. By the '90s, anyway, they had wormed their way into several of the major IT concerns in the Bay Area, including (so it appears) Apple, Hewlett Packard, Oracle, Qualcomm and eBay, that I know of. Landmark's presence was facilitated by very high-level contacts in those companies who had come under Werner's et al's spell via the "basic training" and subsequent programs.

For anyone familiar with the est / Landmark lexicon and patois, it's pretty easy to tell when senior managers have drank the Kool Aid. Disenchantment soon followed, however. One notable female executive who turned "powerful" starred in a drama that shredded one of the biggest computer manufacturers of the '90s and early '00s, and rumors flew among the illuminati. While Landmark continues to have residual (and sometimes direct) influence upon the (mis?-) management of some of the firms in the SV, it's no longer the hot ticket it was at that time.

That said, the residual influence via the rather cynical use of the sort of techniques described right here in several, currently quite significant (and very fast-growing, hint, hint) corporations appears to continue. One familiar with the patois need only watch a few Ted Talks (a hot mess in itself now) to see who's bought into the "sky's the limit" belief system well described in C. L. Mithers' very discomfiting book about The Center for Feeling Therapy, a deal that bought into hyper-narcissistic est-ism in about '73 or so. (While est was never a "classic" MLM, it certainly utilized the work-yourself-to-death-on-the-way-to-the-promised-land-(not) interpersonal manipulations typical of such deals.)

With respect to ICF in particular, I can only say that while the number of ICF-credentialed LCs does seem to rival the hidden credentialling of LCs by the CoS (in Hollywood), the levels of sophistication -- and market penetration -- do not not seem to be what they are among the latter group (which isn't real "sophisticated," either, actually). Frankly, if one is really egregiously ruthless about fast-tracking a bullet train to corporate success in this manner, they'd be better off to find some of rats who jumped ship from Amway and Herbalife.

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Re: International Coach Federation
Posted by: bakkagirl ()
Date: May 10, 2018 09:01AM

With respect to ICF in particular, I can only say that while the number of ICF-credentialed LCs does seem to rival the hidden credentialling of LCs by the CoS (in Hollywood), the levels of sophistication -- and market penetration -- do not not seem to be what they are among the latter group (which isn't real "sophisticated," either, actually). Frankly, if one is really egregiously ruthless about fast-tracking a bullet train to corporate success in this manner, they'd be better off to find some of rats who jumped ship from Amway and Herbalife.

///

Thanks for this, but disagree with regard to Asia. I believe the minion sold Landmark 'technology' to entrepreneurs in Japan, and China. In the case of China, there emerged the largest 'coaching company' in the world...maybe tens of thousands of glassy-eyed members. This entity was later shut down by the Chinese government, CULT. Japan has a similar but smaller problem, which persists. These coaching schools and coaching companies all encourage members to join the ICF, and then participate in ICF training.

Marketing to corporate HR has been completely RUTHLESS, in all locations. It is very difficult for even highly qualified coaches to obtain work w/o ICF certification. Many universities are now also affiliated with the ICF. I agree that on the service it does not look that sophisticated, but, they are absolutely dominant in all but a few countries.

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Re: International Coach Federation
Posted by: bakkagirl ()
Date: May 10, 2018 09:19AM

Meant 'surface' instead of 'service' in last post.

Other thing, celebrity coaches the world over are now hawking the ICF, the Ph.D's founders of the field (legitimate, or formerly so), Marshall Goldsmith.

And, now Tony Robbins is recast as a 'Life Coach'.

We have serious issues in organisations in Japan...across Asia, and we have any army of coaches who do not know the difference between life coaching, executive coaching, and who think NLP is coaching.

BTW, the ICF pushes NLP, NVC in markets where people do not have the sophistication to either use (responsibly, if that is possible) these methods, or to reject them.

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Re: International Coach Federation
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 10, 2018 09:44AM

In earlier discussions at CEI message board, some people asked about Non Violent Communication (NVC)

[forum.culteducation.com]

A former CEI participant, The Anticult wrote about problems with life coaching.


TAC also wrote some great analyses of NLP uses and abuses.

[forum.culteducation.com]

Walter1963 was also informative.

[forum.culteducation.com]

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Re: International Coach Federation
Posted by: bakkagirl ()
Date: May 10, 2018 03:01PM

Thank you for this...

We do have a sort of Hipocratic Oath in the coaching field, and, I, and many psychologists have expressed EXTREME concern as to the use of these 'technologies' in coaching. Note, there is little or no research regarding their use in this context, benefits and risks.

To urge a global membership of coaches, of varying levels of skill,to employ these technologies with clients is MALPRACTICE. The ICF has done this.

Additionally, it would seem that many coach training entities accredited by the ICF use forms of 'Large Group Awareness Training'...and, across culture.

Assume you, and most people on this forum hail from western cultural contexts.

Folks from Asian cultures have vastly different personal/ego boundaries, and responses to group experiences and AUTHORITARIAN leadership, IMHE.

For instance, a British friend participated in coach training, I will not name the firm at this time, which was conducted in Singapore.

First day included an est/Landmark-styled 'group awareness exercise'...most participants were Asian. Friend reported that two Asian women, stood up, and respectively reported incidents of childhood abuse, including incest. One walked to the back of the room and, promptly had a seizure.

I can report that OD/and T-group (corporate) practice was banned by the Japanese government in the 80's after multiple corporate participants committed suicide.

Remember what I said about the 'Hippocratic Oath'..

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Re: International Coach Federation
Posted by: kdag ()
Date: May 10, 2018 03:46PM

bakkagirl,

I'm not qualified to say much here, but wanted to comment on this part:

"Folks from Asian cultures have vastly different personal/ego boundaries, and responses to group experiences and AUTHORITARIAN leadership, IMHE."

I can say from experience that Landmark DELIBERATELY disrespects people's boundaries. If they fail to violate them on the first try, they will push harder. My recruiter's partner was an employee of Landmark, and had gone for some of their more restricted trainings. She reported that her trainers had told her that, "boundaries are for cattle."

I was pretty relaxed about my boundaries, and not easily ruffled. They noticed this, and became increasingly intrusive in regards to my private life, until they had managed to make even me feel psychologically raped. Their boundary violations are a very deliberate part of their "training."



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/10/2018 03:47PM by kdag.

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Re: International Coach Federation
Posted by: bakkagirl ()
Date: May 10, 2018 04:13PM

Thank you for this, very useful.

As I said, I think this boundary-broaching technology has made its way into many coach training programs.

It also colors the culture of ICF events, meetings, here.

I participated early on, and know what is "Japanese interpersonal decorum"...and, you might call this good manners. ANYWHERE.

Our Chapter President, Australian male, gay (not an issue for me) insisted on talking about his love life in very graphic terms, long and loud in every group event. I asked him not to do this...just thought is was unprofessional, and potentially offensive to any number of people. He would not desist, and later branded me as a "homophobe".

The ICF, their approach to coaching is very much an exercise in, in your face, boundary violation..."coach me!!!", "give me feedback!!!"...

Very est/Landmark, actually.

thank you, again.

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Re: International Coach Federation
Posted by: bakkagirl ()
Date: May 11, 2018 12:07PM

Dear not moses,

Since you were associated with Erhard/est in early days, can you say whether John Rosenberg was the actual developer of est 'technology'. From what is stated in his bio, he seems to have gone from 'encyclopedia salesman' to the king of the self-help movement in very short order.

You are probably aware that researchers like Jan Irvin trace the human potential movement to Esalen...MK-Ultra programs...suggesting that guru's were coached by more sophisticated individuals.

I would really appreciate your take on this.

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