The CWOB Story (so far)
I get asked all the time, “How did you get into coaching?”
I was “discovered” as a coach in 2005 in Italy by Al Ringleb, the director of the MBA program where I graduated in 2003. He said, “I want to have a leadership program for the students with certified coaches, and I think you would be a great coach!” I replied, “What’s a coach?” (Back then there wasn’t a coach on every corner like there is now!)
At the time, I ran my own business (International Stone Consultancy) as a broker in the Natural Stone import/export business. So I wasn’t sure about the proposal. However, the more I learned about coaching, the more I realized it would be something I would love. So I agreed to embark on the certification program. I worked part-time as a coach for the MBA students, while still running my stone business in parallel.
I teamed up with Carla Picardi, Bing Howell, and Deby Veneziale, 3 amazing people with humbling professional backgrounds. Together, we designed and delivered the first-ever coaching and leadership program at CIMBA. We had the honor of working together with the likes of David Rock, the leadership experts at Rapport International, and the excellent professors of the consortium. I completed the Coaches Training Institute’s Certified Professional Co-Active Coaching Program and got my own coach. I began a journey of learning and personal work that changed my life forever.
How I got into “corporate work”
I had another lucky break when Jim Mustacchia selected me to join the coaches team of a newly launched experiential leadership program for a famous global company in 2007. From there, I met a talented mentor and sponsor, Claudia Bennewitz. She had the courage to put me on senior leadership programs from almost the start of my coaching career. She also later brought me into a prestigious global company based in Zurich to do coaching work, and from there my business grew from word of mouth.
I am forever grateful to these people who took a risk by selecting me as a coach for their participants when I was relatively young and inexperienced. Inspired by their courage, I do my best to create opportunities for others as much as possible.
In the first year that I did corporate work, (2007) I did 106 hours of 1:1 coaching for 79 clients and ran 7 week-long leadership programs in 5 countries on 3 continents. I did 0 days of local work, 0 days of team coaching, and delivered 0 workshops with associate coaches.
In contrast, last year (2019) I did 225 hours of 1:1 coaching with just 23 clients and ran 22 leadership modules, of which 9 were designed for female leaders (40%), run in 4 countries on just 1 continent. 16 programs were run locally here in Zurich (72%), and 10 billable days were billed to 6 different associate coaches. I also ran 8 team workshops. 100% of the sessions were in person.
The move from Italy to Zurich
In 2010, working only a few days a year in Italy and traveling more than staying home, I decided to close the stone business and move to Zurich. Thanks again to Claudia for introducing me to this great city.
My coaching business continued to expand and in 2012 I took on my first assistant. Since 2015 I have the privilege to be supported by Jordana Arend (who is now our Operations Manager).
Ever since 2015, I started running bigger projects with associate coaches who have their own coaching practices world-wide. From the US to Portugal, to Spain, to the UK, to France, to Greece, to Israel, to Turkey, to Australia… there are over a dozen coaches with whom I love to co-create and co-lead. We are really without borders.
And, I am happy to announce the newest member of the Coaching Without Borders team and the first (if you don’t count me) official employed coach, Louise Koeckhoven.
Post-corona era (2020) – the shift to Virtual
CWOB did 219 hours of 1:1 coaching with 52 clients 90% virtually. We ran 20 leadership modules, 75% were delivered virtually. We ran 13 team workshops 85% of which virtually. This has been an excellent and steep learning curve. We learned how to keep people engaged and also how to create psychological safety through a computer screen!
I strive to take at least one course per year to advance my personal and professional development. This year? I completed 6. They were all delivered virtually and covered a huge range of topics; from ORSC team coaching training to Cultivating Somatic Resilience through the Strozzi institute to B2 level German to a creative Bikablo graphic moderation course.
I am now overflowing with ideas of how to collaborate, learn, and build trust in a virtual environment and am more than happy to share. Contact me if you would like to exchange ideas and experiences.
Thank you to everyone who has shaped this journey by being part of it; from clients to employees, to associate coaches, to interns, to family and friends, to Forum members, to accountants, to designers, to landlords, to you, the amazing reader that has made it all the way to the end of this long article!!