Quick Summary: Join me attending the world's largest online coaching session with 1000+ participants, where we explored essential work topics like 'leading virtual teams' and 'navigating change'. Discover my personal reflections, key insights, and outlook on the future of virtual coaching.

Did you know I was once part of a world record? When I was a child in my small hometown, I participated in the world's longest canon with a children’s choir. We sang and sang the same song over and over until we finally earned a place in the famous book of world records.

Although I no longer sing in a choir, music still plays a big role in my life. Decades later, as a M.Sc. psychologist, I now work with individuals in personal coaching and business coaching, drawing inspiration from improvisational music in my coaching approach.

And just this week, I had the chance to be part of another world record. That's at least what the host, coaching.com, claimed in their invitation:

The world’s largest online coaching session with 100+ coaches and 1000+ participants.

Over 1000 people were expected to participate in this virtual coaching experience. I was one of them! I’m excited to share my reflections with you to provide another perspective on the changing landscape of online coaching, personal growth, and professional development.

Why Sign up?

Great question. I began my coaching practice with years of in-person coaching. In 2019, I made the shift to online coaching. A risk, considering that all my coaching colleagues seem to live by the traditional approach. However, it was a risk worth taking because of all the amazing people I have met and worked with since then.

This year alone, I've had the privilege of working one-on-one with individuals from 19 different countries.

So, why did I sign up for this experience? Simply put, out of curiosity. How would this event unfold? How will the session be structured? Will I leave the call with valuable insights and actionable steps?

I imagined that when over 1,000 people come together online, ready to reflect on their personal growth, there would be a unique transformative energy in the virtual room. It couldn't just be another ordinary Zoom call. Or could it?

I would soon find out. But first, I had to register.

Which Coaching Topic to Work on?

When I registered, I had to choose one of these work-related coaching topics to focus on:

  • Managing workplace conflict
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Leading virtual teams
  • Managing & reducing stress
  • Navigating change

All of these are common coaching topics. First, I was particularly drawn to ‘Leading Virtual Teams’, because so many teams now work remotely or in a hybrid setup. In my practice, people encounter challenges related to giving feedback, conducting meetings, and resolving conflicts. In my experience, online coaching can be a valuable resource for enhancing these skills in virtual settings.

However, for my own coaching session, ‘Navigating Change’ resonated the most with me. Personally, I experience constant change and growth in my life and work. From a coaching perspective, the individuals I work with often undergo significant personal and professional changes, especially during organizational transformations.

‘Navigating Change’ is also the driving force behind my Integral Improvisational Coaching Approach. You can find more about that in my article "Improvisation in Coaching: Why & How? 90-Second Breakdown". It's about navigating our ever-changing world. Feeling comfortable with the unknown. Improvising in our reflection and action.

Will this coaching session provide me with some food for thought?

Getting More Info

After I signed up, I received more information via email. It started with a definition of coaching. They used a clear and straightforward definition from the International Coaching Federation, which defines coaching as a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires people to maximize their personal and professional potential.

If you want to know my personal – and improvisational – view on coaching, you can check out my article “What is Coaching? Shortest Definition”.

They emphasized that coaching is neither consulting, mentoring, nor therapy. They concluded their message with the friendly encouragement to fully engage and actively participate during the coaching session.

That was my plan! In coaching, taking a backseat never leads to success. Ever.

Let’s Join the Call

I clicked 'join.' Wow, a thousand video tiles side by side! Well, at least that's what I expected and personally looked forward to. However, the webinar setting in Zoom didn’t allow me, as a participant, to turn on my camera.

So even though people from all over the world joined the call, the only indication of their presence was the Q&A box, where chat messages were flying by. For me, this setup didn’t convey the energy of a thousand people eager to tackle their professional development challenges.

Before diving into the dedicated coaching session, we heard a few words about the current state and purpose of coaching from Magdalena Mook, the CEO of the International Coaching Federation, as well as the world-renowned coach Marshall Goldsmith.

Becoming a better leader also means becoming a better wife or husband, mother or father, daughter or son – therefore, becoming a better leader also means having a better life, so Marshall Goldsmith.

That deeply resonated with me. Working on ourselves makes a difference in other people's lives. It shapes our impact on the world. In fact, this thought is part of one of my YouTube Shorts, where I highlight some benefits of coaching:

Then I joined my breakout room and turned on my camera. The call was organized with multiple group coaching sessions happening simultaneously.

Ultimately, I found myself in a breakout room with 15 other people, ready to work on our chosen topic of navigating change. Our dedicated coach Dr. Jennifer Nash led the session and guided us through the 60-minute session.

Here’s What I Learned

Since the content of our ‘Navigating Change’ session is confidential – as it is in every coaching process – I solely focus on my personal reflections. So, what did I learn?

Vulnerability is a Superpower!

As mentioned above, I wasn’t eager to take a backseat.

I truly believe that listening as well as sharing one's thoughts and challenges openly is one of the most effective ways to deepen the knowledge about yourself and gain new perspectives.

Embracing my own vulnerability has been transformative in my journey of self-discovery and in me becoming the coach I am today. Even back in my first coach training, I remember myself constantly raising my hand to volunteer, share questions or struggles. If not here, where else?

However, not everyone seem to feel comfortable sharing their challenges, even in environments perceived as safe and confidential. Therefore, I believe we need to have more events like this to normalize creating and working in inclusive spaces where individuals feel supported and empowered to open up without fear of judgment.

That’s what a coaching environment can offer – for individuals, teams or groups.

Nothing Positive in Not Changing?

My most personal insight was ‘there's nothing positive in not changing’. This may seem overly simplistic at first glance. Especially considering that there are often valid and deeply personal reasons why we resist change – the status quo can offer us comfort, familiarity, and stability.

While it's true that there can be perceived benefits in maintaining the status quo, we should also challenge ourselves by asking if our stagnation ultimately limits our growth and progress.

How can we do that?

One way is to consider whether the negatives of the status quo and the potential positives of embracing change outweigh the perceived negatives of changing and the benefits of staying the same. Now, read that again!

I Coach More Than I Thought.

My third insight had a meta-level perspective.

Our group coaching session consisted of different elements: getting educated on different change theories and models, receiving further resources, engaging in group discussions and individual work. This made me reflect on my professional role.

I see myself as a psychologist specialized in 1:1 coaching. Simple enough.

However, I also design and deliver in-house online workshops on various topics such as improvisational coaching for leaders, personality and communication, character strengths, or stakeholder management.

My online workshops involve a mix of limited input and a strong emphasis on powerful questions that encourage individual reflection and group discussion – a natural integration of a coaching approach.

As you can see, my methodology is similar to our group coaching session. Prompting me to question why I had never considered my online workshops as a form of group coaching.

I may be coaching more extensively than I originally thought!

My Outlook on the Future of Coaching?

Above all, I'm grateful for our group coach Jennifer and the around 99 other coaches who generously volunteered their time to share their knowledge and coaching gifts with all participants.

This large-scale coaching initiative was undoubtedly a PR stunt. But primarily aimed at advocating for coaching in general and online coaching specifically, in my opinion.

Similarly, my main purpose in writing my Coaching Insights is to raise awareness and share knowledge about coaching as a developmental format.

I strongly believe that coaching plays an increasingly significant role in society.

In a world that’s continuously evolving, online coaching offers a safe space for self-reflection and fosters a connection to our inner world, empowering us to navigate the external world.

There we have it again: navigating change.

If you’re curious, you can learn more about my coaching process in my article titled “Online Coaching: Everything You Need to Know About Virtual Coaching".

Please send me a message if you would like to begin your journey. Your coaching experience may not set a world record, but it has the potential to transform your world nonetheless.

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Christine Paulus Online Personal Business Coach Berlin

Christine Paulus

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My name is Christine Paulus. I'm a psychologist and certified Integral Coach and Business Coach. As a longtime musician, I love to bring my improvisational approach to my work as an Online Coach!