The International Coach Federation (ICF) is a rapidly growing organisation, encompassing 26,000 professional coaches globally. The European Business Review caught up with the CEO, Magdalena Mook, who has been at the helm since 2011. We talked about the future of coaching, the difficulties of leading a global organisation and how being a woman has affected her career.
I want to first ask you about the global aspect of your leadership role, does it make leadership difficult?
ICF is indeed a global organisation: We have 26,000 members now, but I don’t think about it as a difficulty. Rather, it’s an opportunity to learn. In a global organisation one has to be aware that people see the world a little bit differently, depending on where they come from, and one has to be very respectful as well as curious. You must keep an open ear and a sense of humour!
Yes that’s very important. One of the things ICF stresses about leadership is the “value of silence”. Can you tell me a bit more about what you mean by that in leadership.
Many cultures, and the US culture as one certain, are quite uncomfortable with silence, Sseing it as a vacuum that needs to be filled with talk. For me silence is the place where reflection happens, where some of the best ideas are born. Silence is a beautiful space to experience things together in an amazing way and it does not always have to be filled with talk. Often it is just a reflective space where I think we may really come to the best decisions.
So you think that added reflection is important in leadership?