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  • Special Broadcast: A recap of Dave Buck's Address at the ICF Conference.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2003

The CoachVille Announcement Heard ‘Round The World! 

Have you heard?  CoachVille recently attended the International Coach Federation’s (ICF) International Conference in Denver, Colorado on November 12th – 15th, sharing some really big news with conference attendees.  

As the leader of CoachVille, I was invited by the ICF to say a few words as a memorial to my friend, and CoachVille’s founder, Thomas Leonard.  Peter Redding, President of the Association of Coach Training Organizations (ACTO) commented, “I believe that Dave’s visit to create bridges with the ICF and ACTO will strengthen the coaching profession and is therefore the single most important event in the coaching profession that has occurred in 2003!”

Due to the overwhelmingly positive response from ICF and CoachVille members, we have decided to share the speech I gave at the ICF conference with “Today’s Coach” readers in this special edition.  It elaborates on the exciting trend of collaboration and cooperation amongst the coaching industry.  We hope you enjoy it! 

Next week, we’ll return to our continuing series on “Evolving As A Coach, (And As A Person) with Part 4:  Conflicting Intentions.  We appreciate your comments!  

Please send your feedback to


Keep playing,


Dave Buck, addressing the ICF Conference, November 13, 2003


Every one has experienced a conversation that goes something like this: "So tell me about this coaching thing. You help people live extraordinary lives and build thriving businesses and careers. You add value and make a contribution.  You engage in deep conversations about the real issues of life in way that has a profound impact by solving problems and creating possibilities.  I’ve been doing that my entire life and you’re telling me now I can get paid for this?" 

The thought, “I can get paid for this” was made possible by the work of Thomas Leonard. 

I’ve been asked to say a few words to celebrate the life of Thomas Leonard – the founder of the ICF – in 4 minutes. 

Minute One: The Vision

“Thomas Leonard was a true visionary, a prolific creator. 

"In a brilliant synthesis of counseling, consulting, advising, life-planning, guiding, ministering and mentoring, the coaching profession was born. 

“The idea that you could add value to the lives of others as a coach and earn a living doing it was a remarkable shift in human consciousness. 

“Until that moment in recorded human history, those of us who 'had the calling' to live our lives in service of others did so as a charitable act or by living a life of poverty. 

“By creating the coaching profession Thomas Leonard changed our lives.  By changing our lives, Thomas Leonard changed the world. 

Minute Two: The Promise

“Thomas and I had a wonderful friendship established over several years.  Our friendship was based on the values that we shared: an incredible zest for life, an unquenchable search for the truths about life and a yearning to know how to live life fully in the glorious unfolding moment. 

“Several years ago, Jennifer White, a good friend and colleague in the coaching business passed away suddenly and tragically from a stroke.  Thomas called me that day as he did almost every day.  Jennifer’s sudden passing frightened him and he said: 'Dave, if anything ever happens to me, will you take care of CoachVille for me?'  I said: 'Of course I will. It would be my honor.  But do me a favor and don’t die on me!He told me not to worry, but as was so often the case in our relationship, he just wouldn’t listen to me. (audience laughs) 

“The next day, a Fedex arrived containing a will wherein he left me his entire estate in the event of his untimely death.

Minute Three: The Perfection

“This leads me to minute three, the perfection.  Fast forward to February of this year, Thomas and I had just co-led a Full Practice Marketing event in Atlanta.  He was so proud of the work we had done together – we were so close to solving the mystery of how to help coaches become financially successful.  He was happier than he had ever been in the five years that I had known him:  he was so peaceful--the ever-present underlying agitation gone.   

“That Tuesday after the event we spoke on the phone for almost an hour.  I will always cherish that conversation.  We both shared our visions for CoachVille:  continuing to innovate what it means to be a coach, and creating programs to help coaches succeed in the business of coaching.   

“A few hours later, he was gone. 

“Thomas always said that there is perfection in every situation, even death.  I believe he knew what needed to be done for the coaching industry to thrive, AND that he was not going to be able to do it himself. 

“So the torch passes to me.

Minute Four: Oneness

“Which leads me to minute four: oneness.  Thomas Leonard founded Coach U, the ICF, CoachVille, the International Association of Coaches (IAC) and several other coaching organizations.  As is often the case with great creators, he had some disdain for his original work (the ICF) as a way to justify his new creations (CoachVille and the IAC).   

“I am here to tell you that as the leader of CoachVille, with our 40,000 member coaches, the animosity toward the ICF is over.   

“While we will continue to support the work of the IAC, we will also fully endorse, embrace and support the work of the ICF.  To that end, we will encourage our members to become members of the ICF and we will seek ICF accreditation for our school. 

“I believe oneness is possible even when there is more than one.  The animosity must stop for the coaching profession to thrive.  

“As a memorial to Thomas and all that he did for the profession of coaching and for each of us, I am here to tell you: The animosity ends here and the love begins here.  My heart is for you. 

“Thank You.”   


"I didn’t have time to share this while on stage at the conference, but I feel these lines from a beautiful Joni Mitchell song describe perfectly how I, and many coaches who knew and loved him, felt about Thomas. 

'Oh I am a lonely painter, I live in a box of paints. I’m frightened by the devil and I’m drawn to those who ain’t afraid. 

I remember the time you told me: love is touching souls. Surely, you’ve touched mine. Part of you pours out of me in these lines from time to time.

Oh, you’re in my blood like holy wine. You taste so bitter, and you taste so sweet. Oh, I could drink a case of you. And still be on my feet, and still be on my feet.'

- Joni Mitchell, “A Case Of You”  

The CoachVille Commitment 

I feel very strongly that the most important challenge in the coaching industry – and the fulfillment of Thomas’ vision – is the financial success of full-time coaches.  Toward this end, CoachVille will dedicate 2004 to the business of coaching, marshalling our talents, resources and energy in creating programs that develop and support financially successful coaches.  We hope you’ll join us. 

 - Dave Buck