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President Jimmy Carter at the ICF Conference in Atlanta, GA

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." ~Gandhi

I've visited and used to pass the Carter Center everyday on my way to and from work in Atlanta.  It is, as is this speech given at the ICF Conference, a reminder to all of us (not just coaches) the power of partnering with each other and using our unique talents, skills, strengths and knowledge to contribute and make the world a better place, in our own way wherever we find ourselves in it.  

"I am delighted to welcome all of you to Atlanta and to the International Coach Federation Conference.  I am particularly delighted because the theme of the conference, ‘Partnering with People:  Building Connections That Change The World” reflects the philosophy that we at  The Carter Center believe produces the preeminent structure for impacting communities.  I have seen the local and global impact of partnering with people and organizations in many countries.  Those partnerships have built homes around the world, ensures fair elections, and alleviated physical suffering.  Partnering is a powerful and potent tool to wage peace, fight disease, and build hope for a better quality of life.

You, as coaches, already have a tremendous belief that the power of partnering can create change.  The ICF definition of coaching emphasizes that coaches engage in partnership with their client.  Coaches assist their clients to access and use their strengths, talents, and resources to better their lives.  As a result of your skills and dedication, many of your clients have profoundly changed and improved their lives and businesses.

At this time, the world is in need of your belief in creating connection, your talents, and your spirit.  The problems that our communities face are significant.  The challenges our global community confronts have grown in consequence.  They require contribution by all of us to solve.  I believe that solutions to the dilemmas we face do not lie in statistic decisions by one nation or even several. Instead, the solutions exist in the work of many people in many nations on many levels.  They come from an approach, a way of thinking, a place of  being and doing.  They live in a belief that when we solve a single challenge for a single person or group, we have contributed to answers for humankind.  Bringing this belief to life requires us to join with others, to celebrate our differences, and find our commonalities.  It requires the kind of partnering that can and does change the world.

This year, I join with the ICF in calling each of you to service, to build the connections and the partnerships that will change your communities and our global community.  The ICF and I invite you to make a specific and measurable difference in the lives of others by using your skills in service to your community, the disadvantages, or in service to the global neighborhood in which we all live.  Coach those involved in projects that will have an impact.  Coach individuals who might not otherwise have access to your gifts.  Give your skills to and partner with organizations that seek to improve the lives of others in some way. 

As coaches who have been trained in the art of partnering, you are uniquely qualified for this work.  You will bring substantial value and wisdom to the organizations and individuals you work and partner with.  You will create good by your efforts and that good will be carried outward by those you serve.

Albert Schweitzer once spoke of the partnership we all share with great simplicity.  He said, “You don’t live in the world alone.  Your brothers are here, too.”  You and your profession have the capacity to truly understand what that means.  I therefore know that, as you undertake the power of partnership, connection, and contribution, you will do so with a spirit and heart that will truly gift the world.

I thank the ICF for understanding what coaches can do in and for our global community.  And I thank each of you for the commitment to partnering and service that you will make and the difference you will make to our world."  President Jimmy Carter, October 2002

I thank you for the honor of serving you as your coach, for the gift of getting to partner with and support you in being your best and making the most of the gifts you bring to all of us.

There is only one YOU, so please have an amazing day out there sharing your unique gifts with all those you come in contact with today!