Converge 21 OnDemand - Science Track

Science track sessions explore evidence-based practices and theories that underpin coaching.

Note: Recordings viewed from this course are considered Self-Study, which falls into the category of Resource Development. When renewing a credential, individuals are to submit the name of the session(s) watched and the date(s) in the self-study section of the renewal application. This track totals to 9.75 credit hours. 

Content active until March 2025 

Science Session Descriptions 

What's Your Type? The Past, Present, and Future of Personality Testing

Merve Emre

Keynote Abstract: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is the most popular personality test in the world. First conceived in the 1920s by the mother-daughter team of Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, Myers-Briggs soon took on a life of its own, reaching from the boardrooms of New York to London, Zurich, Cape Town, Melbourne, and Tokyo, until it could be found just as easily in elementary schools, nunneries, and wellness retreats as in the executive coaching sessions of today. Drawing on the strange and extraordinary history of one indicator, this talk explores both the utopian and the dystopian aspects of personality testing. It shows how the language of type has infiltrated our workplaces, our relationships, and our innermost lives.

Coaching Teams that Thrive: Mapping Motivational Team Dynamics

Carole Gaskell, MMP, NAP

Session Abstract: Are you harnessing the full potential of the teams you coach? In this dynamic world, many teams have lost their energy and are not meeting their goals. The culture has lost its magic. In this inspiring and practical session, you will learn and understand the motivational factors that drive team results, well-being and success. This includes models, tools and step-by-step techniques to change team dynamics. This session will share the theory and science behind motivational mapping, providing real examples of motivation coaching in a variety of teams and organizations. Mapping motivational drivers provides coaches with powerful insights to boost team performance . Coaches who embrace intrinsic motivation empower stronger, more cohesive, innovative, inspiring teams and organizations that become a magnet for talent and customers. During this action-packed session you'll learn the nine key intrinsic motivators and how to use them to energize teams around purpose, collaboration, belief, results and accountability.

Neuroplasticity: Rewire Your Thinking in Times of Uncertainty

Christiaan Vermeulen

Session Abstract: The global landscape is experiencing the impact of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity firsthand. Each of us experiences adversity in some form or another that makes us feel out of control. But neuroplasticity offers us strong solutions to take charge of our thinking regardless of the circumstances in which we may find ourselves. The neuroscience of thinking can be understood through the process of neuroplasticity. This process describes how the brain can change, recover, learn and be rewired. During this presentation, the presenter will illustrate how the science of neuroplasticity can help people rewire their brains to think in ways that will help them develop an agile mindset and the cognitive flexibility necessary to cope with disruptive change.

How is the Future of Work, Education, and Coaching Unfolding?

Silvia Tassarotti, MCC

Frances Penafort

Session Abstract: In this session we will explore insights from the work of the ICF Thought Leadership Institute (TLI), a think-tank of collective wisdom, aspiring to build and maintain the most comprehensive and highest-quality body of knowledge on the science, art, and practice of coaching. We will focus in particular on the future of work, education and coaching sharing some of the work done and some relevant researches.

Positive Psychology and Coaching

Robert Biswas-Diener, PCC

Session Abstract: For the past 15 years, there has been a steady increase of attention to the ways that positive psychological science might inform coaching. Unfortunately, many of the most common uses of positive psychology are heavily prescriptive interventions that run counter to the ethos of client-centered coaching. In this presentation, positive psychology coaching pioneer, Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener, will share his thoughts on this topic. He will outline how his thinking has evolved over time, including new, favorable approaches and old approaches to be discarded. The session will also discuss aspects of positive psychology coaching that distinguish it from other types of coaching. At the heart of his message is the idea that it is time to re-cast positive psychology coaching in a new and more sophisticated light. Just as positive psychological science has evolved through so-called second and third waves, Dr. Biswas-Diener will call for coaches to adopt more sophistication. He will focus on ethics, tools, scientific literacy and well-being as main points of consideration.

Sorting the Science that Frames Evidence-Based Coaching

Carrie Arnold, PhD, MCC

Session Abstract: Coaching is an abundant field born from many different schools of thought, scholarship, research and theory. This presentation sorts the science of coaching into six distinct categories that inform and widen a person's understanding of what it means to be a professional coach. Learn the overview of theories, models, tools and scholarship behind: a) skillful coaching b) foundational theories that underpin coaching c) theories that inform our work with adults d) what it means to be an instrument of self as a coach e) contextual theories that create coaching niche and expertise f) how scholarship and research continue to evolve and deepen the field. Having a sense of these broad categories can create a road map for coaches and their professional development that incorporates the ICF Core Competencies in new and expansive ways. This presentation is also an invitation for those who are eager to contribute to this field in new and unique ways; attending this session will provide insight into areas that need additional focus and coaching contribution.

This is Your Brain on Coaching: The Neuroscience of the ICF Core Competencies

Ann Betz, PCC

Session Abstract: More and more, coaches and organizations are wondering if there is scientific validation for what we do. And while the profession as a whole did not emerge from a scientific exploration of what’s effective in human development, work over the past ten years has produced interesting correlations about the impact of coaching, both on the brain and individual behavior. In this lively and entertaining session, neuroscience and coaching expert Ann Betz will walk through the neuroscience connections to and validations of the Updated ICF Core Competencies, sharing stories, examples and research studies that help us ground our amazing profession in the most current, valid and reliable neuroscience understanding. We’ll explore the “Big Four” of coaching as foundational to the competencies, as well as some specific and critical additional competency aspects, including: The role of neuroplasticity—and how the competencies help us “amp up” our coaching impact; The importance of creating a “toward” state in the brain—and how classic coaching skills naturally lead to this; The power of integration, and how coaching helps us identify and pull together multiple aspects of ourselves—and why this matters; The impact of stress—and how coaching helps us stay in the powerful, productive “just right” zone; and The power of relationship and the coach’s presence—and how cultural sensitivity, ethics and confidentiality play a critical role.

Exploring the Intersection Between Coaching and Therapy

Verity Symcox, MSc

Session Abstract: The intersection between coaching and therapy can be a grey area, full of complexity and uncertainty for many coaches. Client mental health and the determination of their psychological functioning are central to ensuring coaching practice remains ethical. However, the prevalence of mental illness is now rising at an exponential rate due to COVID-19, to the extent that the World Health Organization (WHO) is predicting a forthcoming global mental health pandemic. Coaches are now increasingly likely to encounter clients with poor mental health and this session provides attendees with an opportunity to explore some of the complexities which may arise when coaching gets close to the boundary between coaching and therapy. Attendees will gain an understanding of coaching situations that are better suited for therapy. This session also provides an opportunity for coaches to explore the potential emotional effects on themselves when working close to the coaching/therapy boundary.

Shift Positive - Changing the Feedback Experience

Pete Berridge, PCC

Jen Ostrich, PCC

Session Abstract: Today's workforce says, "Coach me, don't criticize me." This session is an invitation to shift your mindset and introduce you to how positive psychology and building a system of support can change the feedback experience. Participants will learn the language and approach for more effective and energizing developmental feedback. Unfortunately, the way feedback is gathered and delivered in 360-style reviews is broken. Intentions are compromised, context is lacking and all too often feedback is focused on what’s not working instead of identifying what the individual could do to excel. Additionally, feedback systems lack ongoing support from stakeholders - the “people system” - to help the person successfully grow and change. This session addresses feedback shortfalls and shifts participants' mindset so that feedback becomes far more constructive and enjoyable for both those giving and receiving. With a look at positive psychology and system support, as well as strengths, solution focused coaching and defining desired outcomes, participants will leave with more energy and ideas for transforming feedback in their lives and organizations. An individual exercise and demo will change the way coaches gather and offer feedback in the future.

What Coaches Need To Know About Trauma

Michaela Buck, PCC

Session Abstract: Studies assume that 90% of people are exposed to traumatic stress during their lifetime. Thus, coaches may also be confronted with the fact that the client may bring a stressful event into an existing coaching process. The following questions become relevant: Why do some events have a stronger effect than others? What do you do with those affected? As a coach, how can I deal with such a situation and support my client as best as possible? Coaching is not therapy, but trauma can exist in a coaching session. Therefore, a coach needs to understand how to handle trauma in coaching. This session will provide tools to do so, as well as discuss the limitations of coaching and the process of referring a client to therapy.

Affective Neurosciences Challenge Emotional Intelligence: So What for Trainees?

David Papini, PCC

Session Abstract: As humans, when we learn to coach, we tend to have some basic unconscious and hard-wired assumptions. One is that our brain will cooperate with us in embodying a coaching mindset. In this session we'll learn that we cannot take our brain and emotions for granted because learning to coach involves deep changes in the way we perceive reality. Our brain has its own agenda and we cannot assume it will change just because we learn some active learning techniques, ground our presence and increase our awareness. In the session we'll see that emotional intelligence is way overrated when it comes to develop our Core Competencies in a way that proves effective within a coaching session, especially considering the recent affective neuroscience research. To help our coaching client and ourselves succeed, we have to find ways to partner with our reluctant brains: if we are able to do that, we'll tap the energy needed by the coaching process. In this session, we'll explore some basic technique to achieve this.

The Way of the Mindful Coach

Colleen Lightbody, MCC

Session Abstract: Mindfulness enables both the coach and the client to transform their way of doing and being in a visible and tangible way. A unique model of mindfulness is presented as the basis for a process that supports personal and professional leadership transformation called - this model is called The Way of the Mindful Warrior. The process requires coaches to deeply reflect and challenge themselves to awareness and mastery. Using neuroscience and research, scientific and academic rigor underpins a practical and experiential process of facilitating mastery in your coaching practice and enabling your clients to become masters of their own destinies instead of a slave to a conditioned narrative. UNDERSTAND Mindfulness as a holistic concept involving head, heart, hands and spirit. WEAVE the science of the brain with the psychology of the mind. ENGAGE with a unique model of mindfulness embracing Eastern and Western perspectives – Secular and Sacred. CREATE sustainable change for yourself as a coach and for your clients through practical application and mindset shifts.

What Do Coaches Really Do?

Jim Gavin, MCC

Betsy Thomas

Nicolo Francesco Bernardi, ACC

Session Abstract: Is coaching mostly about asking questions? How often do coaches give advice? Do coaches ever hijack a client's agenda? This session will offer factual descriptions of how coaches intervene – intentionally or not – in their sessions. As well, it describes how different categories of intervention may impact relationship qualities and clients’ goal attainment. Based on an exhaustive analysis of 150 coaching sessions coupled with ratings of each session by coaches and clients, we have been able to graphically represent what coaches actually do, as well as indicating the impacts of their actions.