Category Archives: Blog

President’s Message

It is an honor for me to be elected as the President of ICF Ottawa Chapter, an organization with a proud past and an exciting future. As I refer to its proud past, I wish to acknowledge the achievements of our outgoing president, Dawn Firestone.

We have benefitted so much from her term as president. Her leadership of the organization was steady and deliberate, but most of all had a clear vision for the changes that ICF Ottawa Chapter needed.  Under her leadership, the ICF Ottawa Chapter became a better organization with stronger governance and clearer vision and strategy suited to the times, especially during these pandemic days.

Dawn, thank you so much for all your hard work and dedication. It was a pleasure working with you while trying to find creative solutions for the challenges we faced.

Now to the future… Over the next two years, we will continue to build on our strengths and move in new directions. Our new Board will be as follows:

  • Dawn Firestone – Past President​
  • Hazel Bazinet – Membership​
  • Vicki Schmidt – Secretary​
  • Parvin Kolahdooz – Digital Communications
  • Lauri Prest – Communications​
  • Suzanne Gagnon – Treasurer
  • Ariane Jaubert – Director of Programing

As the Board, our vision will encompass a number of objectives. We would like to be considered as a club for our members. As coaching is a relatively lonely business, we would like to be a connection point for our members to share and grow, personally and professionally.  We consider professional growth in two ways. The first one is the technical growth in coaching, and the second is our business growth. As we grow, we will also focus on promoting coaching within the community.

During these difficult times of the pandemic, coaching is one of the most important tools we should have. It is important now while we are still experiencing constant changes as we live through the pandemic. However, it will also be crucial during the post-pandemic phase, when we will be healing from what we had gone through.

We will continue to offer, with an open mind and open heart, different kinds of programs and projects for our members’ personal and professional growth.

Book Club is a new event that  will be launched in the upcoming months and organized

Lunch & Learn will continue quarterly

Panel discussions will continue quarterly

Community Calls will continue monthly

We will announce different kinds of projects like peer coaching, reverse mentoring and pro-bono coaching for non-profit organizations.

Please stay tuned for an announcement of upcoming programs and projects and also, please visit our pages on social media;

Make coaching an integral part of Ottawa society where every ICF Member represents the highest quality of professional coaching!

Elif Suner – MBA, M.Ed., PCC, CTDP

ICF Ottawa Prism Award Recipients Honoured

MD Financial Management, Export Development Canada, Canadian Blood Services, Kongsberg Geospatial, Office of the Controller General; Treasury Board, Bruyère Continuing Care named winners of the Prism Award by Ottawa Chapter of the International Coach Federation.

(Ottawa, ON – February 1, 2017) The Ottawa Chapter of the International Coach Federation (ICF) has announced winners of the ICF Ottawa Prism Award. The first ever local Ottawa Prism Award honours organizations that have implemented coaching programs that fulfill rigorous professional standards, and exemplify how professional coaching can maximize individual potential, shape the culture of an organization and address key strategic goals leading directly to bottom line benefits.

“We want to congratulate the Prism award recipients,” said Denis Lévesque, ICF Ottawa Prism Award committee Chair and ICF Ottawa President. “”Coaching in Organization has evolved significantly in the last few years and has changed from being an Executive perk to a game changer for organizations. We now have clearly documented results showing that organizations that implement a coaching culture are more successful than their competitors, and that coaching culture in organizations have a direct impact to the top line and to bottom line. And now for the first time in Ottawa, we are recognizing organizations that have reaped great results from the effort and time put in to create their coaching culture. Ottawa should be proud!”.”

The Prism Award was created by ICF Toronto in 2000, with ICF International adopting the concept in 2005. ICF Ottawa is a chartered chapter of the International Coach Federation, a leading global organization for coaches, with over 20,000 members in more than 100 countries and more than 9,000 credentialed coaches worldwide. ICF is dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high ethical standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of credentialed coaches. Coaching is a distinct service and differs greatly from therapy, consulting, mentoring, or training. Please visit to learn more about the latest news and events.

For more information, please contact anyone from the Prism Team:
Jennifer MacLeod
Judy Mouland or
Denis Lévesque, President, ICF Ottawa,

The Ottawa Prism Awards – Celebrating Coaching Excellence!

Presenting Co – Sponsors:

Event Sponsors:

Why I Joined the Ottawa Chapter Board

Having had a career in an industry where associations played an important role, when I embarked on my new career as a coach, the first thing I did was look up my local ICF chapter.  I found a webpage with a coach directory and a link to two upcoming events; it seemed there was a local ICF presence with active coaches in the city!

I came out to the two events and started to build my network with the local coaches.  I enjoyed the learning experiences and the comraderie of being surrounded by like-minded people.  Building a coaching practice incorporates so many new skills; business building, marketing and coaching and most of us do these things on our own.  I found that it was important to be around those who had done it, to keep me motivated and hopeful that I will too.

I could tell the chapter was young and in a position of great potential, but it needed members to help out.  I was approached to be a member of the Board to contribute my unique skills towards the growth of the chapter.  I was hesitant at first, I wasn’t even credentialed, was I even qualified?  But, I passionately wanted Ottawa to have an ICF chapter.  I wanted somewhere to belong, somewhere that I could go and be supported as I grew by business, not in solitude, but in an environment of learning and creativity.  So, I thought, if they could use my skills, I would offer up what I could to the chapter, in the spirit of co-creation.

For two years I offered my time, ideas and skills to the small, but driven and energetic group that is the ICF Ottawa Board and I am proud of what we accomplished in those two years.  I have embraced the learning experiences, which have enriched my skills as a coach and as a business person.  I have met a network of coaches in Ottawa passionate about making a difference through coaching and who embrace the same coaching philosophies that I do, as set out by the ICF.  I’ve found my community and the enrichment that comes from being part of an association dedicated to my craft.

As far as we’ve come in two years, we’re still young and have great potential.  If you’re excited about making a difference and want to contribute to co-creating our wonderful coaching community, think about what you could offer.  Your skills, time, ideas and presence are most welcome.

Carrie Morgan is a life coach working with professionals to leverage their career to the next level, or to search with passion and purpose for their next career path.

Have You Ever Felt Stuck?

Have you ever felt like you are trying your best to accomplish something in life, like get a promotion, or lose ten pounds, only to feel like you never make any real progress? Have you looked at your role models, and desired to be more like them, but are unsure of how to become more like them? I can honestly say I’ve been there. I have worked a job that really felt like a dead end maze, struggled with my weight, lacked self-confidence, and focused on survival while I secretly desired to have a life I was excited to live. That was, until I learned about the field of coaching.

Someone hires a coach because they desire change. They want a promotion, a new job, a healthier lifestyle, to create a business or to achieve any goal that feels out of reach. The first and most important thing in a coaching relationship is the desire for change. By having an honest desire for change, you are willing to put your energy into doing the work it will take to achieve your goal.

What the coach brings to the table depends on the type of coach you hire. There are a variety of styles, skills and experiences that are unique to the coach. This can range from a consultant who will provide a prescriptive method to support you to achieve whatever it is you want to achieve. A great example of this would be a health coach who focuses on a specific diet and exercise regime. They provide their clients with all the steps and tools to follow, while the client’s responsibility is to follow through the instructions. The opposite side of the spectrum would be a coach whose focus is on helping you find your own ways of achieving your goal. They use the tools of asking powerful questions and skilled listening to help you uncover your own truth, and dig through the stories and false truths that can often impede a person’s understanding of what they desire. This type of coaching is common for a leadership coach to practice. The coach won’t have the detailed understanding of a business in order to give a CEO guidance on how to run their business, so they serve the CEO by helping them break through fears and anxieties that hinder decision making.

I started working with a coach in August regarding my own career. At the time, we had a long discussion digging into what I was struggling with in my engineering career. Near the end of our discussion, she asked me the question “who do you want to be?” The question seemed so simple, and it is deceptively so. At the time, I was so worried about what everyone else wanted me to be, at home, and in my career. I was trying to balance the desires of those around me. The voice I couldn’t hear in that place was my own. My coach was able to see that, and asked that question to help me recognize what I was avoiding. After that, we were able to discuss my own answer to that question and begin to create plans to take my statement of who I wanted to be, and work towards making that a reality.

The biggest impact for me has been my new willingness to take risks at work and share my own ideas. A month after that discussion, I was in conversation with my manager about a new potential product that had been in development for over 5 years. In the conversation he shared with me his fear about the long term profitability if we brought the product to market, due to some unique market forces at the time. I felt that he was giving up, but I wasn’t sure how to offer an alternative view. I then took the time to write up a reasoned response to him, arguing how we could change the profit model of the product, and potentially add other services into the package that could make the product profitable over the long term. Those suggestions were never implemented, but I felt that I had done my best to offer a new way to look at our business. It felt great to find the courage to speak my mind to my manager, to offer him potential options from which we might make our business better. Letting go of my fear of being my full self at work was a huge change that I would have never asked for at the start of my relationship with my coach.

The great thing about most coaching relationships is that they are there to support you through your goals, and you get the benefit of personal transformation throughout the process. You learn that you have the strength to achieve your goals, and have the ability to become the person you want to be. Many coaches offer a free introductory session giving you the chance to test out what might be possible if you had a coach in your corner. So I encourage you to consider – what are the biggest goals you have at work that you feel you cannot accomplish on your own? How might a coach help you achieve those? ICF’s coaching directory offers a great resource to help you find the coach who can help you achieve your goals. Take a look – you might find someone who can help you get to the next level.