We Celebrate Coaching and You

This month as we look forward to celebrating International Coaches Week, April 29 to May 5, please consider the blessings we share as a coaching community to work where our passion has led us. I was given the special opportunity to attend the ICF Global Leadership Forum representing ICF-TN along with Joanna Williams, ICF-TN President-Elect. It was inspiring and affirming to be in the company of hundreds of professional coaches from all over the world, an audience getting younger every year by the way, eager to develop as leaders, connect as a community, and who see coaching as a way to influence the world around us and recognize that thriving societies need coaching.

Currently there are 25,259 ICF credentialed coaches across the globe. When ICF was founded in 1995, its purpose was to give credibility to an emerging profession and give members a place to connect with one another. Today, the International Coach Federation has emerged and is the leading voice for the global coaching profession.

As a community of coaches, ICF-TN chapter members enjoy the support of ICF resources including a focus on professional growth so we may impact our world as coaches with confidence.  Resources also include an internationally recognized credentialing process that lends credibility to our identity and the influence to position ICF coaches as the gold standard.  ICF is committed to be the thought leader for the coaching profession, shaping conversations and standards, supporting our work with research and partnerships.

Next year ICF will celebrate the twenty-five (25) year anniversary as an organization representing our profession. Coincidentally, ICF-TN formally known as Tennessee Coaches Alliance will also celebrate our 25-year anniversary.  As we come together as a Tennessee coaching community, I ask you to think about what the next 25 years might bring. Coaching has now been codified as a profession. Our credentials are recognized and mean something to our clients. What is the future of coaching from your perspective and how can our community, our chapter, our partnerships, continue to drive the profession forward?  If you are looking for any of the following, belonging to ICF and ICF-TN will add value to your proposition as a coach.

  • More professional development opportunities

  • More networking to foster connections and help build your business

  • More evidence of your professionalism and credibility as an ICF coach

  • More job opportunities as global awareness of coaching grows

  • More industry research

More than ever, the world needs passionate, committed coaches like us.  As our profession continues to evolve, ICF will help us become more than we ever imagined we could be.  Our focus this year as a chapter is to add value to your membership through professional development and through community networking. To connect with more coaches across Tennessee and throughout the Southeast Region, we will be looking at adding virtual options to our calendar of professional development programs. 

Connect with the ICF-TN chapter, join in our professional development, our networking and our outreach to the community in taking clients from fans of coaching to evangelists. 

Send me your ideas for the chapter and how it can add value to your coaching practice at

Donna Yurdin, ICFTN President

Donna Yurdin

In the Spotlight: Benjamin Papa, J.D., M. Div.

Benjamin Papa1 - Where are you from, and how did you choose to live in Middle Tennessee?

I am from Knoxville and came to Nashville to go to college. I finished at Vanderbilt in 1995 and have been here ever since. 

2 - What is your professional background, and why did you become a coach?

I practiced law for 18 years, almost all in the area of family law with an emphasis on Collaborative Divorce. I became a Coach because I enjoyed helping people navigate and make good, grounded decisions and choices even in the midst of a great deal of conflict and complexity, but wanted to use those skills outside of the crisis context of divorce and in a role other than being someone's divorce attorney, which is limiting. 

3 - How did you choose your specialty area?

Leadership Coaching and Facilitation allows me to work with individual leaders and leadership teams on developing the "human" side of themselves in the context of their role as a business or organizational leader. I believe there is a lack of leadership in our culture right now, and I want to do what I can to support self-aware, high integrity, and resilient leaders. 

4 - What are the greatest challenges and greatest rewards of your career?

Since I am relatively new to coaching from practicing law, one of my current challenges is learning how to talk about how my background as a Collaborative Divorce attorney connects to my current work with leaders and teams. There is a clear connection there, but it's not always easy to explain in a 30 second elevator speech! 

The greatest reward of coaching is creating space for people to see things about themselves they have never seen before and then begin to move into a space of personal or professional development around what they are learning. Ultimately, it is about helping people access hope and joy. 

5 - What is something that most ICFTN members would be surprised to learn about you?

I had drinks with Julia Roberts (yes, the movie star!) when I was in law school.

6 - How do you enjoy spending your free time?

Reading, hiking, yoga, dinner with friends, and occasionally acting in plays.