Category Archives: Health and Wellness Coaching

ITL Year in Review – 2021

As we close out 2021, we have much to celebrate in the Institute for Transformational Leadership (ITL). Looking back on the year, we are grateful for our community of transformational leaders: students, graduates, faculty, and staff working to create a more sustainable and compassionate future during these challenging times. 

We have done a lot in ITL this year.  We are so pleased to share these highlights:

ODCCL – The Organization Development Consulting & Change Leadership (ODCCL) program has a new name and has been redesigned to meet the moment – where concepts of work and workplace are being reimagined, where diversity, equity & inclusion and OD have become inextricably intertwined, and where OD learning and practice can be maximized via multiple modalities.

Health & Wellness Coaching – The Health & Wellness Coaching program continues to train pioneers in this emerging field – now accredited by both the International Coach Federation (ICF) & the National Board of Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC). We are also launching an important partnership with the Georgetown University School of Medicine using health & wellness coaching to empower unhoused populations in DC to make progress towards better health. 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) – The ITL DEI program completed cohorts 12 & 13 in 2021. We piloted new content on polarities as a way of offering students another lens through which to view DEI work. This highly sought-after program teaches the leadership skills and insights needed to support a strategic, sustainable approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion management while utilizing knowledge of oneself as an agent of change in the workplace. 

Facilitation – Our Facilitation program is leading us into the complexity and opportunity of facilitating in the hybrid workspace in addition to creatively designing for and facilitating human connection both in person and virtually. 

Leadership coaching – In 2021, we trained 5 cohorts of Leadership Coaches while launching a redesigned curriculum that prepares coaches to support and develop leaders to lead in the complexity of today’s world.  This year we partnered  with multiple organizations as a key part of a strategy to create a culture of coaching from government agencies to nonprofits and foundations.  

Professional Training Programs – We launched six new workshops in 2021:  Culturally Competent CommunicationBody Intelligence in LeadershipFrom CDO to COO: The Business of DEIEntrepreneurial Leadership CapacityCourageous Leadership in Action: No One Said It Would Be EasyBuilding Inclusive Workplaces through the Lens of Women’s Leadership

Faculty Training – We partnered with Georgetown’s Elizabeth Stanley, PhD, author of Widen the Window, to learn about how trauma might show up in our classrooms and how to teach and facilitate in a trauma-sensitive way.

Events- We celebrated the graduation of 760 students representing 31 cohorts across our five certificate programs, and the ITL Network convened our graduate community in a dynamic and moving virtual conference in November.

Partnerships & Training – We showcased our expertise in Leadership, Coaching, DEI and Organization Development through partnerships with the Department of Veterans Affairs Whole Health, AARP Purpose Prize, Georgetown University School of Medicine, USAID, the U.S. Air Force, and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators. 

As 2021 comes to an end, we wish you much love and peace!

Fall Workshops – Something for Everyone

This fall, we have a fabulous lineup of workshops designed to meet the needs of leaders and practitioners as we navigate the complexities of 2021.

Culturally Competent Communication 

Effective communication is built on one’s willingness, desire, and ability to share information with another individual. Culturally competent communication goes one step further by offering a form of empathetic, unbiased, and respectful communication when interacting with an individual who may be different from oneself.  This program is designed for anyone who seeks to understand how cultural beliefs inform behavior and how to show sensitivity to those beliefs through communication.  Learn more.

Entrepreneurial Leadership Capacity

This workshop captures the skills and mindsets of high performing entrepreneurs and presents them in an easily digestible method and playbook.  It is designed for (1) an early stage aspiring entrepreneur desiring to develop their entrepreneurial mindsets and skills in order to move their project/startup forward and (2) an intrapreneur leader desiring to develop their entrepreneurial mindsets and skills to innovate in their current role within organizations. Learn more.

Courageous Leadership in Action: No One Said It Would Be Easy

This dynamic workshop is designed for individuals who are interested in exploring aspects of courageous leadership in the f­­ace of adversity. The 2-day in person or 4-module virtual workshop explores courageous leadership through the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) lens.  The workshop is designed to be inclusive and encompass new and mid-level managers, leaders, coaches, consultants, and facilitators. Learn more.

From CDO to COO: The Business of DEI

The work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is more than a mindset or focus on people – it is core to how a business operates.  However, nearly all corporate DEI positions reside within Human Resources, executing activities and delivering goals geared towards attracting, growing, and retaining diverse talent.  To drive systemic change as well as disrupt and reinvent systems to eliminate  oppression and bias, organizations need to embed the mental models and best practices of DEI into their business operations.  This program is designed to provide foundational business and DEI knowledge to participants who will then use this knowledge to co-create strategies for integrating DEI into the core business operations of an organization.  Learn more.

Body Intelligence:  Leadership’s Untapped Resource

The body is the most direct and fastest route to change. The vast majority of our behavior is generated on autopilot because it happens outside of our consciousness. Body Intelligence in Leadership is designed for individuals who are looking to develop their natural inner resources to navigate the complexities of today’s world. Based in neuroscience, biology, and physiology, this 6-module highly experiential program explores models and theories related to the intelligence of the body.  Learn more.

Building Inclusive Workplaces through the Lens of Women’s Leadership

While the entire landscape of work is getting an overhaul, how are leaders going to adapt to attract and retain diverse talent? What new tactics are being used to drive diverse and productive teams? How do we create belonging and connection for everyone in virtual, hybrid and in-person workspaces using an intersectional lens? Building Inclusive Workplaces through the Lens of Women’s Leadership will explore these questions and use peer learning to uncover how companies and organizations can tap into the values and potential of all workers and leverage opportunities that help them show up at work as their full self – which research has proven fuels creativity and innovation.  Learn more.

LENS: Creating a New Normal on Race, One Conversation at a Time

No matter where you are on the spectrum of unconscious bias and race awareness, in America you are swimming in it 24/7.  Anchored in facts about our U.S. history that most of us never learned in school, this 2-day intensive workshop is an experiential, personal exploration of race and its impact on our perspectives that is guaranteed to give you an experience of diversity, not just a discussion about it.  Targeted for leaders and professionals who are wrestling with how to embody genuine inclusion in order to respond authentically to the cultural shifts after 2020’s racial protests, this approach, tested over 5 years, unlocks a depth of connection and learning unprecedented in mixed race company. Learn more.

Learn more about all the programs offered in Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership.

Double Accreditation: Multiple Paths for Health & Wellness Coaches

This month, Georgetown University’s Health and Wellness Coaching Program earned the distinction of accreditation with the International Coach Federation (ICF) in addition to the program certification by the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC).

For Health & Wellness Coaching graduates, the ICF accreditation opens up additional pathways for professional credentialing as an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) or a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) by using the ACSTH application pathway. Having both accreditations further distinguishes the Georgetown Health & Wellness Coaching program at the top tier of offerings. Graduates are now set up to more easily pursue the professional path that best suits their passion, their strengths, and their clientele’s requests of validation from the NBHWC and/or the ICF.

The eight-month highly experiential health & wellness coach training program is based on the principles of adult learning, transformational learning theory, and Jesuit Education Philosophy.  With an emphasis on self and personal transformation, the program leads students to explore the full range of human experience including the mind, body, spirit and emotion as a pathway to behavior change for sustainable health and wellbeing.  Students train to become health & wellness coaches in a supportive learning community of faculty, practitioners, coaches, mentors and fellow classmates.

Housed in the Institute for Transformational Leadership, the Health & Wellness Coaching program is part of a rich history of coach training dating back to 1999 with over 2000 coaches graduated.  After the program is over, graduates are able to tap into an active alumni community across the Institute  fueled by leaders, both health & wellness and leadership coaches, organizational development and diversity, equity & inclusion consultants, and facilitators.


Learn more about Georgetown’s Health & Wellness Coaching program in the Institute for Transformational Leadership.


Honoring Our Graduate Community

As 2020 comes to a close, we want to take a moment to honor the work the graduate community of Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership has done this year to support our leaders, our organizations, and our communities.

To our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) practitioners, you have helped us see a way forward as individuals, organizations and as a nation as we grapple with injustices and inequalities.  Your knowledge and skill has been called upon to assess organizations and propose strategic solutions to long-standing issues that prevent all employees from thriving and succeeding.  You have invited us into difficult conversations and encouraged us to stay with the discomfort of this work as we examine our own biases and role in oppression.   You have used yourself as an instrument of change sharing your personal journey for the greater good. 

To our leadership coaches, you have supported leaders through the most challenging of times.  You have been there as leaders have been tested in ways that dramatically exceed the scope of any prior situation.  You coached them to think differently, act boldly and lead compassionately. You helped them build the resilience necessary to sustain themselves and their organizations for the long-term and helped them learn about themselves and leadership along the way.     

To our health & wellness coaches, you supported health and well-being during one of the most dramatic and stressful changes of our time.  You have helped clients adapt to the realities of this year by helping them to align their daily choices in this new environment with their personal values.  You have served as pioneers in a field that is emerging as a critical component in empowering patients to actively participate in their own care. 

To our Organizational Development (OD) professionals, you have paved the path for how OD will be done in the future.  The year has necessitated new ways of leading people, managing teams, and working with data.  You have exercised creativity, resilience and supported organizations in re-imagining what is possible.  You have brought optimism and compassion to help sustain organizations well into the future. 

To our facilitators, you have created a new standard in how to lead virtual gatherings.  Your design skills have been tested as you reimagined business events that connected participants’ ideas while also tapping into their bodies, spirits and emotions. You have been called upon to design and facilitate intimate personal events from honoring individual milestones to end-of-life celebrations that were once unimaginable in the virtual space.  While physically apart, your creativity, presence and grace has brought us together in meaningful ways.

Because of all of you, leaders are more reflective, compassionate and in tune with their personal wellness, organizations are better positioned to see themselves and create lasting change, our virtual gatherings are more engaging and inclusive, and individuals and systems are starting to see prevailing inequality and injustices and making strategic moves to promote diverse, equity and inclusion.  Please know that the work you do, especially in 2020, has made a difference as we all work to create a more sustainable and compassionate future.

A Vertical Development Lens for Health & Wellness Coaching

This article originally appeared on the Georgetown SCS News & Events page.

Imagine you’re a health and wellness coach, advising clients in a company’s wellness program or through your own private practice. What kind of things should you be telling them?

For starters: get at least eight hours of sleep a night and plenty of exercise. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and try to limit your use of alcohol and caffeine. On the mental health side, maintain strong relationships with those closest to you—your family and friends—but also reach out to others. And don’t forget about the power of meditation.

Why was that not helpful? It’s not that these suggestions aren’t valid—they are. But most of us pretty much know this already. What we might lack is not health information, said Christine Wahl, a Master Certified Coach (MCC) and instructor in Georgetown University’s certificate program in Health & Wellness Coaching. It’s the capacity to take that information and use it for our own mental, physical, and even spiritual well-being.

“What we’re trying to do at Georgetown is create educated coaches who understand the trajectory of adult development and see how health and wellness fits into that,” Wahl said. “How do you, as a coach, meet someone where they are, and not where you think they should be? How do you learn to deeply understand how your client is perceiving their issue, and not jump into a ‘fix it’ mode, but engage in learning that shifts mindsets and helps them move forward?”

Letting Go of “the Right Way”

Twenty-one years ago, Wahl founded Georgetown’s Executive Certificate in Leadership Coaching program, which, like the Health & Wellness certificate, is part of the University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership. Rather than focusing on what leaders need to know, the coaches’ program encourages would-be coaches to think critically about what they may have believed were the “right ways” to address an issue. Instead, Wahl said, the coaches learn to let go of their “right ways” and examine their own values, perspectives, and decision-making processes.

Interrupting one’s automatic reactions in ways like this is one key to self-knowledge. This means that coaching is not about “fixing” a problem: It’s about helping clients achieve a measure of awareness of their own that can help them address the issue themselves.

The Leadership Coaching and Health & Wellness Coaching programs both believe that the theory of Vertical Development is essential for anyone in the helping professions to understand. The theory posits that adults move “vertically” through several stages of development, moving from being dependent, to independent, to interdependent.

Not that everyone gets to the later stages. Moving through stages is a journey of identity, with self-knowledge increasing as you go. The coach’s job is to draw on the self-knowledge they acquired through the program to help discern where a client is on this spectrum and adjust their coaching accordingly.

“So, when you’re coaching somebody who is at one of the earlier stages, you need to know that hitting them with complex theories and complicated ways to manage their lives will never work,” Wahl said. “They need concrete suggestions and actions, and they need you to be the expert. Whereas somebody at a later stage might know exactly what they need to do and might need you to be more of a sounding board or thought partner, someone who could say, ‘You know, here’s the place you might be missing, based on what you just said.’”

Drawing on Georgetown’s Values

The 10th cohort of the Health & Wellness Coaching program begins this fall and continues with eight classes spread over six months. The program is the first to bring adult development tenets into its curriculum, which integrates with the primary focus of understanding chronic disease and how coaches can best guide their clients toward optimal health. During the program, students conduct multiple one-on-one and group health coaching sessions and receive feedback from faculty coaching advisors through a supervised practicum.

The program also draws from Georgetown’s core value of cura personalis, or “care for the whole person,” which calls on health practitioners to address the mind, body, and spirit of their clients. That directive has become even more relevant in the past few months as the COVID-19 virus has swept across the country. The program seeks to develop coaches who have the self-awareness, empathy, and resilience to navigate such a world—and help their clients navigate it as well.

“We want coaches to meet clients ‘where they are,’” Wahl said, “which is one of the most compassionate approaches a coach can manifest.”

Read more here from program director Petra Platzer, PhD NBC-HWC PCC, on Adult Development in Health & Wellness Coaching. 

To learn more about ITL’s Health & Wellness Coaching program, click here.