It's always useful to learn from the experiences of past conference attendees when deciding whether to attend an event for the first time. Here is a selection of testimonials from men who attended International Gay Coaches Conference 2019.
"Initially, I had some apprehension about not fitting in or wasting the presenters’ time since I’m not a coach. That apprehension disappeared quickly when I realized that I wasn’t the only non-coach in the room and all of the presenters were clearly speaking in a way that was relevant to everyone, regardless of their background.
"Thanks to numerous conversations I realized that I possessed the attributes of a coach—without my knowing it. I also discovered that many of the presenters were corporate coaches (as distinct from life coaches). Looking, as I do, at coaching from a more avocational perspective, I think that sometime during my retirement I might pursue life coaching on a smaller scale. Surprisingly, that was the conference’s most important feature to me. Coaching quite possibly may be the right path for me going forward.
"Other features that felt important to me included: the vast knowledge imparted by a wide range of presenters on wide-ranging topics, the un-conferences (that is, workshops without a specific body of content) which were surprisingly popular among the participants, the nightly wine and cheese gatherings, the high quality Friday night entertainment featuring the musician, Grey Jacks, and the morning yoga program which I enjoyed.
"Would I recommend the GCA conference to someone who had never been? Absolutely! I’m very glad I attended. The conference was rewarding and pointed to an opportunity I had not considered. It is a great organization of real men, who are on an honourable path. I hope to be back again at some point later in the future."
"I hadn’t been to the IGCC for 4 years, and I had some hesitation about going, wondering if it would be worth the time and expense to go again. Thankfully I went, including the 1-day pre-conference as I experienced that the conference and the attendees have grown and evolved.
"I got clarity and insights in an interactive, stimulating environment that involved group fun and play – and that was just the pre-conference!
"I appreciated the power of collaboration, powerful workshops that were inspiring, connecting and impactful. Being in this supportive environment helped me come up with ideas to claim more of my gifts. One workshop, in particular, helped me understand how to use my passion to create greater success and progress. I came away with a greater understanding about being part of a conscious gay community.
"For anyone who is a gay coach or thinking about becoming one, this is the best place to meet and be supported by other gay coaches. And the tasty food was a plus!”
"I came into the 2019 International Gay Coaches Conference with a creative block and uncertainty about my relationship with coaching. I left, just a few short days later, with a renewed sense of hope and motivation.
"I was able to re-calibrate my relationship with coaching and am reminded why I started coaching. I was also able to further strengthen my connections with like-minded men. I left with some concrete knowledge and ideas about how to strengthen my business and my relationship with coaching, as well as feeling inspired by passionate men who shared similar interests.
"The diversity of experience and talent inspired me to start thinking about my future with coaching was a key feature of the conference for myself. I also left feeling validation that I crave the same sense of community and brotherhood as other men who see the value in the parallel between personal and professional development. Initially this was surprising that other men felt the same way I did!
"The sense of connection, ability to gain tools into group coaching, and ways to improve my own coaching skills are truly invaluable. I highly recommended the conference to any coach that wants to expand their ability to expand their business/life in a way that you think may not be possible."
"As a relatively novice Coach, I wasn’t sure what to expect coming into my first International Gay Coaches Conference and was somewhat nervous about being rejected and not taken seriously for my skills and gifts. I have needs for respect, equality, and to be seen.
"In choosing to participate, connect with men, and share myself by leading 2 un-conferences, I felt very grateful to give back, offer value, and receive validation in that process. In addition, by remaining humble and open, it was valuable for me to have the space to consult with colleagues for feedback, which was incredibly useful to me.
"I really enjoyed the professional connections I made with fellow gay Coaches. There’s a special bond we have in common as professionals that unites us, which is unique.
I found the conference was an intimate size, and I appreciated that there were different workshop options available to meet a variety of interests and needs; I appreciated the choice, freedom, and inclusion to select “Un-conference” topics; I valued the ritualistic welcome; moreover, the food at Easton was very good and a plus.
"I would indeed recommend such a space for any Gay Coach – at the very least, to be aware of. I am grateful I learned about this through my partner, Bernie. And, I look forward to remaining connected with this community and network and perhaps serving the Gay Coaches Alliance in the future. I am already inspired to lead a future workshop. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. I feel very blessed to have attended this year."
"My testimonial includes a fair amount of fear and trepidation, as I had never been in the company of a group of gay professional men. I feared that I might not fit in and that my presentation would not be as impactful as I wanted it to be! Happy to report my fears were ill founded.
"Attending the pre-conference with the other scholarship awardees and first time conference attendees put me at ease and the HOT TUB was a magic elixir and my Wednesday massage with Tim Cooley was a great way to begin my stay at Easton Mountain. I must say the staff was very personable and helpful.
"As my walls came down, I opened my heart and mind to what this amazing group of fellow professionals had to offer. Jeff Moore was an outstanding presenter and a font of information, which I've already begun to think about and apply to my work as a recovery counselor. The other presenters were also outstanding, generous with their wisdom and welcoming of me as a first time participant.
"Aside from the hot tub and massage, the food was outstanding and VERY HEALTHY! The meals provided me with an opportunity to talk to many of the men gathered. One morning, I walked the grounds with a volunteer who had a wealth of knowledge about the history of Easton Mountain.
"I sincerely want to thank the organizational donor for supporting my stay with a the scholarship. Without that advocacy, I would not have been a presenter or a presence at the 2019 GCA Conference, I so appreciated the opportunity to present before such an amazing group of professional men."
"As someone interested in coming to the conference ... were there any obstacles or fears that you had to overcome? I did not have any obstacles in general about coming to the conference. That being said, I did experience some hesitation about attending a conference in which I only knew one other person. I would tell anyone who hesitates that I am so very glad that I attended the conference. Any doubt that I had about not knowing others vanished within a few minutes of the warm welcome.
"I was surprised by the openness and friendliness of all participants. I was also surprised by the quality of the program. I have been around for a long time in the training and facilitation business. The people presenting were among the best in the business. I was very impressed.
"The connection and fellowship was the best part quickly followed by the content and materials shared.
"The facilities are very good, the food was excellent and the location (remote and country setting) adds a special quality to the experience.
"I would strongly recommend attending the conference without hesitation.
"It is worth the time, energy and $. It is a good investment.'