Many of us, especially those of us in education, were hoping the pandemic would be behind us by now. We cancelled CoachFest in 2020 and weren’t sure we would even be able to host the event this year, but we kept hearing the message, “We need this.” So with limited capacity and safety measures in place, we hosted our second CoachFest Conference and Retreat, an incredible event for coaching in education.

The theme this year was “Coaching to Thrive” and we welcomed incredible keynote speakers, Diane Sweeney, Dr. Deborah Jones, and Kenny McKee. Diane Sweeney focused on student-centered coaching and resilience through Covid. Dr. Jones reminded us of the developmental pathways of the whole child based on Dr. James P. Comer’s work, and Kenny McKee asked us the important question: “Does Your Coaching Energize?” with many great lessons from his new book, Compassionate Coaching co-authored by Kathy Perret. We had incredible breakout sessions on topics such as navigating difficult conversations, meeting your teachers’ diverse needs, and conversational intelligence, just to name a few.

We welcomed participants from all over the country as well North Carolina, and enjoyed the “retreat” part of the event with hiking trails, beautiful fall foliage of the North Carolina mountains, a bonfire social, and our first snowfall of the year!

Here’s what participants had to say about the event:

“My favorite thing about CoachFest was the level of intention and purpose that went into the design of the day’s flow. Thank you for thinking about the variety of attendees you would serve and for offering diverse experiences to meet everyone’s needs. I typically feel drained after a full day of a conference, but I felt energized and inspired at the end of each day.”

“This was the best networking I’ve experienced at a conference in 28 years.”

“I love that this conference actually sends you home with tools or techniques that you can use immediately. It’s more hands-on than most conferences.”

Check out some of the CoachFest 2021 photos!

(Click to view larger versions)