President’s Log: Luchi Vitales

Luchi-Vitales

Luchi Vitales

President, 2013-2014

Tell us about yourself today as a coach and how you got here

People, and people management, have always been in my DNA. It has been the undercurrent of my professional life. I retired from Monde Nissin on January 31 of this year have established my own firm – A & N Business Consultancy.

What is an interesting fact about yourself that people probably don’t know? 

I have a special place in my hear for the oppressed and the downtrodden. In a business context, I have spent many years of my life working with and advocating for the common laborer. When I was younger, let’s just say that I was an advocate for good governance in my country, and I spent some time demonstrating that advocacy in the streets.

Describe your time as president of ICF Philippines, taking over from Julius Ordonez, founding president.  What was that like?

I took over from our founding president, Julius. He and I had the same vision, and because of the way we organized ICFP, as president-elect I had the opportunity to operationalize our common vision and aspirations. Raising awareness of coaching and ICFP’s visibility were key concerns of ours. We regularly attended conventions abroad, and the relationship made for a smooth transition.

Our Professional Development Committee, run by Car Testa was quite active. We ran monthly professional development learning sessions at Fully Booked at BGC. 

Our Community Relations Committee, run by Alma Horn, entered into partnership with Gawad Kalinga to coach the people running their communities. We also established a partnership with AIM and provided pro bono coaching sessions with the AIM students, and we also brought them together in a forum to promote coaching. Available and visibility to the academe was an important objective of ours.

What was the single most pressing crisis that occupied your mind during your time as president?

Problems of economic growth, separation of economy and political situation. Asked to become coach of some political figures (younger ones). Intervention aligned with political advocacies. Period of transition and transformation. Coaching became very pervasive during that time. People were more hungry to learn – it was a new environment. 

How would you compare that challenge with the current pandemic that we are dealing with?

Then and now were two very different business environments. During my time, the economy was just starting to take off. Business-wise, growth was the focus. In that environment, coachees spoke more about the business and how they could actually thrive and flourish.

Today, coachees speak of survival and operational concerns. They are primarily concerned with making themselves relevant and being able to cope with the stresses of the environment. Everyone is feeling a sense of work fatigue. Many of my coachees have waited until late in the evening in order to not miss a session. They feel a need to have to speak to someone who will listen to them and to whom they can vent their feelings and emotions.  

As a leader yourself, what theme would you build on for today’s environment? What message do you have to all coaches on Defying Challenging Times?

Today, being tech savvy and fluent in the language of technology is a given. Everything is focused on the future of work and the destruction of silos. My theme, on the other hand, would the continuing importance of human intelligence. In the face of all the accomplishments of technology and artificial intelligence, at the end of the day, none of it will prosper if we don’t forget to continue to humanize the environment. We need to keep people talking to each other. And that’s where coaching comes in, and where its relevance cannot be underestimated.