President’s Log: Ruby Palma, ACC


Ruby Palma, ACC

President, 2014-2015

Today we will be reading the responses from Ruby Palma, 2014-2015 ICFP President.

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

I am an Ilonga by upbringing. After graduating from high school in Ilo-Ilo, I went to university at UPD where I got my degree in Business Economics. My first job conducting productivity trainings  was significant to my journey because you could say that it was there that I received a “message” that would point me in the direction of my true calling. My experience would lead me for many long years into the  learning and organizational development world as an HR Director, then eventually to coaching. 

I got my first certification in 2005, then my second in 2012, just prior to my becoming president of ICF Philippines in 2014. Today I practice my profession as a Partner of LIM (Leadership in Motion), an affiliate of a global consulting firm with 35 years of experience in Action Reflection Learning (ARL) and Shared Leadership. I am passionate about imparting concepts , processes and tools of our approach to coaching leaders and teams. It is an approach that is particularly important considering the increasing rate of change in today’s world. We believe that the rate of learning has to be at least equal to or greater than the rate of change.  We also hope to help people find their “voice”. At LIM, we also run an ICF-approved  Team Coach Certification Program (TCCP ®) for aspiring team coaches.

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

A number of things come to mind. First, not many people know that I am a bit of a pioneer type. I’m very future-oriented; for example, I envisioned the situation I’m in 25 years ago! 

Second, some time ago I received an award from UP as outstanding alumni for social sciences and human ecology. I feel immensely blessed by this, as I view it as a defining moment in my professional mission.

Finally, I’ve embarked on a project to build a farm cum retreat center for families and team retreats and that I hope people will be able to use when this pandemic is over.

Give us a brief description of your time as president of ICF Philippines. What was the single most pressing crisis – political, economic, or financial that occupied your mind and that of your clients during your time as president?

I was the 4th president of ICFP at a time when coaching as a profession was just on the rise. Professionally, I saw that as an opportunity – an intersection of my strengths and the needs of the market. So, in that respect, it was a good time. It was also the first year that we organized to  launch the first  coaching summit in the country. It happened shortly  after my term ended. 

At the time, the crisis that took my personal attention were the aftereffects of Typhoon Yolanda and the mounting fuss and excitement of the next Presidential elections in the country. 

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

I would say that from a client perspective, there were more similarities than differences, specially to those who were more closely impacted. Their fear and grief, as well as concern for their safety, were similar to what I see today. The difference is, at that time, the crisis came and went quickly and the scope was localized. It was more easily identifiable. Today, the crisis is more slow-moving, global in nature  and we are having to learn as we go. 

How did you help your clients through the crisis at the time? How differently (or similarly) are you applying that approach to your clients today?

Empathy was key then, as it is today. What is important – what has always been important – is to keep calm and honour their feelings. Knowing and understanding one’s feelings and intuitions are important in order to be truly present with every client. Creating that safe space for them to open up and share has been and continues to be a helpful practice. This has supported  clients see the world in a different way. Today, I continue to work on levelling up my coaching presence and deepening my  listening skills  to  create more profound impact with clients. 

Take off your coach’s hat for a moment and put yourself back into the position of ICFP president. What theme would you build on in preparing an acceptance speech in this current environment?

I would build my acceptance speech on two pillars: first, learning. One common knee-jerk  response  of people to a crisis is panic and  to find fault. We need to counter that by encouraging learning from this complex environment, bringing our strengths to the table and coming up with innovative approaches and rapid action.

Second, sharing. We need to collaborate and work together. We cannot do it on our own. I mean “we” in the broadest sense – other coaches, other people, other countries. The answers lies  in the ‘WE’ and not just the ‘I’. We must take advantage of our community to bring our best to the situation and co-create solutions together with our clients. Partnering in a thought provoking and creative process is truly one of the best approaches to addressing life’s challenges.  

At ICF Philippines, we are a community that shares a common passion to help people. I am so fortunate to be a part of this community that has a heart to share our gifts and talents with others so that, together, we can make a difference.