March 10, 2016 – March 11, 2016 all-day
Hilton McLean Tyson Corner

Deep Speaks to Deep:  Exploring the Practices of the Clearness Committee (with Kirsten Olson) at the Georgetown University, Institute for Transformational Leadership’s Annual Coaching Conference

Date:  March 10-11, 2016

Location:  Hilton McLean Tyson Corner, McLean, VA


As leadership coaches, everyday we engage in practices of discernment with our clients, listening and ‘hearing into’ the stories and experiences that shape our clients’ worlds.  What practices sharpen our capacity to be present to these stories, and to leave behind the ego-of-self to be more fully in service to our clients? In this experiential session, participants will explore the practice of Clearness Committees, developed by the Quakers in the 16th century and honed and sharpened by modern practitioners.  Originally created by Quakers to draw on the collective wisdom of their communities (Quakers have no clerical leaders), in contemporary times Clearness Committees allow a small group of people to “hold the soul of another” and to help that person be present to, and experience, their own inner wisdom–their inner teacher.

In a carefully-constructed container, Clearness Committees can allow the collective consciousness of a group to gently, and with respect, support the focus person to name and claim their deep truths. For coaches, the pacing, sense of not-knowing, and reverence for the soul and inner wisdom of the focus person can be transforming and eye-opening.  The visceral power of the Clearness Committee makes this among the most influential practices we’ve ever engaged in.

Proposed session leaders are both actively-practicing, Georgetown-trained leadership coaches, and long-time Clearness Committee leaders who have personally trained and led retreats with Parker Palmer, founder of the Center for Courage and Renewal and contemporary leader of the Clearness Committee method.  Because the Clearness Committee practices have been so central to our development as coaches, we wish to bring this practice to the Georgetown community.  This is a taste!

Join us for two days of community reunion, inspiring conversation, innovative ideas, and experiential workshops to support your continued growth as a leadership coach.   Please note: this conference is only open to graduates of Georgetown University’s Certificate in Leadership Coaching.

THIS YEAR’S THEME:  Transformation: Coaching the Shift

Transformation means far more than ordinary change. Transformation is a lasting shift that forever changes people, organizations, and the world. It’s a change from which there is no going back.

The objective of the conference is create a dynamic atmosphere that fosters a deepening of our knowledge of transformation and inspires a commitment to coaching the shift.

At Georgetown, we believe that transformation occurs when human beings can sustain seeing, saying, doing, and being, in a significantly different way. The conference this year will feature those four paths.

Register at Graduate Coaches Conference Tickets.


Retreats & Facilitation Services

Coaching & Consulting Services

Conflict Resolution & Mediation Services

Named one of the best courageous books of 2014 by the Center for Courage & Renewal, this book is for educational leaders who feel overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted, and offers explicit practices to help readers avoid burnout and become the mindful, poised, effective leaders they were meant to be. Loaded with real-time encouragement with portraits of educational leaders who are incorporating mindfulness practices, like attentive breathing, mindful walking about the school building, or calming pauses in the office throughout the school day, this book is a must-have guide.

Valerie Brown and Kirsten Olson. Corwin, December 2014. 344 pages.

The Road that Teaches: Lessons in Transformation through Travel.

Not your average travel guidebook, this book explores some of the world’s great pilgrimages, destinations, and the author’s reflections on the lessons she learned from them. Read this book to discover how travel can be transformational, how to be more mindful while traveling and every day, the adventures of traveling alone, the delights of encountering new people and places, ancient pilgrimage journeys and sacred travel worldwide.

Valerie Brown. QuakerBridge Media, 2012, 152 pages. Also available from QuakerBooks.

Heartfulness: Renewing Heart, Mind, and Spirit on Retreat and Beyond Valerie

Valerie Brown guides readers toward renewal of mind, heart, and spirit by encouraging them to take time away from the busyness of their lives through retreat. Drawing on her experience as a retreatant and retreat leader, she introduces readers to opportunities for personal restoration within a variety of focused retreats. She wonders how Friends experience of expectant waiting influences the retreat process and how retreats influence expectant waiting. She encourages the “big questions”—What has meaning and purpose in my life? What am I avoiding? What brings me most alive?—and offers specific practices for retreatants to cultivate in everyday life.

Valerie Brown. Pendle Hill Pamphlet #421.

Quakers are advised to begin worship by “centering down.” This is the first step in a Friend’s intention to wait in “holy expectancy,” to be drawn by the Light into communion with God. Centering prayer is also a practice used by Christian mystics to prepare for contemplation, and “centering” describes the meditation of a Buddhist in pursuit of that deep awareness called “mindfulness.” Valerie Brown is an explorer and teacher of centering practices, a Buddhist, and an active Friend. Drawing upon her own experiences and wide studies, she describes for Friends how these various traditions can offer us a better understanding and preparedness for our precious, elusive, mysterious, and simple practice of centering into worship. Discussion questions included.

Valerie Brown, Pendle Hill Pamphlet #407. 2014.