2020 Year In Review

Dearest friends,

As we approach the end of the most dynamic year of most of our lifetimes, and with the blindingly swift way things are continuing to shift and change, we want to take some time to catch you up on all that has happened in our community over this historically transformative year.

First, though, a pause. 

Take a few deep breaths. Feel your feet on the ground, your body against the surface of whatever you’re sitting on. Another breath. Two. Three. Give yourself this moment to connect to yourself and to the world that, in spite of the chaos, is forever supporting you.

This feeling of steady, supportive presence is something we’ve become increasingly aware of over this year of profound shifts. In the midst of everything that continues to unfold, our organizational calling to ease suffering in the world and to support everyone in living lives of fulfillment and contribution has remained constant—and in many cases been amplified.

Heeding the call

More and more, folks have been finding their way to NVW as they ask questions about meaning and contribution. It seems that what we have always been up to has proven to be particularly essential in these times. The challenge has been to keep those offerings constant while responding to what is most alive in the world in a given moment. In all of this, we find ourselves supported by the work itself: the steadiness, compassion and agility it fosters in an ongoing, self-generating way.

Though we are in touch frequently with program offerings and shorter updates, we are moved to share stories about what has been happening in our classes, in the business, and in the wider community.

Stories from the classroom

Perhaps because so many have been turning inward and inquiring about what their calling is in the world, there has been tremendous interest in the Professional Coaching Course. Aspiring coaches are applying at an unprecedented rate and cohorts are filling months in advance.

It also appears that the move to the virtual space has made the work accessible to those who may have been previously limited by geography, travel costs, and other logistics. Participating from their home environment fosters a relaxed and open way of being in students. And with no physical transition from classroom to home life, integration of learning happens more or less immediately.

I’ve been unexpectedly delighted and sustained this year by the people who are choosing this precise moment in time – a global crisis – to explore our offerings. I’ve met so many wonderful and curious people who have consciously decided to pursue their ongoing unfoldment, rather than collapsing into what feels comfortable and safe.  Their interest and participation during this challenging year has reignited my passion for the work and my own development. To all those who attended a free event or enrolled in a class this year, thank you for inspiring me!

Jessica Phillips, NVW Enrollment Director

Moving to the virtual space

Along with the thousands of other educational institutions compelled to shift their offerings online, in many cases mid-program, we set about availing ourselves of Zoom, Slack, and other online resources to build a virtual classroom that feels as close to the in-person experience as possible. Each session has also given us opportunities to refine the process, and from what we hear, students feel as connected, held, and supported as they do in the in-person space (minus the hugs and snacks, of course!).

Considering all of this, and in order to support more folks having access to this work, we will continue to have virtual options for most of our courses even after it is safe to gather in person again.

Around the globe, our partners in London, Canada, South Africa and beyond have moved just as seamlessly to the online space, continuing their programs and offering new ones. We have all been learning from each other as we make this move together.

Some feedback from students in recent virtual classes…

“Foundations of Coaching wildly exceeded my expectations. It was well organized, very well paced, I loved the ratio of lecture to practice and questions. Adam clearly demonstrated the principles and practices of coaching in his teaching/facilitation of this course and it is so wonderful to see someone walking the talk. That is the best way to learn and an excellent endorsement for your [yearlong] program.”

“It’s clear the instructors are deeply passionate about Integral Coaching and that translated to how authentic their sharing of Integral Coaching felt to me. I was particularly moved by all of the participants – their wisdom, openness and vulnerability, as well as, their commitment to understand and learn as demonstrated by the numerous thoughtful questions that allowed me to engage more fully and feel more confident to experiment with the various practices.”

“Wonderfully challenging. Brilliantly facilitated by Marina and the tech crew. This truly helps me to think, feel and be in the world within my own changing narrative. It enables me to be much more intentional and wise about coaching in general, Integral Coaching in particular, and the potential to bring this to leaders who aspire to be servants of those they lead, drawing on their own deepening resources of excellence, self-correction, and self-generation so that they can bring these strengths out in others.”

“I was surprised how quickly we jumped right into coaching exercises and how our intuition shown through. I was more comfortable sharing my personal story than I thought I would have been to a group of (former) strangers. Everyone who joins this course seems to be a kindred spirit in that they are on a growth path spiritually and developmentally.”

New programs

In addition to our delight at our current programs working so well virtually, several new offerings were also born into the world this year—some brought about by the state of the world and the needs of the community, others that had been in the works for some time. Here is a bit about each of them.

  • Soon after lockdown began, Cultivating Resilience Practice Groups were developed by Julie Engel for both for graduates and the broader community, to help folks contact and deepen their inner resourcefulness.
  • Integral Coaching and the Enneagram had originally been designed as a five-day gathering in San Francisco and, once it was clear that COVID wasn’t going anywhere for a while, it evolved into a virtual offering. Throughout the summer, the robust, international cohort met with leaders Russ Hudson and James Flaherty, as well as with regional practice groups—who, from what we hear, are still getting together!
  • Integral Team Coaching launched in October led by faculty members Sahar Azarabadi and Cynthia Luna. Coaching a group of people is distinct in many ways from working with clients one-on-one, and this program supports coaches in bringing an integral approach to working with teams within organizational systems. This offering serves not only to broaden the range of who this work can reach, but also the shape the work itself takes.
  • The Graduate Wellspring will be a yearly offering for grads to come together as a community and support one another in deepening their development. Topics and faculty will rotate each year in support of a fresh and regenerative experience every time. Julie Engel and Adam Klein will lead the 2021 program, “Nourishment of Being.”
  • Our free orientation events increased in frequency from 4 per year to 24 per year!
    • The Integral Learning Lab, a half-day exploration that we traditionally hosted once per quarter in San Francisco, moved to the virtual space just two days before shelter in place was announced in the Bay Area. The success of that event in the midst of all that was happening in the world inspired us to offer it once a month.
    • To give folks another time option and an additional avenue to get to know our work and community, we developed the Integral Coaching Forum: a two-hour workshop offered one weeknight per month.

So yes, it’s been a profoundly full year on the program front—and that’s only a piece of what we hoped to share!

So before we move on, why don’t we stop and take another breath together, feel our feet, the chair, the ground …


Stories from the business

Big transitions

The NVW staff (not pictured: Michelle Weston)

Prior even to current world events taking hold, our company was already in the midst of a huge transition: after founding and running NVW for over three decades, James and Stacy Flaherty moved into retirement from the business and handed over stewardship to a new leadership team.

Having barely stepped into our roles as Managing Partners, we were swept into the necessity of pivoting to the virtual space and creating offerings that would support our community and beyond. Perhaps because things were already “up” due to the company transition – and certainly thanks to our Integral Coach training and the support of the entire community – we have discovered a particular agility in our response to world events. In addition to the full and sometimes exhausting nature of our days, there is an underlying aliveness and excitement to all that has been happening.

From deep roots, this company and this work has extended its branches this year in ways that none of us could have anticipated. While we knew 2020 would bring new beginnings, little did we know just how much newness we’d be stepping into. The way the leadership, faculty, staff and community have held these challenges and opportunities—with such grace, depth, and authentic responsiveness—has been awe inspiring. I remain deeply humbled and inspired to be a part of it all.

Joy Reichart, NVW Creative Director

All of us—staff, faculty and leadership—have felt ourselves in an ongoing, unfolding conversation around what we are becoming. Folks from the far corners of the community have been stepping in to support and be involved in this process. For example, an outcome of the several Graduate Town Halls we have held this year is the formation of committees dedicated to stewarding important aspects of our work going forward, including Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Faculty Structures and Processes, and others.

New and ongoing organizational offerings

Summer 2020 saw the completion of the yearlong Professional Coaching Course and subsequent graduation of 16 new Integral Coaches inside a US government agency. We are in our fourth year of supporting a yearlong leadership development program in a Fortune 500 tech company. This is in addition to our ongoing work in organizational settings, including the six-month Coaching for Development program, individual and team coaching, and bespoke programs.

Another breath …


Stories from the community

This newly minted crop of Integral Coaches began their year in London and finished virtually.

Several free community events emerged in response to the collective upheaval at the start of the pandemic and in the challenging times that followed. The week that shelter in place took effect in the San Francisco Bay Area and other parts of the country, we began offering weekly Circles of Connection facilitated by our faculty. This event gave us a chance to gather, connect, resource ourselves, and remember how much support was available. (Our London partners have continued offering a similar event each week.)

Our generous, magical graduates

Integral Coaches quickly stepped forward in droves to offer free coaching to folks in need of support. We have been profoundly moved to see the ways that their training and ongoing practices gave them the capacity to show up as calm and steady presences for their clients and for each other.

June saw the formation of Affinity Circles facilitated by members of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee, as a way to have the hard and necessary conversations about racial injustice in our country.

And just last month, on election day, when emotions were running high, we hosted a virtual gathering to support each other in staying grounded and connected. Our community held each other close and we were able to more deeply feel the love, support, and resources that we are each in contact with.

As we mentioned above, there are two free events per month that are designed not only to orient folks to the work of Integral Coaching, but to provide a space of support, connection, and clarity to all who join. Whether you are a newcomer, student or graduate, you are welcome to attend any time you are looking for a place to do some guided self-exploration in a warm community of your peers.

In the wider community

We have been partnering with nonprofit organizations and individuals to support the good work they are doing in the world. Integral Coaches have been offering pro-bono services to folks at New Pathways for Youth and the Enneagram Prison Project. And scholarships have supported numerous students from service backgrounds to step more deeply into their vocations with Integral Coach training.

Moving forward …

We invite you into the ongoing, unfolding conversation. There will be regular gatherings in 2021, and we welcome your voice. In fact, it is essential. None of what has happened this year has occurred in a vacuum. The community is, well, integral to all we do! Please stay tuned for announcements and plan to join us.

One more time: breathe deeply. Connect with your feet, your spine, the earth. Feel this beautiful community connected hand in hand around the globe.

This year has given us all so many opportunities to look deeply at who we are and what we’re up to, to connect to what is most meaningful, and to develop ourselves in ways that make a greater contribution to the world. This is what we have always been up to at New Ventures West. We look forward to continuing the journey with you.

With our love and gratitude,




Adam, Cynthia, Sahar and Suzanne
The NVW Leadership Team