Marilyn Atkinson is the Founder of Erickson Coaching International and originator of the Solution-Focused Coaching methodology. A former Registered Organizational Psychologist, Marilyn is an NLP Master Trainer and specialist in Ericksonian Communications. Since 1980s she has been helping leading global companies and leaders through Solution- Focused and Outcome-Oriented Coaching. Marilyn has authored eight books, including The Art & Science of Coaching trilogy (Inner Dynamics of Coaching, Step-by-Step Coaching & The Flow of Coaching).
We Are Celebrating 40 Years of Pioneering Coach Training!
Dear partners, coaches, trainers, and friends,
In 2020, we are proudly celebrating 40 years of Erickson Coaching International. This is a big year for us!
I am often asked how the first seeds were planted regarding the vision I had for Erickson. Curiously, this vision emerged from a series of unfortunate events. I had just been defrauded and left with a business (the NLP Institutes of Canada) that had been gutted. I found myself sitting at my kitchen table in deep despair. I was in a swamp of self-evaluation. A friend came by and asked me questions in a coaching style, such as, “What if this was for the best? What do you think could be next?” I began to brainstorm. What I really wanted most was to develop further the idea and profession of Solution-Focused coaching, to bring this out to the world in a useful way, and be a representation of that. I had already created and designed my latest courses with a coach-approach in mind. In other words, I realized I was already well into it. Other aspects were also ready to integrate with this vision. For example, I had the 4Q system intact that supported the total structure. I understood how I wanted to lay out my program and what all the pieces meant. I asked myself, “What if I created a brand new separate entity that focused primarily on coaching?” The dominos began to fall. We called it Erickson Coaching International to honor Milton Erickson, who I believed stood hands above all my own former teachers in professionalism, values, and integrity. I wanted to build my program around his five principles.
After my first ‘aha’ I continued to build my Erickson dream. I would take walks on the local seawall with a friend, allowing the ideas to unfold. It seemed I had a clear vision for the whole structure almost from the beginning. I began developing a business plan in which I envisioned a network of global partners. I imagined the idea of Solution-Focused coaching taking root, growing and developing in many different kinds of cultures. As I reflect on where Erickson is presently, the ideas that I had at my kitchen table 40 years ago are now very, very real.
With this vision in mind, I gradually developed courses in other areas. Team Coaching, Manager as Coach, Sales Coaching, and Negotiation Coaching were developed very early. In 1990, I introduced a course called Inspiring Children, since renamed as the popular Parent as Coach. I developed programs I could envision moving both Erickson and the coaching movement forward. I wanted – both then and now – to trigger a tipping point towards life celebration, a ‘coaching style’ of thinking, working, and being human; coaching the world one conversation at a time.
Erickson Coaching International is a trailblazer! We have become ‘big’ in terms of what a coach training company can be and have become much more than any of the others. The coaching arm of the world is just developing now, and we have already had a large effect on it. We are now planning to have a much bigger effect.
We have developed a Four-Quadrant Thinking System as a fundamental tool. This system is the core consistent and integral framework that all of our courses are based on. Erickson offers courses that range from managerial coaching, team coaching, relationship coaching, personal coaching, and everything in between, and all these courses are based on assisting participants to look at their lives on all levels, including emotionally, relationally, physically, creatively, intentionally, and meaningfully. Our courses potentiate people to move to their own ‘next level.’ At present, fifty thousand people have now moved forward with these steps.
As the Erickson community looks ahead, beyond our 40 years of collaboration, I am confident that we will continue to be on the leading edge of ideas. I know we will continue to develop our courses based on our current, ever-evolving global vision. The ecology aspect of coaching is a major focus for Erickson now and for our future. We are presently developing leadership in the area of ecology coaching. We are also assisting youth to face their future effectively with the upcoming Youth as Coach program. We will continue to develop Erickson on all levels, particularly with helping people change their habits and develop a vision for a sustainable planet.
Now, as I now think back to my time sitting at that kitchen table, I feel gratitude and excitement for my opportunity to develop this great company. I look forward to our next huge milestones, with both our long-time and brand-new partners. I hold hands with Erickson people from all over the world and say to you: “Thank you so much for your contribution to this work!”
Everyone, come and join us in this 40th anniversary celebration. We encourage you to create your own project to support it. Assist us to move the Solution-Focused approach forward into the lives of everyone we touch.
President & Founder
Erickson Coaching International