Our Working with coaching: competence and beyond day, in York this winter was a wonderful way to catch up with members, get to know new people and hear from a very interesting range of speakers.

Our new BACP Coaching Chair, Carolyn Mumby held the day, supported by the rest of us (Steve, Gill, Sally, Michele and myself, Eve).

BACP’s Nicola Forshaw was worried that her presentation, Coaching – what’s competence got to do with it? wouldn’t necessarily be the most riveting topic but from our perspective (having been working so hard to get to the stage we’re now at where coaching competencies are being developed), it was music to our ears.

Since Nicola joined BACP, we (the whole Coaching Executive) have been delighted by all she brings to the role. Her coaching and psychotherapeutic background and practice as well as her involvement with the SCoPED project give her a wide understanding of the issues as we hope BACP Coaching can become the place for coaches with therapeutic backgrounds and psychological underpinnings.

Andy Williams spoke about Improving coaching outcomes with successful contracting from a TA perspective. He explored three corner contracts between organisations, coaches and clients and also the ways in which our philosophy influences our practice.

Claire Genkai Breeze was a breath of fresh air with her openness about ‘still making it up as we go along’, 30 years in. Her presentation, Beyond now – cutting edge coaching looked at the line she walks as ‘a corporate contemplative’. A Zen Buddhist Chaplain as well as leadership coach, Claire spoke about how coaching as we know it (so influenced by sports coaching) doesn’t really work for modern day executives. In terms of what we know about our physiology and the need for down time for recovery, most people simply don’t have that luxury. This means terrible decisions can be made impacting millions of people. But while an elite athlete trains and trains and trains then performs and rests and recovers, few of us, let alone business leaders and politicians, get that essential time for recharge, recovery and connecting with that part of us that is better equipped to make good decisions.

Claire also talked about the breakthroughs that can occur as a direct result of mistakes. I have read countless books about Tim Gallwey and the late Sir John Whitmore bringing coaching, as we know it, into the later part of the 20th century.

Claire amused us by explaining that the Inner Game approach was born out of a really bad hangover. Tim’s head hurt so much he couldn’t bear to hear himself talk so simply asked his students, ‘What are you noticing?’ This new approach led to breakthroughs transforming sports coaching and coaching as we know it.

After lunch, Lesley Symons gave a presentation about Keeping the coach out of coaching. As with everything, we (working in small groups) felt that it’s about being conscious about how what’s happening in our own life might be having an impact and using it to benefit the work rather than unconsciously blundering onwards.

Su Orosa then spoke about How to take your coaching business online: responding to emerging markets. The audience was varied with some being very much at the start of their online business journey and others already having their own online ‘signature programmes’ and Su fielded questions and shared inspiration to help people move forward.

We also had a couple of panel discussions, which allowed the audience to ask questions and also share their experiences and knowledge.

As ever, for me, a highlight was meeting members and finding out about the wide range of integrative approaches. How different some of our work is (and how similar) and how we’re all so committed to integrating coaching with therapy (and other modalities as appropriate) in way that means we can work ethically, effectively and creatively.

If you weren’t able to join us, look out for the presentations on the BACP CPD hub in the next couple of months. We would love to hear your feedback. What future events would be useful or interesting for you?

We look forward to hearing from you!

Eve Menezes Cunningham is a past Chair of BACP Coaching.