Network groups have played an important part in bringing together counsellors with an interest in coaching, dual-trained practitioners, and practicing coaches with an interest in underpinning their work with greater psychological insight and theory. As well as being an excellent source of support and professional development, such groups offer the chance to ‘find your tribe’.
When BACP Coaching launched in 2010, one of the key objectives was to set up network groups for members. From 2011, a number of self-run groups emerged throughout the UK, each lead by volunteers with support from a member of the coaching executive. After running successfully for five years, the process by which these groups were supported by the BACP events and volunteers team underwent a review and restructuring process, which resulted in a ‘pause’ in the groups.
Members have told us that they felt the impact of the groups disbanding. In many cases, the groups offered the only opportunity for dual-trained practitioners to meet and share experiences and ideas with practitioners also working at the boundary between counselling and coaching.
Lively and thought-provoking
One former network group organiser comments: "For me it was a great opportunity both to explore ways to integrate the skills of coaching with a therapeutic approach and to meet with a diverse group of professionals with a common interest in integration and improving the impact of our practice. The conversations were lively and thought-provoking, leaving plenty to reflect on and to enrich my practice."
Another former organiser says: "The groups were a very useful way to meet other practitioners interested in integration and discuss the different approaches to it. We also invited interesting guest speakers and initiated some lively discussions about issues related to the subject of integration. In addition, over snacks and drinks beforehand, it was a very enjoyable forum for networking."
Five new groups
Bringing the groups back to life has always been our intention, and we formally adopted an objective to ‘support the development of coaching network groups throughout the Four Nations’ in our Strategic Plan 2018-2020. After much thinking about practicalities, process and sustainability, we are now delighted to announce that we are ready to support the development of five new groups with a particular focus on coaching and integrated practice, aiming for a spread across the Four Nations. We recently recruited a new BACP Executive member, Tom Andrews, with a specific remit to work with the network group organisers. All group co-ordinators will also receive publicity and booking support from the BACP Events team, and there is also funding available to support room hire.
Following a recent BACP coaching event in Edinburgh, a number of delegates expressed interest in setting up a network group for coach therapists (or people interested in integrating the two) based in Scotland, so we have earmarked this as a potential first group. But we are also interested in hearing from any members interested in establishing a group in their area. To start the conversation, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carolyn Mumby is Chair of BACP Coaching