What a great day we had in Edinburgh at the BACP Working With Coaching Day (on October 2nd)! The title was hefty and quite a mouthful: Working with identity in times of transition using a coaching approach, yet drew in members and non-members from all levels of the spectrum of coaching practice, from therapists curious about coaching, to well-established coaches looking for something extra to add to their work.

We were especially delighted to have as our keynote speaker BACP President, David Weaver, an executive coach who also works with young people at risk of violence in inner cities. His moving and heartfelt keynote shared his experiences of using coaching to support young people affected by violence. This really set the tone of how much coaching could do when applied to some of our most serious social challenges. It set a buzz in the room that was energising for us all.

One of the highlights for me of these events is the chance to meet and talk to our members, and discover their motivation for attending. It seemed that the rich and varied programme of subjects was a big draw for seasoned coaches. Some came to see how it might help with their work with children, or refugees, or corporate executives or trauma sufferers or those affected by knife crime.

But a number of student practitioners, as yet unqualified, also attended which pleased and surprised me in equal measure. One member I spoke to, Naomi Good, attended despite having her final assessment in a few days time. Would I have had the confidence to do that? Maybe not but I sure wish I could have. It would have made the development of my practice so much easier!

How great that from the get-go of becoming a therapist, a novice practitioner can see how a coaching approach can be the very elixir they could add to their therapeutic work, that could help create meaningful and affective change in society.

I will leave the final word to Naomi, (with her permission), and her reflections on Julia Vaughan Smith’s session on trauma and coaching:

"The way in which Julia described how trauma affects people was simple and easy to grasp. It really helped me to think about my own fears in that exact moment. I began to settle and realise that we all have our own challenges and fears. We are all together in that moment to enhance ourselves so that we can enhance the lives of others and it’s okay to be afraid in certain situations. By recognising our own fears we can practice that 'healthier self' and inspire others."

Well said Naomi! Oh, and by the way, she passed. Welcome to the profession.

Gill Fennings-Monkman MBE is an Executive member and former Chair of BACP Coaching.

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