Cover of Coaching Today, April 2017

A pdf of this issue is available from the Coaching Today archive


As therapists who coach, we are pioneers. Whether we are adding coaching to our existing practice or discovering ways of integrating coaching with therapy or counselling, we are approaching our work creatively, exploring new avenues, discovering new audiences with whom we can work, integrating models and approaches, always working at the boundary, exploring, discovering, experimenting, creating. Though we may be clear about the separation between our coaching and therapy/counselling practices, we recognise that our clients cannot be ‘split’ so clearly and we have the flexibility and sensitivity to adapt our methods accordingly. We work not just with the ‘ambitious executive’ or the ‘depressed youth’ or the ‘stressed employee’, but recognise that our clients are multifaceted, complex human beings, with stories, schemas, hopes, dreams and desires.

However, creativity and flexibility require a solid framework within which to occur, without which there is chaos. The flowing river needs banks to prevent flooding, and, just as our clients need a firm but flexible boundary within which they can explore and play, we practitioners need a clear, ethical framework from which to work – the ‘secure base’ from which our creativity can flower and flow. As our Chair Eve Menezes Cunningham reports in her regular column, the inclusion of coaching in the BACP Ethical Framework gives those of us who also coach an additional framework and guidance on best practice.

A solid framework enables and supports our ability to navigate client diversity and work with the richness and complexity of humanity, and therefore apply our skills to a variety of presenting issues. In our cover feature in this issue, Sarah Corrie and Louise Kovacs present the argument for applying case formulation to our coaching practice. Though used widely in psychology, case formulation is less well known in a coaching context – however, it can be useful in providing a structure and framework for developing a comprehensive picture of the client's differing and varied needs, and also for taking into account a range of issues that may have an impact on the client's experience.

The collection of articles featured in this issue, I believe, exemplifies this client diversity. Bill Critchley and Charlotte Sills from Ashridge Business School explore a relational approach to working with executives. As they investigate the challenging issues that managers and leaders of organisations are confronted with, they demonstrate how a coaching approach that embraces the whole person can not only be helpful, but transformational. Elsewhere, Dr Mark Farrall describes an integrative, holistic therapeutic coaching approach to working in the complex area of intimate partner violence and abuse (IPVA). Here, he shares his own devised programme, working specifically with men from families where concerns have been raised about IPVA, a two-phase programme drawing on aspects of both motivational interviewing (MI) and psychodrama psychotherapy. Finally, James Butcher and Nic Malcolmson describe their resilience training programme, especially designed to support NHS junior doctors in their work and build whole-person resilience, addressing cognitive, physical, social, emotional and spiritual aspects of self.

I’m keen to feature more stories of how you are integrating your practices, and drawing on a variety of methodologies and frameworks to devise new approaches and reach new audiences, particularly those not traditionally associated with coaching. Are you working in the third sector, or with a particular client group, incorporating therapeutically informed coaching, training or facilitation? How and with whom are you applying your skills, knowledge and experience? What challenges are you facing and what has helped you in the creation and development of your business or practice? Drop me a line with your thoughts.

Until next time…

Diane Parker is editor of Coaching Today

Disclaimer and copyright