Cover of Coaching Today January 2017

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


A very Happy New Year to you all.

As I write this, 2016 is drawing to a close, and we're approaching the end of one of the most politically and socially turbulent years in recent history. From Brexit to the US presidential elections, I know many of us have been shaken by world events this past year and I have experienced and been witness to a range of emotional responses in my professional work and my communities – shock, fear, anger and despair.

However, I've also felt and seen excitement, passion, faith – and hope. I've seen groups of people galvanised into action and been energised by the collective passion and power emerging from the rubble of darkness and despair. I've also been reminded of the unique power we have as practitioners to hold and facilitate the difficult conversations, with empathy and compassion and love, and that those of us who work on the frontline in this capacity – with people, in all their messiness and complexity – are needed now more than ever.

The morning that the US presidential election result was announced, I had a routine blood test scheduled at my local GP, and I turned up bleary-eyed (I had tried – and failed – to stay awake all night) to the office of the resident nurse, who looked even more exhausted than I did. Before I had even rolled up my sleeve, she had asked me my opinion of the result and how I was feeling about it, and we proceeded to share our respective emotional responses throughout the entire procedure.

I noted afterwards with some surprise that what is normally a fairly distressing experience for me (I hate blood and needles) was relatively quick and painless. The brief moment of our human connection distracted me from the reality of having a needle stuck in my arm, and turned a cold, clinical procedure into one of warmth and intimacy. For that brief moment, I felt we had connected over something of such magnitude, we both recognised a need in each other to open up and share and we connected not as nurse and patient, but as two feeling, thinking human beings – two souls – who care.

While gathering together and preparing the content for this issue, the theme of humanity, soul connection and feeling part of something greater than ourselves kept returning to me. How do we hold on to faith and hope in the face of fear, anger, confusion and despair, when all seems lost and hopeless? From the doctor's office, to the executive boardroom, to the sanctuary of our private spaces, it is our willingness and ability to connect and reflect, to stay open in the face of fear and extend warmth, compassion and understanding to ourselves and each other that is our saving grace, our healing power and our destiny. Turbulent times require a new kind of leadership – one that is facilitative and collaborative – and an intelligence that goes beyond the intellectual, encompassing the emotional and spiritual aspects of what it is to be human.

We enter a new year facing the unknown. It will be a challenging year, that’s for sure, but it is also one of opportunity – one that will require of us the courage to speak up and speak out and be visible.

As we begin 2017 with a change of political leadership at both national and international levels, we also experience a change of leadership within BACP Coaching – and it gives me great pleasure to welcome our new Chair, Eve Menezes Cunningham, who, as a regular contributor to this journal over the years, now writes her first column in her new role. I am delighted that Eve has taken up the helm, and I know she will do so with a characteristic combination of enthusiasm, passion and humility. I trust you will all join with me in congratulating and welcoming Eve, as she and her colleagues on the Executive continue to support and champion our work as coach-therapists and integrated practitioners.

Wishing you all a 2017 of healing, reparation and opportunity.

Diane Parker, editor