I’m wondering what your story is, as you read this today. What does it mean for you to be (or aspire to be) both a coach and a therapist?

How do we, as a community of practice, most effectively draw on our unique and broad skillsets in the best interests of our clients? Do we transparently signpost to a client if and when we switch between therapeutic and coaching approaches, or alternatively continually weave our knowledge together, moving seamlessly from attachment theory to circles of control within the same session, unbeknownst to the client? Integration – of ourselves as practitioners (and indeed human beings), and of our practices (arguably, as opposed to eclecticism) – is always front of mind. We know what we do works – but how, exactly? And perhaps more importantly, how can we most effectively articulate this to those who will benefit from our services? All are questions we dual practitioners continue to grapple with, with no ‘right answers’, I hasten to add. At least, perhaps, not yet… 

In fact, as I sit down to write this, looking out of the window at the still luscious (miraculously so, considering the recent temperatures) green leaves of my garden, I’m conscious that by the time this issue hits your doormat or inbox, the same foliage will be grounded in a haze of crimson, gold and amber, perhaps in fitting burning homage to what will doubtless be referred to as the ‘Great Heatwave of ’22’. Rather than this feeling discombobulating, though, the changing of the seasons strangely aligns with the topics buzzing around my mind. While, for some, autumn signals permission to curl up on the sofa with a box of Quality Street in front of Strictly Come Dancing (what, just me?), traditionally the fall signposted to communities that it was time to harvest the fruits of the summer; to reap what had been sown. In modern times, perhaps it’s about absorbing the
benefits of our efforts as we begin to slow down and reflect on the year that’s drawing in, in order to feel energised and ready for the opportunities and challenges of the new year ahead.

Launch of the coaching competence framework

And so, in timely fashion, we turn our attention to the launch of BACP’s evidence-based coaching competence framework, which – timeline permitting – will be released in the final quarter of 2022. This will mark a significant milestone for the BACP coaching network, and indeed for the wider collective of dual-trained practitioners. This programme of work has taken place over several months, and I know many of you will have contributed your time, thinking and energy towards developing the eventual output. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this, with a particular shout out to David Britten and the Expert Reference Group members, whose expertise we hope to draw on here in future issues.

As a coaching division, we feel both lucky, and a certain responsibility, to optimise the benefits of this work, which clearly articulates the additional competences required by counsellors and psychotherapists who wish to move into a coaching role, as well as the competences needed to combine both coaching and therapy in a single form of practice. The framework will provide the platform for further professionalisation of our emerging integrated therapeutic coaching practice, and has the potential to support future projects that might include formalised registration of dual practitioners, provide a forum for integrated practice supervision, and support the development of valuable CPD and training programmes.

Looking ahead

The BACP Coaching Executive is excited to be planning a series of events over the next year to support BACP’s launch plans. In alignment with our strategic pillars, the framework will inform and support our members through contributing to our developing ‘centre of excellence’ for dual practitioners. The clarity and focus that the framework provides will support our ability to advocate for the benefits of our approach to policy makers, organisations and charitable foundations, enhancing the employability of our members. The framework will also help us to advocate for BACP Coaching members by enabling us to engage in conversations with aligned external organisations and professional bodies.

This work may not give us all the answers to our questions, and indeed, being a creative, compassionate, continually curious profession, the reality is that there will never be definitive ‘right ones’. However, beginning to formally define what best practice looks and feels like is undoubtedly a valuable and positive step in the right direction. We look forward to sharing more about our plans within this publication and via our online platforms.

I wish you all a rewarding and fruitful autumn period, and hope you find time to enjoy the harvest of your own efforts this year, whatever they may be.