Glastonbury, Wimbledon, Pride… it must be summer. It’s time for us all to leave the relative safety of our bubbles, get out in the sunshine (or rain) and join in! Yet not all of us feel so eager or ready to do so, and approach the exhortation to reconnect with trepidation, anxiety and ambivalence.
I explore this ambivalence towards connection in my regular editorial column in the latest issue of Coaching Today, and the sense of isolation that results when it feels like the rest of the world is partying. The desire to belong, to feel part of something bigger than ourselves, is natural – yet this desire is thwarted by the legacy of lockdowns against a background of war, climate emergency, economic crisis and reports of rising COVID cases. When confronted by images of seemingly carefree crowds, it can be tempting to think: Am I the only one who feels this way?
This question runs through our latest issue like the writing in a stick of seaside rock. One of the most cruel aspects of imposter syndrome is the profound sense of isolation it brings to those experiencing it – the belief that we are the only one who feels this crippling insecurity and sooner or later we will be 'found out'. In our lead article, Befriending the imposter, coach and supervisor Maria Gray digs deep into the imposter phenomenon and, through a detailed case study, highlights how she works with clients who are dogged by the imposter. By supporting them to acknowledge and embrace the protective aspects of their imposter, she demonstrates how she helps coaching clients – particularly those in leadership roles – navigate a healthy balance between pomposity and modesty and use the imposter as a catalyst for growth and meaningful change.
We also feature a report on our Working with Coaching Day earlier this year, focusing on coaching for social impact. In After the event, introduced by former BACP Coaching Chair Carolyn Mumby, three of our panellists reflect on the day and themes emerging from it. Each of the panellists brings to the table a wealth of knowledge and experience, and recognises that, as coaches working in this area, they are part of a growing movement, offering inspiration, support and ideas for best practice.
Support among practitioners is also an emergent theme in A nourishing conversation between Carolyn Mumby and counselling psychologist Julie Friend, exploring clients’ relationships with food. Julie reports that many practitioners are reluctant to bring the subject of food and eating into the coaching conversation, and yet, as she explains, food is such a powerful way of connecting with – or withdrawing from – the world and others.
Finally, coach and artist Anna Sheather demonstrates how she uses art and image-making in her executive coaching practice in Beyond words, showing how clients use art to symbolically express their feelings of isolation and longing for connection and belonging in organisational contexts.
In the end, my own desire for connection and belonging won out over my ambivalence. I broke out of my bubble last weekend to walk the streets of Soho in a pair of blue flared jeans and platform wedges, channelling the spirit of 1972 to celebrate 50 years of Pride activism. Any excuse for a rummage through the dressing-up box.
Subscribe for free access to the online journal
BACP Coaching division
BACP Coaching is a focus for coaches and coaching within BACP. Our members are counsellors and psychotherapists who work with a variety of models to integrate coaching and counselling.
Blogs and vlogs 2022
News and views from members, staff and clients