I'm the longest standing Coaching Executive member, having served under every single Chair, (all five of them), as well as being Chair for three years when there was no one else willing to take it on. I've often questioned why? Why 11 years of my life on this path? Yet, there was something important about bringing coaching home to BACP for me that I could never quite let go of. A deep seated belief that was consolidated every time I met a coaching enthusiast or member at a BACP Conference or Working With Day. They were worth the struggle.

It wasn’t easy, exercising patience and working for 11 years through all the natural changes and challenges within BACP and continuing to lobby and advocate for coaching members and professional practice despite organisational changes, SCoPEd and COVID-19, until such time as coaching competencies are not just promised but are actually starting to develop at last! This is the important first step I've been hanging on for.

During my tenure as Chair  

The most important development during my tenure was taking part in the extensive consultation of the Ethical Framework. Ensuring the revised Ethical Framework was fit for purpose for coaching practitioners and included Executive Coaching. As a result, when it was published, it was the first time that coaching was included as an equal service alongside counselling and psychotherapy. The revisions launched in 2016. It was a glorious moment to see coaching included as a header on the Ethical Framework. It was a landmark moment and surely meant that the competencies, a Certificate of Proficiency and identifying coaching practitioners on the directory were to follow.

Veronica Lysaght and I re-wrote the coaching strategy to align exactly with the BACP strategy and goals at the time. We also requested the Board consider a name change to British Association of Counsellors, Coaches and Psychotherapists and asked for budget for the development of coaching competencies and a professional pathway.

We initiated the first and only research of coaching members which established the growth of coaching within BACP and demonstrated that a minimum of 7,000 members were practicing as coaches or wanted to.

We hosted a large gathering of all coaching stakeholders including all professional coaching and supervision bodies, large corporates using coaching, public, private and third sector commissioners of coaching both national and international, training providers in further education, higher education and private, to start the conversation about how we unified, professionalised and standardised coaching for the greater good.

Collaboration within the coaching sector is vital and so I worked to develop working relationships with the International Coaching Federation, European Mentoring and Coaching Council and The Association for Coaching to help establish the future of the coaching group.

I loved the networking groups and personally launched one in Northern Ireland. We established 25 coaching network groups across the UK.

Speaking at and running yearly conferences, Working With Days, Professional Development Days and network groups in collaboration with the University of East London, employee assistance programme's and other coaching bodies was a critical step in PR for BACP Coaching. We worked with the events team to create the first ‘How to Integrate Coaching into your Practice’ PPD for members interested in coaching. I'm delighted to say that Carolyn Mumby, did a superb job in travelling the country to packed out venues.

Best of all, I recruited a fantastic team who created our first coaching website, (Eve Menezes-Cunningham), improved the marketing, website copy and journal, (Sally Brown), lobbied for Executive Coaching (Michele Down) and continued to drive home the importance of relevant coaching supervision for our members, (Steve Page).

We even secured a book deal for BACP Coaching, which was unfortunately unable to progress. 

Most of all I'm happy that I stayed faithful to the passion for the inclusion of coaching as an equal service offer for members and a huge opportunity for BACP as a business. It's been a pleasure to serve the members and I thank them for their enduring patience and support.

What we really need to enable further progress is for all those members who coach to join the movement, become a member and make their voices and needs heard.

Views expressed in this article are the views of the writer and not necessarily the views of BACP. Publication does not imply endorsement of the writer’s views. Reasonable care has been taken to avoid errors but no liability will be accepted for any errors that may occur.