Reflections on International Coaching Week 2016

A continental perspective from Patricia Speltincx

I started with a question… Before attending the 2016 edition of the International Coaching Week (ICW), I was wondering if it was just by chance that York was the place where a few dynamic coaches had come together with the ambition of making their city the coaching capital of the UK.

Why I love York!

Patricia SpeltincxI love York and this week, more than ever before, I could feel how much York is conducive to personal quest and to self-fulfilment.  York is at the same time dignified and humble, vibrant and peaceful, wise and bold, soothing and energizing, confident and open, rich with experience and welcoming.  York offers a perfect space for growth and transformation.

Is this not what coaching is all about?

After this week, I know now that is not just by chance that it all happened in York.  York and coaching are just a perfect match.

So what did I think of ICW?

In a mature and friendly atmosphere, the 2016 ICW has been conducive to reflection, learning and growth, both at personal level and at a collective level, as a coaching community.  The experience was so rich that I could write a book on it!  Don’t worry (!). For now, I will limit myself to three main themes that emerged from the week.

Discourse

The discourse, the language we use is a wonderful tool for organising our thoughts and communicating with others.  Our coaching discourse and its evolution over time has been identified as an indicator of the maturity of our profession, despite the fact that it is still at odds with today’s predominant managerial ethos.

The dangers and limits of language were covered during the week, and reminded us that discourse is nothing else than an imperfect and reductive mental representation of our experience.  It shapes our behaviours and has a massive influence on our experience of reality.  However, it is not reality.  The danger in not recognizing this is to get stuck in our mental constructs and miss what the real experience has to offer us in the here and now.  This is leading us to our second theme…

Integration

In a world where separation prevails, the need for integration has been emphasized and tackled from various perspectives: to reunite the being and the doing, to celebrate cultural differences, to open ourselves to new experiences, to investigate the overlaps between coaching, mentoring, counseling and psychotherapy.

It is interesting to notice that, although integration is about bringing together, it requires barriers to be removed, spaces to be opened, novelties and differences to be welcomed.  A condition to make integration possible is our third theme…

Reflective space

With a greater focus on the being rather than on the doing, coaching has definitely entered a new generation.  There is now less exclusive emphasis on pragmatic dimensions (e.g. problem solving, goal achievement, performance development…) and more emphasis on reflective, philosophical, narrative and even spiritual dimensions.  There is more focus on why clients do the things they do and who they become by doing them, than on what and how they do things.

Opening a reflective space for our clients enables them to achieve a higher level of consciousness, to let new meanings emerge from their experience and to redefine their discourse accordingly, to broaden their field of possibilities and choices, to go through a genuine transformation and to reinvent a new life narrative.

To be able to do this for our clients, we need first to do it for ourselves.  International Coaching Week has given us a great opportunity to do so.  A warm “thank you!” to all of those who made it possible, by organising or by participating in this memorable week.

And … rendez-vous next year!

  • Patricia Speltincx-Mann
  • June 2016
  • Patricia is a Coach, Consultant, Trainer and Speaker based in Brussels. Patricia’s passion is the exploration of the boundless human potential. Her goal is to contribute in raising the level of consciousness, wisdom and humanity in the business world.  Her passion and contribution permeate through all her activities: coaching, OD consultancy, conferences, workshops and writing.