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.


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…


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.


Coaching in the media

Evan Davis explores coaching and mentoring for

The Bottom Line

In March, Evan Davis sat down with Gavin Patterson CEO of BT Group, Melanie Richards Vice Chairman and Partner of KPMG UK, and coach and mentor Jonathan Bowman-Perks to explore the growing interest among UK businesses in coaching.

The answers for your questions or the questions for your answers?

As a coaching professional, it was fascinating to hear what participants saw as the differences between coaching and mentoring. A nice distinction was that: “A coach has some great questions for your answers and a mentor has some great answers for your questions.” Both, in different ways, help “unravel what you’re thinking and feeling” whilst then “nudging and helping you get perspective.”

Evan Davis 2016 03

Evan asked why, if coaches and mentors have such decisive expertise, companies didn’t just employ coaches and mentors to make decisions instead of senior leaders. Gavin and Melanie were clear that the decisions they made in their managerial roles were very much their own decisions. At senior level there is no shortage of people willing to give advice – the unique value of the coach/mentor relationship is that it’s one where the client is given the space to unpack the issues, evaluate the options, consider the trade-offs and blow away the smoke to allow them to see the landscape into which any decision will be taking them.

Manager decisions are scrutinised by their peers, staff, partners, and stakeholders. Particularly at senior levels every time a manager makes a decision it sends out a signal, and it’s not always easy for them to see the signals they are sending. It’s a point made also by Eric Schmidt, CEO of Microsoft, who is the on the record as saying: “everybody needs a coach” particularly because we are not good at seeing ourselves as other people see us. Coaches really help bring perspective to these issues.

Evan’s guests discussed the value of coaching and mentoring in career transitions. On promotion “People don’t arrive fully baked” and a coach can be immensely valuable in helping build confidence, set priorities, and empowering the client to get to grips with the new relationships and dynamics of more senior leadership.

Success factors in a coaching and mentoring relationship

So what makes a coaching relationship successful? Whilst a lot is down to the skill and competence of the coach, it’s crucial that the client wants to engage in the process. Some clients are keen to engage from the off, whereas others may take a little time to see the value. But engagement is crucial, and a good coaching-client relationship is one where both parties prepare well for their conversations and are open to putting their discoveries into practice.

Coaching for all

Is coaching and mentoring just for managers at the most senior levels? No! All the panelists agreed that coaching was valuable at all strata of a business (KPMG offers coaching throughout its organisation). The focus of the activity will differ depending on the employee’s role, but all can benefit from it.

How Coaching York can help you

For a confidential, no obligation conversation to explore how coaching and mentoring could benefit your organisation, please email us on or call Geoff Ashton on 07735 46 75 98, or any of the other Coaching York Steering Group members.

Coaching in Business Forum

  • Are you a Manager who would like to continue to develop your coaching conversational skills?
  • Are you looking to connect more effectively with your team and colleagues?
  • Are you looking to be more influential and successful?
  • Do you want to motivate and grow your team?
  • Do you want to improve your performance and that of others?
  • Have you completed a coaching skills programme or qualification and wondered how to keep on improving your skills?
  • Perhaps you are someone who runs an internal coaching or mentoring scheme and would value sharing and learning ideas?

Then we are offering you a solution!

We would like to provide a forum for people/managers from businesses small and large to come together and share their coaching experiences, develop their confidence, knowledge and skills and have some fun in the process.

We have ideas about how we might do this but we need your thoughts too.

So we are proposing to facilitate a workshop in September for all those who are interested to develop this idea further.

If you’d like to come along, please let us know of your interest by emailing:

  • Chris Lazenby –
  • Julia Pallant –

Let us know your organisation, role, location and how to contact you and we’ll be in touch

Coaching in response to hate crimes

York Disability Doodle compositeMarije Davidson’s experience demonstrates that coaching can bring positive changes to any area of life. Marije is a volunteer at the York Independent Living Network. She has focused on the impact that hate crimes have on disabled people and their families. Read her article about how coaching has been used to explore the choices disabled people have when responding to hate crimes. You can find it along with other coaching success stories under the community menu at the top of the page or simply click here


Developing International Competence

Coaching using the International Profiler

The International Profiler (by Worldwork) is a tool to facilitate international business relationships. In this sessions we will explore the 22 international competences that form the basis of the tool and present case studies of how York Associates coaches have used it in coaching programmes for international business clients.

Time                      10.45-12.00

Location                York Associates, Peasholme House, St Saviours Place, YO17PJ.

Session Leader     Mike Hogan, Director York Associates


Let’s celebrate coaching!

Join us lunchtime on Friday 20 May, in the gorgeous surroundings of York Associates, at Peasholme House, St Saviours Place, YO17PJ from 12.00 until 13.30 for a buffet lunch celebration of the week. Please do come along and share your highlights, relax with friends and tell us how you may want to be involved with Coaching York as we move towards our Vision of “York as the Coaching Capital of the UK”.  We look forward to seeing you – after all, coaching is well worth celebrating!


Whilst there is no need to book for these events it would be helpful to let us know you are coming. Please contact us at

Future Proof your Community and Voluntary Sector Organisation

May 18 9.30-12.00

York CVS

15 Priory Street

York YO1 6ET

Fresh thinking will help us to address the challenges we face and will enable us to find new opportunities for collaboration. Sarah Armstrong Chief Executive York CVS

Join this event co-sponsored by York CVS with input from Robert Laycock, Leaders Network for Social Change, the Island and The Big Lottery Fund.

In this time of unprecedented challenges to the Community and Voluntary Sector, where the demand is constantly to “do more with less” the Sector, more than ever, needs to draw on its history of innovation and expertise. This event provides an opportunity to explore alternative responses to these challenges and harness the Sector’s collective expertise through coaching and collaboration.

Spaces are limited. To register for this free event please email Coaching York’s Geoff Ashton on Click here for more information.


ICW 2016 York - Launch Event

Coaching York ICWMay 16th – City of York Council, West Offices, Station Rise, York, North Yorkshire, YO1 6GA

City of York logoCoaching York look forward to welcoming you and introducing you to International Coaching Week 2016  at our launch event hosted by the City of York Council.

Our theme for this year’s week of events is Coaching Branches Out and we will both be sharing our journey, and inviting you to join us on our journey to making York the coaching capital of the UK. As well as sharing our own story, we will be able to hear the stories of people who are working with us and benefitting from coaching.

Morning session 10.00 – 12.45

Professor Bob Garvey will open the event, sharing about the profile Coaching York has gained beyond the York area and insights from his professional work into the current benefits and impact of coaching.

Jon Stonehouse, Director of Children’s Services, Education and Skills will introduce City of York Council’s activity to make a coaching approach normal business in the organisation. Nigel Burchell, Head of Workforce development will describe in detail the Council’s journey, and how it is affecting not only internal working arrangements, but also interactions between council staff and residents.

Last year Coaching York launched its Community offer – this year we will be able to share how local coaches have generously donated their time to bring the benefits of coaching to local organisations, together with reports from recipients of our coaching offer.

We will conclude the morning with our future plans and the opportunities these provide for delegates to engage with the Coaching York vision.

Lunch 12.45 – 13.45

Afternoon session 13.45 – 15.45

We will provide time for a short coaching session with a professionally-qualified coach followed by an interactive session around coaching supervision. There is a growing recognition that supervision not only supports the ongoing professionalism of individual coaches, but is also an important element in ensuring that organisation get the best value and maximum impact from their coaching interventions. The session will be led by Bernadette Cass and Steve Page, who have extensive experience and expertise in the field of supervision.

To register for this event, please email our Steering Group member Geoff Ashton on by May 10th


International Coaching Week Conference: A Coaching Mosaic

We are really pleased to be able to announce this year’s ICW coaching conference will be hosted by York St John University on Thursday May 19th at De Grey Court – York St John University Lord Mayors Walk, York YO31 7EX, United Kingdom.

This free to attend conference invites you to join representatives from a variety of sectors to explore the myriad forms and settings of the contemporary coaching scene, and combine cutting edge coaching expertise with current hot topics to create our own ‘coaching mosaic.’ The conference will feature keynote addresses by Professor Bob Garvey from the York St John Business School and by Lis Merrick, UK President of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council.  Most of the day will be devoted to participatory discussions and workshops and, in keeping with the spirit of coaching, the topics and aims of these conversations will be decided by conference delegates, using an Open Space approach.

For more details, and booking arrangements, got to the York St John website.


York Coaching Group - Resilience 16 May

york coaching groupHello Coaching Colleagues,

Our forthcoming May session kick starts a series of events celebrating International Coaching Week here in York.

Resilience – working with self and others led by Jan Brause

In this session Jan will engage you in a discussion on the theme of resilience and what this means for us as coaches and for our clients.  Resilience remains a ‘hot topic’ in both our personal and professional lives.  In a working environment driven by technology, constant change and leadership challenge we can find our energies drained by an ever increasing demand to do more with less and then feeling guilty that we have less time in our personal lives. Equally our personal lives can throw up challenges that may impact our ability to be present and focussed on our work. You will be invited to reflect on your own experiences and those of your clients exploring what resilience means for you and them and understanding why it is such an important area for development.

Drawing on methods from Heartmath®, Mindfulness and presence based approaches Jan will share what has worked for her in challenging times.  She will also offer some simple activities to connect with yourself and become aware of how you can work on improving resilience in yourself and others.

About Jan:  Jan Brause spends most of her working time, coaching, supervising coaches and designing and facilitating coach training programmes for internal, external coaches and line managers. Her interests are in working with those in transition and supporting the building of resilience, mindfulness, compassion and an awareness of the use of heart energy in our work. Jan’s experience, both in the UK and overseas, has given her a valuable perspective on individuals and organisations. She is a member of the Association for Coaching, the Association of Coaching Supervisors, CSA Accredited Coach Supervisor and is a Fellow of the CIPD.  She has written several articles on coaching related themes.

We hope you can join us … use the button below to book your place and to get details of the time and place

York Coaching Group co-ordinating team


Self-Mentoring with Dr Marsha L. Carr

Cutting-edge practice from the USA  

Take a break from routine and join this session on May 17th, for powerful and practical insight into mentoring, coaching as well as the introduction of a cutting edge practice in the US that is a blend of both coaching and mentoring – Self-Mentoring.

Self-mentoring is the process of an individual of any age, profession, gender, race, or ability willing to initiate and accept responsibility for self-development by devoting time to navigate within the culture of the environment in order to make the most of the opportunity to strengthen competencies needed to enhance job performance and career progression. In multiple studies previously conducted in self-mentoring, results suggest individuals that learn to self-mentor experience increased confidence and augmented self-efficacy in a variety of settings.  Learn more about self-mentoring and if it suits your style of learning.

Event title:              Self-Mentoring: Walk the Line between Coaching and Mentoring

Location:                York St John College, De Grey 123

Date and time:        May 17th: 16.30 – 19.30.

How to register:      Please email by May 10th. Spaces are limited so please reply as quickly as possible