London's Third Sector Forum offers ‘extended form of self help’

London's Third Sector Forum offers ‘extended form of self help’


Photo of the Third Sector Forum meeting

Thursday 18 July 2019

The EMCC UK Third Sector Coaching & Mentoring Forum, which brings together senior learning and development professionals who are responsible for coaching and mentoring in Third Sector organisations, had a lively and stimulating meeting on Tuesday evening. About 25 people gathered at the RNIB in King’s Cross London to hear Richard Tallontire and Judith Chen from Oxfam talk about their approach to training internal coaches.

The presentation was followed by a wide-ranging discussion, covering issues such as the resources needed to support the programme, the takeup of coaching by senior leadership, learning styles across different cultures, the use of Zoom to deliver coach training sessions to staff participating from all over the world, how to quality assure the supervision of coaches, and organisations where hierarchy can be a real issue when matching internal coaches with clients.

Pav Ponnoosami, Head of Organisational Development at RNIB, who hosted the event and is a regular member of the Forum, said, ‘It’s been great to learn from Oxfam – the approach they’ve taken, the wins, and the challenges they’ve had. Some of us haven’t yet got to that stage, while others of us run similar programmes, but we’ve all been able to learn from Richard and Judith and reflect on what we’re doing ourselves. It’s brilliant for us as a L&D/OD peer group to share best practice in our sector.’ 

Rita Symons, the new President of EMCC UK, also attended the meeting and spoke about the benefits of membership and the partnership with ILM. The first phase of the partnership is about systematically offering discounted membership to ILM learners to encourage newly qualified coaches and mentors to join a professional body and engage in continuous development. Rita said, ‘We recognise ILM trains many coaches and mentors in the UK, and we see engaging with this group as an important part of our role in supporting and professionalising coaching and mentoring. Joining our inclusive and welcoming professional organisation gives coaches great opportunities to connect, network, find resources and ensure they are supported in their ongoing learning and development.’

Katharine St John-Brooks, a long term EMCC member who founded the Forum in 2016, said: ‘I’m super-excited that the Forum seems to be meeting a real need. Many not-for-profits have very limited learning and development budgets and the Forum is really an extended form of self help. It is free to join and members take it in turns to host our quarterly meetings. Whatever the topic, there is always a mass of experience in the room and people are very willing to share. Our session on training internal coaches clearly resonated with a lot of people because it was our biggest event yet. Members get to choose what the topics will be and we already have two topics set for 2020 – supervision and team coaching.’

The Forum’s October meeting will take place on Monday 7 October, at 5-7pm, when the topic will be: ‘How to recruit to internal and external coaching pools, with a particular focus on ensuring diversity.'

For more information, please contact Katharine St John Brooks.