Highlights of the 23rd Annual Conference

Highlights of the 23rd Annual Conference

Liz Clothier, EMCC UK Knowledge Exchange Director shares her highlights of the EMCC 23rd Annual International Mentoring and Coaching Conference

This year the EMCC International Conference was held in the beautiful, vibrant, historic, city of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. The sun shone on us during the day and the spectacular Edinburgh castle illuminated our night sky. We had pipers, Scottish dancers, fringe events, haggis, networking, ceilidh dancing and lots of cups of coffee. All in all it was a busy, exciting, wonderfully orchestrated event and we all needed a restful weekend to recover afterwards!

What about the actual coaching and mentoring sessions?” I hear you ask. They were wonderful too and over the three days many of the conference delegates said they wished they could be in two places at once, there was so much of interest to attend. The theme of the conference was ‘professionalising your practice’ with over 40 sessions addressing the streams of Competence, Results and Practice.

In true Edinburgh Festival style, EMCCUK decided to be creative and introduced two additional Fringe Events that were run prior to the main conference. The first of these was ‘Showcasing internal coaching and mentoring in Scotland’  and the second considered ‘Coaching for health, well-being and cultural change’. Both were well attended, stimulated high levels of discussion and definitely offered a valuable optional-extra to the conference.

Here are my highlights of the three days:

Baroness Tani Grey-Thompson DBE delivered the keynote speech to kick off the conference. Her narrative was infectious, interspersed with amusing anecdotes. I came away feeling that I knew so much about this inspirational woman who had been so generous in sharing the story of her life with us.

Dr Jennifer Denyer presented a stimulating, participatory workshop about embracing paradox within coaching. She works with elite sporting performers and considered the part paradox plays within the coaching relationship. I am in discussion with Jenny to investigate how EMCCUK Knowledge Exchange might support her in her ongoing research.

Another memorable event was an informative, guided tour around the Edinburgh old town, accompanied by a piper. This followed a welcome reception, hosted by EMCCUK, to thank everybody for coming to the conference. Walking around the city on a cold, clear March night; learning about some of it’s fascinating history, was an occasion not to be missed.

On day 2 Lesley Matile, Sarah Gilbert and Eve Turner described how they had set up a ‘Supervision Chain’. We were given best practice tips for how we might collaborate with our peers to establish a supervision chain for ourselves.  This is something I would definitely find helpful as a supervisory support for my practice and to improve my professionalism.

Later in the day I attended a session by Linbert Spencer; ‘Unleashing the power of inclusion’. Not only does he have a great name, Linbert made real sense. He emphasized that inclusion lies at the heart of high quality sustainable teams and organisational performance. I came away with lots of bulbs lighting up in my head and a memorable formula for optimizing performance.

At the end of day 2 the conference dinner was held at the Sheraton Hotel. A wonderful opportunity to network, eat Scottish fare and join with the other delegates in a Highland Fling – exhausting!!

On the final day I attended a highly practical session presented by Janice McNamara about “How do you build on what the client already knows to ensure a lasting impact?” Janice enabled us to consider how we might draw on the clients’ professional competencies to co-create tailored mentoring. I came away with lots of ideas of how I might put this into use within my practice.


Look out for EMCC UK National CPD Roadshow….see our events calendar!