The first 12 months of the Health & Wellbeing Special Interest Group

The first 12 months of the Health & Wellbeing Special Interest Group

branches of a tree in leaf

26 April 2022

Dr Andrew A Parsons, a master practitioner, reflects on a year of establishing and running a Special Interest Group. ‘I would certainly recommend coordinating or contributing to a special interest group – it’s a great way to learn and develop,’ he says.

The idea for the Special Interest Group (SIG) emerged in 2020 as I was submitting my accreditation to the EMCC. Coaching and mentoring can play a role in supporting people as they navigate unwanted and transformational life events. With the arrival of the pandemic, it seemed appropriate to ask the EMCC UK community if a health and wellbeing group would add value to what we do.

We asked the question in the next EMCC UK newsletter, and the response was a responding YES!

Working with a group of volunteers who were interested to shape the direction of the SIG, we developed the following working charter or vision for the SIG in January 2021.


Our aim is to develop the safe practice of health and wellbeing for coaches and mentors, their clients, organisations and communities.

Mission – what we do to achieve our vision

Regular meetings sharing to wider populations

Webinars and workshops offered by EMCC
Knowledge exchange
Support the EMCC UK Board to represent members in the development of coaching in health and wellbeing

Initial themes/working groups

1. Self-care for coaches and mentors
2. Developing thought leadership and resources
3. Best practice
4. Children and young people

After a series of successful webinars and panel discussions, we made good progress against this charter last year.

In our first year, we had several external speakers attend the SIG and also provided an opportunity for several members to share their practice and experience. For example, in March 2021, Anne Pike (The Fountain Centre) shared her experience of bringing a coaching service to support the emotional wellbeing of cancer patients in the Royal Surrey NHS Trust. For the November 2021 Health Spotlight, Anne and members of the team described in a three-part podcast how the service was initiated, scaled and is being evaluated by a PhD study, part-funded by NHS England. Andrew Marren is sharing his results later this year (see below).

We had a range of speakers through the year.  Professor Sarah Corrie (University of Sussex) shared the health assessment tool and how it can be used by coaches and mentors to inform self-care. We had panel discussions with international experts on the role of coaching and mentoring in fostering wellbeing and belonging in the workplace.

EMCC members Ceylan Thompson, Andrea Dixon and Dr Ana Paula Nacif shared experiences in a range of topics from working with vulnerable adults, social prescribing, and group coaching methodologies for wellbeing. Nova Fergusson and I hosted a discussion exploring ethics and boundaries in health and wellbeing coaching. With the input from Ceylan Thompson and Vivienne van Someren, we even were able to pilot a supervision group for working with children and young people.

Our events were well attended in 2021, and continued to be a source of learning and discussion this year.  Chris Marren presented on his personal experiences of the wellbeing continuum and how a coaching and mentoring approach helped him personally.

Camilla Celati (Coaching with Compassion) and Clare Turner (Talking about death won’t kill you) stimulated powerful discussion in February and March. I am really looking forward to the future conversations in the SIG.

Personally, I have found it a privilege to coordinate such powerful discussions that provide a chance to learn and develop as a practitioner. I would certainly recommend coordinating and/or contributing to a Special Interest Group. It is a great way to learn and develop.

It is also pleasing to see more familiar faces at the events. I would like to think of these sessions as opportunities to connect and learn together. There are so many resources available within the members of the SIG, it is great to see them being shared.

We have an active WhatsApp group that I would like to invite you to join to keep track of events.

I am hoping we can build on the success of the last 12 months. Please reach out to me on the new email, or on LinkedIn.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed and shared at our events and helped in the planning of them. Special thanks to Ceylan Thompson, Vivienne van Someren, Nova Ferguson, Ana Paula Nacif and Chris Marren providing wonderful support.

Upcoming events

Constructed development theory on 26 May 2022, with Dr Darren Stevens – Exploring the science that underpins developmental coaching.

Coaching as an emotional support for those living with and beyond cancer on 23 June 2022, with Andrew Marren – Experience from coaches and clients.

Find out more about EMCC UK Special Interest Groups

Image: Rowan Heuvel/Unsplash