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Alison Whybrow

Where does the time go? The year of my term as Chair is coming to an end and that of Vicky Ellam-Dyson will soon be starting. We are already looking into plans for next year and beyond as we look to build the community of research and practice that forms the Special Group in Coaching Psychology. We are keen to ensure that the SGCP continues to add value to its members and at the same time, is sustainable. One of the things that you will have seen in the last edition of The Coaching Psychologist is a voting slip for an increase in member fees. In the first two years that the SGCP existed, the Society supported us financially. As the Society has restructured the charges it makes of member networks, our costs have gone up threefold. Whilst the SGCP has always had an approach of keeping member fees to a minimum, preferring to fund our activities through careful financial management and planning, we now need to charge more to members. The cost for membership of the SGCP is now £8.50 per year, which remains incredibly good value for the publications and services that membership offers.

The work of the SGCP is sustained through the work of a committed team of volunteers. Compared to many other member networks within the Society, the SGCP is extremely active. We cannot rely on volunteers indefinitely, and indeed some who have been central to our ability to deliver in recent years are moving on. We are now outsourcing some of the more administrative tasks, such as event management, however this comes at a cost.

As we keep an eye on sustainability, there is a further change to draw your attention to, that of the publications. As you will be aware, we publish two publications: the International Coaching Psychology Review (ICPR) and The Coaching Psychologist (TCP). Both are of a high standard and registered with psycINFO. The ICPR is considered to be a leading academic publication in the fields of coaching and coaching psychology. Following a successful start, the SGCP decided to increase the number of editions per year to three. This is proving unsustainable, particularly for ICPR as the throughput of coaching psychology research papers is not yet forthcoming making it very difficult to deliver three high quality editions a year. In 2009, we will reduce the number of editions of ICPR and TCP to two, as it was back in 2006. The publication schedule will be rotated, so that one publication (either TCP or ICPR) will delivered to members every three months. In order to maintain, and perhaps improve communication, the ICPR will have a few pages at the back for SGCP and IGCP* news.

Now, what is happening?
Following our five events in 2008, our events team have been busy working on the schedule for 2009 and beyond. The team are looking at different types of events and that the events are ones of interest to members and topical in the field of practice. Thank you to all those who completed our survey this year, the responses were enormously helpful.

If you are interested in putting forward a proposal for a workshop please do download the proposal form by following the links on the events page of our website (www.sgcp.org.uk).

At the time of this edition of TCP arriving on your doorsteps, the 1st European Coaching Psychology Conference will be taking place at the Regent Street Campus of the University of Westminster. For more about the keynote speakers you will be seeing at the conference, there are interviews in this issue. A change of venue this year led to the decision to outsource the event management. For those that are attending, I hope you have noticed an improved booking process. The 2008 conference promises to be a very successful event for the coaching psychology community in the UK and across Europe.

You will have seen adverts asking for nominations for our two awards earlier this year. One award is a life-time achievement award in recognition of distinguished contribution to coaching psychology, and our second award is in recognition for completion of a distinguished research project in coaching psychology. We have had a strong field of nominations for both awards and will be announcing the successful nominations for those two awards on the 17th of December, 2008.

For the 5th Coaching Psychology Annual Conference in 2009, the deadline for paper submission will be in June, 2009. If you are thinking of submitting a paper, for 2009 there are some changes to the submission process. The 2009 conference will be held in December once again. Please keep an eye on the conference page of the SGCP website for more details regarding the venue and programme.

Other activities?
Our quest to develop a route to accreditation within the Society continues. At this point, our proposal for a practitioner member grade within the SGCP has been passed between the Board of Trustees (BoT) and the Membership and Professional Training Board (MPTB). Following the MPTB board meeting in September, the proposal was referred back to the BoT meeting in October. At this point, it has been referred once again to MPTB. This apparent confusion and ambiguity is in part to be expected as the Society transitions much of its regulatory function to the Health Professions Council. However, for emerging areas of psychological practice this prolonged period of ambiguity impacts our ability to provide clarity for our members, clarity to related professions and to our clients. We now need to engage with both the Health Professions Council and the Society to move forwards.

One thing we are keen to ensure is that any route to accreditation recognises both the diversity of our membership of psychologists, and the diversity in coaching practice that our members engage in.
In addition:

  • you may have noticed some changes to the website, including some elements that are only accessible to members. We are developing a number of member discussion forums, our research forum should be coming on line soon.
  • coaching psychology practice and the development of our community of coaching psychologists through local networks and events is likely to be further enhanced as Vicky Ellam-Dyson takes the helm next year. However, I will leave her to share developments in this area.
  • we are keen to develop coaching psychology research and have not only the on line research forum and the annual research award, but other means to support research. See inside this issue for more details on the existing support for research.
  • the ENTO consultation to clarify the psychological underpinnings of coaching and mentoring in the workplace will be shortly coming to a close. We look forward to bringing you information about the output of that project in 2009.

To keep up-to-date with what is happening within the SGCP, and other related events, you might find it useful to register with the SGCP discussion list. This provides a means of connecting with other members within the SGCP community and offers a facility for you to:

  • create a local community of practice or peer supervision group by finding out who is in your area and what is going on locally,
  • source participants for research that you are engaged in,
  • gain input from your peer group about specific issues, and
  • receive up to date information about SGCP activities, publications and events and more.

For details of how to join the list, please do contact Helen Barnett at the Society (Helen.Barnett@bps.org.uk).

Our team of committed volunteers is changing once again, at this point, I would like to welcome Emma Wallace, who took up the position of Assistant Honorary Treasurer in August this year. The role of the treasurer within member networks is developing as the Society now requires each member network to submit a budget for proposed activity 18 months in advance. Additionally, within the SGCP, the honorary treasurer and any assisitant has a key role in the day to day decision making. I would also like to welcome Elouise Leonard who was co-opted as our Honorary
Secretary in September. This is a position that is central to the effective running of the SGCP.

Our AGM will be held on the 17th December this year at 6.00 p.m. I would like any and all to attend who can make it. At this meeting, the new officers and main committee members for 2009 are voted in. From our main committee this year will are losing Doug Young (ordinary committee member). He has played a full role on the committee and been a source of innovative ideas and clear thinking.

As I reflect on 2008, there have been many highlights to being Chair: the contacts, network and relationships that have been developed; the opportunity to be at the forefront of an influential field of practice; the requirement to deliver and work through challenging and complex issues; the opportunity to work with a like-minded group of individuals who are motivated to develop this area of the psychological profession. It is a development opportunity that is second to none, and for all the work involved, I would not have missed.

I would welcome you getting in touch with me if you have any thoughts, comments or feedback about the SGCP or would like any information about areas of SGCP work you might be interested in getting involved in during 2009 and beyond. Alternatively, you can e-mail Helen Barnett at the Society’s member networks office for an expression of interest form (Helen.Barnett@bps.org.uk).

Alison Whybrow
E-mail: sgcpchair@bps.org.uk

* IGCP is the Interest Group in Coaching Psychology of the Australian Psychological Society. The ICPR is a joint publication between the SGCP and IGCP.


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