Coaching practitioners and academics from across the world came together to ‘Challenge the Narrative’ at the fifth Welsh Coaching Conference in Cardiff on March 8.

The conference is the biggest of its kind in the country, with organisers the University of South Wales Commercial Services welcoming more than 200 attendees at the capital’s City Hall.

The sell-out event provided the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of the newest approaches and practices, and allowed delegates to network with some of the most influential names in coaching.

Centred around the theme ‘Challenging the Narrative’, founder of Narrative Coaching Dr David Drake led the event with his keynote ‘Using Thresholds as Accelerated Development Moments in Coaching’.

Dr Drake, who travelled to the conference from San Francisco, said: “Narrative Coaching is about equipping coaches with the ability to listen to people’s stories in new ways and to use the material of those stories to help them find their own solutions.

“My keynote focused on self-regulation, and understanding how we can help our clients to pause, catch themselves, and bring their best self forward. So much of coaching now is about getting people to a point where they can cope. My aim is to show people how to help clients do more than just cope – to excel.”

Dr David Drake delivering his keynote – ‘Using Thresholds as Accelerated Development Moments in Coaching’

Dr Drake founded and runs the Center for Narrative Coaching & Leadership in San Francisco, and has worked on narrative coaching, change and leadership initiatives for more than 70 organisations including Google, Nike and the Australia and US federal governments.

Professor Sarah Corrie, who specialises in coaching psychology, was also keynote speaker. She has experience in both public and private sector services and runs her own coaching practice.

She followed the theme of ‘Challenging the Narrative’ with her keynote – ‘Why we are the Stories we Tell’ – which explored how and why stories can be so powerful, and the act of storytelling for both the coach and those being coached.

The third keynote, Clive Hyland, is an executive coach who looks into the neuro-scientific principles. His keynote – ‘The Brain, the Body and the Mind’ – examined human behaviour, resonance coaching, and influencing the coaching environment.

Mark Adams, owner of Adams Psychology Services, attended the conference and led one of eight masterclasses on the day. He said: “As an industry we need to be encouraging people to get together, share practices, and learn from each other – this conference is a key vehicle for that.

“It enables coaching professionals to develop connections, it enables the cross-fertilisation of effective practices, it also enables people to be introduced to other ways of working that they can use to enhance or complement their existing toolboxes, and it allows us to stop, take stock and go back to whatever we’re working on refreshed and reinvigorated.”

Mark Adams delivering his masterclass – ‘Coaching for Resilience: A Cognitive-Behavioural Approach to Challenging Self-Limiting Narratives.’

The Annual Welsh Coaching Conference is organised by the University of South Wales Commercial Services, and supported by Academi Wales. The 2019 conference will take place in March; you can register your interest by emailing [email protected].