Just returned from the Coaches Connect Conference in Leeds, which was a great event for local coach networking and good to see some old and new faces. Well done to Vera Woodhead for organising such an interesting day!
Paul Stokes and I shared our research and thoughts on Intimacy in Coaching and Mentoring in a keynote at the conference this morning, a topic we have only explored outside of the UK previously! (EMCC Conference in Dublin 2010)
I feel this is an interesting topic for the coaching and mentoring community, as the concept of “intimacy” is so often tainted with sexual overtones and the profession tends to shun discussion of it or shuffle with uncomfortableness when it is mentioned. This morning we looked at what intimacymeans to coaches. Ideas such as: positive regard, a safe space, openness, warmth, affection, having rapport, affection, being vulnerable and love were discussed as well as the dynamic spectrum of “intimacy” that mentoring/coaching relationships can move along, which canhave an ebb and flow as they shrink and expand over time.
Our audience today appeared to agree that the awareness and development of intimacy is helpful and so Paul and I feel encouraged to continue our research in this subject. Maybe taking the lid off some of this “suppression” and embarassment around the subject of mental closeness within a learning relationship will enable it to be spoken of more in coaching and mentoring. If you are interested in becoming part of this research, do please get in contact.