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Sometimes you just need CAKE...

East of England Coaching Conference, “The Coaching Conversation” - 11th November 2015

09:30am - 04:30pm,

Dunston Hall, Ipswich Rd, Norwich NR14 8PQ


Last week we were proud to have hosted our inaugural coaching and mentoring conference, “The Coaching Conversation” held at Dunston Hall.


The idea behind “The Coaching Conversation” was to open up a conversation around the many aspects of coaching and to help business managers and executives understand how to use coaching and mentoring effectively as part of everyday working life.


From the moment our delegates started to arrive, we had a real sense that it was going to be a great event.  We were delighted to welcome so many people who are as passionate about coaching as we are.


We had planned the format of the event with a mix of presentations, workshops and discussions, held in the main hall and in two syndicate rooms, to encourage networking and to keep the day energised and indeed it was.

Margaret Burnside, our Director of People Development was our host for the day and kicked off proceedings with a warm welcome and an outline of what was to be expected of the day.


We were thrilled to have been joined by Liz Kitchen, the of eras founder, who started the organisation over 30 years ago. She commented, “brilliantly done…very impressive indeed.  I thought you all did yourselves proud. I am sure the general feeling in the delegates was that the day had been most interesting and worthwhile and it was indeed a triumph. Well done!”  


Andy Lancaster, Head of Learning and Development CIPD, was our first speaker of the day. He has a reputation for his animated presentations and he didn’t disappoint. He took us through the fast pace changes in the workplace and talked about the future growth of coaching and mentoring in the world of work with an emphasis on how organisations should see coaching practice as part of the business strategy and not a “nice to have”.


If you would like to see more of Andy and delve deeper into the current CIPD research and thinking around Learning and Development; why not join the CIPD Leaders in Learning network group, Eastern region. Contact to find out more.


After the invigorating start to the day, the delegates then broke out in groups to attend the first workshop session of the day. Our three workshop facilitators are experts in their particular specialisms; Carol Wilkinson ran sessions covering conflict coaching, Jon Bartlett explored resilience and Jane Cox introduced coaching supervision.  The feedback we have received has been hugely positive, with the only negative being that our delegates wanted more…  we have listened and are finalising the dates for a series of “Coaching Masterclasses” covering these areas and more.



After the first of our workshops, delegates were invited to join one of the roundtable discussion groups. There were a range of themes for them to choose from. We were fortunate to have Hilary Clifford from the CMI discussing qualifications, Helen Amery, looking at HR Strategy, Tricia McCarron, HR Director Worldwide Fruit and Sean Kent CEO of Freebridge Community Housing, both discussing coaching culture and sharing their respective stories. Having such an unconference approach allowed a real flow of discussion and it was inspiring to see so many great conversations happening.



The conversations continued well into lunch with colleagues making the most of the opportunity to connect, share and more importantly have some really great conversations.

Further workshops and roundtable discussions lead us into the afternoon when Julie Starr, Author , respected coach and founder of Starr Consulting took us through a truly thought provoking session, enquiring into the nature of our ego , how it affects our ability to coach and encouraging us to continue on our path of self-enquiry.



Margaret closed the event and thanked everyone for coming. However, no one was in a particular hurry to leave. Julie was asked to sign copies of her books by many members of the audience. Our hosts and facilitators were on hand answering questions and conversations were taking place between colleagues with newly established connections.

We were proud to be a part of such a wonderful conference experience.  There is nothing more powerful than when a group of like-minded people come together to share ideas, stories and to have some really great conversations.


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