Coaching York

Coaching Walk at York Minster

Author: Geoff Ashton

Date: 20th May 2019

Twelve Minster volunteers joined Geoff Ashton on a coaching walk around the Minster that led them on a personal, shared, and spiritual journey of discovery. The walk stopped at 4 points (West Window, Chapter House, Rose Window and Great East Window) to reflect and to look at the Minster with fresh eyes.  Geoff writes:

‘’In my introduction to the volunteers I explained that my coaching work draws on reflective and decision making approaches and techniques used in other fields such as counselling, mentoring and spiritual direction. The distinctive element of coaching is that it is focused on the future and is designed to inspire action. One of the ways coaches do this is to take familiar circumstances and situations and help people see them in a new way. This opens up fresh thinking and fresh opportunities. We explored York Minister as a place which communicates the Christian faith’s vision of the God who has created all things, who has shaped history, and is shaping our own personal journeys.’’

One of the participants, a volunteer Bell Ringer, wrote of her experience:

‘’It was a chilly, windy May morning that I and 11 other volunteers were guided by a master coach Geoff Ashton looking at what we could learn from specific points within the Minster as part of the volunteer enrichment programme. Being in the space to reflect, I found that asking questions like “Which story in this window do you see yourself in?” and “What would one of these characters say about your issue?” allowed me, despite the cold, to explore a personal challenge from a fresh perspective.  My problem shifted from being “something to fix” to being an opportunity to bring hope and majesty – rather more inspiring! 

I enjoyed experiencing the true expertise and love of this building the other volunteers had, I started to feel part of the whole and to understand that the Minster is (and has been for so long) an integral and central part of this community.  I came away inspired and acknowledged for my small contribution as a bell-ringer, keen to learn more and also to share more of what our bells can bring too.  Thank you for organising it and including me’’.

We are grateful for the opportunity to work with one of York’s most famous and distinctive buildings and to give something back to some of the guides and volunteers who serve the thousands of people a year who visit the Minster.