A developing relationship

York St John University is a long-standing supporter of Coaching York, through provision of rooms for meetings, hosting the York Coaching Group, and co-design and delivery of conferences during International Coaching Week. Reciprocity is at the heart of this relationship, and in that spirit Fiona Smith and Geoff Ashton have been sharing some of their “gifted time” with University graduates and interns. Suzanne Dickinson, who organises student opportunities and employer engagement, invited Coaching York to support two groups of students.

Graduate Intern programme

Fiona and Geoff each ran a one-hour session with graduate interns to explore the challenges and opportunities of the workplace. Taking a coaching approach, both sessions were highly interactive and included sharing practical tools that the participants could take away and continue to use both personally and as a basis for ongoing mutual support. The interns valued coming together as a group, discovering they had many shared experiences and working collaboratively on how to tackle challenges and seize opportunities. There will be further opportunities for Coaching York members to offer time in this way in 2019.


Geoff ran a session for students coming to the end of their coaching, mentoring and counselling course, to talk about the coaching market and different opportunities that the workplace affords. This included self-employment, being employed as a coach in a business, how organisations may value and promote a coaching approach and coaching culture embedded within its wider workplace practices, and organisations that combine coaching and counselling in a single practice. To illustrate the creative ways in which people use coaching in business, Geoff asked the students to come up with a random word and add “coaching” to it. When one suggested “banana” another student looked up “banana coaching” online and, sure enough, found a business that used it as a concept.

Students responded with some perceptive questions of their own, and asked what opportunities Coaching York might be able to provide for student placements.

What next

Geoff will be meeting Suzanne in the New Year to explore further opportunities which could include:

  • Sessions for interns;
  • Coaching York members sharing their experiences of using coaching approaches in different sectors – public, private, voluntary and self-employed;
  • Providing opportunities for work placements;
  • Career coaching sessions for new graduates.

If you would be interesting in gifting some time of your own to York St John, please contact Geoff on geoff.ashton21@gmail.com