Resources Article

Coaching for Creatives

In September, a group of Clore Leadership Fellows in Scotland came together to ask how they could support cultural leaders after a year of extraordinary change. Here Lindsay Dunbar talks about the pilot project Coaching for Creatives.

During the fall of the Roman Empire, someone must have thought “Well, this is all a bit unprecedented isn’t it? And yet there are a lot of parallels between then and now; plagues, climate change, extreme political division and social unrest. While we may think we have been living through unprecedented times, societies have been through huge culture shifts before. What we don’t know is how people felt about it though, what did they worry about losing and what must it have been like to live through that social change?

Now we are living through a change and many of us have never experienced this level of global unrest before. As humans we are naturally resistant to unknown change so when it is thrust upon us with lashings of uncertainty and isolation from family and friends the impact this has on our well-being will shape the society we re-enter.

Last September, a cohort of Clore Fellows in Scotland came together last year to ask “What can we do to help? What is needed now?” As we discussed our experiences of the lockdown and the impact it had on the sector, one immediate action started to come to the forefront of discussions. Coaching.

When I embarked on my own Clore Leadership adventure, a previous Fellow advised me to keep a block of coaching sessions until after the Fellowship ended. At the time I didn’t really understand what this meant and assumed I probably wouldn’t need coaching anyway as I would breeze through the Fellowship year. I was very wrong and found myself 12 months later trying to understand where to put my energy and ideas. I felt I had changed while the world around me stayed the same. Thanks to coaching I was able to work through my muddled thoughts to understand my guiding principles and values which I now use every day. Coaching set me down a path towards the leader I wanted to become. As a champion of coaching and with a desire to support the creative sector in Scotland it was a natural step for me to undertake training to become a coach which I completed last year.

Many Clore Fellows go through the process of benefiting from coaching and then train to become a coach, to share the power of exploring ideas and thoughts with a critical friend. As the cohort shared ideas we realised we had a full complement of experienced coaches who could offer coaching to creative leaders in Scotland. Thanks to support from Creative Scotland through the pilot project Coaching for Creatives we are currently rolling out 100 hours of free coaching in Scotland meaning approximately 30 people across a variety of artforms will benefit,  increasing understanding around the practice of coaching as a self-directed leadership development and resilience tool.

At a time when many creatives are looking at ways to diversify their work it was agreed that another way the Clore Fellows could support the sector in the longer term was to create the opportunity for more leaders to train as coaches. As a result, a fully-subsidised online course is running later this year making it accessible to any participant in Scotland. If more organisations could invest in coaching support for their teams or freelancers then the creative sector could really start to address the issues of well-being during a volatile time. If we can generate a network of leaders and coaches we can start embedding a coaching culture in the cultural sector

So now we are living through a time when the world is changing and maybe we are trying to stay the same or maybe we are trying to make sense of how to move through it again.

But I do know we need to do everything we can to support each other to keep moving forward just now because we are going to need each other when we get there.

Themes Alumni Journeys Coaching & Mentoring