Friday 24 June 2022


Recently, I read Coaching Behind Bars, by Clare McGregor.  It tells the story of the birth, learning and successes of CIAO

CIAO (Coaching Inside And Out) works in prisons and with people convicted of offences or at risk of offending in our communities, as well as with their parents or carers.

It's an extraordinary story of Clare's curiosity and concern leading her to explore whether the kind of coaching that worked so well for her executive clients might be equally valuable for this group of people. 

From that exploration, CIAO has grown into a respected organisation, working alongside, but entirely separate from, the Criminal Justice system, and helping people to work on whatever they choose to work on. 

The offer is simple and quick: a limited number of sessions, to address some simple, but important questions: What do you want to change? Who are you? and How are you holding yourself back.

Perhaps the greatest testimony to their work - apart from the many individuals who tell very positive stories about its impact - is that in an environment where one might reasonably expect a degree of disenchantedness, if not cynicism, and certainly suspicion, all the people who engage in coaching do so on a completely voluntary basis, and nearly always because a previous coaching client has recommended the process to them.

What prompted me to read the book is the fact that I have just been recruited to join their team of supervisors: offering support, guidance and oversight to the coaches who are doing the frontline work.  As with all my supervisory work, I am sure that I will learn as much from the coaches I work with as they do from me.  In due course (and always observing confidentiality etc) I will share some of the generic, high-level learning on this blog.  In the meantime, do have a look at their work, and if you are a coach, and interested in supporting them, do get in touch.

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