Coaching for Creatives is a project that aims to assist individuals across a variety of artforms, increasing understanding around the practice of coaching as a self-directed leadership development and resilience tool. For many practitioners involved in Culture Collective projects, coaching has been a really useful way to increase confidence, progress projects and learn how to action hopes and dreams.

Lindsay Dunbar of Coaching for Creatives has provided the following resource for practitioners, so that they can use these tools in their own work, for example, in peer support sessions. Read on to find out more about coaching, action learning sets and listening circles, and then visit to find a coach to work with.


How coaching can support your creative work

One-to-one coaching can help address habits, behaviours or beliefs to creative positive thinking and performance.

Coaching provides:

  • A safe, supportive and challenging space
  • A trained coach who will facilitate a supportive and challenging space
  • A better understanding of personal and professional development needs

Find a Coach

When you arrange one-to-one coaching, it’s important to find a coach you connect with. Many will offer a free chemistry call.

Allow yourself the time
A coaching session is 1 hour. This can seem like a lot when you feel busy. This is time for you to focus on what you need to be the best version of yourself and save you time in the future as a result.

Holding Your Space
Coaching can happen in person, online and even over the phone. It’s important you feel comfortable in the space and won’t be interrupted.

Setting the goal
You decide the goal for a coaching session. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out what the goal is and that’s okay! A coach is not there to provide the answers or solutions – a good coach will sensitively guide and support you to work it out yourself.

Action Learning Sets

What is a Set?

  • An Action Learning Set is a group of people who come together to coach each other.
  • A set should be around 8 people but you can work in groups of 3 as well.

Bidding process 

  • When a set starts, everyone who would like to present their goal can “bid”, stating the goal along with the importance and urgency.
  • The group collectively decide who will present.

Share, clarify & ask…

  • The presenter can then share as much or as little as they feel they need to, for around 15 minutes.
  • The rest of the set can then ask clarifying questions, before finally sharing open questions to help the presenter conclude their thinking.


  • If there is time and if the presenter would like, the rest of the set can offer “gifts”.
  • These can be observations, quotes and another question for the presenter to reflect on.
  • You don’t have to offer a gift but if it might help the presenter then it’s nice to share.

Meeting again in the future

  • The great thing about an action learning set is meeting regularly and taking turns to present.
  • The more you meet, greater trust builds and greater the support you will gain from them.

Culture Collective has supported Creative Practitioners to train in ALS. Their details will be added to the resource library to offer peer support in the future.

Listening Circles

Listening Circles are a simple way for a group to come together to be seen, heard and witnessed by asking three questions, taking turns to respond and listen to each other. Listening Circles are a great way to check in as a team.

Running a Circle

A Listening Circle can run with up to eight people and will take approximately one hour. Unlike coaching, no questions are asked directly. Everyone answers the next three questions…

What’s on your mind?
Everyone gets 3 minutes to share what’s on their mind in relation to their work (or personal life!) They speak uninterrupted and when they are finished it moves to the next person in the circle.

How do you feel now?
This round is a chance to reflect on what you have heard. Maybe you didn’t realise everyone was so busy, or that someone was sick or that they were on holiday next week. Everyone has another three minutes to reflect.

What will you take away?
Finally, you have the chance to reflect on what you have observed and what you will take away from the sharing. Maybe you can offer more help or explain things clearly, or feel better knowing your concerns are shared.

The benefits of Listening Circles include:

  • A deeper understanding of issues facing your group or team
  • A sense of empathy
  • A greater working dynamic