The Association for Coaching in Spain is stirring up passion and finding a welcoming audience

I remember watching a 1992 BBC documentary series in Britain about Spain, which presented all sorts of clichés, including that Spaniards have ‘Fire in the Blood’ ( The idea that Spaniards are passionate is widespread, and like many stereotypes may well have some founding in reality. Certainly, anyone observing what’s been happening with the Association for Coaching (AC) in Spain over the last year, and particularly towards the end of May in Madrid, will have found plenty to fuel that opinion.

The AC launched in Spain last year and we’ve rallied energies, creating a rapidly growing professional community to promote best practices and raise the awareness, standards and ethics of coaching. Coaching professionals here in Spain are quickly welcoming the spirit and values of the AC, such as community, excellence and thought leadership.

A year on, the timing was right to welcome AC Global’s CEO Katherine Tulpa and COO Alex Szabo to the Spanish capital to meet the AC Spain Council, represented by Cristina Ríos, head of operations and myself as chair, as well as local coaches and companies interested in coaching.

What happened? Passion did! Excitement, bubbling ideas and gripping conversations.

To celebrate, two events were organised in association with Penna Spain. A networking event with 40 first class coaches was hosted on the evening of 28 May at the lovely gardens of Aliter Business School in central Madrid. And a corporate breakfast was hosted by Penna on 29 May. Eight representatives from companies, including from the industry, software, health and insurance sectors, shared their views of coaching in Spain at the corporate event, which had the theme of collaborative conversations around building a coaching culture. Katherine and Alex gave a much-valued international overview.

It was quite something to see how these professionals shared our values and passion. Passion is something you can clearly see and feel, a powerful connector and the best guarantee that a collective effort will succeed. It’s what I’ve seen in people who’ve talked to us during the short time we’ve been present. People who share our values, and so want to become members, or contribute in some other way that is important to them. When that happens our enthusiasm grows even more and our spiritual energy supply becomes bigger and almost boundless.

Our community has, from the beginning, been very international, with members from many different nationalities. We keep our strong international ties and offer the same benefits and advantages you can find in other AC local communities.

We connect our community through gatherings, including monthly webinars on topics, such as mastery in coaching, mindfulness, neuroscience and supervision, and Coaching Cafés – a way of sharing virtually, enjoying and learning from each other.

I agree with Dan Pink that people are purpose maximisers. We all have our purpose as coaching professionals, and our personal interpretation of what coaching is. I also believe that together we can do things that we cannot accomplish alone.

As Katherine said, the AC is an emergent organisation and has always been member driven. For me, seeing that energy – that passion – in our meetings was a guarantee that our seeds are growing and that the association we need is emerging to help us maximise our purpose – personally and as a community. n


Luis San Martín is an executive coach and organisational development consultant. He is the founding chair of the Association for Coaching in Spain