BCLA Coaching Program


The pandemic that began in 2020 will have long lasting effects on how we work, how we engage with colleagues and communities, how we reflect on past goals and objectives, and how we plan for the future. Recognizing these challenges the BCLA Board of Directors, in December 2020, allocated reserve funding to develop a subsidized professional coaching service for members. The BCLA coaching pilot project will subsidize fifty percent of the cost of a coaching session for up to ten sessions per client. Three professional coaches work with BCLA to realize this program and build capacity among BCLA members.

As a pilot project the amount of subsidy, the number of coaching hours, and the availability of coaches will be limited, but our hope is that that the pilot project will provide the evidence we need to build a more robust coaching program, perhaps with other library partners, in the future.

What can coaching do for me?

People seek out coaching because they want something to change or improve in their lives. Coaching provides opportunities for individual reflection and active experimentation, resulting in personal and professional growth.

Coaching can help:
  • Boost confidence

  • Increase effectiveness

  • Improve relationships

  • Resolve conflict

  • Make meaningful change

It is important to understand what coaching is, and what it is not.

Coaching is:
  • A partnership. With a coach, you have someone who is 100% committed to your learning and growth

  • About asking questions, offering new perspectives, setting goals, finding momentum, and getting unstuck

  • About the whole person. We believe our emotional, psychological, spiritual, and physical selves are deeply interconnected

  • 100% confidential and bound by the ethics and rules set out by the International Coaching Federation

Coaching is not:
  • Mentoring (advice giving)

  • Therapy (healing dysfunction)

  • Consulting (telling you what to do)

  • Performance management

When to seek a counsellor rather than a coach

Issues best handled by a counsellor or psychologist include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, substance abuse, suicidal ideation.

How It Works

  1. Book your initial 15 minute consultation
  2. If you and the coach decide to work together, you’ll generally book two 60 minute sessions each month.
  3. Real change takes time. That’s why the typical coaching relationship lasts for 4-6 months.
  4. Payment is made to BCLA


The BCLA Coaches come with their own unique skill sets and areas of focus. They are all professionally trained coaches and have lived experience of library work. Find a coach who suits you.

Patricia Chong

MBA, Coactive Coach

I believe that change is always present in our lives, in both subtle and obvious ways. Sometimes it is internally motivated, and other times it is imposed on us. And while navigating change can be fun and exciting, it can also be difficult, scary or simply confusing. I’m committed to supporting you to make positive and meaningful change, however it is showing up for you. I invite people to go deeper and discover what is true for them, not what society thinks they should be or do. As you get to know yourself, your values, and your own unique way of contributing to the world, you’ll learn to trust yourself. This opens up the possibility for lasting, meaningful change. As a people leader for 20+ years in business and public library sectors, I have always enjoyed supporting people to thrive and grow. As a coach, I listen deeply, ask powerful questions, and create a safe and courageous space for exploration. I bring a mindful, compassionate, and intuitive approach to my coaching. As a coachee, you will discover new perspectives and develop a broader awareness of what’s possible for you. Most importantly, you will find the motivation, strength and confidence to make the right choices for yourself and take action towards meaningful change.

Open to any topic – particular areas of interest include: life transition; career exploration and advancement; retirement; starting a passion project or business; exploring issues of diversity and inclusion; mindfulness coaching.

My position at the Vancouver Public Library means I’m unable to coach VPL unionized staff.

Andrea Freeman

MLIS, ACC (Associate Certified Coach)

I trust that humans are uniquely capable of influencing their future, rather than being limited by the past. I believe that people have their own unique genius – a distinct way of being, creating value, and organizing for action and work, rather than a predetermined ideal. As a coach, it’s my job to reflect what I see in you and match this with what you want to explore, learn, and achieve. Working with me is a mixture of uplifting, challenging, and very practical. Each session you’ll walk away with something you can immediately apply. In addition to my private coaching practice, I’m also the Executive Director for the Association of BC Public Library Directors, and I work as a lead facilitator and coach for the leadership program ELIA: Embodied Leadership, Innovation and Artistry. In that program, we teach people to leverage their physical presence, navigate complex situations, and influence the world around them to create positive change. I bring all my diverse experiences to my coaching clients. Prior to my work in coaching and leadership development, I was a librarian and manager for 15 years in special, health and public libraries.

Open to any topic – particular areas of interest include: work related challenges including interpersonal conflicts, supervising staff, giving and receiving feedback; building effective relationships with your colleagues and boss; communicating in a way that is impactful; presentation and speech skills; how to lead and influence from any position

Cara Pryor

MA, MLIS, MA (Spiritual Care)

I believe that difficulty – a conflict, a loss, a sense of isolation – can be an invitation into deeper, more intimate connection with ourselves and the world around us. To accept this invitation means asking ourselves profound questions, while bringing both kindness and curiosity to understanding what matters most. It means connecting with our deepest aspirations for our lives, and re-evaluating our priorities and occupations. As a coach, I bring spaciousness, kindness, and a deep interest in accompanying clients on their journeys. My work is to hold space for the reality of isolation, anger, or loss – while also supporting your own capacity to walk your path with integrity, resilience, and love. I currently work as a spiritual care practitioner at Vancouver General Hospital, where I use the skills of coaching and counselling to help clients connect with their own sources of strength and wisdom during difficult times. What matters in this work is a client’s desire to explore their own inner landscape – not a particular spiritual identity. It is my privilege, again and again, to witness the human capacity to find meaning and purpose in the midst of life’s most challenging moments. My coaching practice is supported by ten years as a public librarian specializing in community development and leadership, as well as a dedicated mindfulness meditation practice.

Open to any topic – particular areas of interest include: Work-related issues such as interpersonal conflict, career dissatisfaction, career transition, personal ethics; life transitions such as illness and loss; mindfulness coaching and spiritual/meaning-centred exploration.

Book a free 15 minute consultation with a coach today!