About Claire




Hi there!

Thank you for checking out SYC Coaching, let me tell you a bit about myself as you explore if you’d like to work with me as your coach. 

One of My Favourite Things

Coaching for me is a joy and privilege. I am honoured to spend time with you as your coach. Continue reading to understand why I say coaching is genuinely one of my favourite things in life.

My name is Claire Bankole and I have been leading Shift Youth + Community since Autumn 2013. In that time we have successfully rebranded and changed from being a Charitable Trust to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. You can find out more about SYC elsewhere on this website, but basically we are a non-profit, faith based organisation working with young people primarily in more deprived communities; we are led and run by volunteers, and our income stream consists entirely of donations and grants. Until we started SYC Coaching that is! This is our first social enterprise, the income from which will go to support our youth and community work.

Back to me! For as long as I can remember my favourite thing has been to see others thrive as a result of my effort. I trained as a medical doctor and specialised in paediatrics because I wanted to help put ‘little’ people back ‘on their feet’. I left medicine to focus on youth work and overseas mission: I spent time on Tearfund’s Disaster Response Team (it was called that then) working in South Sudan, and even volunteered in Mozambique with Iris Ministries, part of the relief operation in the massive floods there of 2001. What crystalized for me during this time was the conviction that rather than working to make an individual physically better, I could work to impact their family and community for good so that the individual could thrive… and when working with the individual, I could focus more on the things within them that determined whether they thrived or not. 

It wasn’t long before I encountered the international organisation of which SYC is a part. Here it was that I discovered the training and experience that enabled me to work with individual young people, their families and communities. I discovered that good theology applied, is good therapy and confirmed by best practice in psychology. I also discovered that good theology applied, creates thriving communities, and is confirmed by best practice in sociology.

As a full time volunteer leading other full time volunteers my training has been vital – I have had to learn to lead, inspire and manage without the leverage of remuneration; I have had to learn how to lead hearts. I am still learning, but these skills and insights are so helpful when it comes to leading teams and organizations, families and communities through change into transformation. 

As the CEO of SYC for years I have worked closely with church leaders and leaders of other organisations because we partner with churches, councils, and other agencies to impact the lives of young people and work in the broader community. I am constantly looking for people of peace who want to work with others to make a long term difference, who want to establish and be part of things whose positive impact will outlive their own current role and remit. These might be people in our community where we work or they may be folk elsewhere with a similar vision and heart for their own community. If they want to make a start in their community, we want to help them do just that. In fact that’s where coaching comes in.

Long Term mentoring is the mainstay of our youth work at SYC. Coaching is different. When looking for someone to mentor us in our work, we need someone who has more experience in our field than we do. When looking for someone to coach us in our work, we need a great coach. Often it’s better if our coach is not familiar with our context. 


As a coach I am not the expert on your team, you are. 

I am not the expert on the church, school, or organisation you lead, you are. 

I am not the expert on your beneficiaries, shareholders, stakeholders or community; you are.

My aim in coaching is to hold space for my client that is safe enough for them to address even their most gnarly issues and have the freedom to find their way to resolution. I derive great satisfaction from knowing that this process not only brings life to my clients but also to those they lead as well as those benefiting from their work. 

Foundational to my approach are the insights I have gained in the last 20 years into the self and its development, drawing on the likes of Gestalt Therapy, Transactional Analysis, Nootherapy (Frankle) and Hayakawa. These, along with several years being accompanied by a phenomenal spiritual director, have not only led to my own growth and self awareness, but also formed the framework I use to facilitate growth in others. 

My job as your coach is to work with you in such a way that you can access and grow your expertise so that you can achieve the outcomes you are looking for. I will help you grow your skills and awareness for taking innovative, strategic action, and I hope that as a result you will find that your legacy is one of  empowered, thriving individuals, and a flourishing community.

SYC Training 

SYC Coaching

Get in touch

For more information on how you can be part of whats happening please get in touch