December 5, 2023
Business News

The Kilkenny heroes who answered Ireland’s call in our hour of need

By Moya Galvin 

As we emerge from our second national lockdown with news of a vaccine, and begin to look towards Christmas, many of us likely feel a sense of relief and hope. Our frontline workers on the other hand, don’t have this privilege, as they have continued to treat COVID-19 patients throughout both lockdowns and will continue to do so over the holiday period. However, the staff in hospitals and clinics around the country, have not been alone thanks to Ailbhe Harrington and Karen Hayes, founders of Connect a Coach.

Ailbhe Harrington is a member of Kilkenny Coaching Circle, which began seven years ago and has since grown to over 36 active members.

This year at the International Coaching Federation (ICF) Virtual Coaching Awards, the Circle won ‘Coaching Circle of the Year 2020;, with Ailbhe taking home the prize for ‘Coach Supervisor of the Year 2020’.

Ailbhe and co-founder Karen Hayes also jointly won the ‘President’s Award 2020 (Social Enterprise)’ for Connect a Coach.

When Ailbhe and Karen heard then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s address to the nation – “never will so many ask so much of so few” – on St Patrick’s Day as the country prepared to move under lockdown for the first time, they wondered how they could give back to those who were already being asked to give so much.

Connect a Coach was launched just eight days after Mr’ Varadkar call. Within those few days these two women assembled 22 coaches live on the site ready to support frontline workers.

ICF defines Coaching as “partnering in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires the clients to maximise their professional and personal potential”.

Ailbhe told “So many frontline workers needed a space where another human being was totally present to them, to hear their stories, their vulnerability, their fears, and from this find a way forward and the resilience to keep going.”

If you or someone you know is interested in Connect a Coach, simply visit, select a coach, and book a 45-minute slot. The coach will confirm the slot within two hours. Coaching availability is guaranteed between 7am and 9pm, seven days a week. There are up to four sessions available – all free.



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