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MEd, MSc, PhD, C Psychol, AFBPsS
Business and Management
Oxford Brookes Business School
+44 (0) 1865 488367
CLC G14 Clerici, Headington Campus
In my academic role of Professor of Coaching Psychology my responsibilities include teaching on the MA and Doctorate in Coaching and Mentoring Practice; research and academic supervision of MA and doctoral students; supervision of the coaches for Oxford Brookes programmes.
I am also Director on the International Centre for Coaching and Mentoring Studies, Founder and Chair of the International Conference on Coaching Supervision and Programme Lead for the Oxford Brookes Programme of Advanced Study in Coaching Supervision
My recent research projects include 'Development of an instrument for microanalysis of coaching sessions' funded by the Institute of Coaching at Harvard University, which is now published. I also researched the topic of 'Self-deception in Coaching' involving investigation of this phenomenon with a group of experienced coaching supervisors. The result of this probject are now published in two papers: emprical and conceptual.
I am working now on three different topics. The first is 'Coaching as a pragmatic enterprise', a project that aims to position philosophy of pragmatism as a platform for conceptualisng coaching, which I believe is important for further development of coaching as a discipline.
The second project involves development of the Knowledge Portal, a website that provides access to many organisations involved in developing original knowledge of coaching. The knowledge providers around the globe will share the activities and projects that contribute to the development of the knowledge base of coaching. This website, initiated by the `Future of Coaching Collaboration’ (FCC), allows anyone interested in coaching, as a contributor or user, (e.g. potential organisational purchasers of coaching, individual clients, new students of coaching, researchers and policy makers) to access information about the contribution to coaching knowledge by various providers. This website aims to assist in the dissemination of knowledge in coaching communities and in society as a whole and connect knowledge creators in order to exchange ideas, avoid duplication of effort and facilitate collaboration.
The third topis is 'The Coaching Life-cycle: Indenifying Themes and the Dynamics.
Research grant from the Institute of Coaching at Harvard, Harnisch Research Project Grant, with Peter Jackson for the project: Understanding coaching engagement content: an empirical taxonomy of themes.
Award from the EMCC in Coaching Supervision 2018
Understanding coaching engagement content: an empirical taxonomy of themes
This comprehensive guide to coaching explores a full variety of coaching theories, approaches and settings, and offers strategies for the reader to identify and develop a personal style of coaching. The book is divided into three parts: Part One explores the theoretical traditions that underpin the foundation for coaching such as cognitive-behavioural, Gestalt and existential -- Part Two covers applied contexts, formats or types of coaching such as life, executive, peer, team and career coaching -- Part Three focuses on professional issues that impact the coach such as ethics, supervision, continuing professional development, standards and mental-health issues.
Written by leading international authors, each chapter makes explicit links between theory and practice and generic questions will facilitate further reflection on the topic. There are also suggestions for reading, and short case studies. This is the first book to explore the differences between the theoretical perspectives of coaching and the links between these perspectives in relation to contexts, genres and media of coaching.
Coaching supervision as a field of knowledge is at an early stage of development, even in comparison to the discipline of coaching. To support and stimulate further progress of the field, this fully inclusive literature review aims to create a comprehensive map of the themes and directions in contemporary publications on coaching supervision. Through the synthesis of findings in 68 selected sources we identified four main themes: clarifying the concept of coaching supervision; the state of theoretical development demonstrated in the literature; the value attributed to supervision; and the nature of the current use of the supervision in the field. Based on our analysis we generate potential directions for further research, conceptualisation and theory building.
A moral conundrum for philosophy of coaching is the noticeable parallel between the growth of the coaching industry and the unprecedented growth of mental health issues in western societies. Even if wellbeing of employees is not the only purpose of coaching interventions, they should at least not in any way be responsible for its undermining. Unfortunately, a number of ‘beautiful ideas’ which have become thematic in the coaching industry may be playing a detrimental role at both the personal level and for wellbeing of society as a whole. In this paper we focus on three: ‘Positive Psychology’, ‘Mindfulness’, and ‘Transformational Coaching’. On the face of it these ‘beautiful ideas’ appear to be unquestionably beneficial. However, they have been largely accepted into the mainstream thinking of coaches without too much critical consideration. The aim of this paper is to explore the shadow side of these beautiful ideas for the wellbeing of people in organisations and the role of coaching in relation to them. Our intention is to start a challenging conversation about a paradoxical situation in which that which is meant to scaffold our wellbeing initiatives may be making significant contributions to a lack ofwellbeing.
To enhance the value of coaching provision, coaching sessions are assessed as part of the accreditation of coaches by professional bodies and through the selection of coaches for programmes in organisations. However, the idea of the quality of a coaching session and a valid standpoint from which such an assessment can be made, remain problematic. Using constructivist grounded theory, this study explores how coaching sessions are perceived by three parties: clients, coaches and groups of coaches acting as observers. Analysis of the multiple perspectives on each of six sessions shows a significant discrepancy between them supporting the relevance of the Rashomon effect in coaching, based on Kurosawa’s (1950) film in which different witnesses provide conflicting accounts of the same events. The study questions the practice of prioritising first or third-person perspectives when the quality of a coaching session is assessed and addresses the potential implications of the identified issues for coaches, assessors and educators of coaching.
This paper offers a conceptual and developmental proposition based on the centrality of the practitioner’s self in the achievement of coaching outcomes. The central role of the self of the coach is established through a theoretical comparison with a competency (knowledge and skills) frame. Positioning the self in this way acknowledges the complexity and unpredictability of the coaching process and aligns with a complex-adaptive-system perspective on coaching. In turn, it provides a platform for a professional-practice view of the self as the main instrument of coaching and, further, a developmental proposition for the good use of self as an instrument. Three main conditions for the good use of self as an instrument are proposed: understanding the instrument, looking after the instrument, and checking the instrument for quality and sensitivity. Each condition is discussed, and the implications for coaches and educators of coaching in relation to initial training and the continuing professional development of coaches are considered. In keeping with the underpinning theory of self around which it is built, this paper gives witness to multiple voices: theory, practice, and development.
Objectives: This paper describes an independently conducted research study to develop appropriate measures and evaluate the coaching/mentoring programme that the London Deanery had been running for over five years. It also aims to explore specific challenges in the evaluation of a large-scale coaching programme and to suggest new solutions. Design: The challenges to evaluation included the need to use established but also context-relevant measures and the need for a rigorous but also pragmatic design that took into account a number of practical constraints. Overall it was a mixed method research design consisting of a within-subject quantitative study with support of a qualitative grounded theory methodology conducted in parallel. Method: The selected measures for the quantitative part of the study included employee engagement, selfefficacy and self-compassion. An additional questionnaire SWRQ (Specific Work-Related Questionnaire) was developed as the result of a qualitative investigation with stakeholder representatives. It included a selfestimation by the coached clients of the extent to which they could attribute each change to the coaching received rather than any other factor. The qualitative part of the study included interviews with stakeholders and the analysis of responses to an open question in the SWRQ. Results: 120 (78 per cent) of matched responses pre- and post-coaching were analysed and seven stakeholders interviewed. The results of the quantitative and qualitative analysis show improvement in all chosen scales. The analysis also shows that coaching was a major contributor to these changes. Conclusions: The paper argues for the development of additional methods in outcome research on coaching programmes that are aligned with the main principles and philosophy of coaching as a practice. Keywords: Coaching; evaluation of coaching; outcome research.
This article describes an exploratory study aimed at investigating factors contributing to the phenomenon of self-deception in coaches. Six experienced coaching supervisors were interviewed in accordance with the Conceptual Encounter research methodology. The results are presented in a model of self-deception in coaches. The model consists of three main sections, which include the nature of self-deception, contextual influences on self-deception and the focused influence on self-deception in coaching supervision. These themes are discussed in light of the structural analysis of the literature on self-deception performed from a pragmatic perspective. The paper concludes by considering how the results of the study add to current debates on the nature of self-deception and what implications the findings might have for coaches, coaching supervisors and other practitioners engaged in the development of individuals in organisations.
Organisations that use coaching programmes express their need for the assessment of coaches to ensure quality of provision. One solution to this need has been provided by professional bodies that assess coaches as part of their accreditation systems, often using competency frameworks. In this conceptual paper we open four specific debates in order to explore inherent problems associated with this approach. We start by highlighting the divide that seems to be emerging in coaching between academia and the professional bodies. We then move on to discuss the degree to which the gradation of coaching expertise in assessment is justified. The third debate concerns the extent to which competency frameworks are appropriate for coach assessment. Lastly, we question whether the existing paradigms, on which many assessment systems are based, effectively represent the coaching interaction. We argue that by seeing the coaching engagement as a complex adaptive system, a different conceptual approach to the assessment of coaches is needed, one that focuses on capabilities rather than competencies alone. A new model for the assessment of coaches is discussed, together with implications of the proposed change for professional bodies and educators of coaches.
This paper presents the results of a project aimed at the development and the use of an instrument designed to identify differences and similarities across coaching approaches at the level of a specific coaching session. 41 professional coaches described one of their typical coaching sessions using this instrument and found it comprehensive. Q-mode Factor analysis suggests that there was one overarching shared viewpoint about the way a mid-engagement coaching session is typically facilitated. This suggests that there may be considerable similarities in how coaching is actually practiced in spite of the existence of a variety of coaching traditions, genres and contexts in which coaching takes place, leading to one extended conceptual definition of coaching. We suggest that the tool makes possible a number of research projects, allows a clearer understanding of services typically provided by contracted coaches and assists in self-evaluation of professional and ‘on-the-job’ types of coaching.
Key words: coaching process, microanalysis, Q methodology, typical coaching session, identity of coaching
This article address some concerns about the use of professional supervision in coaching.The ambition of coaching communities to become a "proper" profession in the light of current realities is being challenged. The author suggests a new role for coaching supervision that may lead the way even for other more established professions.
The Problem The interdisciplinary nature of the theoretical base of coaching creates practical approaches that are strongly influenced by organization-friendly theories, and fields such as counseling, psychotherapy, and philosophy. This eclectic use of theory creates uncertainty and sometimes leads to criticisms of coaching as being atheoretical and underdeveloped empirically. So, it is a difficult task for human resource development (HRD) professionals and particularly buyers of coaching to judge the relevance of numerous traditions of coaching and evaluate them for their HRD agenda.
The Solution We highlight the theoretical foundations of coaching and develop a structural analysis of coaching engagement to indicate the potential interplay between organizational and individual agendas and to help HRD professionals become better informed about the value of coaching in the context of wider HRD paradigms.
The Stakeholders HRD professionals, external coaches, internal coaches, and line managers who use a coaching approach, peer coaches, and leaders will benefit from the content of this article.
No abstract available
Editorial - no abstract available
While standing as key references in the practice and education of coaches, codes often prove limited when it comes to equipping coaches with the skills to face the bumps and hollows of real practice. This chapter explores some of the limits of using codes to solve dilemmas and manage complex situations in coaching, and it discusses in particular the role of reflexivity and the interpretation of codes.
Coach training courses and postgraduate courses for coaches and coaching psychologists have grown in number considerably during the last decade. We are now more aware how important a role the self of the coach plays in their coaching practice. It is also widely accepted that not only the relevant knowledge but also the psychological development of coaches is of paramount importance in the process of becoming a coach. A number of theories that address the nuances of developmental processes in adulthood have become better known in the coaching field and accepted as helpful for working with coachees (Lawrence, 2017). However, very few authors write about developmental benchmarks for coaches and coaching psychologists (Bachkirova & Cox, 2007). In this chapter, we consider existing theories of individual development and suggest a developmental framework for coaches based on these theories that can be used in the context of coach education and training.
At an early stage of the literature on this issue some voices were already explicit about the complexity of establishing clear boundaries between coaching and counselling ( Bachkirova & Cox, 2004 ; Simons, 2006 ; Bachkirova, 2007 ). Recent research in the last decade has added more substance to this position through exploring the views of practitioners. Although there is some evidence that potential clients, sponsors of coaching and practitioners deal with this issue in a pragmatic way (Maxwell, 2009; Baker, 2015 ), many coaches and particularly newcomers to the field of coaching, counselling and coaching psychology are still left in confusion. (We will use the term ‘coachee’ when referring to individual coaching clients and the term ‘client’ when relevant to both practices: coaching and counselling). In this chapter we will explore a changed state of knowledge about the issue of boundaries between coaching and counselling/therapy, highlighting the nature of this confusion and typical ways of dealing with it in practice. Potential reasons for this confusion will then be discussed together with implications for the current situation in research and practice.
In this chapter we outline an approach to developing practice in coaching and supervision aimed at achieving a practice that is congruent with the self of the practitioner. The PPP framework is inspired by an original idea of David Lane’s (Lane, 2006), but has been developed further to reflect our particular philosophy of professional development. In the introductory sections that follow, we outline what the PPP framework is, and describe the educational philosophy and logic that sits behind it. In the central section of the chapter, we expand on the three elements of the framework: philosophy, purpose and process. We reflect on the hurdles practitioners experience in developing their practice model using the framework and report first-hand experiences of those who have used it in our supervisor professional development programmes. Finally, recommendations are given for further reading and reflection.
Although coaching is often portrayed in the literature and amongst coaches as a developmental enterprise, the concept of developmental coaching is less than clear and open to misinterpretations. This paper introduces a theory specifically developed for coaching practice and fully described in the author’s book Developmental Coaching: Working with the Self. The theory is based on a new conceptualisation of the self and suggests a developmental framework that implies a certain trajectory in the adult development process. For coaching practice this theory advocates an individual approach to coaching clients of the three different groups and suggests three mechanisms of influencing development.
Featured presentation, delivered at the leadership coaching research track at the 2017 Institute of Coaching/Harvard Medical School Coaching Conference, 13-14 October 2017, Boston, USA
Invited presentation for Association of Coaching: Multiplicity of the self: problem or opportunity for coaching? London: 26 June 2017
Supervising the Competent Self and the Dialogic Self of the coach, paper to present at the 7th International Conference on Coaching Supervision, 13 May, 2017, Oxford
A presentation in the Distinguished Speakers series at Goldsmiths University for MSc Occupational Psychology students, London, 20 March 2017
Keynote presentation “Working through the limited ways of seeing the self” presented at the Welsh Coaching Conference, 16 March 2017
Invited member of the panel at the EURAM Symposium ‘Critical perspective on collaboration in coaching’, 1- 4 June 2016, Paris
Keynote presentation at the BACP Practitioner Coaching conference, 30 April 2016, London, UK
Keynote presentation at the 3rd European Congress in Coaching Psychology, 10-11 December 2015, London
Being a coach in the world aspiring for postmodern leadership, invited presentation at the International Colloquium in Coaching and Leadership in ESMT/Ket de Vries Institute, Berlin, 3-4 December 2015
Three conceptions of Self for applied purposes, presentation at the Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Annual Conference, BPS, Sidney Sussex, University of Cambridge, 9-11 September 2015
Invited presentation ‘100 reasons to dislike supervision’ at the Coaching at Work conference, London, 1 July 2025
Invited presentation on leadership coaching research at the workshop for researchers held by Oxford University Said Business School, Oxford, 29-30 June 2015
Coaching Supervision: nice to have, need to have or no need to have, presentation with Peter Jackson at the Coaching conference in Bournemouth, 26 May 2015
Keynote Presentation at The University of Waikato Coaching and Mentoring Conference: Transforming Together, Hamilton, New Zealand, 8-10 April 2015
Keynote Presentation for The 5th International Congress on Coaching Psychology, hosted by the Society of Consulting Psychology (Division 13 of the American Psychological Association), San Diego, 3-4 February 2015
Chairing the stream ‘Individual Development and Coaching Psychology’ at The 4th International Congress of Coaching Psychology, London, 11 – 12 December 2014
Positioning individual development as a subject of coaching psychology, mini-keynote Presentation for the 4th International Congress on Coaching Psychology, 11-12 December 2014
Bachkirova, T. and Lawton-Smith, C. (2014) 'From critique to raising the bar in relation to assessment of capabilities of coaches'. Paper presented at the 21st Annual EMCC Mentoring and Coaching Conference, Venice, November.
Bachkirova, T. (2012) 'Nature of evidence, quality of research and self-deception in coaching and coaching psychology'. Paper presented at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference of the Special Group in Coaching Psychology, Birmingham, December.
Bachkirova, T. (2012) 'Working with self-deception of coaches in supervision'. Paper presented at the 2nd International Conference in Coaching Supervision, Oxford, June.
Bachkirova, T. (2012) 'Developmental Coaching: Working with the Self'. Paper presented at the Psychometric Forum, London, May.
Bachkirova, T., Myers, A. and Sibley, J. (2012) 'Design and Application of an instrument for microanalysis of the coaching session: a research project'. Paper presented at the Oxford Brookes - Burgundy Business School Joint Research Conference, Oxford, May.
Bachkirova, T. (2012) 'Keynote presentation and pre-conference workshop ‘Coaching the Self: an new framework for developmental coaching'. Paper presented at the Coaching and Mentoring conference, Johannesburg, South Africa, March.
Bachkirova, T. (2012) 'Keynote presentation and a workshop ‘Insights from coaching psychology’'. Paper presented at the University of Hong Kong Coaching Conference, Hong Kong, February.
Bachkirova, T. (2011) 'Towards Being a Developmentally-Minded Coaching Supervisor'. Paper presented at the 1st International Congress of Coaching Psychology, London, December.
Bachkirova, T., Sibley, J. and Myers, A. (2011) 'Application of an instrument for microanalysis of the coaching session: a research project'. Paper presented at the SGCP 3rd European Coaching Psychology Conference, London, December.
Bachkirova, T. (2011) 'Developmental Coaching: a new approach to practice, a masterclass'. Paper presented at the SGCP 3rd European Coaching Psychology Conference, London, December.
Bachkirova, T. (2011) 'Complexity of coaching themes and self-deception in coaches'. Paper presented at the International Colloquium in Coaching and Leadership in ESMT/Ket de Vries Institute, Berlin, December.
Bachkirova, T. (2011) 'Four challenges of developmental coaching and the idea of organic change'. Paper presented at the 18th Annual European Coaching and Mentoring Conference, Paris, November.
Bachkirova, T. (2011) 'A new framework for developmental coaching'. Paper presented at the BACP Coaching conference, London, June.
Bachkirova, T. (2011) 'Three conceptions of the self for applied purposes'. Paper presented at the Toward a Science of Consciousness 2011: Brain, Mind and Reality Conference, Stockholm University, Sweden, May.
Bachkirova, T. (2010) 'How can we coach if there is no free will'. Paper presented at the 17th Annual European Coaching and Mentoring Conference, Dublin, November.
Bachkirova, T. (2009) 'The three foci of Developmental Coaching'. Paper presented at the 3rd European Coaching Psychology Conference, Royal Holloway University, London, December.
Bachkirova, T. (2009) 'Coaching the Self: A frameword for developmental coaching'. Paper presented at the 16th EMMC conference, Amsterdam, November.
Bachkirova, T. (2008) 'Self-deception in coaching'. Paper presented at the 14th Annual EMCC Conference, Prague, December.
Bachkirova, T. (2008) 'On the use of self in coaching'. Paper presented at the 1st European Coaching Psychology Conference, University of Westminster, London, December.
Bachkirova, T. and Cox, E. (2007) 'Coaching with emotion'. Paper presented at the EMCC Annual Conference, Stockholm, Sweden, October.
Bachkirova, T. (2006) 'Working with self-concept in development coaching'. Paper presented at the 1st International Coaching Psychology Conference, Place, December.
Bachkirova, T. (2006) 'Organisations, individual values and stress in academia'. Paper presented at the Westminster Institute Research Conference, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, January.
Bachkirova, T., Cox, E. and Patrick, C. (2005) 'Coaching with emotion: A research project'. Paper presented at the Second Australian Conference on Evidence-Based Coaching, University of Sydney, January.
Bachkirova, T. (2003) 'Personal values and teacher stress: An exploratory study'. Paper presented at the EERA Conference, Hamburg, January.
Bachkirova, T. (2000) 'Confidence versus self-worth in adult learning'. Proceedings of the 8th International Symposium 'Improving Students Learning Strategically, Oxford, September, pp. pages, ISBN
• Founder and Chair of the International Conference in Coaching Supervision
• Chartered Occupational Psychologist
• Teaching Fellow of Oxford Brookes University
• Member of the Publication Sub-Committee of the Special Group in Coaching Psychology within the British Psychological Society
• Member of the editorial boards in three journals: Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, International Coaching Psychology Review and International Journal of Evidence-Based Coaching and Mentoring
• Harnisch Scholar (Harvard Medical School, Institute of Coaching)
• Holder of Achievement Award (2011) from the British Psychological Society SGCP in recognition of Distinguished Contribution to Coaching Psychology
• Member of the Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) at the Institute of Coaching at Harvard
• Academic supervisor for PhD and Professional Doctorate students in Coaching and Coaching Psychology
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