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Bh Business and Management Oxford Brookes Business School Hr - Ox Centre for Staff & Learning Dev.
Objectives: Resilience has grown as a topic of interest to coaches and increases in resilience as a result of specific coaching programmes are often reported (Grant, Curtayne & Burton, 2009). However, the perspective of the coached leaders has remained largely unexplored. This study seeks to gain the leadership perspective on two key areas. Firstly to assess if existing coaching might already be affecting resilience, despite that not being a contracted objective. Secondly, to identify what aspects of coaching might be most influential in leadership resilience. Design: The study was positioned in the pragmatic paradigm using a grounded theory approach (Charmaz, 2006). Interview data was gathered from eight senior managers who had previously had coaching. Analysis was based on the grounded theory coding approach using NVivo software. Methods: Eight leaders volunteered to be interviewed on the topic of resilience and had to have completed a programme of coaching at least one year prior to data collection. Semi-structured face-to-face interviews asked
about the coaching that they had received and if they felt it had affected their resilience. Results: The results indicated that leaders did perceive coaching to have affected their resilience, even if this was not a defined objective for the coaching. In addition leaders reported that coaching helped in five ways. It helped them reclaim their self-belief, it contributed to their learning, it helped them see the wider perspective, it provided a supportive relationship and gave them a thinking space.
Conclusion: Leaders often came to coaching as the result of facing a challenge and experienced significant experiential learning in relation to their resilience as a by product of coaching. While the development of certain cognitive strategies proved helpful, participants expressed the importance of the supportive coaching
relationship during times of challenge where resilience was required. This questions how far resilience can be enhanced as a proactive preventative approach through training. Recommendations are made to support coaches when dealing with leaders in a resilience context.
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.
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