Janine Roberts

Thesis title: Working with emotions in leadership coaching

Start year: 2020

Supervisor(s): Dr Judie Gannon, Dr Ioanna Iordanou

Research topic

This study explores how coaching influences leaders in their management of emotions in organisational relationships. Organisations are characterised as emotional arenas and relationships within them cause intense emotions and affect performance and psychological wellbeing, with the leader follower relationship being most susceptible. There are few studies that explore this phenomenon in coaching despite the rapidly growing literature on leader affect within leader follower relationships. Findings from the coaching empirical literature demonstrate; there is still wide variation of the perceptions of emotion display in the workplace by both leaders and coaches; there is wide variation in coaching practice; there is variation in the confidence of coaches working with emotions in coaching and for those that do work with them, there is a wide range of strategies and interventions used.

The ontological assumptions of the researcher are predicated on constructivism, and the epistemological position is that of a social constructivist which enables researcher immersion in the phenomenon experienced in its given context to gain multiple views of it. Therefore, constructive grounded theory, using semi structured interviews with circa 30 participants made up of leaders, coaches, coach supervisors, coach educators and coach accreditors is the chosen methodology to explore this phenomenon.

It is hoped that findings from this study could inform coaching education to help better equip coaches to provide useful and meaningful strategies and interventions when working with emotions in coaching as well as contributing to leadership practice by helping leaders who are working with this everyday phenomenon.


Emotions, organisations, leadership, coaching

Academic school / department

Oxford Brookes Business School