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Business and Management
Oxford Brookes Business School
Phone number: 01865 465936
Location: CLC.G.14, Clerici Building, Headington Campus
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 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