The coaching industry continues to establish an identity, so how do those training to be a coach understand their own process of becoming? Coaching practitioner Liam Moore and Juliette Koning of Oxford Brookes University, examine the research As the coaching industry has grown, so has the number of people training to be a coach. However, little is understood about the process of becoming a coach. We feel there is value in exploring this, as the self-reflection inherent in the process could support coaches and coaches-to-be in their continuing professional development (CPD). The following is based on research conducted into what […]


Overcoming a deficit perception of leader development Dr Elaine Cox and Dr Mike McLaughlin assess if coaching can address the deficit model commonly used for leadership capability in order to provide more holistic development, delivering not only skills, but also bravery Traditional leadership development takes a variety of forms and is supported by a multiplicity of theories, all aimed at enhancing leadership capability (Hanson, 2013). It appears, however, that each of these theories is promoting the idea of doing things differently in relation to leadership initiatives, such as leading change, transformation or inspiring people. At first glance, this makes sense […]


Rob Wood, of the University of Southampton and Claudia Filsinger, of Oxford Brookes University Business School, review the potential of an emerging career concept and its application in coaching practice By Rob Wood and Claudia Filsinger   The context of careers has been changing over the past decades. Economical, technological and social changes, such as globalisation, improvement of virtual working technologies and abolishment of the default retirement age, are just some examples of factors that have an impact on the nature of contemporary careers (Inkson et al., 2015). This has facilitated the emergence of new career models, with a decreasing […]


As we try to identify good coaches and ensure some quality control, is it time to review our competencies, asks Dr Carmelina Lawton-Smith of Oxford Brookes University Business School How would you recognise a good coach? It’s a challenge that so many individuals and organisations wrestle with. Often the approach is based on little more than trial and error. Yet we know that knowledge and experience in a field may be a very poor reflection of coaching expertise. Knowledge of an industry can generate collusion and a consultancy mentality. Often, the contact is initiated by personal recommendation, but we know […]


RESEARCH By Dr Carmelina Lawton-Smith Positive psychology is now a popular topic in coaching, with many publications demonstrating the value of positive interventions (Driver, 2011; Boniwell et al, 2014). The key idea put forward by this approach is that psychology has spent too long studying individuals who are unwell, to try to draw lessons about the human condition. We now need to study those who are thriving and flourishing to define the conditions for optimal functioning. Then we can use that knowledge to create interventions and tools to help others. This focus on optimal functioning demonstrates clear synergy with coaching […]


How does coaching work? Dr Adrian Myers, senior lecturer, faculty of business, Oxford Brookes University, examines ways we can look at the process and how we separate the web of causes and effects Coaches gain a sense of the benefits of coaching whether expressed in the changes of one client or at a broader organisational level. Demonstrating the effectiveness of coaching beyond subjective reports of client or coach is difficult because it first requires outlining clear outcome criteria and then measuring these over time. Disentangling the web of causes and effects makes it problematic to relate coaching to eventual financial […]


In the latest in our series of columns looking at coaching and mentoring-related research, Lis Merrick explores whether the gender of our clients is relevant in the coaching dialogue – and whether we should we coach to it Social science research, popular myths, fairy tales, films and any number of psychological studies suggest men and women develop and behave differently. Putting media gender stereotypes to one side, there do seem to be core differences between men and women. Beginning with the ground-breaking work of psychologist Carol Gilligan1, research suggests that in childhood and adolescence, men and women learn differently and […]


Being present is the magic ingredient in all coaching conversations, and mindfulness practice can further develop it. In fact, there are so many overlaps that it’s sometimes hard to distinguish between the two concepts, says Roland Spencer, associate lecturer at the Sheffield Business School Anyone actively and passionately involved with coaching and mentoring will have read about the continuing ascendancy of mindfulness and associated techniques used by practitioners. I am intrigued by this phenomenon, and it raises a question in my mind: in a client conversation, is there any significant difference between ‘being present’ and ‘being mindful’? In order for […]

Mentors help women get ahead

How can we build women’s confidence at work? A new guide shows businesses how to implement programmes to help women reach top leadership roles

Mentoring is the most important thing Women in Leadership programmes can offer women, suggests a guide from the CIPD and 02.

Almost half (47%) of the women interviewed for the study, Breaking the Boardroom: A Guide for British Businesses, would value highly a mentor from such a programme. The overwhelming majority of the women surveyed expressed the importance of individual and personalised support, from a mentor, coach or official sponsor, over and above their line manager.

The research identified three obstacles holding women back in
their careers: lack of confidence, of networking and difficulties in being comfortable with being themselves.

Coaching corridors of opportunity

RESEARCH ‘Coachable moments’ play an important part in coaching cultures, yet research in Australia shows that managers consider informal settings too much of a risk Australian managers are failing to take advantage of informal ‘coachable moments’ with their staff, citing time constraints, concerns about insufficient skills and relationship issues, preferring instead to conduct ‘less risky’ formal coaching with employees in a structured setting. Christina Turner of Queensland University of Technology and Grace McCarthy of Sydney Business School, University of Wollongong, interviewed 10 managers from a regional university in Australia, from 24 who had attended coaching awareness training in the preceding […]