Home Concepts Best Practices What Is Coaching? What Isn’t Coaching? Where are the Boundaries?

What Is Coaching? What Isn’t Coaching? Where are the Boundaries?

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Although the results from this sample of 41 coaches did not allow us to distinguish clear subgroups of coaches and coaching styles, it is possible that future research involving more and/or different coaches would lead to different results. For example, coaches who practice eclectically, combining different methods and frameworks, may make it difficult to tease out subtle differences in coaching styles. Comparing a group of psychodynamic coaches to a group of gestalt or behavioral coaches might lead to clearer differences between those groups of coaches. It is also possible that some of the more seemingly apparent differences between coaching approaches involve the language and labels used by each approach. In attempting to remove “jargon” from our items, we may have removed some of the potential differentiators between approaches. At the same time, if the differences are, in fact, based more on language and labels than on what coaches actually do, this raises the question of how important these differences actually are in coaching sessions and outcomes.

Although we piloted using the instrument using Q methodology and participants sorted the 80 items into a forced distribution, future researchers might wish to use the same items (or a subset of these items) with ratings on a Likert scale (e.g., from -5 to +5) for greater simplicity and ease of use. It would also be interesting to evaluate the 80 items psychometrically to see how well these items reflect what is and isn’t happening in a coaching sessions (or across coaching sessions) and whether the list of items needs any fine-tuning.

Going forward, we hope that this tool can be used in future research to better define and understand coaching, as well as by coaches, teachers, and supervisors to explore how coaches think about and practice coaching. Coaches involved in the development and piloting of the Coaching Process Q-set often told us that they found the process useful in thinking about their own coaching and we hope that this can help to move coaching research and practice forward as our field continues to mature.

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