Transformative Coaching

A learning theory for practice

Paperback / softback, 149 pages, 234 mm x 156 mm
1 Jun 2011
Institute of Education

Price: £22.99

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Why publish another book on coaching? While there are numerous books covering coaching tools and techniques, most share a common focus on goal-setting and goal achievement. This book offers a rare alternative perspective that focuses on reflective learning as the starting point for professional growth, and illustrates how coaches can apply this approach in coaching meetings. Drawing on their research and experiences of developing professional learning programmes for coaches, the authors identify three kinds of learning in coaching: - the learning of new skills and competences - learning to see something differently - learning more about the self in practice (reflective learning). The authors contend that while learning of the first and second kinds are well supported in coaching practice, more attention to learning of the third kind is needed. An emphasis on self-reflection, for both coaches and coachees, can lead to more effective, transformative and sustained change to practice. Using case studies and examples of successful coaching meetings, this thought-provoking book explores this reflective model of coaching. It also examines current debates in coaching; issues to do with self-identity and power relationships; why peer coaching and supervision are important; and how coaching can play a significant role in an organisation’s learning. Transformative Coaching will be especially useful for coaches and students of coaching working in education organisations, including those who offer accredited coaching courses. It is also relevant to all learning professionals, particularly from the education, medical, legal and social services sector and to any organisations that place importance on supporting learning.

  • Susan Askew

    Susan Askew is course leader for the MA in Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment at the Institute of Education, University of London (IOE). As well as being a lecturer and researcher, during the twenty years that Sue has worked at the IOE she has liaised closely with Staff Development to offer a variety of professional learning courses for colleagues. She also works as a coach in organisations herself and is most interested in how coaching can support personal growth and professional change.

  • Eileen Carnell

    Eileen Carnell is a freelance writer and educational consultant. Throughout her career, Eileen's main research focus has been on learning in formal settings with young people and their teachers and also in other contexts, including museums and galleries. Eileen still enjoys supporting people's learning on a one-to-one basis as a mentor and a coach and volunteer. Eileen's recent co-authored book, Retiring Lives, was also published by the IOE.

1 Introduction Why another book on coaching? The coach-learn relationship The coach-learning group The organisation, coaching and learning Issues of self-identity and empowerment Who the book is written for A word on language Making our own learning explicit 2 Locating coaching: Context and critiques The current context: Why has coaching become so widespread? Value and purposes of coaching Some criticisms of coaching The apolitical nature of coaching The hidden cultural assumptions 3 Learning in coaching: A theoretical perspective Different understandings of learning Learning to act in the environment (skills and competencies) The goal-centred approach to coaching Learning for personal meaning and understanding A personal meaning approach to coaching Reflective learning leading to perspective transformation A perspective transformation approach to coaching 4 Professional learning for coaching Values in training for task related performance Values in learning for personal meaning and understanding Values in reflective learning for perspective transformation The professional learning of the coach Learning at the two levels of consciousness On-going professional learning and supervision What is understood by ‘supervision’? The need for supervision Group supervision and learning groups Professional learning in action - a case study 5 Coaching for a reflective learning organisation Learning organisations Becoming a reflective organisation Using coaching skills to support the reflective organisation Developing congruence through policy and practice across the organisation What helps and constrains organisational learning? Cultural dimensions affecting organisational learning Peer coaching groups versus external coaches for organisational learning Professional learning and coaching in one organisation 6 Self-identity, coaching and reflective learning Exploring the concept of self-identity The inter-relationship between self-identity and worker-identity Self-identity and personal dispositions in a learning organisation Self-identity and coaching Developing a robust self-identity at work Facing transitions 7 Coaching for empowerment Social theories of empowerment Power, status and control in organisations Organisational issues in relation to coaching for empowerment Crossing the psychological/socio-political divide Individual psychological theories of empowerment Self-determination The practice of coaching for empowerment The process of empowerment The drama triangle A further thought on empowerment 8 Coaching for learning: issues in practice Our values in relation to coaching for learning Principles underpinning coaching for learning practice Learning is actively facilitated A language for learning Boundaries are strictly adhered to Facilitating learning in a coaching meeting Exploration Learning Actions for change Meta-learning Repeating the cycle Challenges in facilitating reflective learning Resistance Ambivalence 9 Reflections on transformative coaching Coaching to support transformative professional learning Coaching for perspective transformation The affective dimension of transformative coaching Closing thoughts

It is refreshing to have a book that focuses on coaching as a professional learning activity and incorporates a real recognition of the theories and hidden assumptions that underpin it. The authors integrate a powerful mix of critical theory and practical suggestions, which is something missing from other coaching texts.

Elaine Cox, Oxford Brookes University

This wonderful, wise and challenging book appeals to me because it sees coaching as learning-centred rather than goal-oriented; it addresses the critical perspective on coaching as a 'tool' to ensure that workers are even more productive and reliable in the global capitalist context; it focuses on learning more about the self in practice; and it addresses coaching culture through links between the learning organisation and a reflective model of coaching.

David Megginson, Emeritus Professor of HRD, Sheffield Business School

Drawing on concepts of reflective and transformational learning, this book skilfully applies these sophisticated theories to a coaching protocol. Refreshingly scrupulous in their terminology and perceptive in their analysis, Askew and Carnell take an approach that is both intellectually sophisticated and demystifying. They discuss issues such as identity and empowerment with a persuasive blend of research and argument, exploring areas of knowledge that are critical if coaching is to become a more solidly grounded discipline. This is a thoughtful, scholarly, and at the same time eminently practical book for coaches.

Leni Wildflower,

This is a book that certainly made me reflect on my coaching. Deeply thought-provoking and relevant, it clearly, and unashamedly, puts learning as the main purpose for coaching to bring about greater levels of meaning and change for the coachee, coach and organisation. In short, Transformative Coaching is a remarkable piece of work for any 'learner', or practising coach, at any stage of their ongoing professional development.

Katherine Tulpa,

Carnell and Askew offer a range of helpful ideas and advice to assist coaches in their collaborations with learners, and illustrate their points with useful examples and case studies. An excellent, readable guide.

Gill Boag-Munroe,

Transformative Coaching is an example of triple-loop learning in action. Through reflecting on their experience of establishing and sustaining a well-designed peer coaching programme within their organisation, the authors explain the multi-level outcomes achieved in terms of adult and organisational learning theory. The new spin they give to the familiar theory adds a whole new layer to our understanding of the coaching process and ties it up to change and transformation at the organisational level.

Aly McNicoll,

I would recommend this book to both practitioners and course leaders as adding valuable insight and proposals within the emergent discourse and practice of coaching.

Dr Janice Dexter, The Bulletin of the Association of Coaching

...the value of this book for me lies in its capacity to stimulate debate about the relative primacy and onus on client or coachee learning that takes place within the coaching process.

Paul Dixon, SDF Update

...influential on my practice as a lecturer... give[s] helpful guidance as to how organisations can become effective and sustainable reflective learning organisations... Their stance is compelling, thought-provoking and deeply exciting with its potential for a collaborative approach to personal development.

Caroline Leeson, Journal of Education for Teaching: International research and pedagogy, 38:2, 221-223