Journal Article

The Rashomon effect in the perception of coaching sessions and what this means for the evaluation of the quality: A grounded theory study


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.

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Myers, Adrian
Bachkirova, Tatiana

Oxford Brookes departments

Oxford Brookes Business School\Oxford Brookes Business School\Department of Business and Management