Thesis (Ph.D)

Experiencing Coaching for the First Time: First Coaching Sessions from the Executive Client’s Perspective


Background: Executive coaching has become a mainstay of leadership development practice worldwide. Some aspects of executive coaching such as return on investment are well studied, but the client experience of coaching is underexplored. This study aims to describe how clients perceive their first coaching experience and create a conceptual model of this experience to guide coaching practice. Methodology: 15 executives who had previously experienced their first coaching session took part in semi-structured interviews. The analysis of the interview protocols wasbased on Grounded Theory methodology. Results:Reports of client experiences were used to develop a conceptual Discovering, Agency, Roles, Expectations (DARE) model. The client experience of executive coaching is saturated with discoveries. Discovering of coaching, oneself and also a view of one’s potential from one’s own and third party perspectives are at the heart of the executive coaching experience. Perceptions of the experience are further influenced by client expectations, the conditions surrounding coaching and the different roles taken by coach and client. A sequence of agency emerged from the analysis. Conclusions: The thesis explores the implications of the emerging model of the first experience and how coaches can use this understanding of the coaching experience to enhance the client experience. Further research is needed into some aspects of the experience, such as the roles of coach and client and prevalence of discovering as a core experience in subsequent coaching sessions.

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Karboul, A

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Business
Business School


Year: 2014

© Karboul, A
Published by Oxford Brookes University
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