Where we have been, where we are now, and where we might be heading : Where next for the coaching relationship?


  • Alanna O'Broin




The advent of the current stage of coaching research seeking to identify how coaching works, or the ‘active ingredients’ of coaching has taken coaching relationship research into a more prominent position. In exploring the questions of what we know about the coaching relationship and its role in coaching and coaching outcomes, and how we might go about finding out more, this article overviews the coaching relationship research in the coaching context of certain prevailing assumptions: that coaching works, the functional similarity of the coaching relationship with the therapeutic relationship, and that the coaching relationship is an ‘active ingredient’ of coaching. In the process, this exercise raises emerging issues of the definition of coaching, the definition of the coaching relationship, and measurement of the coaching relationship, which it is proposed are considerations when contemplating coaching relationship research studies and in our evidence-based approach to coaching practice. Suggestions for future research studies are made based on this discussion.






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