Psychological Contracts in Coaching

DProf thesis

Stewart, A. 2017. Psychological Contracts in Coaching. DProf thesis Middlesex University Institute for Work Based Learning
TypeDProf thesis
TitlePsychological Contracts in Coaching
AuthorsStewart, A.

The research sets out to explore the influence of the coach’s unconscious mind on the coaching process and to the answer the question, How does the coach’s unconscious mind influence the coaching process?
This research is based on the psychodynamic concept that the unconscious mind is omnipresent and a strong influence on thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and sought to ascertain the extent to which the coach’s unconscious mind is at work in the coaching process. Brunning (2006) suggests that the term psychodynamic links psycho (from the psyche Greek meaning soul or mind) and dynamic (from the Greek dynamis, meaning strength or power). Thus, psychodynamic work is based on ways of understanding how the mental forces operating intrapersonally and interpersonally in and between individuals and groups affect their thinking and behaviour.
It involves eight participants, all of whom are professionally trained and accredited coaches, working in the public sector in Scotland as either internal or external coaches. The research invited participants to explore their lived experience in relation to the intrapersonal process; the interpersonal process, relationships with parties to the coaching contract and the coaching process. The data collection followed three distinct yet inter-related stages, engaging participants in semi-structured interviews using metaphor, symbolic representation and creation of metaphoric landscapes, culminating in indirect observation of the coach at work.
The narrative is a journey of discovery for both the researcher and the participants, with data emerging that identifies the coach’s relationship not only with the external parties but also with the different parts of self. In the three stages of this journey, the participants travel from mental activity, reflecting on lived experience, perceptions and events, to the exploration of mental process and constructs which are inferred, discovered and translated into conscious awareness throughout the research interviews.
The professional significance of this research is the consideration of where the need for psychological awareness sits within the context of professional coach education and accreditation, which moves the coach beyond technique to psychological understanding, self-awareness and self-regulation.

Research GroupWork and Learning Research Centre
Department nameInstitute for Work Based Learning
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print26 Jun 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited26 Jun 2017
Accepted10 May 2017
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
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