A critical analysis of the conceptualisation of ‘coaching philosophy’

Chris Cushion, Mark Partington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)
8175 Downloads (Pure)


The aim of this paper was to critically review existing literature relating to, and critically analyse current conceptualisations of, ‘coaching philosophy’. The review reveals a bewildering approach to definitions, terms and frameworks that have limited explanation and reveal a lack of conceptual clarity. It is argued that rather than provide clarification and understanding the existing literature conflates coaching rhetoric and ideology with coaching philosophy and serves to reproduce existing coaching discourse rather than explain coaching practice. The paper problematises the unquestioned assumptions currently underpinning ‘coaching philosophy’; namely the overemphasis of coaches’ agency and reflexivity, the downplaying of the significance of social structure on coaches’ dispositions and the acceptance that coaching practice is an entirely conscious activity. The paper argues for an alternative philosophy of coaching that uses philosophic thinking to help coaches question existing ideology, and critically evaluate the assumptions and beliefs underpinning their practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851-867
Number of pages17
JournalSport, Education and Society
Issue number6
Early online date23 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2016


  • Coach education
  • Coaching
  • Coaching discourse
  • Coaching philosophy
  • Ideology
  • Philosophical enquiry

Research Groups

  • Practice in Coaching & Teaching


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