Coaching Philosophy

Mark Partington, Christopher Cushion

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‘Coaching philosophy’ is a term frequently used in coaching research and everyday coaching discourse. However, it is a term that remains ill-defined and poorly conceptualised resulting in considerable misuse and misunderstanding. In addition instead of providing clarification, limited past studies and anecdotal literature have provided a confusion of rhetoric philosophy and ideological statements of intent instead of true philosophical underpinnings that guide a coach’s practice. The research conducted specifically in coaching tends to describe a philosophy as a set of beliefs and values (i.e. Schempp, McCullick & Busch, 2006; Nash, Sproule & Horton, 2008; Bennie & O’Connor, 2010; Collins & Barbour, 2011; Cushion, Ford & Williams, 2012). This research tends to use a singular approach usually written statements or interviews with coaches (i.e. Nash et al., 2008; Robbins, Houston & Dummer, 2010; Bennie & O’Connor, 2010; Collins & Barber, 2011; Camire, Trudel & Forneris, 2012). Research has therefore failed to see past simplistic coach descriptions and identify what a true coach philosophy consists of and how this underpins behaviour and practice. The current understanding therefore needs to be explored using empirical research to identify the true philosophical underpinning of what guides coaches’ actions. Researchers need to ask philosophical questions to identify what a coaching philosophy actually contains (Drew, 2000; Hardman & Jones, 2008). Therefore this research is looking at coaching philosophy through a philosophical lens using philosophical terms. Although there is a paradox on what a coaching philosophy actually consists of researchers (e.g. Voight & Carroll, 2006; Collins, Gould, Lauer & Yongchul, 2009; Careless & Douglas, 2011) still highlight that a philosophy underpins everything a coach does. Understanding coaching philosophy could be seen as the corner stone of coaching with it underpinning all coaches’ behaviour and practice. Therefore identifying what really underpins a coach’s philosophy through philosophical questions will help academics and coach education gain a more realistic understanding of a complex area of interest. The purpose of this study is to understand what a coaching philosophy consists of and how it is implemented and developed to help inform coach education in the development of coaches’ behaviour and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2013
Event2nd International Coaching Conference - Wychwood Park Conference Centre, Crewe, United Kingdom
Duration: 22 Jun 201323 Jun 2013


Conference2nd International Coaching Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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