Coaching in Professional Contexts


Christian Van Nieuwerburgh

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    Praise for the Book

    ‘For years, I have turned to Christian van Nieuwerburgh to help me grow as a coach. This volume is yet another feather in his cap. Included within is a conceptual jump forward in the conversation about coaching: now that coaching is an established discipline it is time that we shift our focus to nuanced and contextual factors. Once again, van Nieuwerburgh proves that he is a pioneering thought leader in coaching. He has assembled a strong line-up of contributing authors.’

    Dr Robert Biswas-Diener, Coach and Wellbeing Researcher

    ‘Christian van Nieuwerburgh has brought an expert team of authors to reflect on the current state of best practice for coaching managers and senior employees across the breadth of professional services, with compelling insights and practical wisdom for all.’

    Professor Andrew Godley, Director of Henley Centre of Entrepreneurship, Henley Business School

    ‘This is a wonderfully accessible and practical book bringing together insights into specific professional contexts and implications for coaching. It provides some excellent evidence-based coaching tips as well as tips around operating within these various professional contexts. A must-have book for the coach’s bookshelf.’

    Ruth Hayes, Director, Felix Consulting and President, University of Sydney Coaching and Mentoring Alumni Chapter

    ‘This insightful book raises and addresses the important issues associated with coaching in professional contexts. It will stimulate reflective practice for both trainee and experienced coaches. I congratulate Christian van Nieuwerburgh on editing this excellent book.’

    Professor Stephen Palmer, President, International Society for Coaching Psychology

    ‘This book provides an opportunity to explore and understand coaching in different environments and will develop confidence in coaches looking to broaden their remit, educate new coaches and allow us all to consider the opportunities that exist in our professional industry. It is written by smart, trusted experts and curated by one of our profession’s innovative thinkers.’

    Helen Tiffany, Managing Director, The Coach House and Past Vice Chair, Association for Coaching

    ‘In describing clearly and in detail how coaching is used in a variety of professional contexts, this book prompts the reader to reflect upon their own experiences of coaching and to consider how to assimilate ideas from other settings. A valuable, thought-provoking and practical contribution to the coaching literature and profession.’

    Professor Bob Thomson, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick

    About the Editor and Chapter Authors

    Christian van Nieuwerburgh is Associate Professor of Coaching at Henley Business School. Seen as an international authority in the field of coaching, he regularly speaks at conferences in the USA, Europe, Australia and the Middle East. He is well published in the field of coaching and is the author of An Introduction to Coaching Skills: A Practical Guide (Sage, 2014). As Managing Director of Growth Coaching (UK) and Growth Coaching Online, Christian is committed to supporting the development of coaching in educational settings. Students, delegates, clients and peers describe him as an inspirational educator and empowering coach.

    John Ainley is CEO of Alexander, the UK’s most experienced provider of senior leadership coaching. He is a sought-after advisor and leader in business, culture and leadership, and over the past ten years he has built long-term deep trust partnerships with the world’s top leaders, executive coaches and thought leaders. His work is characterised by a genuinely authentic approach to helping leaders simultaneously grow and lead exceptional lives and careers. He supports leadership teams to craft strategies that engage leaders and their followers to deliver change and outstanding business results.

    Veronica Barnes is an experienced and highly motivated people development professional, with a passion for coaching. She worked for the Open University for 24 years, latterly as Head of Learning and Organisational Development. During this time she initiated a coaching programme, which led to the development of over 50 internal coaches and the foundations for a coaching culture at the university. She is a qualified coach and coach supervisor. She has spoken and written widely on developing and nurturing internal coaches. She now works as an independent coach and coaching supervisor.

    John Campbell is the Executive Director of Growth Coaching International where he leads a team of coaches and facilitators that provides coaching and coach training services to educators across Australia, the Asia Pacific region and the UK. He is an experienced and inspirational executive coach and facilitator. In addition to his teaching qualifications he holds Master’s degrees in Organisational Communication (University of Technology, Sydney) and in the Psychology of Coaching (University of Sydney).

    Esther Cavett is an executive and career coach. Trained in psychological coaching, she was previously a senior partner in a large City law firm and a professional musician. She has coached in private practice and with various coaching and counselling organisations, working with people in occupations ranging from business and law to education, charity and the arts. She runs two mentoring programmes, one for maternity returners in the City and one for the business mentoring of early career professional musicians. She writes regularly on coaching-related topics and has an interest in the transfer of skills from one area of expertise to another.

    Alex Couley is a director and principal trainer at the International Centre for Leadership Coaching. A leading expert in coaching, Alex is one of the Founding Fellows of the Institute of Coaching. He provides coaching to leaders across the globe and has trained more than one thousand workers in coaching methodologies, positive psychology and mental health interventions throughout Australia. He assisted numerous organisations to develop wellbeing programmes for their employees and has consulted on the implementation of coaching cultures. Alex has gained a significant reputation as a coach trainer and specifically in training managers to utilise coaching in the workplace.

    Samantha Darby is People and Leadership Consultant at West Midlands Employers, responsible for the day-to-day management of the West Midlands Coaching and Mentoring Pool. Samantha has been involved in developing the pool since it began in 2007. She has led on the evaluation of all aspects of the project and worked with experts to create appropriate training and supervision support. Samantha has also been involved in supporting a number of leadership and development programmes from first line to manager to aspiring CEOs, and is a qualified executive coach.

    Sarah Dudney is a business coach and founder of Ignite, an organisation that provides career coaching, outplacement and development services. She has over ten years’ experience of search and recruitment in the City of London, working with asset management houses, banks and family offices in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America. Sarah has been writing on career management, recruitment and related issues in financial services for the Financial Times, Investment Pensions Europe, Professional Investor and Global Investor since 2005. Her earlier career was spent in Edinburgh working for AEGON in a corporate planning role.

    Caroline Flin is an executive coach and leadership specialist working across a range of industries, including Professional Services. She is also a researcher in Psychology with a special interest in coaching, working on a number of projects through the University of East London. Previously, Caroline spent more than 15 years in corporate learning and development and was Head of Coaching at a ‘Big Four’ Professional Services Firm. She has a strong track record in developing internal coaching programmes and has designed and delivered learning solutions to UK and international audiences.

    Emma Fowler is Director of Free Your Career Ltd. She is also an international executive coach and business consultant. Emma spent many years living in Asia and has experience of working with clients internationally. She has a BSc in Experimental Psychology and is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Coaching Psychology. In her spare time, Emma is Trustee of the UK charity Shark Guardian. She is a committee member in her local tennis club and enjoys a wide range of hobbies including triathlon.

    Suzy Green is a clinical and coaching psychologist and founder of The Positivity Institute. She is a leader in the complementary fields of Coaching Psychology and Positive Psychology. She lectured on Applied Positive Psychology for the Coaching Psychology Unit at the University of Sydney for ten years, and is an Honorary Vice President of the International Society for Coaching Psychology. Suzy is currently Adjunct Professor in the School of Business, University of Western Sydney, and holds honorary academic positions at the University of Wollongong, University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education, and the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education, Australian Catholic University.

    Rachel Hawley is a senior lecturer at the Centre for Leadership in Health and Social Care, Sheffield Hallam University, and founder of Change Comes From Within Consulting. Holding a Master’s degree in Coaching and Mentoring from Sheffield Business School, she is currently working towards her doctorate in Professional Studies. Rachel has over 25 years’ experience of working with a wide range of public sector organisations at local, regional, national and European levels, where patient, public, learner and staff engagement has extensively underpinned her experience. She is experienced in managing high profile national projects and skilled in providing expert consultancy.

    Ioanna Iordanou is a senior lecturer in Human Resource Management (Coaching and Mentoring) at Oxford Brookes University. Her research centres on the benefits of embedding coaching training and creative experiential learning in management education. As a coaching researcher and practitioner, she has a keen interest in the grounding of coaching as a stand-alone profession through empirical research. She is currently co-authoring a book on values and ethics in coaching with Rachel Hawley. She holds a PhD, an MA, and two professional qualifications in coaching from the University of Warwick.

    Clive Leach works as an evidence-based organisational coach and facilitator providing executive, leadership and career development coaching, workshops and presentations within the government, education and corporate sectors. He is currently based in London but his practice extends to Asia and Australia. His recent experience includes designing and facilitating ‘Positive Education’ programmes supporting university and school leadership teams, faculty, students and parents. Clive is a graduate of the Master of Organisational Coaching programme at the University of Sydney. He is also the lead author of ‘Flourishing Young People’ featured in the peer-reviewed Journal of Evidenced-based Coaching & Mentoring.

    Agnieszka M. Lech is a chartered psychologist and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Throughout her education and work experience, she has gained a broad understanding of the various aspects of training, coaching and teaching. She studied psychology in Poland and Canada and completed her MSc in Psychology at the University of Silesia in 2006. In 2012 she completed her PhD in Psychology (University of Kent). In addition, she has postgraduate qualifications in Coaching Psychology (University of East London) and in Journalism (University of Silesia), as well as an Award in Leadership Coaching and Mentoring (Chartered Management Institute).

    Ian McIntosh is a career coach, studying for an MSc in Career Coaching at the University of East London. Ian previously qualified as a lawyer, spending over 20 years as a corporate partner with law firm Addleshaw Goddard LLP, where he chaired the firm’s partner development programme. His current career coaching practice includes a coaching role within the University of York’s careers team, and his individual coaching practice has a particular focus on clients within the professional services sector.

    Julia Milner is an award-winning practitioner and academic in the area of leadership development, coaching and high performing organisational cultures. She is an Associate Professor in Organisational Psychology at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in China, Honorary Associate Professor at the Sydney Business School (University of Wollongong) Visiting Professor at a Business School in Finland, and has worked at several universities in Australia and Europe. Julia is a director at the International Centre for Leadership Coaching (ICLC) and has received a German Coaching Award for her industry work. As a business coach and management consultant, she has worked with several large consultancies and international companies.

    Lindsay G. Oades is an Associate Professor of Positive Psychology at the Centre for Positive Psychology, University of Melbourne. Lindsay’s expertise in clinical, coaching and positive psychology is applied in business, health and education sectors. Lindsay has over 100 refereed journal articles, book chapters or books published or in press. As co-editor of the International Journal of Wellbeing, and on the Scientific Advisory Committee at the Institute of Coaching, McLean Hospital/Harvard, combined with being an associate of Maudsley International, Lindsay seeks to make a contribution to wellbeing in an international context.

    Julia Sinclair is a qualified and experienced career and personal development coach with an extensive background in HR, recruitment and learning and development within the private and public sector. Her particular area of expertise over recent years has been within the medical field, providing career support ranging from medical school applicants to senior qualified doctors. She is dedicated to developing and supporting others to achieve their full potential and gain the confidence and skills required to fulfil their career journeys. She possesses a Postgraduate Diploma in Career Coaching and is a qualified trainer (CIPD), stress management practitioner and counsellor.

    Gordon Spence is a course director of the Master of Business Coaching at Sydney Business School, University of Wollongong. He holds a PhD in coaching psychology from the University of Sydney and has over 12 years’ postgraduate teaching experience in business coaching and employee wellbeing. He has maintained a private practice throughout. Gordon researches employee engagement, peak performance, mindfulness and the relational aspects of coaching. He has published several book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles on these topics. He is past co-chair of the Science Advisory Council, Institute of Coaching, McLean Hospital/Harvard, and is currently co-editing The SAGE Handbook of Coaching.

    Tim Theeboom is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Amsterdam (Work and Organisational Psychology Department). In his research, he focuses on the effectiveness of coaching in organisational settings and is especially interested in how coaches can facilitate the self-regulatory and problem-solving capacities of coachees. Tim also lectures on coaching psychology and career management (Master’s level courses), and besides his work as an academic he also works as an organisational consultant (and coach) for the Positive Psychology Institute, and is a member of the Special Group in Coaching Psychology for the Dutch National Institute of Psychology (NIP).

    Vivien Walton is a partner in The Dearden Partnership, and a coaching psychologist and personal and organisation development consultant who has been coaching in healthcare settings for 15 years. Viv also provides leadership and behavioural assessment to support the appointment of senior clinicians and executives, mainly in the NHS, through the company that she founded, Dearden Search and Selection. She has degrees in Economics and Psychology and a Master’s in Coaching Psychology.

    Mary Watts is an independent consultant, coaching psychologist and educator specialising in personal and professional learning and change. She is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at City University, London, where she was formerly Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning. She is currently Director of Meyler Campbell Business Coach Programme. She is a Chartered Psychologist specialising in counselling, health and coaching psychology and a BPS Registered Supervisor. She is former chair of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Counselling Psychology, the Psychotherapy Implementation Group and the Special Group in Coaching Psychology. Mary has considerable experience working with senior leaders in the context of organisational change.

    Colin Williams is the Director of West Midlands Employers (WME) and leads the ongoing development and delivery of the support and services provided to Local Authorities and other public sector employers across and beyond the region. Covering a wide array of human resource and organisational development issues at a local, regional and national level, Colin has developed a strong reputation for adding value and innovating. He trained as a coach as part of the West Midlands Coaching and Mentoring Pool, and with the support of an excellent team at WME has successfully developed a range of effective and highly valued collaborative arrangements.

    Julia Yates is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of East London. She is also the programme leader for the MSc in Career Coaching. She has worked as a practitioner, director, trainer and writer in the field of career coaching for 15 years. Her research interests include the application of coaching tools to career work, career image, career decision making and pedagogical approaches. As a practitioner turned academic, Julia is passionate about strengthening links between the research community and career practitioners. Her recently published work, The Career Coaching Handbook (Routledge, 2013), provides an analysis of how career development theory can be applied in practice.


    This book has been a pleasure to edit because of the wonderful people who have provided the chapters, case studies and frameworks and so my heartfelt thanks go firstly to them. I am particularly grateful for their thoughtful and thought-provoking contributions. It has been a great honour to collaborate with each of the 40 contributors. Their commitment, insights and good humour have made this a very enjoyable project.

    Editing this book has allowed me to reflect on the professional contexts in which I work. Making a living in the field of coaching allows me to work with some amazing people.

    I’d like to start by thanking everyone involved with the West Midlands Coaching Pool, particularly Samantha Darby and Rebecca Davies. This is where I developed my passion for coaching and the impact it can have within professional contexts.

    I am also grateful to colleagues at the various higher education institutions for whom I have worked. My first academic role in the field of coaching was at the School of Psychology at the University of East London (UEL). I would like to thank Prof. Mark Davies, Dr Aneta Tunariu and Prof. Irvine Gersch for their professional and personal support. I’d also like to particularly thank Julia Yates, Dr Ashok Jansari, Dr Nash Popovic, Dr Tim Lomas, Dr Itai Ivtzan and Dr Kate Hefferon for their friendship and collegiality during my time at UEL. I have also appreciated the opportunity to work with Dr Ilona Boniwell on the International MSc in Applied Positive Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University. Working at Henley Business School is both a joy and a privilege and I am thankful for the warm welcome of colleagues. I am particularly grateful to Prof. Abby Ghobadian and Dr Patricia Bossons who have been very supportive to me during my early days at Henley. Working with passionate, motivated and ambitious postgraduate students at all of these institutions has been incredibly rewarding and inspiring.

    I am thankful too for the opportunity to work on consultancy and training projects through a number of organisations. Through Growth Coaching United Kingdom and Growth Coaching Online I have been able to do some of the work that is closest to my heart: coaching in education. I am glad of the opportunity to work with and learn from my good friend and colleague, John Campbell. It’s a great privilege to be able to work both with him and the Growth Coaching International team in Australia. I’d like to thank Andrea Giraldez, Margaret Barr and Andrea Berkeley for their enthusiasm and commitment to Growth Coaching work in the United Kingdom. AQR in the UK and Al-Rowad in the United Arab Emirates have allowed me to undertake consultancy and training in different parts of the world. I am grateful to them for allowing me to do this valuable and enjoyable work. Special thanks are also due to Doug Strycharczyk, Prof. Peter Clough and Helen Murray at AQR, and my friend Alaa Omar at Al-Rowad.

    The opportunity to speak at conferences on coaching and positive psychology has allowed me to collaborate with some wonderful people. I am particularly grateful for any chance to meet and work with Dr Jim Knight of the Impact Research Lab in the USA, Helen Tiffany from The Coach House in the UK, Dr Suzy Green, Clive Leach and Claudia Owad of the Positivity Institute in Australia, and Andrew Stainer from the Helmsman Project.

    This is my second book for Sage. Hopefully, there will be more to come! The professional support of the team is without equal. They are masters of dissemination. They are able to take thoughts and help transmit them to a global audience. Particular thanks are due to my editor Laura Walmsley who has supported me throughout the project, and Kate Wharton who initially commissioned this book.

    As always, I greatly appreciate the wonderful support and warmth that I receive from my family as I consistently blur the lines between ‘work’ and ‘life’! Special thanks are due to Cathia Jenainati, Christian Arthur van Nieuwerburgh and Tsuyu Tsuchida for their unconditional love. The Jenainati family are a consistent source of encouragement, kindness and support.

    But the most important acknowledgement should go to you, the reader. Without you and your interest in the application of coaching within organisational settings, this book would not have been published. All of us who have contributed to its creation hope you will find it to be of value. I also hope that it will play some part in supporting you to achieve what you aspire to.

    Companion Website

    This book is accompanied by a companion website hosting 24 specially commissioned case studies, written by specialist practitioners. These case studies illustrate in practice some of the key theory and ideas around working in different coaching contexts that you have read in the book. Below is the complete list of case studies you can find on the website,

    Coaching for Careers and Professional Development
    • Case Study 1: Coaching using career theories

      Michelle Pritchard

    • Case Study 2: Coaching mid-life career change

      Julia Yates

    • Case Study 3: Coaching to ‘get back on track’

      Julia Heynat

    Coaching in the Financial Services Industry
    • Case Study 4: Executive coaching for top team members

      Andrew Sheridan

    • Case Study 5: Using a coaching approach with the executive team

      John Ainley

    • Case Study 6: Leadership development in a multinational bank

      Emma Fowler

    Coaching within Professional Services Firms
    • Case Study 7: Preferred supplier list assessment and selection process

      Caroline Flin

    • Case Study 8: Transition to partner programme

      Lucy Mair

    Coaching in Local Government
    • Case Study 9: West Midlands Coaching and Mentoring Pool

      Samantha Darby and Colin Williams

    Coaching in Healthcare Settings
    • Case Study 10: Career coaching for a doctor

      Julia Sinclair

    • Case Study 11: Coaching assistant directors within the NHS

      Vivien Walton

    • Case Study 12: Coaching general practitioners

      Jane Cryer

    Coaching Patients
    • Case Study 13: Coaching conversations, care and confidence

      Anya de Iongh

    • Case Study 14: Better conversations, better care

      Penny Newman

    Coaching in Schools
    • Case Study 15: Opening the coaching portals

      James Hayres and Nancy McNally

    • Case Study 16: Empowering our greatest resource

      Peter Webster and Nicole Morton

    Coaching in Higher Education
    • Case Study 17: Developing coaches and coaching staff

      Veronica Barnes

    • Case Study 18: Coaching PhD students

      Agnieszka M. Lech

    • Case Study 19: A student’s perspective

      Olliver R. Lloyd

    Integrating Coaching and Positive Psychology in Education
    • Case Study 20: A strategic approach to enhance wellbeing

      Claire Dale and Clive Leach

    • Case Study 21: A strength-based coaching programme

      Wendy Madden and Suzy Green

    Coaching for Wellbeing at Work
    • Case Study 22: Coaching for wellbeing

      Lindsay G. Oades

    Supervision for Learning
    • Case Study 23: Experiences of coaching supervision

      Sarah Dudney

    • Case Study 24: Finding time to think

      Esther Cavett

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