Personal or "life" coaching commonly refers to a process that assists someone(client or coachee) to clarify and achieve their goals and improve their overall wellbeing. This process involves a partnership with a coach-practitioner. Life coaching specifically (in comparisson with professional coaching) generally refers to coaching clients about aspects of their lives
outside of the workplace (although there is bound to be some overlap). They often include such focuses as relationships, stress management, work–life balance, and the desire to have a richer, fuller, more meaningful and purposeful life.
Famous coaching researchers Grant and Cavanagh (2010) describe a life coach as primarily a facilitator of change
whose work is based on these assumptions:
• People have a significant latent potential.
• People can change in significant ways.
• Change can happen in a short period of time.
• Clients are resourceful.
• Clients want to change and are willing to work for it.
• Life coaching is goal-focused
• Coaching clients do not have serious mental health problems and life coaching
is not focused on repairing psychopathologies
Research not only shows that life coaching is effective, but that it's effects may be quite long-lasting. One study examined the effects of a 10-week cognitive-behavioral, solution-focused life coaching group programme. Participants were randomly allocated to a life coaching group programme or a waitlisted control group. Those that completed the program were showed significant increases in goal striving, well-being and hope, with gains maintained up to 30 weeks after the program had ended on many of the measured variables.
Similar research by Green, Oades and Grant (2003) indicates that the positive effects of coaching ( increases in self-reported
positive affect, psychological wellbeing and hope, and significant decreases
in negative affect) were maintained for over half a year.
- Green, L.S., Oades, L.G., & Grant, A.M. (2003, October). An evaluation of a life coaching
group program. Paper presented at the International Positive Psychology Summit,
Reserach indicates that the life coaching can be a successful intervention to building individual courage and decrease fear and anxiety.
Further research shows that life-coaching may have a positive impact on health outcomes as well.
Research investigating life coaching in a group setting has shown it to be effective in:
- improving levels of goal attainment
- decreasing levels of depression
- decreasing levels of stress
- decreasing levels of anxiety
- increasing insight
- decreasing unproductive rumination
Other research (Grant, 2003; Green et al., 2003) has similarly shown life coaching to be effective in terms of:
- increasing goal attainment
- increasing satisfaction with life
- increasing perceived sense of control over their environment and context
- improving positive orientation to new experiences
- increasing cognitive-behavioural flexibility
Individual and Group Life Coaching:
Initial Findings From a Randomised,
Gordon B. Spence and Anthony M. Grant - Ch12
What is Evidence-Based Coaching and Why is it Better?
The evidence-based movement has long historical roots and, truth be told, it all originates with the field of medicine. Beginning in the early days of medicine it was pretty much a free-for-all. Anyone could hang a shingle and claim they could treat everything from the sniffles to leprosy and none of these claims had to be backed up by any evidence what so ever. Many grifters and snake-oil peddlers ran amuck and swindled people out of their hard earned money. Not only were these people made poorer by the actions of these quack practitioners but, given the serious nature of conditions of health many people were harmed and died as a result of their poorly placed confidence. It wasn't until the 1900s that medical doctors (as we know them) even made it on the scene and it was even later still that evidence was used to back up claims and provide confidence in medicine as a practice.
In short, evidence has the capacity to inform us to make better decisions. Whether the decision is to go with a specific coach or medical practitioner over another or to pursue a set of goals or to risk undertaking a medical procedure in order to be well again, better informed decisions generally lead to better outcomes. Like evidence-based medicine, evidence-based coaching offers a more transparent and better informed path for both you (as a coachee) and your coach (as a practitioner) to make the best informed decisions to lead to your development.
In today's medical context, the term “evidence-based” refers to the most critical and thoughtful use of the best available knowledge in making decisions. Evidence is responsible for nearly every marvel that modern medicine has to provide. Evidence-based coaching is no different. Evidence-based coaching referrs to using evidence to deliver coaching to clients, in designing and teaching coach-training programs, and in the development of coaching materials and tools. The best knowledge is up-to-date information from relevant, valid research, theory and practice. It also takes into account relevant organizational data and all key stakeholders that may be impacted by decisions. However, because the existing academic coaching literature is still quite small, the best available knowledge is usually supplemented by (if not drawn directly from) the much more established literature in related fields.
The Four Domains of Knowledge Informing Evidence-Based Coaching
1. The Behavioural Sciences
2. Business and Management Sciences
3. Adult education - including workplace learning and development
and 4. philosophy.
The behavioural sciences happen to be where the vast majority of expert knowledge that informs coaching stems from. The behavioural sciences describe how people think, act, and feel and specific domains of the behavioural sciences - like organizational psychology, sports psychology, educational psychology, and counselling psychology - all describe this all through the lens of how this impacts people, their work, their performance, their success, and wellbeing.
As a great deal of coaching focuses on professional contexts (with both executives and nonexecutive clients) any coach working in these sorts of contexts should have a solid foundation of education and training in business and management in order to best understand and meet their clients’ needs. Similarly, when done in a corporate context, involving both a coachee and a corporate sponsoring entity, organisations increasingly require
coaching to be explicitly linked to the business's bottom line or expected imperatives and (direct or indirect) outcomes.
Adult education, including learning and development, provide the critical theory and practice laying at the foundation of adult learning - also known as androgogy. The majority of coaching clients are adults. Research can inform what is both effective and ineffective where it comes to teaching and learning. Efforts should both be directed to their target demographic and make use of the vast bodies of evidence in the domain of adult education.
Philosophy is at the heart of many coaching issues, such as the nature of good corporate governance, business ethics, questions of self-identity and personal values. Coaches need to have well-developed critical thinking skills, the ability to analyse and reason from first principles, and the ability to construct arguments and hold robust and well-reasoned discussions.
All the coaches at Emovere and who work in partnership with Emovere are evidence-based. If you don't believe what they're saying about something, ask them. They will show you their evidence to back-up their claims. If you have strong evidence to suggest otherwise, feel free to have a discusion about it with them.