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Title: Practitioners' perceptions of the boundaries between coaching and counselling
Author: Baker, Sarah
Awarding Body: University of Bedfordshire
Current Institution: University of Bedfordshire
Date of Award: 2014
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Counselling and coaching use specialised skills to help individuals address problems and make a positive change (Egan, 2010). Whilst sharing many commonalities with counselling, the coaching industry has endeavoured to define boundaries between the helping approaches to establish discrete areas of practice. However, rather than observe theoretical boundaries, many coaches rely on personal experience to idiosyncratically define boundaries in practice (Maxwell, 2009; Price 2009). The reliance on experience to inform practice judgements has significant implications for novice coaches. Without the advantage of contextual knowledge to assist with identifying boundaries, it is important that newly trained coaches are aware of working within their competency to ensure good practice. To investigate whether clear boundaries could be identified, a mixed-methods approach was used to explore novice coaches’ and experienced coaches’ and counsellors’ experiences of working with the boundaries between the helping approaches. Study one incorporated a survey and Interpretative phenomenological analysis of interview transcripts to investigate novice coaches’ perceptions of boundaries. Study two utilised a survey design to gain a broad understanding of experienced counsellors’ and coaches’ perspectives, while Study three involved an in-depth analysis of the experiences of 20 coaches and counsellors working with boundaries between coaching and counselling in practice. Findings from the first study indicated novices’ confusion and inconsistencies when identifying the differences between the approaches. The results suggested that newly trained coaches may work beyond their competencies when working with mental health problems in practice. Results from studies with experienced practitioners indicated that there is a large overlap between the helping approaches and identified different ways of working with boundaries. Some practitioners were adamant that boundaries should be preserved between coaching and counselling. However, a third of practitioners surveyed indicated that integrating approaches would be beneficial to meet the clients’ needs. The thesis illustrates practitioners’ concerns relating to the content and provision of coach training programmes and offers recommendations that aim to encourage a review of minimum standards in coach education. In addition, collaboration between coaching and counselling professional bodies is suggested to establish ethical guidelines for coaches and counsellors who wish to blend coaching and counselling practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: practitioners ; coaching ; counselling ; perception ; B940 Counselling