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Title: Good question : exploring the experiences of generating questions in coaching
Author: Wallis, Glenn
ISNI:       0000 0004 5991 2426
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2015
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Coaches use questions, with other techniques, to facilitate progress for clients. The coaching practitioner literature provides advice on how to employ questions in coaching sessions, but there is little empirical evidence examining how coaches generate or ask questions. Investigating my own experiences and that of other coaches, in relation to questions, has been a long-standing professional interest. Thus, this research provides insight into exploring the experiences of generating questions in coaching. The approach to the research was relativist and employed heuristic inquiry as the research methodology. Eight experienced coaches were recruited as co-researchers, to share their experiences of generating coaching questions. Capturing experiences was achieved through post-coaching reflections and conversational interviews. Thematic analysis of the data identified categories and patterns that led to the creation of individual depictions of the experience for each co-researcher. In line with the research methodology, individual experiences were brought together to produce a final creative synthesis. A departure from heuristic inquiry was the omission of a group depiction. The selection of exemplary portraits was replaced with presenting the portraits of all coresearchers. Both of these amendments were felt appropriate in order to align the methodology more faithfully with a relativist approach. Coaches noticed a wide range of information when forming questions, originating from sources both inside and outside the coaching session itself. The background of the coach played a part in shaping the experience of generating questions, as did the transitory ‘state’ of both coach and client. Coaches asked questions when in an altered state that some described as a ‘flow’ or ‘zone’. Questions ‘pop’ into the heads of coaches in a non-conscious way at times, often accompanied for the coach by a somatic sensation, while some were generated more consciously. At the point of asking questions, coaches often used a prefacing statement for their own or their client’s benefit. Coaches frequently engaged in inner dialogue when asking questions that were usually focused on the coach or the question. The inner dialogue varied in nature, but often presented in the form of a question. The conclusions indicate that the experience of generating questions in coaching was deeply impacted by the coach themselves. This research highlighted three paradoxes that coaches tried to balance while enquiring of their clients. Suggestions for future research are also proposed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: coaching ; mentoring