The Coaching Industry Between Ambiguities and Paradoxes

Claudia Puddu & Giulia Treccarichi

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

In the present study, we expand the boundaries of mainstream leadership research, which seeks to provide prescriptions for how to do coaching more effectively. We rather take a step back to examine the coaching industry and look at the dynamics that drive the proliferation of coaching concepts, products, and services. In order to do this, we conduct qualitative interviews with a diverse range of stakeholders - including coaches, representatives from coaching firms and associations, leadership development institutes, consulting firms, business schools, and client organizations.
From the analysis of the data gathered, our study maps out a number of ambiguities within the coaching business and coaching practice - ambiguities over what coaching is, what the real need for coaching is, who gets to be a coach, how to evaluate coaching, and how providers collaborate and compete.
Drawing on elements of sociological research and on Guthey’s production of leadership perspective, we argue that the production of coaching consists of the manner in which a variety of stakeholders act and interact in ways that define and construct the nature of coaching itself, both as a developmental practice or technique and as an industry. We further argue that the production of coaching is an ambiguous and paradoxical process. That is not only because the coaching industry is relatively young, but mainly because the stakeholders involved in both the supply and demand side will always have a twofold interest in both dispelling and keeping the ambiguities, since they suffer and benefit from those ambiguities at the same time.

EducationsMSc in Strategy, Organization and Leadership, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages122
SupervisorsEric Guthey