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A phenomenological exploration of counselling and coaching : implications for professional counsellors and coaches McCullough, Heather

Abstract

This research examined how five individuals with a Masters degree in counselling psychology and a certificate in coaching experienced their training and professional roles. Audio-taped in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted. Using Osborne's (1990) method of data analysis, unique and common themes were extracted. Themes indicate that the student counsellor experience was exciting and emotionally challenging; was enhanced by relationships with colleagues, professors and supervisors; was impacted by clients; and was predictive of future work as professional counsellors. Participants identified four fundamental differences between coaching and counselling. First, training to become a counsellor was different than training to become a coach. Second, coaching and counselling was experienced as being two distinctive models for creating change in the lives of people. Third, participants experienced a difference in the philosophical stance taken by the two models. Forth, the counsellor-client relationship was inherently different from the coachclient relationship. Similarities experienced between coaching and counselling were to a certain extent, reflective of the participant's counselling theoretical orientation prior to becoming a coach and the participant's focus when conducting a type of coaching called process coaching. Previous training and experience as counsellors was useful for the training and practice as coaches, but not necessarily a prerequisite. Areas of concern regarding the practice of coaching included client confidentiality, coach training and supervision, coaching scope of practice, and licensing. Both counselling and coaching were experienced as being "powerful," "valuable," and "personally fulfilling" models for creating positive change in the lives of people.

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