This month we pay a deep, heartfelt tribute to a founding father of our field of coaching science, who personifies the mission of the Institute of Coaching of bridging the best science to coaching practice. On February 3, the world lost Anthony Grant, Professor of Coaching Psychology at the University of Sydney and tireless contributor to the Institute of Coaching.
His pioneering research helped establish the foundation of coaching science and showed the world how impactful effective coaching can be. The Institute of Coaching would not exist without Tony Grant’s influence on Ruth Ann Harnisch in 2003. Hearing Tony’s research convinced Ruth Ann that the future of coaching depended upon robust science. Ruth Ann’s vision for science-based coaching led to her investment of $2 million in coaching research grants and the founding of the Institute of Coaching in 2009. We awarded Tony the first Institute of Coaching Vision of Excellence award at our first conference in 2008.
There is no doubt that Tony’s contributions, some featured in this month’s coaching report, help all of us navigate coaching research and upgrade our impact.
Professor Grant, affectionately known to us and his countless fans as “Tony,” believed strongly that the work of coaches must be grounded in the best science. While it is tempting to skew toward positive and inspiring findings in coaching and positive psychology, Tony reminded us to continually notice and acknowledge limitations, shortcomings, biases and gaps in our understanding. It is only with such rigor that we can elevate the field of coaching.
Just before Tony’s passing, the Institute had prepared a Research Dose for this month that distills an important article he co-authored with Sean O’Connor in 2019 on how to navigate coaching research and why that is an important skill for every coach. The article, “A Brief Primer for Those New to Coaching Research and Evidence-Based Practice” published in The Coaching Psychologist, shows that Tony did not believe in scholarship for its own sake. He believed in helping coaches navigate research so they can maximize their positive impact.
Tony’s contribution to the Institute was immeasurable. He served as a trusted friend and key member of our Scientific Advisory Council; he also generously shared his knowledge through IOC conferences and webinars.
In addition to other resources this month, we have compiled some of Tony’s “greatest hits,” including his conference presentations, webinars, and articles. Every resource shows Tony’s brilliance, clarity, and dedication to pushing forward the field of coaching science.
While Tony is a founding father of coaching science, even more importantly, he was funny, kind and generous. He cared about his students and colleagues. We will continue to feature his important work, the impact of which will only grow with time. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and community. For a complete obituary and tribute to his amazing life by the University of Sydney, click here.
Carol Kauffman, Margaret Moore, and Susan David
Founders, Institute of Coaching
There has been an almost exponential growth in the amount of coaching-specific and coaching-related research over the past ten years. At the same time there has been considerable interest in the development of evidence-based approaches to coaching, and many coaching practitioners have incorporated the phrase into their terms of reference for their practice. However, these is still a lack of clarity about what constitutes evidencebased coaching, and there have been few, if any, published guidelines about how to determine the relevance of different bodies of research to coaching practice. This article discusses the nature of evidence-based practice as it relates to coaching and then presents a two-by-two framework that highlights the relevance of a broad range of research to evidence-based coaching practice. The aim of this paper is to help further develop a more nuanced view of evidence-based approaches to coaching practice.
Workplace coaching is increasingly used in organisations. Workplace coaching is conducted internally within an organisation for the purpose of helping employees, managers and leaders attain workrelated goals. Workplace coaching methodologies have evolved over time. The first ‘generation’ (1990s) focused on performance management. A hallmark of the second-‘generation’ (2000s) approach is structured step-by-step proprietary ‘Leader as Coach’ performance-focused coach training programmes. Such mechanistic approaches do not meet the challenges of the contemporary organisational context where uncertainty and rapid change are the norm. This paper describes the third-‘generation’ approach to workplace coaching that is increasingly apparent in the workplace. This is an approach that explicitly focuses on enhancing both the performance and the well-being of individuals and organisations in ways that are sustainable and personally meaningful. A case study example of how to integrate ‘Leader as Coach’ programmes into an organisation is presented. This developmental approach aims to create the culture of quality conversations needed for the challenges faced by contemporary organisations.
Abstract: Past research has found that solution-focused (SF) coaching questions led to more positive outcomes than problem-focused (PF) coaching questions. Another body of research (Broaden and Build Theory; Fredrickson, B. L. (1998). What good are positive emotions? Review of General Psychology, 2(3), 300–319) posits that positive emotions promote AQ2the discovery of novel ideas and actions including goal attainment and positive change. These theoretical frameworks have influenced coaching practitioner literature, but no research has explored their conjoint effects. We explore these by randomly allocating 512 participants in comparing (1) PF coaching questions with (2) SF coaching questions with (3) positive affect (PA) induction with (4) a SF plus PA condition (SF + PA). The broad findings of this study were that PF questions performed the worst on all measures, and that PA induction and SF coaching questions were equally effective at enhancing positive affect, increasing self-efficacy, enhancing goal approach and developing action steps. These results show, that while positive affect makes a valuable contribution to coaching outcomes, combining PA induction with SF questions produces superior outcomes than PA or SF questions alone in terms of self-efficacy, goal approach and action steps. While this research supports the central tenets of Broaden and Build Theory in terms of coaching outcomes, just making people feel good is not enough for truly effective coaching practice.
Abstract: The research suggests that solution-focused cognitive–behavioral (SFCB) coaching can enhance performance, reduce stress, and help build resilience. Thus, SFCB coaching may be a useful methodology for enhancing both performance and well-being while also serving as a preventative mechanism that can reduce the probability of stress-related fatigue and burnout. This article outlines the key cognitive and behavioral mechanisms of SFCB coaching and discusses their utility in this regard. Although SFCB coaching has great potential, coaches, consultants, and organizations also need a guiding framework to help orient and direct the coaching process. The 'Performance/Well-Being Matrix' consists of 2 orthogonal dimensions: (a) performance (high/low) and (b) well-being (high/low); it is presented as a simple framework that can help coaches, consultants, and organizations assess individuals and organizations and help orient them toward the quadrant of high performance and high well-being—the space of sustainable high performance. This may prove to be a useful way to help address workplace stress and move toward creating sustainable high-performing and flourishing organizational cultures.
2017 Conference Interview with Anthony Grant, as interviewed by Gordon Spence
Anthony Grant presents on Clarifying the Complexity of Evidence-based Approaches to Coaching at the 2017 Annual Coaching in Leadership and Healthcare Conference.
The first reference to bring scientifically proven approaches to the practice of personal and executive coaching The Evidence Based Coaching Handbook applies recent behavioral science research to executive and personal coaching, bringing multiple disciplines to bear on why and how coaching works....
IOC’s co-founder Margaret Moore will explore the process of establishing the coach as a health care professional in the US, including national standards, evidence base, economics, policy, reimbursement, and implementation. Margaret is co-leading these processes on behalf of the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching, in partnership with the National Board of Medical Examiners which established US standards for physician licensing examinations 100 years ago.
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