Most coaches would say that coaching is a facilitative process the coach listens asks questions and contributes observations. But what do coaches really do? Based on careful study of actual coach-client conversations it becomes clear that coaches actually have a wide variety of hats that they can choose to wear in the course of a coach-client conversation. Which hat the coach puts on at any point of the conversation is mostly made instinctively rather than by conscious choice because up until now there has not been a good vocabulary to name each hat. To name the hats and show how each is used in conversation this study uses the concept of a coach uses in conversation with a client can be associated with putting on a particular hat or adopting a temporary ‘conversational’ identity. Qualitative analysis of coaching conversations led to the development of a framework consisting of sixteen categorized conversational identities. The Conversational Identities for Professional Coaches be a tool for coaches to be more self-reflective about what they say how that relates to what hat they are choosing to wear and ultimately to be able to make observations of their own style and what works best with clients.
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