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Teaching and learning intuition: Some implications for HRD and coaching practice

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Abstract

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine conceptual and theoretical links between intuition and coaching; investigate accomplished coaches' practical experiences of intuition; identify skill set of an intuitive coach; discuss implications of findings for coaches', HRD professionals', and line managers' learning and development. Design/methodology/approach In‐depth, semi‐structured, individual interviews with 14 accomplished experienced executive coaches (eight males and six females) averaging 14.5 years as a coach. Findings Outline of core attributes of an intuitive coach. Originality/value Immersion in experience, a reflective approach to practice, effective feedback and supervision, and attending to personal well‐being are likely to enable coaches, HRD practitioners and line managers to take a more informed and intelligent approach to “going with their gut” in coaching and other situations where inter‐ and intra‐personal awareness are important.
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... Die Qualität intuitiver Entscheidungen wird wiederum durch eine Reihe verschiedener Faktoren beeinflusst, unter anderem (positiv) durch den Grad an Expertise und Erfahrung (u. a. Mavor et al. 2010;St. Pierre und Smith 2014;vgl. ...
... Pierre und Smith 2014;vgl. den Beitrag von Kohlmann in diesem Heft), (negativ) durch Stress (Dane und Pratt 2009;Mavor et al. 2010) sowie durch die Umgebungsbedingungen (McCutcheon und Pincombe 2001;Smith et al. 2004). ...
... Pierre und Smith 2014;Salas et al. 2010). Dies gilt insbesondere für zwischenmenschliche Situationen und damit auch für Coaching als ein prozessorientiertes, beziehungsbasiertes Beratungsformat (Mavor et al. 2010;Sheldon 2018). ...
Article
Intuition is described as a central component of coaching, especially in the practitioner literature. Empirical findings on the benefit and role of intuition in coaching are, however, scarce. This article presents the results of two studies on the initial exploration in coaching, especially on the role of intuition during the initial exploration. On the basis of a qualitative interview study, five “intuition types” were identified as well as strategies coaches use to avoid that their intuition misleads them and to deploy their intuition as effectively as possible. Quantitative study findings show how frequently intuition is used during the initial exploration and with what other exploration practices the use of intuition is correlated. The results are discussed against the current state of research, and implications and reflective impulses for practice are derived.
... Spencer and Spencer (1993) stressed the importance of working with a criterion sample of superior performers. More than half of the lists, 13, were approaches included surveys (Bono, Purvanova, Towler, & Peterson, 2009;Gatling, 2014;Hatala & Hisey, 2011;Wise & Hammack, 2011), interviews (Bennett & Rogers, 2012;Clayton, 2011;Dagley, 2009;Griffiths & Campbell, 2008;Kenney, 2014;Louis & Fatien Diochon, 2014;Mavor, Sadler-Smith, & Gray, 2010;Passmore, 2010), or a modified Delphi method (Hale, 2008). None of the lists were developed using the grounded theory approach to competency modeling (Spencer & Spencer, 1993), as will be employed in the current study. ...
... Again, the list may be close to what is sought in the current study. Hatala and Hisey (2011) Spaten & Hansen, 2009;Stern, 2004;Wood & Gordon, 2009;Yi-Ling & McDowall, 2014 (Bono et al., 2009;Hatala & Hisey, 2011;Mavor et al., 2010).The balance of the studies relied primarily on input measures. Three (Bennett & Rogers, 2012;Griffiths & Campbell, 2008;Kenney, 2014) chose level of certification (by the International Coach Federation). ...
... The problem with literature reviews, as the current list demonstrates, is that no list is yet rigorously based on careful study of coaches who are rated as outstanding by the purchasers of coaching services. The more rigorous approaches included surveys (Bono et al., 2009;Gatling, 2014;Hatala & Hisey, 2011;Wise & Hammack, 2011), interviews (Bennett & Rogers, 2012;Clayton, 2011;Dagley, 2009;Griffiths & Campbell, 2008;Kenney, 2014;Louis & Fatien Diochon, 2014;Mavor et al., 2010;Passmore, 2010), and a modified Delphi method (Hale, 2008). ...
Thesis
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The personal, business, and executive coaching industry is large and growing. In spite of the size and growth of the industry, the coaching research literature reveals a lack of understanding about the competencies of outstanding executive coaches. This grounded-theory study sought to discover a model of executive coach competencies, through in-depth interviews with coaches rated as outstanding by a large purchaser of coaching services. Sixteen coaches participated in the recorded and transcribed interviews. A line-by-line analysis of the transcripts led to a competency model for executive coaching. For the coaching research community, this study will fill a key gap in our understanding of executive coach competencies. For coaching practitioners, this study will clarify what it takes to become an outstanding executive coach. For prospective coaches, this study will help in self-assessment against competencies and in selecting appropriate coach education programs to fill competency gaps. For buyers of coaching services, this study will be helpful in improving coach recruitment and selection procedures. In addition, large organizations with internal coaching programs might find the results of this study useful in selecting and preparing their coaches. Finally, for coach educators, this study may point to changes in curriculum, and to changes in how students are admitted, trained, and evaluated.
... Intuition is closely linked to the implicit knowledge acquired through experience and is suggested as being a vital skill for coaches (Mavor et al., 2010), in particular if one considers coaches themselves the key 'instrument' in coaching (Bachkirova, 2016;Orenstein, 2002). However, relying on intuition is associated with potential drawbacks. ...
... Therefore, incorporating psychometric assessmentsor other objective datacould attenuate subjectivity (Batey et al., 2012). Additionally, in light of the predominant pattern of handling the initial exploration flexibly and intuitively, self-reflection, continued professional development, and the use of coaching supervision appear crucial as a means of quality assurance (Bachkirova, 2016;Mavor et al., 2010;Orenstein, 2002). ...
Article
Coaching is increasingly used as an HRD intervention. Initial research suggests the importance of coaching behaviour, especially at the beginning of a coaching engagement, for coaching success. However, findings are scarce as to how coaches proceed during the initial phase in coaching and recent reviews therefore call for research that investigates how coaches determine the focus of the coaching intervention. Therefore, our study aimed to answer the questions of what and how regarding coaches’ approach to the ‘initial exploration’. We conducted 20 semi-structured interviews with workplace coaches. Qualitative content analysis revealed a broad range of contents addressed, methods applied, and principles that guide coaches during the initial exploration. Moreover, we identified specific patterns for categorising coaches’ approaches. Concerning the content coaches address, we identified three dimensions: coachees’ areas of life (private vs. professional, with the latter including individual vs. social vs. organisational aspects), temporal focus (past, present, future), and perspective (solution- vs. problem-orientation). We integrate our findings into a taxonomy of the initial exploration in coaching and thereby provide a basis for future research as well as a guide for reflection and decision-making for coaches, coachees, and organisational sponsors.
... It would seem that by being intuitive, we can be courageous; similarly, it takes courage to listen and express our intuition. (Maver et al., 2010, p. 831) ...
Research
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Utilizing autoethnography methodology blended with Moustakas’ (1990) heuristic research data collection and analysis elements of intuition and immersion, the study explored my experience of intuition and immersions within the Holotropic Breathwork® community. Holotropic Breathwork® was developed by Stanislav Grof and Christina Grof (2010) as a technique for self-exploration and experiential psychotherapy. I was the researcher and only participant in this study. This involved my engagement in the practice of Holotropic Breathwork®, in enhanced states of awareness, from 2016 to 2019 at eight Holotropic Breathwork® immersions, each five-and-a-half days long, with a total of 16 breathwork sessions as a breather. Relevant literature and personal experience on intuition and Holotropic Breathwork® were critically reviewed to engage the topic and research questions. Data collection, analysis, and interpretation was conducted over a two year experiential and immersive autoethnographic writing process. Data collected for analysis included journal entries, reflexive notes, cultural texts and books, pictures, collages, vision boards, videos, artifacts, and personal secrets and stories. Data analysis followed a synthesis of Chang’s (2008) suggested cyclical process of data collection, analysis, and interpretation, the use of intuition as defined by Moustakas (1990) and the simple strategy as highlighted by Adams et al. (2014) by analyzing and interpreting through the process of making sense through story to identify themes. Specifically, I incorporated intuition to access emotionally charged memories and material from my past for examination. I applied self-care strategies and sought trusted support to cope and process emotional pain due to anxiety, depression, fear, insecurities, distress, and self-distrust. The study revealed the courage to ask for what I need, immersive self-care, trusted support with lived experience, and trusting myself in the present moment from my experience of intuition and immersions in the Holotropic Breathwork® community. The findings of this autoethnography support the use of intuition in research and the integration of Holotropic Breathwork® experiences derived from further self-exploration and the therapeutic writing of autoethnography. Future research on intuition and Holotropic Breathwork® may benefit from utilizing intuition to investigate links between Holotropic Breathwork® experiences, intuition, immersion, self-care, support networks, and self-trust.
... Auch in der wissenschaftlichen Literatur gibt es viel Uneinigkeit, was genau unter Intuition zu verstehen sei, gerade weil das Forschungsfeld interdisziplinär ausgerichtet ist. Herauskristallisiert hat sich als gemeinsamer Nenner jedoch, dass unter Intuition in der Regel eine nicht bewusste, ganzheitliche, assoziative, affektiv geladene, oft schnelle Art und Weise, Informationen zu verarbeiten und zu Schlussfolgerungen zu kommen, verstanden wird (Dane und Pratt 2009;Hodgkinson et al. 2008;Mavor et al. 2010). Angesichts der mit der Intuition verbundenen Chancen und Risiken kommt zunehmend in den Blick, wovon die Qualität intuitiver Entscheidungen abhängt: Der Komplexitätsgrad der Entscheidung etwa spielt eine Rolle, genauso wie der Grad an Expertise und Erfahrung der Entscheider/innen, ihr Stresslevel und die Umgebungsbedingungen. ...
... Hale (2008)Hatala & Hisey (2011)Mavor, Sadler-Smith, &Gray (2010)Moriarity(2010)Passmore (2010)Wise & Hammack (2011) ...
Poster
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Poster presenting early results on my literature review on coaching competencies.
Article
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The coaching industry has grown to become a multi-billion dollar business, yet there remain few barriers to entry and an absence of national governing bodies. Wide variation in quality of practice undermines the credibility of a field that has been found to be effective (Grover, S., & Furnham, A. (2016). Coaching as a developmental intervention in organisations: A systematic review of its effectiveness and the mechanisms underlying it. PLoS One, 11(7), e0159137. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0159137; Theeboom, T., Beersma, B., & van Vianen, A. E. (2014). Does coaching work? A meta-analysis on the effects of coaching on individual level outcomes in an organizational context. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 9(1), 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2013.837499). Coaching stakeholders should therefore be motivated to understand what ‘good coaching’ looks like. However, it remains unclear what it means to be an outstanding, or expert, practitioner, or even whether the construct of expertise applies to the field of coaching. Within this paper, I critique literature that discusses coach expertise, and suggest the philosophical constraints embedded within current thinking imply the need for an alternative conceptualisation of expertise; adaptive expertise. Adaptive expertise is compatible with the complexity that characterises coaching, and prioritises coach decision-making (judgment and reasoning) over coaching outcomes. Many coaching texts largely ignore the construct of decision-making, with the exception of intuitive decision-making. Further research that seeks to understand coach judgment and decision-making will help coaches’ develop their practice, and may be a key to demystifying the central role of intuition in coaching.
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