Reflective Essay - Reflect (as a reflective practitioner) on your coaching experience as a coach, a coachee and an observer.

In addition, it is intended to deepen your learning through experiential learning, and an application and evaluation of psychological theories relating to coaching practice.

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Learning Outcome 1: Demonstrate how the knowledge and understanding of coaching and coaching psychology differ from other personal and professional development practices, and what it offers to the coachee and their organisation;

Learning Outcome 2: Demonstrate the knowledge and understanding of various psychology-based theoretical approaches in coaching and coaching psychology;

Learning Outcome 3: Demonstrate the application of key coaching psychology concepts and theories to coaching practice;


Coaching has been widely used as a method of development in which a coach, normally an experienced person, supports the coachee to achieve a specific goal by offering guidance (Passmore, 2015). Lately, coaching is defined as a proficiency to maximize one's performance by unlocking their true potential (Ibarra & Scoular, 2019). During this course, I had the opportunity to gain further knowledge, deep understanding and also critically evaluate Coaching and Coaching Psychology in various levels. Below is the reflection of my coaching experience in the past 2 months. Although models such as Kolbs (Kolb, 1984) and Driscoll (Driscoll, 1994) were considered for this reflection, below essay is shaped using the Gibbs Reflective Cycle (Gibbs, 1988) as I find it helping to discover based on experiences, and it seems to provide a more balanced and precise judgment over time (Potter, 2015).


Our objective as a group was to take roles of a Coach, Coachee and Observer in turns. Since working with strangers normally is not an easy task (Parker, 2003), the group had a self-directed style where everyone contributed equally. Our sessions were mainly done online through MS TEAMS due to the COVID19 pandemic, with limited physical interaction which drastically limited our ability to read each other's body language, which could have helped the coaching session (Hawkins & Smith, 2010).

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The role of being a coach was exciting and challenging at the same time, as being a good coach requires effective application of coaching skills depending on case to case circumstances (Graham et. al, 1994). At one point, I felt that I had no inborn coaching skills, but I could become a better coach with support, application of right tools and lots of practice and feedback (Ibarra & Scoular, 2019). Another challenge was not being able to predict the direction of the session, which made it difficult to bring the coachee back to the main objective (Myers, 2014). This limited the effectiveness of coaching in general, as I often had to re-contract which I felt might have risked my coachee's trust (Birnie, 2019). Nevertheless, applying techniques such as Socratic questioning appeared to be helpful (Neenan, 2009), however is limited as it is not so effective when the coachee is not willing to contribute (Peterson, 2009).

Looking back on my experience being coached, the session definitely helped me feel better, as my coach observed variations in my energy levels and tone of voice throughout the session

which are signs of progress (Fox, 2006). I believe that the coaching session helped me see in distinctive prespectives. Coach also helped me identify some thinking errors such as ‘fortune telling' and ‘mind reading' and helped overcome these by reminding me on how these negatively impact my thinking (Palmer & Whybrow, 2018). However, such models and related theories such as Cognitive Distortions Theory almost seemed to blame my thoughts by addressing them as ‘distortions' or ‘syndromes' (Yurica & DiTomasso, 2005). There are further weaknesses to these theories that often interferes with it truly helping coaches struggling in real life. For example, these theories doesn't consider variables such as the age or socio-economic status or culture of clients, and almost totally ignores emotions of the coachee and they might feel being blamed by the coach (Panourgia & Comoretto, 2017). Therefore, it is imperative to consider these variables when I coach individuals in future.


It was noticeable during the sessions, that the cooperation from coachee helped session progress, as there was a clear communication and active listening between the coach and the coachee. Signs of coachability made the session way more effective, as they realize the true value of coaching (Turner & McCarthy, 2015). Decision making was emphasized during the session, helping the coachee identify the smaller goals which is expected to repeat in future sessions, which would collectively contribute towards achieving the big goals (Joseph & Chapman, 2013). It could also be observed that the decision making was purely done by the coachee with my assistance. However, it would have been better if I had validated the expected results so that the success criterions are clear to my coachee (McLean et. al, 2005).

An equally significant aspect which helped to achieve results in a relatively short time was Cognitive Behavioral Coaching, which offers a problem-solving, solution focused framework (Williams et. al, 2010). Factors such as cost, time, and the highly structured and practical elements makes this model very attractive and helped the coachee ‘live in the present', as opposed to many other models which focuses on past. Conversely, a limitation is that coachee often felt less motivated to put additional efforts, which is required for coaching to be successful (Peter, 2020). This could be due to the fact that the coachee was aware of obstacles outside their circle of influence (Covey, 1989). Also, at one point I felt that I have been creating false expectations, and made the coachee emotional during the session, which disrupted the progress (Cox & Bachkirova, 2020). Coaching process sometimes can be emotional for both coach and coachee, which suggests that I have to focus on understanding emotions and empathy, as it is important to work with emotions to achieve results (Cox & Bachkirova, 2020).

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To summarize, offering guidance, strategies, advice and opportunities is the essence of a good coaching session (Graham et. al, 1994). Socratic questioning helped me probe the coachee to think outside the box (Neenan, 2009). Sometimes, it turned out that the coachee had never thought about it before and therefore they may need some time to think before they find a response. This was a notable opportunity to use silence as a tool as scholars argue that silence provides space and time to think deep (Garmston et. al, 1993). Most significantly, I found it as a great opportunity to recollect what the coachee have said and plan my next question.

Therefore, it's very important for me as a coach to be very attentive during the session (Cutton & Hearon, 2013), as maintaining eye contact and observing nonverbal behavior of the coachee is crucial to read the complete message from coachee. However, it was not really possible as our sessions were through virtual platforms with limited visual interaction. Still in face-to-face sessions, it's important to take notes for administrative purposes, which raises the question if it's really necessary. Several studies have led to the conclusion that a coach shouldn't take notes during the session as it makes the coach look like an assessor, and this disturbs the trust and rapport levels (Newby, 2018) and risks the confidentiality agreement. Evaluating the view of these researches, it seems likely that taking notes does jeopardize my attention levels while the coachee is talking, and the significant point here is to pay undivided attention on what the coachee has to say (Hawkins & Smith, 2010).

In addition, letting the coachee ‘in charge' of the session helped progress from one question to another based on the responses from the coachee (Birnie, 2019). A single session of coaching is normally insufficient to totally resolve a goal (Thach & Heinselman, 1999). My personal confidence level seemed increasing as the session progressed, which may be due to the fact that there was a positive advancement through questioning techniques or even by sometimes asking the coachee just to elaborate further (Baron & Morin, 2009).

Considering all these, my next question was wheatear I could accept a coaching contract for a mid-level manager at my workplace, when I am already coaching their superior. ICF suggests that this would be possible if an objective stance can be maintained along with confidentiality with both clients (ICF, 2020).

It also suggests discussing this with the coachee's in general terms, how they would feel about it. Another question that came up was that if I can coach someone who is directly reporting to me? ICF suggests that according to their code of ethics, this would be a conflict of interest, however, doesn't restrict using coaching competencies such as active listening and powerful

questioning, etc. at any time. However, because of me being the manager, the fact that I'm going to be evaluating my employee might inhibit openness and trust in the relationship.

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The opportunity provided has helped me gain further knowledge and experience, deep understanding, practical application and also help critically evaluate the topic. The most important learnings were that, not all objectives can be resolved/achieved through coaching (Thach & Heinselman, 1999) and coaching is not always the answer for all problems (Ibarra & Scoular, 2019). This makes it imperative to address this element during coaching commitment, also that the journey might be lengthy or sometimes even end without a solution.

Researching about handling critical situations during the sessions, such as, how to handle a coachee when they become very sensitive and emotional will add further value. I also plan to explore about the latest techniques as there is a rise in online coaching since the beginning of COVID19 pandemic this year (Callary et. al, 2020). Identifying and applying them into practice on a regular basis will be my mission, as consistency is an important factor for all coaches (Tanner et. al, 2017). I'm hoping to be a reputable coach in future, contributing to wider society. In addition, I would also try to learn more about self-coaching and see if it would give me opportunity to coach myself (Losch et. al, 2016).

I have already joined professional coaching bodies such as Association for Coaching (AC) this year. By the end of the Master's Program in 2021, I'm hoping to complete the requirements to apply for The International Coaching Federation (ICF) certification, as in future I see myself deeply involved in workplace coaching and I now, I have started feeling more confident in conducting coaching sessions.

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