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Coaching and Mentoring

Coaching and Mentoring
A Critical Text

July 2012 | 336 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Coaching is often discussed as if it is a new 'profession' without adequate attention to how it has evolved, what underpins its practice or its training methods. Situating coaching in a wider social and historical context, Coaching and Mentoring: A Critical Text reveals that contemporary 'coaching theory' is more a collection of models and approaches mostly transferred from psychotherapy theory. Coaching claims to liberate creativity but can also entrap us by individualizing social experience. Author Simon Western brings a fresh and critical perspective on coaching and mentoring, challenging its normative assumptions and narratives, and proposing an ethical and emancipatory approach that takes it beyond instrumentalism and individualism.

Key Features:

  • Accounts for how coaching has emerged and what discourses and normative practices underpin and influence contemporary coaching practice
  • Develops a meta-theory of coaching that acts as a baseline for future developments
  • Offers frames of thinking to support and guide coaching and mentoring practitioners and educators

This is a must read for coaches, mentors and coaching educators, and students and academics studying coaching and mentoring at both advanced undergraduate and graduate level.

About the Author
Introduction: Coaching - the Merger of the 'Wounded-Self' and 'Celebrated-Self'
A Critical Theory Approach To Coaching
Scoping The Field: Definitions and Divergence of Practice
Pre-Modernity: Helping Relationships
Modernity: Experts, Tools and Technology
Post-Modernity: Coaching Hybridity
The Soul Guide Discourse: A Mirror to the Soul
The Psy Expert Discourse: Coaching the Outward Self
The Managerial Discourse: Coaching the Role Self
The Network Coach Discourse: Influencing the Network
Discourse Mapping: Coaching across and between Discourses
Developing Coaching Theory
Creating a New Coaching Meta-Theory: The Micro-Practices and the Macro-Social of Coaching
Coaching Formation: Coach Education and Pedagogies

'In my view the Psy Expert Discourse chapter is in a class by itself. The theme here is the influence of psychology and psychotherapy on coaching. The author analyses this impact by taking different current psychotherapeutic approaches as points of departure. All are strutinized in terms of strengths and weaknesses they imply for coaches' -
Gunnela Weslander
International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching

'Finally an in-depth inquiry into coaching and why it is so popular. Coaching and Mentoring contains a profound analysis of the cultural background of coaching and reveals its dominant discourses, which makes it a must-read for experienced practitioners. This "critical text" challenges popular coaching assumptions and sets out a robust theoretical outlook for future best practice' -
Erik de Haan
Director of Centre for Coaching, Ashridge, and Professor of Organisation Development and Coaching, VU University Amsterdam

'I see a lot of books on Coaching, and this is without doubt the most stimulating, original, thoughtful and and well-founded account... this is an authoritative, well researched, critical and appreciative account of coaching that has at its heart a profound concern for people, for social life and for the predicaments we face. It will be really helpful for anyone in coaching, for coaches and educators, for students of organization and work' -
Professor Jonathan Gosling
Professor of Leadership Studies, University of Exeter

'Explaining that he will use ‘coaching’ to mean mentoring also, the author sets out his aims as being to account for how coaching has emerged, to develop a meta-theory, offer ‘frames of thinking’ that resource practice, and to apply an emancipatory, ethical and critical approach so practice shifts from technocratic and functional to generative and progressive. Situating coaching as a predominantly Westernised phenomenon, he explores the contemporary social dimensions of wounded self and celebrated self between which he believes coaching is positioned.  He critiques both ‘selves’, describing how the psychotherapy focus has led to huge increases in those with “emotional ills”, whilst New Age approaches have created a culture of entitlement'

Julie Hay
Nurturing Potential

Very readable text from an author with a clear passion to build a real sense of criticality and reflectivity to both coaching theory and practice. A real addition to the body of knowledge on key coaching and mentoring processes and thinking.

Dr Peter Treadwell
Centre for Work Based Learning, Cardiff Metropolitan University
December 10, 2013

Valuable and insightful addition to the bookshelf

Mrs Michelle Rogers
Centre for Early Childhood, University of Worcester
November 29, 2013

The critical approach is interesting for academic discussion but was not suitable for the aims of the course which were more related to concrete coaching procedures.

Professor Annette Ostendorf
Institute for Organization & Learning, University of Innsbruck
November 22, 2013

An interesting text which challenges some mainsteam understandings of mentoring and coaching.

Lynette Morris
Internal Quality Assurance, Chiltern Training Group
March 16, 2013

good and adopted

Mr Philip Ashwell
Health Science and social work, university of portsmouth
March 5, 2013

I have used this to develop the strand of Coaching and Mentoring on our Mathematics Specialist Teacher course.

Miss Nasreen Majid
Institute of Education, Reading University
February 27, 2013

I haven't adopted it for students as yet but it will be useful for the cross-college mentor training I will be contributing to in the future.

Mrs Kathleen Tate
Teacher Education, Burnley College
December 6, 2012

A well written text but its structure is different from what I teach.

Dr Chuma Osuchukwu
Postgraduate Faculty, London School of Business and Management
November 24, 2012

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