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Evidence-based and reflective practice approaches to executive coaching: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

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posted on 2022-03-28, 12:30 authored by Sabiha Sultana
The late 1990s and early 2000s were exciting times for executive coaching, a field of practice full of promise but lacking disciplinary boundaries. An emerging research focus is developing theories to support the practice and unify its diverse elements, by working towards shared agreement across different practices. But both research and practice share the problem of a plurality of approaches that are not necessarily commensurable. Aligning the different approaches to both coaching and research about coaching, so as to establish a shared understanding, remains an ongoing challenge. Theorising about coaching falls into two camps: evidence-based and reflective practice-based. Evidence-based approaches tend to be based on the principles of science. In contrast, reflective practitioner-based approaches tend to believe that theories are generated through reflection in the context of experience. Coaching can develop as a field only if research and practice are aligned and if these two contrasting theoretical approaches have a relationship to each other. To investigate this potential relationship, this study returned to the historical origins of evidence-based coaching, exploring how the focus in medical, nursing and psychological research has shifted from evidence-based research (EBR) to practice-based evidence (PBE). Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was then used to undertake an empirical investigation of this transition. The aim is not to argue for or against any one approach but to determine the feasibility of establishing a shared understanding that could accommodate a range of approaches to theorising about coaching. The thesis contributes towards a framework for shared understanding, which is essential for the development of executive coaching as a discipline.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. Introduction to executive coaching -- Chapter 3. Concept of evidence in executive coaching -- Chapter 4. Concepts of executive coaching and their research practices -- Chapter 5. From evidence-based practice (EBP) to practice-based evidence (PBE) -- Chapter 6. Method -- Chapter 7. Results and discussion -- Chapter 8. Conclusion -- References -- Appendices.


Bibliography: pages 271-298 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Macquarie Graduate School of Management

Department, Centre or School

Macquarie Graduate School of Management

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Steven Segal


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