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Stephen Palmer & Michael Cavanagh

Welcome to the International Coaching Psychology Review (ICPR). In this issue we have revised the format. We start with three academic articles and then have two keynote papers. Finally we have two papers in the new coaching psychology strategies and techniques section. Next year we hope to include interviews and personal views too.

The first paper by Melissa van Zandvoort, Jennifer Irwin and Don Morrow, is on Co-active coaching as an intervention for obesity among female university students. They found significant increases in participants’ self-esteem and their mental, physical, and overall health statuses. However, only a trend towards a decrease in waist circumference was found. In recent years there has been a general increase in the application of coaching and coaching skills to healthrelated issues. Health coaching needs more research into assessing its effectiveness and for organizations employing health coaching services, information on the return on investment will be considered vital as both the public and private sector will need to address the impact of the credit crunch, the potential recession and their overheads.

The next paper by Andrew Day, Erik De Haan, Charlotte Sills, Colin Bertie and Eddie Blass, is about Coaches’ experience of critical moments in the coaching. This was a qualitative research study. As coaches and coaching psychologists most of us will recall some critical moments from our own practice. Perhaps even years later. In this study the critical moments were reported as being unforeseen and characterised by intense emotions and anxiety within the coaching relationship. Coaches reported using supervision to help them to make sense of critical moments, to gain reassurance that they responded appropriately and to learn from these moments. This highlights the importance of supervision yet we suspect many practitioners still do not receive regular supervision of their practice.

The third paper in the academic section is by Dr Travis Kemp. Dr Kemp suggests that one of the problematic aspects of conducting coaching research lies in the lack of standardized methodologies of practice in coaching. The variability of delivery of coaching makes for difficulty in ascertaining why coaching works, and what specifically in coaching is working. Research in therapeutic methods deals with this issue by employing manualised treatment interventions. Kemp, however, suggests an experiential learning cycle approach as a possible answer to the problem of standardization. He explores the application of Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cyle in coaching and extends it to create the Experiential Coaching Process.

In the next section we have the keynote papers. The first paper is by Dr Alison Whybrow and is based on a keynote address given at the 3rd National Symposium of the APS Interest Group in Coaching Psychology in Sydney, Australia, 2008. She questions whether or not coaching psychology has come of age and asks what it means to be a coaching psychologist. She highlights the development of coaching psychology and how the various definitions or descriptions developed of it over time. She includes the evidence base for the practice of coaching psychology starting from the early days of Coleman Griffith in the 1920s with his particular interest of the psychology of coaching and its application to the field of sports. The keynote was a grand tour of coaching psychology.

The second keynote paper was given by Professor Ernesto Spinelli at the Society’s Special Group in Coaching Psychology Annual Conference in December, 2007. It was titled ‘Coaching and Therapy: Similarities and divergences’. He looks at the major similarities and differences between coaching and therapy and considers three major issues that provide pathways to both convergence and divergence between the professions: contracting; the quality and type of relationship being engendered; and the interrelational stance. Interestingly he bases some of his discussion on the ‘fuzzy space’ between psychotherapy and executive coaching with reference to an MSc dissertation of Angela Jopling (2007). To us, this highlights the importance of the work undertaken by many students yet seldom does their work get published or brought to our attention. Thank you, Ernesto.

The last section of ICPR is on coaching psychology strategies and techniques. There are two papers in this section. Alanna O’Broin describes all-or-nothing thinking and using thinking skills to re-appraise performance inhibiting thinking. This article is an example of how cognitive behavioural therapy techniques have been adapted successfully to the coaching and coaching psychology fields. Case examples are provided. The second paper is by Stephen Palmer on using hypnosis as an adjunct to coaching to reduce stress and enhance performance. The paper also explores a number of issues relating to the appropriate use of hypnosis within coaching/coaching psychology practice and comparisons are made to the application of relaxation.

While, the quality of articles we are receiving remains high, in 2008 we have seen a drop in the number of articles submitted to the ICPR. This has an impact on our ability to publish three issues per year in a timely manner. The ICPR is published in the UK in paper format and this requires a longer production time than electronic publication alone. Hence, to enable us to keep to our print schedules in 2009 and ensure we have sufficient material, we will be publishing two issues of the ICPR instead of the usual three. Our new publishing dates will be March and September.

The feedback we have received on the quality of the ICPR has been very positive, and we are keen to return to three issues per year as soon as possible. The editorial team are working on extending our coverage and distribution, and thereby attracting a greater number of high quality submissions. If sufficient material is submitted in 2009, the pagination of issues will be extended.

We are keen to receive research papers, topic reviews, keynote speeches given at conferences like those conducted by the Society’s Special Group in Coaching Psychology (SGCP) and APS Interest Group in Coaching Psychology (IGCP), articles for our new coaching psychology strategies and techniques section, personal views and book reviews. The editors will consider interviewing well-known coaching psychologists so if you have any suggestions, please let us know. Next year we will include a short section at the end of ICPR to update us about SGCP and IGCP news. We look forward to receiving your papers and continued support.


Stephen Palmer
Coaching Psychology Unit,
Department of Psychology,
City University, Northampton Square,
London, UK.
E-mail: dr.palmer@btinternet.com

Michael Cavanagh
Coaching Psychology Unit,
Department of Psychology,
Sydney University, Sydney, Australia.
E-mail: michaelc@psych.usyd.edu.au

Jopling, A. (2007). The fuzzy space: Exploring the experience of the space between psychotherapy and executive coaching. Unpublished MSc dissertation, New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling, London, UK.


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