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Alison Whybrow & Emma Short

‘Psychology is the scientific study of people, the mind and behaviour. It is both a thriving academic discipline and a vital professional practice’ (BPS, 2008). Research is a cornerstone of the coaching psychology profession. Research defining the practice of coaching psychology as different to other areas of psychological practice, is crucial to the SGCP’s objective of defining an accreditation route for coaching psychology practitioners. In conversations with senior figures in the Society’s structure, when exploring routes to accreditation for coaching psychologists, one of the first responses we receive is ‘but there is no research base’.

From the inauguration of the SGCP in 2004, one of our core aims has been to encourage, promote and support the research and study of coaching psychology in a variety of personal, organisational and training contexts.

Building at first on research in related psychological disciplines such as work and organizational psychology and counseling psychology, the SGCP has promoted research and the sharing of research that is specific to coaching psychology practice with some marked success.

What has the SGCP actually done?

There are a number of activities, events and publications that are now regular features of the coaching psychology landscape, these include:

  • The Coaching Psychologist (TCP); intended for news, information and lighter articles, is a high quality member network newsletter, where many of the articles are peer-reviewed. As evidence of this, TCP is now abstracted in psycINFO
  • The International Coaching PsychologyReview (ICPR); a high quality academic publication that is run as a collaborative project with the IGCP*. This publication is also abstracted in psycINFO. ICPR now includes a techniques section.
  • Each year, the SGCP has put together a research and practice-based conference. This has included an International Coaching Psychology Conference in 2006 and this year a European Coaching Psychology Conference.
  • We have waived or substantially subsidized conference fees for those presenting papers or posters at the SGCP conference.
  • Our website includes a list of articles and resources that are free to access. When you consider that the SGCP will celebrate its fourth birthday on the 14 December this year, these developments are significant.

What more are we doing?

With the development of a Research Officer post on our committee, we are able to broaden our support of research activities.

  • This year, we have launched our research award. This is for the completion of a distinguished research project in coaching psychology. The successful nominee will be presented with their award at the SGCP conference this December and have the opportunity to show case their paper on the first day of our conference. Their conference fee will be waived and they will receive £200. We believe the award will provide a benchmark, pointing to what good coaching psychology research looks like.
  • We are developing an online research forum to promote discussion and sharing of research projects, findings and research ideas.
  • We intend to have a regular slot in TCP, where research projects are shared and research findings bulleted.

What further plans do we have?

They will be largely driven by you. Whether you are currently involved in research or not.

  • Do you have evaluation measures of your practice that you would like to develop into an empirical research study?
  • Do you have a model of practice that you would like to evaluate?
  • Do you have some initial research findings to report?
  • Have you identified an important phenomenon in practice that you would like to research?
  • Do you want to alert others to the area you are already working in or would like to work in?
  • Do you want to find out if there are other individuals or groups who are active in similar areas to you?

Whether you are an academic or practitioner we would like to hear from you. The SGCP aims to promote and share with the membership, information about the research its members are engaged in. Just as importantly for an emergent profession we must also get a sense of what members might need in order to support you in your roles as scientist practitioners.

Please do e-mail your thoughts and responses to sgcpcom@bps.org.uk.

Alison Whybrow & Emma Short

*IGCP: Interest Group in Coaching Psychology, Australian Psychological Society.


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