A description of executive coachees’ experiences of working with the body, as part of transformative coaching

Cox, Roland (2015-12)

Thesis (M.Phil)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Executive coaching is a burgeoning field and plays an increasingly influential role in organisational development. Transformative coaching is a powerful methodology suitable to executive contexts, yet not as prevalent in organisations as other approaches. One essential aspect of transformative coaching involves working purposively with the body of the coachee. While the body is central to these approaches and to transformation, there is evidence of an anti-somatic bias or marginalisation of the body in organisations. This research explores the experiences of executives who have worked transformatively with the body in organisations in order to identify the challenges faced in this context and determine how they may be addressed, as well as uncover the role body awareness plays in executive coaching, The study inquires into these experiences phenomenologically and a grounded theory approach is the qualitative methodology selected to analyse the data. How executives experience coaching to the body, how they make meaning of these bodily experiences in coaching and how they mediate between personal and executive realities are all areas of inquiry. The sampling was purposive and nine Capetonian executives were interviewed face-to-face using a semi-structured interview process of eight questions. Findings suggested a number of interdependent elements at play in the executive context, from the personal and individual dimensions of transformation to factors that are historic and cultural. On the personal level, executive coachees derived unique and significant gain from integrating the body in their coaching. Executives may require education around the concepts of the body in transformative work and organisational settings need to be conducive to this work. Currently this appears not to be the case and working with the body in organisations is met with resistance. Transformative coaching that involves the body is personal. While it may be uncomfortable initially, the personal nature thereof proves significant. Coachees who purposefully and subjectively attended to aspects of themselves and how these aspects relate to each other reported successful transformation. Specifically, this means that those who learn how the ‘narrative self’ relates to the sensory self, or who personally explore the coherence between language and body, are able to transform. Inner body awareness, or the ability to hold a first-person perspective experientially, is thus vital for personal transformation. In line with this, recent neuroscience supports the findings of the traditional, experiential practices. In future, both in practice and in research into this area, what is required is further collaboration between the experiential modalities of the body and those of the ‘hard sciences’ such as neuroscience. An Integral research framework (Wilber) is well suited to these research efforts, while a more coordinated ‘pragmatic somatic’ discipline such as that suggested by Shusterman is likely to be needed for transformative practitioners.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Geen opsomming beskikbaar

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/99435
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