|dc.description.abstract||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.||en_ZA