Conference Paper (unpublished)

The Black Sheep or Maybe Not: An Auto ethnographic Exploration of Expert Coach's Experiences with Coach Education and Coaching


Allen J & Sibbald T (2017) The Black Sheep or Maybe Not: An Auto ethnographic Exploration of Expert Coach's Experiences with Coach Education and Coaching. ICCE Global Coach Conference, Liverpool, England, 31.07.2017-02.08.2017.

Introduction “Nervous, I stand before peers, about to give a presentation. My inner voice confirms that these are the coaches who know how to do it properly, the best. I should not be here. I launch into my presentation, click onto a clip of a pinball machine and announce that for me, coaching is just like pinball... Now my peers look uncomfortable - the previous presentations had been full of long words and clever links between understanding and experience.” Tom’s experience of coaching and coach education didn’t seem to be explained by theories reliant on the conscious control of thinking. Drawing from research into dyslexia, neuroscience, education and psychology, Tom began to make sense of his approach to coaching. This presentation argues that coaching and education are riddled with references to thinking which occurs quickly, often outside conscious awareness and frequently in pictures rather than words (Silverman 2002), (Kraemer et al, 2009). Adopting an autoethnographic approach we propose a landscape describing thinking which captures both the thoughts we are aware of those which happen beyond. Method Autoethnography, the telling of your own story, is a powerful way to challenge culturally embedded beliefs. To understand his coaching Tom, an expert paddlesport coach and tutor, uses personal narrative, harnessing experience as it intersects with cultural context. The audience are invited to enter his world and use what they learn there to reflect on and understand their own lives (Ellis, 2004). A series of stories are used to identify epiphany moments which directed a quest to understand thinking, explore the expansive landscape of conscious and unconscious thinking, and its place in coaching and coach education (Ellis et al, 2011). Discussion Research into executive control (Beaty et al, 2014), (Collins et al, 2016) meta skills, and mesh theory (Christensen et al, 2016), all confirm that thinking is more than just two parts vying for domination (Sowden et al, 2014). It is proposed that coaching requires dual thinking, needing to be logical, rational and free, yet associative, at the same time (Evans & Stanovich, 2013). The two approaches are continuously integrating in a fluid and seamless way. To manage this integration broad (meta) skills are needed such as translating, noticing, testing, and calibration. Recommendations for are made for coach education to develop coaches who have the ability to grow and integrate both skill sets. “I used to consider myself a coaching misfit, a black sheep, but perhaps no longer. I now know that my coaching is much more than a wacky stopgap until I learn to do it properly.”

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ConferenceICCE Global Coach Conference
Conference locationLiverpool, England

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