Towards a metaphorical framework of team coaching: an autoethnography

James, Joanne (2017) Towards a metaphorical framework of team coaching: an autoethnography. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This thesis integrates theory and practice of team coaching into a holistic framework relevant to professional coaches and professional coach educators.

I adopt an autoethnographic approach, exploring team coaching via three fieldwork sites; two sites where I am the team coach and thirdly a discussion group of professional coaches. Fieldwork data is collated chronologically and implicit knowledge is surfaced through story telling as a mechanism of sense making to answer the question: What is going on when I am coaching a team? In analysing and interpreting my stories, I take a postmodernist theoretical perspective, adopting a deconstructive approach which seeks to elucidate multiple ways of knowing and seeing.

The resulting framework draws on four metaphors. Team as machine that follows a functionalist model of effectiveness that can be managed through behaviours and process. Team as family, which illuminates the interwoven nature of individual relationships and suggests strategies to create safe, mutually respectful collaborative behaviours. Team as living system represents the experience of teams thriving within a dynamic interrelated environment. Finally, the team and coach in Wonderland depicts a coaching assignment as analogous to following the White Rabbit into Wonderland. In a strange environment we may feel uncertain and vulnerable, however, curiosity enables us to remain open to possibilities. Each metaphorical perspective offers a ‘mode of awareness’ from which to operate as a coach.

The framework develops our understanding of team coaching by bringing together diverse theoretical streams to inform what is going on in a new and accessible way as the metaphorical devices encapsulate complex ideas with simplicity. I contribute to team coaching practice as professional coaches can use the metaphorical language allied with theory to plan and reflect upon coaching assignments, consider relevant coaching approaches and engage in supervision. A shared language of metaphors provides researchers and practitioners with a new way to describe team coaching, creating a foundation on which to progress development in the future. In addition, the framework provides the basis for a coach development curriculum. I distinguish between team coaching and other team-based interventions and highlight how dyadic coaching practices may be applied within the team context to enable professionals from a variety of backgrounds to engage with the framework. Finally, I offer a transparent insight into a different way of investigating professional coaching practice describing how autoethnography allows us to tell practice stories in ways that are both evocative, insightful and open to analysis.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: sensemaking, practice-based research, coaching, teams, narrative methods
Subjects: N200 Management studies
N600 Human Resource Management
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2017 12:11
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2022 15:00

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