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The Psychology of Coaching, Mentoring and Learning, 2nd Edition by Ho Law

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Foreword to the First Edition

Stephen Palmer

The psychology of coaching, mentoring and learning is an exciting and rapidly expanding area. However, psychology’s contribution to particular fields is often overlooked; and the field of coaching and mentoring is no exception. For example, many coaching courses teach students how to coach by using a basic model or structure on how to hold a conversation with a client. One example is the GROW model, the name of which is a useful acronym standing for Growth, Reality, Options and Will (or wrap-up). In addition, courses usually include a range of listening and communication skills. Yet the whole programme is often taught within a psychological vacuum, as little or no psychological theory or research is covered that underpins coaching practice. We could conclude that most coaching practice is belief-based. Brent Rushall at San Diego State University describes belief-based coaching as

a common and traditional form of coaching. Its guides for practices are usually a mix of personal experiences, some limited education about sport sciences, selected incomplete knowledge of current coaching practices, and self-belief in that how coaching is conduc­ted is right. Changes in coaching practices occur through self-selection of activities. The accumulated knowledge of belief-based coaching is subjective, biased, unstructured, and mostly lacking in accountability. Belief-based coaching also includes pseudo-scientific coaching. Pseudo-scientists attempt ...

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