To read this content please select one of the options below:

The foundations of a psychological approach to executive coaching

Peter Bluckert (Managing Director of Peter Bluckert Coaching and Chairman of the Standards and Ethics Committee of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC). Peter Bluckert Coaching is one of Europe's leaders in the provision of executive coaching, postgraduate and in‐company coach training, team coaching and coaching supervision. He can be contacted on 01274 566060 or

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 1 June 2005




Aims to examine the two main groupings of definitions of executive coaching: those which focus on learning and development leading to performance improvement and those which are located around change. From there it follows the proposition that psychological‐mindedness is the foundation of psychologically focused coaching.


Definitions of coaching are presented to set the context. Then the term psychological‐mindedness is described and the key aspects explored. These are: the capacity to reflect on one's own and others’ thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and derive meaning and learning from that reflection. It requires a level of self‐ and social awareness. The paper then looks at how psychological‐mindedness can be developed through a range of personal development processes and argues that these should be conducted both in one‐to‐one situations and in groups in order to derive the benefit of feedback. Finally, the training and development of executive coaches are explored.


The arguments presented here point to a need to shift the emphasis of coach training to incorporate an equal focus on the personal development of the coach.


There is little in the literature about executive coaching which addresses the importance of psychological‐mindedness; nor very much about how to develop it. This article also challenges the notion that advanced coach training should only focus on theory and practice development and advocates a more balanced approach.



Bluckert, P. (2005), "The foundations of a psychological approach to executive coaching", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 37 No. 4, pp. 171-178.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles