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Coaching with emotion in organisations: investigation of personal theories

Tatiana Bachkirova (Oxford Brookes University, Westminster Institute of Education, Oxford, UK)
Elaine Cox (Oxford Brookes University, Westminster Institute of Education, Oxford, UK)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 25 September 2007




The aim of this study is to investigate personal theories of emotion that coaches have and how these theories are translated into strategies of working with clients' emotions.


The approach to the study is phenomenological. A questionnaire method based on specifically designed stem sentences was used in order to engender spontaneous responses from the 39 participants. Analysis of data was conducted through coordinated interpretation of categories and themes by the three different researchers.


Three differing standpoints in relation to both the role of emotion in the coaching process and the role of the coach in relation to a client's emotions were identified and the correspondence between them was established. Potential explanations for the discovered inconsistencies in personal theories and strategies of dealing with emotion are suggested with implications for organisational coaches.

Research limitations/implications

Personal history and the dynamics of individual development were difficult to capture at this stage using only one method of data collection. The following stage of study will involve in‐depth interviewing of a number of international coaches.

Practical implications

The results of the study need to be considered by those providing training to organisational coaches. The spectrum of possible positions presented in relation to emotion in coaching may help coaches identify their personal stance and examine their strategies of dealing with emotion.


An original tool was developed that contributes to a qualitative analysis of coaches' personal experiences of dealing with emotion. The study sheds light from the first person perspective on the complex issue of working with emotion in organisations. It offers important clarifications of the current context of this issue thus contributing to the advancement of conventional discourse and research on working with emotions in organisations.



Bachkirova, T. and Cox, E. (2007), "Coaching with emotion in organisations: investigation of personal theories", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 28 No. 7, pp. 600-612.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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