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Coaching shouldn't be non‐directive – or even directive: really responding to needs

Ian Cunningham (University of Sussex, Brighton, UK.)

Development and Learning in Organizations

ISSN: 1477-7282

Article publication date: 27 June 2008




The purpose of this paper is to provide an antidote to the supposed divide between directive and non‐directive coaching.


The article is based on work done in a variety of organizations as well as published sources. The paper quotes published work as well as personal experience.


There is an alternative to the directive/non‐directive debate. Coaches need to be clear about the person they are working with and the problems they face before offering or pointing to solutions to these problems.

Practical implications

The article has real practical implications for leaders/managers, coaches and learning and development professionals. The model discussed within it provides a secure basis on which coaches can offer a real service to clients.


The article will be of value to managers and learning specialists/coaches as it raises important issues about the need to take a realistic view about coaching practice.



Cunningham, I. (2008), "Coaching shouldn't be non‐directive – or even directive: really responding to needs", Development and Learning in Organizations, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 5-7.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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