Introduction: A Journey into Coaching

When I ventured into coaching, what initially drew me in was positive psychology—the science part. The fact that there was a scientific field, albeit an emerging one, dedicated to understanding “happiness” and the “light side” of human experience was incredibly appealing. It sealed the deal for me. However, what I had not anticipated was how deep and wide the net of my related interests would cast. I soon realized that coaching was not only about science but also about spirituality, love, philosophy, and much more. This multifaceted nature of coaching has made it an endlessly fascinating and profoundly impactful practice.

The Philosophy and Wisdom in Coaching

When I think about it, I can spot some philosophical underpinning in coaching. Coaching definitely  is about wisdom and mindset. The term “philosophy” itself, derived from the Greek word “philosophia,” means “love of wisdom.” This love of wisdom is a fundamental aspect of coaching, guiding individuals toward greater self-awareness, resilience, and personal fulfilment.

The Art of Evidence-Based Coaching

Coaching is not just a science; it is also an art. It requires a nuanced understanding of human behaviour, empathy, and the ability to inspire and motivate others. Evidence-based coaching combines these elements, creating an integrative practice that draws on both empirical evidence and the intuitive wisdom of the coach. This approach ensures that coaching interventions are not only effective but also deeply meaningful and transformative for clients.

The Role of Science in Coaching

Science plays a crucial role in life coaching. It provides a solid foundation for understanding what works in coaching and why. Scholars like Anthony Grant, Tatiana Bachkirova, Robert Biswas-Diener, and Todd Kashdan, to name only a few, have contributed significantly to this field. Their research has highlighted the importance of applying scientific principles to coaching practices to enhance their effectiveness.

Anthony Grant, a pioneer in the field, emphasizes the importance of using evidence-based methods to improve coaching outcomes. His work has shown that coaching can lead to significant improvements in well-being, goal attainment, and overall life satisfaction (Grant, 2014).

Tatiana Bachkirova has explored the philosophical dimensions of coaching, arguing that it is an integrative practice that combines elements of psychology, philosophy, and education. Her work highlights the importance of reflective practice and self-awareness in coaching (Bachkirova, 2016).

Robert Biswas-Diener, known as the “Indiana Jones of Positive Psychology,” has conducted extensive research on the intersection of coaching and positive psychology. He advocates for the use of strengths-based approaches and science in coaching to enhance well-being and performance (Biswas-Diener, 2010).

Todd Kashdan’s research focuses (inter alia) on the role of curiosity and flexibility in coaching. He argues that fostering these qualities in clients can lead to greater resilience and adaptability, essential traits for navigating life’s challenges (Kashdan & Biswas-Diener, 2014).

Integrating Science and Philosophy in Coaching

The integration of science and philosophy in coaching creates a comprehensive approach that addresses both the rational and emotional aspects of human experience. Science provides the evidence and structure needed to develop effective coaching interventions, while philosophy offers the wisdom and depth that make these interventions truly impactful.

Montaigne once said, “Science without conscience is but the ruin of the soul.” This statement underscores the importance of ethical considerations in the application of scientific knowledge. In coaching, it is essential to apply scientific principles with a deep sense of responsibility and empathy.

Where Coaching Meets Philosophy and Spirituality

Albert Einstein famously stated, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” If we replace “religion” with “spirituality,” this quote perfectly encapsulates the integrative nature of coaching. Coaching, like science, requires a solid foundation of evidence-based practices to be effective. However, it also demands the depth and richness that come from philosophy and spirituality.

Einstein’s wisdom highlights the balance needed in coaching. Just as science provides the structure and evidence, philosophy and spirituality offer the meaning and purpose. This integrative approach ensures that coaching is not only practical and effective but also deeply fulfilling and aligned with the client’s core values and beliefs.

In coaching, science without the guidance of philosophy and spirituality can be rigid and uninspiring. Conversely, philosophy and spirituality without the grounding of science can be vague and impractical. By integrating these elements, coaching becomes a holistic practice that addresses both the tangible and intangible aspects of human experience.

This balance is crucial for my practice as an evidence-based coach. I am deeply passionate about combining scientific rigor with the wisdom of philosophy and the depth of spirituality. This integrative approach allows me to provide clients with coaching that is not only effective but also meaningful and transformative.

Conclusion

Evidence-based coaching represents a powerful synthesis of science, philosophy and even to some extent spirituality, offering a robust framework for personal and professional development.

As the field continues to evolve, it promises to enhance our understanding of human potential and provide practical tools for achieving it. By embracing evidence-based practices, coaches can ensure their methods are grounded in reliable research, leading to more impactful and lasting change for their clients.

Choosing a life coach who takes these various fields & disciplines seriously can make a significant difference in your coaching experience. It ensures that the coaching you receive is not only evidence-based and effective but also deeply resonant and aligned with your core values and aspirations.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Sophie

+++++++++++

References

Bachkirova, T. (2016). The Self in Coaching: Concepts and Practice. Routledge.

Biswas-Diener, R. (2010). Practicing Positive Psychology Coaching: Assessment, Activities, and Strategies for Success. Wiley.

Grant, A. M. (2014). The Efficacy of Executive Coaching in Times of Organisational Change. Journal of Change Management, 4(2), 153-168.

Kashdan, T. B., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2014). The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self – Not Just Your “Good” Self – Drives Success and Fulfillment. Penguin Random House.

Embracing Change: How to Dream Big and Achieve Your Goals

Embracing Change: How to Dream Big and Achieve Your Goals

"I have (had) a dream" Today I am delivering a workshop on positive psychology and life coaching to engineering students at the University of Cambridge, UK. To some extent: (part of) my dream (has) come true. And yet getting there and speaking in my new professional...