NORMA eResearch @NCI Library

Coaching during Challenging Times: An Exploratory study into the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Coaching in Ireland

Kingston, Nicola (2022) Coaching during Challenging Times: An Exploratory study into the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Coaching in Ireland. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

[thumbnail of Master of Arts]
PDF (Master of Arts)
Download (557kB) | Preview


Coaching is a relatively new practice that came to the forefront in the 1990s (Lee et al., 2005). The International Coaching Federation (ICF) started in 1995, and it now has over 35,000 members in 143 countries globally, including the Ireland Chapter of the International Coaching Federation (ICF Ireland, 2022). ICF Ireland's mission is to lead the Irish advancement of the coaching profession. They believe that coaching is essential to a healthy society in Ireland and that every ICF Ireland member represents the highest level of professional coaching.

Concerning the health of Ireland’s society, it fundamentally wavered in March 2020. In response to the World Health Organisation declaring the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, the Republic of Ireland experienced one of the harshest lockdowns in the world. Governments worldwide imposed precautionary measures to protect individual and collective health, and many employers converted to remote working arrangements (Jarosz, 2021).

In addition, professionals were forced to abruptly embrace virtual techniques with little or no training due to COVID-19 (Bell, 2021). Research in the area of psychotherapy and counselling has demonstrated the potential implications of telehealth and, in particular, teleconsultation. The research examines the effects on the client–clinician relationship, overall service effectiveness and client issues best suited for telehealth services (Bell, 2021). The same level of research is not yet readily available concerning the coaching profession. However, previous research appears to examine the viability of virtual “eCoaching” versus in-person coaching. The research argues that in-person engagement may be required to establish a trusting relationship between the client and the coach, allowing the client to be vulnerable and discuss ways to improve their knowledge or performance. A lack of face-to-face interaction may also reduce accountability (Cilliers et al., 2022). Therefore, any existing research relating to the impact of the pandemic on a profession thus far seems to extend to helping professions such as psychotherapy and counselling. The effects on the coaching profession are restricted.

To address this, this study will aim to understand the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic had on coaching from the perspective of the coaching practitioners. Previous studies focus on coachees and how they perceive the coaching process; the coach practitioners are rarely the focus of the studies (Honsova, 2021). This research will rectify this omittance by focussing entirely on the coach's experiences during the coaching process. The study will explore coaching during a particularly challenging time. In this context-specific study, the challenging time will be that of the global pandemic. Hence, this study will examine the experiences of coaches who coached during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the coaching profession promotes itself as a key driver in maintaining a healthy society in Ireland, this study will bring valuable insight by examining whether the effectiveness levels experienced pre-pandemic were maintained during the pandemic. The author intends to investigate coaching effectiveness during the COVID-19 pandemic by interpreting the perceptions of coaching practitioners using inductive qualitative methods. Thematic analysis will be used to examine semi-structured interviews.

The results will show that coaching during the pandemic, although it had many difficulties, was a successful journey. The coaches have recounted their experiences and advised that coaching is doable virtually, effective, and practical. The pandemic impacted the coaching profession by forcing it to move online and magnifying its benefits to organisations within Ireland that have since begun to engage coaches to support their employees during the difficult period.

To conclude, this study will provide relevant recommendations for future learning and training for coach practitioners to equip them with the knowledge and skills required to navigate coaching clients successfully during challenging times.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management > Human Resource Management > Coaching
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management > Human Resource Management
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain > Ireland
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Arts in Human Resource Management
Depositing User: Clara Chan
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2022 11:35
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2022 11:35

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item