For the past three years, Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) and the International Coaching Federation (ICF) have developed a truly collaborative research partnership that has significantly advanced coaching research and practice.
Beginning in late 2017 and continuing through early 2019, HumRRO and ICF worked together to design and conduct a global practice analysis of the coaching profession. The quality and comprehensiveness of that work, which informed a recent update to ICF’s Core Competency Model, was recognized nationally when the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) recently awarded ICF a Silver Award through its 2020 Power of A Awards program.
The HumRRO team involved in the practice analysis included Andrea Sinclair, Ph.D., as project director and Gavan O’Shea, Ph.D., as technical lead. “I was impressed by ICF’s consistent commitment to conducting a truly rigorous practice analysis,” O’Shea shared. The technical approach included:
- An extensive literature review
- Semi-structured interviews with coaching thought leaders
- Generation and analysis of over 250 critical incidents written by 16 coaches from 10 different countries
- A global task and knowledge, skill, ability, and other characteristic (KSAO) survey completed by more than 1,200 coaches
- A task-KSAO linkage exercise
One of the unique aspects of ICF’s analysis of coaching practice was its careful attempt to illuminate mental and emotional processes as well as observable behavior—in short, the “being” side of coaching as well as the “doing” side.
“Through consultation with ICF, we decided to expand the traditional critical incident methodology—along with asking coaches to record the behavior they had engaged in and its associated outcomes, we also asked them to write about the emotional, cognitive, and self-regulatory processes they were experiencing,” O’Shea noted. “Had we not done this, we certainly would have missed identifying capabilities that are vital to coaching.”
This example highlights how critical it is to think though whether traditional practice analysis methods can be modified or enhanced to conduct the most informative study possible, and why collaborating with a client can yield an approach that is tailored to their unique needs and context.