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Action research or researching action?

Photo of people shadows on paving stones

I’m going to be exploring the theme of ‘action research or researching action?’ at a coaching conference on 18 November at Coaching at MDX 2016.

I’m noticing frequently how action research informs my practice and how I engage with my clients and the issues they bring to supervision. As a ‘scholar practitioner’, I now view the content of the supervisee’s narrative as data. This then allows me to consider without judgment what may be happening for the client or the organisational system in which the work is taking place.

Subsequently, we look at the data that’s in the client system and how this might inform how the coach re-enters this to see what is happening, make an intervention and observe what happens. This takes the pressure off the coach to achieve results, hit goals and reach outcomes, and rather invites the coachee to consider the data by noticing what is happening, take appropriate actions, observe what emerges and reflect on the outcome – and thus plan what to do next.

The result is often more effective as the client and coach don’t get hooked into judging what is going on in a negative or counter-productive way, but rather approach their work with curiosity to explore and learn. That in turn may lead them to take on the changes that are being sought.

Photo by Paul Frankenstein