Coach ‘Becoming’ Research Project 2023

The Bristol Becoming Group at the fabled Arnos Manor Hotel.

An inquiry into coaches’ transitions as they experience ‘becoming.’

We have chosen this term ‘becoming’ with regard to the emergent nature of what we are inquiring into. The essence of this research concerns what we are ‘becoming,’ and also considers ‘how we are becoming.’ Our recent meeting in Bristol  reinforced the notion that a principal purpose of this inquiry is to help participants discover something that we each know and cherish about ourselves that we didn’t know before.  This inquiry goes beyond the confines of professional coaching roles, to address the whole person in relationship to the individual’s lived life, including their relationship to coaching 

The project is primarily for the benefit of the inquirers,  in line with essential action research principles. It does not plan to feature classical research outcomes such as peer reviewed papers or material for conferences that, at times, enhance the researcher above the researched. 

CCG Becoming Project Framework

There are now four regional grouping who are setting their own direction within some broad guidelines and shared time frames: London, Bristol, Sheffield, Devon. It is preferable for these groups to meet in person, but not essential.  The good news to date is that most have been strongly attended, which gives us a clue to the seriousness with which this work is regarded.  

Each regional grouping will generate their own ‘makings,’ which will include, but not limited to, writing, drawings, diagrams, objects of inspiration, photos, voice recordings,  snatches of jazz. 

The Bristol group is following the pattern of pairs activities designed to generate makings. These pairs will then come together on 8th June at Arnos Manor to share collective makings, and to discover whether or not there is a collective making to take forward to the CCG wide gathering on 9 October 2023. 

These makings will then shared in a whole CCG celebration planned for 9th October 2023 at Arnos Manor, where Leslie Goldenberg will  once again join us from California.  We plan that at least one representative, preferably more,  from each regional group with be there to share their makings.

background to this research.

Background to this inquiry

This inquiry can be traced back to the 2021 CCG conference on ‘coaching at a later age,’ based around Daniel Doherty’s radio play ‘Re-Attiring.’

There was appetite at the time to take this inquiry within the CCG further, which, after a pause, we pursue now. Sometimes projects on maturity take a while in maturation, to compost. This enterprise was accelerated by a recent session on ‘coach identity,’ convened by the Association for Coaching Research Special Interest Group, and led by CCG members Roger Bretherton and Adrienne Rosen, which led to several us sharing our personal and professional ‘cliffs’ or transitions in the form of writing and in conversation. 

I am aware of a profound connection between this nascent inquiry and the well-developed ‘on the becoming of a coach’ study concerning ‘coach maturity,’ led by Bob Garvey, the understanding of which we at CCG have explore in depth with Bob during several of our 2023 during in-the-room sessions.  

Project method

  1. Creation of personal ‘cliff’ narratives. These creations can be assisted by the posing of an over-arching research question, and associated prompts relating to the development and maturation process.  
  2. Sharing of narratives in pairs – individuals may be involved in a number of pairings 
  3. Coming together as a group virtually, and in person, to reflect on themes and patterns that emerge with regard to coach becoming and coach maturity 

The work itself will be a mix of individual reflection (written and other) together with CCG in-person groups in Bristol, London, Sheffield, Devon meetings in first half 2023; and online pairs work and group work. 

I am not really wanting to predict how meaning-making and products from this eventually emerge, but anticipate that it result in themes to work with.

It is anticipated that considerable personal and professional development will accrue from participation in this project – and that bonds and networks will be deepened and strengthened. 

Prompt question: 

‘how would you describe a pivotal / seminal passage in your passage towards coaching becoming?

The methodology. 

This methodology has been naturalistically driven, and emergent to date. At its heart lies an action research / narrative inquiry / writing-as-inquiry /  action learning approach. In spirit it shares common cause of with the ‘on the becoming of a coach’ project in being philosophically based in Phenomenology and Hermeneutics as it concerns an inquiry into lived experience, and the process of sense making from the same inquiry. 


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