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An Evaluation of a Life Coaching Group Program:


Dr Lindsay Oades Supervisor, University of Wollongong ... Eudaimonia view regards well-being as the actualisation of human potential and ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: An Evaluation of a Life Coaching Group Program:

An Evaluation of a Life Coaching Group Program

Initial findings from a wait-list control study
  • Suzy Green, University of Wollongong
  • Dr Lindsay Oades Supervisor, University of
  • Dr Anthony Grant - Supervisor, University of
  • Research supported by the Illawarra Institute for
    Mental Health

You see things, and you say, Why? But I dream
of things that never were and I say Why not?
  George Bernard Shaw.
Coaching Positive Psychology
  • Within field of empirical psychology, happiness
    well-being largely unexamined during last 50
  • More recently, a Positive Psychology has emerged.

Coaching Positive Psychology
  • Recent research shows positive emotions, hope,
    optimism may help build psychological resilience
    and thus serve as buffers against depression and
    other mental disorders.
  • Thus suggests the importance of studying positive
    human traits eg hope, well-being and the
    techniques utilised to build on eg coaching.

What Is Coaching?
  • Coaching aims to improve performance and
    well-being in an individuals work or personal
  • Coaching psychologists work with well-functioning
    clients, rather than a clinical population.

The Concept of Coaching
  • Coaching provides a conducive environment for
    goal-setting and progression towards attainment.
  • There has been extensive research conducted on
    the benefits of goal-setting 20 years eg
    effects on well-being.

Concept of Coaching contd
  • Recently, Grant (unpublished manuscript) has
    proposed a Psychology of Coaching.
  • Utilises theories techniques from clinical
    counselling psychology eg Transtheoretical Model
    of Change, a model of self-regulation and both
    cognitive-behavioural and solution-focused
  • .

How Is Coaching Relevant to Mental Health?
  • 1 in 5 (18) of Australian adults was affected by
    mental illness during the 12mth period from mid
    1996 to mid 1997 (1997 National Survey of Mental
    Health Wellbeing).
  • The direct cost of mental disorders and problems
    in 1989-90 estimated to be 2 billion (AIHW,

How Is Coaching Relevant to Mental Health?
  • Currently an emphasis on both mental health
    promotion and prevention eg In Australia, the
    Second National Mental Health Plan.
  • Mental health promotion involves positive
    treatments where the aim is to promote levels of
    well-being or build upon or draw out a persons
    existing strengths (Keyes Lopez 2002) and is
    targeted at the general population
  • .

How Is Coaching Relevant to Mental Health?
  • Coaching as a means to increase well-being may be
    useful as a non-medical or assisted self-help
    positive intervention, under the umbrella of
    mental health promotion.
  • Thus, research on coaching as a potentially
    useful positive intervention seems warranted.

  • Refers to optimal psychological functioning and
    experience (Ryan Deci, 2001).
  • The study of well-being is controversial at this
  • Historically, two distinct perspectives
    Hedonism Eudaimonism.

  • Hedonic view regards well-being as consisting of
    pleasure or happiness traditionally measured as
    Subjective well-being (SWB).
  • Eudaimonia view regards well-being as the
    actualisation of human potential and when people
    live in accordance with their core values
    measured as psychological well-being (PWB)

  • Hope theory involves belief in ones ability to
    initiate and maintain movement towards a goal
    (agency) and to conceptualise routes to a goal
  • It has been found that articulating goals
    immediately triggers agentic pathways thoughts.

  • Coaching facilitates goal-setting and
  • Significant evidence to suggest personal goals
    affect well-being.
  • Coaching fosters both agentic pathways
  • Thus it may be hypothesised that coaching should
    lead to greater hope, goal striving and

Previous Research
  • Grant (2001) utilised a life coaching program
    (Coach Yourself, Grant Greene, 2001) whereby 20
    adults focused on attaining goals that had eluded
    them for 23.5 months.
  • His results found that participation in the
    program was associated with significantly
    enhanced mental health, quality of life and
    increased goal attainment.

  • To further evaluate the effectiveness of a life
    coaching group program to facilitate goal
    striving, well-being, hope and mental health.
  • To examine the relationships between goal
    authenticity, hope, goal striving, well-being and
    mental health.

  • 1. There will be a significant difference between
    the Coaching Group and the Wait-list Group on
    measures of goal striving, well-being and mental
  • 2. There will be a positive and significant
    relationship between authentic goal pursuit and
    goal striving and well-being.
  • 3. There will be a positive and significant
    relationship between hope and goal striving and

  • 56 adults (18 years and over) from a normal,
    non-clinical (healthy) population.
  • Advertisements for the Coach Yourself program
    were run via local media

  • Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) utilised to
    identify healthy members of the community.
  • Suitable participants were matched on gender,
    age-range and BSI-range then randomly assigned
    to either the coaching group (experimental
    group/Group 1) or the wait-list (control
    group/Group 2), with 28 participants in each

  • 7 males and 21 females in each group.
  • Age range 18 60 years
  • Majority of participants falling within the 31-40
    and 41-50 age ranges.
  • BSI range T score range 33 70
  • Majority of participants falling within the 51-60
    T score range.

  • A group manual was developed based on Coach
    Yourself (Grant Greene, 2001) and Be Your Own
    Life Coach (Grant Cavanagh, 2002).
  • Coach Yourself is a structured life coaching
    program based on a solution focused, cognitive
    behavioural model.

The Coaching Program
  • Participants firstly attended a one-day workshop
    whereby the facilitator presented theories and
    techniques in a short lecture-type format.
  • Participants were introduced to the major
    theories and techniques of the Coach Yourself
    program eg Transtheoretical theory of change,
    solution-focus, Cognitive behavioural coaching.
  • In addition, individual self-reflection exercises
    and small group discussions were utilised.

The Coaching Program
  • Participants initially completed a life inventory
    task to examine the main areas of their lives eg
    work, health, relationships.
  • They then selected one specific, measurable goal
    that could be attained or significant progress
    made towards within a 10 week period.
  • Participants then met for 9 weekly one-hour group
    sessions in which there was a brief review of
    theory or technique, followed by co-coaching in
    regard to their chosen SMART goal.

The Coaching Program
  • The role of the Facilitator was to facilitate
    this process and help coachees move though the
    self-regulation cycle, monitoring and evaluating
    progress towards their goals during the preceding
    week and developing action plans for the coming

SMART goals
  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Attractive Authentic
  • Realistic
  • Time-framed

SMART goals
  • To improve physical health as evidenced by 3 x
    week exercise bike and 2 x week swimming.
  • To work towards completing my diploma by
    following a specific study schedule.
  • To improve self confidence at a level of 8 (on a
    scale of 1 to 10) by initiating conversations
    with new people.
  • By 30 September 2002 I will have in place a
    system for setting and achieving goals in my

SMART goals
  • By 30 September 2002 I will have reviewed and set
    up a financial budget on the computer for the
    next 12 months.
  • By 30 September 2002 I will have in place a plan
    to regularly set aside time for myself to
    increase creativity and fun in my life.
  • By 30 September I will have developed and put
    into place a fitness program that supports my
    health and will motivate me sufficiently at a
    level of 9/10.

  • Participants completed the following
    questionnaires at Time 1 Time 2
  • Personal Goals Questionnaire that incorporates
    questions regarding Personal Strivings (Emmons
    1986), Perceived Locus of Causality (PLOC) (Deci
    Ryan 1985), Commitment, Progress and
  • Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) (Diener et al
  • Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS)
    (Watson et al 1988)
  • Scales of Psychological Well-Being (Ryff, 1989)
  • Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21)
    (Lovibond Lovibond, 1995)
  • The Hope Trait Scale (Snyder 1991)

Time 1 Time 2 Time 3 10 weeks 20 weeks

WITHIN SUBJECTS DESIGN Group 1 from Time 1 to
Time 2 to Time 3
Group 1/Coaching Group Runs for 10 weeks
Group 1/Post Coaching Period
At Time 2
Group 2/Wait-list
Group 2 runs for next 10 weeks
WITHIN SUBJECTS DESIGN Group 1 from Time 1 to
Time 2 to Time 3
Preliminary ResultsBrief Symptom Inventory
  • 107 potential participants completed the BSI.
  • As recommended by the BSI manual, a cutoff score
    of 63 is utilised to identify a positive case ie
    high levels of psychological distress.
  • When applying this rule to the current sample,
    52 of people defined as positive cases.
  • In order to ensure an adequate sample size, a
    decision was made to increase the cutoff to 70 (2
    sd above mean). This reduced positive cases to

Initial ResultsPre post results of Group 1
Group 2

  • Repeated Measures ANOVAs reveal significant group
    x time interaction effects for
  • Positive Negative Affect, Psychological
    Well-being (5/6 scales), Hope Goal Striving.
  • No significant interaction effects were observed
    for Subjective Well-being, Autonomy (PWB scale),
    Depression, Anxiety Stress Scales.

Initial ResultsPre post results of Group 1
Group 2
  • Wait-list control group showed no significant
    changes from Time 1 (pre) to Time 2 (post).
  • Coaching Group showed significant increases in
  • Goal Striving
  • Positive Emotions (PANAS)
  • Hope agency, pathways and total hope.
  • Psychological Well-being 5/6 scales Personal
    Growth, Self-Acceptance, Purpose in Life,
    Positive Relations with Others.

Initial ResultsPre post results of Group 1
Group 2
  • Coaching Group showed significant decreases in
  • Negative Emotions (PANAS)
  • Coaching Group showed no significant changes in
  • Autonomy (subscale of PWB)
  • Depression, Anxiety Stress (DASS)

Initial ResultsPre post results of Coaching
Significant increases in Positive Affect (PANAS)

Initial ResultsPre post results of Coaching

Significant decreases in Negative Affect (PANAS)

Initial ResultsPre post results of Coachng
Significant increases in Agency and Pathways

Initial ResultsPre post results of Group 1
Significant increases in Total Hope

Initial ResultsPre post results of Coaching
Significant increases in Self-Acceptance
Purpose in Life (PWB)

Initial ResultsPre post results of Coaching
Significant increases in Positive Relations with
Others Environmental Mastery (PWB)

Initial ResultsPre post results of Group 1
Non-Significant decreases in Depression, Anxiety

Further Analyses to Be Completed
  • Analyses of Wait-list Control Group as Coaching
  • Within subjects analyses ie Correlation/Regression
    within Group 1 and Group 2 in regard to goal
    authenticity, hope and hypothesised associations
    with well-being and goal striving.
  • Follow-up analyses of Time 4 (30 weeks) Time 5
    (40 weeks).
  • Ten qualitative interviews regarding the Coaching
    Program process.

What Do These Findings Tentatively Suggest So Far?
  • Quantitatively
  • Group Coaching is effective in increasing goal
    striving progression, positive emotions and
    psychological well-being and hope. Also
    effective in decreasing negative emotions.
  • Qualitatively (ad hoc)
  • The Social factor may play an important role ie
    importance of public commitment to change?
  • CBT increases self-reflection and insight that
    enables change to occur?

What Are We Yet to Determine?
  • Will these findings be replicated for the
    Wait-list control group as a Coaching Group?
  • Whether hope and goal authenticity affect goal
    striving and well-being in a coaching setting.
  • What are the important components of the coaching
    process that lead to these significant changes ie
    CBT, social influences?
  • Will increases in well-being be maintained ie at
    Time 4 5?

Qualitative Comments(to be analysed)
  • Helped me to focus on what I wanted out of life
    and the process helped me to set out the steps to
    achieve that.
  • The personal contract helped me to stay on track.
  • The performance enhancing techniques (CBC) were
    the highlight!
  • Springboard effects into other areas of my life!
  • I now carry through on my intentions!

Qualitative Comments(to be analysed)
  • Helped me to feel better about myself and more
  • The solution focus has helped me to move forward
    rather than feel stuck.
  • The continuous reinforcement enhanced success.
  • Understanding the process of change helped me to
    understand myself.
  • A very powerful experience!! Life changing!!!

Future Research 

If coaching is shown to be effective in
increasing well-being/positive emotions and
decreasing psychological distress/negative
emotions, then future research could investigate
coaching interventions utilised to enlist or
strengthen such proactive potentials ie building
hope, strategies to build resilience.
Future Research 
  • Coaching as a means to destigmatise psychology.
  • Use of coaching groups for life skills eg
    self-esteem, stress management, emotional
  • Use of coaching post-counselling as a
    prevention strategy.

Future Research 
  • Use of coaching to teach CBT to general public
    for prevention of depression anxiety.
  • Use of phone coaching as a cost-effective way to
    ensure behaviour change maintenance eg stop
    smoking, weight loss, exercise programs.

Thank you.Any questions? 
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