Volume 4, Article 5

Volume 4, Article 5 

Critical Realist Coaching: An Epistemological Lens into Client Profiling
Jerry Dixon

Citation: Dixon, J. (2023). Critical Realist Coaching: An Epistemological Lens into Client Profiling. International Journal of Coaching Psychology, 4, 5, 1-10.

Processing dates: Submitted: 13 March 2023; Resubmitted: 27 June 2023; Accepted: 11 July 2023; Published: 13 December 2023.

Volume 4 Article 5

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The rationale for this paper arose from over a decade of Irish field research investigating coachee’s pathways to reemployment. It became apparent that the same complex social issues, differing degrees of openness and disclosure, and the emergent and partial client details that faced mixed method research were also present in the coaching dyad trying to elevate the client’s employment status. As a response to this dilemma, the emerging paradigm of Critical Realism (CR) was adopted to unite multiple psychological / coaching approaches into a single epistemological framework during client work. CR proposes the critical evaluation of empirical data as the starting point for understanding the client’s sense of ontology. This level is followed by the socially constructed realm of the actual where a mutual, but limited understanding of the client’s reality is generated via shared meaning making. This important issue reminds the coach that we view the client through our own perceptual filter (which is not independently objective). The highest realm of reality is the real which uses various forms of abductive and retro-ductive analysis to help identify the generative mechanisms and causal forces that manifest into the influences upon the coachees behaviour the interpretation of life events. Critical realism is as much a mind set of the coach as it is a hierarchical process of working with complex clients of which unemployment is just one example. However, critical realism is arguably more comprehensive and integrative than selecting a singular coaching perspective. However, it is conceded that more research and investigation is needed to refine the approach and its precise role and application in the coaching process. Key words: Epistemology, 2) Ontology in Coaching, 3) Critical Realism, 4) Client Profiling, 5) Integrative Coaching

Copyright: © 2023 Jerry Dixon. Published in European Journal of Applied Positive Psychology. Published by National Wellbeing Services Ltd. This article is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license. Full terms of licence: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Jerry Dixon is an Associate Lecturer at the South East Technological University, Carlow, Ireland. He is also a member of Special Interest Group in Coaching Psychology at The Psychological Society of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland.
Emails: jelmdixon@gmail.com  Jerry.Dixon@setu.ie