Executive Report 2017 – The State of Play in European Coaching & Mentoring: Conceptual models and approaches

Jonathan Passmore, Hazel Brown, Zoltan Csigas et al

We’d love to share with you some of the finding from the research commissioned by EMCC and undertaken by a team of researchers in 50 countries across Europe.

Passmore, J, Brown, H, Csigas, Z & the European Coaching and Mentoring Research Consortium (2017) The State of Play in European Coaching & Mentoring – Executive Report. Henley-on-Thames: Henley Business School and EMCC International ISBN 978-1-912473-00-7

Conceptual models and approaches

The coaching literature has tended to focus on what models coaches should use. Yet little research has examined what models
coaches do use in practice or how their practice compares with their training. We asked what models coaches had been trained in and what models they used in practice. The results suggest a close alignment between training and practice, with one exception: motivational interviewing (1).

Coaching practice vs Coaching training

Diversity of approaches

There has been significant debate about which models work best. This debate has intensified as the number of coaching models has increased. It is now possible to identify 20–30 commonly used models. The popularity of different models probably varies between different countries, but there has been no research into this variation in practice or whether different models might better suit different cultures. Some have argued that all models are equally valid (2). Other writers have argued that this is true when all presenting issues are combined, but when presenting issues are separated out, different methods are more suited to different presenting issues. There is some evidence to support this from therapy (3). However, which factors suit which presenting issue in coaching has not been explored until this study.

In this section we asked coaches to imagine they were faced with clients with different presenting issues and asked them what method or approach they would select. Behavioural or cognitive behavioural coaching were the preferred methods for the majority of the presenting issues we invited coaches to consider.

Career change

Workplace stress

Improving presentation skills

Habitual checking of email / social media

Anxiety of travelling on public transport


(1)Cooper, M (2008) Essential Research Findings in Counselling and Psychotherapy. London: Sage
(2)Kilburg, R (2004) Trudging toward Dodoville: Conceptual approaches and case studies in executive coaching. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 56 (4), 203–13
(3)Miller, W R, Zweben, A, DiClemente, C & Rychtarik, R (1995) Project Match Monograph Series – Volume 2. Maryland: US Department for Health; Cooper,M (2008) Essential Research Findings in Counselling and Psychotherapy. London: Sage