chapter  6
12 Pages

Coaches’ selves

As outlined in the introduction to this book, much coaching literature and accompanying education provision has traditionally adopted an instrumentalist view of coaches’ work. Here, ‘what works’ has been positioned as of utmost importance in terms of the knowledge, methods and ideas presented to aspiring and developing coaches (Denison et al. 2013; Jones et al. 2011). In contrast, relatively little consideration has been given to what it is to ‘be’ a coach (e.g. Norman 2010, 2012; Potrac et al. 2013a). Indeed, there remain precious few opportunities for coaches to critically consider the interrelated issues of ‘what I do’ and ‘why I am here’ (Mockler 2011). Mockler suggested that this state of affairs might be attributed to increasingly entrenched neo-liberal discourses, which privilege narrow, technical-rational understandings of various occupations and professions, which have a tendency to fixate on aspects of practice that ‘are easier to quantify, measure, and mandate’. That is, neo-liberalism prioritizes the reproduction of alleged ‘gold standard’ routines and procedures, rather than the development of ‘reflexive, politically aware’ practitioners (Mockler 2011: 525).