Developing consulting relationships with coaches

Lee-Ann Sharp, University College Plymouth St Mark and St John, United Kingdom

Theme: Consulting/private practice

Program ID: SYM-11

Presentation: October 3, 2013 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm

Room: Melrose


In commencing work with a ‘client’ it has been suggested that the starting point for any psychological intervention should be the development of an effective consulting relationship or working alliance between both individuals (Giges, Petitpas & Vernacchia, 2004). The purpose of this presentation is to discuss the components necessary for the development of an effective applied sport psychology consulting relationship between a sport psychology consultant (SPC) and a coach. To address this purpose, two SPC-Coach consulting relationship case studies (perceived to be effective by both dyad members) will be presented. The use of case studies within sport psychology have been seen to play an “integral role in the accumulation of knowledge... and can promote the development of intervention strategies for enhancing performance and psychological well-being” (Smith, 1989, p.11). Following purposeful sampling methods, members of two SPC-Coach consulting relationships (2 SPCs and 2 elite coaches) participated in individual interviews to discuss their perceptions of effective consulting relationships. Inductive content analysis was conducted to search for common themes both within and across the two case studies (Weber, 1990). Three categories emerged with shared similarities between both case studies as being important to the development of effective consulting relationships between an SPC and a coach; (a) SPC knowledge; (b) trust; and (c) friendship. In addition, two categories unique to each of the case study consulting relationships emerged; (d) SPC fitting in with team culture; and (e) flexibility. These findings will be discussed in relation to previous SPC consulting research; and following the scientist-practitioner perspective a number of practical recommendations will be offered for developing effective consulting relationships with coaches.

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