Polarities in executive coaching.

U. Glunk, B. Follini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose – this paper aims to show how polarity coaching can foster meaningful change among executive clients through sponsoring a deeper understanding and acceptance of interdependent opposites.design/methodology/approach – the study explores what is required from the coach and the coaching relationship and how clients can be supported in overcoming polarity traps. A social constructionist and sense-making approach to coaching is followed and the paper draws on relevant literature from the fields of psychotherapy, coaching, and dialogical change.findings – it is shown that before engaging in polarity coaching it is important for coaches to become aware of the polarity tensions that are prevalent in their own work and to explore their personal preferences when facing these tensions. A coach who is able to hold interdependent opposites with ease in the coaching encounter will allow clients to experience transformation on a deeper level.originality/value – the core of the paper is the polarity-coaching model, which describes how coaches can guide their clients through a process of discovering polarized thinking, pole exploration, and boundary softening for becoming more comfortable with interdependent opposites. The paper will be of interest to those in the field of coaching executives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-230
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Management Development
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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