A Positive Psychology Coaching Programme to Develop Police Executives: A Realist Approach

STANSFIELD EVANS, Lynda Margaret (2019). A Positive Psychology Coaching Programme to Develop Police Executives: A Realist Approach. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00278


Positive psychology coaching has grown in popularity in the last 15 years. There are references in the positive psychology coaching literature to “what works”, but little evidence about how it might work when embedded in a coaching programme. This thesis, therefore, explores how, for whom and in what circumstances a positive psychology approach worked when senior leaders took part in an executive coaching programme in one UK police organisation. The study used realist action research as its methodology. A new positive psychology executive coaching programme was theorised, designed and delivered. Based on twenty semi-structured interviews with fifteen participants including researcher observations, six programme resources were studied, namely positive psychology knowledge, understanding and skills; a positive coaching relationship; positive reframing; organisational support; positive psychology feedback; and positive learning. Personal, organisational and sectoral contexts enabled or constrained the effectiveness of these resources when coachees engaged in cognitive, emotional and behavioural reasoning, making decisions and taking actions leading to successful or less successful coaching outcomes. A refined programme theory was derived, modelled and used to inform future programmes. The study identified how the programme facilitated coachees’ personal change through the pursuance and achievement of coaching goals and, by doing so, how coachees contributed to the organisation’s leadership development culture. The thesis’ major contribution is in the creation of new knowledge in the coaching psychology field. It sheds light on how and why this positive psychology coaching programme worked in the highly pressurised and stressful context of modern-day policing. It also makes other contributions to knowledge relating to coaching programme design and to the development of realist action research as a methodology for coaching enquiry. With implications for organisations, coaches and coachees working in policing and related settings, it could impact more widely on the development of coaching theory, policy, practice and coach education.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Stokes, Paul
Additional Information: Director of studies: Paul Stokes
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00278
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2020 13:58
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 13:42
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/26111

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