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Coaching Research Series - Understanding “I”, “Me”, and “Myself”: What is the Concept-of-Self and What Does it Mean for Coaching Practice? - Heather Frost








For Coaches


£ 39.99 inc VAT (Free to members)

Hosted by The Henley Centre for Coaching.

What is “the self” or a “self”? Pause for a moment and try to answer this seemingly simple question. How well would your answer hold up to scrutiny? Most of us begin strong in our explanation, but soon go around in circles, contradict ourselves, or get stuck.

These sensations get worse when we start asking sensible questions, such as:

  • Is the self a “thing” that exists or an “idea” of ourselves?
  • If you look for the self, can you find it? Does it have a physical location?
  • How changeable is it? Can the self be lost, eliminated, or recreated?
  • Does the self endure throughout our lives like a thread?

The role of coaching bridges the subjective and introspective inner world of the client with the outer world they behave in. How “I” understand “me” and make sense of “my” world and experience is a fundamental question for understanding human behaviour. Recent research shows that individuals understand their Concept-of-Self on a spectrum in three key ways: stability (same-ness), unity (one-ness), and thoughts (me-ness). The Concept-of-Self can influence beliefs such as agency: the basis of behaviour which is at the root of coaching. Why wouldn’t we want to know and understand a foundational view of who we are that may unwittingly influence our beliefs, motivations, assumptions, sense of agency, capacity to act and change? Moreover, there are two selves in the coaching relationship and although we may use the same words, coach and client may not mean the same thing. Coaches can recognise assumptions and beliefs at the foundations of behaviour change through the language of their clients. But first, they must understand their own.

In this session you will be introduced to the Concept-of-Self through a blend of content, personal reflection, and experiential exercises with other coaches. You will raise beliefs and awareness of your own self and how you can recognise the Concept-of-Self in your client work. This is a thought provoking and active session: prepare to leave with more questions and enhanced self-awareness of what it means to “be” a reflective practitioner.

Heather Frost

Heather photo

Heather is the Founder and Director of People and Practice, Co-founder of Think Perspective, accredited coach (EMCC/ICF), and Visiting Tutor at Henley Business School. She has over 20 years of global experience coaching individuals, teams, leaders, and organisations for systemic behaviour change and development. Heather is a Doctoral Researcher in Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour at Henley Business School, she holds a Master of Science in Coaching & Behavioural Change (MSc) and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology (BPsych). Heather developed the Concept-of-Self Scale (CoS) which measures how individuals understand “the self” and found how we understand who we are can influence our beliefs in agency. Heather’s work translates theory into practice so that coaches can use the Concept-of-Self in their coaching and reflective practice.

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