The Use of Reflection in Workplace Coaching

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The Use of Reflection in Workplace Coaching Introduction This white paper seeks to explore the relevance and use of reflection within the context of workplace coaching. Evidence will be presented that supports the educational and developmental value of this approach. In conclusion, one particular tool will be recommended that workplace coaches can use to facilitate the reflective process for coachees. The science behind reflection Some of the most compelling descriptions of the significance of reflection as a key to changes in the brain, hence changes to behaviour; come from the field of neuroscience: In her article on „Brain Function and Adult Learning’, Taylor1 sees that reflecting on and questioning pre-suppositions brings about changes in how people understand aspects of themselves and their world. This sentiment is echoed in the interest and use of storytelling and narration in the corporate education space, particularly in change management and leadership development programs. Norman Doidge, a research psychiatrist and psychoanalyst from Colombia University also proposes that by reflecting and narrating to another person it allows for learning and development, because „language and significant social relationships build and shape the brain‟. While these examples of neuroscience exploration support reflection as a developmental process, it has been widely used in the education sector for quite some time. Professions such as nurses and teachers use reflection as part of their training. I have personally kept a reflective journal during the practicum component of my teaching degree and can attest to the power and impact that reflection can have on learning and development. The Connection between Learning and Reflection Adults don’t learn by experience…they learn by reflecting on experience2 While much support has been given to the importance and centrality of learning being experiential, a number of scholars and practitioners are now arguing that individuals...
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