Participant information: the survey

A journey of expertise: How executive coaches identify their development needs


You are being invited to take part in a research study. Before you decide whether to take part, it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the following information carefully.


What is the purpose of the study?

‘How do I become a better coach?’ This question, so often asked by coaches, is the inspiration for my doctoral study, approved by Oxford Brookes University. The purpose of the research is to improve our understanding of how executive coaches acquire expertise by exploring what they consider when identifying development needs. The study aims to contribute to the debates on how coach development is addressed. The aspiration is to create an instrument that will enable more informed decisions about planning personal and professional development.


Why have I been invited to participate?

Your participation is being sought as you are a UK based coach who works with senior managers and leaders and may be able to offer a view on how coaches meet their development needs.


Do I have to take part?

It is your choice whether to participate. If you do decide to continue you will be asked to indicate your consent. Your involvement in the project is voluntary and you are free to withdraw consent at any time without giving reasons. You have the right to have any data pertaining to you withdrawn, up to the point of analysis.


What will happen to me if I take part?

You will be one of about fifty coaches who complete the survey which will take approximately 30 minutes. You will be given sixty statements relating to various considerations when you think about identifying your developmental requirements, for example:

  1. Opportunities to share experience with other coaches
  2. Getting ideas to put into practice
  3. How I can differentiate myself from other coaches

You will be asked to rank these statements in an order that reflects how important they are to you. At the end of the survey there will be the option of providing a brief explanation for the items you have selected as ‘no importance at all’ and ‘absolutely essential’.


What are the possible benefits of taking part?

While there are no certain benefits to participating, it may be that completing the survey could be useful in inviting you to reflect on your development as a coach. This may give you new insights and ideas on addressing your development needs. You will be contributing to the creation of an instrument that may help executive coaches better plan their personal and professional development. If you would like to be informed of the outcome of the study, you will be offered a summary of the findings by email in November 2022.

What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part?

You will not be obliged to disclose anything which you would find uncomfortable. Although the risk inherent in participation is low, it is possible that sharing personal perceptions may prove distressing. The researcher has completed ethical approval for this research and will have your interests and wellbeing as a primary concern. If any distress does arise from completing the survey, you can terminate the process at any point and your data will not be stored. You also have the option of following up with your coach supervisor or contacting organisations such as MIND, a mental health charity for free support.


Will what I say in this study be kept confidential?

You are not required to provide personal details or information that could identify you as an individual. All information you provide will be strictly confidential (subject to legal limitations). Confidentiality, privacy, and anonymity will be ensured in the collection, analysis, storage and publication of research material. Any quotes used to illustrate themes will not contain names or information that could clearly pinpoint an individual. Data generated in the course of the research will be securely stored in devices and locations that are encrypted and password protected, and the risk of the data breach is minimal. Data generated from the study will be retained in accordance with the Oxford Brookes’ policy on Academic Integrity and kept securely in paper and electronic form for a period of 10 years after the completion of the research project.[1]


What will happen to the results of the research study?

Research from this study will form part of my Doctor of Coaching and Mentoring thesis. It will be submitted to Oxford Brookes University in the autumn of 2022. A copy of the thesis will be available in Oxford Brookes University Library. It is anticipated that a research paper(s) based on the study would be published the following year.


Who is organising and funding the research?

I am conducting this research as a student at Oxford Brookes University Business School and it is self-funded.

Who has reviewed the study?

My research has been approved by the University Research Ethics Committee, Oxford Brookes University. Dr Adrian Myers ( and Dr Joanne Molyn ( are supervising the project. If you have any concerns about the way in which this study is being or has been conducted, you are advised to contact the Chair of the University Research Ethics Committee on


Contact for further information

Elizabeth Crosse,

Thank you for taking the time to read this information page.


[1] Repetitive information removed for greater clarity.