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The significance of behavioural learning theory to the development of effective coaching practice.

D Peel International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring 2005

This paper outlines the potential significance of behaviourism and its impact on developing effective coaching practice. Its purpose is threefold: firstly, it addresses the issues resonating from the critique of behaviourism, which focuses on its limited understanding and application within the coaching community. This is interesting given the fact that many coaches and coaching manuals use these techniques almost without realising their rootedness within the behaviourist tradition. Secondly, the argument is made that if behaviourism is to be used in an informed and ethical way then an in depth understanding of its theoretical underpinnings and application as a learning theory is essential. To this end the historical development, critique and adaptation of behaviourism is outlined in order to develop this understanding within the wider coaching community. Finally, the argument is put forward that only through adopting an integrated approach to coaching practice development can the coaching discipline move forward upon a sound theoretical base. The areas that will establish this theoretical base are also highlighted in the future research that needs to be undertaken

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