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Pioneers of

Cognitive-Behavioural Coaching

The Directors and trainers of the Centre for Coaching pioneered and

developed cognitive-behavioural coaching over a decade ago. How did

this come about? During the latter part of the 1980s at the Centre for

Stress Management, Stephen Palmer and Peter Ruddell developed a cognitive behavioural approach to stress management for the workplace. One of the early programmes was for staff at an adult education centre.

During the 1990s Stephen Palmer and Michael Neenan ran many courses for various industries and integrated the cognitive-behavioural and rational emotive therapy approaches within managing pressure and stress management programmes at work. Based on the experience of using these approaches in the workplace in 1996 Stephen Palmer and Tim Burton published a book for HR professionals and managers, Dealing with People Problems at Work. It integrated problem-solving, cognitive-behavioural and rational emotive approaches to enable HR professionals and managers to work one to-one with staff to tackle problems at work an enhance performance. It included a guide on avoiding drifting into counselling! Other colleagues involved with the adaptation of the cognitive-behavioural approach to the field of coaching included Gladeana McMahon. It became clear that it would be easier to promote cognitive-behavioural coaching under a new coaching based centre. Therefore in 2001 we launched the Centre for Coaching with its own newly developed training programme. The courses later became recognised by the Association for Coaching. In 2016 the Advanced Diploma in Coaching was launched and became accredited with the Association for Coaching.

For over a decade the Directors and trainers at the Centre for Coaching have continued to promote the cognitive behavioural approach through their writing of books, chapters and numerous articles. In addition Stephen Palmer developed the PRACTICE model which is a solution focused and cognitive behavioural approach and Nick Edgerton developed the SPACE model of coaching. These are taught on the current coaching programmes.


Currently Stephen Palmer is coordinating research projects on the PRACTICE model and on Health Coaching for Tinnitus. In the past decade researchers have published academic research demonstrating the effectiveness of solution focused cognitive-behavioural coaching.

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