Critical moments of clients of coaching:
towards a ‘client model’ of executive coaching

by: Erik de Haan, Colin Bertie, Andrew Day & Charlotte Sills
in: Academy of Management Learning and Education. In press, December 2010


Sixty-seven past and present clients of executive coaching wrote to us about the critical moments they experienced, and we interviewed 8 of these individuals. Our analysis of their critical moments indicates that for clients, critical moments are not obviously a part of all good coaching. When critical moments do occur they are generally positive and described as part of the internal process of the client, unless clients were provoked by concrete actions by coaches which the clients regarded as unhelpful or insensitive. Finally, critical moments are often linked to sudden new realisations, evidenced both by explicit reference and by the metaphors used.