Relational coaching

Journeys towards mastering one-to-one learning

Erik de Haan
John Wiley & Sons, 2008
ISBN-10: 0470724285
ISBN-13: 978-0470724286

Relational Coaching is a radically different way of looking at coaching that puts the relationship, from the perspective of the coachee, at the centre. Relational coaching is part of an age-old tradition but has also been reinforced by a number of reliable studies in recent decades.
Relational Coaching gives the modern executive coach ten commandments to help improve his or her practice:

  1. First, do no harm
  2. Have confidence
  3. Commit yourself heart and soul to your approach, even if you know that it doesn’t matter which professional approach you choose
  4. Feed the hopes of your coachee
  5. Consider the coaching from your coachee’s perspective
  6. Work on your coaching relationship, discuss it explicitly
  7. If you don’t ‘click’, find a replacement coach
  8. Look after yourself
  9. Stay as fresh and unbiased as possible
  10. Don’t worry too much about your specific behaviour in the moment.

This book demonstrates how each of these commandments is underpinned by sound quantitative research. Relational Coaching gives a complete overview not only of the profession and the latest developments in coaching but also of the state of the art in other respects. The second part of the book presents new quantitative and qualitative research into effects and experiences of coaching. Part III contains an introduction to the activities that make a good coach and the mechanisms used to verify coaches’ understanding of their profession. Other topics covered include training, accreditation, supervision and recommended literature.

This book has also been published in Dutch and Russian: Бесстрашный консалтинг. Piter Print, 2007

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“Navigating through the coaching field is like finding one’s way out of a confusing labyrinth. Too many books, too many quick-fix promises, too many snake oil salesmen, and, unfortunately, too little substance. Given the present state of the field, it was a great pleasure to me to read Erik de Haan’s book Relational Coaching. For a change, here is a contribution that goes beyond the trite and obvious. Instead, the author takes us on an exciting journey to explain what coaching is all about, providing us with a roadmap that is second to none. Anyone interested in better understanding what coaching is all about, would do well to have a serious look at this book.”

Manfred Kets de Vries, Professor of Leadership Development, INSEAD


“I am thrilled that there is a coaching book that emphasizes the coachee and the relationship. In Relational Coaching, Erik de Haan places the emerging profession on a strong foundation that emphasizes the interpersonal aspects of the endeavor. Communication and interpersonal relations have been used throughout evolution to convey information, influence others, and form communities. As De Haan makes imminently clear, it is these aspects of coaching that lead to success and not the various models and methods that have been advocated by various proponents. Carefully, De Haan makes his case and coaches will do well to recognize that it is the relationship with the coachee that is critical.”

Bruce E. Wampold, Professor of Counseling Psychology, University of Wisconsin


“From a vivid personal story just before the first chapter to the fascinating mass of data in the appendices, this book is a captivating read about the concrete particulars of coaching and the theoretical perspectives we can use to make sense of them. Erik de Haan makes a case for relational coaching and prescribes clearly what his research and the tradition within which it is embedded can tell practitioners in the field.”

David Megginson, Professor of Human Resources Development, Sheffield Hallam University