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Mike Armour

Putting theory at the centre of executive coaching supervision

Theme: Approach/School/Theory
Area: Supervision
Type: Research (on-going)

Session on Thursday, Jun 15th, 11:50
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70 ago Kurt Lewin suggested, “There is nothing as practical as a good theory” (Lewin 1943:118), a comment that resonates in the burgeoning field of coaching, as it did for Lewin over seventy years ago when discussing the progress of practice and theory in psychology with a particular focus of helping people deal with the socio-psychological impact of World War 2. Taking a helicopter view, this session will explore some of the foundational theories of supervision that have emerged over the past century to meet the requirements of new fields of practice in psychotherapy, social work and counselling. The session will explore the possible application of these theories in the context of executive coaching and ask whether new models and theories are needed to support the multi-disciplinary field of coaching. Theory informs practice, and practice, in return, influences the development and expansion of theory. As Grant, 2017 suggests, an evidence-based approach is a combination of ”Best current knowledge, integrated with professional practitioner expertise” (Grant 2017:64).


Mike is the Learning Manager for Avant Insurance Limited, Australia’s leading Medical Defence Organisation (MDO), and heads up the Leadership and Talent development program. In this role he contributes to sustainable change in interpersonal leadership behaviour through 360 reviews and follow-up coaching. A late bloomer in academic study, Mike found his niche in the field of business & executive coaching, completing his Masters of Business Coaching (MBC) at the University of Wollongong in 2012. During the MBC program, he became interested in the theme of coaching supervision and completed a short research project exploring the “Expectations of Australian coaching graduates in relation to coaching supervision” (Armour 2012, unpublished), following an earlier research project by Grant, 2012. A brief overview of this research is included in “Contributing to coaching knowledge whilst learning how to research: a review and discussion of four student-coaching studies” (Spence et. al.,2016:169-184). The theme of coaching supervision is continuing through his PhD candidature at the University of Wollongong in Australia, where he is focusing on coaching supervision: theory and application in the executive coaching context.