Executive coaching and national culture in the United Arab Emirates: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Graham Dodds, Dasha Grajfoner

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Objectives: This study explores the interaction between national culture and coaching methods that executive coaches use in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The objective is to develop understanding regarding whether executive coaches varied methods or approaches depending upon a coaching recipient being an Expatriate or a UAE National citizen.
Design: The research took place in the UAE, using semi-structured interviews with four participants. The participants were executive coaches with experience and understanding of different approaches and methods used in coaching psychology practice.
Methods: A qualitative method of data collection and analysis, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), was used to examine the lived experience and making sense of rich individual narratives. The double-hermeneutic approach of IPA generated understanding via interpretation of the participant’s perceptions.
Results: Cultural Values, Business Environment and Approach and Methods were three themes that emerged from the study. National culture is a signi cant feature of life in the UAE, is omnipresent in the complex, multicultural business environment and manifests itself in differences of cultural values and dimensions. Whilst national culture is important, it is only one of many layers that shape an individual. Participants prioritise and customise their coaching approach based upon the coachee as an individual and their current contextual situation. Only small differences are identi able in the utility of certain coaching methods due to national culture, however, the approach to coaching is adjusted to address higher expectations of direction, different motivational factors, different value systems and the higher emphasis on relationships and trust amongst Emiratis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-105
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Coaching Psychology Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


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