Identity: Shifting Sands of the Becoming of a Coach


  • Wendy-Ann Smith Author



identity, coach, self-concept, ethics, reflection, self-awareness



Adults arrive with a defined personal identity, with a professional identity forming as they engage in vocational–professional skill and knowledge acquisition. Questioning and processing to understand who they are, who they are becoming and who they wish to become both professionally and personally (e.g. Livingston & Griffin, 2019). Based on the original research ‘On Becoming a Coach’ (Rajasinghe, et al., (2022), this paper explores two sub-themes (i.e., ordinate) ‘identity’ and ‘self-concept’; how they interplay and influence shifts identified by experienced coaches. The research explored how experienced coaches made sense of their developmental experiences as they became a coach of experience. The primary (i.e., superordinate) themes identified in this research are; Vehicles of Development, Narratives of Awareness, Narratives of Letting Go, Ethical Practice & Narratives of becoming a Coach. Self-concept and identity are formed from childhood imposed and subsequent adult-formed values and assumptions and understanding of oneself in various societal roles (Harter, 2012). As life experiences are processed these beliefs, values, assumptions are evaluated and adjusted through the lens of increased complex cognitive capacity (e.g. Erikson, 1959), people describe themselves across multiple social roles (for example mother, grandparent, CEO, student, divorcee, etc; Harter, Bresnick, Bouchey, & Whitesell,.1997) and integrate cultural experiences (Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1991). These shifts influence a coach's self-concept and identity, and a coach’s ethical acuity and practice. It is expected that such shifts impact the coaching. Finally, I outline the psychological risks and ethical implications of coaching during significant identity shifts.


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How to Cite

Smith, W.-A. (2024). Identity: Shifting Sands of the Becoming of a Coach. JOURNAL of COACHING ETHICS, 1(9).