Academic journal article International Journal of Action Research

Dialogic Feedforward in Group Coaching

Academic journal article International Journal of Action Research

Dialogic Feedforward in Group Coaching

Article excerpt

So dialogue is not restricted to two-person communicating, and it is an event where meaning emerges through all the participants. (Stewart & Logan, 1999, p. 227)

Facilitating management group conversations

This article is based on an action research project conducted throughout one year in collaboration between the management groups in the Elderly Care of a Danish municipality, and four action researchers (Alro, Dahl, & Kloster, 2013; Alro & Dahl, 2015). The action research project has had a dual purpose. At the organisational level the project has aimed at facilitating and developing new practices of the management groups within the Elderly Care. The purpose has been for the participating leaders to learn together and create a common ground and direction for their leadership. At the research level it has aimed at developing knowledge about how such a process can be facilitated through coaching of management groups, and specifically in this regard to develop a dialogic approach to group coaching. During this project the concept of feedforward in group reflection processes has appeared to be important and challenging both from an organisational and from a research perspective. This article is primarily concerned about the research purpose of the project.

The project has been initiated by the Head of Elderly Care who wants to support the capability of the management groups to cope with the new economic challenges in the field. She is convinced that savings in the social sphere should not necessarily lead to deterioration in the quality of assistance to citizens. She is also convinced that such challenges require an increased focus on leadership, both within the specific areas and within the Elderly Care as a whole. In collaboration with two organisational consultants who have been acquired to support the management groups in this process, she suggests that coaching of all management groups should be one of the methods to facilitate common leadership challenges that originate from the new situation. The Head of Elderly Care is very positive to development processes and research of new methods in the field of leadership, and therefore two action researchers are invited to engage in the project.1

The action researchers and the management groups agree on preliminary organisational and research goals of the project. These are negotiated at a meeting with all the leaders, where everyone is asked about their wishes, interests, and reservations towards the project. Participation is voluntary, but subsequently all management groups indicate that they want to participate in the project.

After the meeting a contract is made about duration and frequency of coaching sessions, use of audio and video recordings and anonymity of participants.

The action research project does not start from a fixed concept of dialogic group coaching that is going to be applied in the organisation. On the contrary, the aim of the project is to develop such a concept from the course of coaching sessions performed in the organisation. However, the research is based on the basic assumptions of the concept of dialogue (see below). Further, the action researchers have previously co-developed a concept for dialogic coaching in dyadic relationships (Alro & Kristiansen, 1998; Alro, Dahl, & Frimann, 2009), and they are experienced dialogic coaches as well as action researchers in organisational contexts, but they only have preliminary ideas about dialogic coaching of groups. Together with the management groups they plan an action research process with both organisational and research purposes. Together they experiment with group coaching from preliminary ideas that are reflected in initial meetings as well as during and after the coaching sessions. Here new ideas are generated for future analysis and coaching practice. Detached from the coaching practice, the action researchers conduct close analyses of the video recordings, and discuss them with each other. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.