Publication Details

Oades, L. G., Caputi, P., Robinson, P. & Partridge, B. (2005). A contemporary coaching theory to integrate work and life in changing times. In M. Cavanagh, A. Grant & T. Kemp (Eds.), Evidence-based coaching (pp. 69-82). Bowen Hills, Qld, Australia: Australian Academic Press.


In this chapter we argue that common approaches underpinning coaching, including cognitive-behavioural frameworks and the concept of work–life balance, are not well suited to form the conceptual basis of practice to assist people in a dynamic contemporary society. These mechanistic approaches originate from the industrial revolution and are based on the root metaphor of person as machine. With the changing labour market, the impact of information and communication technologies and the fragmentation of traditional meaning systems into a more cosmopolitan society, there is a need for coaching approaches that emphasise change and adaptation. Self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000), an organismic-dialectical metatheory for which there is significant empirical evidence, is presented as an appropriate alternative conceptual basis for a theoretically coherent and evidence-based coaching practice. Self-determination theory is based on the root metaphor of an organism adapting to a changing environment. Moreover, it is a theory of motivation, a construct of key importance to any form of coaching. A model of life-management consistent with this metatheoretical and theoretical position is described and its implications for practice will be discussed. Finally, work–life integration defined in terms of self-determination theory will be presented as a more desirable end than work–life balance.