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Understanding coach educators' experiences of everyday practice : a narrative-biographical study

Allanson, Ashley


Ashley Allanson


Lee J. (Sport scientist) Nelson

Paul, 1974 Potrac


In recent years, coach education has been the subject of increasing levels of investigation and associated critique. While such inquiry has provided some fascinating insights into coach learner’s engagements with formal coach education provision, the coach educator has, rather surprisingly, remained largely invisible in the coach education literature. We know very little about how coach educators experience and ‘make sense’ of the everyday realities of their work, inclusive of the dilemmas, ambiguities, and challenges that they may face. The aim of this thesis then was to provide some exploratory insights into how coach educators experienced their workplace, especially as this related to their respective understandings of their social interactions with a variety of key contextual stakeholders (e.g. their line managers, colleagues, and coach learners).

A narrative-biographical approach (Kelchtermans, 2009a) was utilised to explore four participant coach educators’ experiences of their work. The focus here was on not only eliciting their understandings of ‘what’ they did, felt, and thought in the workplace, but also their reasoning as to ‘why’ they behaved, felt and thought in the ways that they did. Data were collected through a series of in-depth, semi-structured, interviews. The collection, analysis, and representation of data were features of an ongoing, reflexive, and iterative process. Here my analysis comprised of both etic and emic readings of the narrative-biographic data. In-keeping with my interpretive-interactionist stance (Denzin, 2001), the participant coach educators’ experiences were principally understood in relation to Kelchtermans’ (1996, 2005, 2011) micropolitical framework, Goffman’s (1959, 1963) dramaturgical theory, Bauman’s (1996, 2000, 2003, 2007) discussion of liquid modernity, and Hochschild’s (2000 [1983]) thesis of emotional labour.

My analysis revealed that the coach educators attached great store to protecting and advancing their individual interests and reputation within the workplace. It appeared that they placed considerable importance on managing their interactions with their respective line managers, colleagues, and coach learners towards these ends. For example, they explained that obtaining favourable feedback and evaluations from each of these parties was essential if they were to achieve their career goals as coach educators. Similarly, an inability to obtain favourable regard from others was seen as tantamount to failure. In order to sustain a positive sense of professional self-understanding and cope with the vulnerability that they experience in their work, the participants highlighted how they variously managed the fronts and accompanying emotions that they projected to others. It became increasingly clear, to me, that the participants had developed a sophisticated sense of micropolitical literacy in what they considered to be an increasingly individualised working culture. I believe that the new empirical and theoretical insights outlined in this thesis have furthered our understanding of the complex and dynamic social interactions that lie at the heart of coach educators’ work. It is hoped that the findings of this thesis will stimulate additional inquiry that directly engages with the ambiguity, pathos, and politics, which are arguably features of coach education.


Allanson, A. (2014). Understanding coach educators' experiences of everyday practice : a narrative-biographical study. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Feb 9, 2015
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Sports sciences
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Sport, Health and Exercise Science, The University of Hull
Award Date Oct 1, 2014


Thesis (1.8 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2014 Allanson, Ashley. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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