Building bridges between science and practice in the executive coaching field
The Ashridge Center for Coaching, formed in 2005, is an internationally recognized center of research excellence in the field of Executive Coaching, as well as a leading innovator and provider of standards for the profession.
As one of Hult’s Impact Labs, the aim of the Hult Ashridge Center for Executive Coaching is to build bridges between science and practice and promote rigorous foundations for the executive coaching field. Our research is grounded in the belief that coaching is a mutual and co-created, relational practice and is used to inform the continuing development of our coaching and supervision qualification programs.
Building on our established research base, this Impact Lab aims to advance knowledge in the important field of coaching. Through both qualitative and quantitative research, we explore new ways of working, new applications for coaching, and new ways of delivering impact.
We believe that executive coaching has a key role to play in helping leaders navigate an increasingly uncertain and fast-changing business, political, economic, and social environment. Coaching is the only leadership development initiative that is tailored to the specific circumstances of the moment—something that leaders need more and more.
The impact of our research lies in executive coaching in real settings with real clients. High-quality statistical research can be done because coaching is essentially already a ‘lab’ situation: well-bounded, discrete, measurable sessions in a safe, neutral location away from the workplace.
Through discovering more about coaching, with a research methodology that is finely tuned, we can also discover patterns and features of adjacent fields and impact those. Fields such as organizational consulting, team coaching, and leadership. Leadership is the core topic of executive-coaching conversations.
Meet Erik de Haan, PhD
Erik de Haan is the Director of Hult Ashridge's Center for Executive Coaching with over twenty-five years of experience in organizational and personal development. He aims to support individuals in their search for what is right and just for themselves and for others in their organizations. His expertise covers process consulting for organizational change, consultant to teams and boards, strategic conferences, and executive and team coaching.
Erik has an MSc in Theoretical Physics and gained his PhD in Physics with his research into learning and decision-making processes in perception. He is a British Psychoanalytic Council registered psychodynamic psychotherapist with an MA in psychotherapy from the Tavistock Clinic; has (co-)authored more than 200 articles and 16 books; and sits on the editorial board of three journals including the Consulting Psychology Journal.
Erik has worked with universities, hospitals, and multinational companies. He is currently Professor of Organization Development at the VU University Amsterdam. Erik is an Ashridge, EMCC, and ICF-accredited coach and supervisor and is qualified to deliver a range of psychometric instruments. He is fluent in Dutch, English, Italian, German, and Spanish.
Executive coaching is a relatively young profession. Contracted one-to-one sessions enable leaders and managers to learn from their current practice and work through feedback, change and challenge, hard decisions, and relationships at work. The Hult Ashridge Center for Coaching has been very active in quantitative, outcome research in executive coaching, helping to establish what works and for whom.
Although indications are that coaching is moderately effective, it is not straightforward to translate the results from impact research into guidance on interventions by practicing coaches or into better teaching and accreditation for coaches. The Hult Ashridge Center for Coaching sets out to be a bridge into practice, by firstly studying not just the outcome of coaching but also the process. In other words, we do not just want to study the end result of coaching after a number of sessions, but we also aim to study coaching moment by moment. We are well known for our research into critical moments in coaching.
The Hult Ashridge Center for Coaching has had a longstanding interest in supervision. From our earliest executive-coaching programs more than 20 years ago, we have offered at least group supervision to all candidate coaches. Our outputs offer our students and supervisees guidance in terms of the challenging nature of supervision and potential areas of conflict and misunderstanding.
In today’s fast-paced, interconnected, and mercilessly competitive business world, senior executives have to push themselves and others hard. Paradoxically, to succeed as leaders, they also need to relate to others very well. Under stress and challenge, the qualities executives have relied on to get them to the top and to achieve outstanding results can overshoot into unhelpful drives that lead to business and personal catastrophes.
Our work on The Leadership Shadow draws on the lived experience of executives to make sense of what actually happens when their drivers overshoot and they act out the dark side of leadership. It shows how executives can find stability in the face of uncertainty, resilience in the face of gruelling demand, and psychological equilibrium as a leader in the face of turbulence.
At Hult Ashridge, we have led one of the largest projects of Action Learning, which took place at the BBC (for all levels of leaders at the BBC). This project and another project in the Netherlands gave us the opportunity to analyze the nature of the learning in this practice, which is different from more established forms that are more knowledge-based or experiential.
Become a Research Fellow
Join the Hult Impact Research community with a Post-Doc Fellowship. Available in:
Collaborate with Hult Impact Labs
Want to find out more about any of our Impact Labs? Interested in collaborating on a project? Get in touch and let's talk research.