No work is truly produced singly: we all rely on a network of support at personal and sociallevel and often in economic terms and for the possibilitiy of talking over ideas we have tohelp us clarify and refine them. I am more than happy therefore to acknowledge such helpfrom a variety of people.I would like to thankfully acknowledge the help of my supervisor Liz Hoare for her encouragement and patience as I have prepared this dissertation. I am also aware of thepatient help of APU staff in the processes that have accompanied this dissertation and soparticular thanks is due to Lynn Brennan, Alison Hirst and Wendy Roberts.Staff at The UK College of Life Coaching in Wolverhampton for their prompt and helpfulreplies to my enquiries, particularly Matt Ball and Mags Rivett.Roy Searle of the Northumbria Community for making time to chat over issues related tospiritual direction.I would also like to acknowledge the help of Bradford Diocese, especially RevdPaul Slater for help in making this possible in the form of a sabbatical andfunding.
A preliminary investigation into the growth of life coaching and spiritual direction in theWest. The perception that there may be similarities between them is investigated further along with the questions of whether the similarities might be significant, whether they havea cultural origin, and if they are and do, what cultural drivers might be involved. Thisdissertation critically investigates definitions, and outlines histories and explanations of lifecoaching and spiritual direction. It then looks at the alleged under-supply of Life Coachesand Spiritual Directors with an assessment of likelihoods, leads for further investigationand potential cultural drivers. It also critically explores the ways in which life coaching &spiritual direction resemble each other and the ways in which they differ. In turn, theinvestigation relates the similarities and differences so identified to cultural patterns anddevelopments in the west; particularly post-modernism, spirituality, business-capitalism.It concludes that there do appear to be significant similarities between spiritualdirection and life coaching and that the differences are mainlyphenomenological. The similarities are both methodological and ideological andthe nature and extension of the similarities makes it likely that the culturaldrivers behind the rise of life coaching and the current forms of spiritualdirection are to some extent shared. In addition the content of client-practitioner interactions often appears to reflect and respond to cultural trends
variouslylabelled as late modernity or post-modernity and the concrete conditions of living in a consumerist society where individualisation has become well-embedded and where employment security can no longer be taken for granted.