Uncertainty reduction through everyday performative language work

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Studies of Management and Organization, 2013, 43 (3), pp. 74 - 89
Issue Date:
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In this study, we focus on coaching in the context of small and medium-size enterprises in the creative industries. We draw on data collected from five business-coaching organizations over numerous coaching encounters with their clients. Using detailed conversational data drawn from these coaching encounters we analyze the ways in which business coaches practice "active listening" and "reflective questioning" in order to reduce the uncertainties they and their clients face when working together. We show that they do so through the strategy of positioning "performance" as central to their practice. Successful performances depend on the ability to convince clients that one's performance is what it represents itself to be: a performance that is brought off by detailed everyday language work, mimicking the client's language back on to the client. In this way, coaches demonstrate themselves as skilled analysts of everyday life and masters of listening. © 2013 M.E. Sharpe, Inc.
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