Interaction, asymmetries of knowledge and experience and the impact of theory on the in situ practice of coaching


  • Jonathan Clifton Université Polytechnique Hauts-de-France
  • Geert Jacobs Ghent University
  • Astrid Vandendaele Leiden University Centre for Linguistics
  • Julia Valeiras-Jurado Universitat Jaume I



authority, coaching, epistemics, experience, theory, ventriloquism


Coaching is often presented as an equitable working alliance between a coach who has theory-driven expert knowledge and a coachee who has knowledge of himself/herself. However, whilst this assumption is widely promoted in coaching literature, little research has sought to investigate the in situ practice of coaching in which these different territories of knowledge are negotiated. Using Cooren’s notion of communication as a form of ventriloquism as an approach to the analysis of data taken from a corpus of 21 naturally occurring career coaching interactions, the purpose of this paper is to investigate how the coach’s mobilisation of theory impacts the in situ practice of career coaching. The findings indicate that the interplay of the coach’s theory-driven knowledge and the coachee’s experience-driven knowledge is not necessarily as harmonious as the coaching literature assumes. We close the paper by advocating a critical approach to analysing coaching interaction that may have payoff for practice. 

Author Biographies

  • Jonathan Clifton, Université Polytechnique Hauts-de-France

    Jonathan Clifton received his PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Antwerp, Belgium, in 2008. Since then, he has been working in France, and is currently working as an Associate Professor at the Université Polytechnique Hauts de France. His research interests focus on the analysis of workplace interaction, workplace narratives, identities-in-talk and leadership.

  • Geert Jacobs, Ghent University

    Geert Jacobs is a Professor at Ghent University’s Department of Linguistics. His research interests include linguistic ethnography and discourse analytic work on professional communication and news production processes. He has published widely in international peer-reviewed journals and handbooks. His recently co-edited volumes are on participation and engagement in the media (Benjamins) and on data in business and professional discourse (Palgrave).

  • Astrid Vandendaele, Leiden University Centre for Linguistics

    Astrid Vandendaele is an Assistant Professor of Journalism and New Media at Leiden University’s Centre for Linguistics (The Netherlands), where she teaches journalistic writing and media and communication theories. Her research interests include the (online) news production process, subediting and changing language norms in the media. Her methods of research include content analysis and ethnography. Her research has been published in international peer-reviewed journals such as Journalism, Journalism Practice and Journalism Studies.

  • Julia Valeiras-Jurado, Universitat Jaume I

    Julia Valeiras-Jurado is an Assistant Professor at Universitat Jaume I. She holds a PhD in Linguistics from Jaume I University and Ghent University. Her research interests include Discourse Analysis, oral discourse and genres, persuasive language, multimodality and multimodal genre pedagogy. Her publications have appeared in Ibérica, Discourse Studies, Multimodal Communication, International Journal of English Studies and Journal of English for Academic Purposes, among others.


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How to Cite

Clifton, J., Jacobs, G., Vandendaele, A. ., & Valeiras-Jurado, J. . (2023). Interaction, asymmetries of knowledge and experience and the impact of theory on the in situ practice of coaching. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 17(3), 252-273.