• coaching;
  • continuing professional development;
  • positive psychology;
  • qualitative method;
  • Paul Ricoeur



In recent years, coaching, as a supplement to professional development, has received increased attention, especially in nursing. Still, only little is known about how health professionals experience participating in coaching sessions. The purpose of this pilot study was to describe and analyze health professionals' experiences from coaching—what coaching meant to them and how it influenced different aspects of their lives.


The study was designed as a qualitative interview study including 5 health professionals working with quality improvement at the hospital. Depending on the individual's need, they participated in 2 to 4 coaching sessions. Afterwards, they were included in the study and interviewed. Data from the interviews was verbatim transcribed and analysed according to Paul Ricoeur's theory of interpretation. The findings and their importance are discussed in relation to results from research in positive psychology.


By picturing their job in a new perspective, the participants experienced a raised potential for mutual prioritising, actions, and job satisfaction. Two dominant themes were identified: “progressive insight leading to actions” and “expressing needs for leadership aiming for self-realization.” The results indicate that coaching can be effective in enhancing not only self-insight and core performance, but also increased positive feelings.


By looking at the experiences of coaching, we have elucidated why coaching in this instance could be a method used to strengthen the individual employee. The results indicate that coaching can improve the work attitude of the participants and pave the way for new and progressive insights.