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>The silm® model
>Research Results


Judd (2006) notes '...the distinction between academic and applied approaches to strength psychology. Linley & Harrington [2006] argue that the applied approach lacks an integrative framework that allows for a deeper understanding of the structure and taxonomy of strengths. The concern is more with "what works, what is of benefit, and has predictive power." Academic interest may focus more on relative strengths and the relationships between strengths. It is suggested that practitioners and researchers in strengths psychology would do well to work in parallel with these alternative, but equally valid perspectives, in the development of the theory and measurement of strengths. (p.67)

Indeed, support for this argument can be found in the work of Forster (1991), who developed the 'Dependable Strengths Articulation Process' (DSAP). The DSAP is a systematic set of procedures designed to facilitate an increase in positive self-constructions. It was developed as a result of research designed to study and elaborate upon the pragmatic and successful approach of Haldane (1988) in Human Development training. Although successful this approach lacked a recognizable theoretical foundation. It was however similar to the theory and methods of personal construct psychology (PCP), developed by Kelley (1955). The fundamental postulate of PCP is that a person's processes are psychologically 'shaped' by the ways in which they anticipate events. Forster (1991) describes how several corollaries that support this fundamental postulate are demonstrated in the procedures of the DSAP.' (p.68)

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The silm® model

The aim of this research was to investigate whether the silm® model, developed and used in practice by Judd (1994) corresponds with established psychological theory. However, rather than look to existing disparate personality theories such as Behaviourism or Psychodynamic theory the concern is to understand the relationship between fundamental mental processes, for example serial or parallel processing. Understanding how mental processes interact on one level, to underpin experience on another, may be one approach to establishing an integrative theoretical foundation to coaching practice. The mental processes identified by Judd include Spatial and Intuitive that are perhaps underpinned by parallel processing and Logical and Material, underpinned perhaps by serial processing. The four mental processes identified (S-I-L-M®) are described as "mental modes or gears" that interact like a "mental gearbox™." In turn the model moves through time and space, in both internal and external worlds.

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Research Results

To investigate the validity of the silm® model Judd developed an online questionnaire in a pilot study. The factors that emerged did not correspond exactly with the silm® model. In particular the 'Material' factor scale items proved to be common to most respondents and those that were signficant dispersed among the other factors, as were the 'Time' dimension scale items. The factors that emerged were; Emotion (Internal world); Intuitive; Logical; Spontaneous; Social; Spatial. It is interesting to note that the initial construct 'Spatial' appeared to split into two factors; 'Social' was concerned with a positive relationship with people; 'Spatial' a positive relationship with the natural environment. 'Joy' was associated with people and 'calm' with a natural environment. The question is why did the emotional component not appear in the 'Emotion' factor? The difference in emotions would appear to lie in the fact that 'joy' and 'calm' are different types of response to the external world. Davitz (1969) developed a 'Dictionay of emotional Meaning.' The factor emotional component of 'Social' could be said to correspond with the cluster of scale items Davitz defines as 'Moving toward' and the 'Spatial' factor the cluster 'Comfort.'

Perusing the 'Emotion' scale items the predominant themes include emotions perceived as often interfering with thinking clearly or being able to think before expressing self. The predominat emotion here is 'anger.' Perhaps 'joy' and 'calm' are passive whereas 'anger' is more expressive.

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