Prof. dr. E. de Haan

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+31 20 59 86150
school of business & economics ( pgo executive coaching )
Full Professor

Brief résumé

Erik de Haan is Professor of Organisation Development & Coaching at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He has a PhD in psychophysics from Utrecht University. He is co-programme director of the PGO Executive Coaching.

Erik is also Director of Ashridge’s Centre for Coaching and Programme Director of the MSc in Executive Coaching and the post-graduate diploma in Advanced Supervision at Ashridge. His focus is on executive coaching, action learning and peer consultation, politics and power in organisations, O.D. consulting and emotional aspects of working in teams and organisations.

Erik studied Theoretical Physics in Amsterdam and gained his PhD in Utrecht with his research into learning and decision-making processes in perception (1994). He studied counselling and group dynamics, then completed an MA in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy at the Tavistock Clinic, and became a BPC registered psychodynamic psychotherapist. Up to his move to London in 2003 he acquired ten years of consulting experience in the Netherlands with different firms.

Erik has published over 150 research articles as well as eleven books. His first book looked into the play King Lear and its lessons for managers and consultants (1997) - published in English as The consulting Process as Drama (2003). He has also published Learning with Colleagues (2001), Coaching with Colleagues (2004; with Yvonne Burger), Fearless Consulting (2005), Relational Coaching (2007), Supervision in Action (2011), The Leadership Shadow: how to recognize and avoid derailment, hubris and overdrive (2014; with Anthony Kasozi), and Pocketbook Team Coaching (2016), all in Dutch and English. He also co-edited with Charlotte Sills the book Coaching Relationships (Libri, 2012); with 11 graduates of the Ashridge MSc in Executive Coaching the book Behind Closed Doors: stories from the coaching room (Libri, 2013); and with Willemine Regouin the 8th edition of Supervisie: gids voor supervisanten. He is a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Philosophy of Management, the American Psychological Association Consulting Psychology Journal, and for the Dutch Tijdschrift voor Coaching.

The focus of his research is on consulting and coaching as it takes place in real settings with real clients. This encompasses some outcome research studies (i.e., quantitative research into the effectiveness of generalised interventions), but also qualitative and narrative research. In organisation development and coaching there is a great need for research into change as it takes place in real settings and into how this change comes about: "What is needed is a research method that can tap the rich clinical experience of skilled practitioners in a way that will also push them to explicate what they know, yielding a rigorous description of the important regularities they have observed" (Rice & Greenberg, in Patterns of Change).


Here are some of our key areas of research with an update of our main findings:

  • General outcome research: What are the factors that really matter in effectiveness? We undertook three outcome studies, one in action learning and two in executive coaching, to examine the specific impact of technique, personality, matching and client-coach relationship processes on coaching outcomes. Strong indications were found for the prediction of coaching outcome by (1) the working alliance as experienced by the client; (2) the self-efficacy of the client; and (3) generalised technique as experienced by the client. The client-coach relationship fully mediated the impact of self-efficacy and technique on coaching outcomes, suggesting that the perception of client-coach relationships by the client is a key factor in coaching outcome. Personality or personality matching did not correlate with coaching outcome.
  • Moment by moment outcome research: which are the 'sub-outcomes' achieved within and between sessions? Since 2002, the Ashridge Centre for Coaching has been engaged in the study of ‘critical moments’ in real coaching conversations. We have asked clients of coaches, sponsors of coaching assignments and three different groups of coaches which moments they would characterise as ‘critical’ (exciting, tense, or significant) in their experience of coaching. This has provided us with rich insights into the fabric of real coaching conversations, and has given us a first indication of which ‘sub-outcomes’ (outcomes per moment, or per session, or between sessions - as opposed to overall outcomes of a full coaching assignment) are important to all three parties in executive coaching. We now have a dataset of over 600 critical moments as described to us by clients, coaches and third-party organisational clients (sponsors of clients of coaching).

Selected recent publications

For more information and downloadable articles, see

De Haan, E., Grant, A., Burger, Y., & Eriksson, P.-O. (2016). A large-scale study of executive coaching outcome: the relative contributions of working relationship, personality match, and self-efficacy. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research 68.3, 189-207.

De Haan, E. (2016). The leadership shadow: How to recognise and avoid derailment, hubris and overdrive. Leadership 12: 504-512.

De Haan, E. & Nieß, C. (2015). Differences between critical moments for clients, coaches, and sponsors of coaching. International Coaching Psychology Review, 10.1, 38-61.

De Haan, E. (2013). Back to basics III: on inquiry, the groundwork of coaching and consulting. International Coaching Psychology Review, 9.1, 81-91.

De Haan, E. & Duckworth, A. (2013). Signaling a new trend in coaching outcome research. International Coaching Psychology Review, 8.1, 6-20.

De Haan, E., Duckworth, A., Birch, D. & Jones, C. (2013). Executive coaching outcome research: the predictive value of common factors such as relationship, personality match and self-efficacy. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 65.1, 40-57.

De Haan, E. & Nieß, C. (2012). Critical moments in a coaching case study: illustration of a process research model. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 64, 3, 198-224.

De Haan, E. (2012). Back to basics II: how the research on attachment and reflective-self function is relevant for coaches and consultants today. International Coaching Psychology Review, 7.2, 194-209.

De Haan, E. (2011). Back to basics I: how the discovery of transference is relevant for coaches and consultants today. International Coaching Psychology Review, 6, 2,180-193.

De Haan, E., Culpin, V. & Curd, J. (2011). Executive coaching in practice: what determines helpfulness for clients of coaching? Personnel Review, 40, 1, 24-44.

De Haan, E. & Sills, C. (2010). The relational turn in executive coaching. The Journal of Management Development, 29, 10, 845-851.

De Haan, E., Bertie, C., Day, A. & Sills, C. (2010). Clients’ critical moments of coaching: towards a ‘client model’ of executive coaching. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 5, 2, 109-128.

De Haan, E., Bertie, C., Day, A. & Sills, C. (2010). Critical Moments of Clients and Coaches: A Direct-Comparison Study. International Coaching Psychology Review, 5, 2, 109-128. 

Day, A., De Haan, E., Sills, C., Bertie, C & Blass, E. (2008). Coaches’ experience of critical moments in the coaching. International Coaching Psychology Review, 3, 3,  207-218.

De Haan, E. (2008). I struggle and emerge – Critical moments of experienced coaches.  Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 60, 1, 106-131.

De Haan, E. (2008). I doubt therefore I coach – critical moments in coaching practice.  Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 60, 1, 91-105.

De Haan, E. (2008). Becoming simultaneously thicker and thinner skinned: the inherent conflicts arising in the professional development of coaches. Personnel Review, 37, 5,  526-542. 

Caulat, G., & De Haan, E. (2006). Virtual peer consultation: how do virtual leaders learn? Organisations & People, 13, 4, 24-32.

De Haan, E., & De Ridder, I. (2006). Action learning in practice: how do participants learn? Consulting Psychology Journal, 58, 4, 216-231.


Centre for Coaching, Ashridge Business School - Directeur Berkhamsted, U.K., 01 november 2011
Laatste wijzigingen Nevenwerkzaamheden: Amsterdam 06 februari 2017