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UEL Psychology professor co-authors book on professional coaching in Islamic culture

New book will be basis of new short course in Ershad Coaching taught at UEL by Professor Christian van Nieuwerburgh

By Lee Pinkerton

A new book co-authored by an University of East London (UEL) academic has introduced a fresh approach to professional coaching that is compatible with Islamic culture. 

Coaching in Islamic Culture, by UEL psychologist Christian van Nieuwerburgh and executive coach Raja'a Yousif Allaho, uses a methodology based on Islamic teachings which is designed to meet the needs of Muslims who wish to grow in ways that are aligned with their faith and traditions. 

The new coaching framework presented in the book is called ‘Ershad’ - the Islamic word for guidance – and provides a culturally relevant professional coaching framework for use in an Islamic context. UEL are now offering a course in Ershad coaching, taught by Professor Nieuwerburgh.

A Professor of Coaching and Positive Psychology, Christian van Nieuwerburgh is a highly sought-after executive coach and educational consultant. He believes that coaching is an excellent way to help people find their own solutions and ways to enhance their confidence and self-esteem. 

He first met Ms Allaho when she invited him to attend a professional coaching conference in Kuwait. Coaching in the Middle East, Professor van Nieuwerburgh became interested in the relationship between western models of coaching and Islamic values and principles.

He said, “Some argued that western models were not appropriate for the culture of the Gulf region and that they tended to be too individualistic. Some people shared stories of how western approaches to coaching had actually caused internal conflict for Muslims wishing to achieve goals while also remaining true to their faith.”

Professor van Nieuwerburgh said, “At the heart of the Ershad coaching framework is the alignment wheel, which supports learners in making choices and decisions aligned with their own beliefs and values. 

“When appropriate, the facilitator should ask the learner questions relating to how decisions will impact on important relationships in their lives.”

Ms Allaho said Ershad coaching differs from other approaches because “in all other coaching models and concepts they focus on applying the coaching model with the client without taking other aspects into consideration. 

“Ershad coaching covers all human aspects: beliefs, relationships, values, intentions, mission and future. When these aspects are part of the coaching conversation, it will result in achieving integrity and well-being.”

Coaching in Islamic Culture was launched at a private members club in central London and attended by Geoff Thompson MBE, Chair of UEL's Board of Governors, UEL Chancellor Shabir Randeree CBE, Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nora Ann Colton and senior UEL academics. 

Pictured from left to right are :

Dean of the College of Arts and Technologies, Professor Hassan Abdalla; Chair of the Board of Governors, Geoff Thompson MBE; Head of the School of Psychology, Dr Aneta Tunariu; Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nora Ann Colton; Raja'a Yousif Allaho; Dean of the College of Applied Health and Communities, Professor Fary Cachelin; Professor Christian van Nieuwerburgh; and UEL Chancellor Shabir Randeree CBE.