Florence Anne Diehl, Ph.D. is a 2010 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dissertation Committee

  • Jon Wergin, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Mitch Kusy, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Clem Bezold, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • James Dator, Ph.D., External Reader


adaptive challenge, executive coaching, leadership, adult development, best possible self, baby boomers, constructive-developmental theory, futures studies, lived experience, meaning-making, narrative, subject-object interview, thematic analysis

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Eutopiagraphy is a narrative of a preferred future self that extends the research tradition of biography and autobiography. Taking place at the intersection of adult development, futures studies, and the practice of developmental coaching, this research asked the question, “what can eutopiagraphy reveal about a client’s meaning-making that may inform a coaching relationship, goals, and outcomes?” Using an adapted form of the subject-object interview, and subsequent thematic analysis, the eutopiagraphies of eight participants were collected and studied. Structures of constructive-developmental theory (values, view of others, range of perspective, control, and responsibility) were identified and constructive-developmental stages were estimated. This work extends the traditional subject-object protocol by using a narrative of a “to-be-lived” experience, rather than a “lived” experience, as the stimulus for revealing stages of meaning-making. Participants – estimated by the researcher to be at different developmental stages – identified differences in the potential use of a coach. Those at earlier stages, for instance, envisioned the need for a more prescriptive approach, while those at later stages anticipated less direction and more collaboration, in the nature of a trusted advisor. This work responds to the call for more research regarding familiar coaching practices (such as a discussion of a preferred future) and the application of adult developmental theory to the field of coaching. The potential application of adult developmental theory within the larger context of futures studies is addressed, shedding light on the different contributions to futures studies that may be made by individuals at different stages of development. Substantial connections were made to the mounting adaptive challenges of our complex world, the need for transformational leadership, and the possible use of developmental coaching as one way to address those challenges. The electronic version of this dissertation is at the OhioLINK ETD center