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Developing Leaders by Executive Coaching
Developing Leaders by Executive Coaching Practice and Evidence
Andromachi Athanasopoulou Sue Dopson
3 Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX2 6DP, United Kingdom Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Oxford is a registered trade mark of Oxford University Press in the UK and in certain other countries © Andromachi Athanasopoulou and Sue Dopson 2015 The moral rights of the authorshave been asserted First Edition published in 2015 Impression: 1 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, by licence or under terms agreed with the appropriate reprographics rights organization. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above You must not circulate this work in any other form and you must impose this same condition on any acquirer Published in the United States of America by Oxford University Press 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States of America British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Data available Library of Congress Control Number: 2014950913 ISBN 978–0–19–968195–2 Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY Links to third party websites are provided by Oxford in good faith and for information only. Oxford disclaims any responsibility for the materials contained in any third party website referenced in this work.
To my wonderful, caring parents, Costas and Sofia, and my dear brother, Leonidas: thank you for always being the wind beneath my wings. Andromachi Athanasopoulou To Julian, for your support and love over the last thirty years. Sue Dopson
In the years since 1993 that I have studied, researched, taught, and practised coaching psychology, there have been significant shifts in the executive coaching landscape. From a novel commercial offering, viewed with some suspicion by many (Hall et al., 1999), executive coaching has become an essential and respected part of contemporary organizational life. Indeed, the leadership development genre has itself become a significant industry—and one which continues to develop and grow. It is clear that this is now a well-established global industry, focused on delivering executive coaching and workplace coaching to a broad range of organizational clients worldwide. Indeed, the growth of those engaged in the coaching and leadership development industry is well documented. For example, the largest professional association in the coaching industry, the International Coach Federation (ICF), was founded in 1995 and now has over 20,000 members in 100 different countries. The ICF estimates the total annual revenue from coaching to be in the region of $2 billion (ICF, 2013). Precise data on the coaching industry is hard to obtain, but in 2009 it was estimated that there were approximately 40,000 professional coaches globally—up from approximately 30,000 in 2006 (Frank Bresser Consulting, 2009). In the US, over 90 per cent of US-based Global 100 companies use executive coaches (Bono et al., 2009), with similar figures for the use of coaching in the workplace reported from the UK (Jarvis et al., 2005). In 2006 in Australia, 64 per cent of business leaders and 72 per cent of senior managers reported using coaches (Leadership Management Australia, 2006), and the figures are probably even higher in 2013. Interestingly, for some organizations the pressures and tensions inherent in the Global Financial Crisis served only to highlight the need to provide good coaching to key staff in order to help them deal with the challenges inherent in a post-financial crisis environment (Farndale et al., 2010). The growth in the applied practice of executive and workplace coaching has been parallelled by a significant increase in the number of academic institutions and universities worldwide that now offer postgraduate qualifications in aspects of coaching. To this author’s knowledge, in 2000 there were perhaps only two or three universities offering Master’s degrees in coaching worldwide (key examples being the University of Sydney, Australia and Oxford Brookes University, UK). At the time of writing there are over thirty such courses on offer worldwide, and executive coaching can now be studied to doctoral level at an increasing number of respected universities globally, with many world-class universities now offering non-degree courses in executive coaching.
In addition, there has been a significant growth in the amount of peer-reviewed coaching-related research: a search of the database PsycINFO using the keywords ‘executive coaching’ and limiting the search to peer-reviewed publications found 32 citations published in the five years between 1995 and 2000, but 184 citations published in the five years between 2007 and 2012. This is indicative of the increase in the number of academic institutions worldwide who are now seriously interested in the research and practice of executive coaching. Such attention from respected academic institutions bodes well for the ongoing development of evidence-based approaches to executive coaching, in terms of bringing a rigorous evaluative eye to the practice and impact of executive coaching, as well as providing solid tertiary-level education for those interested in executive coaching. In short, and in stark contrast to early warnings about the supposed widespread dangers of executive coaching (e.g., Berglas, 2002), executive coaching has moved well beyond being a ‘management fad’ (Tobias, 1996), and now has an important and apparently permanent role to play in leadership development. It is this contemporary context that makes this book such an important and exciting addition to the evidence-based literature on executive coaching. The afore-mentioned growth of the leadership development and executive coaching industry is to be welcomed if such executive coaching interventions do indeed improve the quality of leadership and enhance the performance and productivity of organizations, whilst also ensuring the well-being of those employed in such contexts. While the contemporary executive coaching research suggests that this is the case, the extant knowledge-base on coaching is still somewhat nascent. More work is needed here. Both industry and academia have important and complementary roles to play here in developing new knowledge and insights about executive coaching—in evaluating the effectiveness of coaching, perfecting the practice of executive coaching, as well as exploring the mechanics of purposeful positive change within the context of executive coaching. The discipline of executive coaching has much to offer to the organizational change and development literature. There is a wealth of knowledge related to organizational development, but it would appear that most of this body of knowledge sits at the organizational or systemic levels—there is relatively less literature within this body of knowledge that explicitly examines the mechanics of individual change within the organizational context, how such individual change can be fostered through coaching and how such individual change meshes with organization or systemic perspectives. The discipline of executive coaching has much to offer here in terms of theory building and the extension of existing theoretical frameworks. On a practical level, I believe that the emerging discipline of executive coaching has much to offer in terms of leadership development. This book represents the contemporary edge of knowledge about executive coaching,
combining solid theoretical frameworks with extensive practitioner expertise, whilst drawing on the emerging empirical knowledge-base related to the subject. Both coaching practitioners and their clients are demanding increasingly sophisticated approaches to leadership development—approaches which explicitly combine these three key facets. In my view this approach is vital if we are to make manifest the potential of executive coaching in developing our existing and future leaders—and well-rounded, capable leaders are sorely needed as we begin to navigate the emerging and complex challenges of the twentieth-first century. Associate Professor Director: Coaching Psychology Unit, School of Psychology, the University of Sydney
Anthony M. Grant
LIST OF FIGURES LIST OF TABLES ABBREVIATIONS
xiii xv xvii
1 What Is Coaching and Executive Coaching?
1.1 Historical Overview
1.2 Defining Executive Coaching
1.3 What Is not Executive Coaching
1.4 Coaching Applications
1.5 The Context of an EC Intervention: An Introduction
1.6 Executive Coaches: Background, Key Characteristics, and Traits
1.7 Reflection and Learning
1.8 Key Learning
2 Competing/Complementary Theoretical Approaches
2.1 Cognitive, Behavioural, and Cognitive-Behavioural Approaches
2.2 Psychodynamic/Psychoanalytic Approach
2.3 Transactional Analysis Approach
2.4 Existential Approach
2.5 Humanistic/Person-centered Approach
2.6 Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP)
2.7 Gestalt Psychotherapy
2.8 Solution-focused Approach to Coaching
2.9 Key Learning
3 Implementing Executive Coaching
3.1 Internal versus External Coach: Similarities and Differences
3.4 Coaching Frameworks and Tools
3.5 Key Learning
4. Executive Coaching Impact: Evidence, Standards, and Success Criteria
4.1 In Search of Evidence on Executive Coaching Outcomes: An Introduction
4.2 Personality and Ability Assessment Inventories Used in EC
4.3 A Systematic Review of EC Outcome Studies
4.4 Comparison of the Effectiveness of EC to Other Leadership Development Interventions
4.5 Key Learning
5 Current Debates, Future Trends
5.1 Current Debates
5.2 Coaching Standards and the Field
5.3 The Rise of the EC Profession and the Challenges for the Coaching Industry
5.4 EC Synergies from the Use of Multiple EC Techniques and Approaches
5.5 Key Learning
6 Leadership Theories and Their Links to EC
6.1 Defining Leadership
6.2 Leadership Theories
6.3 Reflections on Leadership Theories
6.4 Key Learning
7 Reflections on the Role of EC in Leadership Development and Management Education
7.1 Introduction to Leadership Development
7.2 Leadership Development and the Role of Context
7.3 Leadership Development, EC, and Mindfulness
7.4 EC and Management Education: Combining Forces for Better Leadership Practice
7.5 Key Learning
8 Conclusions and the Future of EC Research
8.1 Towards More Effective EC Practice and Research
8.2 Possible Future Research Agendas
8.3 Summing Up
APPENDIX I: THE STAGES OF THE EXECUTIVE COACHING PROCESS APPENDIX II: A REVIEW OF THE EXISTING EC OUTCOME STUDIES REFERENCES INDEX
163 167 211 239
n LIST OF FIGURES
7.1 EC and Management Education Combining Forces for Better Leadership Practice
8.1 A Contextual Mapping of the EC Intervention
n LIST OF TABLES
1.1 A Timeline: The Emergence of the Coaching Industry—Factors and Key Events
1.2 The Many Definitions of Executive Coaching Provided in the Literature
4.1 Condensed Summary of Executive Coaching Outcome Studies (up to December 2012)
4.2 Characteristics of Executive Coaching Outcome Studies (as of December 2012)
4.3 A List of Intangible Outcomes of EC Interventions
8.1 Sample of EC Effectiveness Models from the Literature
AFT CBC CBT CEST EC EI EMCC EMDR ESM FoR HR ICF IES I–O LD LSI MSCEIT NLP ROI REBT RET SAMT SDT TA TPP
action frame theory cognitive-behavioural coaching cognitive-behavioural therapy cognitive-experiential self theory executive coaching emotional intelligence European Mentoring and Coaching Council eye movement desensitization reprocessing experience sampling method Frame of Reference human resources International Coach Federation Institute for Employment Studies industrial–organizational leadership development learning style inventory Mayer–Salovey–Caruso emotional intelligence test neurolinguistic programming return on investment rational emotive behaviour therapy rational-emotive therapy sensory awareness mindfulness training self-determination theory transactional analysis Three principles psychology
Introduction How many professional practices can claim that during their young history as a profession—spanning just a quarter of a century—they have not only managed to grow from strength to strength and become a global multibillion dollar market but have also changed day-by-day the lives of millions of business professionals who have received such services? According to a 2009 Global Coaching Survey (cited by Segers et al., 2011: 204), executive coaching (EC) has so far reached the maturity phase of its product life cycle as an industry in only two of the 162 countries surveyed, and in 83 countries it is still in the introduction or growth phase. What ten years ago was seen as an emergency measure to address toxic behaviour in leadership has now become a privileged service provided to the high-potentials to help them further develop their capabilities and successfully ascend the organizational hierarchy (see the Harvard Business Review survey of 140 leading coaches; Coutu and Kauffman, 2009: 92). Executive coaching has also permeated the traditional management education boundaries with an increasing number of business schools globally incorporating EC practices into their postgraduate and executive education programmes. A recent survey of executives and business school deans (Datar et al., 2010) identified a clear need for business schools to do more on leadership development, including the incorporation of individual coaching into their curricula. At the same time, the EC field remains a ‘developing field’ (Ennis et al., 2008a: 19) striving to keep up with these rapid developments. This is reflected in the status of the empirical research on EC outcomes, which is one of the youngest streams of empirical research within the broader leadership development field. In fact EC empirical work is so young that in their review of the literature up to 2000 Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson (2001: 206) identified only seven empirical studies that explore the efficacy of executive coaching (Foster and Lendl, 1996; Olivero et al., 1997; Judge and Cowell, 1997; Gegner, 1997; Hall et al., 1999; Laske,1999a; and Garman et al., 2000). Essentially, most of the empirical research on EC has been produced since then, but how much of that provides rigorous, scientific evidence of the outcomes of EC practice? This is the question we examine in this book.
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Our findings are partly surprising and partly anticipated. There are several weaknesses in the existing research and great opportunities, too. To our knowledge, our book is the first systematic review of all published peer-reviewed articles on EC outcome studies undertaken in order to assess the quality of the EC research and discuss its impact on coaching practice and management education. We have designed the book in such a way that our readers, whatever their background and stake in EC practice, can reflect on the potential that EC can offer to transform organizational practice. Before closing this introduction with a discussion of why we feel a systematic review of the EC field is important now, more than ever before, we want to give our sincere thanks to several people without whose support this work would not have been possible. First, this research was undertaken under the auspices of the Executive Education division of the Saïd Business School of the University of Oxford. As we explain in the introduction of Chapter 1, the term ‘coach’ in the sense of ‘instructor/trainer’, as we now know it, was first born within the University of Oxford in the 1800s to reflect the work of Oxford tutors. For those unaware of the Oxford tutorial system, it is in essence a ‘coaching’ system that is set up to help students succeed in their academic endeavours by the asking of questions and to help develop reflective thinking and analysis. This coaching logic has also been nurtured within the Saïd Business School’s Executive Education Programmes and has led to the development of the University of Oxford Saïd Business School Coaching Community, a group that is leading the application of EC practices across a breadth of executive education programmes offered by the Saïd Business School. The selected group of experienced coaches (tried in local and international contexts) who form the University of Oxford Saïd Business School Coaching Community have assisted us by reflecting and sharing their practice as we worked on the book. At the same time, this has been a two-way process: as our research for this book progressed, we found that our work gradually informed the University of Oxford Saïd Business School Coaching Community approach to coaching practice. We are also particularly grateful to the following University of Oxford Saïd Business School Coaching Community members and Associate Fellows at the Saïd Business School who generously provided particularly helpful feedback and encouragement on an early draft of our book: Jon Stokes (Director of the organizational consulting firm Stokes & Jolly), Anthony Grant (Director of the Coaching Psychology Unit and Associate Professor at the University of Sydney), and Ian Saunders (Executive Fellow at Henley Business School and
a visiting tutor at Cranfield University). We owe special thanks to Anthony Grant also for writing the preface. Last but not least, none of this would have been achieved without the generous support and vision of the Associate Dean of Executive Education, Dr Andrew White and the Dean of the Saïd Business School, Professor Peter Tufano, to maintain the School’s position as an internationally leading institution dedicated to the development of the new generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs.
Why a Book on Executive Coaching Is Important Now? The world is becoming increasingly complex and the current economic crisis appears to be just one additional factor; growing global competition, energy constraints, climate change and political instability are turning complexity into the norm (Heifetz et al., 2009a: 62). In such an environment characterized by a ‘(permanent) crisis’ (Heifetz et al., 2009a: 62), it is essential to have leaders who are able to cope with uncertainty and successfully lead others. It requires ‘adaptive leadership’ (Heifetz et al., 2009a, 2009b) and executive coaching is the type of leadership development practice that can help individuals manage complexity more effectively (Abbott and Rosinski, 2007: 68; Ives, 2008: 102; Natale and Diamante, 2005: 363). The proposed book fills a significant gap in the existing executive coaching literature and we hope that it will serve as an essential reference to anyone (academic or practitioner) with an interest in coaching (executive coaching in particular) and more broadly as a reference for leadership development. Unlike the numerous ‘how-to’ books on coaching, our book is different because it offers a thorough study not only of the history of the field and the various coaching theories and tools but also of the field’s empirical work. Specifically: a. We provide a conceptual background of the executive coaching field and its practice (its history and applications); this can be helpful both for practitioners and for academics in this area. b. We review the quality of the empirical studies of the executive coaching field, particularly with regards to the executive coaching outcomes; this can be an important source of reference particularly for academics doing empirical work in this field.
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c. We provide an appreciation of the current debates and possible future trends of the executive coaching field; again, this is helpful both for academics’ and practitioners’ purposes. d. We link our findings on executive coaching with the broader field of leadership development (both in terms of research and practice) and we relatedly discuss the implications our findings have for management education; this can be of interest for both academics and practitioners. Overall, the book contributes to both the coaching literature and the leadership development literature. Since executive coaching draws on the fields of management and psychology, we expect that our book will be a helpful resource for those readers with a background in either or both of these disciplines. Our purpose is to offer an objective, but also a reflective study of the executive coaching practice and research rather than provide a critique of each school of thought or approach. We intentionally wrote this book without ‘professional jargon’, using language that can be understood by those that do not have a background in coaching-related disciplines. In Chapter 1 we start by providing a historical overview of the origins of executive coaching, from the birth of the term ‘coach’ to the most recent developments in the field, which saw executive coaching becoming an important part of leadership development activities. We then provide a discussion of the various definitions of executive coaching, including what is not executive coaching. As part of that discussion, we present and briefly describe what other coaching applications we identified in the literature. We then discuss what executive coaching consists of, including how the initiation of executive coaching happens, who are the typical executive coaching candidates, and what are the purposes, objectives, and overall effects and potential benefits from an executive coaching intervention. In Chapter 2 we present an overview of the eight main theoretical approaches to coaching and their variations as they appear in literature. These are: cognitive, behavioural and cognitive-behavioural approaches (which also includes smaller theoretical streams such as rational emotive behaviour therapy, multimodal approach and mindfulness coaching); psychodynamic/psychoanalytic approach; transactional analysis approach; existential approach; humanistic/person-centered approach; neurolinguistic programming (NLP); Gestalt psychotherapy; and solution-focused approach to coaching. In each of them we typically start with an overview of the conceptual/theoretical background and origin of the approach, we then discuss its application to coaching and particularly executive coaching
and (where such information exists) we also discuss what evidence there is of its impact. Having established the various theoretical backdrops of executive coaching practices, in Chapter 3 we go on to discuss the more practical aspects of executive coaching. This chapter includes a presentation of the tasks and processes typically included in an executive coaching intervention and the duration and frequency of the executive coaching sessions. We then present an extensive overview of the various coaching frameworks and tools that can be used by executive coaches. Typically, as the empirical evidence also suggests (i.e., evidence from different types of research—both qualitative and quantitative—undertaken with a view to explore the outcome of EC practice), coaches tend to use a combination of frameworks. The frameworks we are presenting in this book are: the GROW model; social systems interventions/the systems perspective and the family therapy perspective; experiential learning/action learning/adult learning; adult development; competency modelling; positive psychology coaching/strengths coaching and action frame theory. We consider Chapter 4 as the cornerstone of this book in terms of its contribution to the executive coaching literature. It offers valuable information to academics and practitioners about the existing evidence on executive coaching outcomes. Having presented the theories and practices associated with coaching, in this chapter we search the evidence that exists as to whether and how executive coaching works—and what does not work. We accompany our analysis with a table that summarizes the peer-reviewed empirical studies on executive coaching outcomes which we identified based on systematic literature review. In Chapter 5 we discuss the current debates and controversies regarding executive coaching practice. We include a discussion on the standardisation of coaching practices and provide an overview of what we see as the key trends in the field. Having presented what executive coaching includes and what evidence exists with regards to its impact, in Chapter 6 we link executive coaching with the broader leadership field. We present a brief overview of each of the main leadership theories found in the organizational literature and then discuss how the current developments in leadership theorizing call for executive coaching. In Chapter 7 we discuss the role of executive coaching as a promising leadership development approach to lead in complexity. We provide an overview of the leadership development field and its role in promoting leader effectiveness and organizational effectiveness. We suggest that one of the key benefits from executive coaching as a leadership development practice is that it allows developing self-awareness and organizational mindfulness.
6 Developing Leaders by Executive Coaching
In our final chapter (Chapter 8) we discuss the possible future research agendas as these emerge from the work in this book. We stress the importance of more active consideration of the context within which EC interventions take place and conclude by discussing the implications that EC has on the future of leadership development and management education.
What Is Coaching and Executive Coaching? Executive coaching is much more like sailing, capturing the wind and maneuvering the uncharted coast, than charting the course and serving as the expert captain with a steady hand on the wheel and full steam ahead. Stern, 2009: 271
1.1 Historical Overview According to a ‘myth’ the term ‘coach’ dates back to the 1550s (see Gray, 2006: 476). Stern (2004: 154) cites Hendrickson (1987) who once suggested that the word ‘coaching’ originates from a Hungarian village called Kocs and, specifically, a covered wheeled wagon or carriage (koczi), which was first developed in that area to carry passengers through the difficult terrain, protecting them during their trip. This is possibly just a ‘myth’ and nothing more, but even ‘myths’ are part of the identity of a phenomenon—hence, worth mentioning. Under such symbolism, Stern (2004: 154) describes executive coaching (EC) as ‘one more evolution of the term where a coach helps to carry an executive from one point to another’. The term ‘coach’ in the sense of ‘instructor/trainer’ was first used in 1830 at the University of Oxford as slang for ‘a tutor who ‘carries’ a student through an exam’ (Online Etymology Dictionary, 2014). The term ‘coach’ in the athletic sense was created later— in 1861. This chapter provides an overview of the historical development of coaching and particularly EC field. For those readers interested in learning more about historical developments in the field, other resources offer more in depth information (see Palmer and Whybrow, 2007; Garvey et al., 2009).
1.1.1 THE BIRTH OF EC: LOCATING ITS FIRST DEVELOPMENTS It appears that Gorby (1937) was the first to use the term ‘coach’ within a business environment—in sales, particularly (see Berg and Karlsen, 2007: 4; see also Grant’s 2011 annotated bibliography on workplace, executive and
8 Developing Leaders by Executive Coaching
life coaching from 1937 to 2011). It is believed that coaching first appeared within the context of management in the work of Lewis (1947) and Mold (1951). Another early reference to the term in the management literature is in a 1955 article by R. C. Parkes, president of the Philadelphia-based National Drying Machinery Company, in which he explains the seven guides used in his company to develop executives (‘coaching’ is the fourth ‘guidepost’ in his list) (see Parkes, 1955; see also Eggers and Clark, 2000: 67, who locate the first appearance of the term within the context of management in a chapter by Myles Mace, titled ‘On-the-Job Coaching’, in the 1958 publication Developing Executive Skills, ed. H. E. Merrill and E. Marting, American Management Association, in which Mace described coaching as an employee job development tool aiming at increasing productivity). Mace (1950) had also previously published a book at Harvard University entitled The Growth and Development of Executives. By the 1970s sports coaching techniques appeared in management literature, including Tim Gallwey’s 1974 bestseller The Inner Game of Tennis. Gallwey’s work revolutionized the EC field by suggesting that expertise as a manager is often a handicap to being an effective coach, because instead of facilitating coachees to learn from their experiences and reach their own conclusions, management expertise tends to encourage the coach to ‘tell’ the ‘trainee’ how to do it (Stokes and Jolly, 2009: 227–8; see also Gallwey, 2000). By the 1980s, coaching was seen as a developmental activity that was not necessarily linked to sports. EC became part of the corporate language in the 1980s (Tobias, 1996: 87). Specifically, Natale and Diamante (2005: 362) and Hyatt (2003) locate the beginning of EC in the 1980s when a financial planner in Seattle (called Thomas Leonard) first offered life-planning consultations to his clients and, in 1992, started Coach University, a training programme for professionals. Leonard played a definitive role in the emergence and development of the coaching industry. He also founded the International Coach Federation (Hyatt, 2003), an industry group that remains a leader in the promotion and regulation of professional coaching standards globally and the provision of coach accreditation. Judge and Cowell (1997: 71) give a different version of the story, referring to O’Hefferman (1986) who maintained that the first person to ‘coin’ the term ‘executive coaching’ was a practitioner in Palo Alto, California, named Dick Borough, who used this term in 1985 to describe his leadership development activities. By 1988 EC started to become mainstream and caught the attention of Forbes magazine. In an article by Dyan Machan (1988), titled ‘Sigmund Freud Meets Henry Ford’, EC was described as a hybrid of management consulting and psychotherapy (Judge and Cowell, 1997: 71). Marshall Goldsmith, Warren Bennis, Jim Kouzes, and Tim Gallwey were some of the key early proponents of EC (see Stokes and Jolly, 2009: 227). Also, several training initiatives on personal development contributed to the emergence of the executive
What Is Coaching and Executive Coaching? 9
coaching field such as the Erhard Seminars Training (est), a training programme on personal transformation and responsibility developed by Werner Hans Erhard and first delivered in 1971 and the consequent establishment in 1991 of Landmark Education (now Landmark Worldwide, a San Francisco, California, headquartered personal training and development company). In the 1990s coaching emerged as a part of employee empowerment, with the coach seen as a ‘thought partner’, asking the right questions instead of providing answers (see Eggers and Clark, 2000: 67). The next phase in this conceptual development saw EC as a relationship developed between the coach and the participant through which people are motivated to advance and exceed previous achievements (ibid.: 67).
1.1.2 EMERGENCE OF EC: WHY? Until the 1980s, EC was informally conducted, if at all, by internal to the organization HR professionals (Stokes and Jolly 2009: 226) with coaching focusing on legal, accounting or marketing issues. Furthermore, up to the mid-1980s even the term ‘executive coaching’ was rarely used and practitioners did not have any formal training. There are different reasons put forward to explain the emergence of the EC field. It has been suggested that EC emerged through an effort of psychologists to find new work (and hence, a new source of income) in response to changes in the healthcare industry, which affected particularly the mental health field (see Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson, 2001: 207). Other reasons include the use of coaching by high-performance individuals (e.g., athletes) to improve their performance; the rapidly changing global economy that has created the need for continued development; the fact that executives lack opportunities for growth; the realization by the business world that poor executive leadership can lead to financial ruin; and the acknowledgement that interpersonal skills allow for the effective management of oneself and others in a organization (Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson, 2001: 209). Another set of reasons for these changes is highlighted by Stokes and Jolly (2009: 226–7), who identified four macro changes that impacted on the demand for professionally trained executive coaches (with expertise in human psychology and workplace relationships): (a) less stress on formal hierarchy and more emphasis on the right to express individual views; (b) changes in HR departments, which became larger and placed more emphasis on development activities for staff with a view to retaining the best staff; (c) the rise of the self-help book and self-development programme industries in response to the breakdown of traditional hierarchical institutions in the West, which prompted individuals to seek success by better managing themselves personally, professionally, and performance-wise; and (d) the rise of a more explicit
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merit-based approach for executive promotion, which increased the pressure on executives to perform. Brock (2008: 4–13, 17) also discussed the emergence of coaching as a field and suggested that some of the root professions of coaching (sociology, education, adult education, human resource management, communications, management consulting, organization development and training) were in parallel struggling to become recognized (see ibid.: 7). Brock further argued that coaching emerged in response to shifts in social, cultural, and economic conditions. Despite starting as a human development movement, it was largely due to developments in the economy that the coaching movement was boosted, with more people having more leisure time and disposable income and a social climate that encouraged spending on self-development. Parallel to the rise of the self-help industry, the fields of organization development, management consulting and psychology evolved in response to these shifts (Brock, 2008: 17–18). A recent Harvard Business Review survey (Coutu et al., 2009) of 140 leading coaches exploring the practice of EC also confirmed a link between the development of EC and changes in the broader organizational environment. The survey showed that over time there has been a change in the reasons companies hire executive coaches. Coaches reported that, although ten years ago most companies hired a coach to help in the case of toxic behaviour in leadership practice, today most executive coaches are hired to develop high-potential performers’ capabilities (see Coutu and Kauffman, 2009: 92). Despite these changes and the apparent need to formalize EC practice, Coutu and Kauffman (2009: 92) conclude that, although coaching as a business tool continues to gain legitimacy, the fundamentals of the industry ‘are still in flux’. The timeline of birth and development of coaching as a profession is presented in Table 1.1.
1.1.3 THE CONTRIBUTION OF SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY IN EXECUTIVE COACHING Instrumental in the coaching field’s history has been the influence of sports psychology. As we have seen, Tim Gallwey’s 1974 bestseller The Inner Game of Tennis first introduced sports coaching techniques to the management literature. According to Bluckert (2006: 104), organizational and consulting psychology and sports psychology were in the past the main sources to which coaching looked for its theory, with the introduction of concepts from psychotherapy and counselling coming more recently. Indeed, empirical studies of EC have also used models from sports coaching (see Jowett et al., 2012) or
Table 1.1 A Timeline: The Emergence of the Coaching Industry—Factors and Key Events 1550s
The word ‘coach’ is ‘born’: the word koczi is first used in Hungary to refer to a covered wheeled wagon or carriage.
First use of the term ‘coach’ in the sense of ‘instructor/trainer’ within the University of Oxford.
Coaching introduced in the business environment. Gorby (1937) publishes the first article in which the term ‘coach’ is used in a business context (in sales).
1947, 1951 1958
The work of Lewis (1947), Mace (1950), Mold (1951), Parkes (1955), and Mace (1958) are the first publications where coaching is used within the context of management.
Werner Hans Erhard starts the delivery of his ‘est’ personal development courses.
Tim Gallwey’s 1974 bestseller The Inner Game of Tennis is published and sports coaching techniques are introduced to management literature.
Executive coaching introduced in the corporate language, but only informally conducted. Thomas Leonard offers life-planning consultations to his clients—it is now considered an early format of ‘coaching’.
1980s (exact date not specified) 1985
Dick Borough (in Palo Alto, California), uses the term ‘executive coaching’ to describe his leadership development activities.
Forbes publishes an article by Dyan Machan, titled ‘Sigmund Freud Meets Henry Ford’, describing EC as a hybrid of management consulting and psychotherapy.
The formalization of Coaching: Development of coaching courses and the introduction of the coach in organizations as an agent of motivation and personal development for leaders. • Changes in the healthcare industry (and particularly the mental health field) led psychologists to pursue new areas of work and new sources of income. • Changes in the global economy led to pressures for improved performance, but also led to higher income and more leisure time with individuals encouraged to devote time to self-development. • Emphasis on the role of leadership in achieving financial success. • Use of coaching by other high-performers (e.g., in sports) alerts the interest of the business world to the benefits that coaching can offer. • The rise of an organizational culture that provides more emphasis on the right to express individual views. • Changes in HR departments: they gradually become larger and their emphasis is on development activities aimed at staff retention. • Rise of the self-help book and self-development programme industries. • Increased pressure on executives to perform due to rise of more explicit merit-based approach for executive promotion.
Key changes throughout the late 1980s and 1990s
A large international personal training and development company, Landmark Education (now known as Landmark Wordwide), is founded, acquiring programmes and intellectual material that had been earlier developed by Werner Hans Erhard.
Thomas Leonard establishes the Coach University.
The International Coaching Federation is founded with a view to ‘to advance the art, science, and practice of professional coaching’ (ICF website).
2000s–now Late 1990s early 2000s
The professionalization of the coaching industry. Executive coaching introduced in organizations with a view to help high-potential leaders who display toxic behaviour.
A change of reason: executive coaching employed to help maximize the effectiveness of high-performers (not associated with problematic behaviour).
12 Developing Leaders by Executive Coaching
have looked into the similarities between high-achievers coached in business and in sports (see Jones and Spooner, 2006). Yet it has also been suggested that the influence of sports psychology in executive coaching practice can undermine coaching outcomes. For instance, Berglas (2002: 88–9) argued that those executive coaches who draw on coaching techniques from sports coaching ‘may sell themselves as purveyors of simple answers and quick results’, which can be a ‘great selling point to CEOs’, but can also have ‘disastrous consequences’ in the long term for the company. Whether this is the case or not will depend on the coaching and organizational context. However, sports psychology has been and continues to serve as one of the main influences in executive coaching practice.
1.2 Defining Executive Coaching Coaching, it is argued in this book, emerges as one of the most important approaches to senior managers’ and executives’ professional development (Gray, 2006: 475). According to Orenstein (2002), the EC literature can be sorted into two categories: one that focuses on the description of specific EC methodologies by practitioners in the field and the other that focuses on the definition and designation of the practice. Overall, it appears that defining EC and its practices is not an easy task. When the coaching movement was still in its infancy, Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson (2001: 208) saw EC as a poorly defined practice, with very limited research, and observed that the difficulty of defining EC may stem from ‘the many different individuals and disciplines involved in providing executive coaching services’ (Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson, 2001: 224). Several years later the same observations is made, and it appears that not only has the fuzziness characterizing the industry not decreased but in fact it seems to have increased over time. Ennis et al. (2008a: 5) noted that there is still ‘no widely agreed definition or set of professional standards’ for EC and it remains a ‘developing field’ (Ennis et al., 2008a: 19). Coutu and Kauffman (2009: 92) also observed a lack of consensus in the field based on the results of an HBR survey of 140 leading coaches and on the view of five experts that were asked to comment on these results. All ‘felt that the bar needs to be raised in various areas for the industry to mature, but there was no consensus on how that could be done’ (ibid.: 92). A classic executive coaching definition has been provided by Kilburg (1996: 142), who described EC as ‘a helping relationship formed between a client who has managerial authority and responsibility in an organization and a consultant who uses a wide variety of behavioural techniques and methods to help the client achieve a mutually identified set of goals to improve his or
What Is Coaching and Executive Coaching? 13
her professional performance and personal satisfaction and, consequently, to improve the effectiveness of the client’s organization within a formally defined coaching agreement’ (Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson, 2001: 208) considered Kilburg’s 1996 definition as representative of what has been discussed in the field). A sample of some representative definitions indicating how scholars approach EC is presented in Table 1.2. Table 1.2 The Many Definitions of Executive Coaching Provided in the Literature Author
Witherspoon and White (1996)
• EC is ‘a confidential, highly personal learning process’ (p. 127). • It ‘helps executives learn, grow, and change’ (p. 125).
• The coaching definition can have several levels: in its narrowest sense coaching is seen as help to someone who ‘has irritated others in the organization’, on a broader sense it would refer to someone who has conflictual relationships with others or trouble in adjusting to organizational or personal changes and crises, at an even broader sense, the problem might be not the individual but a circumstance to which the individual may need to manage and at a further extent, coaching is used without any specific problem identified, but rather with the view to enhance an executive’s ‘style, future options, and organizational impact’ (pp. 87–8). • Most coaching is ongoing, but may vary from a couple of sessions to a lengthy series of meetings over a long period and therefore, coaching as a term can be broadly used to include any useful intervention by the consultant (p. 88).
Garman et al. (2000)
• Coaching is ‘one-on-one consultation, provided by outsiders (individuals who do not have organizational ties), regarding the consultee’s individual performance as it relates to a specific organizational context or contexts’ (p. 202). • This definition has three key parts: firstly, sees coaching as a service delivered in a one-on-one format, which distinguishes itself from other types of classroom-based training in supervisory skills; secondly, coachees are not direct reports of their coaches; and thirdly, focuses on performance improvement within a specific organizational context, which is different from career counseling psychotherapy and other interventions with an objective the individual’s improvement (p. 202).
Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson (2001)
• EC is ‘a highly confidential personal learning process that focuses not only on interpersonal issues, but also on intrapersonal ones’ (p. 208).
• EC ‘provides one-on-one services to top level leaders in an organization, on the principle that positive changes can be leveraged to filter down and enhance the entire organization’ (p. xv). (continued)
14 Developing Leaders by Executive Coaching
Table 1.2 Continued Author
• Coaching is a ‘three-way partnership between the executive, the coach, and the organization, in which all involved agree on specific goals and parameters’ (p. 4).
• EC is ‘the process of increasing the client’s effectiveness’ in meeting three responsibilities: (a) communicating the territory (i.e., the organization’s purpose, vision, and goals) to key constituencies and outlining opportunities and challenges, (b) building commitment and relationships and facilitating interactions to achieve outstanding team performance, and (c) producing results and outcomes through the efforts of the executive and others (p. 6).
Ennis et al. (2008a)
• EC is a ‘transition tool’ for leadership development aiming at the retention of top talented staff and for this reason it is now ‘bundled’ with leadership development programmes and introduced as a key element in leadership transitions (p. 5). • It is ‘a multiparty set of relationship-based activities involving the client, her coach, and her organization. The goal is to enhance the capability of the executive and her ability to help the organization achieve shortand long-term goals’ (p. 9). • EC is ‘an experiential and individualized leader development process that builds a leader’s capability to achieve short- and long-term organizational goals. It is conducted through one-on-one and/ or group interactions, driven by data from multiple perspectives, and based on mutual trust and respect. The organization, an executive, and the executive coach work in partnership to achieve maximum impact’ (p. 19). • It focuses on the development of the executive’s ability to influence, motivate, and lead others and the development of strategic thinking skills (p. 20). • EC is based on the coaching partnership, which is a ‘win-win approach in which all partners plan the process together, communicate openly, and work cooperatively toward the ultimate accomplishment of overarching organizational objectives’ and the executive coach can be external to the organization or an employee (p. 21).
Stokes and Jolly (2009)
• EC is the ‘work with senior level executives that focuses on the executive becoming more self-aware in order to carry out their leadership role more effectively’ (p. 225).
All these definitions highlight several aspects associated with EC and its practice. Several authors describe EC as a ‘process’ (e.g., Witherspoon and White, 1996; Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson, 2001; O’Neill, 2007; Ennis et al., 2008a); however, it is important to note that coaching is only a methodology for creating and sustaining purposeful positive change and the way that such a methodology is applied and the reasons for using it varies considerably.
What Is Coaching and Executive Coaching? 15
1.3 What Is not Executive Coaching There are several activities that may resemble EC, but are not the same as EC. These are: Mentoring: Coaching is not exactly the same as mentoring, although mentors often use coaching tactics and techniques in their work. Comparing the two, mentoring ‘at its best, involves a longer term relationship in which there is an emotional attachment between mentor and protege’ (Hunt and Weintraub, 2004: 42), with the objective being the mentee’s career development; whereas in coaching the objective is skills development and performance enhancement (Passmore, 2007a: 12). ‘Mentoring’ is defined as ‘typically a more informal relationship with a more experienced colleague’ (Stokes and Jolly, 2009: 226; also see Clutterbuck and Megginson, 2005; Gray, 2006: 476). However, the boundary between the two is more blurred than is often suggested (Passmore, 2007a). Psychotherapy: Numerous discussions have been made about the similarities and differences between coaching and therapy (see Bluckert, 2005a). It is beyond doubt that there are some strong similarities; however, ‘typically the intention is different, with coaching strongly grounded in work effectiveness and performance rather than wider life issues’ (Bluckert, 2005a: 96). Although coaching and therapy share similarities in terms of certain skill-sets, the training of therapists entails work at a deeper level focusing on the past and addressing personal issues (particularly psychological and emotional ones) that may be painful and remain unresolved for the individual, whereas experienced executive coaches will tend to have a higher level of competence in corporate issues (ibid.: 93 and 96). As McKenna and Davis (2009: 257) note, among the important ways in which EC and psychotherapy differ is that executive coaches tend to meet less frequently with clients (i.e., every four to six weeks) than psychotherapists (i.e., every one to two weeks). In an empirical study that examined the views of thirty professionals who do either coaching or therapy (or both) regarding their perceptions on coaching and therapy, Hart et al. (2001: 233) asked interviewees to describe the differences between these two with regard to time. It was suggested that in coaching the timeframes are not as rigid as in therapy: coaching sessions may be broken up into half-hour time blocks, they may be weekly or monthly, they vary from the traditional one hour therapy and the coach needs to guide the process, not direct it, while the client (not the coach) should be the one establishing the agenda for the coaching. Furthermore, in contrast to psychotherapy, in coaching there is a strong trend towards using e-mail, text messaging, and video conference calls (McKenna and Davis, 2009: 258). It is often argued that although many executive
16 Developing Leaders by Executive Coaching
coaches come from a psychotherapeutic background, the use of psychotherapeutic techniques may not be always appropriate for coaching within a business setting, since psychotherapy entails longer-term processes whereas commissioning organizations prefer shorter-term relationships (Gray, 2006: 490). This is confirmed also by Hart et al.’s (2001) empirical study where coaching was described by professionals as ‘more goal directed, action based, and outwardly defined’ than therapy (Hart et al., 2001: 231). EC is no longer seen as just remedial work for poor performers: In its initial developmental phase as a professional movement, EC was mostly used by companies to help executives who had the potential to be successful but were displaying problematic behaviour that impacted on their performance and for which EC served as an ultimate rescue effort. However, now this is hardly ever the case in EC practice. Remedial work for poor performers is not the current focus of coaching practice—instead, coaching is now focused on mid and senior executives with high potential and responsibilities (Stokes and Jolly, 2009: 225). Is not only about the individual executive: Unlike career counselling and life coaching, which focus on the individual client’s needs and goals, EC (which shares similar techniques with career counselling and life coaching) focuses on the needs of both the executive and the sponsoring organization (Ennis et al., 2008a: 19). Unlike career coaching, EC is based on the partnership of the executive, the coach, and the organization; furthermore, the individual goals of EC must ‘always link back and be subordinated’ to strategic organizational objectives (Ennis et al., 2008a: 23). Is not personal, career, or life coaching: Stern (2004: 157) suggests that executive coaching has some similarities with other types of coaching but is differentiated from them in its dual focus of working one-on-one with the executive to develop positive leadership behaviours and positive business results. Some types of coaching, such as personal or life coaching, require a different set of skills from those of an executive coach. Personal or life coaching focuses on the individual’s personal goals, thinking, feeling and how to change the person’s life, whereas EC focuses on the individual’s short- and long-term career objectives (ibid.: 157). While this section indicates that EC does not fully belong to these categories, it is not irrelevant to them either. In fact, the domains of mentoring, psychotherapy, and life coaching do overlap with EC. Often, during a coaching session, family/home issues are brought up in the discussion since these may be hindering the development of the coachee’s full potential. Executives often need to talk about these aspects of their life in order to gain some mental clarity and, in doing so they are then able to refocus on their workplace issues.
What Is Coaching and Executive Coaching? 17
The boundaries in EC practice are not clear and distinct. This is what makes EC such a challenging enterprise.
1.4 Coaching Applications Although in the present book we focus on EC provided by providers external to the organization, there seems to be a rise in recent years of coaching provided internally. Frisch (2005) attributes this rise to the fact that when HR departments started appointing dedicated staff to manage external coaches and measure the effectiveness of coaching provided within the organization, such staff gradually ended up assuming the role of coaching delivery to cover a wide range of HR activities from management development to succession planning and from multi-rater performance appraisal to organizational development. As a result, the internal coach as an organizational role was created. However, internal EC ‘has not garnered the “cachet” of external coaching’ (Frisch, 2005: 23). Several authors have attempted to organize the different types of coaching into categories (e.g., see Morgan et al.’s 2005 classification of coaching into five categories, with either a business issues focus or a behavioural issues focus or Berman and Bradt’s 2006 four-category model of EC with each category being the product of a different combination of short-term/targeted or long-term/exploratory and business focus or personal focus).1 We have identified the following types of coaching as part of our literature review: 1. Academic coaching 2. Career coaching* 3. Coaching to provide feedback debriefing and development planning* 4. Conflict coaching* 5. Developmental coaching (also known as development coaching)* (Hunt and Weintraub 2004) 6. Executive coaching 7. Financial coaching 8. Group coaching* (which is different from team coaching) 9. Health coaching 10. High-potential coaching* 11. Knowledge coaching*
1 These are: (a) coaching leaders/behavioural coaching, (b) career/life coaching, (c) coaching for leadership development, (d) coaching for organizational change, and (e) strategy coaching.
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12. Leadership coaching* 13. Legacy coaching* 14. Managerial coaching* (i.e., manager as coach) 15. Newly assigned leader /new leader coaching* 16. Performance coaching* 17. Personal or life coaching* 18. Presentation/Communication skills coaching/video coaching* 19. Project Management coaching* 20. Relationship coaching* 21. Results coaching* 22. Skill coaching (or feedback coaching)* 23. Spiritual coaching 24. Sports coaching 25. Succession coaching* 26. Targeted behavioural coaching* 27. Team coaching* 28. Transactional coaching* 29. Transformational coaching* 30. Virtual coaching 31. Workplace coaching* The types of coaching marked with an * are those used by organizations as ways to develop their staff. They have several similarities with EC, but are not the same. According to Stokes and Jolly (2009: 232), executive coaching is different from other forms of coaching in that: a. The primary client is the organization, rather than the individual, b. The aim is to align the individual’s abilities with the organization’s ambitions and work towards achieving the organization’s objectives, c. The aim of the coaching is informed by and often agreed with the individual’s line manager, who also receives feedback on the coaching process, d. Matters relating to personal issues that do not have implications for the organization are not the primary focus of EC, e. The coach’s fees are paid by the organization, not the individual. The other types of coaching which are applied within an organization—and we found in the systematic review—are briefly presented here: 1. Career coaching is ‘coaching designed to help individuals make enlightened career choices’, helping them to identify what they want from their career, decide and take the required actions to accomplish it (Ennis et al., 2008a: 22–3), focusing both on short- and long-term career objectives (Stern, 2004: 157).
What Is Coaching and Executive Coaching? 19
2. Coaching to provide feedback debriefing and development planning refers to the process by which a coach helps employees to interpret their assessment or 360 feedback processes in the context of a person’s personal and professional history. This coaching is employed within the organization to help employees in their career decisions and professional development plans (Ennis et al., 2008a: 24–5; Stern, 2004: 158). 3. Conflict coaching is a practice first developed in January 1996 at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (see Brinkert, 2006: 520) and is ‘the process in which a coach and disputant communicate one-onone for the purpose of developing the disputant’s conflict-related understanding, interaction strategies, and interaction skills’ (Brinkert, 2006: 517). The aim for the coachee is to make sense of conflict and develop plans for actively managing conflict as well as specific communication behaviours that he/she can enact (Brinkert, 2006: 517). 4. Developmental coaching (or development coaching) is coaching that is based on the idea that ‘employees will learn more when pursuing goals that they have defined, rather than goals defined by others’ (Hunt and Weintraub, 2004: 42) and it is often regarded as same as EC. It draws on the existential approach to coaching and involves the process of coaching a manager or his/her team members to ‘get more interesting and challenging work tasks where the person’s experience and knowledge is used to the fullest potential’ (Berg and Karlsen, 2007: 7). It often involves career and life coaching aiming at helping individuals gain life balance and also contributes to making a more flexible, project-oriented, and learning organization. (For an extensive review on developmental coaching see Bachkirova, 2011.) 5. Group coaching is about working with individuals within groups and its focus ranges from leadership development to career development and from stress management to team building. Group coaching is different from team coaching and combines the resources of groups with the benefits of individual coaching. Via group coaching, individuals learn from each other and from their interactions as a group (Ennis et al., 2008a: 23). 6. High-potential coaching aims at helping high-potential individuals who are key to the future of the organization or a part of the organization’s succession plan (Ennis et al., 2008a: 24; Stern, 2004: 158). Related to that is the practice of ‘succession coaching’ (described in 15, below). 7. Leadership coaching can have a wide scope. One aspect is to develop ‘authentic leadership’ in the sense of enabling managers ‘to be more consciously aware’ and hence, create a ‘personally distinctive and organisationally attuned’ leadership style (Lee, 2003: 17). In general, EC can be used as a methodology for a wide range of leadership frameworks, including ‘emotionally intelligent leadership’, and ‘transformational leadership’. (For leadership coaching see also, Morgan et al., 2005; Goldsmith and Lyons, 2006.)
20 Developing Leaders by Executive Coaching
8. Legacy coaching aims at helping leaders who are about to retire or wind down from a key role to identify what legacy they would like to leave behind and how to do so—it also includes counseling on transitioning out of the leadership role (Ennis et al., 2008a: 25; Stern, 2004: 158). 9. Newly assigned leader/new leader coaching is about helping newly assigned leaders to clarify what the main responsibilities and deliverables associated with their new role are and how to define and implement their new business objectives along with key constituencies and their team (Ennis et al., 2008a: 24; Stern, 2004: 157–8). 10. Performance coaching is about helping employees at all levels to understand better their job requirements, required competencies, and possible gaps in performance as well as what are the opportunities for improved performance. Working with the employees, their bosses, and others within the organization the aim is to fill performance gaps and plan the coachee’s professional development (Ennis et al., 2008a: 24: Stern, 2004: 157). 11. Personal or life coaching is about gaining awareness of and clarifying personal goals and priorities and taking actions to change one’s life (Ennis et al., 2008a: 23), in order to achieve greater personal effectiveness and satisfaction (Stern, 2004: 157). 12. Relationship coaching aims at helping two or more coachees to form, change, or improve their interactions within a work, personal, or other setting for greater productivity and satisfaction (Ennis et al., 2008a: 24; Stern, 2004: 158). 13. Presentation/Communication skills coaching (also referred to as video coaching—see Stern, 2004: 158) is about helping individuals to gain self-awareness about how they are perceived by others and why they are perceived so. This includes video-recording of the coachees and provision of feedback on the basis of their recorded performance as well as coaching them on the use of verbal and non-verbal communication (i.e., use of the right language and body language to convey their messages) (Ennis et al., 2008a: 25). 14. Project Management coaching refers to a coaching process employed by organizations to address those problems that challenge projects and relate to leadership, uncertainty, stress, and motivation (see Berg and Karlsen, 2007). Berg and Karlsen (2007: 6–7) suggest that for a project manager and his/her team the following types of coaching might be relevant (in order of complexity, starting with the easiest and less time-consuming): Knowledge coaching, which is parallel to what would be described in EC as ‘content coaching’ and provides project members knowledge and skills in specific areas. It is considered the easiest type of coaching since project team members know what areas to improve. Skills
What Is Coaching and Executive Coaching? 21
coaching (or feedback coaching) builds on the behavioural approach to coaching and focuses on skill development and instead of aiming at raising the project manager’s or team manager’s level of knowledge, it aims at changing their leadership behaviour. Personal coaching, which is similar to life coaching, builds on the existential approach as well as the humanistic and cognitive approaches, aims at helping the project manager and his/her team members in terms of ‘attitudes, feelings, self-confidence, self-efficacy, self-esteem, confidence in one’s own capability, tolerance of stress, need to assert oneself, and fear of failure’ (Berg and Karlsen, 2007: 7). Results coaching focuses on helping the project manager and his/her team members to achieve different types of goals either personal or related to project milestones and results. Also, according to Berg and Karlsen (2007: 7) development coaching is also relevant to project management coaching. 15. Succession coaching is about the assessment of potential candidates for senior management positions and preparing them for promotion to more senior roles. It is said to be particularly helpful in the case of family businesses so as to maintain the firm’s viability—often independent consultants are used for the assessment and coaching for promotion (Ennis et al., 2008a: 25). 16. Targeted behavioural coaching is about helping individuals who are either very successful in their current job or assume new responsibility, but need to alter a particular behaviour or habits (such as intimidation, risk aversion, non-assertiveness) or learn new and more effective ways of working and interacting with others currently and in the future (Ennis et al., 2008a: 25; Stern, 2004: 158). 17. Team coaching is about working with a leader and each member of a team so as ‘to establish their team mission, vision, strategy, and rules of engagement with one another’. The process may also include individual coaching to every team member so as to learn how to facilitate meetings and other interactions, become more effective as a team so as to have high performance and obtain set goals (Ennis et al., 2008a: 26). 18. Transactional coaching focuses more on ‘surface-level issues such as tactical actions, follow-up, and advice’ with clients learning technical skills and personal effectiveness techniques (it has a strategic focus) (Anderson and Anderson, 2005: 19). 19. Transformational coaching ‘enables coachees to create fundamental shifts in their capacity through transforming their way of thinking, feeling and behaving in relation to others’ (Hawkins and Smith, 2010: 231). Its purpose is to guide coachees to ‘reach’ their ‘inner resources’, gain insight and use it so as to create personal and organizational change (Anderson and Anderson, 2005: 20). The continuous exchange of insight and action fuels one another to form the core of transformational coaching (ibid.).
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According to Hawkins and Smith (2010: 231–2) transformational coaching consists of four elements: (a) shifting the ‘meaning schemes’ of the coachee (i.e., his/her specific beliefs, attitudes, and emotional reactions), (b) working on multiple levels simultaneously (i.e., on the physical, psychological, emotional, and purposive elements and their combination at a given situation), (c)‘shift in the room’ in the sense of freeing the coachee from his/her ‘stuck’ perspective’ during the session and hence, experience an integrated transformation of perspective with the help of the CLEAR model (Contracting, Listening, Exploring, Action, Review), and (d) use of the ‘four levels of engagement’ model to map the connection of coachee’s assumptions, values and beliefs (about the presenting issue) to the feelings that drive the behaviour so as to generate the particular responses that the coachee tries to modify.
1.5 The Context of an EC Intervention: An Introduction 1.5.1 EC INITIATION AND THE TYPICAL EC CANDIDATE Who Initiates EC? According to Michelman (2004: 3) the idea of engaging a coach can be initiated in two ways: either by HR and leadership development professionals or by executives themselves, with the latter way appearing to become more common over time. However, findings from a recent Harvard Business Review survey provided a more diverse picture. Specifically: 29.5% of the 140 coaches that were surveyed mentioned that HR typically initiates the coaching relationship, 28.8% mentioned the coachee, 23% referred to the coachee’s manager and 18.7% mentioned others (see Coutu et al., 2009: 93). Normally, a coach is approached by a variety of organizational sponsors, from line managers to human resources specialists or executives themselves (McMahon, 2005: 10) who then go on to agree the terms of the coaching intervention (the processes involved are described in more detail in Chapter 3).
A Typical EC Candidate According to a 1996 survey conducted by Judge and Cowell (1997: 73) a typical EC recipient is a senior to mid-level manager and slightly more than half of the coachees are CEOs or reporting to CEOs. Among them, there are three types of executives who typically participate in coaching (Judge and
What Is Coaching and Executive Coaching? 23
Cowell, 1997: 73–4): (a) promising executive with adequate skills but with one or two areas preventing them from advancement (the ‘derailed’ executives), (b) promising executives, with no specific deficiencies, desiring improved leadership skills, and (c) the professionals/entrepreuneurs.
1.5.2 EC INTERVENTION: PURPOSES, OBJECTIVES AND BENEFITS It has been suggested that ‘coaches are like motivational speakers, except that they listen instead of talking’ (Hyatt, 2003). In a survey of 114 executives who participated in an EC intervention in a large MNE (Kombarakaran et al., 2008: 81), executives indicated that coaching adds value, dismissing the idea that coaching is a ‘fad’ (81%), and ‘just common sense’ (88%). Therefore, organizations and individuals ask for EC interventions because they feel that EC can make a positive impact on the individual and eventually on the organizational performance. However, identifying the specific reasons that lead an organization and an executive to ask for an EC intervention is not an easy task. Moreover, the reasons may vary from organization to organization and from one executive to another. For instance, in an empirical study respondents referred to the following reasons behind the decision to hire executive coaches (Lewis, 2002): developing leadership skills for high-potential individuals (86% of respondents said so), improving the odds of success for newly promoted managers (64%), developing management and leadership skills to technical staff (59%), correcting behavioural problems at the management level (70%), and helping leaders to resolve interpersonal conflicts among employees (59%) (see Wise and Voss, 2002: 3–4). It appears that developing high-potential executives was and still remains the primary purpose of an EC intervention. In the recent HBR study coaches reported the following top three reasons for which they are invited to conduct EC interventions: to develop high potentials or facilitate transition (according to 48% of the coaches), to act as a sounding board (26%) and to address derailing behaviour (12%) (see Coutu and Kauffman, 2009: 92). From a review of the existing literature, a very wide range of reasons were identified as leading to the need for an EC intervention and several objectives are accordingly pursued. These are summarized below:
Balancing Personal and Organizational Issues It has been argued that ‘executive coaching’s primary client is the organization’ (Stern, 2009: 271). However, this is somewhat simplistic. In reality both the individual coachee and the organization are the clients of an executive
24 Developing Leaders by Executive Coaching
coach. EC seeks to bring positive changes at the individual level with a view to filter them down and enhance the organization as a whole (Peltier, 2001: xv). Therefore, EC is balancing individual and organizational objectives. Under this logic, Wise and Voss (2002: 2–3) classify the reasons for selecting EC as associated to changes at three levels: the individual executive level (intrapersonal), the interpersonal level, and the strategic or organizational level; and in each of these levels these changes may have either developmental focus or problem resolution focus. What happens in practice appears to vary significantly depending on contextual factors. It is possible that the coach’s background may affect how he/ she prioritizes who is the primary client. Those with a business-related background (e.g., marketing or consulting) are more likely to consider the organization as the primary client, whereas those with a background in the helping professions such as psychology or counselling, may tend to see the individual as the primary client. Also, the findings from the aforementioned HBR study provide another very interesting observation: although 97% of the coaches reported that they are not frequently hired by companies to address personal issues (only the remaining 3% said that they do), yet when asked if they have ever assisted executives with personal issues 76% of the coaches said that they have and only the remaining 24% did not. With regard to the individual objectives and outcomes of the EC intervention, the EC literature includes several studies which explore what these are. Based on an empirical study of the ‘critical moments’ that an EC client experiences, De Haan et al. (2010: 619) observed that what clients primarily (hope to) find through EC is some kind of personal realization, such as new perspectives on their issues, new self-understanding, or understanding of others. Similarly, according to a survey about the view of HR professionals regarding EC, Dagley (2006) found that the most widely supported individual benefits drawn from EC are a ‘clearer understanding of ones own style, automatic responses, and the issues arising from these’, followed by communication and engagement skills, ability to cope with stress, and a clearer understanding of both personal professional performance and of organizational issues and how to resolve or overcome them. Several other studies also highlight the positive changes that are obtained through EC at an individual level, and all suggest that EC brings primarily improvement to the executive’s behavioural skills within the context of organizational practice. For instance, McGovern et al.’s (2001: 4) empirical study which involved interviews with 100 executives who have received EC showed that the content of EC typically focuses on the following areas: enhancing interpersonal skills 35%, enhancing management skills 18%, enhancing business agility and technical or functional credibility 15%, enhancing leadership skills 14%, and fostering personal growth 12%. Similarly, in another empirical study, Wasylyshyn (2003: 99–100) found that
What Is Coaching and Executive Coaching? 25
the changes facilitated by EC in order of frequency were: personal behaviour change (56%), enhancing leader effectiveness (43%), and fostering stronger relationships (40%). According to Perkins (2009), one of the areas where an EC intervention can help is in improving executives’ leader behaviour in meetings, allowing them to conduct more effective business meetings. A further observation of the benefits of EC at the individual level is that it acts as a place for discussing feelings and thoughts that executives may have regarding what may be happening to the organization, which, they cannot share otherwise because of the potentially detrimental consequences to their role (Filipczak, 1998: 32). In terms of the organizational benefits drawn from EC, in Dagley’s (2006) survey of HR professionals the top two reported benefits were: development of the talent pool and organizational capability and talent retention and morale. A different set of organizational objectives were identified in the empirical study conducted by Parker-Wilkins (2006), which indicated that 60% of the study participants reported the following potential areas of impact expected from EC: increased productivity, increased diversity, retention of leadership talent, increased team member satisfaction, accelerated senior leader promotions, increased client satisfaction, improved teamwork, and increased quality of consulting services. Similar areas of EC impact were also mentioned by Natale and Diamante (2005: 363), who presented a long list of benefits that EC can bring (which, as they note, remain still ‘grand statements’ and are not yet empirically backed up).
EC as a Remedy or as a Developmental Tool: Competencies and Performance Improvement Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson (2001: 208) identified two reasons executives choose to participate in EC (either by personal initiative or demanded by the organization): EC can be a remedial service to help executives with problematic behaviour but it now generally used primarily for developmental purposes. The views in the literature has varied in regard to which of the two is the most frequent reason. Although an executive’s career derailment is often noted as a reason that makes companies or individual executives decide on a coaching intervention (see Webb, 2006), a 2002 online survey (Starcevich, 2002) regarding the status of coaching revealed instead that the single most important reason for adopting EC was to promote development and growth rather than the correction of performance problems (Wise and Voss, 2002: 3). Peterson (2009: 94) observes that this is due to a change that has taken place over time: twenty years ago coaching focused on helping talented but dysfunctional executives who were likely to be fired if they did not change, whereas now EC is seen as a possible solution to ensure top performance by an organization’s most talented individuals. Similarly, Charan (2009: 93) notes that ‘as coaching
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has become more common, any stigma attached to receiving it at the individual level has disappeared’ and ‘now, it is often considered a badge of honor’. With regard to more specific positive changes that are achieved through EC, Kilburg (1996: 140) lists in more detail the following typical goals of EC: (a) ‘Increase the range, flexibility, and effectiveness of the client’s behavioural repertoire’, (b) ‘Increase the client’s capacity to manage an organization’, (c) ‘Improve client’s psychological and social competencies’, (d) ‘Increase the client’s ability to manage self and others in conditions of environmental and organizational turbulence, crisis, and conflict’, (e) ‘Improve the client’s ability to manage his or her career and to advance professionally’, (f) ‘Improve the client’s ability to manage the tensions between organizational, family, community, industry, and personal needs and demands’, and (g) ‘Improve the effectiveness of the organization or team’.
Resilience/Flexibility and Self-improvement Giglio et al. (1998) were among the first authors to highlight the role of coaching in developing resilience, suggesting that those organizations and individuals that are resilient are able to endure in the long term and adjust to changes. The resilient executive is able to ‘keep the system in equilibrium’ by managing and balancing contrasting external and internal demands and adjusting elements accordingly (Giglio et al., 1998). Although initially coaching was seen as a means to help dysfunctional executives, Giglio et al. (1998) urged that in order to maintain system equilibrium and resiliency within the organizational environment, all executives, not only the dysfunctional ones, should be coached periodically so as to keep themselves focused and direct their vision and plans accordingly. Interestingly, Gregory et al. (2008: 52) note that coaching is often initiated in response to some critical event and developing resilience helps executives to be more effective in confronting critical events that may arise in the future. Resilience is confirmed as a key EC objective also in a coaching survey conducted by Judge and Cowell (1997: 74–5), which showed that, as part of the EC process, the most common requests by clients to their coaches are (in order of preference): (1) help in ‘modifying interaction style’, (2) ‘dealing effectively with change’, (3) ‘building trust in relationships’ (italics in original). More than ten years after that study, a randomized controlled study by Grant et al. (2009) of executives and managers who received EC also found that the coaching programme was effective in enhancing participants’ self-confidence and resilience. Grant et al. (2009: 404) attributed this finding to the fact that as individuals work towards their goals, barriers and challenges need to be overcome such as ‘negative self-talk, self-defeating behaviours or simply staying focused on one’s goal over time’. By overcoming such barriers an individual’s resilience and self-confidence are expected to improve.
What Is Coaching and Executive Coaching? 27
Working in Cross-cultural Environment Culture has recently emerged in the EC literature as an aspect that needs to be actively considered in the EC process. Drawing on Carl Jung’s notion of the collective unconscious, Armstrong (2007) suggests that EC is not simply about peak performance, behavioural changes and improved results—but it is also a cultural phenomenon, in that it may be expressing the collective psyche of organizations. EC is a ‘humanising activity’ that within organizational life ‘provides a much needed centre in a decentred world, an intimate and warm place among what is often cold and fragmented’ (Armstrong, 2007: 37). This appears to be particularly true if one considers that increasingly executives need to work with and manage multicultural teams. Therefore, it has been suggested (Abbott et al., 2006; Handin and Steinwedel, 2006; Abbott and Rosinski, 2007; Lowman, 2007; Peterson, 2007) that EC can be particularly useful to leaders working with colleagues from other cultures or leading multicultural teams. Coaching can help in the area of perception and interpretation of different cultures and the required behavioural adaptation. This is because EC potentially allows executives to transform lifelong conditioning and personal assumptions into new beliefs and behaviours essential for cross-cultural collaboration and leadership (Handin and Steinwedel, 2006). Recently, several coaching models have emerged with strong cultural considerations. For instance, Abbott and Rosinski (2007: 59) proposed the emerging practice of global coaching, which has a strong cultural perspective and is conceptualized as a form of pragmatic humanism, which involves approaches that assist the coachee to create solutions that work in one’s unique context, but are also consistent with broader responsibilities of citizenship. Handin and Steinwedel (2006: 21) proposed a model of cross-cultural coaching that is centred around three core leadership behaviours key to successful cross-cultural working: curiosity (i.e., ‘staying curious and skillfully asking questions that will build greater understanding and co-create relationships’), cultivation (i.e., ‘caring for and staying with the effort in an intentional way over time’), and collaboration (i.e., ‘integrating the ideas and approaches of others; inquiring, disclosing, and advocating; weaving together an optimal outcome’), supported by the two ‘foundational’ skills of communication and reflection. Although it is widely agreed that EC can significantly help executives working in multicultural contexts, there is a key prerequisite to this: what role one’s cultural assumptions play in the process. For instance, Peterson (2007) examined EC in a cross-cultural context from the perspective of the coach and noted that assumptions about culture can positively or negatively influence a coach’s approach and consequently determine whether the EC intervention has been successful or not. Overall, it appears from the literature review that the purpose of EC has changed over time: although EC was originally introduced as a way to help
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‘dysfunctional’ executives, it gradually developed into an essential part of executives’ development. Consequently, the ‘target group’ of EC was broadened to include any type of promising executives, not only those with problematic behaviour and/or poor performance.
A Direct (or Indirect) Effect of an EC Intervention: Enhancing the Executive’s Emotional Intelligence One of the key objectives of the EC intervention is to improve the executive’s emotional intelligence (EI). The concept of emotional intelligence was first introduced by Salovey and Mayer (1990) and further developed by Goleman (1996, 1998, 2001, 2006) who turned EI into a popular term (see also Goleman et al., 2002). Salovey and Mayer (1990: 185) described EI as ‘a set of skills hypothesized to contribute to the accurate appraisal and expression of emotion in oneself and in others, the effective regulation of emotion in emotion in self and others, and the use of feelings to motivate, plan, and achieve in one’s life’. Mayer et al. (2000: 92–3) suggested that EI has three meanings: (a) to designate a zeitgeist or cultural trend, (b) to designate a group of personality traits that are important for someone to succeed in life (e.g., persistence, drive for achievement and social skills) and (c) to designate a set of abilities that have to do with the processing of emotional information. The application of EI within the workplace context appears to have most relevance to the latter two meanings. The value of EI and its relevance to EC are now briefly discussed. What is the value of EI? The logic behind the application of EI theory in the workplace is that EI counts more than IQ or expertise for determining who excels at any job and for outstanding leadership ‘it counts for almost everything’ and ‘companies that leverage this advantage add measurably to their bottom line’ (Goleman, 2006: 13). To prove this, Goleman (1998) refers to studies that provide empirical evidence of this argument. In one study, it was found that about two-thirds of the abilities that set apart star performers from the rest are based on EI, whereas only one-third of the skills that matter are related to raw intelligence and technical expertise (see ibid.: 20). In another study of senior executives from fifty-two global organizations, it was found that about 10% of the skills that distinguish these individuals are purely intellectual in nature (Goleman, 1998: 20). What are the key EI traits? EI skills can be taught, providing a better chance to use the intellectual potential one is born with. EI appears to relate to sentiment, character, and moral instincts with growing evidence suggesting that a person’s fundamental ethical stances in life stem from underlying emotional capabilities (Goleman, 1996: xii). According to Goleman (1998: 20–4) there are five dimensions of EI, each describing a basic human ability, which serve as the foundation for specific capabilities
What Is Coaching and Executive Coaching? 29
of leadership. These are: self-awareness, managing emotions, motivating others, showing empathy, and staying connected. In a subsequent work Goleman (2006: 13) associated EI with a set of twelve specific job capabilities which are based on self-mastery (including initiative, trustworthiness, self-confidence, and achievement-drive) and contribute to top performance, as well as thirteen key relationship skills (including empathy and political awareness, leveraging diversity, team capabilities, and leadership) which allow to ‘navigate the currents of an organization effortlessly while others founder’. How does it work? Some application of EI in EC. The application of the EI theory within the organizational environment has been discussed in several studies (e.g., see Goleman, 1998, 2001, 2006; Grant, 2007; Passmore, 2007b; McKee et al., 2008). Through competencies relating to EI individuals are able to improve their performance, since EI is ‘the ability to recognize and understand emotions and the skill to use this awareness to manage self and the relationships with others’ (Blattner and Bacigalupo, 2007: 210). Goleman (1998: 25) proposes that organizations can change an emotionally deficient individual by following with determination a set of steps. The first entails the use of 360-degree assessment of the individual’s emotional capacity. Provided that an individual has a negative behaviour, Goleman (1998: 25–6) proposes several coaching steps which can help: address the problem in private, speak with sensitivity avoiding to make the individual defensive and present convincing evidence of the problem (e.g., feedback from others, specific incidence and their outcome). Then it is advised to present a positive scenario in which the individual’s actions can change for the better and finally, provide the individual with a programme for doing so. McKee et al. (2008) also proposes a step-by-step process to help executives develop their emotional intelligence. Specifically, McKee et al. (2008) propose how to understand what it takes to be a resonant leader; how to build one’s capacity of mindfulness of what happens to themselves and their environment and understand to what direction one is heading; how to develop the ‘ideal self’; to understand one’s ‘real self’ and what needs to be changed to reach one’s goals; craft a plan for ‘intentional change’ so as to focus one’s time and energy in the direction that will allow them to realize their dreams; understand what is required to create resonance in a group (i.e., creating shared vision and engaging people to collective action); and finally, understand how this effort contributes to becoming a resonant leader with a ‘meaningful future’ (see McKee et al., 2008 ibid.: xii–xiv). Passmore (2007b) used EI as part of his proposed integrated model of EC. Drawing on several evidence-based approaches Passmore proposes ‘integrative coaching’, which involves working at multiple levels with coaches (behavioural, cognitive, and unconscious) and combines them into ‘streams’ across
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which the coach works ‘seamlessly’ (ibid.: 68). The building of a coaching partnership and the use of EI are central to Passmore’s integrative coaching model (for a detailed description of the model, see Passmore, 2007b: 69–70). Last but not least, interestingly a recent study showed that the application of EI theory is also enhancing the coaches’ skills (not just the coachee’s) (see Grant, 2007). Measuring EI. Overall, in the literature there have been several efforts to develop EI assessment tools. Some have been able to provide objective measurement of EI (as opposed to self-report). Indicatively, Mayer et al. (2003) proposed one such assessement tool, which they called the Mayer–Salovey– Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) and have tested and found to be of ‘reasonable’ reliability. MSCEIT was developed with the intention to measure four branches, or skill groups, of EI: (a) perceiving emotion accurately, (b) using emotion to facilitate thought, (c) understanding emotion, and (d) managing emotion (Mayer et al., 2003: 97). The use of such EI measurements could also have an important role to play in EC studies. EI assessment tools can serve as helpful tools in understanding the impact of EC on an individual. However, despite all the theorizing about the role of EI in leadership development, there have been very few empirical studies that have looked at the development of EI through coaching or training interventions (e.g., see Weller and Weller, 2004; Blattner, 2005; Wasylyshyn et al., 2006; Blattner and Bacigalupo, 2007; Koonce, 2010). Surprisingly the empirical coaching research is still very thin in this area.
1.6 Executive Coaches: Background, Key Characteristics, and Traits Several studies have sought to explore what coaching and EC in particular entail, what is the ‘profile’ of professional coaches (e.g., see the empirical studies by Grant and Zackon, 2004; Liljenstrand and Nebeker, 2008). A number of studies have also discussed what background and skills a coach should have to be competent for the role of executive coach (e.g., see Fontaine and Schmidt’s (2009) discussion on industrial–organizational (I–O) consultants/ psychologists’ transitioning to EC roles]. Some key observations from the literature are summarized here.
The Role of the Coach’s Background Overall, it is difficult to reach any definitive conclusion about the role of the coach’s background in an EC intervention, since there are so many parameters that define the quality and success of the engagement. Undoubtedly, the field
What Is Coaching and Executive Coaching? 31
is characterized by the strong diversity of its professionals. Grant and Zackon (2004) surveyed (online) 2,529 coaches (who conduct executive, workplace, and life coaching) and are ICF (International Coach Federation) members. They observed that 57.3% of them hold some coaching credential, but only 19% an ICF credential. Also, before becoming coaches, many respondents had other careers such as consultants (40.8%), executives (30.2%), managers (30.8%), teachers (15.7%), and salespeople (13.8%). Some 18.8% of respondents had backgrounds in social work (4.1%), psychology (4.8%), or counselling (12.7%). It has been suggested that the type of background that a coach has really differentiates the type of coaching provided. Liljenstrand and Nebeker (2008) found that there are differences in the way coaches coach, which vary according to their academic background. Specifically, an interesting observation was made: coaches with a background in psychology tend to be hired by organizations, use the title of Executive Coach or Consultant, tend to rely more on their academic training when they coach, attend coaching specific seminars or workshops less frequently, and appear to be less interested in coaching-specific certifications or licensure. On the other hand, those trained in business or education or within a number of different fields (e.g., life sciences, engineering and law) tend to be hired by individual coachees and they tend to offer predominantly personal coaching. While it would be valuable to obtain a better understanding of the role that a coach’s background plays on the outcome and quality of the coaching intervention, this cannot be easily assessed. The problem with any such research that aims at sketching the profile of the EC professional is that it can be quite idiosyncratic because in many studies the sample sizes are often small or skewed and frequently no definitive conclusions or generalizations can be drawn.
Coach Selection Criteria on the Basis of Education, Credentials, and Traits According to Stern (2004: 156) the professional executive coach should combine: essential knowledge and expertise in psychology and in business as well as other targeted knowledge and expertise important for the coaching intervention (ranging from conflict mediation and development of values, vision, and mission to team development to stress management). Similarly, as part of their proposed EC competency model, Ennis et al. (2008b: 74–9) identified four core competencies of the executive coach (psychological knowledge, business acumen, organizational knowledge, coaching knowledge) and the following attributes and abilities (mature self-confidence, positive energy, assertiveness, interpersonal sensitivity, openness and flexibility, goal orientation, partnering and influence, continuous learning and development, and
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lastly, integrity) (see Ennis et al., 2008a: 36; for more details see also Ennis et al., 2008b: 87–95). Broadly, the above observations have been empirically confirmed. An empirical study by Wasylyshyn (2003), which included a survey of eighty-seven executives who had participated in EC, showed that the top three credential and experience criteria for executives in choosing coaches were: (a) graduate training in psychology (82%), (b) experience in/understanding of business (78%), and (c) an established reputation as a coach (25%) (p. 97). With regard to coaches’ key traits that coachees see as important, Passmore’s (2010) empirical study showed that coachees seek not only particular behaviours, but also certain personal attributes in a coach. These are: ‘common sense confidentiality’, being collaborative, setting take-away tasks, balancing challenge and support, stimulating problem-solving, effective communication, staying focused, containing emotions, helping develop alternative perspectives, using a variety of focusing tools and techniques and using the self as a tool. Lastly, another recent empirical study showed that the qualities most appreciated in a coach are: listening, understanding and encouragement, followed by knowledge and then empathy, authenticity, and involvement (de Haan et al., 2010).
What Makes an Exceptional Coach? Kombarakaran et al. (2008: 79) describe effective coaches as those who ‘understand contemporary organizational issues, human motivation, and the impact of emotions and interpersonal style on executive leadership’. It has also been suggested that asking the right questions is one of the most critical skills in conducting effective EC interventions since the aim should be to encourage coachees to reflect instead of providing them with answers (e.g., see Neenan’s, 2009 discussion of the use of Socratic questions in EC interventions). This has to do more with the coach’s skills and ability to facilitate the discussion rather than what EC approach he/she takes. Empirical data seem to support this observation. Most recently, Grant (2013a) empirically found how important reflexivity is in developing leadership skills via EC. In an attempt to identify what makes an exceptional coach, Dagley (2010) conducted an empirical study, which involved structured interviews with twenty HR professionals who are EC services purchasers for their organization. The author identified the following exceptional coaching capabilities: credibility, empathy and respect, holding the professional self, diagnostic skill and insight, approach flexibility and range, working to the business context, a philosophy of personal responsibility and skillful challenging (Dagley, 2010: 63). Another survey of executives who had participated in EC showed that the top three personal characteristics of an effective executive coach were: the ability to form a strong ‘connection’ with the executive (86%), professionalism (82%),
What Is Coaching and Executive Coaching? 33
and use of a clear and sound coaching methodology (35%) (see Wasylyshyn, 2003: 98). Peterson (2011: 83–4) seems to have a somewhat different view on this, suggesting that exceptional coaching relates more to the coachee and the outcome rather than the coach himself/herself. Specifically, Peterson (2011: 83–4) notes that there is a distinct difference between what makes a ‘good’ coach and what makes a ‘great’ coach and while it is relatively easy to be the former, it is relatively difficult to be the latter. He provides as an example a question that he usually asks to the participants of his coaching workshops (usually these are managers, HR professionals, and coaches). Specifically, he asks them to list the characteristics of each category of coaches (good versus great) and always finds that in the former category participants tend to list the traits and activities of the coach whereas in the latter category (i.e., great coach) participants tend to focus on the person being coached and the achieved outcomes (ibid.: 83). Peterson (2011: 84–5) distinguishes between good and great coaching in the following way: ‘good’ coach is the coach who has successfully completed at least thirty coaching engagements, whereas ‘great’ coach is the coach who demonstrates mastery and deep expertise, much more than ten years of coaching experiences and the coaching of hundreds of clients, including the successful management of difficult cases. Drawing on Dreyfus and Dreyfus’ (1986) five-stage model (which consists of: novices, advanced beginners, competent performers, proficient performers, and experts), Peterson (2011: 85) places the good coach at level 3/competent performer and the great coach at level 5/expert. It is complicated to really decide on what makes an exceptional coach, since the success of a coaching engagement may also depend on parameters beyond the control of the coach. Peterson (2011: 84) regards ‘an understanding of how people learn and develop’ as the most important quality for an exceptional coach.
The Role of Gender in Coach Selection One of the themes examined in the literature is EC and gender. In an empirical study about coachees’ reflection and justification of the choice of coach in terms of gender, Gray and Goregaokar (2010) found that although a minority of male respondents displayed sexist attitudes in their comments on the selection process, subsequent quantitative data analysis revealed no statistical significance in gender choices (i.e., no bias towards the choice of either female or male coaches). This is despite the fact that their earlier qualitative data analysis showed that female coachees tended to prefer female coaches, partly as a role model of business success, whereas male coachees tended to justify the selection of a female coach as more approachable for the discussion of sensitive, personal issues.
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The Role of Context In any effort to map the key characteristics of successful executive coaches, a key parameter that needs to be taken into account is the role of the context within which EC takes place. Context considerations are important in every step of the coaching process: from the drafting of the behavioural contract agreement for a coaching intervention to the EC intervention itself. Empirical evidence confirms the importance of context specific coaching. An empirical study of coaching high achievers in business (executives) and sports showed that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to coaching may be inappropriate and a number of factors need to be taken into account when coaching high achievers (see Jones and Spooner, 2006). The context of the EC intervention can be perceived in very different ways. One is to identify what need must be addressed and then apply the most suitable coaching approach. For instance, based on the client’s need, Witherspoon and White (1996: 126–32) suggested that the roles of executive coaches can be distinguished to the following four types: coaching for skills, coaching for performance, coaching for development, and coaching for the executive’s agenda. Within each of these types of roles, a specific set of coaching skills and knowledge are required and specific coaching activities should be undertaken (for a description of what is required per each of these four coaching roles see Gray, 2006: 478–9). Moreover, context may be defined as the particular point in time during the coaching intervention when a certain coaching tactic may be more appropriate or not. For example, Lewis-Duarte and Bligh (2012) recently drew on Yukl’s (2002) study of distinct proactive influence tactics in the leader–follower relationship to conduct a survey of 110 coaches that explored how executive coaches use proactive influence tactics to create behavioural change in their clients. Lewis-Duarte and Bligh (2012) found that in executive coaching, influence tactics—including coalition, consultation, inspirational appeals, and rational persuasion—were more frequently associated with client commitment. They also found that consultation was more frequently utilized during initial influence attempts whereas pressure was more frequently utilized during follow-up attempts (Lewis-Duarte and Bligh, 2012). Furthermore, according to that study, coaches report using different tactics depending on the desired outcome of the influence attempt. Specifically, it was observed that coalition and pressure were utilized in order to change behaviour whereas consultation and rational persuasion were used to both change behaviour and assign work (ibid.). Context may also relate to the complexity of the situation in which a coach is invited to intervene (e.g., are there enough resources to ensure the continuation and completion of the EC intervention? Are the coachee’s seniors supportive enough?). For example, even if a customized approach is taken by a highly experienced coach, the role of context might be so pervasive that the
What Is Coaching and Executive Coaching? 35
outcome of the intervention may be doomed. Peterson (2011: 86) discussed the role of the context in making a coaching intervention successful, since this is when the coach’s expertise can really make a difference. As the author notes, when situations are simple and straightforward (e.g., the coachee is motivated, the environment is supportive and his/her developmental needs are also straightforward), the demands from the coach are rather small (in terms of expertise) (ibid.: 86). However, when more complex situations need to be handled (such as balancing the demands of multiple stakeholders, organizational politics or a very challenging business environment) or more urgent situations (e.g., limited time provided to the coachee to develop) or more unfavourable (such as hostile and competitive environment), it is rather likely that even a highly experienced coach would fail (Peterson, 2011: 86). It is in the in-between cases where the coach’s expertise can make a difference in making a successful coaching intervention when a simply competent coach would fail. Finally, the ‘setting’ within which coaching can take place is very important and equally diverse. For example, the use of EC interventions in leadership development has been found to be particularly useful in clinical settings. Gorringe (2011: 19) proposes the use of the ‘coaching in context’ approach where of particular importance is the use of evidence-based method, with predetermined evaluation measures, monitoring and programme evaluation for the duration of the intervention. According to the ‘coaching in context’ model, each coachee is enabled and facilitated to four key intervention areas: the self, the work team, the organizational environment or culture, and the external environment (Gorringe, 2011: 20–1). Overall, the role of context on EC impact is an area that has not yet received adequate attention in the existing coaching research, although it is a theme that has a lot of potential for future development. The findings in this area could provide important new information on how to improve the quality and the outcome of coaching engagements.
1.7 Reflection and Learning A key component of any coaching effort is to encourage reflection and promote learning. Du Toit (2007) suggests that coaching is both a sensemaking activity and enhances the quality of individuals’ sensemaking process (coaching and sensemaking are ‘mutually supportive’ to one another—Du Toit, 2007: 282). Essentially, EC ‘enhances an organization’s greatest investment by helping executives learn and make the most of that learning’ (Witherspoon and White, 1996: 125). EC includes three levels of learning (Ennis et al.,
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2008a: 20): the first is about tactical problem-solving, the second, about the development of leadership capabilities and new ways of thinking and acting that can be generalizable to other situations and roles, and finally ‘learning how to learn’, which is about the often overlooked level of development of skills and habits of self-reflection that ensure ongoing learning after the EC ends. The focus of the learning may be on ‘imparting specific skills, addressing performance issues on the job, or supporting broader changes in the executive’s behavior’ (Witherspoon and White, 1996: 125). Another EC objective appears to be enabling or improving the quality of executives’ reflection. In research undertaken by the Institute of Executive Coaching, which involved survey of 111 respondents, participants were asked about the main benefits produced through EC. 92% of the respondents attributed the EC benefits to the fact that the coach asked reflective questions that had participants think differently; 87% suggested coaching was a safe place to talk about problems and issues outside the organization; 86% argued that the coach constructively challenged their ways of thinking and the assumptions they were making and last, 85% said coaching provided a sounding board for testing and expressing new ideas (see Armstrong, 2007: 31).
1.8 Key Learning • Coaching was first used within the context of business practice in the 1930s. • The field emerged in the 1980s—as a result of several socio-economic developments at that time—and had been (and still is) highly influenced by sports psychology. • EC is only a methodology for creating and sustaining purposeful positive change and the way that such a methodology is applied and the reasons for using it varies considerably. • Although ten or twenty years ago EC was seen as an intervention to address problematic behaviour, it is now recognized as a key tool for developing high-potential individuals. • There are many interventions that appear to be similar to EC—in terms of style or intended outcomes—but are not EC. • EC is a tripartiate agreement between the coach, the client (coachee), and the sponsoring organization and its intended outcomes should always link back to the sponsoring organization. • The variety of backgrounds and competencies among coaches means that there are large variations on the quality and style of coaching interventions. • Context must always be considered when drafting a behavioural contract agreement for a coaching intervention, where designing an intervention, and when the intervention happens. • Reflection and learning are at the heart of each coaching intervention.
Competing/ Complementary Theoretical Approaches
The coaching industry is driven by a multiplicity of fields and influences. According to Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson (2001: 205), the EC literature can be grouped into three bodies of literature: (a) psychological, (b) training and development, and (c) management, with an additional stream of literature focusing on executives or managers as coaches. Based on this literature review, a fourth body can be added—sports—though it is not as extensive as the other three. Bluckert (2005b: 171) notes that coaching definitions tend to be sorted into two categories: coaching that focuses on learning and development linked to performance improvement and coaching that focuses on personal growth and change. The emphasis in either category depends on the coach’s/ author’s professional background. Gray (2006: 475) observes that most of the coaching literature has been written by those with human psychology and particularly, psychotherapeutic approaches to support. Similarly, Bluckert (2005b: 173) notes that irrespective of whether coaching is defined primarily as learning or as change, coaches need to develop psychological skills and competence to be able to cope with the breadth of issues that coaching typically addresses. The multiplicity of coaches’ backgrounds means that there is little uniformity in terms of the practices that coaches employ (e.g., assessment tools, scientific or philosophical approaches, activities, goals, and outcome evaluation methods) (see Bono et al., 2009). It is often argued that these differences are particularly strong when it comes to comparison of the practices of psychologists and non-psychologists. However, in reality, it seems that the differences between these groups may not be as definitive as it is often assumed. Bono et al. (2009) conducted an empirical study and explored the differences between the practices of psychologist and non-psychologist coaches as well as the differences between the practices of coaches from various psychological disciplines (such as counselling, clinical, and industrial/organizational). The authors found that there are as many differences between psychologists of differing disciplines as between psychologist and non-psychologist coaches.
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Another field that has significantly influenced the coaching industry is philosophy. Many issues explored in EC are essentially philosophical ones (e.g., the value and meaning of work, ethical issues in the commercial world, what constitutes the ‘good life’). Several theoretical approaches to coaching, such as mindfulness coaching or the existential approach, have their roots in philosophy, too. As a result of this breadth of different influences, the literature demonstrates little consensus on what theoretical principles underpin EC (Gray, 2006: 477), although significant overlaps are observed (Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson, 2001: 210). The EC field includes a whole range of different efforts to classify the theoretical approaches to EC in categories. To give an illustration of the range of attempts, Peltier (2001) listed eight approaches used in EC, which belong to psychotherapy theories, Barner and Higgins (2007) referred to four theory models that inform coaching practice, Ennis et al. (2008a: 11) identified six theoretical frames or frames of reference used as a guide to the EC process, Ives (2008) identified nine such approaches, Stokes and Jolly (2009) referred to the four most common ones, whereas Cox et al. (2010) presented thirteen different theoretical approaches to coaching. Here we review the key competing/complementary approaches to EC that have emerged in our literature review.
2.1 Cognitive, Behavioural, and Cognitive-Behavioural Approaches Background theory. Cognitive-Behavioural Coaching (CBC) draws on the work of the cognitive behavioural theorists, researchers, and therapists Aaron Beck (1976), Albert Ellis (1971; 1972; 1994) (see also Neenan, 2008: 4), and Albert Bandura (1997) (see Abbott and Rosinski, 2007: 65). Beck (1976) contributed to the development of the cognitive therapy and Ellis (1971; 1993; 1994) to the rational emotive behaviour therapy, jointly forming Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which has its roots in the work of Stoic philosophers Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius (see Neenan, 2008: 4). The key principle behind CBT is that thoughts serve as mediators between a stimulus or event and a person’s emotions, in the sense that the interpretation of an external event determines a person’s emotional response and not the event itself (Gray, 2006: 481–2; see also Ducharme, 2004: 214; Ives, 2008: 101; Neenan, 2008: 4). The way we think about these events can increase our difficulties in dealing with them (Neenan, 2008: 4) and CBT helps clients to replace cognitions that are maladaptive and inaccurate (Ives, 2008: 101). Under CBT, coachees are guided to identify and dispute the negative thoughts
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or beliefs they have about themselves (this includes learning new skills, monitoring one’s personal train of thoughts, identifying beliefs, and subjecting them to reason) (Gray, 2006: 482). Also, the behavioural approach in coaching gives emphasis on the facilitation of practical change through personal development and learning, rather than seeing the coaching relationship as therapeutic (Ives, 2008: 101). Cognitive and behavioural change is said to lead to emotional change. However, although the role of emotions is not totally ignored by CBT, it is not deeply explored either since under the CBT logic, too much dwelling on emotions may lead to strengthening them and their underpinning beliefs (Neenan, 2008: 4). Applying CBT to EC. Cognitive coaching is considered to be the oldest approach, first introduced in coaching by a tennis coach, Timothy Gallwey, who famously argued that ‘an opponent is as much a manifestation in the head of the player as a person on the other side of the net’ (Berg and Karlsen, 2007: 5). Cognitive behavioural coaching has been defined as ‘an integrative approach which combines the use of cognitive, behavioural, imaginal and problem solving techniques and strategies within a cognitive behavioural framework to enable coachees to achieve their realistic goals’ (Palmer and Szymanska, 2007: 86—quoted in Williams et al., 2010: 37). This coaching approach is time-limited and goal-directed, in that it ‘does not aim to provide coaches with definite answers to problems but uses guided discovery to help individuals to find their own answers or solutions’ (Palmer and Gyllensten, 2008: 41). For this reason it has been suggested that Socratic questioning is its cornerstone, since it allows raising awareness, promote reflection, and improve problem-solving thinking (Neenan, 2009: 249). CBT has a twin track of psychological and practical approaches to goal achievement (Neenan and Dryden, 2002; Neenan, 2008: 6). The psychological track refers to removing any obstacles to change such as procrastination, excessive self-doubt, indecisiveness, and self-depreciation, while the practical track helps clients in developing an orderly sequence of goal-directed action steps (Neenan, 2008: 6). The purpose of CBT is to help clients to ‘identify, examine and change such thoughts and beliefs, develop productive behaviours and become more skilled at emotional management’, focusing on the client’s current concerns with the ultimate goal to make the client a coach of himself/herself so as to be able to tackle both present and future challenges (Neenan, 2008: 3). A central tenet of the CBT approach is the development of a ‘collaborative relationship’ between the coach and the coachee, placing particular emphasis on empathy, which helps adapting to the specific coachee through an explicit process of negotiation and renegotiation, in order to build, establish, and maintain an optimal coaching alliance (O’Broin and Palmer, 2009).
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An EC intervention that adopts a cognitive behavioural approach would include as a first step a detailed psychological study of the individual (e.g., interviewing, including a full personal history, personality and ability tests), which may be shared, upon the permission of the executive, with his/her manager in order to find better ways to help the individual. This feedback is interpreted and discussed with the executive, combined with follow-up meetings with the respondents, the executive, or both of them. The process then continues with repeated one-on-one meetings with the executive on an ongoing basis (see Tobias, 1996: 90). Several tools and techniques can be used in CBT, such as teaching the cognitive model, inherence chaining, common cognitive distortions, experiments, self-acceptance, task assignment record, and three key insights (for more details see Neenan, 2008: 8–13). A model in which the cognitive behavioural approach is being operationalized is the ABCDE model, which is a framework used to understand and deal with psychological blocks in coaching with a view to removing them (for a description see Neenan, 2008: 6–7). The ABCDE model of individual change is drawn from the work of Ellis (1993), Ellis and MacLaren (1998), Neenan and Dryden (2000), Dryden and Neenan (2004), and its acronym refers to the following steps that can be used in EC: A (Activating event), B (Belief), C (emotional and behavioural Consequences), D (challenging and Disputing unreasonable beliefs), and E (result in Effective outlook) (see Sherin and Caiger, 2004: 227–8; Neenan, 2008: 6–7). Evidence of impact. Although there is very limited research that examines the value of the cognitive behavioural approach in EC (e.g., Grant 2002; Libri and Kemp, 2006), the empirical evidence suggests that the benefits from such an approach are important. A case study by Libri and Kemp (2006) showed that the cognitive behavioural EC programme enhanced the participant’s performance. Also, Grant’s empirical study (2002—cited in Libri and Kemp, 2006), using a sample of accounting students to compare the effects of a cognitive only approach (CT), with a behavioural only approach (BT), with a cognitive behavioural approach (CBT), showed that the cognitive behavioural coaching was the most powerful approach in enhancing performance and goal attainment, self-regulation, self-concept, and general mental health. Moreover, the cognitive behavioural coaching programme appeared to maintain and elevate performance increases at post-coaching and follow-up measures. Suitability of CBC to EC. Ducharme (2004) examined the appropriateness of using the cognitive-behavioural approach in EC and concluded that it can be highly effective for stress management and skill development purposes. The author argues that cognitive-behavioural coaching is an ‘intuitive approach’, which executives are likely to prefer because of its transparency and simplicity and its ability to offer superior efficacy in managing high levels of stress (Ducharme, 2004: 221). However, CBT is not suitable
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for individuals who find it difficult to be introspective (Neenan, 2008: 7–8). A further weakness of CBT is its simplicity (high-functioning executives may find CBT to be unsophisticated) and its ‘microfocus’, which does not allow for a holistic view of the individual or its embedding in the organizational system (Ducharme, 2004: 221). Berg and Karlsen (2007: 5) further note that although this approach is easily understood, one of its weaknesses is that it may lead to self-deception, since it provides too much emphasis on one’s own thoughts—underestimating the need for change—and this can result in loss of control. The following subsections include several approaches within the cognitive-behavioural approach that are being used in EC interventions.
2.1.1 RATIONAL EMOTIVE BEHAVIOUR THERAPY Background theory. Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) is part of the cognitive behavioural approach and has been developed by Ellis (1971; 1972; 1993; 1994). The idea behind Ellis’ theory, which draws on Stoic and Adlerian philosophy, is that personality is defined based on how people interpret and respond to their environment. Their behavioural and emotional reactions are determined by their interpretation of events and not by the events per se and these interpretations are based on the individual’s beliefs (i.e., behaviour is the result of the individual’s belief system) (Sherin and Caiger, 2004: 226–7). Ellis (1993) made specific reference to the ‘irrational’ elements of this belief system and argued that by preventing people from indulging in irrational thoughts and beliefs, they would improve their ability to direct their energy towards self-actualization (‘the rational drive’), which can be achieved through reason (for more information see Sherin and Caiger, 2004: 227). Applying REBT to EC. Ellis (1972) expressed the view that REBT is a promising method that executives can use to improve their efficiency (Sherin and Caiger, 2004: 226). Kirby (1993) was among the first scholars to suggest that the rational-emotive therapy (RET) model could have an application in management and executive development. More recently Anderson (2002) and Sherin and Caiger (2004) drew the attention of the coaching industry to rational-emotive behaviour therapy (REBT) proposing it as a behavioural change model within the context of EC. The rational emotive behavioural coaching has been adapted to EC in order to enhance performance and reduce stress (Palmer and Gyllensten, 2008: 41). The focus of rational emotive behavioural coaching is to address and modify four key types of irrational or unhelpful types of belief: (a) rigid, absolutist,, and illogical demands, (b) ‘awfulising’ (i.e., ‘when events are defined as worse than bad’), (c) low-frustration tolerance (i.e., the belief that he/she cannot tolerate discomfort or frustration), and (d) depreciation of one’s self, of
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others, or life at large (which incorporates global negative ratings such as ‘I am useless’) (Palmer and Gyllensten, 2008: 41–2). When applying REBT to EC, the notion of ‘irrational beliefs’ is translated in less negative language (e.g., instead of ‘irrational’, they are labelled as ‘unreasonable’ or ‘unrealistic’ expectations that executives may hold for themselves or others). Within the REBT EC the explicit and implicit belief system of the executive becomes the subject of change and the role of the coach is to help the client identify unreasonable expectations that impact negatively on performance and to try to change them (see Sherin and Caiger, 2004: 227). Where CBT is suitable (and where it is not). According to Anderson (2002: 223), due to ‘its blend of easy understandability and direct applicability to client problems’, REBT is ‘an ideal tool for use in executive coaching’. Sherin and Caiger (2004: 229–30) also mention several other benefits that REBT offers to EC, such as: its value in addressing dysfunctional behaviour/ executive derailment that has led to ineffective performance, the fact that REBT is appropriate as a short-term intervention in discrete issues, it has a similar format to other training programmes, and is suitable to one-on-one interventions. In terms of weakness, the authors mention that REBT is based more on anecdotal rather than empirical evidence to support its success and suffers from poor psychometrics (Sherin and Caiger, 2004: 230).
2.1.2 MULTIMODAL APPROACH Background theory. This is another approach that belongs to the cognitive behavioural theory. It draws on the multimodal therapy model of Lazarus (1976; 1985; 1989; 1997). Richard (1999: 24) was the first to propose this as an integrative and holistic approach to EC. The multimodal approach views personality as having seven dimensions (behaviour, affect, sensation, imagery, cognition, interpersonal relationships, and drug/biology modality—they form the acronym: BASIC ID) and by addressing all seven of them, the coach can facilitate the executive’s performance (see Richard, 1999: 24; Palmer and Gyllensten, 2008: 42). Applying the multimodal approach to EC. According to Richard (1999: 24–5), when applying the multimodal approach, during the initial assessment session and the subsequent meetings, the coach asks the coachee a set of seven questions which respond to each of the above seven BASIC ID dimensions—for example, with regard to Behaviour, the respective question would be ‘What behaviours need to increase or decrease?’ After the initial assessment, the coach can plan strategically the didactic interventions within each of the seven modalities in order to help resolve any problems. The multimodal model allows the use of a variety of techniques which are being
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used in EC, such as education, training, reading assignments, role modelling, simulations, brainstorming, and journalling (Richard, 1999: 25). 360-degree feedback (i.e., an assessment process that involves soliciting feedback regarding the coachee from one’s immediate work circle—subordinates, peers, and superiors/supervisors—and often also involving self-evaluation) is also used in combination with the multimodal approach. Moreover, instruments such as the 16 Personality Factor and Myers-Briggs inventories in multimodal therapy allow the coach to focus the coaching intervention more on specific and possibly problematic issues and help to identify conflicts between the coachee’s personal traits and job demands (Richard, 1999: 26).
2.1.3 MINDFULNESS COACHING Background Theory. Mindfulness training has been embraced by the so called ‘third wave’ in cognitive behavioural psychotherapy and is derived from Eastern traditions (i.e., Yoga, Tibetan and Zen Buddhism, and Taoism) (Collard and Walsh, 2008: 31). The purpose of mindfulness training is to reduce human suffering caused by distorted beliefs and, similar to CBT and REBT, the mindfulness meditation includes thoughts, feelings, perception, sensory awareness, intention, and behaviour (Collard and Walsh, 2008: 33). Applying Mindfulness Coaching to EC. Mindfulness training focuses on a set of beliefs and behaviours that will help a coachee to improve his/her practice. These are: non-judging attitude and acceptance, patience, trust, non-striving/ letting go, and enlightened self-interest (for more detail see Collard and Walsh, 2008: 33). Examples of exercises as part of the mindfulness training are sound meditation, power of breathing, and body scan (which involves lying on your back or sitting on a chair and moving your mind through the different regions of your body) (Collard and Walsh, 2008: 34–5). Collard and Walsh (2008) also propose Sensory Awareness Mindfulness Training (SAMT) as a set of skills that can help coachees achieve better life/work equilibrium by balancing cognitive and emotional brain activities. It involves the integration of cognitive information (rationality) and the heart (mindfulness). SAMT entails regular connection with one’s senses and non-judgemental focus on the ‘here and now’ experience of life. Finally, mindfulness training may be important not only for coachees, but also for the training of coaches themselves. Bluckert (2005b: 173) notes that coaches need to develop psychological skills and competence to be able to cope with the breadth of issues coaching typically requires. The author proposes psychological-mindedness (a term borrowed from psychotherapy and appearing in the work of Lee (2003) on leadership coaching) as ‘the critical foundation for working psychologically as a coach’ (ibid.).
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Psychological-mindedness is also a term used in describing the ‘higher level’ competency categories of EC and refers to ‘a person’s capacity to reflect on themselves, others, and the relationship between’ and the ability ‘to see the past in the present and make links between current issues and what has happened previously’ (Bluckert, 2005b: 173). Evidence of impact. Very few studies have empirically tested the outcome of mindfulness interventions. For instance, Spence et al. (2008) conducted one of the few studies that empirically examined the impact of mindfulness training in health coaching. The authors observed the outcomes from the participation of three groups, each in one of the following three programmes accordingly: (a) mindfulness training, (b) cognitive-behavioural, solution-focused coaching, and (c) a series of health education seminars. Spence et al. (2008) found that the goal attainment for the groups that participated in mindfulness training and cognitive-behavioural, solution-focused coaching was significantly greater than for the group that attended the health education seminars. According to other research, mindfulness interventions result in significant improvements in several conditions including anxiety, depression, stress disorders, and relapse prevention (Collard and Walsh, 2008).
2.2 Psychodynamic/Psychoanalytic Approach Background theory. The psychodynamic approach has its roots in the work of Freud and Jung. It is ‘the oldest of psychotherapies’ and suggests that behaviour is the product of the interplay of conflicting internal forces and, when two forces conflict, a third and different source is produced (Gray, 2006: 480; see also Peltier, 2001: 25). Therefore, the ‘psychodynamic’ approach focuses on the role that unconscious processes have in human behaviour (Lee, 2010: 23). This approach regards the regulation of emotions (rather than instincts) as a central aspect of human behaviour: our previous relationships (particularly with parents and caregivers) define the way in which we regulate our emotions (e.g., the defence mechanisms that we develop such as repression, denial, and projection) and build up a sense of self-identity (Lee, 2010: 24). According to this theory, the ‘human psychic energy’ is expressed through three channels: first, the ‘id’ (the pleasure principle), second, the ‘ego’ which is characterized by reality orientation and pragmatism and is there to control the id but also satisfy needs and finally, the ‘superego’, which is the moral channel that aims at the ‘ideal rather than the real’ and strives for perfection (Gray, 2006: 480). Under the Freudian approach of psychotherapy, the superego subdues the impulse of the id, seeking to substitute moralistic goals for realistic ones (Gray, 2006: 480).
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The psychodynamic perspective includes two approaches (see Kilburg, 2004a: 250): The first is conflict theory, which refers to the defensive or self-protective operations that individuals develop when facing internal conflict and involves keeping material out of conscious awareness. This dysfunctionality can be more effectively addressed by making consciously available the unconscious material. The second is the object relations theory, which refers to dysfunctional patterns of caretaking in one’s childhood, which are reflected in one’s relationships with others, remain unconscious, but define one’s quality of life, successes, or failures. The treatment of this dysfunctionality would need to address at least partially these patterns of relating. Applying the psychodynamic approach to EC. Rotenberg (2000) described psychodynamic psychotherapy and EC as overlapping paradigms. Fantasy is key to the psychodynamic theory and within the workplace context this means that one may be entangled in fantasies with regard to his/her career aspirations, building an ‘idealized’ notion of who and what they are within the organizational hierarchy (the ‘ego ideal’) (Gray, 2006: 480; see also Peltier, 2001: 25). However, in practice only few realize these hopes and may experience psychic conflict or even hostile and aggressive impulses, as a result (ibid.). Freud showed that in order to protect our ego and sense of self one may use various defence mechanisms to protect oneself in the short term, but these mechanisms end up being self-defeating (Gray, 2006: 480). The psychotherapy perspective allows the coach to adopt an ethical stance, to develop an environment of commitment to confidentiality, provision of feedback, establishment of strong boundaries between personal and professional relationship, and the support and challenging of coachees (Gray, 2006: 480). The coach’s role is to expand the coachee’s capacity for emotional regulation, reducing the coachee’s need for defensive strategies (Lee, 2010: 24). The psychodynamic perspective allows approaching the executive on a more holistic basis and includes assessment of the client’s effectiveness and study of their internal motivators (i.e., beliefs, emotions, and unconscious assumptions) through the use of psychological testing (Gray, 2006: 480). The psychotherapeutic approach may also entail interviews with the client’s friends and family to understand their personal history (Gray, 2006: 480) as well as the use of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which is based upon the Jungian psychodynamic model (Gray, 2006: 480). Kilburg (2004a) provides a detailed list of nineteen coaching methods to elicit and work with psychodynamic material (ranging from seeking feedback or storytelling to reframing or reconstructions) (p. 259) as well as a list of the stages of a Behavioural or Psychodynamic Interpretation in EC (p. 263). The psychodynamic approach to EC can be found in the literature in different formats. For instance, Berg and Karlsen (2007: 5–6) refer to the psychodynamic systems approach to coaching—an approach based on Kilburg’s (2000) seventeen-dimensional model—which consists of two main parts: the
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psychodynamic (which includes defence mechanisms, conflicts, consciousness, feelings, and emotions) and the systems part (which includes processes, inputs, and outputs). A variation of this approach. We also identified during the literature review a variation of the psychodynamic perspective, which is being applied in EC. This is the cognitive-experiential self theory (CEST) (see Cerni et al., 2010), which is based on Epstein’s (1973) ‘self-theory’ and is described as a psychodynamic theory (Epstein, 1994: 716). Specifically, CEST is a global theory of personality that ‘integrates the cognitive and the psychodynamic unconscious by assuming the existence of two parallel, interacting modes of information processing: a rational system and an emotionally driven experiential system’ (Epstein, 1994: 709). The constructs employed in each system are referred to as ‘beliefs’ in the rational and as ‘implicit beliefs’ or ‘schemata’ in the experiential system (Epstein, 1994: 715). CEST is based on the assumption that a theory of reality is developed in order to make life as ‘livable’ as possible (i.e., emotionally satisfying) and the experiential system is emotionally driven (Cerni et al., 2010). Under the CEST logic, the rational and experiential systems can offer assistance to leaders: the rational system ‘assists leaders to make logical inferences and solve abstract problems’ and the experiential system due to its ‘intimate association with affect’ can be both constructive (in that it facilitates problem-solving) and destructive (in the form of superstition, categorical thinking, esoteric thinking, and naïve optimism) with regard to leadership (Cerni et al. 2010: 82). Suitability of the psychodynamic approach to EC. Several authors have discussed in theoretical papers whether there is value in using a psychodynamic approach in coaching. However, there is still a lack of substantial empirical research that proves the effectiveness of this approach. Kilburg (2004a: 249) suggested that a psychodynamic approach to EC can contribute to situations in which other, more conventional, approaches to behavioural change might have proved ineffective. He based this on the observation that events, feelings, thoughts, and patterns of behaviour outside the conscious awareness of executives can significantly affect their decision-making and action. Kilburg (2004a: 252–3) lists fifteen different situations in which psychodynamic issues and interventions are relevant considerations in EC and argues that such an approach can promote and improve ten different areas relating to the executive: (1) Self-awareness, family, group, and organizational awareness and savvy, (2) Emotional containment and management, (3) Executive performance, (4) Behavioural flexibility and creativity, (5) Human resiliency, (6) Psychosocial development, (7) Professional, personal, and social relationships, (8) Mental abilities, (9) Capacity for spiritual growth, and (10) Family, marital, and intimate relationships. According to Peltier (2001: 40), one of the contributions that the psychodynamic approach makes to EC is the fact that it comes from the world of
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psychotherapy supervision and is based on the notion that ‘dynamics that occur in coaching mirror the dynamics that the executive client experiences in the regular world of work’ and the coach’s experience with the client will reflect others’ experience when they interact with the client on a daily basis. Berg and Karlsen (2007: 6) note as a strength of the psychodynamic systems approach the fact that once the connection between cause and effect becomes apparent the solution can be reached, but, on the other hand, a weakness is that the approach seems too complex and the individual appears to be just a ‘pawn’ in the system, unable to produce change. Peltier (2001: 38) observes another weakness, too: since the psychodynamic approach is based on the premise that a person’s fantasy about their career aspirations within the workplace context collides with reality, many may feel ambivalent or resentful about using a coach and resistance is expected. Evidence of impact. There appears to be little empirical evidence of the positive impact of the psychodynamic approach to EC. Cerni et al. (2010) offers one of the very few empirical studies on the psychodynamic approach to EC. Specifically, Cerni et al. (2010) examined the impact of a ten-week coaching intervention programme using Epstein’s CEST theory on transformational leadership among fourteen secondary school principals. They found that after the coaching intervention programme the pre-test and post-test transformational leadership scores were significantly different. Moreover, the school principals in the intervention group became more reflective about their thinking processes and leadership practices, including the use of intentional choice of strategies to develop effective communication.
2.3 Transactional Analysis Approach Background theory. Transactional analysis has its origins in the 1960s and early 1970s and emerged from the best-selling books on transactional analysis (TA) of psychiatrists Eric Berne (1964; see also Berne, 1996) and Thomas Harris (1969) (see Downs, 2002: 53). TA starts with a basic assumption that each person has three ego states (parent, adult, and child) and these ego states are ‘identifiable states of being that are produced by the playback of events recorded in memory’, for example: a. The ‘parent ego state’ is based on all the memory that one has of his parents up to the age of 5–6, which is ‘unedited and unquestioned’, b. The ‘child ego state’ is the unedited and unquestioned memory of the child’s internal thoughts and feelings from the same period, and c. The ‘adult ego state’ starts in late childhood and continues throughout one’s life and represents the ‘rational decision-making ego state that
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perceives reality and processes it, much like a computer might objectively process data’ (see Downs, 2002: 54). Applying TA to EC. The implementation of TA in EC involves the use of these three ego states to understand the client’s crises and find a solution. TA is used in understanding the communication between a manager and an employee, but it can also be particularly useful in understanding the dynamics in the mind of a single executive (Downs, 2002: 55). This is because each state can operate independently and the internal dialogue between ego states defines to a large extent an executive’s behaviour, especially during a crisis (ibid.). ‘Decontamination’ is one of the techniques used in a TA approach to EC and refers to the methods that aim at helping the client to consciously realize what each of his/her ego states contains (Downs, 2002: 53). This is done by asking three questions ‘What does your Parent say about this situation?’, ‘What does your Child say about this situation?’ and ‘What does your Adult say about this situation?’ (ibid.). Suitability of a TA approach to EC. According to Downs (2002: 53) transactional analysis is the most effective among the coaching models in the case of executives in crisis. Moreover, unlike most psychological theories, TA is not disease-based, in that it does not assume that a problematic behaviour is always rooted to a psychological disability or illness and, furthermore, it easy to understand since it uses a common sense language (Downs, 2002: 54).
2.4 Existential Approach Background theory. The origins of the existential approach date as far back as Socrates’ time in Ancient Greece (Peltier, 2010: 161–3). It sees the individual as a ‘free agent, burdened with responsibility’ and was further developed by the twentieth-century movement of existential philosophy influenced by Danish philosopher Søren Aabye Kierkegaard and the German philosopher Martin Heidegger, as well as the French writers and philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Albert Camus (Berg and Karlsen, 2007: 4–5; see also Peltier, 2010: 161–3). As such this approach focuses on the meaning of life and aims at helping the individual with ‘the big questions’ (Berg and Karlsen, 2007: 5). Applying EA to EC. For a description of existential approach methods used in coaching, see Spinelli (2010). Existential coaching focuses on ‘the life dilemmas that arise as a consequence of changes and circumstances in a broadly organizational context and which impact upon personal and interpersonal relations both within that context and beyond it’ (Spinelli,
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2010: 94). The key task of the coach is to help clients more adequately contextualize their presenting concerns within their worldview (i.e., the beliefs, values, attitudes, assumptions, affects, and behaviours that define their ‘way of being’). When the existential approach is implemented in EC, the coach must first consider what existentialism is and what it recommends, and then choose a number of views or principles and apply them within the workplace (Peltier, 2010: 161). The existential approach acknowledges that each individual has a unique view, which defines how he/she interprets the world and this means that the coach should recognize his/her own biased view, which may impact on the coaching process (DeLuca, 2008: 28–9). Peltier (2010: 169–72) suggested ten existential guidelines for the executive coach: (1) honour individuality, (2) encourage choice, (3) get going (i.e., to take action), (4) anticipate anxiety and defensiveness, (5) commit to something, (6) value responsibility taking, (7) conflict and confrontation, (8) create and sustain authentic relationships, (9) welcome and appreciate the absurd, and (10) clients must figure things out their own way. Each of these guidelines is used in different ways and at different points in time during the coaching process and the one often influences the other (DeLuca, 2008: 34; see Peltier, 2010). The coach’s role is to observe when each of them is present (ibid.). These guidelines are not seen as sequential steps but rather as a framework within which the executive coach and the client shift in and out (DeLuca, 2008: 35; see Peltier, 2010). In parallel to the implementation of these guidelines, some additional instruments may be used in this approach, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Strengths and weaknesses of EA. According to Peltier (2010: 172–3) among the strengths is the fact that it promotes a ‘thoughtful and energetic approach to things’ and can promote productivity, creativity, and action. As Peltier (2010: 172–3) notes, the downsides include classical existential writers’ ineffectiveness in politics and social relationships and a poor track record in situations that require finesse, restraint, and compromise—elements that are key within a highly competitive corporate environment. Berg and Karlsen (2007: 5) observe that the existential approach requires a particularly skilful coach, since its main tenet is the burden of responsibility and this may cause fear to the coachee. Moreover, this approach entails the difficult task of turning the individual aspirations about their future into action, considering the barriers that exist in the environment and the individual (ibid.). A further weakness is that the existential view is based on a belief in individualism and personal autonomy and also the fact that, to the minds of some people, existentialism is closely associated with nihilism and a gloomy view of life (Peltier, 2010: 173). Lastly existentialism raises issues for which many feel uncomfortable, such as death, anxiety, dread, failure, and the absurd (Peltier, 2010: 161).
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2.5 Humanistic/Person-centered Approach Background theory. With the more recent developments in psychotherapy (particularly the development of humanistic psychotherapy from the 1950s and 1960s onwards) newer approaches have emerged—such as person-centred psychotherapy, gestalt psychotherapy, and neuro-linguistic programming—and all are being employed in EC (Gray, 2006: 480–1). The person-centred approach is based on the work of Carl Rogers, one of the founding fathers of humanistic psychotherapy (Rogers, 1951), and was originally developed in the 1940s and 1950s (known initially as ‘client-centred’). It emerged as an alternative to behaviourism and psychoanalysis and is based on the notion that ‘people are their own best experts’ (Joseph, 2010: 68). Humanistic psychotherapy stresses ‘people’s independent dignity, worth and capacity to develop personal competence and self-respect’ (unlike the earlier Freudian and other related theories which have as a key tenet that individuals are driven by impulses) (Gray, 2006: 481). The person-centred approach is an approach—not a set of techniques—and focuses on developing self-determination, rather than addressing dysfunctional behaviours (Joseph, 2010: 69). Specifically, its key premise is the ‘actualizing tendency’ (Rogers, 1963), which is a biological tendency (not a moral imperative), defined as ‘a universal human motivation resulting in growth, development, and autonomy of the individual’ (Joseph, 2010: 69). A key premise of Rogers’ (1980) theory is that ‘the more care and support provided, the greater the chance of success’ (Berg and Karlsen, 2007: 5). Applying Humanistic approach to EC. Rogers (2003) considered the person-centred therapy as a way of showing personal congruence, empathy, and unconditional positive regard to the client in a relationship of co-learning that resembles that of the coaching process (Gray, 2006: 481). The role of the coach is that of facilitator in enabling the coachee to hear his/her inner voice and this is done with the help of several techniques (e.g., cognitive-behavioural, multimodel, solution-focused, and system-theory techniques), but always in a non-directive way (Joseph, 2010: 69, 73). The humanist approach to coaching ‘capitalises on a person’s inherent tendency to self-actualise and looks to stimulate a person’s inherent growth potential’, providing much emphasis on the warmth and positive regards within the coach–coachee relationship as a key ingredient for the coachee’s growth (Ives, 2008: 101). In essence, the humanistic approach ‘exploits feelings to attain goals’ (Berg and Karlsen, 2007: 5). Under the humanistic perspective, the executive coach tries to feel as the coachee would feel and this results in building a bond of confidence between them (Berg and Karlsen, 2007: 5). Bartlett (2007) describes a humanistic approach to coaching, drawing on Flaherty’s (2005: 8) work. According to that approach the ‘human being’ is at the centre of the coaching process, which is guided by certain key
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premises: First, the provision by the coach of a new language for the client to understand and learn. In parallel, the coachee is offered opportunities to put into practice what he/she has learned. This leads to the interpretation of the phenomenon, which is being addressed in the EC intervention. This interpretation leads to behaviours and behaviours lead to outcomes. Flaherty’s (2005) approach (see Bartlett, 2007) pays particular attention to the role of the body of the coachee in the coaching intervention, providing three principles: creating an observer of the body (which includes self-observation in different situations), breath (i.e., lowering stress and raising capacity), and character (i.e., connecting the physical body and psychological characteristics). Although the person-centred approach started as part of the humanistic psychology, it now appears to be highly influenced by the more recent developments in positive psychology (which will be discussed in Chapter 3), including theories such as the ‘self-determination theory’ (SDT), which acknowledges the role that inner resources play in personality development and self-regulation (Joseph, 2010: 76). Strengths and Weaknesses of HA. According to Berg and Karlsen (2007: 5) one of the strengths of the humanistic approach is that when goals are well-defined it can produce results, however, when these are poorly defined it can be too lenient an approach to be adequately effective.
2.6 Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) Background theory. Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) is based on the belief that ‘individuals actively construct their own versions of ‘reality’, based upon their personal experiences and therefore, ‘the same events can mean different things to different people’, since to some extent people select and record information in different ways (Gray, 2006: 481). NLP is based on the principle that a person’s senses can be improved and developed in order to enrich their personal goals. Applying NLP to EC. One of the tools that coaches use under the NLP approach is ‘modelling’, in which the coachee is encouraged by the coach to ‘model’ someone’s skill through observation of this person in action and questioning them to obtain insight into this person’s attitude and thoughts while performing the act (Gray, 2006: 481). This approach also includes techniques on how to boost motivation such as the use of ‘compelling futures’ where the coachee is asked to make a representation in their minds of a future act (Gray, 2006: 481 gives the example of imagining the handshake after a successful business deal). Interestingly, NLP is less extensively used in some countries than others. For instance, Jenkins et al. (2012: 137) note that NLP is
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one of the less frequently used coaching approaches in the UK. This observation also appears to align with similar observations by Palmer and Whybrow (2007) and Bono et al. (2009). Empirical evidence about NLP. Although NLP approaches are widely taught in many commercial NLP coaching training programmes on offer, there is very little peer-reviewed empirical evidence on the effectiveness of NLP (e.g., see Gray and Goregaokar’s 2010 study on the influence of gender regarding how coachees choose coaches—just over half of the executive coaches participating in the study had NLP qualifications).
2.7 Gestalt Psychotherapy Background theory. ‘Gestalt psychotherapy’ (Clarkson, 1989), is a ‘third force psychology’ in the sense that it cannot be grouped in neither the Freudian, nor the Pavlovian tradition (Gray, 2006: 481). Gestalt therapy was first developed in the 1940s and 1950s by Fritz Perls, Ralph Hefferline, and Paul Goodman (see Perls et al., 1994). The focus of the gestalt therapy is about analyzing the internal structure of an experience: instead of what is being experienced, remembered, done, or said, the focus is on how what is remembered is remembered, or how what is said is said, etc. (see Perls et al. 1994: 8). Applying the Gestalt approach to EC. The Gestalt approach to coaching has three defining features (Bluckert, 2010: 84): First, there is a focus on the need-fulfillment process (i.e., how needs are satisfied, closure around issues is achieved, learning is assimilated, and desired goals achieved). This is done having as its guiding theoretical perspective the Cycle of Experience (which is a staged process beginning with sensation, moving through awareness and energy mobilization to action and contact, producing resolution, closure, and withdrawal of interest). Second, it has a focus on how to use self. Its guiding theoretical perspective is the ‘presence and the intentional use of self as instrument of change’. Third, it focuses on the coaching relationship, which has authentic dialogue as its guiding theoretical perspective. A key component of the Gestalt approach is the development of a dialogical relationship between the coach (in the case of EC) and the client, through which they observe processes and develop diagnostic perspectives accordingly (Gray, 2006: 481). According to this approach, all the tasks and skills are interrelated and cannot be understood independently from one another. Therefore, under the Gestalt perspective, when the coach meets the executive he/she not only focuses on developing a rapport and clarifying what the executive’s needs are, but also observes how the client behaves within his/her environment and
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hypothesizes an initial diagnosis on that basis (Gray, 2006: 481). As the coaching progresses, the tasks conducted by the executive are revisited and observed.
2.8 Solution-focused Approach to Coaching Another approach that has recently emerged within the coaching industry (particularly life-coaching) is the solution-focused approach. A solution-focused, cognitive behavioural model of coaching (see Grant and Greene, 2001; Grant, 2003a; Grant et al., 2010) incorporates aspects of brief solution-focused therapy and is a ‘constructivist, humanistic approach’ (Grant, 2003a: 255), that allows ensuring ‘that the coaching is orientated toward the development of personal strengths and goal attainment rather than toward problem diagnosis or analysis’ (Grant et al., 2010: 155). The cognitive-behavioural, solution-focused approach to coaching focuses on the development of self-leadership skills, facilitating individuals in achieving their goals by following a set of steps: ‘identifying desired outcomes or future vision’, ‘delineating specific goals’, ‘enhancing motivation by identifying personal strengths and building self-efficacy’, ‘identifying resources and formulating action plans’, ‘monitoring and evaluating progress toward the goals’, and ‘modifying action steps (based on evaluation of progress)’ (Grant et al., 2010: 156; see also Grant, 2003a: 255–7). One of the techniques used within this approach is the ‘Miracle Question’ (de Shazer, 1988), which is a technique that helps towards the generation of options and action plans, by asking the client to respond to questions such as ‘if you woke up tomorrow, and a miracle had happened and the solution was somehow present, what would be happening?’ (Grant, 2003a: 257). The solution-focused approach has several strengths: it appears to be useful in ‘counteracting tendencies to engage in prolonged self-reflection’ and can serve as a reminder for the coaches, too, to ensure that the provided coaching is conducted as a solution-focused, goal-directed process (Grant, 2003a: 261).
2.9 Key Learning • The coaching industry is driven by a multiplicity of fields and influences and these shape the style and content of EC interventions. • Similarly, the EC literature and practice is shaped by several fields. Key are: psychology, training and development, management, philosophy, and sports. • Coaching definitions tend to be sorted into two categories: those focusing on learning and development and those focusing on personal growth and change.
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Depending on their professional background, different coaches would focus on one of the two objectives. • The multiplicity of coaches’ backgrounds suggests little uniformity in terms of the theoretical approaches underpinning their coaching practice. • The EC literature presents numerous efforts to classify the multiple theoretical approaches to EC. • In Chapter 2 we presented eight key theoretical approaches to EC.
Implementing Executive Coaching
This chapter includes a presentation of key aspects in relation to the implementation of EC, ranging from the tasks and processes involved, its duration, and the different coaching frameworks and tools employed in the EC interventions. These coaching interventions are run either by internal (to the organization) coaching services or by external coaching providers, that is, coaching professionals who are invited by the sponsoring organization and enter into an agreement with them and the coachee/coachees to provide them with coaching services. Our book focuses on this latter category of coaching intervention, which is also the prevalent format of EC taking place in contemporary organizations. However, for the purposes of clarity it is important to briefly highlight the similarities and differences between an internal and an external coach before proceeding to a presentation of the various elements of the EC implementation.
3.1 Internal versus External Coach: Similarities and Differences Internal coaching services are those designed and developed within an organization and staffed by employees of the same organization. In simple terms, an internal coach is defined as a ‘professional within an organization who, as a formal part of his or her job, coaches managers and executives’ (Frisch, 2001: 240) and therefore, ‘is a fellow employee of the same organization as those he or she coaches’ (ibid.: 241). Internal coaching services could be delivered by an interdisciplinary network of internal coaches, consisting of human resources professionals, other functional staff, line managers, and organizational leaders who may be trained and supported for their coaching role by consulting psychologists (Wasylyshyn, 2003: 95). A survey of executives’ views on, among other issues, the pros and cons of internal
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and external coaches offers insight on the advantages and disadvantages of either coaching choice (Wasylyshyn, 2003). The study showed that knowledge of the company, its culture, industry and its key executives, accessibility to the coach, and the low costs (compared to external providers) involved in internal coaching were the strongest arguments in favour of internal coaching (Wasylyshyn, 2003: 100). On the other hand, the potential conflicts of interest arising from being coached by the staff of one’s own organization, including confidentiality issues (such as potential pressure to reveal information during the coaching intervention) and less trust with the clients were among the key negatives in relation to a coaching service (ibid.). This pressure may affect not just the coachee but the internal coach too. A recent study by de Haan (2008) showed that internal coaches face in practice additional difficulties compared to external coaches in that they may feel under particular pressure by their leaders and colleagues to achieve results or to take action in a particular direction. Finally, other concerns expressed in Wasylyshyn’s (2003: 100) study with regard to the weakness of internal coaching included the fact that the internal coaching providers may lack the necessary skills to successfully carry out the intervention, since they are likely to be ‘practicing without a license’. With regard to the pros and cons of external coaching, the same study showed that objectivity, confidentiality, breadth of experience, having psychological expertise, the lack of a ‘political agenda’, and trust and integrity emerged as the key strengths in favour of external coaching (Wasylyshyn, 2003: 99). In terms of the drawbacks of external coaching, survey participants mentioned the external coaches’ insufficient knowledge of the company, its culture, the industry, and the key executives. Other drawbacks included the lack of quick accessibility/availability of the external coach (compared to an internal one), the lack of continuity, and sustaining momentum since the externally provided coaching is fixed-term, and finally, the cost involved. Overall, in Wasylyshyn’s (2003) study the preference for external coaching among participants was higher than the preference for internal coaching. This was also confirmed in the most recent 2012 Ridler Report (cited in Mann, 2013), which found that most senior leaders prefer working with an external coach and that the factors coaching sponsors look for in a coach are business credibility and gravitas. However, although internal coaching is not as widespread a practice as external coaching, according to Frisch (2001: 241) internal coaching has grown as a practice to achieve enough legitimacy to elicit the same developmental commitment as would be expected with external coaching. Essentially, both internal and external coaching serve the same purpose: they are about ‘a one-on-one relationship of trust aimed at fostering learning and professional growth’ (Frisch, 2001: 242).
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3.2 Tasks/Process Tobias (1996: 87) suggested that coaching ‘is simply a repackaging of certain practices that were once subsumed under the more general terms consulting or counseling’ and one of the advantages of coaching is that it implies an ongoing process, compared to most seminars and workshops which typically are of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ nature. While this comment may have been accurate when Tobias’ (1996) article was published, the current state of coaching practice is much more than just a repackaging and much more than a simple process. EC has emerged as a fairly well-understood and distinct methodology for creating purposeful positive change in executive and management populations. In day-to-day EC practice, this methodology is manifested in a very wide range of different formats or combinations of approaches and frameworks depending on what the coach prefers and which approach is most suitable to each specific coachee. Yet, there are also certain key elements that appear to be common in any EC intervention. For instance, Laske (2004: 41) identified three generic coaching processes, common in any type of coaching, which coaches use in order to help their clients achieve their goals. These are: (a) supporting and guiding attention, (b) envisioning outcomes, and (c) enacting new behaviours and experiences. Witherspoon and White (1996: 132) argue that all types of EC involve action research or action learning. Also, EC typically takes place in various forms, such as face-to-face, by phone, or email (e.g., see Kombarakaran et al., 2008). Two more elements appear to be common in many EC interventions. From the organization’s side, there is often a set of pre-coaching activities, usually conducted by HR, which can determine whether coaching is needed, who the most appropriate coach would be, and also prepare the coach and the executive for the process. From the coaches’ side, personal coaches often start their work using the technique of shadowing which entails following the executive for a few days and using the observations gathered as evidence in later discussions to showcase aspects of the subject’s behaviour. This allows overcoming the problem of dependency of the coaching process on reported behaviour (see Filipczak, 1998: 33). Several studies in the coaching literature explore and discuss in more detail what exact steps a coaching or EC intervention typically involves (e.g., see Flaherty, 2005; Bartlett, 2007; Gregory et al., 2008). Great variation can be found among these studies. For instance, some studies suggest that EC interventions typically consist of three key steps, other studies mention four steps, others five, and so on. Some of them are consequently summarized (for a more detailed description, please see Appendix I): EC as a three-step process: Thach (2002) suggested that the coaching process consists of three phases: contracting, data collection, and coaching.
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Orenstein (2007) also described the EC practice as consisting of three phases. The first phase is entry, the second is about facilitating change, and the third phase is the concluding coaching phase. EC as a four-step process: Saporito (1996) proposed a model of executive coaching, which consists of four stages: (a) ‘setting the foundation’, (b) ‘assessment of the individual’, (c) ‘developmental planning’, and (d) ‘implementation’. In a somewhat similar structure, Witherspoon and White (1996: 132) identified the following four steps in the coaching process: commitment, assessment, action, and continuous improvement. Feldman and Lankau (2005) and O’Neill (2007) also follow a four-step approach, however in their approach the final step refers to what happens after the implementation. Specifically, Feldman and Lankau (2005: 837– 8) note that although each coach shapes the coaching intervention in different ways to fit the specific executive client’s needs, there is a sequence of four key activities that take place in any coaching relationship: data gathering, feedback, implementation of the intervention (which involves periodic coaching sessions), and evaluation. O’Neill’s (2007) proposed methodology of four phases of coaching includes: (a) contracting, (b) planning, (c) live-action coaching, and (d) debriefing. EC as a five-step process: Under a humanistic approach, Flaherty (2005:40, cited in Bartlett, 2007) suggests that the ‘flow of coaching’ includes five consequent steps: (a) establishing relationship, (b) recognizing opening, (c) observe/assess, (d) enrol client, and (e) coaching conversations. Natale and Diamante (2005: 363–8) suggest that the EC process consists of five stages, too: (a) The ‘alliance check’, (b) the ‘credibility assessment’, (c) the ‘likeability link’, (d) the ‘dialogue and skill acquisition’, and (e) the ‘cue-based action plans’. Gregory et al. (2008) and Lee (2010) also include in their process description a debriefing step. Gregory et al. (2008) stressed the role of feedback in EC and proposed a five-stage EC model (with several of these five progressive stages being affected by individual and organizational level variables): stage one includes a catalyst for coaching; stage two is about establishing the relationship between the coach and the client; stage three involves data gathering on the executive’s performance; stage four is dedicated to utilizing feedback gathered through the various assessments and taking action on the basis of this reviewed and interpreted feedback; and finally, stage five refers to the outcomes of the intervention with regard to behavioural changes which are typically gradual and ongoing (for a detailed description of each stage see Gregory et al., 2008: 48–52). On the other hand, Lee (2010: 25) notes that all coaching uses ‘some version’ of the five-stage process he described: (a) Contracting, (b) Assessing, (c) Developing, (d) Implementing, (e) Reviewing, with stages used ‘fluidly and cyclically’ in an iterative manner.
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EC as a six-step process: Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson (2001: 208) are more elaborate in their coaching process description and see EC as a process consisting of six stages: relationship building, assessment, feedback, planning, implementation, and evaluation and follow-up. Ennis et al. (2008a: 36–7) and Ennis et al. (2008b: 80–6) also identified six— similar—coaching tasks and skills: building and maintaining coaching relationships, contracting, assessment, development planning, facilitating development and change, and finally, ending formal coaching and transitioning to long-term development. EC as a seven-step process: Based on an empirical study, Judge and Cowell (1997: 76) identified the following list of components typically appearing in a coaching intervention: (a) receive a formal or informal assessment, (b) conduct a review of long-term goals and aspirations, (c) sign a contract for several coaching sessions (six to twelve over a period of six months), (d) meet with the coach (either in the coach’s office or in the executive’s office) at least once a month for several sessions and then less frequently as time passes, (e) spend time to prepare for sessions or practice skills between sessions, (f) access and contact the coach between sessions via telephone or e-mail, and (g) receive sound advice and ongoing feedback from the coach. A structured and somewhat similar seven-step process was also proposed by Stern (2004: 155), consisting of: (a) initial needs analysis, (b) contracting, (c) data gathering, (d) specific goal setting, (e) coaching, (f) measuring and reporting results, and (g) transitioning to a long-term development effort for the executive and the organization. And more . . . Kilburg (1996: 141) identified a long list of twenty-seven different coaching methods and techniques, ranging from assessment and feedback to role-playing to stimulation to empathy and encouragement (see Appendix I). Based on the literature review there are some EC activities which appear to be very important within an EC intervention and both EC scholars and practitioners refer to them. Wasylyshyn’s (2003) survey found that the executives’ three highest-rated coaching tools in terms of order of preference were: coaching sessions, 360-degree feedback, and relationship with the coach. Also, more than 50% of the respondents in that study gave high ratings to testing and readings on leadership. The key EC activities are discussed below: Contracting. One of the key issues in the EC practice is that of confidentiality. During the EC process there are specific topics that are being discussed—such as career aspirations and interpersonal conflicts—that the executive may not want to share with the organization. Therefore,
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among the challenges associated with EC practice are the conflict of interest and the legal issues relating to confidentiality and the honouring of code of ethics or terms of the contract that exist between the coach, the coachee, and the organization (Natale and Diamante, 2005: 362). Contracting is mentioned as a key initial step in several descriptions of the EC process (see Judge and Cowell, 1997; O’Neill, 2007; Orenstein, 2007; Ennis et al., 2008a; Lee, 2010). ‘Contracting’ ensures productive outcomes, clarifies the roles, helps to prevent misunderstandings, establish learning goals, and define business and interpersonal practices (Ennis et al., 2008a: 50). The three major components of contracting are the learning contract, the business/legal/financial contracts, and the personal contract between the executive and the coach (for details see Ennis et al., 2008a: 50–1). An important part of the process is the ‘behavioural contracting’ which requires clarifying the coaching ‘terms and conditions’ and the desired outcomes for each stakeholder (McMahon, 2005: 10). The logic behind this is that since coaching is meant to produce positive sustainable outcomes, these must be expressed in behaviour terms and this ideally should happen by arranging a joint meeting between the coach, the coachee, and the corporate sponsor. McMahon (2005: 10) notes that often such meetings are not possible, and so the coach should at least meet with the corporate sponsor to identify concerns and expectations regarding organizational outcomes. A similar discussion with the coachee would follow and the coach would need to ensure that all parties understand and agree on the intended coaching outcomes. The behavioural contract would then be drawn up to make the outcomes specific—without dictating, though, how coaching should happen—and the coach would need to mediate between parties (ibid.). This is a particularly important process if one considers Grant’s (2013b) observation drawn from empirical research on the importance of both coaches and clients clearly defining the main focus of the coaching intervention, which must also be within the control or sphere of influence of the coachee. According to McMahon (2005: 11) the process of establishing the behavioural contract by talking with the organization and the coachee enables the coach to find out more about the coachee and their circumstances, the organizational culture, the type of individuals with which the coachee collaborates, the situations the coachee faces, and how he/she is regarded by others. Also, another important aspect that needs to be established early on is the agreement about the feedback that will be provided during and after the intervention and how to maintain confidentiality (ibid.). Assessment: 360-degree feedback and other indicators. As part of an EC intervention, data can be collected by observing the executive in action at work, interviewing the executive and his/her peers, direct reports,
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manager and other stakeholders, as well as by administering a formal 360-degree assessment. Particularly with regard to 360-degree feedback, Thach (2002: 206) and Jones et al. (2006: 586) note that earlier research has shown that the use of 360-degree feedback is one of the best ways of promoting increased self-awareness of a manager’s skill strengths and deficiencies (see also Wasylyshyn, 2003). Under the systems perspective, it is valuable to assess not only the executive, but also other stakeholders (Ennis et al., 2008a: 53) and 360-degree feedback helps in this. In general, several instruments, including personality, learning, interest, and leadership style indicators are being used in EC (Ennis et al., 2008a: 53). Additional assessments would cover other important variables such as the organizational culture, team communication, organizational trust, quality, employee satisfaction, efficiency, and profitability (Ennis et al., 2008a: 54). Learning tools. Since any type of EC involves learning (Witherspoon and White, 1996: 132), several tools facilitate this effort. The practices that the coach may apply are: problem-solving and planning, rehearsal (role play) and on-the-job practice, feedback, dialogue, clarification of roles, assumptions and priorities, teaching, and applying a variety of management and leadership tools and referral to other developmental resources (Ennis et al., 2008a: 22), purposeful conversation, videotaping, supportive confrontation and inquiry, relevant reading, work analysis and planning, and strategic planning (Ennis et al., 2008a: 58). The use of Socratic questioning has been suggested as a key part of the coaching intervention (Neenan, 2009). Planning. According to Ennis et al. (2008a: 21), the coaching process may include the following actions: pre-coaching needs analysis and planning, contracting, data gathering, goal setting and development of the coaching plan, implementation of the coaching plan, measuring and reporting results, and transitioning to long-term development. Planning is also key in the final phase of the EC process, which is about the transitioning to long-term development. It includes the joint preparation of a long-term development plan with future areas of focus and action steps, often passing it to the executive’s manager or another stakeholder who will monitor future progress in partnership with the executive (Ennis et al., 2008a: 61). Who is typically involved in the process? Although the executive is the one who is coached, the EC process is about a ‘three-way partnership between the executive, the coach, and the organization’ (Michelman, 2004: 4). Therefore, under the partnership logic, the key stakeholders typically involved in the EC process are: the executive’s manager, senior management, HR, organizational development or effectiveness,
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executive development, peers (including strategic business partners from other organizations), direct reports, and other key people in the executive’s life (Ennis et al., 2008a: 22).
3.3 Duration The duration of the EC intervention is an important factor. For instance, in an empirical study on workplace coaching, Grant (2007) compared two groups: one consisting of twenty-three participants (HR professionals, managers, and lawyers) who completed a thirteen-week coaching skills training course (weekly 2.5-hour workshops and action learning), and a second (more condensed) training process in which twenty participants (middle-level line and sales managers) completed a two-day ‘Manager as Coach’ training programme, (three-week action-learning break between day one and day two). Using the same coaching frameworks, Grant (2007) observed that the participation in the thirteen-week training course was associated with increases in both goal-focused coaching skills and emotional intelligence, whereas the two-day block intensive training was associated with increased goal-focused coaching skills, but not emotional intelligence. Moreover, the magnitude of increase in goal-focused coaching skills was less for the two-day programme than for the thirteen-week programme. As the literature review so far has demonstrated, the EC field does not seem to agree on the exact definition of EC or on what the process should include. The same seems to apply with regard to the duration of a typical EC process. Although, it is acknowledged that coaching has a predefined length and is short-term in nature—unlike traditional psychotherapy (Judge and Cowell, 1997: 75)—there is quite a degree of variation in the literature regarding the exact length of the coaching intervention as well as the frequency of the EC sessions. Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson (2001: 208) mention that the duration of EC varies and may last from a few months to a year or more. In the lower end of this range rest the findings from a survey conducted by Judge and Cowell (1997: 76), according to which a typical EC intervention includes six to twelve coaching sessions over a period of six months. In another study, the findings suggested that a typical coaching process is more extensive. According to a recent empirical HBR study, which was based on a survey of 140 senior coaches, the typical duration of an EC intervention is between seven and twelve months (Coutu et al. 2009: 93). Therefore it can be said that typically EC interventions last for at least six months or so. However, this is not always the case. For instance, within the context of executive education training or other leadership development
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training, EC may be completed within a few consecutive days (see Grant, 2007; Hooijberg and Lane, 2009: 491). In such cases where coaching happens within a condensed period of time, the pressure is such that the demands from the coach may be different from those associated with a longer term EC design. For example Hooijberg and Lane’s (2009: 491) study of managers coached as part of an executive education programme of a European business school found that, compared to longer-term coaching, the coaching that happens in executive education context, requires more active participation in the intervention from the coach, guiding coachees to reach conclusions, interpreting results, and making recommendations. With regard to the duration of each coaching session and their frequency, variations also exist among coaches. Grant and Zackon (2004: 7) surveyed (online) 2,529 coaches who conduct executive, workplace and life coaching and are ICF members. The survey findings indicated that individual coaching sessions are typically 30 minutes to an hour in length (59.2% of the respondents said so). The most popular response with regard to the frequency of coaching sessions was three times a month (39.0%). In terms of the duration of the EC process, the responses ranged from: between three to six months (33.2%) or six to twelve months (33.2%), with 53.2% reporting that they work with their client for more than six months. Last, the aforementioned HBR coaching survey calculated that the median hourly cost of coaching is $500 (see Coutu and Kauffman, 2009: 92).
3.4 Coaching Frameworks and Tools The following section includes a variety of frameworks and tools that are being applied in EC in combination with the theoretical approaches earlier presented. There are very few contributions with a strong conceptual grounding in the fields of change or leadership development (Passmore, 2007b: 67).
3.4.1 THE GROW MODEL Background theory and application to EC. The GROW model was first presented in the 1992 book Coaching for Performance, written by the former UK Formula 1 Ford team driver, Sir John Whitmore. Whitmore’s (2002: 8; also 1992) work was inspired by Timothy Gallwey’s work and particularly his books The Inner Game of Tennis, Inner Skiing, and The Inner Game of Golf. The term ‘inner’ referred to the player’s internal state and what Gallwey suggested was that ‘if a coach can help a player to remove or reduce the internal
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obstacles to their performance, an unexpected natural ability will flow forth without the need for much technical input from the coach’ (Whitmore, 2002: 8). According to Whitmore (2002: 8), Gallwey identified the essence of coaching, which is about ‘unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them’. Unlike the old behaviourist approach, the new model emerging from Gallwey’s work suggested that ‘we are more like an acorn, which contains within it all the potential to be a magnificent oak tree’, and all we need is ‘nourishment, encouragement and the light to reach toward, the oaktreeness is already within’ (Whitmore, 2002: 9). The GROW model is among the most commonly used methods for structuring coaching conversations (Grant et al., 2010: 156). The acronym ‘GROW’ comes from the following terms: Goals, Reality, Options, and Will. Each of these words represents a key question: Goals (‘What do you want?’), Reality (‘What is happening now?’), Options (‘What could you do?’), Will (‘What will you do?’) (Whitmore, 2002: 173). Whitmore (2002: 174–6) proposes a set of coaching questions for each of the key steps of the model, which can serve as guidance for a coaching session. The key skills required for the GROW model are effective questioning and active listening (Whitmore, 2002: 173). The rise of a goal-oriented approach to EC. The GROW model is frequently used in EC studies (e.g., see Evers et al., 2006; Scoular and Linley, 2006; Burke and Linley, 2007; Grant et al., 2010). Recently a broader goal-oriented approach to EC has emerged, according to which the primary role of coaching is to foster the client’s self-regulation (Grant, 2006a; see Ives, 2008: 102). Under the goal-oriented perspective, ‘coaching is essentially about helping individuals regulate and direct their interpersonal and intrapersonal resources to better attain their goals’ (Grant, 2006a: 153, quoted in Ives, 2008: 102). It involves identifying goals and helping the coachee to develop an effective action plan and support him/her in achieving the set goals (ibid.).
3.4.2 SOCIAL SYSTEMS INTERVENTIONS/THE SYSTEMS PERSPECTIVE AND THE FAMILY THERAPY PERSPECTIVE Background theory. The systems perspective to EC sees the client within the context of interrelated systems (Abbott and Rosinski, 2007: 71) and draws on the work on soft systems thinking (e.g., the work of Checkland, 1985) and family systems theory/systemic family therapy (specifically the work of Bowen, 1978; Minuchin and Fishman, 1981) (see Hawkins and Smith, 2010: 233). Applying the systems perspective to EC. The application of the systems approach to EC ‘seeks to foreground complexity, unpredictability and
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contextual factors, and highlights the importance of small changes; it encourages openness, growth and creativity’ (Ives, 2008: 102). Instead of providing final answers, the soft systems approach regards inquiry as never-ending and its application in EC is developed under the tenet that social systems (such as an organization) are neither perfect nor necessarily predictable (Abbott and Rosinski, 2007: 71). Applying a systems approach to EC, O’Neill (2007) draws on the work of Peter Senge (1990) who viewed the organization systematically and emphasized the effects of feedback loops on a system and the way that slight changes can alter the entire system. However, instead of focusing on how the external environment interacts with the broader context and the organization, O’Neill (2007) focuses on the system of the leader and other constituents (i.e., one’s team, other departments, vendors, and customers). Also, when applied to EC, the systemic family therapy explores the possibility that the client’s family system relates to how he/she interacts in an organizational or social context (Abbott and Rosinski, 2007: 71). According to Tobias (1996), in the systems-based approach to coaching, from the outset of the intervention the coach establishes the systemic nature of any problems that may be ‘in’ the person, but require support from his/ her environment (the manager of the coachee or other key individuals within the organization). The coach observes the personalities of those relevant to the coachee’s issues and obtains as many views as possible about the nature of the problem the coachee faces, about the nature of the coachee, and about the organization as a whole. The psychological study of the individual may be shared with his/her manager. If the collection and analysis of other key individuals’ perceptions of the coachee is required in order to help address the problem for which coaching happens, then the 360-degree feedback instrument is used. This instrument allows gathering responses from the person’s manager, relevant peers and subordinates, as well as other relevant constituencies (internal customers, senior managers, etc.). The coachee receives his/ her feedback and follow-up meetings are conducted with the respondents of the 360-degree feedback instrument, with the individual or with both the respondents and the individual. Also, the meetings with the individual are followed by discussions from his/her manager. The logic behind the systems perspective is that the EC process is embedded within a system of organizational dynamics and executives should be able to see the ‘big picture’. Under the systemic approach, coachees are helped to ‘to recognise hitherto unrecognised patterns of behaviour and forms of feedback, and in so doing to see their experiences in new ways’ (Ives, 2008: 102) and shift their viewpoint from seeing themselves as separate to recognizing their interdependence with other people and processes in the organization (Ennis et al., 2008a: 27) and thus penetrate beyond the complexity of organizational life to the underlying structures (ibid.: 28; see also Stern, 2004: 155). This requires a set of commitments from those parties
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involved (Ennis et al., 2008a: 28). The coach needs to recognize and appreciate the complex organizational dynamics in which the executive operates and a systemic coaching approach is achieved through continual awareness of how the coaching process impacts on everyone in the system and vice versa (Ennis et al., 2008a: 27). Therefore, under this perspective particular emphasis is given on the presence of coaches (i.e., coaches become partners with the leaders, they meet them where they are struggling and are assertive while remaining in a relationship with the executives) (O’Neill, 2000; for a brief summary see Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson, 2001: 213). Combining the systems framework with theoretical approaches to EC. The systems approach can be combined with the aforementioned theoretical approaches to EC, presented in Chapter 2. For example, Kilburg (2000) provided a conceptual framework on EC, which combined the systems perspective with the psychodynamic approach to EC (see Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson, 2001: 213). More recently, Visser (2010) suggested combining the systems perspective with the behavioural approach to EC, to form a behavioural systems approach where a central role is placed on the coach– coachee relationship. Over the past few years, the systems framework has also found application in EC practice in the form of constellation coaching. Constellation coaching involves the coach working with the coachee/client on a ‘visible relational map of the client’s invisible inner image of the relationship system’ (known as ‘systemic constellation’) (Whittington, 2012: 94). The systemic constellation helps to improve ‘the relationships and interconnectedness between the parts’, leaving the client ‘with a new map, a new picture, which is then internalized and integrated into their life and work’ (ibid.).
3.4.3 EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING (ACTION, REFLECTION, FEEDBACK)/ACTION LEARNING/ADULT LEARNING Background theory. There are six different types of learning: action learning, cognitive learning, behavioural learning, experiential learning, organizational learning. and problem-based learning (Sofo et al., 2010: 208–9). The adult learning approach uses coaching to simulate learning and draws on several adult-learning theories, such as andragogy (Knowles, 1975), reflective practice (Boud et al., 1994), and experiential learning (Kolb, 1984). According to this approach, adults learn though reflection on their experiences and coaching is seen as a learning process (Ives, 2008: 101). One of the key models behind this EC framework is Kolb’s (1973 and 1976) ‘experiential learning model’. This model aims to better understand the learning process (i.e., how individuals and organizations learn). According to the experiential learning model, learning is conceived as a four-stage cycle (Kolb,
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1973: 2; see also Kolb, 1976: 22–3): immediate concrete experience serves as the basis for observation and reflection and these observations lead to the formation of abstract concepts and generalizations (i.e., a ‘theory’), which leads to testing implications of concepts in new situations (i.e., ‘new implications for action can be deduced’) and ‘these implications or hypotheses then serve as guides in acting to create new experiences’. According to Kolb (1973: 2–3), the learner needs four different kinds of abilities: (a) Concrete Experience abilities (CE), (b) Reflective Observation abilities (RO), (c) Abstract Conceptualization abilities (AC), and (d) Active Experimentation (AE) abilities (i.e., to ‘be able to use these theories to make decisions and solve problems’). Kolb also designed a Learning Style Inventory (LSI) (see Kolb, 1976) to measure the strengths and weaknesses of an individual as a learner and measure their relative emphasis on the aforementioned four learning abilities (CE, RO, AC, and AE). On that basis, four dominant types of learning styles were found to occur most frequently: the converger, the diverger, the assimilator, and the accommodator (see Kolb, 1976: 23). Adult learning theory focuses on the teaching of adult learners, who are seen as autonomous individuals (i.e., self-directed learners), in control and responsible for their own learning (Gray, 2006: 483). Knowles’ (1975) work on self-directed learning has been key in the development of this theory. The adult learning theory emphasizes the role of a ‘learning climate’ in which learners feel valued, supported, and involved in self-evaluating their learning, which is experiential (Gray, 2006: 483) and happens through facilitation and constructive dialogue rather than instruction. Dewey (1938) was the first to suggest that learning was about experience rather than simply the acquisition of abstract knowledge (Gray, 2006: 484). More recent developments in experiential learning theory (e.g., the work in Marsick 1987) have played a central role in better understanding how adults learn (Gray, 2006: 484). Applying the experiential learning perspective to EC. The action learning approach to EC focuses on ‘learning that is cyclic and iterative in nature, moving between action and learning and back to action’ (Abbott and Rosinski, 2007: 70). It requires reflection and hence, has links with the cognitive-behavioural approach to coaching. Given that through coaching, many managers seek focused solutions to immediate problems, Gray (2006) proposed adult learning theory as an alternative or parallel theoretical model to underpin the coaching processes, in which psychotherapists and non-therapists can collaborate into a dynamic network model of coaching. Gray (2006) refers particularly to two concepts: (a) Mezirow’s (1994) concept of transformative learning which is defined as ‘the social process of construing and appropriating a new or revised interpretation of the meaning of one’s experience as a guide to action’ (Mezirow 1994: 222–3 quoted in Gray, 2006: 487), and (b) the concept of critical reflection through which the coachee is encouraged to develop a deeper critical awareness of personal and organizational assumptions and take action.
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Reflection is a key part of the learning process. Gray (2006) refers particularly to the work of Schön (1983; 1987; 1991) on reflective practice and its impact on the process of learning in organizations. The process of reflection-in-action can be facilitated by coaching and entails three approaches (Schön, 1987, in Gray, 2006: 485): the ‘joint experimentation’ (the coach and coachee work together through discussion, debate, and dialogue), the ‘move-testing’ (aiming at initiating change), and the ‘hypothesis-testing experiments’ (confirming or disconfirming a hypothesis on the basis of the outcome of an action). According to Schön (1991, in Gray, 2006: 485–6) reflection-in-action is a key part of experimentation and includes two typical approaches. The first is called ‘Follow me!’, where the coachee learns by following the example of the coach (serving as a role model) and the coach then provides feedback. The second is called ‘Hall of Mirrors’, where the coachee becomes the coach for someone else and the way in which he/she frames a problem is discussed as a first step towards reframing it and helping the coachee to understand his/ her position both as a coachee and as a coach. Learning theories as coaching frameworks can be applied not only in the cases of individual coachees, but also on group-based coaching, for example Vaartjes’ (2005) four-stage integrated model of executive coaching and action learning applied in group-based EC; see also Sofo et al.’s (2010) study of the role of the action learning coach in group coaching. Combining the adult learning/experiential learning frameworks with theoretical approaches to EC. Gray (2006: 491) suggests that because the psychotherapeutic approach alone is not always appropriate within organizational contexts, a coaching network may be the best approach to more effective EC and this entails drawing coaches from diverse professional backgrounds to form an informal forum for the provision of advice and support. As an example, this may include a network that combines psychotherapeutic coaches (e.g., Gestalt and NLP coaches) with coaches with a transformative learning approach and those with a background of more performance/skills-based business coaching.
3.4.4 ADULT DEVELOPMENT/DEVELOPMENTAL COACHING Background theory. Adult development in EC draws on the work on human development (see Erikson, 1950; 1958; 1968; Kegan, 1982; 2000; Kohlberg and Armon, 1984; Weick and Bougon, 1986). This theory is based on the notion that, as they develop, adults tend to become ‘open to a mature understanding of authority and responsibility, and display greater tolerance of ambiguity’ (Ives, 2008: 101). Developmental coaching focuses on various aspects of human nature such as the ‘self’, ‘free will’, and ‘psychological evolution’ (see Bachkirova, 2011). As a practice, it tends to be perceived by different coaches
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in different ways (ibid.: 1) and no unifying theory appears to exist behind this approach (ibid.: 13). Even the way the term ‘developmental coaching’ has been used has evolved over time. For example, Bachkirova (2011: 9) observed that in the past the term ‘developmental coaching’ was used in contrast to ‘remedial coaching’ and was perceived as coaching targeted to those individuals who have reached a plateau in terms of their personal growth. In that sense, developmental coaching was seen as primarily focused on building one’s competences in the long-term, rather than helping to achieve specific organizational outcomes. Recently, Bachkirova (2011) proposed a new way of conceiving and practicing developmental coaching. She observed a pattern in the themes brought for coaching, indicating the important role of the ego which ‘could be unformed, formed or reformed’ (ibid.: 6). Axelrod (2005: 119) traces the origins of adult development theories to the work of Erik Erikson (1950, 1958, 1968) on adult psychological development and particularly on how core psychological issues or tasks define the different phases of adulthood. Erikson extended Freud’s work on the stages of childhood to adolescence and adulthood. Within the adult development perspective, Laske (1999b: 144) refers particularly to Kegan’s (1982, 1994) stage theory of self, according to which throughout their lives human beings are in a continuous process of meaning-making. This leads them ‘from being embedded in their own subjectivity (as is an infant) to an increasingly stronger and refined ability to take the world, including themselves, as an object’ (Laske, 1999b: 144). ‘At different ontic-developmental positions (stages), different rules of meaning making “govern”, as it were, an individual’s relationship to self, role, work, and the social world in general’ (ibid.). Kegan’s theory does not focus so much on each stage but rather on the transition between pivotal stages. There are three tiers of the adult development trajectory across a lifespan, each including transitional stages (Laske and Maynes, 2002: 704–5): (a) the pre-conventional tier, which is the level that refers typically to children and adolescents whose central focus of sensemaking is survival through others, (b) the conventional tier, which refers to the 80% of adults who have matured to a level of self-sufficiency, and (c) the post-conventional tier, which refers to the level where the individual develops self-awareness to such an extent that is willing to share the ‘why’ of his/her actions and open up for external scrutiny by others so that he/she helps to the transformation of others. Applying the adult development perspective to EC. Laske (1999b: 139) notes that EC practice lacks a lifespan developmental perspective, which would help the coaching experience to more accurately meet the client ‘where the client is developmentally’. This requires the widening of the timeframe within which coaching takes place in order to locate the coaching experience ‘at some point along the trajectory of the client’s life span development’ (Laske, 1999b: 139). The adult development theory fills in that gap. The key
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question for developing coaching strategy and determining the compatibility between coach and coachee is ‘where the client is ontic-developmentally’ (italics in original) (Laske, 1999b: 139). The developmental approach to EC sees coaching ‘as a way of facilitating client growth through stages of development towards more advanced stages of thinking that can accommodate the increasing complexity of the modern business environment’ (Abbott and Rosinski, 2007: 68). Axelrod (2005: 119) sees the adult development framework as ‘a good fit with executive coaching in that it furnishes a dynamic perspective on personality growth without privileging the childhood past’. Under the adult development approach to EC, the coach focuses on issues relating to the coachee’s adult past (with childhood life issues and conflicts as a backdrop) and combines this with ‘an understanding of how career progress, success and failure, goals and values, leadership style, interpersonal relationships, communication skills, self-management skills, and so forth have affected the development of the personality in adulthood’ (ibid.). The contribution of the coach under the adult developmental perspective rests on examining the impact that specific decisions and choices have on the core psychological tasks of a particular stage, while also identifying emerging capabilities of the coachee which are critical for his/her job performance and personal growth (Axelrod, 2005: 119–20, for a description of how the adult developmental framework can be applied to EC, see Axelrod 2005). Laske (1999b) proposes a developmental coaching approach to EC, derived from constructive-developmental psychology, family therapy supervision, and theories of organizational cognition. Berger (2006) also referred to the constructive-developmental theories as more relevant to EC practice. These theories focus on the particular meaning-making of each individual person instead of his/her age or phase of life. The constructive aspect relates to how individuals create the world by living it (instead of seeing it as an objective truth, external to the individual) and the developmental aspect refers to the way this construction changes over time and becomes more complex and multifaceted. The difficulty associated with development is that it is ‘invisible’ (hence difficult to uncover) and also that it changes (Berger, 2006). Therefore, it requires rigorous discussions with the coachee or developmental assessments so that the coach can accurately determine the developmental form of understanding of the client. Constructive-developmental theories focus on authority, responsibility, and ability to tolerate complexity and ambiguity (Berger, 2006). This approach is based on two key ideas (Laske, 1999b: 141): first, ‘not every change represents development’ and secondly, ‘what is learned and experienced by an individual depends on the ontic-developmental position, or stage, of that individual’ (italics in original). In that perspective there is a ‘structure’ which represents the worldview of an individual at a particular point in time during
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their life and defines how this individual understands his own ‘self’ and what is the ‘other’ (Laske, 1999b: 141). The ‘effect of coaching depends on the ontic-developmental preconditions that determine where an executive is when entering a coaching relationship’ (Laske, 1999b: 141–2). One of the instruments used in measuring the current development of the client is the Subject–Object Interview, which is based on Kegan’s theory of adult development and involves a sixty to ninety-minute semi-clinical interview which explores the interviewee’s meaning-making (see Berger, 2006). More recently, Laske (2007) stressed the need for a more evidence-based approach to developmental coaching and suggested that coaching be based on empirical research on adult development. The focus is as much on the coachee as on the coach. Specifically, there are three key developmental tenets which need to be considered in coaching practice under that framework (Laske, 2007): (a) the coaching outcome is ultimately determined by the coach’s Frame of Reference (FoR), which is determined by his or her developmental profile, (b) in order to provide coaching service, the coach must understand the coachee’s FoR, and (c) a coach can support a client provided that he/she is ahead of the client developmentally, and then only within the limits of the client’s developmental potential. The coachee’s FoR depends on the development of four dimensions: perception and learning (P&L), capacity (e.g., psychological Need), Cognitive Development (CD), and Social-emotional Development (ED). Strengths and Weaknesses of the adult development theory. The value of the adult developmental perspective rests in that it allows identifying key transformational tasks of adulthood that help shape the executive role functioning (Axelrod, 2005). Moreover, since short-term change is behavioural and long-term change is developmental (Laske, 2004: 43), the adult developmental framework contributes to more sustainable EC outcomes.
3.4.5 COMPETENCY MODELLING Background theory. Ennis et al. (2008b) propose a competency model of EC, using the term ‘competency’ as it was originally suggested by Boyatzis (1982) to define ‘an underlying characteristic of an individual, which is causally related to effective or superior performance in a job’ (see Ennis et al., 2008b: 96). Applying the competency model to EC. According to the competency model (Ennis et al., 2008b: 80–6), the EC process can be divided into six phases: (a) building and maintaining coaching relationships, (b) contracting, (c) assessment, (d) development planning, (e) facilitating development and change, and (f) ending formal coaching and transitioning to long-term development. Each of these phases has a set of tasks that are distinguished
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to basic and advanced (i.e., basic tasks which can also be viewed as skills that the executive coach can further develop and advance). The idea behind this model is to identify the essential competencies of the effective executive coach and provide ‘an initial framework of EC to define the needs in specific situations and develop criteria for coach selection, not dissimilar to any good human resource selection process’ (Ennis et al., 2008b: 70). Ennis et al. (2008b: 71) describe as ‘competent’ the executive coach who has ‘psychological knowledge, business acumen, organizational knowledge, knowledge about coaching, coaching skills needed to perform essential coaching tasks, and a set of personal attributes that serve as a foundation for these competencies and skills’. These attributes and abilities are: mature self-confidence, positive energy, assertiveness, interpersonal sensitivity, openness and flexibility, goal orientation, partnering and influence, continuous learning and development, and, last but not least, integrity (see Ennis et al., 2008a: 36; Ennis et al., 2008b: 87–95). For more details regarding each of the competencies see Ennis et al. (2008b: 71 and 74–9). Ennis et al. (2008b: 71–2) consider each competency or attribute from two levels, the basic and the advanced, so as to showcase that each coach will demonstrate a varying level of effectiveness per competency, which depends both on their personal natural abilities and their current level of development. Moreover, although the basic level is essential, the advanced can be helpful in several situations (ibid.: 72). Strengths of the competency model. The competency model proves to be useful not only for the executive coach, but also for the organization and the coachee. Specifically, the competency model can be of use: (a) to organizations that contract with an executive coach to provide coaching services to their employees, (b) to executives who are choosing a coach, (c) to executive coaches planning their own development, and (d) to designers of training programmes and curricula for future executives (Ennis et al., 2008b: 72–3).
3.4.6 POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY COACHING/STRENGTHS COACHING Background theory. Instead of focusing on problems, the positive psychology approach focuses on people’s innate capacity for growth and development and the role of the coach is to unleash this potential (Abbott and Rosinski, 2007: 72). Strength is defined as a ‘a preexisting capacity for a particular way of behaving, thinking, or feeling that is authentic and energising to the user, and enables optimal functioning, development and performance’ (Linley, 2008: 9, quoted in Linley et al., 2009: 22). Strengths approaches have existed in the management literature for over sixty years, starting with the seminal
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HBR work of Bernard Haldane (1947) on career development and later by Peter Drucker (1967) who suggested that making strengths productive can make weaknesses irrelevant (Linley et al., 2009: 22). A key theory within the positive psychology perspective, being used in business consulting and EC, is the theory of flow by Csikszentmihalyi (1990 and 2003; see Foster and Lloyd, 2007: 34). According to this theory, all human beings possess a human or psychological capital which is the psychic energy that can be devoted to some task, pleasurable pursuit, or personal interaction. The greatest rewards in life can be obtained by consistently choosing goals that lead to personal growth and ‘social synergy’, contributing to the greater good (ibid.). Such a goal would entail the embracing of ever-increasing challenges, which help individuals develop skills that are useful both to themselves and to others (Foster and Lloyd, 2007: 34). Csikszentmihalyi’s research showed that a number of conditions increase the likelihood of entering a ‘flow state’ and coaches can help clients to find their own ways of accessing their high-performance state (Kauffman, 2006). Under the perspective of the theory of flow, there is a specific tool, the Experience Sampling Method (ESM), used in EC interventions. It is a self-report method that allows a person to notice and record in real time what activity they are engaging in and to categorize their feelings about it (see Foster and Lloyd’s 2007 case study documenting how this tool is being applied to EC). Applying positive psychology/strength theory to EC. Strengths theory is being applied within the coaching field (e.g., see Govindji and Linley, 2007). Kauffman (2006) notes that positive psychology provides a robust theoretical and empirical base for practicing EC and constitutes the ‘scientific legs upon which the field of coaching can firmly stand’. Kauffman (2006: 221) posits that coaching should help the client to identify and build their strengths and should seek to stimulate hope and happiness (Ives, 2008: 101). Under the positive psychology perspective, the coachee is encouraged to see the positive aspects of their life to reinforce a positive disposition, which in turn broadens access to their intellectual and psychological resources and leads to improved performance (Ives, 2008: 101–2, see also Kauffman and Scoular, 2004, which discusses the application of positive psychology to EC). According to a definition provided by Carter and Page (2009; quoted in Linley et al., 2009: 39–40) strengths coaching is ‘concerned with facilitating the identification, use and development of strengths to enable optimal functioning, performance and development’. It is an approach to coaching that focuses ‘on achieving other goals through harnessing strengths, or it may be understood as an outcome of coaching, where the intention is for the coaching client to gain a better understanding of their strengths, or to develop particular strengths more fully’ and ‘[m]ost often, strengths coaching is a combination of both of these’ (ibid.). Linley et al. (2009: 45–6) suggest that when strengths coaching is applied to senior leaders, it can be used, on the one hand, to develop individual
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leadership effectiveness through realization of individual leaders’ strengths, and on the other hand, to enhance wider organizational capability, through identification and co-ordination of the strengths that exist throughout the organization. A number of instruments are used in the application of positive psychology in coaching, which are aimed at identifying the coachees’ strengths. Two of them are the Clifton Strengths Finder (Buckingham and Clifton, 2001) and the VIA Signature Strengths Inventory (Peterson and Seligman, 2004) (for their brief description see Foster and Lloyd, 2007: 32–3; Kauffman, 2006; see also Linley et al., 2009: 38 for a list of strengths coaching inventories). There are several models within the positive psychology/strengths coaching perspectives that find an application within EC. Some of them are briefly presented here: A model that stems from the positive psychology approach and finds application to EC is the Self-Concordance Model of healthy goal striving and internalized motivation (Sheldon and Elliot, 1999). According to this approach, when pursuing self-concordant goals, success is achieved by putting greater sustained effort into achieving them and by the increased well-being which follows when these goals are achieved (Sheldon and Elliot, 1999, cited in Burke and Linley, 2007). According to Sheldon and Elliot’s (1999) model, ‘the more self-concordant a goal is, the more readily it will be pursued and achieved, and the more well-being will be experienced as a result’ (Burke and Linley, 2007: 63).
Linley et al. (2009: 40–1) recently proposed the Realise2model, which offers an integrative understanding of strengths and weaknesses and distinguishes between realized strengths, unrealized strengths, regular learned behaviours, infrequent learned behaviours, exposed weaknesses, and unexposed weaknesses. The model aims to make weaknesses irrelevant. Foster and Lloyd (2007: 33) mention Fredrickson’s (1998, 2000, 2001) ‘broaden and build’ model as another tool used within the positive psychology perspective in coaching. This model advocates the use of positive emotions in the workplace and is based on the observation that when people are in an environment characterized by positive emotions and words, they tend to act more generatively and creatively and exhibit more tolerance of others and more receptiveness to new ideas. According to Kauffman (2006), one of the key findings in Fredrickson’s research is that positive emotions provide a boost to psychological functions, empowering individuals to ‘see the big picture’. A further coaching framework, which draws on positive philosophy with a view to achieve organizational change, is the Appreciative Inquiry Coaching. This coaching model aims at focusing on both the positive present and the possible future, instead of the problems of the past and present (see Gordon, 2008; Foster and Lloyd, 2007). It is based on the appreciative inquiry method for organizations, which was first developed by Cooperrider (1995) (see also Cooperrider et al., 1999). According to Cooperrider’s AI (appreciative inquiry) method, organizations need to shift from their problem-based
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attempts at change, towards identifying first what is functioning well, and consequently, address the problems (Foster and Lloyd, 2007: 32). By focusing on what works well, coachees feel more hopeful with regard to the future and hence, less defensive about the required changes (Foster and Lloyd, 2007: 32). The application of appreciative inquiry in coaching practice involves the use of a model, the Appreciative Inquiry 4-D Model, which includes the following four key processes (see Gordon, 2008): a. Discovery (i.e., engaging all stakeholders in the articulation of strengths and best practices). b. Dream (i.e., developing a clear results-oriented vision). c. Design (i.e., designing the ideal organization, focusing on its positive core so that people within the organization can work towards its realization). d. Destiny (i.e., ‘strengthening the affirmative capability of the whole system’ to build hope and sustain momentum for positive change and high performance). For further description of how AI coaching can be applied to address issues within the organizational context see Gordon (2008). Strengths of the positive psychology approach to EC. According to Seligman (2007: 266) one of the strengths of the positive psychology perspective in coaching practice is its ability to provide coaching with an evidence-based framework since it is rooted in empirical research, as well as the provision of a defined set of practices and guidelines for training and accreditation. Also, given that leaders are considered to be ‘climate engineers’ in organizations in that their attitudes and behaviours shape the psychological climate within their organization (Linley et al., 2009: 38), if there is one coaching framework that can contribute to making the psychological climate within an organization more positive, this is the positive psychology perspective.
3.4.7 ACTION FRAME THEORY Background theory and application to EC. Action Frame Theory (AFT) is based on the theories of social action (Parsons, 1937) and functional job analysis (Fine and Cronshaw, 1999; Fine and Getkate, 1995), which refer to the nature and function of human action. Action frame is the core of AFT and consists of the following steps (see Cocivera and Cronshaw, 2004: 238): a. Conditions (i.e., ‘The constraints inherent in the situation over which the actor has no immediate or direct control and which must be considered as givens within the temporal and spatial arrangements of the unit act and the larger work-doing system’)
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b. Means (i.e., ‘The enablers within reach and control of the actor that can be brought to bear in shaping the action to achieve the result’) c. Action (i.e., ‘The goal-directed and voluntary movement of the actor physically, mentally, and socially toward a desired system state’) d. Result (i.e., ‘A systems state desired or not desired by the actor and wanted or not wanted within the work organization on completion of the unit act’) e. Consequence (i.e., ‘The normative evaluation of the result with respect to its present and future impact on the actor and the larger work-doing system’). Cocivera and Cronshaw (2004: 234) proposed the use of AFT ‘as a practical and sound framework to help guide the application of mediated focus, in addition to integrating the executive and system foci, during executive coaching engagements’. By applying the action frame systematically, executive coaches are able to collect behavioural information that will be helpful to the coaching assignment (Cocivera and Cronshaw, 2004: 236). Specifically, when applied in the coaching intervention, these steps form the action frame structure and aim to help the coachee to review his/her past actions, results, and consequences, and see what would be the future desired actions that he/she could (and should) take to achieve future desired results and consequences. The structure of the action frame and a definition of its key components are presented in Cocivera and Cronshaw (2004: 237–8).
3.4.8 OTHER MODELS OR PROCESSES AS MENTIONED IN THE LITERATURE Besides the aforementioned models, there are several other, less well-known, processes and frameworks that are used in coaching. ACHIEVE Coaching Model: This is a seven-step model developed by Dembkowski and Eldridge (2003). It includes the following steps: (a) Assess current situation, (b) Creative brainstorming of alternatives to current situation, (c) Hone goals (i.e., helping the client to formulate goals), (d) Initiate options (i.e., helping the client to initiate a wide range of behavioural options to achieve the desired goal), (e) Evaluate options, (f) Valid action programme design (i.e., collaboration of the coach and the coachee to develop an action plan), (g) Encourage momentum (i.e., ongoing process of providing encouragement and helping the client to keep on track with the plans). POSITIVE model by Libri (2004), is a model developed from the GROW and ACHIEVE models. It aims at producing an ‘optimum coaching
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relationship’ and includes asking key questions around: (a) The Purpose of the coachee, (b) Observations (e.g., of efforts up-to-date), (c) Strategy, (d) Insight (e.g., on commitment to a goal), (e) Team (e.g., with whom the coachee will share his/her goal), (f) Initiate (e.g., when the coachee will start to act towards achieving a goal), (g) Value (e.g., question how the coachee would celebrate his/her success), and (h) Encourage (e.g., asking about the coachee’s progress on the pursuit of his/her goals) (as cited in Edgerton and Palmer, 2005). LASER process. This is a coaching process developed by Lee (2003) (cited in Edgerton and Palmer, 2005), which includes five (not rigidly linear) stages: Learning, Assessing, Story-making, Enabling, and Reframing. Traditional problem-solving models, such as Wasik’s (1984) seven-step problem-solving sequence and accompanying questions that practitioners and particularly coachees can ask themselves. These include (as cited in Edgerton and Palmer, 2005): 1. Problem identification: What is the concern? 2. Goal selection: What do I want? 3. Generation of alternatives: What can I do? 4. Consideration of consequences: What might happen? 5. Decision making: What is my decision? 6. Implementation: Now do it! 7. Evaluation: Did it work? SPACE model (Edgerton and Palmer, 2005) is used in the cognitive behavioural approaches to coaching and is the acronym for the following elements: Social context, Physiology, Action, Cognition, and Emotion. SPACE can be used in parallel with GROW and POSITIVE to help coachees overcome psychological blocks associated with particular problems or issues (including performance-related issues). The Three Principles Psychology (TPP) is another leadership development approach used in EC and executive training (Polsfuss and Ardichvili, 2008). TPP is a ‘a psycho-educational approach that is based on the assumptions that (1) people have an innate wellspring of psychological well-being from which to draw, and (2) anyone can realize that and live from a healthy, wise, balanced state of mind, regardless of the “stressors” and external circumstances encountered over time’ (Sedgeman, 2005: 48, quoted in Polsfuss and Ardichvili, 2008: 672). TPP is based on three constructs: mind (‘acknowledged as the foundational source of experience and of Consciousness and Thought’), consciousness (i.e., ‘the ability of Mind to know experience and know how experience is created’), and thought (i.e., ‘the ability of Mind to originate specific experiences’) (Polsfuss and Ardichvili, 2008: 672).
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According to Mills and Spittle (2001; see Polsfuss and Ardichvili, 2008: 673), the TPP approach suggests that by understanding the way in which experience is created, people can be helped to live in a state of peace of mind, well-being, love, and wisdom. As a result of this understanding, ‘one finds oneself living at a new, more functional level and more optimal state of mind’ (Polsfuss and Ardichvili, 2008: 673). The application of TPP in coaching includes: conceptual information, reflection, learning experiences, homework, small and large group discussions, and ample break time for absorbing the material (see Polsfuss and Ardichvili, 2008). The adventure-based approach is another method proposed by Kemp (2006) as appropriate to coaching, since ‘both seek to press the boundaries and explore new frontiers and horizons’ (Ives, 2008: 102) and both are guided by the same logic of analysing the present state, setting out a desired destination, and developing the means to reach the destination (ibid.). Kemp (2006) argued that this approach includes some risk and uncertainty, that of psychological injury, since it requires from coachees to move ‘to the edge of their physical or psychological comfort zone’ and ‘it is out of this risk that personal growth occurs’ (Ives, 2008: 102). Kemp’s (2006) adventure-based coaching approach requires that the participant tests his cognitive, behavioural, and emotional competence and effects change through the subject’s formulation of new behavioural responses to situations (Ives, 2008: 102). Eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) has been developed by Shapiro (1989; 1995) and initially was introduced as a method of rapid treatment for anxiety and traumatic stress. In Shapiro’s (1989) study it was observed that after an initial EMDR session, participants experienced a decrease in distressing symptoms and over time they described a perceptual shift (‘reprocessing’) and were able to stop blaming themselves for traumatic incidents, come to terms with them, and move on with their lives (Foster and Lendl, 1996: 155). It has been suggested that EMDR can enhance performance in the workplace. According to Foster and Lendl (1996), the authors have pioneered the use of EMDR in coaching and found that it can help individuals to reach optimal performance within the business context. See Foster and Lendl (1996) for a discussion of four case studies of participants who had coaching interventions with EMDR. EMDR is based on the following mechanism: eye movements trigger a neurological mechanism that activates accelerated information processing (Foster and Lendl, 1996: 156). It produces a shift of a person’s view and unusual access to memories (ibid.). EMDR is able, on the one hand, to activate rapid information processing through a dual focus on past events and present stimuli, and, on the other hand, sets in motion a desensitization process (by pairing a relaxation response with the upsetting stimuli). Although eye movements are its ‘hallmark’, EMDR, as a clinical method, includes the following eight
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stages (Shapiro, 1995, in Foster and Lendl, 1996: 156–7): (a) client history and case formulation; (b) preparation of the client, (c) assessing and delineating the components for reprocessing, (d) desensitization of upsetting material, (e) ‘installation’ of the new positive cognition, (f) assessing the client’s physiological state after the processing, (g) closure of the EMDR session, and (h) re-evaluation of intersession emotions, cognitions, and behaviours. From the case studies presented by Foster and Lendl (1996) it appears that positive results can be achieved within a very short period of using the EMDR method (e.g., in one case it only took a 120-minute session to produce change). According to Foster and Lendl (1996), since it is a physiologically-based coaching process, EMDR is more independent of the time constraints that verbal interventions such as traditional psychotherapy or consultative coaching have. However, other than the article by Foster and Lendl (1996), there appears to be no other EC study that refers to the use of this technique in EC, neither any further well-grounded, in-depth empirical research that tests its impact. As a summary of Chapters 2 and 3 (3.4 in particular), it should be noted that the EC theoretical approaches and the EC frameworks presented here are not competing, but rather complementary. They can be used in different combinations depending on each coach’s style, each coachee’s needs, and the contextual idiosyncrasies of the EC intervention. The following examples drawn from the literature review indicate this: • Kilburg (1995 and 1996) presented a complex seventeen-factor model of systems and psychodynamics. • Laske (1999b: 139) notes that although many coaches follow a cognitive– behavioural approach, at times this is also extended to include psychodynamic assumptions. • Peel (2005) suggests the integration of a behavioural approach and learning theories into a behavioural learning theory for the development of effective coaching practice. • Ennis et al. (2008a) use a systems-oriented EC approach, but also combine this with the competency model and note particularly the important role that emotional intelligence competencies play in how effective an executive coach can be (Ennis et al., 2008b: 71). • Passmore (2007b: 68) proposes an ‘integrative coaching’ which entails work at multiple levels with coaches (behavioural, cognitive, and unconscious), having as a central premise the building of a coaching partnership and the use of emotional intelligence theories. • Visser (2010) suggested combining the systems framework with the behavioural perspective into one behavioural systems approach.
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3.5 Key Learning • Coaching in organizations can be conducted either by external professional coaches or by internal coaching services. Each method has its pros and cons. Issues relating to trust and confidentiality are more at risk in the case of internal coaching. • EC is a tripartite agreement between the coach, the sponsoring organization, and the coachee. • Behavioural contracting is an important part of the EC intervention since it is the stage in which all three parties agree on expectations and outcomes. • EC is a process that involves a set of steps, which appear in some variations across the EC literature, yet follow the logic of: introduction (contracting, setting the foundation of the intervention, etc.), assessment of the individual, developmental planning, implementation, and (ideally) follow-up after the implementation. • The duration of the EC intervention and frequency of sessions vary. Typically the intervention runs for at least six months, however, there are EC interventions that may take place within a few consecutive days (e.g., as part of an executive education programme). • There are numerous coaching frameworks and tools which are complementary, rather than competing, and are being combined along with the coaching approaches presented in Chapter 2 and applied accordingly by the coach depending on the client’s needs and the coach’s preference and expertise.
Executive Coaching Impact Evidence, Standards, and Success Criteria
This chapter presents the results of our systematic review of all the empirical studies on EC up to the end of 2012. The focus of our systematic review—as with the rest of the book—is on externally provided EC. Therefore, the review does not include internal coaching, manager-as-coach, or workplace coaching, since this would be beyond the purpose of this work.
4.1 In Search of Evidence on Executive Coaching Outcomes: An Introduction Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson (2001: 223) observed, based on their extensive literature review of EC research, that specific concerns are expressed within the field regarding the definition of EC, the standard of practice, and the lack of agreement as to who the appropriate EC service providers should be. More than ten years on, Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson’s (2001) observations still remain valid. Moreover, despite the wealth of experience with regard to EC practice, there is no clear definition of the outcomes or the process of EC (Natale and Diamante, 2005: 361). Several scholars have attempted to sort the EC empirical research into categories. Greif (2007) suggested sorting the coaching outcome studies into two categories: those studies that investigate coaching outcomes as the result of changes in prerequisites or preconditions for coaching and those outcome studies that explore the success factors in the coaching sessions.
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Within the context of evidence-based coaching, Laske (2004: 42) proposed sorting coaching research into two categories: a. Research IN coaching, which includes primarily qualitative studies of the coaching relationship and the phases and outcomes of the coaching process, and b. Research ON coaching, which consists of quantitative studies with a wide scope and made up of a mix of sociology, market research, and evidence-based ‘legitimacy boosting’. Laske (2004: 42) observed that increasingly these two types of research are combined to produce studies with a mixed quantitative-qualitative methodology, which serves as grounding of a ‘profession in the making’. Indeed, several such studies have been produced recently, see, for example, Gegner (1997), Burke and Linley (2007), Kombarakaran et al. (2008), Grant et al. (2009), Perkins (2009), Cerni et al. (2010), Gray and Goregaokar (2010), Chandler et al., 2011, Gray et al., 2011a). In total we identified from our systematic review twenty-seven EC outcome studies that use some type of mixed research methods (i.e., qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection, analysis of personality assessment inventories pre- and post-coaching). Only five studies use only qualitative interviews and only eleven studies use only quantitative data. Overall, irrespective of the chosen research method, an aspect that one should bear in mind when assessing the EC outcome research is that EC outcomes are particularly difficult to measure. This is because changes in human behaviour take time—and often an unpredictably long time—and, moreover, ‘behaviour changes depend on developmental shifts that are non-linear (occur “in stages”)’ (Laske, 2004: 43). Measuring the outcomes of an EC intervention is therefore a particularly difficult task. Recently there is a growing interest within the EC field towards evidence-based coaching (see the Evidence-Based Coaching Handbook by Stober and Grant, 2006) and the improvement of the quality of outcome research. Griffiths and Campbell (2008: 20) observed a movement towards evidence-based coaching and a growing demand for standardization and regulation from the research field, the industry and the marketplace. Even the EC literature includes efforts to establish a typology or guideline of EC standards (see Wasylyshyn, 2003: 105; Ennis et al., 2008b). The concept of ‘evidence-based coaching’ was first articulated at the Coaching Psychology Unit at Sydney University and the phrase was coined by Grant (2003b) in order to differentiate theoretically grounded, empirically validated approaches to coaching from the types of coaching which stem from the personal development industry. The concept seems to be increasingly accepted amongst professional coaches and the purchasers of corporate
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coaching services. This is because evidence-based practice ‘holds much promise as an approach to increasing the credibility and quality of coaching’ (Drake, 2009: 12). Knowledge for evidence-based coaching is drawn from the behavioural sciences, business and economic science, adult learning, and philosophy (Grant, 2003c, cited in Abbott et al., 2006: 300) as well as psychology. It borrows its term from the medical context and ‘refers to the intelligent and conscientious use of best current knowledge in making decisions about how to deliver coaching to coaching clients, and in designing interventions for coaching clients’ using ‘up-to-date information from relevant, valid research, theory and practice, found in the established literature in related fields in addition to coach-specific literature’ (Abbott et al., 2006: 300). The need for an evidence-based approach to coaching appears as a response to the emergence of coaching as a profession (Stober et al., 2006). Drake (2009: 12) recently called for the coaching field to ‘make ample room for both rigorous research and vigorous practice as sources of evidence, and to respond to internal and external forces that are at play in shaping the evidence conversation and its outcome’. The coaching literature is now recognizing the need to establish ‘a clearer canon and taxonomy of evidence’ that addresses the following core questions (Drake, 2008: 21–2): (a) what works, (b) how it works, (c) why it works, (d) how well it works, (e) how we know it works, (f) when and with whom it works, and (g) what might work better. This evidence needs to be understood within its context (Drake, 2008: 22). Evidence-based coaching has three main characteristics: it requires that the practitioner uses the best available knowledge in the field, integrates this knowledge to his/her expertise, and the integration requires adjustment to each client’s individual situation (Stober et al., 2006: 1–2). With regard to the knowledge domains that are essential in evidence-based EC, these are: Personal or self knowledge, Contextual knowledge (i.e., systemic understanding of the client’s issues and objectives in coaching), Professional knowledge (i.e., competencies and methods based on EC research and scholarship by practitioners), and Foundational knowledge (i.e., theories, models, and guidelines that inform coaching choices and are drawn from the basic and applied sciences) (Drake, 2009: 2, 4–5). The contribution of these domains is dynamic and produced within the EC process. Specifically, Drake (2009: 4) suggests that research and evidence is ‘a dynamic interaction among four knowledge domains and the relational process between a coach and a client (and their respective systems)—each of whom brings knowledge and evidence in co-creating the coaching process and its results’. Before progressing to a discussion of our findings from the systematic review of the executive coaching outcomes, it is important to note that key tools in any coaching intervention are the personality and ability assessment
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inventories. Moreover, much of the evidence on EC outcomes comes from the processing of these inventories and comparison of results (pre- and post-coaching). These inventories are briefly presented here.
4.2 Personality and Ability Assessment Inventories Used in EC Several different personality and ability assessment inventories/psychometric measurements/psychological tests are used in EC. They are particularly useful at the beginning of the EC intervention in order to explore the coachee’s personality and behaviour and how others see him/her. These are typically used as part of a psychological study, which provides a holistic perspective, but also highlights the executive’s strengths (Tobias, 1996: 90). It provides reassurance compared to the tendency to focus on shortcomings, which is a particularly important issue in the case of coachees having a defensive attitude (ibid.). From the literature review, the following list of instruments/assessment inventories were identified as being used in EC interventions: the 360-degree feedback (in various forms such as Hay/McBer Executive 360-assessment process, Nordli, Wilson Associates 360-degree feedback instrument), 16PF Adjective Checklist (ACL), Atkins’ 2002 Life Orientation Survey (LIFO®), Burke-Litwin Model of Organizational Performance and Change, California Personality Inventory, Denison Leadership Development Survey, Element B, FIRO-B, Gibb’s 1978 TORI self-diagnosis tool, Hogan Development Survey (HDS), Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI), Human Synergistics Life Styles Inventory, Learning Styles Inventory (LSI), Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI), NEO-PI-R, PeopleMap Questionnaire, Strength Deployment Inventory, Thomas–Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Wagner Enneagram Personality Style Scales (WEPSS), Wilson Learning Center’s Social Style Matrix and the Wonderlic Personnel Test (see Diedrich, 1996; Kiel et al., 1996; Tobias, 1996; Anderson, 2002; Luthans and Peterson, 2003; Dawdy, 2004; Mansi 2007; DeLuca, 2008; Kombarakaran et al. 2008; Koonce, 2010). Although, as the above list suggests, there is a wealth of personality and ability assessment inventories that executive coaches can use in their interventions, these inventories have no value unless a coach has solid understanding of how to effectively use them to produce valid and reliable psychometric measures. Such inventories require a certain level of expertise and in-depth knowledge of how to most efficiently use them and how to make the most of
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their analysis for the benefit of the coaching intervention and—where applicable—for the purpose of better EC outcome research.
4.3 A Systematic Review of EC Outcome Studies Despite these recent efforts within this new field of study, the research on the outcome evaluation of EC as well as on how the effectiveness of EC interventions can be improved is not yet particularly extensive (see Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson, 2001: 206; Ennis et al., 2008a: 7; Stokes and Jolly, 2009: 235). This also applies with regard to the lack of research on the financial gains that EC can bring to the business (Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson, 2001: 211). In fact, the field is so new that upon review of the EC literature up to 2000, Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson (2001: 206) identified only seven empirical studies that explore the efficacy of executive coaching: Foster and Lendl (1996), Olivero et al. (1997), Judge and Cowell (1997), Gegner (1997), Hall et al. (1999), Laske (1999a), and Garman et al. (2000). At that time, Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson (2001: 223) appealed for more empirical investigation regarding the types of EC outcomes. Since then the number of empirical studies has grown exponentially, but it appears that the quality of the research produced has not improved at the same rate. Feldman and Lankau (2005: 830) observed that at the time their paper was published ‘[t]here have been fewer than 20 studies that have investigated executive coaching with systematic qualitative and/or quantitative methods’. In order to explore the field in an in-depth manner and identify what evidence exists on EC outcomes, we conducted a systematic review of all the EC outcome studies. As a starting point, we used Grant’s (2011) annotated bibliography which includes all 634 scholarly publications on executive, workplace, and life coaching from 1937 until 1 January 2011 as presented in PsycINFO, Business Source Premier, and Dissertation Abstracts International (DAI). After reviewing all abstracts included in this annotated bibliography (Grant, 2011), we identified the peer-reviewed articles that focused particularly on executive coaching outcomes. Since Grant’s (2011) bibliography covered all coaching publications (both relating to EC and other types of coaching) up to the end of 2010, we conducted further systematic research to identify the additional EC studies published in the years 2011 and 2012. We then went through all the identified EC outcome studies (eighty-one in total) and produced an extensive table, which summarized
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each study across six dimensions: (a) authors, (b) theme/purpose of the study, (c) methodology in data collection, (d) EC approach or technique used, (e) key findings on EC outcomes (highlighting which are positive, negative, moderate/conflicting and descriptive), and (f) publication outlet. This table is presented in Appendix II. Table 4.1 is a brief version of that table, which provides information on the author, the theme under study and the methodology. It must be noted that our review includes only academic articles, not books or monographs. Our decision to review the EC outcomes research was prompted by the need to understand to what extent there is systematic and robust evidence within the EC research on the effects of the EC intervention and its consequent impact on leadership development. We believe that the EC field is at a point in its brief history when it needs to work on the evidence of its impact in order to grow as a field and as a practice and have an enhanced research agenda. This involves identifying whether and where such evidence may be still amiss or missing and capitalize on research findings that prove the transformational potential of this leadership development practice—a practice which is not only being introduced as a way to transform individual executives but is also offered in many executive education programmes and MBA programmes in several business schools. Researching the EC field is not a simple task. For example, due to the multiplicity of EC perspectives and influences, any attempt to give structure to the EC field is both ambitious and important. Recently, Segers et al. (2011) suggested a theoretical coaching cube framework to structure and understand the coaching industry. That framework consisted of three dimensions: (a) coaching agendas (i.e., what), (b) coaches’ characteristics (i.e., who), and (c) coaching approaches/schools (i.e., how). Segers et al. (2011) analysed this from an economic and a psychological perspective. Our philosophy in undertaking this study is based on the view that in order to help to improve these ‘what’, ‘who’, and ‘how’ aspects of the EC industry, we need to turn our attention to the EC empirical research, identify its strengths and weaknesses, and see what we can learn from either case that will help the field to produce more effective EC interventions. Therefore, we embarked on research that explored how the coaching practice is presented within the existing EC outcome studies, what kind of research methods are being employed and—as part of that—assess the quality of the existing research, and finally, identify the types of outcomes examined and produced within these studies. Table 4.2 provides a summary of the characteristics of the EC outcome studies in terms of methodology employed, the EC framework or approach used, which studies had positive findings, which had mixed/moderate findings, which studies had at least some negative findings (among several positive or moderate ones), and which had only descriptive findings.
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Table 4.1 Condensed Summary of Executive Coaching Outcome Studies (up to December 2012) Study
Foster & Lendl (1996)
The effects of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) on executive coaching.
Four case studies (individuals).
Provides consulting psychologists with One case study (one manager). an overview of an iterative approach to EC (employed for coaching a ‘troubled’ leader).
Kiel, Rimmer, Williams, & Doyle (1996)*
An intense, systems-oriented approach One case study (one manager). to the leadership development of top-level executives.
Olivero, Bane, & Kopelman (1997)
The effects of EC in a public sector municipal agency (a health agency in a major north-eastern US city).
Thirty-one managers. Managerial training, and one-on-one EC.
Judge & Cowell (1997)
A study of the emerging field of EC.
Sixty coaches. Survey and telephone interviews.
Hall, Otazo, & Hollenbeck (1999)
How EC has been applied, issues covered in EC, EC effectiveness, and lessons from EC practice.
Seventy-five executives and fifteen executive coaches. Interviews.
Garman, Whiston, & Zlatoper (2000)
The general opinions on EC practice and the extent to which training in psychology is relevant and useful in coaching practice.
Content analysis. Seventy-two articles (external and internal) EC from 1991 to 1998.
McGovern, Lindemann, EC effectiveness in terms of Vergara, Murphy, Barker, & behavioural change, organizational Warrenfeltz (2001)** outcomes, and return on investment (ROI).
100 executives. Phone interviews (also some immediate supervisors or HR representatives).
The value of using Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy in EC and where it is most suitable.
Seven cases (executives).
To challenge the prevailing understanding of EC as an exclusively individual intervention.
Three excerpts from the author’s EC.
The impact of EC and 360-degree feedback on leadership effectiveness.
281 executives and managers. 360-degree feedback analysis and survey.
Luthans & Peterson (2003)
The impact of 360-degree feedback, combined with coaching, on managers’ self-awareness and the outcomes on managers’ and employees’ attitudes and organizational performance.
Twenty managers and sixty-seven workers of one organization. Interviews, observation and assessment scores before and three months after coaching.
Smither, London, Flautt, Vargas, & Kucine (2003)
Study the effects of EC on multisource feedback on behaviour change over time.
Survey. 1,361 senior managers received multisource feedback (404 had EC). 1,202 received feedback from other survey a year later.
The experiences of participants in an externally provided coaching programme and perceived coaching benefits.
16 bank managers. Self-report and semi-structured questionnaires.
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Table 4.1 Continued Study
An outcome study on different aspects, choices, areas of focus, tools, pros and cons, and success factors of EC.
Survey. 87 executives coached by the author between 1985 and 2001.
Grant & Zackon (2004)
Coaching professionalism, coaching career, processes used, coaching practice, client profiles, and demographics (focus on executive, workplace, and life coaching).
Online survey. 2,529 coaches (all ICF members).
The effects of coaching within an evidence-based framework. ROI calculation as behavioural change, not financial impact.
Six managers, coached by the author. Interviews and scores from online questionnaires.
Sue-Chan & Latham (2004)
The relative effectiveness of external, peer, and self-coaches on the performance of participants in two MBA programmes.
Two studies: a. thirty MBA and twenty-three EMBA students participating in self, peer, or external coaching.
Weller & Weller (2004)
Explores whether EC helps to create better leaders and if so, how.
Thirty-two senior executives, coached by the authors. Pre and post EC assessment.
The key elements of the EC process (trust, relationship building, and assessment) and its content.
One case study (one individual, author was coach for two years).
The benefits of external business coaching.
One case study (six Royal Mail corporate purchasers of EC), plus data of large-scale UK survey of people receiving business coaching.
Peterson & Millier (2005)
The coaching process from the perspective of both the coach and the participant.
One case study (the two authors are the coach and and his coachee).
Explores top management executives’ views regarding EC.
Seven managers who had EC. Informal telephone interviews.
Chronicles the coaching and development partnership between a consulting psychologist, an executive, and the principal stakeholders in the executive’s work environment.
One case study (one manager).
Bowles & Picano (2006)
The impact of coaching on the quality of life and sales staff productivity (US Army recruiters).
Survey. Nineteen recruiting first sergeants who have been coached.
Records HR professionals’ perceptions of EC.
Seventeen HR professionals responsible for 1,000+ individual EC programmes. Structured face-to-face interviews.
Evers, Brouwers, & Tomic (2006)
Examines whether coaching really leads to presupposed individual goals.
Quasi-experimental. Sixty managers divided into two groups: one coached, the other was not. Pre and post-EC comparisons.
Fillery-Travis & Lane (2006)
How coaching is used, its coherence as framework of practice, and whether it is perceived or quantified as effective.
Examined existing empirical research on coaching effectiveness. (continued)
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Table 4.1 Continued Study
Jones, Rafferty, & Griffin (2006)
The influence of EC on managerial flexibility.
360-degree feedback workshop and surveys. Two groups (twelve and eleven participants) were coached. Leaders surveyed prior, during and post EC.
Explores whether coaching delivers a valuable return on investment.
Seventy-two participants in coaching programme. Two-year study of coaching effectiveness. Use of ROI.
Libri & Kemp (2006)
The efficacy of cognitive behavioural techniques in EC for performance enhancement in organizational environments.
One case study (one executive).
Shows that EC efficacy can be measured empirically (with Alderfer & Brown’s 1972 ‘empathic organic questionnaire’).
One case study (one executive).
Increases understanding of the business impact of EC and enhances the utilization of coaching throughout the firm.
Twenty-six senior leaders. Online survey and interviews. Also, ROI study from forty-three EC participants.
Scoular & Linley (2006)
The use of goal-setting and personality instruments (to match coach and coachee) in EC.
120 coaching sessions studied. Experimental between-subjects design with two conditions.
Wasylyshyn, Gronsky, & Haas (2006)
The effectiveness of a coaching programme commissioned by a global company to develop executives’ and high potential employees’ emotional competence.
Survey of coaching participants and former and current bosses. Life/ career history, psychometrics and 360-interview protocol.
Blattner & Bacigalupo (2007)
A case study of emotional intelligence as facilitator to team and organizational cohesiveness, based on collaboration of an organizational development consultant and a coach.
One case study (CEO and team of senior leaders). Two twelve-hour team building and follow-up EC sessions.
Bowles, Cunningham, De La Rosa, & Picano (2007)
The effectiveness of coaching for middle- and executive-level managers within a large recruiting organization.
Thirty middle managers and twenty-nine executive managers in US Army recruiting. Twelve-month coaching.
Burke & Linley (2007)
Assesses whether EC affects self-concordance.
Twenty-six senior managers. Self-concordance scores and one-toone coaching sessions.
Preliminary evaluation of EC for candidates on a High Potential Development Scheme.
Ten participants of external EC. Survey, ROI and follow-up to determine success in gaining promotion.
An overview of new advances of research on coaching outcomes (external, peer, and self-coaching).
Summary and comparison of four predictive studies and eight experimental evaluation studies of coaching outcomes.
The contribution of the Hogan Personality Inventory and the Hogan Development Survey in an EC process.
One case study (one executive). The author was the coach. (continued)
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Table 4.1 Continued Study
McDermott, Levenson, & Newton (2007)
Measures the organizational impact of coaching (external and internal coaching).
Survey of fifty-five organizations that use EC. Self-reporting.
A coaching project systemically designed, delivered, and measured to create performance value (including ROI).
Twenty-five executives. Data from 360-degree feedback, questionnaires and action plans.
Styhre & Josephson (2007)
The role of EC as a form of leadership support and development for site managers in the construction industry (learnings and insights and the implications).
Qualitative. EC participants: six site managers from two companies. Interviews with participants and their coach.
Liljenstrand & Nebeker (2008)
To learn more about coaches from varying academic backgrounds and how they differ in their coaching approach.
Web-based survey. 2,231 coaches. forty-two topics, 120 items.
Kombarakaran, Yang, Baker, & Fernandes (2008)
The effectiveness of EC as a method of leadership development.
One case (EC programme of a large MNE). 114 executives and forty-two coaches. Survey. Qualitative and quantitative data (using content analysis).
Polsfuss & Ardichvili (2008)
The effectiveness of the Three Principles Psychology (TPP) approach in EC (and leadership development).
One case study (four TPP practitioners and four executives). Interviews.
Stewart, Palmer, Wilkin, & Kerrin (2008)
The use of the Five-Factor Model of personality and the construct of general self-efficacy to explore whether personality impacts on coaching success.
110 participants. Questionnaires, self-report measures related to coaching transfer and personality.
The effectiveness of EC in the construction industry based on second-order observations.
Six site managers from two construction companies (each interviewed three times and coach twice). Qualitative study.
Baron & Morin (2009)
The links between the coach–coachee relationship and the success of an EC intervention.
One case study. Two samples: seventy-three managers and twenty-four coaches. Analysis of thirty-one coach–coachee dyads.
Grant, Curtayne, & Burton (2009)
The first published randomized controlled study in which coaching was conducted by professional executive coaches external to the organization.
Forty-one executives. Both quantitative and qualitative measures.
Fischer & Beimers (2009)
The effectiveness of delivery and usefulness of a pilot six-month EC programme in the non-profit sector.
Retrospective data collection. nine directors and five coaches. Written surveys and in-person semi-structured interviews.
Hooijberg & Lane (2009)
What contributes to coaching effectiveness in the multisource feedback session of executive education programs (from the participants’ perspective).
Online survey. 232 managers participants of executive education programs of a European business school. (continued)
Executive Coaching Impact 91
Table 4.1 Continued Study
The conceptual and methodological issues involved in measuring the business impact of EC.
Case studies. Twelve successful coaching engagements. Contrasted EC impact on leadership behaviour with EC impact on business.
Moen & Allgood (2009)
The impact of a one-year EC experiment on self-efficacy with reference to important leadership tasks.
127 managers (branch of Fortune 500 company). Measured leadership self-efficacy. Online questionnaire. Experimental and control group.
Moen & Skaalvik (2009)
The effects of an EC programme on important performance psychology variables (self-efficacy, causal attribution, goal setting, and self-determination).
144 managers (a Fortune 500 company). Experiment and control group of twenty executives participated in external EC programme (one-year). 124 middle managers internally coached by the twenty executives.
The impact of EC on business meeting leader behaviour.
Twenty-one executives coached by the author. Pre- and post-EC leadership behaviour measurement. Quantitative and qualitative data.
Cerni, Curtis, & Colmar (2010)
The impact of a ten-week coaching intervention based on Epstein’s CEST theory on transformational leadership (tests whether changes to CEST information -processing systems bring changes in leadership style).
Pre- and post-test control-group research design. Qualitative and quantitative data. fourteen secondary school principals (six in control group and eight in intervention group). School staff (242 for intervention and 109 for control) rated their principal using the MLQ (5X) questionnaire.
To understand what differentiates exceptional coaches’ work based on the views of HR professionals responsible for purchasing EC services.
Twenty EC purchasers. Structured interviews on locating and working with exceptional coaches. Saturation testing and a post-analysis survey.
De Haan, Bertie, Day, & Sills (2010)
Examined clients’ (coachees’) critical moments of coaching.
A combination of methods. Survey of sixty-seven past and present EC clients of Ashridge Business School. In-depth interviews with eight participants (five had critical moments and three did not).
Freedman & Perry (2010)
How a non-voluntary consulting engagement with an executive client eventually resulted in success.
One case study (one executive). Authors are the coach and the client.
Grant, Green, & Rynsaardt (2010)
Applied EC to high school teachers to examine its impact on leadership and overall behaviour and performance.
Forty-four high school teachers (coaching and waitlist control group). Combined randomized controlled design and quasiexperimental (pre–post) design.
Gray & Goregaokar (2010)
Explores the influence of gender in terms of how coachees choose coaches.
Forty-six semi-structured interviews and two focus groups of coaches. Three-year coaching programme (University of Surrey). Coaching to 201 SME managers and directors by twenty-two coaches. Qualitative and quantitative data. (continued)
92 Developing Leaders by Executive Coaching
Table 4.1 Continued Study
The use of Narrative 360-degree Assessment and Stakeholder Analysis (360-NASA) as a powerful tool in EC.
Two case studies (two executives).
Augustijnen, Schnitzer, & Van Esbroeck (2011)
The development of an experimental based model of EC.
Qualitative analysis. Semi-structured interviews with ten coachees. Grounded theory analysis.
Chandler, Roebuck, Swan, & Brock (2011)
The effectiveness of the ‘ACT with GROW’ coaching model designed for managers in a business college.
Quantitative and qualitative survey of five educational leaders and thirty business leaders.
de Haan, Culpin, & Curd (2011)
How various aspects of the EC intervention make a difference to coaching clients.
Web-based questionnaire completed by seventy-one EC clients after the beginning of their coaching contract and by thirty-one of them six months later.
The use of a particular model of EC Case study (a high-performing acute (coaching in context) in clinical settings NHS trust). Executive Board had EC. (the NHS)
Gray, Ekinci, & Goregaokar (2011a)
The impact of the use of coaching within the SMEs sector (factors that influence managers’ decision for coaching, perceptions of their coaching experience, and EC benefits).
Case study research including qualitative semi-structured interviews with forty-six participants and two focus groups with nine respondents. Postal survey of eighty-five participants.
Gray, Ekinci, & Goregaokar (2011b)
Specifies a set of attributes, identified as important precursors to coach selection.
Pre-survey qualitative interviews with fifteen coachees and two focus group sessions with coaches. Online survey of 267 coachees (including pilot with six coachees from a leadership skills programme and six coaches).
Newsom & Dent (2011)
A work behaviour analysis of executive coaches.
Online survey of 130 executive coaches affiliated with a global leadership training and development organization.
Describes a powerful coaching intervention for leadership development (‘The Hero’s Journey intervention’).
Account of the author’s experience as an executive coach.
The phenomenon of EC as an influence Qualitative, semi-structured on the organizational climate of interviews of seventeen HR learning and performance. professionals responsible for selecting EC services in private and public companies.
Beets & Goodman (2012)
The effectiveness of a training programme for executive coaches in South Africa (the successful skills transfer from training to practical settings).
The Success Case Method (SCM) (mixed method). Survey (eighty participants) and eight qualitative interviews comparing successful with less successful cases of skills transfer. (continued)
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Table 4.1 Continued Study
De Haan & Nieß (2012)
A study of critical moments in EC conversation.
One case study (process research). Analysis and comparison of descriptions by an executive coach and his client on critical moments during ten EC sessions.
Gaskell, Logan, & Nicholls How coaching capability and leadership (2012) behaviours were developed to improve business performance and cultural change at all levels in an organization.
The authors describe the success of the coaching programme they delivered. Reported survey results and qualitative feedback from managers.
Jowett, Kanakoglou, & Passmore (2012)
The coaching relationship formulated among five coach–coachee dyads using the 3 + lCs (closeness, commitment, complementarity and co-orientation) relationship model.
Qualitative data. Ten participants of five coach–coachee dyads. Semi-structured (telephone) interviews. Content analysis.
Lewis-Duarte & Bligh (2012)
Coaches’ perceived use and effectiveness of the outcome, timing, and objective of proactive influence tactics in coaching relationships.
Survey of 110 coaches (with minimum two years experience) from ten organizations affiliated with executive coaches.
Moen & Federici (2012)
The effects of external coaching on goal setting, self-efficacy, and causal attribution.
Twenty executives (the company’s CEOs) (twelve in experiment and eight in control group). Covariance analysis (ANCOVA) between control and experiment groups. Instruments on goal-setting, self-efficacy, and attribution.
Ratiu & Baban (2012)
The readiness for change in the context of coaching based on the relationship between the stages of change and the developmental needs.
Assessment (using the ‘transtheoretical model of change’) of the behaviour change stages and the key developmental needs of eighty-seven managers.
An exploration of the mindset of executive coaches using strengths-based coaching.
Interpretative phenomenological analysis. semi-structured, in-depth interviews. Study of six executive coaches (three men and three women).
Note: The studies that are marked with an asterisk (*) are not empirical per se, but report earlier empirical evidence (see also Grant, 2011). The two studies marked with (**) (McGovern et al., 2001 and Kearns, 2006) have not been published in peer-reviewed journals but are among the very few outcome studies that calculate EC ROI, also, the McGovern et al. (2001) study is among the most heavily cited EC outcome studies (168 citations in Google Scholar), hence we decided to include them in this list.
Table 4.2 Characteristics of Executive Coaching Outcome Studies (as of December 2012) Reviewed Parameter of Outcome Study
Sub-categories per Reviewed Parameter of Outcome Study
Number of Studies per Category
Methodology of the study or key research characteristic
Case study—individual executive(s)
Foster & Lendl (1996); Diedrich (1996); Kiel, Rimmer, Williams, & Doyle (1996); Anderson (2002); Orenstein (2002); Blattner (2005); Peterson & Millier (2005); Winum (2005); Libri & Kemp (2006); Orenstein (2006); Mansi (2007); Levenson (2009); Perkins (2009); Freedman & Perry (2010); Koonce (2010); Steinhouse (2011); De Haan & Nieß (2012)
Olivero, Bane, & Kopelman (1997); Thach (2002); Luthans & Peterson (2003); Wales (2003); Laske (2004); Leedham (2005); Blattner & Bacigalupo (2007); Bowles, Cunningham, De La Rosa, & Picano (2007); Feggetter (2007); Styhre & Josephson (2007); Kombarakaran, Yang, Baker, & Fernandes (2008); Polsfuss & Ardichvili (2008); Styhre (2008); Baron & Morin (2009); Moen & Allgood (2009); Moen & Skaalvik (2009); Gorringe (2011); Gray, Ekinci, & Goregaokar (2011a); Gaskell, Logan, & Nicholls (2012); Moen & Federici (2012)
Smither, London, Flautt, Vargas, & Kucine (2003); Wasylyshyn (2003); Grant & Zackon (2004); Bowles & Picano (2006); McDermott, Levenson, & Newton (2007); Liljenstrand & Nebeker (2008); Stewart, Palmer, Wilkin, & Kerrin (2008); Hooijberg & Lane (2009); de Haan, Culpin, & Curd (2011); Newsom & Dent (2011); Lewis-Duarte & Bligh (2012)
Qualitative interviews (only)
Hall, Otazo, & Hollenbeck (1999); Stevens (2005); Dagley (2006); Augustijnen, Schnitzer & Van Esbroeck (2011); Walker-Fraser (2011); Toogood (2012)
Mixed Methods/Mixed sources of data (e.g., combination of pre- and post-coaching assessment; combination of surveys with qualitative data; combination of surveys with ROI calculations, combination of RCTs with quasi-experimental research design; combination of different types of qualitative data, etc.)
Judge & Cowell (1997); McGovern, Lindemann, Vergara, Murphy, Barker, & Warrenfeltz (2001); Thach (2002); Luthans & Peterson (2003); Wales (2003); Sue-Chan & Latham (2004); Weller & Weller (2004); Leedham (2005); Jones, Rafferty, & Griffin (2006); Parker-Wilkins (2006); Wasylyshyn, Gronsky, & Haas (2006); Burke & Linley (2007); Phillips (2007); Kombarakaran, Yang, Baker, & Fernandes (2008); Fischer & Beimers (2009); Perkins (2009); Cerni, Curtis, & Colmar (2010); Dagley (2010); De Haan, Bertie, Day, & Sills (2010); Grant, Green, & Rynsaardt (2010); Gray & Goregaokar (2010); Chandler, Roebuck, Swan, & Brock (2011); Gray, Ekinci, & Goregaokar (2011a); Gray, Ekinci, & Goregaokar (2011b); Beets & Goodman (2012); Jowett, Kanakoglou, & Passmore (2012); Ratiu & Baban (2012)
EC approach or framework used
Experimental/Randomized control studies
Evers, Brouwers, & Tomic (2006); Scoular & Linley (2006); Grant, Curtayne, & Burton (2009); Moen & Allgood (2009); Moen & Skaalvik (2009); Cerni, Curtis, & Colmar (2010); Grant, Green, & Rynsaardt (2010); Moen & Federici (2012)
Meta-analysis of other empirical studies
Garman, Whiston, & Zlatoper (2000); Fillery-Travis & Lane (2006); Greif (2007)
Repeated measures design
Sue-Chan & Latham (2004); Jones, Rafferty, & Griffin (2006)
Return on Investment (ROI)
McGovern, Lindemann, Vergara, Murphy, Barker, & Warrenfeltz (2001); Kearns (2006); Parker-Wilkins (2006); Feggetter (2007); Phillips (2007)
Author is also the coach of the study (report of outcomes of one’s own EC practice)
Foster & Lendl (1996); Diedrich (1996); Kiel, Rimmer, Williams, & Doyle (1996); Anderson (2002); Orenstein (2002); Wales (2003); Wasylyshyn (2003); Laske (2004); Weller & Weller (2004); Blattner (2005); Peterson & Millier (2005); Winum (2005); Orenstein (2006)*, Mansi (2007); Perkins (2009); Freedman & Perry (2010); Steinhouse (2011); Gaskell, Logan, & Nicholls (2012)
Anderson (2002); Libri & Kemp (2006); Mansi (2007); Styhre & Josephson (2007); Styhre (2008); Grant, Curtayne, & Burton (2009); Cerni, Curtis, & Colmar (2010); Grant, Green, & Rynsaardt (2010)
Weller & Weller (2004); Blattner (2005); Wasylyshyn, Gronsky, & Haas (2006); Blattner & Bacigalupo (2007); Koonce (2010)
Evers, Brouwers, & Tomic (2006); Scoular & Linley (2006); Burke & Linley (2007); Chandler, Roebuck, Swan, & Brock (2011)
Kiel, Rimmer, Williams, & Doyle (1996); Luthans & Peterson (2003); Blattner & Bacigalupo (2007)
Grant, Curtayne, & Burton (2009); Grant, Green, & Rynsaardt (2010)
Positive psychology/Strengths coaching
Burke & Linley (2007); Toogood (2012)
Blattner (2005); Steinhouse (2011)
Gray & Goregaokar (2010); Steinhouse (2011)
Olivero, Bane, & Kopelman (1997); Moen & Federici (2012)
Coaching in context
Table 4.2 Continued Reviewed Parameter of Outcome Study
Sub-categories per Reviewed Parameter of Outcome Study
Number of Studies per Category
Beets & Goodman (2012)
Ratiu & Baban (2012)
Ratiu & Baban (2012)
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
Foster & Lendl (1996)
Three principles psychology approach
Polsfuss & Ardichvili (2008)
Mixed approaches and tools
McGovern, Lindemann, Vergara, Murphy, Barker, & Warrenfeltz (2001); Blattner (2005); Wasylyshyn, Gronsky, & Haas (2006); Blattner & Bacigalupo (2007); Burke & Linley (2007); Grant, Curtayne, & Burton (2009); Steinhouse (2011); Ratiu & Baban (2012)
Not specified or not applicable
Judge & Cowell (1997); Hall, Otazo, & Hollenbeck (1999); Garman, Whiston, & Zlatoper (2000); Thach (2002); Smither, London, Flautt, Vargas, & Kucine (2003); Wales (2003); Wasylyshyn (2003); Grant & Zackon (2004); Sue-Chan & Latham (2004); Leedham (2005); Peterson & Millier (2005); Stevens (2005); Winum (2005); Bowles & Picano (2006); Dagley (2006); Fillery-Travis & Lane (2006); Jones, Rafferty, & Griffin (2006); Kearns (2006); Orenstein (2006); Parker-Wilkins (2006); Bowles, Cunningham, De La Rosa, & Picano (2007); Feggetter (2007); Greif (2007); McDermott, Levenson, & Newton (2007) Phillips (2007); Liljenstrand & Nebeker (2008); Kombarakaran, Yang, Baker, & Fernandes (2008); Stewart, Palmer, Wilkin, & Kerrin (2008); Baron & Morin (2009); Fischer & Beimers (2009); Hooijberg & Lane (2009); Levenson (2009); Moen & Allgood (2009); Moen & Skaalvik (2009); Perkins (2009); Dagley (2010); De Haan, Bertie, Day, & Sills (2010); Freedman & Perry (2010); Augustijnen, Schnitzer, & Van Esbroeck (2011); de Haan, Culpin & Curd (2011); Gray, Ekinci, & Goregaokar (2011a); Gray, Ekinci, & Goregaokar (2011b); Newsom & Dent (2011); Walker-Fraser (2011); De Haan & Nieß (2012); Gaskell, Logan, & Nicholls (2012); Jowett, Kanakoglou, & Passmore (2012); Lewis-Duarte & Bligh (2012)
Foster & Lendl (1996); Diedrich (1996); Kiel, Rimmer, Williams, & Doyle (1996); Olivero, Bane, & Kopelman (1997); Hall, Otazo, & Hollenbeck (1999); Garman, Whiston, & Zlatoper (2000); McGovern, Lindemann, Vergara, Murphy, Barker, & Warrenfeltz (2001); Anderson (2002); Thach (2002); Luthans & Peterson (2003); Smither, London, Flautt, Vargas, & Kucine (2003); Wasylyshyn (2003); Laske (2004); Sue-Chan & Latham (2004); Weller & Weller (2004); Blattner (2005); Leedham (2005); Peterson & Millier (2005); Stevens (2005); Winum (2005); Bowles & Picano (2006); Dagley (2006); Evers, Brouwers, & Tomic (2006); Fillery-Travis & Lane (2006); Jones, Rafferty, & Griffin (2006); Kearns (2006); Libri & Kemp (2006); Orenstein (2006); Parker-Wilkins (2006); Scoular & Linley (2006); Wasylyshyn, Gronsky, & Haas (2006); Blattner & Bacigalupo (2007); Bowles, Cunningham, De La Rosa, & Picano (2007); Burke & Linley (2007); Feggetter (2007); Mansi (2007); McDermott, Levenson, & Newton (2007); Phillips (2007); Styhre & Josephson (2007); Kombarakaran, Yang, Baker, & Fernandes (2008); Polsfuss & Ardichvili (2008); Stewart, Palmer, Wilkin, & Kerrin (2008); Styhre (2008); Baron & Morin (2009); Grant, Curtayne, & Burton (2009); Fischer & Beimers (2009); Levenson (2009); Moen & Allgood (2009); Moen & Skaalvik (2009); Perkins (2009); Cerni, Curtis & Colmar (2010); De Haan, Bertie, Day, & Sills (2010); Freedman & Perry (2010); Grant, Green & Rynsaardt (2010); Koonce (2010); Chandler, Roebuck, Swan & Brock (2011); de Haan, Culpin & Curd (2011); Gorringe (2011); Gray, Ekinci & Goregaokar (2011a); Steinhouse (2011); Beets & Goodman (2012); Gaskell, Logan, & Nicholls (2012); Lewis-Duarte & Bligh (2012); Moen & Federici (2012); Toogood (2012)
Diedrich (1996); Garman, Whiston, & Zlatoper (2000); Smither, London, Flautt, Vargas, & Kucine (2003); Wasylyshyn (2003); Grant & Zackon (2004); Laske (2004); Leedham (2005); Dagley (2006); Scoular & Linley (2006); Greif (2007); Fischer & Beimers (2009); Levenson (2009); Moen & Skaalvik (2009); Perkins (2009); Gray, Ekinci & Goregaokar (2011a); Steinhouse (2011)
McGovern, Lindemann, Vergara, Murphy, Barker, & Warrenfeltz (2001); Laske (2004); Bowles & Picano (2006); Dagley (2006); Polsfuss & Ardichvili (2008)
Judge & Cowell (1997); Orenstein (2002); Liljenstrand & Nebeker (2008); Hooijberg & Lane (2009); Dagley (2010); Gray & Goregaokar (2010); Augustijnen, Schnitzer & Van Esbroeck (2011); Gray, Ekinci & Goregaokar (2011b); Newsom & Dent (2011); Walker-Fraser (2011); De Haan & Nieß (2012); Jowett, Kanakoglou, & Passmore (2012); Ratiu & Baban (2012)
The studies that are marked with an asterisk (*) are not empirical per se, but report earlier empirical evidence (see also Grant, 2011).
98 Developing Leaders by Executive Coaching
4.3.1 THE COACHING PRACTICE AS PRESENTED IN THE EC OUTCOME STUDIES According to Segers et al. (2011: 208), the largest gap in the existing coaching literature exists within the ‘how’ dimension of their aforementioned coaching cube (i.e., what coaching approaches are being used) and particularly with regard to the differences in effectiveness from the use of different approaches. From our review of EC outcome studies, we found that, with the exception of Grant’s (2002) thesis, which compared the effects of a cognitive-only approach (CT), with a behavioural-only approach (BT), and with a cognitive–behavioural approach, there appears to be no other study that has attempted to compare the effectiveness of different EC approaches. Moreover, forty-eight of the eighty-one identified EC outcome studies do not specify the type of EC approach/methodology/technique used in the examined interventions. The fact that in most outcome studies there is no reference to the EC approach employed during the coaching interventions under examination makes it impossible to draw meaningful conclusions on the comparative effectiveness of different types of EC intervention. Among the studies that mention the EC theoretical approach they employed, the cognitive behavioural/cognitive/behavioural approaches were the most popular ones (this approach appeared in eight EC studies). Regarding the EC frameworks, emotional intelligence (mentioned in five outcome studies), and the GROW model (mentioned in four outcome studies) appeared most frequently. To some extent, this lack of comparative analysis of EC approaches and frameworks within the outcome studies is anticipated. Assuming that we wanted to compare the outcomes of different EC interventions with the participation of ten different executives who all had a somewhat similar profile, we would still be unable to fully determine the extent that the observed changes are due to a specific EC intervention and not specific to the individual. This is because each coachee is a human being, with a unique personality, background, and response to an intervention. Related to this, a rigorous, correct, and effective use of personality and ability assessment inventories/psychometric measurements/psychological tests can certainly help not only in facilitating an EC intervention but also in measuring its outcomes. It allows producing more credible and comparable results among different EC interventions. These measurements are particularly useful early in the EC intervention process in order to explore what the coachee’s personality and behaviour is and how others see him/her. Furthermore, much of the evidence on the outcomes of an EC intervention comes from comparing the results (pre- and post-coaching) from such inventories employed during EC interventions. The
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issue of outcome measurement is paramount as far as both EC practice and EC research are concerned.
4.3.2 TYPES OF OUTCOMES EXAMINED IN EC EMPIRICAL STUDIES As repeatedly noted (e.g., Gray et al., 2011b: 415), despite the EC field’s growth, there are only a few studies which explore the efficacy of coaching. A key difficulty regarding the coaching outcome research is the high heterogeneity of issues, problems, and goals selected as themes in various coaching interventions (Greif, 2007). The use of different tools that would allow measuring the efficacy of EC more effectively has been proposed in several studies (e.g., see Orenstein, 2006; Greif, 2007). Wise and Voss (2002: 4–6) sorted the existing kinds of measurement of coaching effectiveness into four categories: ‘self-reported satisfaction’, ‘self- and other-reported improvements’, ‘business impact studies’ (i.e., measuring more specific, often financial, impacts on the organization), and ‘ROI studies’. A survey1 has shown that in the early 2000s less than 10% of the organizations measured coaching effectiveness (Wise and Voss, 2002: 4). Also, in an empirical study conducted by Dagley (2006), it was observed that practitioners from larger programmes had a more positive view of the EC cost/benefit than professionals from smaller programmes and overall, practitioners tended to admit that they were not good at estimating ROI and quantifying results. Very few HR departments conduct an EC ROI analysis and most of them only informally (ibid.). An online survey by Grant and Zackon (2004: 10–11) of 2,529 coaches (who conduct executive, workplace, and life coaching and are ICF members) also confirmed that very little is done from the coaches’ side on measuring coaching effectiveness: 31.8% of coaches report using client satisfaction surveys ‘often’, while most rely on informal client feedback (55.3%) as a measure of their coaching effectiveness. In empirical EC studies the measurement of outcomes appears to take various forms, being either qualitative or quantitative, or both. Yet, irrespective of the nature of measured outcomes, the conclusion—with minor exceptions which we later explain—is the same across studies: EC has positive impact on individuals and the sponsoring organizations involved. We consequently sort the EC benefits identified from our literature review into two broad categories: (a) ROI and other tangible business benefits and (b) intangible benefits.
Matt Bolch, ‘Return on coaching’. http://www.trainingmag.com, 3 May 2002.
100 Developing Leaders by Executive Coaching
ROI and Other Tangible Business Benefits Several objective measurements associated with different roles within the organization have been proposed as tangible measures of EC effectiveness, such as: customer service (customer satisfaction, response time, etc.), project management (deadline and deliverable achievement), or recruitment (cost per recruitment, time to recruit), productivity, quality, and organizational strength (see McGovern et al., 2001; Fairhurst, 2007: 53). However, the challenge regarding the quantification of EC effects is best manifested when trying to estimate the EC ROI (in financial terms). From our review, we identified only five outcome studies that do so (McGovern et al., 2001; Kearns, 2006; Parker-Wilkins, 2006; Feggetter, 2007; Phillips, 2007): • McGovern et al. (2001): ROI was reported to be between $100,000 and $1 million. Calculating this conservatively, ROI averaged nearly $100,000 or 5.7 times the initial investment in coaching. The authors note that based on these observations in conjunction with Phillips’ (1997) suggestion that if a programme is not generating at least 25% ROI in its first year it should be considered an undesirable investment, it can be confidently concluded that EC is a very valuable investment (see McGovern et al., 2001: 7). • Kearns (2006): ROI was calculated to be 200% at six months after the start of the coaching intervention. It was estimated that if this was repeated over three years, assuming that the benefit gained from the coaching continues at least into years two and three, the extrapolated ROI would be 801%. • Parker-Wilkins (2006): ROI was calculated to 689%. • Feggetter (2007): A preliminary ROI calculation indicated that benefits exceeded the costs (i.e., the £3,000 cost for the EC intervention). No specific EC ROI% was provided in this study. • Phillips (2007): ROI was calculated to 221% (i.e., for every dollar invested in the coaching programme, the invested dollar was returned and another $1.21 was generated). Also, in his empirical study of the effects of coaching carried out within an evidence-based framework, Laske (2004) uses the term ‘ROI’ to refer to changes of behaviour—therefore not in a financial sense. Among the ROI studies included in Appendix II, McGovern et al.’s (2001) study is the most extensive and detailed of all. In order to explore the outcomes of EC, McGovern et al. (2001) combined Kirkpatrick’s (1983) traditional paradigm for evaluating the effectiveness of development programmes based on four levels of criteria or impact: (a) Reaction to the program and planned action, (b) Learning, (c) Behavioural change, and (d) Business results, with ROI as the fifth level (as suggested by Phillips, 1997). Participants were asked to quantify
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the business impacts, and after adjusting for potential errors in estimation, ROI was estimated based on the following formula: ROI (%) = [ Adjusted ROI − Program Costs × 100 ] / Program Costs Besides ROI, other tangible business benefits drawn from EC interventions include: productivity, quality, and organizational strength (McGovern et al., 2001). What we conclude from the above observations is the impressive variation of estimated EC ROI values. The accuracy of the ROI calculation is not easy. It is difficult to quantify some improvements and the contribution of coaching to any improvement cannot be easily isolated (Wise and Voss, 2002: 6). Indeed, Wise and Voss (2002: 8) referred to empirical studies and surveys drawn from various sources, which showed that the ROI of EC ranged from 500 to 1,000% (Wise and Voss, 2002: 8). Therefore, while the ROI provides a direct and easy indication of the impact of EC in organizational performance, it is not always possible to calculate it. ROI must be treated with considerable caution regarding its reliability as an EC outcome metric. At best ROI can only be a measure of outcome of any specific coaching engagement. The key factor in determining the exact ROI amount is the opportunity that the coachee has to make money. This means that a senior executive who works on large projects will have greater revenue-generating capacity than a middle-level manager. This particularly important issue has not been adequately factored into ROI studies to date. A study conducted between 2003 and 2006 by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) exploring the coaching evaluation in a workplace context and the factors that help or hinder the process, showed for instance that it is possible to calculate the ROI in sales where there is a clearly identifiable impact of coaching on the financial measures (Fairhurst, 2007). However when managers and executives—who succeed through other people—are the target audience, it is not easy to identify the direct financial impact of EC (see Fairhurst, 2007: 52–3). Fairhurst (2007: 53) attributes this partly to the fact that most organizations are not aware of the effect that behaviours can have on the bottom line (or other financial indicators) and partly because of the difficulty in isolating the impact of coaching from other changes in the business environment without using control groups. The author also proposes some alternative objective measurements associated with different roles within the organization, such as customer service (customer satisfaction, response time, etc.), project management (deadline and deliverable achievement), or recruitment (cost per recruitment, time to recruit) (Fairhurst, 2007: 53). According to Grant (2012) not only is ROI an ‘unreliable and insufficient measure of coaching outcomes’ but also overemphasis on financial returns can ‘restrict coaches’ and organizations’ awareness of the full range of positive
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outcomes possible through coaching. Grant (2012) argues that when coaching interventions myopically focus on maximizing financial returns, they may cause an inadvertent increase in job-related stress and anxiety. A further weakness regarding ROI as an EC success measure is that EC success depends strongly on a number of contextual elements relating to each coaching engagement. This is confirmed by the very large discrepancy between the reported ROI in the few existing studies that examined the EC ROI. Each calculation per study is specific to that particular research sample the researchers have used, and is as unique as the coach–coachee–organization combination that characterizes each coaching engagement. In other words, each coaching intervention (even among several happening within the same organization) is unique and irreplaceable and its success would depend on a combination of several factors discussed earlier in this review. These factors include the organizational support in the EC intervention, the coach’s competence, the coachee’s willingness to be coached, and the business environment/competition (internal and external) as well as the pressure for a quick positive EC outcome, organizational politics, and having available resources (time, funding, etc.) for completing an effective and successful coaching engagement. It is very difficult to isolate all these influences and provide a ‘universal’ ROI. Moreover, ROI cannot adequately provide firm evidence of the long-term effects of EC. While an EC intervention may be calculated to have a particularly high ROI in the short term, changing situations in the organizational and social context within which the coachee works may reduce the long-term EC ROI, despite more optimistic initial calculations. Last but not least, the discussion on EC ROI invites questions about what really matters (or should matter) in terms of EC outcomes for an organization. If, for instance, we take the example of two organizations, both providing their managers with EC and on calculation, the EC ROI in the first organization is found to be higher than in the second, does this mean that the EC of the organization with the lower ROI has been unsuccessful? Could there have been other more intangible benefits in that organization that may not be immediately visible and/ or immediately reflected in its initially calculated EC ROI, but may have longer and more pervasive positive effects than in the organization with the higher EC ROI? The intangible effects of EC can be as important (or more) as the tangible.
Intangible Benefits According to Kearns (2006: 42) there is an absence of hard results attributable to coaching and several reasons lead to this: there is little agreement on what ‘coaching’ is, no single recognized body can be regarded as the ‘arbiter of standards’ and there is also no single qualification of competence. Coaching inherently focuses on soft factors, which cannot be objectively assessed, the quality of coaches varies significantly in terms of ability and competence, and there is also a fundamental distinction between improving ‘organizational’
Table 4.3 A List of Intangible Outcomes of EC Interventions 1. Improved relationship with subordinates, more senior managers, and stakeholders 2. Improved communication ability 3. Having more empathy/being more sensitive to others’ needs both in professional and personal life 4. Conflict management skills 5. Improved teamwork/team-management 6. Increased commitment and self-concordance 7. Enhanced self-confidence/less defensiveness 8. Increased reflexivity 9. Improved one’s credibility with others/became more respected 10. Enhanced leadership effectiveness 11. More strategic thinking 12. Improved personal insight 13. More flexibility/increased resilience 14. Became better listeners 15. Increased job satisfaction 16. Improved customer service 17. Higher levels of self-efficacy 18. Better planning skills 19. Improved work performance 20. Enhanced goal-attainment and prioritization of goals 21. Acquired new skills 22. Became more patient 23. Learned more about their business and the internal politics of their organization 24. Developed systems thinking 25. Self-awareness and behavioural management 26. Improved motivation 27. Learned to cope with ambiguity 28. Better stress management 29. Taking ownership of decisions 30. Increased sense of self-worth 31. Feeling more powerful 32. Improved time-management/reduced procrastination 33. Became more effective in meeting one’s responsibilities and obligations 34. Reduced indecisiveness 35. Better management of emotions 36. Enhanced general mental health 37. Sustained behavioural change 38. Coping more effectively with organizational change 39. Better balance between personal and professional life 40. EC intervention as a ‘life-changing’ experience
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and ‘personal’ effectiveness which further adds to the complexity (ibid.). Indeed, from our systematic review, we identified an extensive—but certainly not exhaustive—list of at least forty different intangible benefits produced through EC interventions. These are listed in Table 4.3.
Unanticipated/Surprising Observations The literature review so far, including the review of the EC outcome studies in Table 4.3 and Appendix II, led us also to identify several interesting, but unanticipated observations worth noting. • In a quasi-experimental study exploring whether workplace coaching can reduce stress, Gyllensten and Palmer (2005) compared the findings between a group that was coached and a control group and found that coaching participants reported high levels of perceived coaching effectiveness and also, the levels of anxiety and stress decreased more in the coaching group compared to the control group. However, surprisingly, although the levels of depression decreased in both groups, they decreased to a greater extent in the control group compared to the coaching group! • An empirical study which involved survey of fifty-five organizations that used either external EC or internal coaching, showed that the organizations that use central coordination of coaching and evaluate its effectiveness tend to report better results (McDermott et al., 2007: 30). • Some of the benefits from EC may be different from what may have been initially intended. For instance, in an empirical research by de Haan et al. (2010) on clients’ critical moments during the EC process, it was observed that EC participants often relate their positive outcomes as a result of EC to an increase in insight and realization. This is an interesting observation if one considers that EC approaches are typically directed towards other types of outcomes (e.g., problem-solving, strengthening of existing solutions, remedial help, or active support) (see de Haan et al., 2010: 619). • There is a discrepancy between what an organization wants from an EC intervention and what the individual coachee wants. An empirical study (see Leedham, 2005: 32–6) showed a discrepancy between the responses of EC purchasers and the responses of coachees with regard to what they consider as the most important EC success criterion: while contribution to business results was perceived by EC purchasers as the most important success criterion, among the coachees this was far less important (it was only the ninth most common response). • An empirical study of 120 coaching sessions showed that the EC outcome scores were higher in the cases of coaches and coachees having different temperament (the personalities of the coach and coachee were measured with personality instruments—MBTI and NEO personality questionnaires) (Scoular and Linley, 2006).
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• Although there is a tendency to assume that EC outcomes are positive, we identified five studies where some negative effects were reported, ranging from the costs of EC perceived by some as higher than the returns to behavioural regression (e.g., the studies by McGovern et al., 2001; Laske, 2004; Bowles and Picano, 2006; Dagley, 2006; Polsfuss and Ardichvili, 2008) (see Appendix II). Overall, nineteen studies reported some type of moderate/conflicting or negative EC outcome.
4.3.3 AREAS OF PROMISE AND AREAS OF CONCERN WITH REGARD TO THE EXISTING EC OUTCOME RESEARCH MacKie (2007) identified the following types of existing EC outcome studies: surveys, case studies, uncontrolled trials, controlled trials, and studies on the coaching process (such as studies of the impact of the quality of the coaching process on outcomes). Our systematic review showed that the combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods is the most frequent research design in EC outcome studies (over a third of the empirical studies did so). There are also many purely qualitative studies, followed in frequency by quantitative (survey-based) studies. In total, we identified a large number of studies that use some form of mixed methods. Particularly the use of a combination of some form of qualitative and quantitative research has been adopted by a considerable number of EC scholars. The importance of using both qualitative and quantitative measures in studying EC has been repeatedly highlighted in the literature (e.g., see Grant, 2013a). Also, the case study method (either completely qualitative or supplemented with quantitative data) appears as a particularly popular research method. Twenty studies focused on one or more organizations as case studies and seventeen focused on one or more individuals as case studies. Case studies can serve as a particularly useful way of examining the practice and efficacy of EC (Kilburg, 2004b). However, as noted by Lowman (2005: 93) and also confirmed by our systematic review of the EC outcome research, unfortunately there is an observed tendency in the literature to report only case studies of EC interventions that were successful and often these studies tend to present only the consultant’s perspective. In fact, much of the existing EC outcome research evaluation criteria are based on the coaches’ or coachees’ subjective evaluation of the EC experience or some indicator of a change in the coachee’s job performance (Smith et al., 2009: 289). In fact, almost a fifth of the EC outcome studies under examination have been conducted by the coach or coaches of the EC interventions, who therefore, report the outcomes of their own coaching efforts (see the studies by Diedrich, 1996; Foster and Lendl, 1996; Kiel et al., 1996; Orenstein, 2002; Wasylyshyn, 2003; Laske, 2004; Weller and Weller, 2004; Blattner, 2005; Peterson and Millier,
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2005; Winum, 2005; Orenstein, 2006; Mansi, 2007; Perkins, 2009; Freedman and Perry, 2010; Steinhouse, 2011; Gaskell et al. 2012). While coaches’ reporting of their own work offers important insights, this is often not adequate enough. Moreover, several case study-based outcome studies are limited to the presentation of the case of a single coachee (e.g., Diedrich, 1996; Kiel et al., 1996; Blattner, 2005; Winum, 2005; Libri and Kemp, 2006; Orenstein, 2006; Mansi, 2007; Freedman and Perry, 2010; De Haan and Nieß, 2012). Another source of concern regarding the quality of EC outcome studies is that many studies are based on coachees’ self-reporting (e.g., Wales, 2003; Dawdy, 2004; Bowles and Picano, 2006; McDermott et al., 2007; Stewart et al., 2008). This is problematic since one may overestimate (or underestimate) the positive outcomes of his/her own EC experience. Therefore, the ‘data source triangulation’ issue applies here, too (Denzin 1984; Stake 1995). In such case, coaches and researchers must be very skilled in the use of personality and ability assessment inventories and the design of robust research designs to ensure that such findings are triangulated. This unveils a further weakness of some EC outcome studies, that is, the lack of ‘methodological triangulation’ (e.g., using more than one method to test the research findings) (see Denzin 1984; Stake 1995). For instance, one way to address this weakness would be not only to rely on the participant’s self-reporting but also test the reported outcomes by multiple methods (e.g., conduct complementary interviews). The least employed research method within the EC outcome studies is the experimental/randomized controlled studies, with only eight studies using such a design (Evers et al., 2006; Scoular and Linley, 2006; Grant et al., 2009; Moen and Allgood, 2009; Moen and Skaalvik, 2009; Cerni et al., 2010; Grant et al., 2010; Moen and Federici, 2012). However, this method holds most promise for the EC field. Although having only recently appeared as a method for studying EC outcomes, it has been increasingly employed in recent years. It represents the EC field’s scholarly effort for more evidence-based and robust research. The root of the aforementioned problems lies in that the EC field is not formalized. There are still no universally accepted standards of practice and this undoubtedly undermines the quality of EC outcome research.
4.3.4 CONCLUSIONS FROM THE SYSTEMATIC REVIEW OF THE EC OUTCOME RESEARCH The EC outcome literature is characterized by a ‘relative poverty’ (MacKie, 2007: 315) and the coaching field has been urged to ‘make ample room for both rigorous research and vigorous practice as sources of evidence, and to respond to internal and external forces that are at play in shaping the evidence conversation and its outcome’ (Drake, 2009: 12). As Baron et al. (2011) note, despite
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the growing popularity of executive coaching in applied settings, up to now it has received little attention in empirical research, especially with regard to the coaching process. As our review findings showed, there are several issues that future EC empirical studies must attend to in order to improve the reliability and effectiveness of the produced research. Our findings further confirm earlier calls in the EC literature for future coaching research studies that report on the coaching agendas being used, who the coach is, and how coaching is approached (Segers et al., 2011: 218), as well as more reliable and valid pre- and post-coaching client performance evidence (Feldman and Lankau, 2005: 843). We believe that future EC outcome studies could more usefully showcase the theoretical underpinnings and frameworks of the EC practice and adopt a more triangulated approach to research design. Furthermore, it may be useful to use more actively in the data analysis the findings from personality and ability assessment inventories as this approach seems still underdeveloped in studying the potential impact of coaching on leadership practice. We also found very few studies that explored the financial benefits (the ROI, particularly) that an EC intervention offers to the organization and observed large discrepancies between them. This reflects the particular difficulty associated with any effort to quantify the value of EC practice since EC success depends on too many parameters that cannot be easily controlled and accurately measured. Moreover, no definitive evidence exists on the long-term effects of EC in ROI/financial terms. This raises questions regarding what really matters in EC effectiveness and highlights the importance of considering context when measuring EC outcomes. The coach, the coachee, and the organizational characteristics are important in making meaningful comparisons of EC outcomes across contexts. Equally important is to identify the precise constituents of the coaching activity enabling identification of which components contribute to more successful EC and have ‘professional consensus’ regarding the appropriate outcome domains (MacKie, 2007: 316). While our review confirmed the absence of consensus regarding specific EC outcome domains, all stakeholders (organizations, individual practitioners, and EC researchers) tend to focus primarily on the intangible EC benefits. This reflects the difficulty in quantifying EC outcomes since the factors contributing to the EC intervention success (or failure) and the changes brought by an EC intervention can be so complicated and diverse (we identified at least forty different intangible benefits reported across the EC outcome studies) that they cannot be easily isolated from one another. For example based on a systematic review of the literature on different coaching models, Carey et al. (2011) found that the key components of coaching models are the coach–coachee relationship, problem identification and goal setting, problem solving, the transformational process, and the process by which the model produces outcomes. Moreover, factors that contribute to the positive outcomes from coaching interventions are the coach’s role and attributes, the selection of coaching candidates and coach attributes, facilitators and obstacles to the coaching process, the benefits and drawbacks
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between external and internal coaches, and the support that the organization offers to the coaching intervention (Carey et al., 2011). It is not hard to reach the conclusion that this complexity explains why very few organizations invest time and resources to identify and quantify EC outcomes. Overall, our systematic review showed that the EC outcomes appear to be positive across studies, though interestingly a few report some negative effects, too. An empirical study by Clegg et al. (2005) identified three main challenges for the business coaching industry: (a) how to standardize the coaching practice without inhibiting the flexible and personal orientation of the coaching process, (b) how the nature and benefits of business coaching can be more coherently perceived and better understood within the coaching industry, and (c) how more robust and durable coaching businesses can be established to lead the growth and development of the coaching industry. Through our systematic review, we identified multiple areas where the validity of many outcome studies is being questioned. Perhaps an effective way to address them is to conduct research validity tests. For example, considering that the case study is the most popular research method in EC outcome studies, the use of at least one of the three validity tests for case study research (‘Construct validity test’, ‘Internal validity test’, and ‘External validity test’) proposed by Yin (1994: 32–8) could be a good way forward for new and better EC outcome studies. An example is the use of multiple case studies, which would allow testing the validity of any produced theoretical constructs (construct validity), the identification of patterns across cases, as well as causal relationships among the data (internal validity) and replication of the data findings using multiple case studies (external validity). Last but not least, while case studies can provide vivid accounts of the EC intervention and its outcomes, only few studies have adopted a more scientific, evidence-based research design such as experimental/randomized controlled studies. In our view, such studies constitute the promising ‘future’ of EC outcome research. They represent the EC field’s attempt to conduct more advanced and scientific research in order to produce more solid and reliable data findings, which can be fed back to EC practice and advance the field as a whole.
4.4 Comparison of the Effectiveness of EC to Other Leadership Development Interventions A few studies have compared the value of EC with other leadership development practices. Among them, EC appears to be more effective. EC allows the overcoming many of the limitations of traditional training/development approaches, that is, low transfer of training (EC is on-the-job training), lack of relevancy, barriers to change in the work environment (EC is more
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long-term and hence provides the time for overcoming barriers and achieve effective changes), and individual differences in learning readiness and style (EC adjusts to individual coaches needs and preferences) (Eggers and Clark, 2000: 70). An empirical study of the relative effectiveness of external, peer, and self-coaches on the performance of participants in two MBA programmes (Sue-Chan and Latham, 2004) showed that those coached by an external coach exhibited higher team-playing behaviour, also that an external coach was perceived by the participants to have higher credibility than their peers, and that the overall satisfaction with the coaching process was highest among the managers who had an external coach. Also, a 1999 study by Personnel Desicions Inc. showed that among the organizational development activities EC programmes are twice as effective as behavioural modelling and three times more effective than multi-technique programmes (see Eggers and Clark, 2000: 67). A further interesting observation was made with regard to coaching provided through executive education in another empirical study: Hooijberg and Lane’s (2009: 491) study involved online survey of 232 managers who had participated in the executive education programme of a European business school. The authors found that, unlike what happens in longer-term coaching being mentioned in the existing literature, in the coaching that is conducted in executive education context, the coach is required to have more active participation. Specifically, it was observed that instead of guiding coachees to reach their own conclusions, participants in executive education prefer their coaches to interpret the results and make recommendations. Moreover, the survey respondents gave emphasis not on the coach–coachee chemistry, but rather on the coach’s skill to create an open, trusting, and supportive environment. However, irrespective of the EC intervention, what appears to be important is the participant’s commitment for sustainable change. Goldsmith (2009) mentions an empirical study jointly conducted with H. Morgan, in which they measured the impact of leadership development programmes on increased leadership effectiveness. They found that ‘participants who do not follow-up make no progress, while those who return from the programmes, practice what is taught, discuss what they learn with co-workers, and do regular progress checks are seen as becoming more effective leaders’ (Goldsmith, 2009: 22).
4.5 Key Learning • Specific concerns have been expressed with regard to the lack of a common understanding of EC practice standards and the lack of standards in EC outcome research. • We identified eighty-one EC studies (up to December 2012) that focus on the EC outcomes and conducted a systematic review of its current status, its key findings,
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the EC approaches and frameworks employed in the practices under study, and finally, the research methods applied in studying EC outcomes. • Many studies fail to report the type of EC framework or approach the coach used in the EC intervention under study and also there are practically no studies that compare EC intervention methods to identify which are more effective. • All studies agree that EC has a positive effect on the individual and the sponsoring organization, but a few studies also provide evidence of some moderate/conflicting or negative outcomes. • The estimation of the EC ROI appears to have large discrepancies among the studies that have attempted to calculate it and we therefore express our reservations as to its effectiveness as a method for assessing EC outcomes. • Unfortunately, many EC outcome studies lack in academic rigour with regard to the research design, execution, and analysis of the outcomes, which causes concerns about the reliability of the findings. • We propose the use of several validity tests that can help to improve the standards of the produced research. • While case studies appear to be the most popular (and indeed a valuable) method in EC outcome research, the use of randomized controlled studies has been employed in a smaller number of EC outcome studies. We believe that this type of research can provide important insights on EC interventions.
Current Debates, Future Trends
5.1 Current Debates The controversies or debates regarding EC are mainly around two themes: who practises (and who should practise) EC and how, as well as who should set the standards of EC practice. One of the longest-standing debates with regard to EC is about the role of psychology in EC and whether executive coaches should be psychologists or whether it is better if they come from other backgrounds (see Bono et al. 2009; Stern, 2009). Bono et al. (2009: 364–6) summarizes this debate around the following points. The one side contends that psychological training is essential for executive coaches, especially since sustained behaviour change is the EC objective and psychologists’ training makes it more likely that they will be effective coaches. Moreover, based on their qualifications, psychologists are able to screen the employees who are more ready to benefit from the coaching process. The non-psychologists’ side contends that the lack of business experience is a significant shortcoming for psychologists who work as executive coaches. Another topic of discussion in the EC literature is the ‘coach or couch’ debate (Filipczak, 1998: 34; Grant, 2009). Several articles discuss the similarities or differences between counselling, psychotherapy, and EC (see a list of relevant references cited by Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson, 2001: 210; see also Tobias, 1996; Filipczak, 1998; Passmore, 2009). Passmore (2009: 272) argues that differences between coaching and therapy are significant, particularly with regard to ‘the triad relationship within coaching, the critical nature of challenge, and the need for commercial knowledge, combined with an understanding about human behavior, cognition, and emotion at work’, and this significance should not be downplayed. Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson (2001: 210) suggested that the differences rest in that EC ultimately relates to workplace performance and it appears to be more issue-focused than therapy and happens in a wider range of contexts in terms of types of interactions (ranging from face-to-face sessions to email exchanges), and locations. In addition, compared to counselling and psychotherapy where performance measurement is based on client self-report, in EC the measurement also
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relates to bottom-line performance for the executive and the sponsoring organization (Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson, 2001: 211). Furthermore, the typical duration of a coaching session is different from that of a therapy and— compared to counselling or psychotherapy—EC data is normally collected from various sources, not just the individual executive (ibid.: 211). Moreover, EC tends to be more ‘directive’ and the coach–coachee relationship more collegial (Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson, 2001: 211). So, while there has been quite some speculation about the similarities and differences between coaching and counselling and the nature of the coach–coachee relationship, only recently has there been some empirical research. For example, Grant (2013b) examined this issue and found that in a coaching situation a goal-focused coaching style was a better predictor of coaching success than the autonomy support associated with a supportive counselling style of relationship. Other debates range from discussions on the ethical implications of EC (Hannafey and Vitulano, 2013) or whether the coach should be held responsible for making sure that the organizational goals are achieved (Stokes and Jolly, 2009: 231) to whether EC is just a fad. As Filipczak (1998: 31) mentions some observers regard EC as a ‘fashion accessory—a Rolex with ears’ and others see EC as an effort of psychologists to find new work in response to changes in the healthcare industry that hit the mental health field particularly hard (ibid.: 31–2). The most recent data shows not only that EC is not a fad, but is instead a thriving field which appears unaffected by the financial crisis (Mann, 2013). A final set of debates centres around the EC credentials and the measurement of EC outcomes. One debate is about who should set the guidelines for EC, with varying views, for example, as to whether organizations such as the International Coach Federation (ICF) or the American Psychological Association (APA) are more skilled to set the standards (e.g. it can be argued that psychologists by training have many of the skills that are required to provide executive coaching services) (see Brotman et al., 1998; cited in Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson, 2001: 209). This relates to a debate around the differences in qualifications between executive coaches and psychotherapists and the need for the executive coach to be able to understand not only the psychological dynamics and adult development issues, but also leadership, business, management, and politics (Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson, 2001: 211).
5.2 Coaching Standards and the Field Several efforts have been made in the EC literature to establish a typology or guidelines for EC standards. See, for example, Wasylyshyn’s (2003: 105) typology of assessing EC engagements or Ennis et al.’s (2008b) competency model.
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The recent shift towards evidence-based coaching is an effort in that direction. Indeed, Griffiths and Campbell (2008: 20) observe such a movement and also a growing demand for standardization and regulation from the research field, the industry, and the marketplace. Recent self-regulation initiatives, such as the joint initiative by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) and the International Coach Federation (ICF) filing with the European Union in 2011 a common Code of Conduct with a view to serve as the benchmark standard for the coaching and mentoring industry (see ), indicate that the coaching industry is becoming more and more active in its efforts to standardize its practices. Overall, the effort for standardization of coaching is ongoing and is now spreading across the globe and contributing to the industry’s further maturation. However, the academic evidence on EC outcomes seems to be far less international. Looking at the existing EC outcome studies, we observe that the EC outcome research is dominated by the ‘Western world’ logic. From our review we found that EC outcome studies come either from the US (e.g., Olivero et al. 1997; Hall et al., 1999; McGovern et al., 2001; Thach, 2002; Luthans and Peterson, 2003; Winum, 2005; Bowles and Picano, 2006; Bowles et al., 2007; Baron and Morin, 2009) or some other developed country such as Canada (e.g., Sue-Chan and Latham, 2004), the UK (e.g., Wales, 2003; Leedham, 2005; Feggetter, 2007; Hooijberg and Lane, 2009; De Haan et al., 2010; Gray and Goregaokar, 2010; Gorringe, 2011; Gaskell et al., 2012), Australia (e.g., Dagley, 2006; Libri and Kemp, 2006; Grant et al., 2009; Grant et al., 2010), Sweden (Styhre and Josephson, 2007; Styhre, 2008), Norway (e.g., Moen and Allgood, 2009; Moen and Skaalvik, 2009; Moen and Federici, 2012), and Switzerland (Hooijberg and Lane, 2009). It is interesting that there are practically no EC outcome studies from the BRICS countries, with the exception of a recent study by Beets and Goodman (2012) from South Africa. This is an important shortcoming in the existing EC outcome research that future research will need to address. The more diverse and international future EC outcome studies are, the better the EC field can be helped.
5.3 The Rise of the EC Profession and the Challenges for the Coaching Industry The coaching industry has reached a key point in its maturation journey, driven by three interrelated forces: the accumulated coaching experience, the increasing entry of professionals into coaching from a wide range of backgrounds, and the increasing sophistication of management and HR
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professionals (Grant and Cavanagh, 2004). This journey has not been (and still is not) easy. Clegg et al. (2005) empirically identified three main challenges for the business coaching industry: (a) how to standardize the coaching practice without inhibiting the flexible and personal orientation of the coaching process, (b) how the nature and benefits of business coaching can be more coherently perceived and better understood within the coaching industry at large, and (c) how more robust and durable coaching businesses can be established to lead the growth and development of the coaching industry. On the one hand, the field is facing these challenges as a practice, but on the other hand, more and more companies and individuals are keen to experience EC. As McKenna and Davis (2009: 244) eloquently note: ‘executive coaching is hot. In the past 15 years, what was stigma in corporate America (“You have a coach? Hmm . . .”) has become status symbol (“You don’t have a coach? Hmm . . .”)’. This shift in corporate world’s attitudes towards coaching is expected to influence how coaching services will be offered in the future. For instance, Ennis et al. (2008a: 6) predicted an increase in better-trained internal coaches within companies and peer coaching amongst colleagues, group coaching sessions (both observations empirically confirmed by the 2012 Ridler Report; Mann, 2013), as well as more virtual or phone/video conference coaching. This exponential growth of the field has led several scholars to debate as to whether EC can be described as a profession. Drake (2008) suggested that ‘the era of the artisan’ is now emerging for coaches where ‘coaches are seen as master craftspeople skilled in an applied art’ (Drake, 2008: 15). It is suggested that although EC was initially seen as a consultation intervention and a role function, now it is increasingly being seen as a profession (see Sperry, 2008)—a ‘helping profession’ in particular (Laske, 2004: 43). Unlike Laske (2004), Drake (2008), or Sperry (2008), Gray (2011) suggests that in order for coaching to become a ‘profession’ it must adopt a series of criteria such as ‘the development of an agreed and unified body of knowledge, professional standards and qualifications, and codes of ethics and behavior’. It has been argued that when assessed against traditional definitions of a ‘profession’, coaching has not yet achieved this status since many of the basic criteria for defining it as a profession have not been satisfied and it may be difficult to attain such a status in any case (Spence, 2007: 261–3). This could be attributed to the fact that the EC field is subjected to multiple influences by multiple communities of practice. As described earlier, coaches’ backgrounds may range from psychologists to HR/organizational development professionals and from salesmen to executives or managers who decided to become executive coaches (see Grant, 2006b: 13). The list seems to grow (e.g., see the recent emergence of coaching psychology as an applied and academic sub-discipline of coaching; Grant, 2006b). Where the influences from these
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different communities will lead the EC field is up for debate. Ennis et al. (2008a: 6) suggests that in the future, the field will consolidate and the difference between executive coaches who work for organizations and business systems and those coaches who conduct life or career coaching for individuals will be more clearly defined. The development of communities of practice among coaches will grow and will become more formalized with knowledge sharing and collaboration (ibid.). On the other hand, Charan (2009) expressed the view that the coaching industry will remain fragmented until a few partnerships are developed with a view to build a brand by collecting top coaches in the field and creating a reputation for outstanding work (Charan, 2009: 93). Charan (2009: 93) also underlines that a key problem professional coaching firms must resolve in the future is the difficulty of measuring performance and hence, the need to offer a methodology that clearly does so. Our literature review has showed that this is an area that the EC outcome studies are also really struggling with and effective approaches to measure EC outcome have yet to be proposed.
5.4 EC Synergies from the Use of Multiple EC Techniques and Approaches The variety of communities of practice involved in the EC practice also explains the variety of theoretical approaches and practical tools and frameworks that are being applied to EC (as presented in Chapters 2 and 3). Passmore (2007b: 76) invited executive coaches ‘to work in an eclectic way, mixing tools and techniques from methodologies, but with a focus on the primary objective of executive coaching; enhancing performance in the workplace’. Eclecticism would allow coaches to effectively guide the decision-making and the coaching interventions at different levels (individual, interpersonal, or group-level) and at different stages of the coaching engagement over time (Turner and Goodrich, 2010). The above observations essentially shift our emphasis from the EC techniques and approaches to how these are more effectively managed. Hall et al.’s (1999) study of what makes the EC work best, showed that the theories or frameworks employed in EC were not reported as important factors for making EC work—neither by the coaches nor by the coachees! Instead, interpersonal factors relating to the coach, the coachee, and the quality of their relationship, as well as issues relating to the coach’s skills and the coachee’s attitudes towards the intervention were reported as more important. More recently, Kemp (2008) and de Haan et al. (2010) also confirmed this, suggesting that other factors are more important, such as the quality of the coaching
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relationship or how these approaches and tools are applied in terms of appropriateness or timeliness. In particular, the importance of the coaching relationship (Bluckert, 2005c; Critchley, 2010; Kilburg, 2010; and Cavicchia, 2010, as well as issues relating to trust (Kilburg, 2010; O’Broin and Palmer, 2010) emerge as recurrent themes in the recent EC literature.
5.5 Key Learning • Key debates within the EC field are around which community of practice (e.g., psychologists, psychotherapists, counselling professionals) has the remit and legitimacy to influence the EC practice and standards, what are the ethical implications in EC interventions and who should be accountable in case of failure. • Future trends for the EC field include efforts to better understand EC practice and its impact for individuals and organizations, to attempt to professionalize the EC field, to explore the synergies from applying a combination of EC frameworks and approaches, and to intensify focus on the coach–coachee relationship and how it determines the EC outcomes.
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Our review so far has sought to explore the quality of EC research and discuss how this might be improved for the benefit of both academia and practitioners. In the final chapters of the book we seek to link our review with the existing leadership theory and research and the leadership development theory and research, including the more recent developments in these fields. We conclude the book with a discussion of the implications emerging from our review of EC research in relation to the broader management education arena.
6.1 Defining Leadership 6.1.1 UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP It has been said that there are almost as many definitions of leadership as there are people who have tried to define it (Stogdill, 1974: 7; see also Northouse, 2010: 2). This may not necessarily be a drawback to the leadership field. According to Gardner et al. (2010: 952) the leadership field’s lack of a single definition of leadership ‘is cause for celebration, rather than lament, given that leadership is a complex, multi-level and socially constructed process’. Hogan et al. (1994: 493) argue that leadership ‘is persuasion, not domination; persons who can require others to do their bidding because of their power are not leaders. Leadership only occurs when others willingly adopt, for a period of time, the goals of a group as their own. Thus, leadership concerns building cohesive and goal-oriented teams; there is a causal and definitional link between leadership and team performance’. More simply put, leadership can be defined as ‘a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal’ (Northouse, 2010: 3). An important debate within the leadership field is about the differences between leadership and management. Yet, although leadership has a lot in common with management, much of the scholarship argues that the major activities of management are ‘played out’ differently from those of leadership
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(see Northouse, 2010: 10). Irrespective of the definition one may offer on leadership, there appear to be certain components that are common to whatever perspective one adopts to define and explore it: (a) leadership is a process, (b) it involves influence, (c) it takes place in groups, and (d) it involves common goals (Northouse, 2010: 3). Northouse (2010: 2) summarized the key attempts to define and classify leadership as: a. Vewing leadership as the focus of group processes (where the leader is at the centre of group change, embodying the group’s will) b. Leadership from a personality perspective (i.e., as a combination of special traits or characteristics possessed by some individuals) c. Leadership as an act or behaviour (i.e., what leaders do in order to bring change) d. Leadership in terms of the power relationship between leaders and followers, with leaders holding the power to bring change e. Leadership as a transformational process, which ‘moves followers to accomplish more than is usually expected of them’ f. Leadership from a skills perspective, which refers to the capabilities (knowledge and skills) that lead to effective leadership. More broadly defined, the various leadership theories can be grouped into larger categories. For example, one viewpoint is to understand leadership as a set of traits and another to understand leadership as a process; another classification is to distinguish leadership between ‘assigned’ (i.e., occupying a position within an organization such as team leader, plant manager, director) or ‘emergent’ (i.e., a leader emerges based on how other group members respond to him/her) (Northouse, 2010: 5–6). All leadership theories have one thing in common: they aim to explain how and why some leaders are successful and others are not. Some of these theories see this as inherent to the leader (e.g., the trait approach) and others as dependent on several variables (e.g., situational leadership, contingency theory, path goal theory). A brief overview of each of these approaches to leadership will allow us to showcase the complexity of this important organizational phenomenon, which may be dynamically developed and improved via coaching interventions.
6.2 Leadership Theories In their review of leadership studies, Northouse (2012; see also Stentz et al., 2012: 1176–7) identified fifteen categories of leadership research: trait approach, skills approach, style approach, situational approach, contingency theory,
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path–goal theory, leader-member exchange theory, transformational leadership, servant leadership, authentic leadership, team leadership, psychodynamic approach, women and leadership, culture and leadership, and leadership ethics. We add three more approaches: spiritual leadership, adaptive leadership, and leadership as seen through the lens of complexity theory and social constructionism. An overview of each of them is brief ly presented here.
6.2.1 TRAIT APPROACH The trait approach, which is the earliest of the leadership approaches, was most prevalent from the late nineteenth century up to the middle of the twentieth century and focused on the various categories of traits or characteristics that leaders possess and specifically the ‘unique composite’ of physical, demographic, social, economic, psychological, qualities, skills, and/or other traits that distinguished leaders and followers and the effective leaders from the ineffective ones (Sanders and Davey, 2011: 44). According to the definition provided by trait theory, ‘a person’s personality is the sum of his or her most important traits’ (Hogan and Shelton, 1998: 141). This viewpoint assumes that leadership is something that ‘resides in selected people and restricts leadership to those who are believed to have special, usually inborn, talents’ (Northouse, 2010: 5). Therefore, leadership traits are seen as hard-wired, innate, and impossible to change (Stentz et al., 2012: 1176). One of the most important early contributions to the trait theory of leadership was the work of Allport and Odbert (1936), who identified 18,000 personality trait-related adjectives in standard English language dictionaries. More recent important work within the trait approach includes Tupes and Christal’s (1961) and later Digman’s (1990; 1997) five-factor model of personality and Hogan and Shelton’s (1998) work on personality, as well as empirical studies that provided support for the trait approach, such as Judge et al.’s (2002) meta-analysis study providing strong support to the leader trait perspective and the five-factor model. Personality is at the heart of the trait approach to leadership. Hogan and Shelton (1998: 136) define personality in two ways: from the inside and from the outside. Personality from the inside consists of two key aspects: people’s needs for approval, status, and predictability, which are being pursued during social interaction and people’s identities which involve the strategies that they use in order to guide social interactions. Personality from the outside consists of a person’s reputation ‘which reflects how his or her efforts to get along and get ahead have been evaluated after repeated interactions’ (ibid.: 136).
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In Hogan and Shelton’s (1998: 141–2) definition of personality, three categories of concepts are central: a. Motivation to ‘establish positive or cordial relations with others’ (i.e., to get along) and to ‘obtain as much power and control of resources as possible’ (i.e., to get ahead) b. Identity, which refers to personality from the inside and is about ‘how we think about ourselves and how we want others to think about us’ c. Reputation, which refers to personality from the outside and is about ‘how others think about and evaluate our efforts to get along and get ahead’. According to Judge and Bono (2000: 752) the Big Five Traits in the five-factor model of personality (i.e., extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional adjustment, and openness to experience) are broad personality constructs, which are manifested in more specific traits. Among them, the last trait (i.e., openness to experience) is the only trait to have ‘appreciable correlations with intelligence’ (ibid.: 752) and also, agreeableness is found to be the strongest and most consistent predictor of transformational leadership behaviour (ibid.: 760) (see also Hough, 1992 and 1997). While such studies have been contributing to important conceptual and empirical developments within the trait approach to leadership, a sole focus on traits has failed to provide a universally applicable theory that can efficiently explain and predict leadership effectiveness. Therefore, since the 1940s other leadership theories have emerged, seeing a shift of focus in two main aspects: (a) what leaders do to trigger results and (b) situational leadership (Sanders and Davey, 2011: 44).
6.2.2 SKILLS APPROACH This approach is based on the premise that skills (divided into technical and human skills) are those leadership elements that can be learned and developed through practice (e.g., problem-solving skills, social judgement skills, and knowledge) (Stentz et al., 2012: 1176). Under the leadership skills approach, leadership is seen as dependent upon the leader’s ability to formulate and implement solutions to complex social problems that arise within his/her organization (Mumford et al., 2000a). Also, ‘[t]hese complex, creative problem-solving skills imply a need for expertise bearing on both the nature of the problem and the particular kind of leadership role at hand’ (Mumford et al., 2000b: 156–7).
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One of the earlier studies on leadership skills was by Katz (1955) in which he argued that three skills are essential for effective leadership: technical skills (i.e., understanding and proficiency in a particular type of activity), human skills (i.e., the ability to effectively work as a group member and develop cooperation within the team being led), and conceptual skills (i.e., the ability to view the organization as a whole) (Katz, 1955: 34–5). More recently, Mumford et al. (2000a: 26) argued that the main skills required to solve organizational leadership problems are problem-solving skills (i.e., identification of the problem, understanding the problem, and generation of solutions), social judgement skills (i.e., refinement of potential solutions and creation of frameworks for implementation within complex organizational settings), and social skills (i.e., motivation and directing of others during the implementation of solutions). Within the skills approach to leadership, the level of an individual’s skills appears to relate to their position in the hierarchy. Through empirical work in the Army, Mumford et al. (2000c) found increased levels of knowledge, problem-solving skills, systems skills, and social skills as leaders moved to higher positions in the hierarchy. Increased leader expertise, problem-solving skills, social judgement, and systems skills tend to be accompanied by improved critical incident performance and better quality solutions to ill-defined leadership problems (Mumford et al., 2000c). Connelly et al. (2000) empirically found that complex problem-solving skills, social judgement, and leader knowledge partially mediate the relationship that cognitive abilities, motivation, and personality have to leader effectiveness. Interestingly, Mumford et al. (2000d: 129) also found that a lack of a leader’s characteristic (such as intelligence) can be compensated by the existence of another characteristic (such as motivation). For an extensive review of the skills approach, see a series of papers published in 2000 at The Leadership Quarterly, Yammarino, 2000; Mumford et al, 2000a; 2000b; 2000c; 2000d; Zaccaro et al., 2000; Connelly et al., 2000; Marshall-Mies et al., 2000.
6.2.3 STYLE APPROACH The style approach is focused on ‘what leaders do and how they act’ in different contexts including how—with their task behaviours and relational behaviours—leaders influence subordinates to reach goals (Stentz et al., 2012: 1176). Therefore, in this perspective, leadership is seen as consisting of two types of behaviour: task behaviours (which facilitate goal accomplishment) and relationship behaviours (which help subordinates to ‘feel comfortable with
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themselves, with each other, and with the situation in which they find themselves’) (Northouse, 2010: 69). The key aim of the style approach is to ‘explain how leaders combine these two kinds of behaviors to influence subordinates in their efforts to reach a goal’ (ibid.: 69). In one of the earliest studies on leadership styles, Baumgartel (1957) explored the relationship between the leadership styles of laboratory directors in a government research organization and the attitudes and motivations of the scientists within those laboratories. Baumgartel (1957) identified three leadership styles: directive, laissez-faire, and participatory. In that study it was observed that those who work under a participatory leadership had most favourable attitudes (e.g., positive attitudes towards the director that include enjoying contact with him, having confidence in his motives), while those who work under a directive leadership climate had the least favourable attitudes. Later, Fiedler (1965: 116) noted that there is a whole range of ‘shades of leadership styles’ but the two polar positions are either one where the leader tells people what to do and how to do the task, or share the leadership responsibilities with the group and involve the group in the planning and execution (see also Hoppe’s 1970 empirical study on leadership styles in which he tested Fiedler’s contingency model). Overall, context appears to play a central role within the leadership style approach. Bons et al. (1970) found that leadership styles are subject to considerable variations depending on the group situation and context. The key studies on this style approach to leadership are those known as the Ohio State studies, the Michigan studies, as well as the work by Blake and Mouton (for an overview, see Northouse, 2010). The Ohio State studies (Hemphill and Coons, 1957; Stogdill, 1963) were based on the analysis of questionnaires (the LBDQ, Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire) which were filled in by subordinates and in which they had to identify how many times their leader engaged in certain kinds of behaviour. Two types of leader behaviours were identified through that stream of research: initiating structure (i.e., task behaviour which includes organizing and giving structure to the work context, defining role responsibilities, and scheduling of work activities) and consideration (i.e., relationship behaviours which involve the development of an environment of ‘camaraderie’, respect, trust and development of leader-follower ‘liking’ (see Northouse, 2010: 70). The University of Michigan studies focused on leadership behaviour and styles but in relation to the impact on small group performance (see Katz and Kahn, 1951; Cartwright and Zander, 1960; Likert, 1961, 1967; Bowers and Seashore, 1966; for an overview see Northouse, 2010). The work of this school of leadership styles led to the identification of two types of leadership behaviours: employee orientation (i.e., approaching subordinates with a
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‘strong human relations emphasis’—similar to the ‘consideration’ style identified by the Ohio State researchers) and production orientation (i.e., focus on the ‘technical and production aspects of a job’ (see Northouse, 2010: 71). Later, Blake and Mouton (1985) developed a leadership grid that consists of a set of major leadership styles observed, and they suggested that there are two key leadership behaviours: task and relationship (for more work on leadership styles see also Blake and Mouton, 1982). Blake and Mouton (1985) argued that people tend to have a dominant style and a backup style to which they revert when under pressure (see also Northouse, 2010: 73–7).
6.2.4 SITUATIONAL APPROACH The situational approach, which is frequently applied in leadership development, is one of the most recognized leadership approaches and is based on the idea that different situations require different types of leadership and the leader must adapt his/her style to the situation (Northouse, 2010: 89; Stentz et al., 2012: 1177). Situational leadership theory focuses on the dynamics of leadership behaviour, subordinate expectations, leadership effectiveness, and decision-making (Johansen, 1990). Based on this theory, leadership consists of a directive and a supportive dimension and each must be applied according to the situation. The subordinates’ needs in performing any given task must be assessed/diagnosed by the leader who would then adjust his/her behaviour to directive or supportive in response to subordinates’ needs (Northouse, 2010: 89). Therefore, this theory has two key parameters (for a brief review see Northouse, 2010: 90–3 and 107): a. Leaders’ leadership style (which consists of four styles: high directive-low supportive, high directive-high supportive, low directive-high supportive, and low directive-low supportive) b. Subordinates’ development level (which consists of four levels of development: low in competence and high in commitment, moderately competent and low in commitment, moderately competent but lacking commitment, a lot of competence and high degree of commitment). Situational leadership theory was originally developed based on Hersey and Blanchard’s (1969) ‘life-cycle theory’ of leadership, according to which there are four dimensions to leadership: task behaviour, relationship behaviour, follower (or subordinate) maturity, and effectiveness (see Johansen, 1990). This theorizing was further extended later by Blanchard et al. (1985) and Blanchard (1985). The situational leadership theory shares similarities with
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Blake and Mouton’s (1985) ‘grid theory’ but is different in that grid theory sees task and relationship as linked in the sense that any change in one has effects upon the other (see Johansen, 1990: 75–7). Through a review of the existing research, Johansen (1990) observed that the research that explores the effect on subordinates’ performance when situational leadership is properly practised by the leader has showed mixed results. Johansen (1990: 82–3) argues that situational leadership theory does not take into consideration the interactive nature of the leader–subordinate relationships and does not provide clear direction with regard to dealing with subordinates since it indicates that leaders must assess the maturity level of the group they lead, but does not say how (Johansen, 1990: 83).
6.2.5 CONTINGENCY THEORY Contingency theory is seen as a leader-match theory and instead of focusing only on the leader, it focuses on the leader in relation to the situation he/she is in (Northouse, 2010: 123). Leader effectiveness depends on how well one’s leadership style fits the context (i.e., leader–situation match) (Stentz et al., 2012: 1177). The contingency model is based on the idea that group performance is dependent upon the match between ‘situational favourableness’ (i.e., the leader’s control and influence) and leadership motivation which is measured by the Least Preferred Co-worker Scale (LPC) and distinguishes between individuals who are highly task motivated (low LPCs), socioindependent individuals (middle LPCs) and relationship motivated (high LPCs) (Fiedler, 1972; for a brief description see also Northouse, 2010: 123). ‘Situational favourableness’ indicates to what extent the leader can control and influence and therefore, to what extent the leader feels able to determine the outcomes of the group interaction (Fiedler, 1976: 9). Leadership situations are interpersonal relations that are ‘highly emotionally charged’ and with great significance both for the leader and the subordinates (Fiedler, 1976: 7). Moreover, they are arenas in which the leader needs to satisfy both his/her own needs and the needs of subordinates (ibid.: 8). Situations are evaluated based on the assessment of three variables: leader-member relations, task structure, and position power (see Northouse, 2010: 123). These three variables determine the leadership style that is more likely to be successful. According to Fiedler (1972) a change in ‘situational favourableness’ through training and experience is detrimental to the performance of some leaders and increases the performance of others. Leadership training could
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be improved by instructing the leader to ‘modify’ the favourableness of the situation in order for it to match his/her motivational system. Contingency theory also suggests that certain leadership styles are effective in certain situations (Northouse, 2010: 113) but does not require that leaders are effective in all situations; instead it confers that leaders must not expect to be able to lead in each given situation (Northouse, 2010: 115). Research on the contingency model shows that effective leadership depends on ‘maintaining the right match of personality and of situation’ (Fiedler, 1976: 15). More recently, more emphasis has been given to the role of followers as part of the contingency leadership theory. Hornstein et al. (1987: 58) explored the contingency theory of leadership based on the impact that leadership actions have on subordinates. They argued that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to leadership and often the ‘correct’ leadership actions are not the appropriate ones. This is because, among others, different people will react differently to leadership actions based on their own self-interests. However, subordinate self-interest does not ensure superior work (which is a behavioural issue) although it may be a strong driver of managerial style preference (an attitudinal issue) (Hornstein et al., 1987: 64).
6.2.6 PATH–GOAL THEORY Path–goal theory appears—among others—in the work of Evans (1970), House (1971), House and Dressler (1974), House and Mitchell (1974), Schriesheim and Von Glinow (1977), and more recently, House (1996) and Schriesheim et al. (2006). This theory has its roots in expectancy theory, which postulates that subordinates’ motivation depends on whether they think they are capable to perform their work, if they believe their efforts will produce a certain outcome and if they feel that the pay-offs for doing their work are worth the effort (Northouse, 2010: 125). The theory focuses on how leaders can use a leadership style to meet subordinates’ motivational needs and satisfy them in order to accomplish specific goals (Stentz et al., 2012: 1177). Path–goal theory allows the identification of some of the situational moderators on which the effects of specific leader behaviours are contingent (House (1971) and leader behaviours are treated as the independent variable (House, 1996). House’s path–goal theory identifies four different types of leader behaviours: directive (instrumental) leadership, supportive leadership, participative leadership, and achievement-oriented leadership (Hornstein et al., 1987: 60–1). The selection of the suitable leadership behaviour among these four depends on two situational factors: the nature of subordinates (i.e., their
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needs and values) and the nature of the task (particularly its structure and clarity) (ibid.: 61). House and Mitchell (1974: 84; see also House 1996) suggested that subordinates tend to regard leader behaviour as acceptable and satisfying when they see such behaviour as either an immediate source of satisfaction or instrumental to future satisfaction. Evans (1970: 279) also referred to the impact of a leader’s behaviour on the subordinates’ path–goal instrumentalities (i.e., the subordinate’s perception of whether the path is helping or hindering his/her goal attainment. As part of that process, the leader plays an instrumental role in: (a) arranging the causal linkages between effort and goal attainment and between goal attainment and extrinsic rewards if the environment does not clearly provide such linkages, (b) clarifying perceptions when subordinates do not perceive such linkages, and (c) providing the required support and resources when subordinates lack those in order to achieve work goals (House, 1996: 326). More recently, House (1996) proposed a reformulation of the early path– goal theory into what he called the ‘1996 Path-Goal theory of work unit leadership’, which addressed leaders’ effects on their immediate subordinates’ motivation and abilities and the leaders’ effects on work unit performance.
6.2.7 LEADER–MEMBER EXCHANGE THEORY (LMX) The LMX theory conceptualizes leadership as ‘a process that is centered on the interactions between leaders and followers’ seeing the ‘dyadic relationship’ between leaders and followers as the ‘focal point of the leadership process’ (Northouse, 2010: 147; see also Stentz et al., 2012: 1177). According to Dienesch and Liden (1986: 621) the LMX theory is rooted in Graen’s (1976) early work on the role-making process, which organizational members accomplish in their work. The LMX model then became the operationalization of the role-making approach. Based on Graen’s work, the LMX model suggests that as a result of the time limitations that leaders face in their job they tend to develop close relationships only with few key subordinates (Dienesch and Liden, 1986: 621). This conceptualization led to the hypothesis that the subordinate roles and the quality of the leader–member exchanges can be divided into two main categories: the ‘in-group’ (i.e., high trust, interaction, support, and formal/informal rewards) and the out-group (i.e., low trust, interaction, support, and rewards) (see Dienesch and Liden, 1986: 621). Based on this conceptualization it is also hypothesized that all leaders differentiate their behaviour towards subordinates in such a way, that this differentiation happens quickly, and these ‘memberships’ remain stable once they are formed (ibid.).
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The LMX theory has received some criticism regarding its methodological robustness (Dienesch and Liden, 1986: 623–4), particularly the lack of enough empirical research, the need for more extensive study of organizational outcome variables relating to leader–member exchanges and the different operationalizations of LMX across studies. Dienesch and Liden (1986) stressed the multi-dimensional nature of the LMX theory and the need to measure it as such. As a result, more recently, the LMX theory has focused on the leader–follower relationship dynamics, such as the LMX developmental process model by Dienesch and Liden (1986), which is a process-oriented, reciprocal influence model of how the leader–member relationship develops into a stable exchange as well as Brower et al.’s (2000) model of relational leadership, which is based on the premise that the LMX relationship is built through interpersonal exchanges where both parties assess the ability, benevolence, and integrity of each other. Empirical work on the LMX theory has focused on predicting the quality and development of the leader–subordinate exchange (Bauer and Green, 1996: 1558) as well as how low or high LMX impacts on key parameters such as employees’ productivity, job satisfaction, and supervisor satisfaction (Scandura and Graen, 1984).
6.2.8 TRANSFORMATIONAL AND CHARISMATIC LEADERSHIP THEORIES Charisma is ‘the ability of a leader to exercise diffuse and intense influence over the beliefs, values, behavior, and performance of others through his or her own behavior, beliefs, and personal example’ (House et al., 1991: 366). Charismatic leaders drive others to perform beyond expectations (House et al., 1991) and use rhetoric in order to persuade, influence, and mobilize followers (Avolio and Gardner, 2005: 330). The transformational leadership theory was first developed by Burns (1978), House (1977), and Bass (1985). According to this theory, people are transformed through a process that includes four factors: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual motivation, and individualized consideration (Stentz et al., 2012: 1177; see also Avolio, 1999; Bass and Avolio, 1990). House et al. (1991) found that in an age of complexity, leaders’ effectiveness depends on their personality and charisma and not only on their control over bureaucratic structures. The charismatic leadership theory suggests a link between the need for power and a person’s behavioural charisma (House, 1977; see also House et al., 1991). An unusually high need for influence or power is a motive that differentiates charismatic leaders from others; this
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need triggers an individual’s development of the necessary persuasive skills to influence others (ibid.). Burns (1978) made a distinction between transformational leadership (i.e., the leaders ‘obtain support by inspiring followers to identify with a vision that reaches beyond their own immediate self-interests’; Judge and Bono, 2000: 751) and transactional leadership (i.e., the leaders obtain cooperation by establishing exchanges with followers and then monitoring the exchange relationship; Judge and Bono, 2000: 751). According to Bass (1985) there are four dimensions of transformational leadership: idealized influence (i.e., charisma—‘serving as a charismatic role model to followers’), inspirational motivation (i.e, articulation of a clear, appealing, and inspiring vision to followers), intellectual stimulation (i.e., ‘stimulating follower creativity by questioning assumptions and challenging the status quo’, and individual consideration (i.e., ‘attending to and supporting the individual needs of followers’) (Judge and Bono, 2000: 751). Charismatic leadership can be ‘a strong force for or against members’ commitment to organizational goals’ (House et al., 1991: 391). When a leader’s goals and values are in conflict with those of the organization, charismatic leaders are likely to trigger negative attitudes towards the organization and resistance by organizational members to management’s directives (House et al., 1991). Empirical research on transformational and charismatic leadership explored their links with transactional leadership and subordinate performance (Schriesheim et al., 2006) as well as with subordinates’ satisfaction, motivation, and organizational commitment (Judge and Bono, 2000: 761). Hunt (1999) observed that a key contribution of the transformational/charismatic leadership theory is the rejuvenation it offered to the leadership field, irrespective of whatever its content contributions are.
6.2.9 SERVANT LEADERSHIP Recently, Barbara Kellerman (2012) argued that we have come to ‘the end’ of leadership, noting that over the last forty years, leadership and followership have changed because of the cultural and technological evolution the world has been experiencing. Kellerman (2012) observed a ‘shift’ in the leader–follower balance of power, with the leaders becoming weaker and the followers becoming stronger. Within such a context, servant leadership appears to be a particularly promising conceptualization of leadership. Servant leadership is focused on the premise that leaders serve their followers by putting the betterment of followers over their own self-interests. Therefore, the emphasis of servant leadership is on personal integrity and serving others (including employees,
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customers, and communities) (Liden et al., 2008, see also George 2003; Boyatzis & McKee, 2005). This type of leadership is viewed either as a trait or as a behaviour (Stentz et al., 2012: 1177). The servant leadership concept was first developed by Greenleaf (1970; see also Spears et al., 2001; Greenleaf and Spears, 2002; Spears and Lawrence, 2002). As a theory, it adds a moral dimension to transformational leadership by providing ‘credible safeguards against the excesses possible from charismatic effects’ (Graham, 1991: 107). According to Liden et al. (2008) the nine dimensions that define the construct of servant leadership are: (1) Emotional healing, (2) Creating value for the community, (3) Conceptual skills, (4) Empowering others (particularly immediate followers) to identify and solve problems and determine when and how to complete their work tasks, (5) Helping subordinates to grow and be successful, (6) Putting subordinates first, (7) Behaving ethically, (8) Building long-term relationships (particularly with immediate followers), and (9) Servanthood (i.e., ‘a way of being marked by one’s self-categorization and desire to be characterized by others as someone who serves others first, even when self-sacrifice is required’). Servant leadership is about humility (‘as a defense against hubris’) (Graham, 1991: 112) and spiritual insight (as its source of charisma) and sees the situational context between the leader and the followers as relational (mutual) power (ibid.: 107). The leader is the one who serves rather than expecting to be served (ibid.: 111). Followers’ response to servant leadership is the emulation of the leader’s service orientation and the consequences of the servant leader’s charisma is the autonomy and moral development of followers and the enhancement of common good (see Graham, 1991: 107). Also, servant leadership is a ‘gift’ that tends to be ‘contagious’ in the sense that followers ‘are inspired to pass on the gift’ (Graham, 1991: 111).
6.2.10 AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP Avolio and Gardner (2005: 319) note that the origins of the concept of authenticity have their roots in Greek philosophy (‘To thine own self be true’) and later humanistic psychology (e.g., Rogers, 1959; Maslow, 1968, 1971) and particularly positive psychology. Authenticity is defined as ‘the unobstructed operation of one’s true, or core, self in one’s daily enterprise’ (Kernis, 2003). Authenticity (i.e., interaction with oneself) is often mistaken for sincerity (i.e., interaction with an ‘other’ besides the self) (Avolio and Gardner, 2005: 320) but they are fundamentally different: authenticity is self-referential and is about being true to the self rather than one’s ‘outward expression of feelings and thoughts [. . .] aligned with the reality experienced by the self’
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which is what sincerity is about (Avolio and Gardner, 2005: 320) (see also Luthans and Avolio, 2003). Shamir and Eilam (2005: 395–6) note that although there is no single accepted definition of ‘authentic leadership’, overall authentic leaders are portrayed as ‘possessing self-knowledge and a personal point of view, which reflects clarity about their values and convictions’. Authentic leadership can be defined as ‘a process that draws from both positive psychological capacities and a highly developed organizational context, which results in both greater self-awareness and self-regulated positive behaviors on the part of leaders and associates, fostering positive self-development’ (Luthans and Avolio, 2003: 243, as cited in Avolio and Gardner, 2005: 321). According to Douglas et al. (2005: 143) ‘authentic leadership’ is ‘where leader transparency and worthy objectives guide follower development’ and the leader political skill helps authentic leaders to become effective leaders (Douglas et al., 2005: 140). Authentic leadership theory is viewed within three different perspectives: intrapersonal, developmental, and interpersonal (Stentz et al., 2012: 1177). George (2003) was one of the earliest proponents of the authentic leadership theory, describing it as the new leadership required to cope with the complexities of corporations in the twenty-first century (a time of ‘leadership crisis’). This crisis led to a renewed focus on genuine leaders who would restore confidence, hope, and optimism, bouncing back from catastrophic events and displaying resiliency, fostering a new self-awareness in search for meaning and connection, and genuinely relating to stakeholders (Avolio and Gardner, 2005: 316). A key premise of the authentic leadership development construct is that both leaders and followers develop over time as their relationship becomes more authentic (Avolio and Gardner, 2005; Gardner et al., 2005). Leaders foster the development of their followers’ authenticity ‘through increased self-awareness, self-regulation, and positive modeling’ and ‘[i]n turn, followers’ authenticity contributes to their well-being and the attainment of sustainable and veritable performance’ (Avolio and Gardner, 2005: 317). Authentic leader–follower relationship outcomes include heightened levels of follower trust in the leader, engagement, workplace well-being, and veritable, sustainable performance (Gardner et al., 2005). Several scholars have outlined how authentic leadership is unique among other leadership theories. According to George (2003) leadership is about authenticity, not style, and therefore is placed outside other traditional approaches to leadership, which focus on the leader’s style and the personality and behavioural characteristics associated with successful leaders. In fact, George (2003) argues that a style approach to leadership theory is quite the opposite to authentic leadership theory, since the former focuses
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on the image an individual projects and the ‘persona’ of a leader, rather than who they really are (which is the latter). Avolio and Gardner (2005) also noted that although authentic leadership can incorporate transformational, charismatic, servant, spiritual, or other forms of positive leadership, it is not a given that it will be charismatic (Avolio and Gardner, 2005: 328). Among others, empirical research on authentic leadership has focused on the links between authentic leadership and outcomes (e.g., followers’ satisfaction with supervisor, organizational commitment) mediated by leader self-knowledge and self-consistency (Peus et al., 2012), leader behavioural integrity (Leroy et al., 2012) and collective psychological capital and trust (Walumbwa et al., 2011).
6.2.11 TEAM LEADERSHIP The team leadership approach explores how leader behaviours (particularly their decisions) affect team performance (Stentz et al., 2012: 1177). According to Hallam and Campbell (1992; cited in Hogan et al., 1994: 499) the practice of leadership involves coping with eight different problems which affect the team performance. Six of them are task-related (i.e., communication of a clear mission or sense of purpose, identification of available resources and talent, development of the talent, planning and organization, coordination of work activities, and acquisition of needed resources) and two relate to team maintenance (i.e., minimization and resolution of conflicts among group members and leaders ensuring that team members understand the team’s goals, constraints, resources, and problems). According to Stentz et al. (2012: 1177) the team leadership approach has received some disapproval because of the complexity it entails in effectively researching and practising it. Indicatively, the challenges associated with studying and practising team leadership can be seen in the work by Steckler and Fondas (1995) and Wageman (2001). Steckler and Fondas (1995) developed a framework for diagnosing team-leader difficulties, which consists of two dimensions: (a) the vertical dimension describes critical relationships a person has at work (i.e., relationship with one’s self, with higher- and lower-level employees, and with peers) and (b) the horizontal dimension describes three types of workplace problems (i.e., organizational, psychological, and behavioural) (see Steckler and Fondas, 1995: 24). A combination of job-design features, an individual’s psychological reactions to his/her role, and behavioural or process skills can strengthen or undermine relationships with others (Steckler and Fondas, 1995).
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6.2.12 PSYCHODYNAMIC APPROACH The psychodynamic approach does not have a single model or theory but looks at leadership in many different ways, underlined by one key concept: personality (Northouse, 2012). It focuses on a person’s tendencies and qualities, which can be measured with the help of questionnaires developed by psychologists (Northouse, 2012). The psychodynamic leadership theory draws on the work of psycholanalysis, psychotherapy, psychology, and family systems theory. It originates from the work of Sigmund Freud, Erich Fromm, and Carl Jung on personality types and suggests that childhood and adolescent experiences reflect how an individual responds to paternalistic, maternalistic, and familial leadership patterns (Northouse, 2012: 320). These origins define an idividual’s personality and explain why someone becomes dependent or a rebel (ibid.: 320). In addition, according to the psychodynamic approach, personality characteristics are difficult to change and people have motives of which they are not immediately aware (Northouse, 2012: 321). Zaleznik (1977) wrote one of the early articles that adopted the psychodynamic approach to understand leadership within the organizational context. The psychodynamic approach differs from the trait and style approaches, as it relates different personality types to different leadership levels and leadership types. Moreover, it does not see the need to match the leader’s personality type to the personality type of the followers in order to produce successful work (Northouse, 2012: 320). In order to understand what leadership really is, the psychodynamic approach suggests that one must explore the underlying mental activity and behaviour and the underlying causes (such as conflicts, defensive behaviours, tensions, and anxieties) that influence human behaviour (Kets de Vries and Balazs, 2011: 380). It puts emphasis on the motivational patterns of individuals and its links to leadership. The psychodynamic processes between the leader and his/her followers determine their respective behaviour (Kets de Vries and Balazs, 2011: 385). An important part of the literature on the psychodynamic approach to leadership has focused on negative manifestations of leadership such as narcissistic leadership (see Maccoby, 2004a) and the followers’ unconscious processes (see Maccoby, 2004b).
6.2.13 WOMEN AND LEADERSHIP This research approach focuses on gender and leadership styles and their effectiveness, as well as the identification of barriers that women face in assuming high-level leadership positions (Stentz et al., 2012: 1177). Morrison
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et al.’s (1987) seminal book Breaking the Glass Ceiling was one of the earlier studies in this field, exploring—through a three-year study of female executives—the glass ceiling issues women encounter in the workplace and particularly what determines success or failure in the corporate environment, how that environment is different for women, and what are the obstacles to getting to the top. Morrison et al. (1987) described the glass ceiling as a ‘transparent barrier that [keeps] women from rising above a certain level in corporations’ (1987: 13; as cited in Powell and Butterfield, 1994: 68) and this happens just because they are women and not because of their inability to perform in jobs of a higher level. On the other hand, scholars in this field have talked about women’s potential to lead and about ‘feminine leadership’ being the key to managerial success (see Rosener, 1990; Helgesen, 1995). This stream of research led to studies on how women may make better leaders because of gender-specific behavioural characteristics. Based on analysis of thousands of 360-degree assessments, Ibarra and Obodaru (2009) found that women outshine men in all areas but one: ‘vision’. Eagly and Carli (2003) explored, through analysis of earlier empirical studies in the field, whether there is a female advantage in leadership, according to which women are more likely than men to lead in a style that is effective under contemporary conditions. The authors found that women do have some advantages in typical leadership style; however they suffer some disadvantages from prejudicial evaluations of their competence as leaders, particularly within masculine organizational contexts (Eagly and Carli, 2003). Indeed, prejudice appears to be the greatest of all barriers to women’s ascent to the top. Through empirical research which involved survey of 60,470 men and women, Elsesser and Lever (2011) interestingly found that participants in their survey were less likely to show gender bias when they were asked to evaluate their own boss, however, when asked to imagine the ideal manager, the gender bias still prevailed (i.e., women are seen as having less potential for management). There are also several barriers to women’s leader identity development (Ely et al., 2011: 476–9) which consequently affect their chances of reaching the top: there are few role models for women (i.e., less social support—compared to men—for learning how they can claim a leader identity); there are gendered career paths and gendered work (because of historically low numbers of women at the labour force); women lack access to networks and sponsors who can be key to shaping their career; women leaders have heightened visibility (because they are scarce). While most studies tend to show that gender issues do matter in getting to the top, there are also empirical findings, which contradict this. For instance, based on their findings from the study of promotion decisions for US Federal
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Government Senior Executive Service positions in a cabinet-level department, Powell and Butterfield’s (1994) work rejected their initial hypotheses that an applicant’s gender will directly and indirectly influence promotion decisions for top management positions to the disadvantage of women.
6.2.14 CULTURE AND LEADERSHIP This approach explores how cultural differences affect leadership performance and outcomes and how leaders can practise effective leadership cross-culturally within the context of a globalized economy where companies become interdependent (Stentz et al., 2012: 1177). The culture and leadership perspective is based on a collection of ideas rather than one unified theory (Northouse, 2012: 383) and was developed in response to a more globalized business environment as well as the economic, social, technical and political interdependence of countries particularly after the Second World War. Culture represents ‘the learned beliefs, values, rules, norms, symbols, and traditions that are common to a group of people’ and these ‘shared qualities’ are unique (Northouse, 2012: 384, italics in original; for more research on culture see also Hall, 1989). Two concepts, which are highly relevant to the culture and leadership perspective are: ethnocentricism, that is, ‘the tendency for individuals to place their own group (ethnic, racial, or cultural) at the center of their observations of others and the world’, and prejudice (i.e., ‘a largely fixed attitude, belief, or emotion held by an individual about another individual or group that is based on faulty or unsubstantiated data’ (Northouse, 2012: 384–5). The leadership and culture literature has been largely influenced by the work of Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner (1998) and Hofstede (1997) on organizational and national culture. These authors provide classification of organizational and national culture, respectively, based on large-scale surveys with thousands of participants around the world. More recently, House et al. (2004; see also House et al., 2002) conducted a large-scale study on understanding cultures and implicit leadership theories across the globe through their Global Leadership and Organizational Behaviour Effectiveness (GLOBE) research programme, which focused on culture and leadership in sixty-two nations. House et al. (2004) examined national cultures with regard to nine dimensions (performance orientation, future orientation, assertiveness, power distance, humane orientation, institutional collectivism, in-group collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, and gender egalitarianism) and identified how ten regional clusters of countries (for example, one cluster is Nordic Europe, which would include Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, another cluster is Latin Europe, another is Confucian
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Asia) scored on each of these dimensions. The authors surveyed thousands of middle managers in food processing, finance, and the telecommunications industries in these countries and compared the respondents’ cultures and attributes of effective leadership (see also Northouse, 2012: 386–94 for a brief overview).
6.2.15 LEADERSHIP ETHICS Ethical leadership is ‘the demonstration of normatively appropriate conduct through personal actions and interpersonal relationships, and the promotion of such conduct to followers through two-way communication, reinforcement, and decision-making’ (Brown et al., 2005: 120). This leadership approach focuses on the ethical issues that arise in leadership situations and how others (individually and collectively) are affected (Stentz et al., 2012: 1177). It has been argued that while much of the leadership ethics literature has focused on the normative and philosophical perspectives of what leaders should do, the descriptive and predictive social scientific approach to ethics and leadership is still underdeveloped and fragmented (Brown and Treviño, 2006: 595). Ethical leadership involves more than simply traits such as integrity and more than just values-based inspirational leadership—it also has a significant transactional component involving communication and the use of a reward system to guide ethical behaviour (Treviño et al., 2003). The reputation of executives’ ethical leadership depends on two main ‘pillars’: their visibility as a moral person (based on one’s perceived traits, behaviors and decision-making processes) and as a moral manager (based on role modeling, the use of the reward system and communication) (Treviño et al., 2000). The social learning theory has been applied to understanding ethical leadership (see Brown and Treviño, 2006; Brown et al., 2005) since it is suggested that employees learn about the rewards and disciplines associated with ethical and unethical behaviour respectively by observing the outcomes from others’ behaviour. Brown and Treviño (2006: 608–9) propose four approaches by which organizations can attract and nurture ethical leadership: to incorporate ethical considerations in the employee selection process, provide ethical role models to young leaders who join the organization, incorporate ethical leadership training, moral reasoning and interpersonal skills development to employee training, and use organizational culture and socialization to develop and retain ethical leaders. In terms of the actions required to build standards of ethical leadership, see also Howell and Avolio (1992: 52). The ‘role modeljing’ of behaviour appears to be particularly crucial according to the ethical leadership approach. Howell and Avolio (1992: 52) found that
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the most significant factor influencing the development of ethical charismatic leaders’ values and priorities is having role models with whom they are in direct personal contact.
6.2.16 SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP Another theory that has emerged fairly recently is that of spiritual leadership, which is a motivation-based leadership theory and is inclusive of the religious and ethics and values-based approaches to leadership (Fry, 2003, 2005). Spiritual leadership comprises ‘the values, attitudes, and behaviors that are necessary to intrinsically motivate one’s self and others so that they have a sense of spiritual survival through calling and membership’ (Fry, 2003: 711). Its purpose is the creation of vision and value congruence across the strategic, empowered team and individual levels, and the fostering of higher levels of organizational commitment and productivity (Fry, 2003: 693). In order to motivate followers to become more organizationally committed and productive, leaders ‘must get in touch with their core values and communicate them to followers through vision and personal actions to create a sense of spiritual survival through calling and membership’ (Fry, 2003: 693). Fry (2003: 705) observed that workplace spirituality had been excluded from leadership and other theories of management practice because of the ‘confusion and confounding’ that exists between the concepts of religion and spirituality. In fact, through a review of academic articles published in that area, Dent et al. (2005) found that most researchers tend to couple spirituality and religion. Yet, spirituality ‘reflects the presence of a relationship with a higher power or being that affects the way in which one operates in the world’ and is broader than any single formal or organized religion (Fry, 2003: 705). Recent empirical research in this area showed that culture affects spiritual leadership effectiveness, but one’s position in the hierarchy (managerial vs. non-managerial positions) does not appear to moderate between the intrinsic motivations of spiritual leadership and in-role/extra-role performance (Chen and Li, 2013). Also, there appears to be a positive and significant relationship between spiritual leadership and organizational commitment and performance (Fry et al., 2011).
6.2.17 ADAPTIVE LEADERSHIP One of the most recent leadership theories is that of adaptive leadership developed—among others—by Ron Heifetz and colleagues. Heifetz et al.
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(2009a) argue that the recent economic crisis is only part of a more permanent crisis where urgency, high stakes, and uncertainty will be the ‘norm’ and in order for leaders to cope with that they need to practice adaptive leadership. Crisis leadership consists of two phases: the ‘emergency phase’, which involves stabilizing the situation and buying time and the ‘adaptive phase’, which involves tackling the causes that underlie the crisis and building the necessary capacity to be able to thrive within the new reality (Heifetz et al., 2009a: 64). According to Heifetz et al. (2009a: 64) the adaptive phase is ‘tricky’ for the leader in that subordinates require the leader to show direction, while that direction might not be obvious to the leader. Therefore, adaptive leadership is ‘an improvisational and experimental art’, which is quite different from the typical skills of ‘analytical problem solving, crisp decision making, the articulation of clear direction’, which have led these executives to the top (ibid.: 2009a: 65). Adaptive leadership is an iterative process whereby the leader observes events and patterns around himself/herself, interprets what he/she observes developing multiple hypotheses and designs interventions based on observations and interpretations in order to address the identified adaptive challenges (Heifetz et al., 2009b: 32). The practice of adaptive leadership is highly demanding and the leader must take care of oneself both physically and emotionally in order to be successful (Heifetz et al., 2009a: 69). This involves giving oneself ‘permission’ to be ‘both optimistic and realistic’, finding ‘sanctuaries’ for reflection, reaching out to confidants to debrief and review reasons for taking certain actions, bringing more of one’s emotional self to the workplace as this can be an effective tool for change and finally, avoid losing oneself in one’s role (Heifetz et al., 2009a: 69, italics in original). This is the case because adaptive leadership is highly demanding for those practising it, since it requires continuous action and adaptation to change. It is unlike any other type of leadership in that as soon as it tackles the immediate threats it does not revert to old leadership habits (‘hunkering down’) but instead sees crisis as an opportunity to change the rules of the game, reshaping parts of the organization, and redefining people’s work (Heifetz et al., 2009a: 64). This process involves both conservation and reinvention in parts of the organization’s DNA, which means that some parts of the organization will have to experience loss (ibid.: 64). Useem (2010) suggested drawing on lessons from military leadership and applying them in practising adaptive leadership in business. According to Heifetz et al. (2009a: 65–9) three key practices allow leaders to exercise adaptive leadership: a. Foster adaptation by distinguishing the essential from the expendable and running numerous experiments.
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b. Embrace disequilibrium, so that the conflict, chaos, and confusion that change will bring about can be managed in a way that this unsettlement will be productive rather than destructive. c. Generate leadership by acknowledging the interdependence of people across the organization and the existence of ‘microenvironments’ within the organization from which new potentially successful initiatives can emerge. Overall, adaptive leadership is seen as different from authority (Heifetz et al., 2009b: 23) and as a new approach to understanding how to cope with complexity when leading. Recently, DeRue (2011) criticized the ‘individualistic, hierarchical, one-directional and de-contextualized’ approaches to leadership theorizing and proposed an adaptive leadership theory whereby leadership is conceptualized as a dynamic and fluid leading–following process. His suggestion relates to the recent approaches in understanding leadership drawing on complexity sciences.
6.2.18 SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIONISM, COMPLEXITY THEORY, AND LEADERSHIP One of the more recent and less mainstream approaches to leadership has sprung out of complexity theory and the sociological theory of social constructionism. Complexity theory. Uhl-Bien et al. (2007) argue that top-down, bureaucratic paradigms for leadership theorizing are no longer relevant and well-suited in an economy that has become more knowledge-oriented, and therefore complexity leadership theory can better respond to such a new environment, being a more dynamic and context-sensitive approach to leadership (Uhl-Bien et al., 2007: 304). The authors suggest that complexity science offers a different paradigm for leadership, framing it as a ‘complex interactive dynamic’ from which adaptive outcomes such as learning, innovation, and adaptability emerge (ibid.: 298). For background on complexity theory in organization science see Anderson (1999). The complexity leadership theorizing is consistent with the central premise of the ‘meso argument’ of leadership, which sees leadership as a multi-level, processual, contextual, and interactive phenomenon (Uhl-Bien and Marion, 2009). As such, Uhl-Bien and Marion (2009) link complexity leadership with the adaptive leadership theorizing. When applied to bureaucratic forms of organizing, complexity leadership theory allows better understanding of the informal workings of the organization and how
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these relate to the formal control systems of bureaucracy, hence acknowledging the ‘necessarily intertwined and meso nature of administrative (formal) and adaptive (informal) dynamics in organizations’ (ibid.: 646). The complexity leadership conceptual framework involves three ‘entangled’ leadership roles: ‘adaptive leadership’, which emerges from the interactions of complex adaptive systems; ‘administrative leadership’, which relates to formal managerial roles; and ‘enabling leadership’, which refers to catalyzing the conditions in which adaptive leadership can thrive and managing the entanglement between the administrative and adaptive leadership functions of the organization (Uhl-Bien et al., 2007: 305). Social construction. The social constructionist approach to leadership examines the processes by which leaders persuade followers regarding what type of response is best at a time of crisis. The context or situation is seen as ‘actively constructed’ by the leader (Grint, 2005: 1470). Therefore, context is ‘reconstructed’ as a political arena (Grint, 2005). As a result, how people respond to a situation is not determined by that situation per se but by ‘how it is situated’ (Grint, 2005: 1471). Leadership is not a ‘property’ of individuals but rather ‘the actions that people engage in and the social processes through which people place meaning on those actions’ (DeRue, 2011: 130). This means that the role of decision-makers in the constitution of the context is much more active than conventional contingency theories suggest and ‘a persuasive rendition of the context then legitimizes a particular form of action that often relates to the decision-maker’s preferred mode of engagement, rather than what “the situation” apparently demands’ (Grint, 2005: 1467). This social construction of the context ‘both legitimates a particular form of action and constitutes the world in the process’; if the rendering of the context is a success ‘the newly constituted context then limits the alternatives available such that those involved begin to act differently’ (Grint, 2005: 1471). An implication of the social constructionist approach to leadership is that any observed variance in leadership effectiveness is in essence a variance of constructions rather than variation to the leaders’ true behavioural effectiveness (Meindl, 1995: 330). Leadership has a ‘proactive role’ in the construction of context and ‘the context is not independent of human agency, and cannot be objectively assessed in a scientific form’ (Grint, 2005: 1471). This approach ‘highlights the collective action underlying all leadership’ (Ospina and Foldy, 2010: 295). Its tenets cancel out some of the most dominant and well-established leadership theories, such as transformation leadership and other behavioural theories of leadership which ‘prescribe’ behaviours that individuals must employ in order to be effective leaders (DeRue, 2011: 130).
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While most of the social constructionist approaches to leadership focus on leaders, several authors focus instead on the role of followers (e.g., Meindl, 1995; Carsten et al., 2010). The social constructionist approach to followership focuses on how leaders are constructed and represented in the followers’ thought systems, that is, the linkage that is developed between leaders and followers as this is constructed in the minds of the latter (Meindl, 1995: 330). Under such logic, the followers’ behaviour is seen as being controlled and influenced by the ‘forces that govern the social construction process itself’ rather than by the leader (ibid.: 330). Indeed, Carsten et al. (2010) empirically found that contextual factors can influence the followership constructions and one’s behaviour in the follower role. For further discussions on the social construction approach to leadership see Meindl (1995); Sjostrand et al. (2001); Grint (2005); Uhl-Bien (2006); Grint and Jackson (2010).
6.3 Reflections on Leadership Theories Leadership at its core is ‘a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal’ (Northouse, 2010: 3). Leaders, it appears, ‘can become more effective by networking, coalition building, and social capital creation by working with and through others’ (Douglas et al., 2005: 142; see also Boyatzis, 1982; Brass, 2001; Luthans et al., 1988). A logical conclusion is, therefore, that the better an individual understands himself/ herself, manages his/her strengths and weakness, sets goals and delivers them, the better he/she relates to others around him/her, and the better he/she can carry out leadership. This conclusion is a promising one for the EC field. The current trends in leadership studies are changing the way we understand how leaders operate and are also changing the type of leadership development practices are required. Gardner et al. (2010: 937; see also Lowe and Gardner, 2000) recently reviewed 353 articles published in Leadership Quarterly between 2000–9 and observed an ongoing decline since 2000 in the proportion of leadership articles that focus on traditional theories of leadership, such as trait theories, contingency theories, power and influence perspectives, the nature of managerial work, and behavioural approaches. Instead, new directions in leadership theory are emerging with a growing number of articles on contextual influences on leadership, the development and identification of leaders and leadership, ethical, servant, spiritual, and authentic leadership, and leading for creativity and innovation (Gardner et al., 2010: 937). These new trends in leadership literature signal the importance of understanding leadership as a dynamic process, which demands creativity,
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innovation, resilience, and flexibility in order to achieve success in a complex world. This requires the adoption of leadership development interventions that do not focus only on management knowledge and management skills development but most importantly on leaders’ personal development as individuals—and, also, as individuals who can successfully lead complex organizations. This is a potentially encouraging conclusion for EC practitioners. According to Osborn et al. (2002) there are four different contexts with which leadership interplays and is being examined within the leadership literature: stability, crisis, dynamic equilibrium, and edge of chaos (the latter represented by the complexity theory approach). However, several scholars have noted that until recently only a superficial approach to the incorporation of context in leadership studies had been adopted. In their review of research published in the first ten years of Leadership Quarterly, Lowe and Gardner (2000: 496–7) argued that context, in both its social and temporal form, has been underrepresented in leadership studies. At that time, Mumford et al. (2000a: 26) noted that leadership ‘is often studied in a vacuum—as a thing that exists outside the context of “real world” organizational problems’. A few years later, based on a review of leadership articles (particularly empirical ones) published since 1990 in twenty-one journals, Porter and McLaughlin (2006) observed that the impact of the organizational context on leadership remained largely under-researched and no consistent attempt had been made to understand the context– leadership relationship. In fact, even among the leadership studies that had a moderate or strong emphasis on context, only five of them had any contextual component as a central variable in their study (Porter and McLaughlin, 2006). Moreover, in other studies context appeared to be only a background variable of secondary importance (ibid.). Reflecting on the EC literature we observe a similar deficiency. The broader context within which an EC intervention is initiated, designed, and implemented is largely ignored. In leadership research this shortcoming appears to be changing slowly. Coaching research and practice may benefit from helping individuals explore their context more critically.
6.4 Key Learning • Leadership is a concept that is subject to multiple definitions. • There are numerous leadership theories—each contending to better explain this complex social (and organizational) phenomenon. • We identified and presented eighteen categories of leadership theories and research.
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• Leadership theories are not necessarily competing with one another. It is important to recognize the value of each of them across different contexts. • People can better understand the value and impact of EC interventions when considering the leadership theories that underpin leadership development practices— including EC.
Reflections on the Role of EC in Leadership Development and Management Education
7. 1 Introduction to Leadership Development Leadership development focuses on ‘expanding the collective capacity of organizational members’ in order to effectively engage in leadership roles (which may come with formal or informal authority) and processes (which enable groups to work together in ‘meaningful ways’) (Day, 2000: 582). Leadership development is one of the most complex human processes because it involves leaders, followers, dynamic contexts, timing, resources, technology, history, and luck—among many other things (Avolio, 2005: 4). This makes it a difficult educational and organizational phenomenon to explore. Only a few studies consider the content of leadership developmental programmes (such as in-house and outsourced educational programmes, rotation systems, and training initiatives) or their impact on leadership development (Lowe and Gardner, 2000: 496). One of the aspects that appears to be less well understood is what elements of a leadership development programme ‘stick’ with participants and why (Lowe and Gardner, 2000: 496). Avolio and Gardner (2005: 317) observed that ‘over the last 100 years, most leadership theories have been originated without a focus on the essential core processes that result in the development of leadership that would be characterized by those models, e.g., a path–goal leader’ and, as a result, ‘there has typically been no attention to development or we find post hoc conceptualizations and testing with little rigor’. Indeed, Day (2000: 582) observed a ‘dearth’ of scholarly research directly on leadership development and a ‘disconnection’ between the practice of leadership development and its scientific foundation. Moreover, Ibarra et al. (2010: 668; cited in Petriglieri et al., 2011: 445) observed that the link between personal development and leadership effectiveness remains ‘underexploited in both the theory and practice of leader development’.
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Leadership development is often seen as synonymous to ‘leader development’, however these two terms have a fine difference. ‘Leader development’ is associated with the development of the organization’s ‘human capital’ (i.e., development of individual skills, knowledge, and abilities) whereas ‘leadership development’ is associated with the development of its ‘social capital’ (which is about building networked relationships among individuals leading to organizational value creation) (Day, 2000; see also Day and Harrison, 2007; Kark, 2011). Leadership development training tends to embrace open-minded and innovative approaches. These include the use of arts-based methods (Taylor and Ladkin, 2009) and play (i.e., consisting of ‘amusing, pretend or imaginary interpersonal and intrapersonal interactions or interplay’) as a way of developing leaders’ leadership identity, cognitive abilities, and behavioural skills (Kark, 2011: 510) as well as leadership development exercises with planned scenarios which require from participants application of effective behaviours to drive performance excellence (Frisina and Frisina, 2011: 29).
7.2 Leadership Development and the Role of Context Considering that all leadership interactions happen in a dynamic, emerging context, researchers clearly need to incorporate the context into their study of leadership development and effectiveness (Avolio and Gardner, 2005: 327). Leadership development is a continuous process that transcends the ‘classroom’ as training location and is context-intensive in the sense of being directly relevant to one’s work context (Day, 2000: 586). Therefore, such programmes must account for the social context within which the leadership development training will be transferred to leadership practice (i.e., from the training environment to the organizational environment). According to empirical research by Bentz (1985; as cited in Hogan et al., 1994), a subset of leaders with the appropriate positive characteristics (i.e., intelligence, confidence, ambition) fail because of personality defects or character flaws (e.g., playing politics, moodiness, dishonesty) that undermine their efforts, alienating their subordinates and preventing them from building a team. Along similar lines, the research of the Center for Creative Leadership and Personnel Decisions, Inc. (Hazucha, 1991; Kaplan et al. 1991; Lombardo et al., 1988; McCall and Lombardo, 1983; and Peterson and Hicks, 1993, cited in Hogan et al., 1994) found that ‘many managers who are bright, hard-working, ambitious, and technically competent fail (or are in danger
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of failing) because they are perceived as arrogant, vindictive, untrustworthy, selfish, emotional, compulsive, overcontrolling, insensitive, abrasive, aloof, too ambitious, or unable to delegate or make decisions’. Both observations have one thing in common: they imply that leaders fail when they alienate themselves from their environment in one way or another. Considering that leadership is now well understood as a social, negotiated process involving constant interaction with the environment, when this interaction becomes problematic, the practice of leadership becomes problematic, too. The recent developments in leadership theory place more emphasis on the quality of relationships between the individual leaders and his/her followers and the broader environment (e.g., authentic leadership) and his/her ability to interpret that environment as much as possible, considering its complexity (e.g., adaptive leadership). This suggests that more effective leaders are those who are able to embrace their environment and find ways to make the most of the situations, people, and resources at hand. According to Ancona et al. (2007) the best leaders are those who try to sharpen their own strengths and to identify and surround themselves with individuals who possess the skills that they, personally, are lacking; in other words, the best leaders know when to let go. The best leaders do not try to be complete and the concept of a ‘complete leader’ is only a ‘myth’ driven by a related fear of appearing incompetent (ibid.).
7.3 Leadership Development, EC, and Mindfulness Leadership development interventions, such as EC, have twofold objectives: to train individuals on how to better manage (and know) themselves and how to use that knowledge to better manage others and eventually influence the organization for the better. We introduce two themes that are important in understanding the potential contribution of EC to the practice of leadership: a. Individual introspection and self-awareness and b. Organizational mindfulness. Hogan and Warrenfeltz (2003) observed that despite the focus of much of executive education on technical and financial issues, the big career and organizational mistakes happen because of gaps in self-awareness (i.e., knowledge of oneself). It is suggested that performance can be improved only by
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focusing on poor skills and mental errors (Hogan and Warrenfeltz, 2003: 83). The emphasis of EC on introspection and reflective practice allows participants/coachees to make sense of their own experiences and better understand their strengths and weaknesses. The emphasis on practices, such as EC, that encourage introspection and reflection facilitate the utilization of both positive and negative personal experiences as sources of learning and vehicles for personal development. The developmental value of this has been empirically validated. In a study of an MBA programme, which included students working with a psychotherapist for personal development purposes, Petriglieri et al. (2011) found that the process of personalization of management learning allows management education to transform students’ potentially regressive experiences into material for personal learning and leadership development. As a result the authors urge management educators to broaden the meaning of learning beyond the acquisition of knowledge and skills to more sensitive terrains such as learning drawn from individuals’ own regressive experiences (ibid.: 446). While it is more obvious how introspection and self-awareness are developed though EC interventions, we argue that the organizational mindfulness is a less obvious but possibly a very positive outcome of EC. Self-insight (i.e., ‘recognizing personal strengths and weaknesses’) is ‘the bedrock of meaningful personal growth and development’ (London, 2002: 24). It is a prerequisite for understanding others and the environment and also a prerequisite for both leadership and leadership development; in fact, ‘insight is the foundation of development’ since only by knowing yourself can you understand your environment in order to adapt and learn (ibid.: 24). Moreover, discovering and developing self-awareness appears in the literature as a key driver to leadership influence (Frisina and Frisina, 2011: 28). The key elements of self-insight are self-awareness, self-understanding, self-consciousness, self-assessment, self-evaluation, self-monitoring, self-esteem, and self-confidence/self-control (see London, 2002: 24–5). Coaching is one of a number of interventions that are ‘deliberately’ employed to enhance self-insight (London, 2002: 34–5). As several EC empirical studies have found (summarized in this book in Table 4.3 and discussed in Chapter 4), there is evidence that EC facilitates in some way the enhancement of all these facets of self-insight. According to Conger (2013: 79) one of the great challenges today is not leading subordinates but instead leading peers, superiors, and external stakeholders who are most demanding and difficult to manage. These challenges require leaders to be more perceptive about what happens around them and above them, not only below, in order to lead effectively. Mindfulness allows ‘interpreting one’s context so as to identify what constitutes appropriate action in a given circumstance and in interpreting outcomes that form
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the basis for processes of reinforcement learning’ (Levinthal and Rerup, 2006: 502). The concept of organizational mindfulness, which is about ‘being attentive to the context and at the same time being able to respond to unanticipated cues or signals from one’s context’ (Ray et al., 2011: 193; see also Levinthal and Rerup, 2006) has recently received growing attention in organization studies (Weick et al., 1999; Levinthal and Rerup, 2006; Weick and Sutcliffe, 2006; Ray et al., 2011; Egri, 2012; Vogus and Sutcliffe, 2012; see also Langer (1989) on some early psychology research on individual mindfulness). Currently, there are only a few empirical studies on organizational mindfulness (e.g., Busby, 2006; Vogus and Welbourne, 2003; Hoy et al., 2006). Unfortunately, the majority of the literature on organizational mindfulness remains conceptual. In fact, Ray et al. (2011) note that there is no empirical study that demonstrates the processes that lead to mindfulness as set out by Weick and Sutcliffe (2001). Most of the conceptual and empirical studies in this area have shown that organizational mindfulness has a ‘positive linear relationship with outcomes’, however, may have ‘diminishing returns in particular contexts’ (Vogus and Sutcliffe, 2012: 732). For instance, Rerup (2005; as cited in Vogus and Sutcliffe, 2012: 732) observed that too much mindfulness brings negative impacts on the ability to act because too much focus on failure is ‘paralyzing’. This signals the importance of considering context when analysing mindfulness. As Vogus and Sutcliffe (2012: 725) note, three key claims can be identified in the mindful organizing research: it is the result of bottom-up processes, it ‘enacts the context for thinking and action on the front line’, and it is ‘relatively fragile and needs to be continuously reaccomplished’. The organizational mindfulness literature—still at its infancy—has dedicated much of its discussion to the distinction between organizational mindfulness and other conditions (such as organizational routines). For example, a distinction that has been heavily debated in the literature is the difference between organizational routines as less-mindful behaviour and organizational mindfulness. Recently scholars have argued that mindfulness and less-mindful behaviour interrelate rather than being two separate activities (Levinthal and Rerup, 2006: 511). Weick and Sutcliffe (2006: 522) observed that routines appear to be more mindful and more variable and consume more attention than previously thought. Therefore, it is likely that mindfulness and routines happen simultaneously (ibid.). Similarly, Levinthal and Rerup (2006) argue that less-mindful, routine-driven behaviour and established role structures enable mindfulness to be sustained across time, spanning across the organization. Another distinction has been around organizational mindfulness and ‘mindful organizing’, which, contrary to organizational mindfulness, represents ‘a dynamic process comprising specific ongoing actions rather than an
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enduring organizational characteristic’ and is seen as a social process (Vogus and Sutcliffe, 2012: 724; see also McPhee et al., 2006). These distinctions help us understand how mindfulness works but also instigate questions about the role that EC can have in triggering organizational mindfulness and in protecting organizations from less-mindful behaviours. It appears that there is an emerging link between the organizational mindfulness construct and leadership development and in particular interventions such as EC. Mindful organizations ‘pay close attention to what is going on around them, refusing to function on “auto-pilot” ’ (Ray et al., 2011: 188). In order for mindfulness to produce strategic (top level of hierarchy) and operational reliability (front line), though, it must operate across organizational levels (Vogus and Sutcliffe, 2012: 726). Leadership development interventions, such as EC, can potentially facilitate this spreading of mindfulness. Vogus and Sutcliffe (2012: 723) suggest that top administrators contribute to organizational mindfulness, middle managers bridge organizational mindfulness and mindful organizing, and front-line employees contribute to mindful organizing. While most organizations are more likely to invest in EC for their more senior leaders than for those lower down the ranks of the organization, the fact that middle management has the crucial role of bridging mindfulness across levels invites us to reconsider how organizational investments on EC interventions are spread. The benefits from this can be significant, but so is the risk of not doing so.
7.4 EC and Management Education: Combining Forces for Better Leadership Practice Armstrong (2011) asks ‘if tacit knowledge is what distinguishes successful managers from others, how do we more effectively facilitate its acquisition in the context of formal, credit-based management education?’. One possible answer to this is by enhancing formal leadership development training with more personalized, context-intensive leadership development practices. EC potentially overcomes many of the limitations of traditional training/ development approaches, for which business schools have been criticized, including low transfer of training (EC involves on-the-job training), lack of relevancy, barriers to change in the work environment (EC is more long-term and hence provides the time for overcoming barriers and achieving effective changes), and individual differences in learning readiness and style (EC adjusts to individual coaches needs and preferences) (Eggers and Clark, 2000: 70).
EC in Leadership Development and Management Education 149 Organizational mindfulness
Individual mindfulness/ introspection
FIGURE 7.1 EC and Management Education Combining Forces for Better Leadership Practice
In Figure 7.1 we schematically explain how EC can effectively complement management education and training. Explicit knowledge can be gained through formal management education as one finds in a typical MBA or executive education curriculum. Implicit knowledge can be developed with the help of leadership development interventions, such as EC, which enhance self-confidence, self-awareness, and the individual’s ability to relate to others. Both types of knowledge can be offered by business schools, although only some schools have incorporated in their curricula activities and training that allow for the implicit knowledge to be nurtured. As Figure 7.1 indicates, implicit knowledge is primarily directed towards oneself (working with oneself, internalizing knowledge, and developing self-awareness) whereas the explicit knowledge relates to the environment within which a person operates (working with others, obtaining the academic and other relevant knowledge and skills to effectively act in and manage different organizational situations, etc.). On the other hand, as described earlier, EC interventions allow participants to develop both individual mindfulness (focus towards oneself) and organizational mindfulness (focus towards others and the environment within which one operates). The use of context-intensive leadership development training and learning can be valuable both for those being trained and for the business schools. Tushman et al. (2007: 345) concluded from their empirical research that executive education and more specifically action learning are ‘fertile contexts’ where business schools can bridge the divide between business school research and the world of practice (the ‘relevance–rigor gap’) in addition to enhancing the performance of the individual and their organization. It is possible that coaching offers such a fertile ground.
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7.5 Key Learning • Leadership development is one of the most complex human processes. • The empirical evidence on the impact of leadership development is still very limited. • Context may be more fruitfully incorporated into the study of leadership development and effectiveness as well as into leadership development training and EC practice. • We introduce two themes that are important in understanding the potential contribution of EC to the practice of leadership: individual introspection and self-awareness and organizational mindfulness. • The use of context-intensive leadership development training and learning can be valuable both for those being trained and for the business schools.
Conclusions and the Future of EC Research
8.1 Towards More Effective EC Practice and Research In the first seven chapters of our book we have discussed aspects relating to the EC practice (key stakeholders, key EC intervention process components, underpinning theories, models applied during the interventions, etc.). We reviewed and discussed the outcome research this field has produced as well the key debates and future trends in EC practice. We then took a step back to consider the role of EC as a leadership development practice. For that purpose, we reviewed the key leadership theories and discussed leadership development and the role of EC in management education. All these steps serve the purpose of our book, which has been to understand the current status of EC practice and research and explore possible future research agendas. From our literature review we discovered a wide range of studies that propose new models, frameworks, or approaches to EC. Some are designed to propose—arguably—new ways of making EC more effective. In Table 8.1 we summarize some of them for the purpose of showcasing the breadth and range of frameworks. Our purpose, in this concluding chapter, is not to propose one additional model for effective EC interventions to be included in this list. Instead, we consciously intend to take a more reflective approach in discussing what might be a useful future research agenda in this area.
8.2 Possible Future Research Agendas Several efforts have been made in the literature to identify and propose future EC research agendas (e.g., see Feldman and Lankau, 2005; Bennett, 2006; Passmore and Gibbes, 2007; Ennis et al., 2008a). It has been suggested that two challenges are integral to the development of the coaching
Table 8.1 Sample of EC Effectiveness Models from the Literature Proposed EC Effectiveness Framework or Model
A model of coaching effectiveness consisting of eight key elements (p. 256): 1. Client commitment to the path of progressive development, 2. the coach’s commitment to the same path, 3. the characteristics of the client’s problems and issues, 4. the structure of the coaching containment, 5. the client–coach relationship, 6. the quality of the coaching interventions, 7. the adherence protocol, and 8. the nature of the coach’s and client’s organizational settings.
These elements have overlapping and interpenetrating characteristics. Kilburg (2001) provides particular emphasis on the role of adherence to this process and what components an effective adherence protocol would entail. A conceptual framework for successful EC which included four components: 1. the antecedents (i.e., characteristics of the coach of the coachee and the client organization’s support), 2. the process (i.e., key constructs such as the coaching approach, the coaching relationship, and the feedback receptivity), 3. proximal outcomes (i.e., behavioural change that includes self-awareness and learning) and 4. distal outcomes, (i.e., ultimate purposes of EC, including individual and organizational success) (p. 476).
Drawing on the psychotherapy outcomes research, it is suggested that there are four factors that account for almost all the systematic variance in psychotherapy outcomes, constitute the ‘active ingredients’ that make therapy effective and can be equally applied to EC (see pp. 246–57 for a detailed description). These are (listed from the more powerful ingredient to the least powerful): 1. Client/extratherapeutic factors (40% outcome variance), 2. The therapeutic relationship (30% outcome variance) (the second most powerful ingredient), 3. Expectancy, hope, and placebo effects (15%),1 4. Theory and techniques (15%).
McKenna & Davis (2009)
The four essential steps from which effective EC can benefit: ‘know yourself’, ‘own yourself’, ‘be yourself’ and ‘help others to do the same’ (p. 230).
Stokes & Jolly (2009)
Successful EC programmes have the following characteristics: 1. Start with ‘a solid and effective underlying theory’, 2. Provide ‘an environment in which people experience and receive unconditionally positive regard’, 3. The coach understands ‘the client’s internal frame of reference and is able to convey this understanding to the client’, 4. Successful coaches are characterized by inner-congruence (i.e., ‘know themselves and how they project to others’), are authentic, ‘check their egos at the door’, in the sense of being there as facilitators, not experts, are empathic and effectively communicate this to the client and remain detached (see pp. 68–9).
Eggers & Clark (2000)
EC can be particularly effective in the following examples of consulting situations (pp. 158–9): 1. ‘Executive Assessment, Development, and Succession Planning Programs’, 2. ‘Performance management’, 3. ‘Consulting to Help Build Organizational Values, Vision, Mission, and Strategy’, 4. ‘Building and Improving the Effectiveness and Collaboration of Executive Teams’, 5. ‘Conflict Resolution and Mediation’, 6. ‘Change Leadership and Change Management’.
This is based on the observation that clients who are on a waiting lists for therapy often improve even before receiving treatment, and also, those who expect to improve through therapy do better than those who do not. 1
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field (Grant and Cavanagh, 2007: 243): coaching needs to prove that it is a ‘valid and reliable change methodology’ and the field needs to look beyond the demands of its immediate research agenda and see itself as ‘an emerging discipline in enhancing the lives of individuals, and the sustainability of organizations and the world as a whole’. We found from the systematic literature review we conducted on this area that EC outcome research: • Has provided little comparative evidence as to which EC models are more helpful and has not produced a deep understanding of how the various stakeholders in the EC intervention contribute to its success or failure. • That the research designs of some of the conducted studies are not rigorous (e.g., the authors reported the outcomes of their own coaching practice or presented coachees’ self-report of the outcomes of their EC experience without comparing them with other sources of data). We, therefore, stressed the importance of adopting a more triangulated approach to research design and the use of validity tests to ensure the reliability of the study findings. • That researchers are encouraged to make more extensive use of the personality and ability assessment inventories in outcome studies, in combination with other sources of data. • That a large number of studies use some form of mixed methods (e.g., combining qualitative with quantitative research methods), however, overall, only few studies have adopted a more scientific, evidence-based research design such as experimental/randomized controlled studies. • That the financial benefits (ROI) of an EC intervention cannot be easily and objectively measured, hence there are very few studies that do so. Instead most studies focus on the intangible outcomes of EC (we identified at least forty different intangible benefits from EC). As discussed, however, their measurement also brings many challenges. All studies agree that EC interventions do make a positive difference to the coachee—even though some conflicting or negative outcomes may occasionally be identified. The vast majority of the EC outcome research focuses on the coachee alone, to a lesser extent on the coach and the coach–coachee relationship, and rarely on the role of context within which the coaching process takes place. However, EC practice as explored in this book is influenced by a wider set of factors. Figure 8.1 presents a map of what we regard as the broader contextual factors that affect the EC practice. These are: a. The context within which the intervention is embedded, which may relate to intra-organizational issues (e.g., resources, culture, leadership
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development practices in the organization and its industry, type of industry) as well as external to the organization/macro influences (e.g., global, socioeconomic changes such as a financial crisis, market conditions) (Chapters 1 and 7), b. The competing theoretical approaches to EC (Chapter 2), c. The competing tools and frameworks employed in EC interventions (Chapter 3), d. The EC professionalization agenda (Chapters 1 and 5),
(2) Competing theoretical approaches to coaching
(3) Competing EC models
THE ORGANIZATION (1) Examples of factors influencing the intervention: - Are there enough financial and human resources dedicated to EC? - Is there a supportive environment for the EC intervention to succeed? - Has there been a careful selection of suitable and competent coaches and program participants? - What leadership development practices the organization has and what role EC has in them? - Is there a collaborative approach towards the EC intervention with the participation of relevent staff where needed (e.g. 360 degree feedback)?
(6,7) Leadership development & EC knowledge generators and trend-setters
THE COACHEE (1) Examples of factors influencing the Intervention: - What is the coachee’s personality? - What is the motivation behind the decision for EC? E.g. Is there a severe problem that EC needs to address? Is this part of a career development plan? - Is the coachee willing to be coached? - Is the coachee motivated to change behaviour/learn new things? - Is there enough time dedicated to EC? - Is there flexibility in planning? - How senior is the coachee/at what level in the managerial hierarchy?
(1,7) Context relating to intraorganizational and external to the organization/ macro issues
(4) EC outcome research
The field of psychology
THE COACH (1) Examples of factors influencing the intervention: - What is the coach’s level of expertise/experience? - What background/education/knowledge does the coach have? - Which EC approach and tools does the coach select? Why those? How does he/she apply them? - What is the coach’s personality and how well does it fit with that of the coachee? - What is the quality of the coach-coachee relationship? What is the quality of the coachorganization relationship? - Is the coach able to inspire action/motivate the coachee? - Does the coach have integrity and the ability to create an environment of trust? - How professional is the coach? - Does the coach show flexibility in the design and implementation of the intervention?
(1,5) EC Professionalization agenda
FIGURE 8.1 A Contextual Mapping of the EC Intervention Note: Each of the numbers included in this figure responds to the number of the chapter that discusses the respective element.
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e. The current status and developments in the EC outcome research (Chapter 4), and f. Leadership development and EC knowledge generators, such as the field of psychology, EC practitioners, consulting firms, and business schools (Chapters 5, 6, and 7). At the heart of the coaching process are the organization, the coach, the coachee, and the relationship between these three stakeholders. The role of the organization. Organizational support and particularly the support of the participant’s immediate manager are critical facilitators in the EC intervention process (Hooijberg and Lane, 2009: 486; Wise and Voss, 2002: 8–10). In fact, successful coaching outcomes have been empirically found to relate to several aspects that the organization controls: the careful scrutiny of programme participants by the organization, a collaborative model, an insight-oriented coaching approach, and persistent efforts to brand the programme as a developmental resource (Wasylyshyn et al., 2006). Interestingly, our review of the EC outcome research has revealed that the organization is hardly ever actively factored into the analysis of the EC intervention outcomes. The organization tends to be treated in existing EC outcome research as the setting—a kind of black box—within which the coaching may take place. It is not treated as an active ingredient or key constituent of the EC intervention and hence an active aspect in the analysis of the EC intervention outcomes. Future EC research may need to incorporate issues relating to organizational culture, the organization’s intervention and support in the EC process, and the post-coaching work to offer a better understanding of those organizational elements that have a definitive role in the development of EC practices. The role of the individual coachee. The coachee’s personality appears to play a key role in EC effectiveness. It has been empirically found that coaching development positively correlates with the coachee’s conscientiousness, openness to experience, emotional stability, and general self-efficacy (Stewart et al., 2008). The higher the motivation a manager has to apply newly developed skills in his/her work and the higher his/her perception of supervisory support, the better it seems is the working alliance with the coach during the EC process (Baron and Morin, 2009: 100). Hooijberg and Lane (2009: 491) found that EC participants perceive as facilitators of effective EC their own mindsets (i.e., their desire to change, attitudes, and awareness) and seeing positive results from their efforts. The role of the individual is key in EC success to such an extent that in some cases, however good a coach may be, the whole intervention may prove ineffective. This suggests that when considering the role of the individual coachee in the EC process (as part of an EC intervention design or an outcome study) one needs to take into account issues ranging from the coachee’s
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personality or willingness to participate in the intervention and whether he/she is motivated to change to what is his/her role in the organization and the managerial hierarchy. The role of the coach. The EC field is challenged by large variations in coaches’ ability to effectively ‘study’ their coachee and the organizational context within which they operate. The use of accreditation is a way to control this risk and to distinguish qualified practitioners from those who are not. An online survey of 232 managers, participants in an executive education programme, showed that ‘coaches who interpret results, inspire action, and conduct themselves professionally will have coachees who have action plans and are committed to them’ and ‘a great percentage of those who leave their coaching session committed to their action plan also implement significant improvements at work’ (Hooijberg and Lane, 2009: 491). Furthermore, it has been suggested that besides the coach’s competence, the decision to employ an internal or an external coach also makes a difference to EC outcomes (with a trend towards hiring external coaches because they are ‘less biased, more available, and focused on the right issues’) (Wise and Voss, 2002: 8–10). Overall, executive coaches appear as a central subject of study in only a handful of EC outcome studies and these would either be survey-based studies that sought to identify the type of background and qualifications coaches typically have, or the few qualitative studies that examine some aspect of the coach–coachee relationship. Interestingly, to our knowledge, no study has compared the actual performance of a sample of coaches to identify what makes a difference. More empirical research is required to understand how coaches practice, how and why they choose a specific EC tool over another and what differentiates between a bad coach, a good one, and an exceptional one. The coaching relationship. The impact of the coach–coachee relationship as a critical factor in EC outcomes has been suggested in several studies (see McGovern et al., 2001; Bluckert, 2005c; Baron and Morin, 2009; Visser, 2010). In a study that involved interviews with seventy-five executives (of Fortune 100 companies) participating in EC and fifteen leading coaches, EC was described as a ‘two-way learning relationship’ (Hall et al., 1999: 49). Indeed, in McGovern et al.’s (2001: 6) empirical study regarding EC participants’ views on the factors impacting on coaching effectiveness, the coach–participant relationship was the most frequently reported factor enhancing EC effectiveness (87% of the respondents said so). Similarly, Baron and Morin (2009) concluded in their empirical study that the coach–coachee relationship constitutes a prerequisite for coaching effectiveness and taking a Rogerian, client-centred approach to EC. Bluckert (2005c) argues that the coaching relationship is possibly the most important critical success factor in EC. Furthermore, research has shown that the coaches’ personal theories
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of emotion impact on the strategies they select for the coaching intervention and ultimately on the coaching outcomes (see Bachkirova and Cox, 2007; Cox and Bachkirova, 2007). Context again plays a key role. Hooijberg and Lane (2009) found that, contrary to what is suggested in much of the coaching literature, participants in executive education programmes not only expect but also wanted their coach to assume an active role in interpreting the results of multisource feedback coaching sessions and make relevant action recommendations. This suggests that a coach working for an executive education programme may need to adopt a different approach to coaching than someone who is conducting a more long-term EC intervention within an organization. Future research would need to offer more insights on what skills and approaches are required for coaching in these two settings. More broadly, future research needs to give more attention to the ‘coaching practice’ itself as it happens in different settings and for different purposes and not simply to concentrate on the outcomes the intervention produces.
Lessons from Other Fields Another aspect, which we conclude as critical in relation to future executive coaching outcome research, is the value of drawing knowledge from other fields, which have a smaller or larger overlap with coaching. We were, for instance, surprised to observe during our review that the EC field seems to be largely isolated from the leadership and leadership development fields. We did not find any EC outcome studies that explicitly engaged in a discussion on the findings in relation to these fields of scholarship. This understanding of the different ways by which leadership is defined and practised may enhance EC practice and is an area that further research could usefully explore. From our systematic review we tried to identify which research designs appear to more effectively capture the outcomes of EC practice. The EC field would greatly benefit from more experimental/randomized controlled studies that would offer insights into the coaching practice. Also, many existing EC outcome studies present case studies of organizations and individuals and we see this as a promising research method. Considering the need for future research that actively incorporates context, it may be that case studies—a method extensively used in organization studies—could be particularly helpful. Overall, context is an important part of the research design and analysis, if properly conducted. Future research on EC could greatly benefit if it is conducted by a group of researchers that come from different disciplines, each bringing with them a different but useful perspective to the designed research. An example would be the collaboration of psychologists with organizational behaviour/
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organizational development and HR specialists. In a comparative study of the different conceptualizations and definitions of ‘coaching’ and contemporary human resource development as they appear in the literature, Hamlin et al. (2008) found that the intended purposes and processes associated with both fields of practice are virtually the same. Moreover, the role of HR in making coaching successful in organizations is key. However, this role has not really been recognized outside of the HR community, although it can make or break these kinds of coaching initiatives. While academics may theorize and speculate about EC and the role of mindfulness, resilience, positive social capital, etc., it is equally important to have the support of capable HR professionals who oversee the rolling out of EC programmes and/or the delivery of EC services (e.g., see Grant and Hartley, 2013). Another key field with great potential to help EC research and practice is that of psychology. The explicit linking of coaching practice to existing psychological frameworks and empirical research may help in the development of an evidence-based approach to coaching (Latham, 2007). This strong association of the coaching field with psychology has led to the emergence of coaching psychology as a specialized sub-field (Grant, 2006b: 12; see also Linley & Harrington, 2005; Palmer & Whybrow, 2006). Coaching psychology is defined as ‘the systematic application of behavioural science to the enhancement of life experience, work performance and well-being for individuals, groups and organisations who do not have clinically significant mental health issues or abnormal levels of distress’ (Grant, 2006b). Despite being a coaching sub-discipline with a brief history, coaching psychology is likely to play an important role in the future development of the EC field. McKenna and Davis (2009) note that psychotherapy is another field with rich outcome research, which has been largely overlooked as a source of information and ideas to help improve EC practice. MacKie (2007: 313– 16) also adds—besides psychotherapy—the training evaluation literature. Psychotherapy as well as counselling and training are fields that overlap to a great extent with coaching. McKenna and Davis (2009) suggest that there are four ‘active ingredients’ which can explain most of the variance in psychotherapy outcomes. These are: client/extratherapeutic factors, the relationship or alliance, placebo or hope, and finally theory and technique. These factors, they argue, are the basis for any good helping relationship of which coaching is a subset, as is psychotherapy, parenting, and even some elements of management and leadership. Therefore, a way forward for EC research may be to try to further explore these four aspects. One could argue that as psychotherapy research has proved that all forms of psychotherapy are effective at a global level, and significantly more effective than no intervention at all, the same could be deduced with regard to coaching. If we had had the same level and breadth of research on coaching
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outcomes as we have on psychotherapy, a potentially similar conclusion could be reached. In that case, there is perhaps little point of repeating such validation research for the coaching field. Asking whether coaching works is rather like asking whether education or medicine works. It is far too general a question and will very much depend on the theoretical stance or framework that is adopted and the choice of theory (e.g., humanistic, psychodynamic). Ultimately, it is also a matter of opinion and one of epistemology and hence, not resolvable by scientific means. From the more generic exploration of ‘whether psychotherapy works’, psychotherapy research has now moved to a more granular approach that examines specific aspects such as which interventions with which clients by which sort of therapist are most effective. Perhaps instead of starting the coaching outcome research with a focus on the coachee or the coach, it is more essential to focus instead on behaviours within a coaching session (i.e., the behaviours of the coach and the coachee when they are working together and how this affects outcome) to allow an understanding of what ways some interventions work better than others. So studying interventions rather than theories and using those interventions across a range of different problems and seeing how effective they are in various contexts appears to be the way forward. In that sense, the debate is better handled by using an approach that is based on the common factors in a helping relationship, such as those identified by McKenna and Davis (2009). Research on coaching outcomes could also focus more on leadership coaching—understanding in what ways a leader can be better developed (see Ladegard and Gjerde, 2014). This also invites questions as to how we can better measure coaching outcomes. As discussed in Chapter 4, the answer is not a simple one. Also, any design needs to address the question of what is a good outcome? According to the EC outcome research any positive change in the coachee’s behaviour and his/her personal development post-coaching constitutes a good outcome. While we can say there is a positive change, it is more difficult to conclude how much more positive it is, in other words, what is a ‘very good’ outcome compared to a ‘good’ one. This becomes even more challenging if we want to compare the outcomes of two different EC outcome studies. The parameters in each study would be too different (the context where the intervention takes place, the individuals involved in the design of the intervention or the study, the EC tools and frameworks employed, etc.) to allow for any meaningful comparisons to be drawn. This is a difficulty in relation to studying EC, which future EC research would need to explore and address. A good first step forward in answering the question of ‘what is the effectiveness of coaching?’ is to first establish what kind of change is sought (e.g., an increase in assertiveness or an increase in team members feeling that their manager listens to their views, etc.). If a measure of this is taken at the start (the
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ratings of others can be generally a good practical measure) and then assessed again longitudinally after a period of coaching, the question of ROI becomes about whether changing that behaviour is worth the cost of coaching. In that case, further research might focus on how best to use the ratings of others as a measure of improvement. Again, the assessment of whether coaching is worth the effort is not a clear-cut one—and it is certainly not a plainly financial one since it requires comparing two very different measures: a financial investment and a behavioural change. Since leadership coaching is essentially about a relationship between a leader and his/her followers, this could be—for instance—the focus of a research project: how the leader–follower relationship changes as a result of leadership coaching. One could perhaps conduct a study where the cost of no change is estimated and compared to the benefits of change, and then compared to the cost of the coaching. As we also noted in Chapter 4, attempts to measure ROI in terms of productivity or share price, etc., seem to be misguided from the start since we know that so many factors influence these variables. Finally, a further field, which could enhance our understanding of EC outcomes and its links to leadership development in ways that other fields cannot, is neuroscience. There is a growing interest in the management and leadership literature about the role that neuroscience can play to significantly improve our understanding of leadership and leadership development (see Waldman et al., 2011). It is perhaps only a matter of time until neuroscience is actively introduced in executive coaching research, too. Indeed, as Passmore and Fillery-Travis (2011) recently noted, as science develops, new research themes within the executive coaching field will emerge as a result and among them a likely one is the emergence of neuroscience and its contribution to coaching. Overall, we need more (and better quality) EC outcome research. This research is not easy to do. We require a deeper understanding of ‘impact’ and possibly should include variables such as goal attainment and well-being, but also factors such as personal insight, leadership style, and problem-solving ability. We also need to look at the impact of EC from a systemic level. There has been some research on how the effects of coaching have spread through social networks in organizations—the coaching ‘ripple effect’. It would perhaps be interesting to also examine how the effects of coaching may generalize to other (non-work) domains of life. Just as coachees’ mental health tends to improve following coaching (even though mental health issues were not the focus of the coaching), many coachees experience better quality of life (e.g., better family and partner relationships) following coaching and this could also be a stream of research worth further exploration (e.g., see Grant, 2003a).
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8.3 Summing Up Traditional management and executive education is changing ‘where learning is distributed at the time of need, embedded in a work context, and delivered in rapid “bite-sized pieces,” which aim to meet participants’ needs in terms of depth of information coverage, timeliness of delivery, and job relatedness’ (Armstrong and Sadler-Smith, 2008: 571). This is expected to challenge and change the way education is delivered both by corporate training providers and mainstream providers of management learning and education such as university business schools. Recently, Conger (2013) identified not one, but three key gaps in leadership education (the reality gap, the skill intensive gap, and the application gap) which must be addressed so that the classroom experience can facilitate the development of useful learning which can be transferred and applied in leaders’ day-to-day organizational life. The ‘reality gap’ refers to inaccurate leadership models that provide a ‘distorted reality’ for students, presenting the complexity within which individual leaders lead as simpler than it really is. The ‘skill intensive gap’ refers to the sacrifice of in-depth skills development of one or two dimensions for the purpose of broader knowledge, and finally, the ‘application gap’ refers to leadership development programmes not offering enough ‘windows’ for leaders to apply classroom learning in their day-to-day practice. We would argue that executive education programmes that incorporate EC practices could satisfy what Conger (2013) describes as the ‘application gap’, allowing participants to reflect on their own skills and performance, on what they learn, and how these apply in day-to-day organizational practice. Potentially coaching offers an important medium for knowledge transposition, for example, a reflective space, a reconstruction of the original problem, or even a deconstructor of mental models. Such reflective spaces are crucial as increasingly leaders appear to have very little time to reflect on their leadership practice. The medium of coaching offers several unique characteristics not presently available to individuals within their own organizations. These include independent perspectives and the opportunity to debate both legitimate and illegitimate subjects, that is to say topics which cannot be openly discussed inside organizations. These topics are often personal and have high emotional relevance for individuals. Recognizing the role coaching can play in filling the gaps identified by Conger (2013), we hope that the systematic review of research on EC and its impact on leadership practice that we present in this book can serve as a useful reference for readers who are more or less experienced in the fields of EC and leadership development and who want to better understand these fields and the evidence that exists about EC and its outcomes. We have, therefore,
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tried to respond to recent calls (Arbaugh, 2011; Rynes and Brown, 2011) for more review-type pieces in the field of management education and learning. We also sought to offer a better understanding of the links between EC, leadership theories, leadership development, and management education and how these links can help to produce more effective leadership development training but also instigate future research that addresses the relevance-rigour gap (Tushman et al., 2007: 345) between business school research and the world of business practice. As we indicate in Figure 8.1 the key players who we expect to shape much of the future of EC practice and research are the EC practitioners themselves, the consulting firms operating in the area of management training and leadership development, business schools, and the field of psychology. We contend that the academic world particularly, and business schools more specifically, can play a central role in advancing the EC field. Universities have the resources and the ‘enlightened self-interest’ to produce more evidence-based studies, which they can utilize in their management education programmes and executive education particularly. The academic world working in partnership with coach practitioner colleagues should be the first to lead this much-needed effort to upscale the quality of EC as a field of practice and as a subject of academic interest.
n APPENDIX I THE STAGES OF THE EXECUTIVE COACHING PROCESS
EC as a Three-Step Process Thach (2002) suggested that the coaching process consists of three phases: contracting, data collection, and coaching. Orenstein (2007) also described the EC practice as consisting of three phases, giving emphasis also to the conclusive part of the intervention: the first phase of entry which includes the initial contact, the preliminary meeting, the joint goal setting and the coaching contract; the second phase of facilitating change which includes the processes of assessment, feedback, objectives setting, and formal coaching; and the third phase of concluding coaching which includes the outcome evaluation and concluding the coaching process.
EC as a Four-Step Process Saporito (1996) proposed a model of executive coaching which consists of four stages: a. ‘setting the foundation’, which involves working with the organization and with the individual to understand the context that will dictate the needs of coaching (including an overall understanding of the organizational requirements, culture, philosophy, and context within the industry) and creating a profile of success. b. ‘assessment of the individual’ to form the individual’s developmental profile and it includes the use of 360-degree process. c. ‘developmental planning’, which includes providing feedback to the executive to identify the areas that need development in conjunction with the profile for success as well as develop a leadership development plan to identify how to help the executive become more effective. d. ‘implementation’, where the plan turns to actions. In a somewhat similar mode, Witherspoon and White (1996: 132) identified the following four steps in the coaching process: commitment, assessment, action, and continuous improvement. Feldman and Lankau (2005) and O’Neill (2007) also follow a four-step approach, however, they give emphasis—as a final step—to what happens after the implementation. Specifically, Feldman and Lankau (2005: 837–8) note that although each coach shapes the coaching intervention in different ways to fit the specific executive client’s needs, there is a sequence of four key activities that take place in the coaching relationship: data gathering, feedback, implementation of the intervention (which involves periodic coaching sessions), and evaluation. O’Neill (2007) identifies in her proposed methodology four phases of coaching: (a) contracting (i.e., the coach finds a way to familiarize himself/herself with the client and become a ‘partner’), (b) planning (the coach keeps the ownership
164 appendix i
with the client, which includes addressing specific issues and helping the client to identify his or her side of the pattern and plan for resistance), (c) live-action coaching (which is about striking ‘while the iron is hot’ and includes behind-the-scenes coaching, observation of the client with his or her direct reports, live-action coaching of the client and his or her direct reports, and live-action coaching of the client while alone), and (d) debriefing (i.e., defining a learning focus which includes evaluation of the client’s and the coach’s effectiveness and debriefing when the coaching engagement ends).
EC as a Five-Step Process Under a humanistic approach, Flaherty (2005:40, cited in Bartlett, 2007) suggests that the ‘flow of coaching’ includes five consequent steps: (a) establishing relationship (which requires developing mutual trust, respect, and freedom of expression), (b) recognizing opening (which includes examining possible obstacles such as habits and social identity), (c) observe/assess (instead of a reductivitist approach, it involves an expansion of the view, taking a complete systems view), (d) enroll client, and (e) coaching conversations. Natale and Diamante (2005: 363–8) suggest that the executive coaching process consists of five stages: (1) the ‘alliance check’, which refers to the uncertainty that the executive has regarding what is going to happen during the EC and ‘why’ and includes the development of a roadmap of the EC process and removal of an resistance (this may entail the executive’s doubt regarding where the data drawn from the EC will be used and whether the EC is offered for developmental reasons or his/her termination within the company is in any case predetermined), (2) the ‘credibility assessment’, which is the stage where the executive seeks to gain control and tests whether the coach can actually offer him something (this includes checking the coach’s background, credentials and experience), (3) the ‘likeability link’ is the stage where the executive compares his/her preferred style with that of the coach to see if they are able to connect to one another (this entails the executive measuring the coach’s self-confidence, knowledge and intensity, or business focus), (4) the ‘dialogue and skill acquisition’ stage, which focuses on discovery, analysis, verification, and application, which aims at preparing the executive for change and entails the executive’s understanding of ‘self’ in relation to the business demands, with the help of what the authors propose as the four-factor (4F) model, (5) the ‘cue-based action plans’ is the fifth and final stage of EC and entails delineating, in behaviorally or cognitively specific terms, what the executive needs to do and when (action planning in cues). Gregory et al. (2008) and Lee (2010) also include in the process description a debriefing step. Gregory et al. (2008) stressed the role of feedback in EC and propose a five-stage EC model (with several of these five progressive stages being affected by individual and organizational level variables): Stage 1 includes a catalyst for coaching (i.e., an event or catalyst for initiating a coaching intervention), Stage 2 is about establishing the relationship between the coach and the client, Stage 3 involves data gathering on the executive’s performance, Stage 4 is dedicated to utilizing feedback gathered through the various assessments and take action on the basis of this reviewed and interpreted feedback, and last, Stage 5 (which may occur simultaneously with Stage 4) refers to the outcomes of the intervention with regards to behavioural
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changes which are typically gradual and ongoing (for detailed descriptions of each stage see Gregory et al., 2008: 48–52). Lee (2010: 25) also notes that all coaching uses ‘some version’ of a key process that consists of five stages which are used ‘fluidly and cyclically’ in an iterative manner: (1) contracting (to agree the scope, boundaries and purpose of work with the coachee and the sponsors), (2) assessing (in order to gather useful information), (3) developing (to help the coachee move on), (4) implementing (so that the new learning can turn to new behaviour), (5) reviewing (which includes progress checking and realignment of the coaching approach).
EC as a Six-Step Process For Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson (2001: 208) EC consists of six stages: relationship building, assessment, feedback, planning, implementation, and evaluation and follow-up (Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson, 2001: 208). According to Ennis et al. (2008a: 36–7) and Ennis et al. (2008b: 80–6) the six main coaching tasks and skills are: building and maintaining coaching relationships, contracting, assessment, development planning, facilitating development and change, and last, ending formal coaching and transitioning to long-term development.
EC as a Seven-Step Process Based on a conducted survey and telephone interviews, Judge and Cowell (1997: 76) identified the following components of a typical coaching intervention that an executive should expect: (a) receive a formal or informal assessment, (b) conduct a review of long-term goals and aspirations, (c) sign a contract for several coaching sessions (six to twelve over a period of six months), (d) meet with the coach (either in the coach’s office or in the executive’s office) at least once a month for several sessions and then less frequently as time passes, (e) spend time to prepare for sessions or practice skills between sessions, (f) access and contact the coach between sessions via telephone or e-mail, (g) receive sound advice and ongoing feedback from the coach.
And more . . . Kilburg (1996: 141) identified a long list of twenty-seven different coaching methods and techniques: (1) ‘Assessment and feedback’, (2) ‘Education’, (3) ‘Training’, (4) ‘Skill development’, (5) ‘Stimulations’, (6) ‘Role playing’, (7) ‘Organizational assessment and diagnosis’, (8) ‘Brainstorming’, (9) ‘Conflict and crisis management’, (10) ‘Communications’, (11) ‘Clarifications’, (12) ‘Confrontations’, (13) ‘Interpretations’, (14) ‘Reconstructions’, (15) ‘Empathy and encouragement’, (16) ‘Tact’, (17) ‘Helping to set limits’, (18) ‘Helping to maintain boundaries’, (19) ‘Depreciating and devaluing maladaptive behaviors, defenses, attitudes, values, emotions, fantasies’, (20) ‘Punishment and extinction of maladaptive behaviors’, (21) ‘Establishing consequences for behaviors’, (22) ‘Behavioral analysis’, (23) ‘Group process interventions’,
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(24) ‘Working relationship interventions’, (25) ‘Project- and/or process-focused work on structure, process, and content issues in the organization or input, throughput, or output problems or issues’, (26) ‘Journaling, reading assignments, conferences, and workshops’, (27) ‘Other interventions, using organization development or training technologies’.
n APPENDIX II A REVIEW OF THE EXISTING EC OUTCOME STUDIES
We developed the following table as part of the data collection and analysis process. The table includes all executive coaching (EC) outcome studies (excluding internal coaching, workplace coaching, and manager-as-coach, since this would have been beyond the scope of this study) published up to December 2012. More specifically, the following details per study are included: name of author(s), the theme/purpose of the study, the research methodology of the study, what EC approach/techniques or tools were employed in the EC interventions under study, what are the key findings/ outcomes from the study, and finally, the publication outlet. As part of the analysis, we use different font styles in the ‘Key Findings/Outcomes’ column depending on the type of outcome: Plain text: if the observed EC outcomes are positive; Underline: if the EC outcomes are conflicting or moderate; Bold: if the EC outcomes are negative; Italics: descriptive findings, without positive or negative connotation. The studies marked with an asterisk (*) are studies that are not empirical per se, but report earlier empirical evidence (see also Grant, 2011). The two studies marked with (**) (McGovern et al., 2001 and Kearns, 2006) have not been published in peer-reviewed journals but are among the very few outcome studies that calculate EC ROI, also, the McGovern et al. (2001) study is among the most heavily cited EC outcome studies (168 citations in Google Scholar), hence we decided to include them in this list.
EC Approach/ Technique
Foster & Lendl (1996)
Study of the effects of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) on executive coaching.
Description of four case studies (from various job and industries) based on authors’ experience.
One to ten hours of coaching based on the EMDR technique to desensitize an upsetting event that impaired work performance.
Provides consulting psychologists with an overview of an iterative approach to EC (employed for coaching a ‘troubled’ leader).
One case study, a senior manager in his mid-forties. EC conducted by the author.
COMPETENCY APPROACH Used the Hay/McBer Executive 360 assessment process and a competency-based programme including three-hour interview. Use of additional instruments (FIRO-B or Element B and the Strength Deployment Inventory, and 16PF) and ongoing data collection and looped feedback process.
– Learned to plan for both personal and business outcomes.
SYSTEMS-ORIENTED APPROACH EC programme consisted of three distinct phases: fact gathering (including psychological tests); planning and consolidation; implementation and development.
– Substantial positive changes in his interactions were observed by his colleagues.
Kiel, Rimmer, Williams, & Doyle (1996) (Review article with some empirical findings)
Presents an intense, systems-oriented approach to the leadership development of top-level executives.
One case study of a forty-year-old male senior sales and marketing executive of a major international corporation. EC conducted by the authors. Participant described as a ‘star performer’ with immense interpersonal problems.
Key Findings/Outcomes – EMDR desensitized the disturbing incident. – Participants’ negative view shifted to more positive. – Work performance was restored or enhanced. – Decrease of anxiety levels in 4th case.
– Executive became more able to manage his need to dominate, and reward and develop others as opposed to just directing them. This tendency did not completely disappear, but was improved.
Publication Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice & Research
– Became more gentle and aware of others’ needs at work and more interpersonally sensitive and available in personal life. – Post-EC, participant’s team or group management skills were still developing, considering his tendency to do it alone and on his own standards.
– After EC, the participant joined a new and larger team, as part of a new job role, and was seen as a real team player among his peers and visionary (even ‘inspirational’) leader of his staff. – Participant described the EC intervention as a ‘life-changing’ event.
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice & Research
168 appendix ii
Olivero, Bane, & Kopelman (1997)
Examined the effects of EC in a public sector municipal agency (a health agency in a major north-eastern US city).
Thirty-one managers (top-level managers, mid-level managers, and supervisors) underwent a conventional managerial training programme, followed by eight weeks of one-onone EC.
Coaching included: goal – Training increased productivity by 22.4 %. setting, collaborative problem – Coaching increased productivity by 88.0% (i.e., solving, practice, feedback, significantly greater gain compared to training supervisory involvement, alone). evaluation of end-results, – All coaches and coachees reported favorable and a public presentation reactions (qualitative measurement). (not clarified in the article, but description fits the COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL).
Public Personnel Management
Judge & Cowell (1997)
Study of the emerging field of EC.
Survey of sixty coaches and follow-up telephone interviews.
Identified: the characteristics of coaches and coachees, what a typical EC intervention includes and types of assessments performed, typical issues requested to address through EC.
Hall, Otazo, & Hollenbeck (1999)
Examine the way EC has been applied, issues covered in EC, EC effectiveness and lessons from EC practice.
Interviews with seventy-five executives in Fortune 100 companies and with fifteen executive coaches.
– Most executives rated the overall effectiveness of Organizational their coaching experience as ‘very satisfactory’ (four Dynamics on a five-point scale). – EC produces a specific value-added: executives acquire new skills, abilities, and perspectives, which allow accomplishing things that they could not do before EC. – Reported improved performance. – Developed new attitudes and perspectives (e.g. more patience).
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– Executives had four types of ‘protean learning’: learning relating to performance and attitude perspective change (in the short-term) and adaptability and identity change (in the long-term). – Positive outcomes for coaches, too: they learn more about the business and internal politics. (continued)
EC Approach/ Technique
Garman, Whiston, & Zlatoper (2000)
Determine the general opinions of the EC practice and the extent to which training in psychology is relevant and useful in coaching practice.
Content analysis: Reviewed seventy-two articles on EC appearing in mainstream and trade management publications between 1991 and 1998 (forty were about external EC and thirty-two about internal EC).
– Media coverage of EC has been growing.
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
McGovern, Lindemann, Vergara, Murphy, Barker, & Warrenfeltz (2001)
Explores the EC effectiveness in terms of behavioural change, organizational outcomes and return on investment (ROI).
Phone interviews with 100 executives in the north-eastern and mid-Atlantic regions who had completed their coaching between 1996 and 2000. Twenty-five- to forty-five-minute interview duration. Where possible, survey included the executives’ immediate supervisors or HR representatives who had observed and could comment on the coaching experience.
– Favorable views of EC far exceed unfavorable views, with 88% of the articles presenting EC favourably. – Psychology training is neither regularly nor universally recognized as useful or even relevant to practice EC. The percentage of EC articles that mentioned psychology dropped over time (period 1991–98).
55% of EC cases were change-oriented (supplement and refocus the participant’s skills) and 29% were growth-oriented (accelerate the learning curve for high-potential or recently promoted executives). 16% combined the two orientations. EC duration of six to twelve months. Assessment procedures included personality instruments, multi-rater surveys, and interviews with members of the multi-rater survey sample.
– 86% of participants and 74 % of stakeholders were ‘very satisfied’ or ‘extremely satisfied’ with the EC process. – Participants considered that 73 % of their goals have been achieved ‘very effectively’ or ‘extremely effectively’. – In only twelve cases participants did not sustain at least one of their developmental priorities. – The most frequently reported factor detracting EC effectiveness was participant’s availability (44%) and the most frequently reported factor enhancing EC effectiveness was the coach/participant relationship (87%). – Forty-three of the executives were able to provide an estimate of EC ROI in dollars: Initial ROI estimates, before adjustment, were between $100,000 and $1 million. Conservative ROI was on average nearly $100,000 or 5.7 times the initial EC investment. Conclusion: EC is a particularly valuable investment.
The Manchester Review
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– 75% of participants and stakeholders indicated that the value of coaching was ‘considerably greater’ or ‘far greater’ than money and time invested. 9
Showcased the value of using Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy in EC and specifically where this approach is most suitable.
Presents seven cases of executives helped via REBT coaching to improve their performance and overcome specific weaknesses. Author is the coach.
COGNITIVE-BEHAVIOURAL (Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy—REBT)
REBT is a very useful EC approach and particularly appropriate in: assessment, personal counseling, anger management, confrontation, relationship problems, lack of self-worth, procrastination, indecisiveness in decision making and problem-solving and perfectionism.
Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Challenge the prevailing understanding of EC as an exclusively individual intervention.
Describes and analyzes three illustrative excerpts from actual EC cases conducted by the author.
PSYCHODYNAMIC (Based on description of approach, not clearly stated as such by the author).
– EC as a complex and demanding process with multidimensional interrelationships among the individual, the organization and the consultant.
The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science
Examines the impact of EC and 360-degree feedback on leadership effectiveness.
360 feedback analysis and email post surveys. Action research with 281 executives and high potential managers of a US telecommunications firm. Coaching aimed at increasing the overall coaching effectiveness on a post-360 survey and increase the
NOT SPECIFIED Three phases over a period of three years: first phase: develop and pilot 360 feedback process (eight months); second phase: implement year one 360 feedback with coaching (twelve months); third phase: implement year two 360 feedback with coaching (twelve months).
– Participation rates were higher than anticipated with more participants volunteering to complete the EC process than the corporate budget allowed.
– Four premises guide EC: the role of the unconscious in individual and group behaviour; the interaction between the individual and the organization; multilevel organizational forces; and the consultant’s use of self as tool.
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– The perceived (by others) overall impact on leadership effectiveness after the six-month coaching and 360-feedback equaled to an average increase of 55% with Phase 2 executives and 60% with Phase 3 executives.
Leadership & Organization Development J ournal
– Completing three to five EC sessions appears to have a much more positive impact on self-reported per cent increase in leadership effectiveness than only one or two EC sessions.
EC Approach/ Technique
SYSTEMS APPROACH (Duration not specified— appears that all coaching happened in 1 session)
– The effectiveness of 360-degree feedback can be improved by combining it with coaching that focuses on enhanced self-awareness and behavioural management.
Human Resource Management
NOT SPECIFIED Duration: 5 to 7 hours of EC time per executive
– Managers who worked with an executive coach were more likely than other managers to set specific (rather than vague) goals and solicit ideas for improvement from their supervisors.
number of ‘ready now’ succession planning candidates for the firm’s top sixty strategic positions. 12
Luthans & Peterson (2003)
Examines the impact of 360-degree feedback, combined with coaching, on target managers’ self-awareness and the outcomes on managers’ and employees’ attitudes and, indirectly, on organizational performance.
Field study with interviews, observation and collection of assessment scores at a small manufacturing company located in the Midwest. Study participants: twenty managers and sixty-seven workers. Managers coached by external coach. Data collected before and three months after coaching.
Smither, London, Flautt, Vargas, & Kucine (2003)
Study the effects of EC on multisource feedback on behaviour change over time.
Survey. 1,361 senior managers received multisource feedback; 404 of them worked with an EC to review feedback and set goals. One year
– Managers who worked with an EC improved more than other managers in terms of direct report and supervisor ratings, but the effect size was small. – 86.3% of senior managers who had EC, wanted to work with a coach again. 78.5% wanted with the same one.
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later, 1,202 senior managers (88% of original sample) received multisource feedback from another survey. Aim: explore differences in multisource feedback ratings between managers who had EC and those who did not. 14
Explores the experiences of managers participating in an externally-provided coaching programme, including their perceived benefits of coaching.
Data collected through self-report, semi-structured questionnaires to sixteen managers of a major UK clearing bank. Author was the coach.
– Senior managers had favorable reactions towards their executive coach and the coaching process.
Each manager received one hour of coaching every fortnight, for over a year.
– Coaching substantially increases the effectiveness of the links between self-development, management development and organizational effectiveness.
Journal of Change Management
Reported areas of improvement due to EC:
appendix ii 173
Increased self-awareness, self-confidence and/ or self-esteem, improved motivation, objective setting and leadership skills, increased business performance, greater ability to understand systems and analyse situations, better understanding of difference, paradox and ambiguity, better stress management, taking ownership of decisions about themselves and close relations (take decisions, previously seen as difficult) and improved communication skills.
EC Approach/ Technique
An outcome study on different aspects, choices, areas of focus, tools, pros and cons and success factors associated with EC.
Survey of eighty-seven executives coached by the author between 1985 and 2001.
NOT SPECIFIED – 76% reacted positively to working with an (But included list of typical EC executive coach. activities and allocated hours). – But more than a third of sample reported a ‘guarded’ or negative response.
Publication Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice & Research
– 100% of respondents indicated a positive response in favor of external coaches and 70% indicated a strong positive response in favor of internal coaches.
(82% response rate from the initial sample of 106 executives).
– Top three indications of successful coaching were: sustained behaviour change (63%); increased self-awareness and understanding (48%), and more effective leadership (45%). – Sustainability of executives’ learning and/or behaviour change as a result of EC: over half of executives reported sustainability level between 6 and 8 and over a third between 9 and 10 (in a 1–10 scale).
Grant & Zackon (2004)
Learn more about coaching professionalism, coaching career, coaching processes used, coaching practice, client profiles and demographics (focus on executive, workplace and life coaching).
Online survey. 2,529 coaches responded (all ICF members).
NOT SPECIFIED The focus was on executive, workplace and life coaching.
The field is weak in measuring effectiveness: Only 31.8% of coaches use client satisfaction surveys ‘often’. Most frequent measure of effectiveness is informal client feedback (55.3%). Most coaches claim to use some quantitative measures (61.9%), but only a few use them often (19.1%).
International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring
174 appendix ii
Explores the effects of coaching carried out within an evidence-based framework. Calculates the coaching ROI but in terms of behavioural changes, not financial impact.
Six managers of a large internet provider. Author was their coach. Conducted interviews and compared scores to online questionnaires.
EVIDENCE-BASED Used various assessment instruments (including Kegan’s Subject–Object Interview, Thought Form Assessment, Need/Press Analysis.
– Positive behavioural change occurred in cases where a developmental shift (to a subsequent developmental level) guaranteed that it could be sustained over time. – Such positive behavioural change could occur in the absence of a developmental advance, but without the benefit of being sustainable.
International Journal of Evidence-Based Coaching and Mentoring
– When the developmental level remained unchanged over the period of coaching, behaviour also tended to remain unchanged. – Lack of developmental advance could manifest as behavioural regression, where resistance or immunity to change increases over the coaching period.
Sue-Chan & Latham (2004)
Examines the relative effectiveness of external, peer, and self-coaches on the performance of participants in two MBA programmes.
The second involved twenty-three EMBA managers in Australia randomly assigned to either external or peer or self-coaching.
NOT SPECIFIED Coaches’ training based on goal-setting and self-management techniques.
– In the first study, those coached by an external coach exhibited higher team-playing behaviour than those coached by peers. – In the second study, those who were either coached by an external coach or were self-coached had significantly higher grades than those who were coached by a peer.
Applied Psychology: An International Review
– In both studies, an external coach was perceived by the participants to have higher credibility than their peers. – In the second study, self-coaching was perceived to be more credible than coaching from peers.
appendix ii 175
Two studies: The first involved thirty MBA students in Canada, participating in one-factor between-groups (self, peer, or external coaching repeated measures design. Participants in the external and peer conditions were coached twice during the semester.
– Satisfaction with the coaching process was highest among managers who had external coach.
EC Approach/ Technique
Weller & Weller (2004)
Sought to gain insight into the question of whether EC helps to create better leaders—and if so, in what ways.
Study of thirty-two executives (most were at director or vice-president level), each coached by one of the authors within the previous four years. Executives were assessed before and after the EC intervention.
NOT SPECIFIED but refers to – Significant gains as a result of EC, especially with EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE regards to ‘soft skills’ seen as essential to leaders’ Use of 360-degree-feedback success: i.e., building and mending relationships, instrument. Coaching composure, and participative management. Also intervention lasted between improvements in career derailers, in problem areas six months and a year. regarding interpersonal relationships and difficulty changing or adapting.
Leadership in Action
Examines key elements of the EC process (trust, relationship building, and assessment) and its content.
Case study. One individual. Review of a coaching engagement spanning two years. Source: the author’s experience as an EC.
Combination—mentions GESTALT and EI – Initially biweekly coaching sessions.
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
– Focus on encouragement (executive facing job difficulties). – Self-awareness and learning new skills. – DISC assessment to measure natural and adapted style.
– Became more self-confident and relaxed. – Learned new skills. – Felt more comfortable with new environment (because of change of roles/job within the organization) and more powerful. – Improved interactions with customers and collaboration with peers and staff.
176 appendix ii
Peterson & Millier (2005)
Evaluates the benefits of external business coaching.
Combination of one case study of six Royal Mail corporate purchasers of EC and data drawn from a large-scale UK survey of people receiving business coaching by a coaching and mentoring training provider.
NOT SPECIFIED – Coachees report improvements in various areas. Coaches work with volunteers Top three were: (a) improved confidence, feel for five to six coaching good, believe in myself, morale, grow; (b) Support, sessions at approximately guidance, encouragement, valued; (c) Career, monthly intervals. Use promotion, future. of 180-degree feedback – Interesting discrepancy observed when comparing inventory (not 360-degree). EC purchasers’ answers on what constitutes business coaching success with coachees’ views on their EC experience: EC purchasers perceived contribution to business results as the most important success criterion, whereas this was the 9th most frequent response among coachees.
International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring
Examines the coaching process from the perspective of both the coach and the participant.
One case study. The two authors are a coach and his coachee respectively and present their experience on the coaching process each from their own perspective.
NOT SPECIFIED (but description of the process fits to the experiential learning and cognitive-behavioural approaches).
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice & Research
The coachee learned: (a) how to work better with ‘herself’, be more clear about her goals and keep the goal in sight; (b) to ‘slow down to go fast’, i.e., taking time to reflect. – Also, improved the quality of communication and credibility with others and learned to manage the interaction instead of going with the flow.
appendix ii 177
Coaching process included five half-day sessions and – Learned new skills and techniques such as how to use of 360-degree feedback be a better listener, strategic thinking, influence, and a coaching tool titled managing politics, etc. ‘development pipeline’ for diagnosis of the five necessary conditions for development (i.e., motivation, capabilities, real world practice, accountability and insight).
EC Approach/ Technique
Explores top management executives’ views regarding EC.
Informal telephone interviews (guided by eleven pre-constructed questions) with seven managers, from four major business sectors, who had participated in EC.
– All participants agreed that EC is a helping process that enables to better meet their role obligations and responsibilities.
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
Chronicles the coaching and development partnership among a consulting psychologist, an executive and the principal stakeholders in the executive’s work environment.
Case study drawn from the author’s experience as an EC. Participant was a high-potential African American executive who was faltering in his role as the head of a regional division of a Fortune 500 company.
NOT SPECIFIED (But the description fits to the systems approach.)
– Increased executive’s credibility, respect and effectiveness as well as self-awareness regarding the impact of his decisions and actions on others.
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
Examines the impact of coaching on the quality of life and sales staff productivity (US Army recruiters).
Survey. Nineteen recruiting first sergeants (district managers) asked to set goals pre-coaching which were coded and tested for attainment
Bowles & Picano (2006)
Included 360-degree – His colleagues’ perceptions of him as a leader and feedback, regular one-on-one manager improved. meetings with the executive, – The morale among the coachee’s direct reports four-way conference (with and RBT improved. coach, coachee, executive’s manager and HR). Also, interviews with members of the management team and six and twelve month follow-up after the EC. – There was a self-reported negative relationship between goal achievement and the quality of recruitment productivity among personnel. – Managers who more frequently applied coaching advice reported more work satisfaction and a tendency toward more life satisfaction.
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice & Research
178 appendix ii
after six months. Also, measured coaching intensity, involvement in the coaching process, participants’ quality of life, experience of stress, life satisfaction, and productivity. 26
Dagley (2006) Recorded HR professionals’ perceptions of EC.
Structured face-toface interviews with seventeen HR professionals in Melbourne, Australia, responsible for more than 1,000 individual EC programmes in preceding two years.
– Practitioners indicated strong support for the use of coaching in the future. – All rated their EC programmes as at least moderately successful (at least 3.5 of a 5 scale measure).
International Coaching Psychology Review
– Estimate that 11% of programmes are outstandingly successful and 14% marginally or not successful. – Practitioners identified a large range of benefits for individual executives and a smaller range for organizations. Most frequently reported individual benefit: ‘clearer understanding of own style, automatic responses, and the issues arising from these’. Most frequently reported organizational benefit: development of the talent pool and organizational capability.
appendix ii 179
– Practitioners indicated that benefits exceeded costs. – Five of seventeen professionals reported engaging in ROI analysis, but four do so informally and only one formally. – Only one of seventeen perceived the costs as being larger than the returns and two thought that they are about equal. (continued)
EC Approach/ Technique
Evers, Brouwers, & Tomic (2006)
Examine whether coaching really leads to presupposed individual goals.
Quasi-experimental. Sixty managers of the federal government divided in two groups: the one followed a coaching programme, the other did not. Before the coaching programme started, self-efficacy beliefs and outcome expectancies were measured. Four months later, the same variables were measured and compared to previous scores.
GROW MODEL Coaching aimed at improving outcome expectancies and self-efficacy beliefs of the participating managers (experimental group).
– The coached group scored significantly higher than the control group on two variables: outcome expectancies to act in a balanced way and self-efficacy beliefs to set one’s own goals.
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice & Research
Fillery-Travis & Examines how Lane (2006) coaching is being used, whether it is a coherent framework of practice and whether it is perceived or quantified as effective.
Examined existing empirical research on coaching effectiveness (on external coaching, internal coaching and manager as coach).
– All the reviewed empirical studies conclude that International people like to be coached and coaching is perceived Coaching, to positively impact upon their effectiveness. Psychology Review – Across all studies on external executive coaching, the improvement in coachees’ behaviours post-coaching was consistent, whether the coachees self-reported or the quantification was through 360-degree feedback.
180 appendix ii
Jones, Rafferty, & Griffin (2006)
Investigated the influence of EC on managerial flexibility.
‘Repeated measures design’. 360-degree feedback workshop and surveys. Two groups of leaders were studied: Group 1 (twelve participants) and Group 2 (eleven participants) received external EC over a three-month period. Leaders were surveyed prior, during and post EC. Group 2 started EC four months after Group 1.
Explored whether coaching delivers a valuable return on investment.
Two-year study of coaching effectiveness for owners/managers. Use of a return on investment (ROI) methodology to demonstrate the financial value impact of coaching.
– Self-reported managerial flexibility increased throughout the duration of EC.
Leadership & Organization Development Journal
– 97.2 % of coachees reported being very satisfied with the process.
2. Training Journal
– In the cases where coaches established monetary, business objectives from the start of the coaching, and measured the results 6 months later, in terms of return on investment (ROI) the net benefit was calculated to 200%, over one year (in other investments, typically a ‘normal’ return on capital is between 15–25%). Also, if repeated over three years, assuming that the benefit gained from the coaching would continue at least into years 2 and 3, the extrapolated ROI would be 801%. – Coaches believe that coaching made a big difference: Post-coaching estimation by coaches of the extent to which coaching contributed to the ROI ranged between 50% and 100%. (continued)
appendix ii 181
Seventy-two participants in the coaching programme.
Six coaching sessions, with one session of approximately an hour scheduled each fortnight for three months. A seventh session scheduled six months later.
EC Approach/ Technique
Libri & Kemp (2006)
Assesses the efficacy of cognitive behavioural techniques in EC for performance enhancement in organizational environments.
One case study. COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL One EC participant, thirty-year-old Australian male, finance sales executive. Twelve weeks duration of EC, each phase of case design lasted three weeks. Follow-up measures at six and at eighteen months after the EC intervention. Data drawn from interviews and regular measurement of outcome measures on sales performance, core self-evaluation and subjective global self-rating of performance.
Demonstrates that EC efficacy can be measured empirically (using Alderfer & Brown’s 1972 ‘empathic organic questionnaire’.
Case study. One senior executive in a large state agency who participated in EC, coached by the author.
NOT SPECIFIED Conducted qualitative interviewing, observation, administering questionnaires (including the empathic organic questionnaire) and evaluation of outcomes.
– The cognitive behavioural EC programme enhanced the participant’s sales performance, core self-evaluation, and global self-ratings of performance following his EC participation.
International Coaching Psychology Review
– Confirms that empirical measurement of EC is possible.
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
182 appendix ii
Parker-Wilkins Pursued to increase (2006) understanding of the business impact of EC and enhance the utilization of coaching throughout the firm.
Scoular & Linley (2006)
Experimental between-subjects design with two conditions (in half sessions coaches used goal-setting in addition to
– Reportedly coaching assisted participants in three main areas: leadership behaviour (according to 82% of respondents), building teams (41 %) and developing staff (36 %).
Industrial & Commercial Training
– 86 % rated coaching as very effective. – 95% reported doing things differently as a result of coaching. – 95% would recommend coaching to other staff. – Leaders reported less defensiveness and more self-confidence in dealing with others. – Were able to better understand how they fit into the company culture. – ROI was calculated to 689%.
– Coachees rated the coaching experience with a very high score (20.4 out of 25) and reported being surprised of the positive outcome in such brief time (30 minutes).
The Coaching Psychologist
– Comparing goal-setting and non-goal-setting EC, the goal-setting EC did not produce higher outcomes. (continued)
appendix ii 183
Examined the use of goal-setting and the use of personality instruments (to match coach and coachee) in EC.
NOT SPECIFIED Online survey and interviews with twenty-six senior leaders. Also, conducted a ROI study with data from forty-three EC participants. Study consisted of three steps: (a) understand the business value expected by the firm’s senior leadership, (b) document what staff have learned from coaching, and (c) explore how staff applied their EC learning to create intangible and monetary value for the business.
Methodology other techniques and in other half, non-goal-setting). 120 coaching sessions studied (each thirty minutes long, randomized coach/coachee allocation).
EC Approach/ Technique
– When coach and coachee differed on temperament, outcome scores were higher.
Both coach and coachee completed the MBTI and NEO-PIR questionnaires and post-coaching evaluations. Outcomes re-tested at two and eight weeks. 35
Wasylyshyn, Gronsky, & Haas (2006)
Examined the effectiveness of a coaching programme commissioned by a global company for executives and high potential employees to develop their emotional competence.
Survey of coaching participants and others (i.e., former and current bosses). Also, data gathered through: life/career history, battery of psychometrics, and customized 360-interview protocol.
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE. – Sustained learning and behaviour change among Description fitted to the programme participants over an extended period SYSTEMS APPROACH: was observed: 52% of the participants reported Programme described as a high sustainability and 48% medium sustainability. four-phase, collaborative coaching programme that involves an employee’s boss and HR partner as well as the participant and his/her coach. The coaching phase consisted of eight to ten face-to-face coaching meetings, each approximately two hours in length. Also, there was follow-up.
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
184 appendix ii
Blattner & Bacigalupo (2007)
Presented a case study which shows how emotional intelligence (EI) was used to facilitate team and organizational cohesiveness, based on the collaboration of an organizational development (OD) consultant and an executive coach.
One case study. EC EMOTIONAL INTELLI provided to the CEO GENCE & SYSTEMS of an international THEORY company and his team of senior leaders. Two twelve-hour off-site team building and follow-up sessions provided by the OD consultant. Both the EC and OD consultants collaborated in observing and providing feedback throughout the intervention.
– The CEO developed more productive and positive leadership skills, and the organization was more focused on strategy and working collectively toward achieving the goals that had been established.
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
Bowles, Cunning ham, De La Rosa, & Picano (2007)
Tested the effectiveness of coaching for middle and executive level managers within a large recruiting organization.
Twelve-month NOT SPECIFIED coaching programme. Sample: thirty middle managers and twenty-nine executive managers involved in US Army recruiting. Participants set goals before coaching and tested whether they achieved them.
– Coached managers outperformed un-coached but experienced/incumbent counterparts.
Leadership & Organization Development Journal
– The strongest impact of coaching on performance was for middle managers and their subordinates (as opposed to executive managers).
appendix ii 185
Burke & Linley (2007)
Assessed whether EC affects self-concordance.
Twenty-six senior Combined POSITIVE managers (nine PSYCHOLOGY and the males, seventeen GROW MODEL. females) identified three goals. Self-concordance score measured before EC. Received a one-to-one coaching session focused on one goal, but received no coaching on remaining goals. Both qualitative and quantitative data collected and compared.
Preliminary evaluation of EC for candidates on a High Potential Development Scheme.
Ten participants in external EC (participants are on a High Potential Development Scheme within the UK Ministry of Defence). Multi-method research approach: questionnaires to survey scheme member’s perceptions, a Return on Investment (ROI) study and a follow-up to determine success in gaining promotion.
EC Approach/ Technique
– Significant changes (increases) in self-concordance and commitment for the coached goal.
International Coaching Psychology Review
– Also, significant increases in self-concordance and commitment for some of the other non-coached goals. – Gender differences were observed in self-concordance scores before the EC intervention.
NOT SPECIFIED – All ten coachees rated their EC experience positively Included psychometric and described their own progress within the testing, one-to-one interviews Development Scheme as high. Also perceived that and other techniques to their leadership skills have benefited from EC. confirm potential and – A preliminary Return on Investment (ROI) development needs against calculation indicated that benefits exceeded the the Senior Civil Service core costs (i.e., the £3,000 cost for the EC intervention). skills. Six to eight EC sessions No specific % of EC ROI provided in this study. per participant. – Other reported benefits: promotion, broader leadership skills, and generalized skills transfer within the MoD. Conclusion, broader positive impact on the department because of EC.
International Coaching Psychology Review
186 appendix ii
Provided an overview of new advances of research on coaching outcomes (particularly regarding external, peer and self-coaching).
Provides a summary and compares in detail a selection of outcome studies: four predictive studies of coaching outcomes (as the result of changes in pre-requisites or success factors) and eight experimental evaluation studies of coaching outcomes.
Explored the contribution in an EC process of two psychometric measurements
One case study: a senior executive with dysfunctional behaviour. The author was the coach.
COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL – For individuals who like a more evidence-based Coaching took place approach, a psychometric profile provides them using a triangulation of with information to work with and improve. methods: psychometric Specifically, with the contribution of the two assessment, Egan psychometric measurements, the client developed person-centred counselling a calmer, clearer style of conveying instructions skills and cognitive and was able to manage his emotional reactions behavioural techniques, over in a more measured and less irritable manner. a period of eight months, – Positive changes observed in his behaviour with meetings occurring every according to his colleagues’ feedback. four to six weeks.
The Coaching Psychologist
Survey of fifty-five organizations that use coaching interventions for their managers. All companies provide external coaching and 60%
Human Resource Planning
(Hogan Personality Inventory and the Hogan Development Survey).
Measured the organizational impact of coaching (external and internal coaching).
– Organizations that make greater use of external coaches for senior executives reported an improved alignment among the leadership team, the team’s ability to execute strategy, and leadership behaviours. -Greater use of internal coaches is associated with improved teamwork and strategy execution at management levels throughout the organization (high, medium,
International Coaching Psychology Review
appendix ii 187
McDermott, Levenson, & Newton (2007)
– Different coaching interventions produce significant and sometimes strong but not always expected and consistent effects.
EC Approach/ Technique
of them provide also internal coaching. Study based on self-reporting.
Styhre & Josephson (2007)
low levels). More internal coaching for middle managers appears to improve culture and morale. – Organizations that use central coordination of coaching and evaluate its effectiveness report better results: ‘what is measured appears to affect what happens’.
Presented how a coaching project was systemically designed, delivered, and measured to create performance value, including a return on investment (ROI).
Randomly selected twenty-five executives who participated in the EC process. 360 feedback assessment was used. Data collected through questionnaires and action plans.
NOT SPECIFIED Process included individual coaching sessions, once a month (usually more often), lasting one hour minimum. Reported improvement after six months into the EC process.
– ROI was calculated to be 221% (i.e., for every dollar invested in the coaching programme, the invested dollar was returned and another $1.21 was generated).
Examined the role of EC as a form of leadership support and leadership development for site managers in the construction industry, the produced learnings and insights and the implications.
Qualitative. A year-long action-research coaching project in the Swedish construction industry: four key stakeholders in the study (company, site managers, coach and academic researchers). EC participants were six site managers from two companies. Data collected by
BEHAVIOURAL APPROACH (the coach had training in behavioural sciences)
– Site managers appreciated coaching as a form of systematic support for the site manager function.
EC included two-hour EC meetings with the coach every third week.
– Intangible benefits achieved through EC: Increased commitment, improved teamwork, Increased job satisfaction, improved customer service and improved communication.
– Site managers participating in the coaching programme developed skills to allow reflecting on their work life situation, improved their communication, and became better equipped for seeing a broader range of perspectives in their work. – Overall reception of the coaching programme was ‘enthusiastic’.
Construction Management & Economics
188 appendix ii
the researchers through interviews with participants and their coach 45
Liljenstrand & Nebeker (2008)
Kombarakaran, Yang, Baker, & Fernandes (2008)
Aim was to learn more about coaches from varying academic backgrounds, and how they may differ in their approach to their craft (including, but not limited to EC).
Web-based survey. 2,231 coaches responded. Used a Coaching Practices Survey, forty-two topics, totalling 120 items.
Study of the effectiveness of EC as a method of leadership development
One case: EC programme of a large MNE, following a significant acquisition. Survey of 114 executives and forty-two coaches participating in the programme. Combination of. qualitative and quantitative data (using content analysis).
NOT SPECIFIED (Referred to various types of coaching, including EC)
– Differences observed between coaches from different academic backgrounds. – Coaches with a background in psychology tend to be hired by organizations as EC or consultant, rely more on their academic training when coaching, attend coaching seminars or workshops less frequently, and are less interested in coaching-specific certifications or licensure.
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
– Those trained in business or education or other fields tend to be hired by individuals and mostly offer personal coaching. NOT SPECIFIED – Positive executive change occurred in 5 areas: Forty-two coaches provided a. people management: refined coachees’ people EC to 114 executives in twelve skills (98% of executives reported so), better sessions over a six-month self-awareness and understanding of personal period. EC was face-to-face, strengths (99%), better results managing direct by phone or email. reports (91%) and internal customers (94%).
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
b. relationships with managers: 79% of executives reported establishing a more productive relationship based on better communication and feedback.
appendix ii 189
c. goal setting and prioritization: became better able to define performance goals (88%) and business objectives with direct reports (80%), EC provided insight into the business drivers of decisions and their impact on others (76%). d. engagement and productivity: became more able to adapt to work environment and more productive (78%) and satisfied (75%). .
EC Approach/ Technique
e. dialogue and communication between executives and managers: 68% reported an increased partnership and open dialogue with managers. – Executives reported that EC increased their confidence (72%), maximized their contribution to the company (78%), was beneficial to business (86%) and the time spent on coaching was a good return on investment (73%). – 81% of executives agreed that EC outcomes were consistent with expectations. 47
Polsfuss & Ardichvili (2008)
Stewart, Palmer, Wilkin, & Kerrin (2008)
Examines the effectiveness of the use of a psycho-educational approach, the Three Principles Psychology (TPP), in EC and more broadly leadership development training.
Explored whether personality impacts on coaching success, using the Five-Factor Model of personality and the construct of general self-efficacy.
One qualitative case study of four TPP practitioners and four executives who have participated in related coaching and/ or training. Data collection through key informant interviews of forty to ninety minutes’ duration.
THREE PRINCIPLES PSYCHOLOGY APPROACH
Questionnaires administered to 110 participants. Used self-report measures, related to coaching transfer and personality.
NOT SPECIFIED Various coaching programmes. Each participant attended seven coaching sessions on average. Coaching engagement average length: eight months (minimum three, maximum eighteen months).
– Reported positive effects from the use of TPP in EC and training: less stress, slower work pace along with increased efficiency, improved interpersonal communication and conflict management ability, increased awareness and feeling of being ‘in the moment’, ability to find common language to communicate with others and increased ability to delegate and share leadership responsibility.
Advances in Developing Human Resources
– Half of the participants reported a danger of becoming too dogmatic, making them think that TPP is better than other coaching approaches. – Participants thought that in order to understand the value and effectiveness of TPP, qualitative measures should be used. – Positive correlations were found between the application of coaching development and conscientiousness, openness to experience, emotional stability and general self-efficacy. – Conscientiousness was found to be associated with generalization and maintenance of outcomes.
International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring
190 appendix ii
Explored the effectiveness of EC in the construction industry based on second-order observations.
Baron & Morin Empirically (2009) investigated the links between the coach–coachee relationship and the success of a EC intervention.
Qualitative. BEHAVIOURAL APPROACH A year-long (Coach had training in action research behavioural sciences) coaching project in the Swedish construction. industry. EC participants were six site managers from two construction companies (each was interviewed three times: early, halfway and at the end of the EC intervention). The coach was interviewed twice.
– EC actively helped the site managers to relate to their previous experiences and modes of operating and conceive of new and effective ways of leading their work.
NOT SPECIFIED Included face-to-face interactions between the coach and each participant. Participants identified three main goals they wanted to achieve and worked with the coach towards their attainment. fourteen sessions of ninety minutes each.
– The coach–coachee relationship plays a mediating role between the coaching received and the development of the coachees’ self-efficacy.
– Site managers found EC helpful in dealing with day-to-day problems and concerns and in their development as managers. – Site managers appreciated being provided with a space that allowed them to articulate their problems and discuss them with an external interlocutor.
Human Resource Development Quarterly
– Four significant correlates to the coach–coachee relationship were identified: the coach’s self-efficacy with regards to facilitating learning and results, the coachee’s motivation to transfer, his/her perception of supervisor support, and the number of coaching sessions received. Specifically:
appendix ii 191
One case study conducted in a large North American manufacturing company. Data collected from two samples: seventy-three junior and mid-level managers (who received EC as part of a leadership development programme for a period of eight months) and twenty-four coaches.
Leadership & Organization Development Journal,
– The coach–coachee relationship is a prerequisite for coaching effectiveness. – Positive correlation between the quality of the coaching relationship and the participants’ self-efficacy.
Methodology Results from thirty-one coach–coachee dyads were also analyzed. Coachees’ self-efficacy belief used as the outcome measure.
Grant, Curtayne, & Burton (2009)
Is the first published randomized controlled study in which coaching was conducted by professional executive coaches external to the organization.
Randomized controlled study of forty-one executives in a public health agency in Australia. Used both quantitative measures (Goal Attainment Scaling, Resilience, Depression, anxiety and stress, Workplace Well-being) and qualitative measures (based on two open questions about positive benefits from programme participation and positive outcomes flowed into workplace).
EC Approach/ Technique
– The more a manager is motivated to apply newly developed skills in her work and the higher her perception of supervisory support, the better the working alliance with the coach during the EC process.
COGNITIVE-BEHAVIOURAL – Compared to controls, coaching enhanced goal SOLUTION-FOCUSED attainment, increased resilience and workplace APPROACH well-being and reduced depression and stress. 360-degree feedback, a – Based on qualitative responses, participants found half-day leadership workshop, that EC helped to increase self-confidence and and four individual coaching personal insight, to build management skills and to sessions over ten weeks. deal with organizational change. – Short-term coaching can be effective, and evidence-based EC can be valuable as an applied positive psychology in helping people deal with uncertainty and challenges associated with organizational change.
Journal of Positive Psychology
192 appendix ii
Fischer & Beimers (2009)
Assessed the effectiveness of delivery and usefulness of a pilot six-month EC program that was implemented in the non-profit sector in 2005 in an urban metropolitan area.
Retrospective data collection through brief written surveys and in-person semi-structured interviews with nine executive directors (EDs) and five coaches who participated in the pilot. Compared the responses of the executives with those of the coaches.
– Coaching experience rated very helpful and supportive in the development of EDs as nonprofit leaders.
Nonprofit Management & Leadership
– Reported positive changes in personal growth and skill development. – Improved the ability to serve effectively in their role. – Both executives and coaches reported large or moderate improvement in six areas: time management; personal-professional balance; leadership skills and confidence; management skills; stress reduction; and relationships with staff and board. – Eight executives rated the support and in-person consultation by the coach as ‘very helpful’, and one as ‘somewhat helpful’. – Unanimous desire to extend EC beyond the six-month timeframe. – EDs and coaches reported the following goal areas having greatest improvement: improving management skills; leadership skills and confidence; and relationship with staff and board.
appendix ii 193
– Areas of greatest improvement (noted both by executives and coaches) in the area of job performance are: moving the organization towards achieving its goals; exercising leadership in the face of challenges & obstacles; completing high-priority tasks timely; delegating tasks and responsibility; and exercising leadership on a daily basis. – Areas with least progress in the area of job performance mentioned by executives: ensuring the board completes high-priority tasks in a timely manner, balancing the demands of personal and professional life, ability to resolve conflicts within the organization, having a good relationship with managers and other staff, and working effectively with staff. (continued)
EC Approach/ Technique
Hooijberg & Lane (2009)
Focused on understanding what contributes to coaching effectiveness in the multisource feedback session in executive education programmes from the participants’ perspective.
Online survey (including open-ended questions) of 232 managers who had participated in any among eight different executive education programmes provided by a ‘leading’ European business school.
NOT SPECIFIED Each programme included multisource evaluation (with self, boss, peers, and direct reports) and a single, one-onone, sixty- to ninety-minute feedback session with a coach.
– Three major categories determine effective coaching: ‘Interpreting results’ (34.8%); ‘Inspiring action’ (27.5%); and ‘Professionalism’(23.3%). Coaches who have these 3 characterisics will have coachees who have action plans and are committed to them.
Academy of Management Learning & Education
Addressed the conceptual and methodological issues involved in measuring the business impact of EC.
Case studies of NOT SPECIFIED twelve successful coaching engagements, involving executives at director level or higher. Not a statistical analysis. Contrasted coaching engagements that meet traditional criteria of effectiveness based on leadership behaviours with coaching.
– A great percentage of those who leave their coaching session being committed to their action plan also implement significant improvements at work. – Unlike what happens in more long-term coaching, according to the survey respondents, in the coaching happening within an executive education programme, participants give emphasis not on the coach-coachee chemistry but rather on coach’s skill to create an open, trusting and supportive environment. – Coaching can have positive impacts by changing leader behaviours and by contributing to improved business performance. – Participants had difficulty in identifying direct impacts of coaching on business outcomes. – The going-in belief across cases was that EC was important in improving the company’s ability to accomplish business objectives. – A positive impact of EC on business is that it can help executives avoid derailment, but in a case of ‘true’ derailment it is very difficult for coaching to have an impact. – In each case, coaching was reported as successful in achieving the immediate behavioural objectives, including communication style, motivating others, influence skills, listening skills, demonstrating empathy for others, building trusting relationships,
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
194 appendix ii
engagements that had an impact (or perceived impact) on business.
anger management, giving performance feedback,.agenda setting, building cross-functional relationships, building credibility, and using emotion as a leadership tool.
Moen & Allgood (2009)
Investigated the impact of a one-year EC experiment on self-efficacy with reference to important leadership tasks.
127 (of the initially invited 144) executives and middle managers of a Norwegian branch of a Fortune 500 company voluntarily participated in an online questionnaire concerning targeted thoughts, feelings and actions at work. Thirty-two-item scale measured leadership self-efficacy. Had an experimental and a control group in the EC experiment.
– EC was found to have significant positive effect on self-efficacy: executives participating in the experiment are more efficient and effective in their leadership roles.
Organization Development Journal
Moen & Skaalvik (2009)
Explored the effects of an EC programme on important performance psychology variables (self-efficacy, causal attribution, goal setting, and self-determination).
144 executives and managers from a Fortune 500 high-tech company participated in the experiment for one year. Twenty executives participated in an external EC programme and 124 middle managers.
NOT SPECIFIED EC included three phases: Coach specific training through workshops, group coaching and individual external EC (seven individual coaching sessions with external coaches, lasting sixty to ninety minutes each). Executives also served as coaches for middle managers on the coaching-based leadership
Summary of findings only for external EC:
International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring
– Observed significant effects of external coaching on psychological variables affecting performance such as self-efficacy, goal setting, intra-personal causal attributions of success and need satisfaction; positive change in self-efficacy; positive change in goal setting through important moderators’ clarity, difficulty, commitment, feedback and strategy; increased tendency to attribute successful performances to internal, unstable, and controllable factors; and positive change in need satisfaction among participants in the experiment group.
appendix ii 195
Explored the impact of EC on business meeting leader behaviour.
EC Approach/ Technique
participated in a coaching-based leadership programme (i.e., internal coaching). Twelve of the executives were chosen for the experiment group and eight for the control group. These twenty managers were the coaches for the 124 middle managers.
programme. Instruments measured causal attribution, self-determination, self-efficacy and goal setting.
– Significant effects of coaching-based leadership (i.e., internal coaching) on self-efficacy among middle manager, but the effects of internal coaching are not as strong as from external EC (only the hypothesis that predicted a positive change in self-efficacy was confirmed).
Study of twenty-one business executives whom the author had coached as EC. Developed an ‘average meeting leader profile’ for comparative purposes. Measured their leadership behaviour in meetings before and after the EC intervention. Combination of quantitative and qualitative data.
– More productive meeting leadership behaviours can be identified via observation and subsequently changed via EC involving the provision of positively framed, objective feedback.
Applied several measures to assess participants’ mental abilities and also measured their leadership behaviour in meetings (Meeting Leadership Measurement System—MLMS).
– Increased understanding of meeting leadership, improved skills in meeting leadership, and more positive meeting outcomes. – Changes in executives’ behaviour as a result of EC: less giving information and disagreeing/ attacking and more tension reduction, asking clarifying questions, summarizing, and testing for consensus. – The pre- and post-coaching frequencies with which executives made information-seeking and proposing statements did not significantly differ. – Increase in the % of supporting behaviours by executives.
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– Changes in the meeting leaders’ behaviours following coaching did not significantly correlate with their ages or verbal IQ scores. 58
Cerni, Curtis, & Colmar (2010)
Presented results of a study on the impact of a ten-week coaching intervention programme based on Epstein’s CEST theory on transformational leadership (tested whether changes to CEST information -processing systems could bring changes in leadership style).
COGNITIVE Specifically: Epstein’s (1998) Cognitive-experiential Self theory (CEST).
– Participants in the ten-week coaching-intervention programme were rated higher by their staff on transformational leadership compared to the principals in the control group.
International Coaching Psychology Review
– The control group remained unchanged. – Qualitative results showed that the school principal in the intervention group became more reflective about their thinking processes and leadership practices. – Provides initial evidence that by creating changes to rational and constructive thinking, it is possible to increase coachee’s use of transformational leadership techniques.
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Pre-test and post-test control-group research design. Qualitative and quantitative data. Participants: fourteen secondary school principals (eight participated in the coaching programme over ten weeks; other six assigned to a control group). In the intervention group the focus was on developing the participants’ rational system and constructive elements of the experiential system. At the start of the coaching intervention all school staff (242 for intervention and 109 for control) in the fourteen schools were invited to rate their school principal using the MLQ (5X) questionnaire.
Explores the views of HR professionals who are responsible for purchasing EC services so as to understand what differentiates the work of exceptional coaches.
Twenty EC NOT SPECIFIED purchasers completed ninety-minute structured interviews based on a forty-item questionnaire regarding their experiences of locating and working with exceptional coaches. Saturation testing and a post-analysis survey provided support for emergent themes.
Examined clients’ (coaches’) critical moments of coaching.
A combination of methods.
De Haan, Bertie, Day, & Sills (2010)
A short survey of sixty-seven past and present executive coaching clients of Ashridge Business School, asking them whether they had experienced a critical moment as a coachee and to provide a short description. In addition, conducted. in-depth
EC Approach/ Technique
– EC purchasers defined ‘behaviour change’ as a ‘great outcome’ from coaching.
International Coaching Psychology Review
– Exceptional coaching results are products of the coach’s delivery and several other factors (i.e., environmental, executive and task factors). – Executive-coachees’ experiences and more specifically, the central factors in producing behavioural change were grouped around themes of engagement, deeper conversations, insight and responsibility, and positive growth. The exceptional coaching capabilities that facilitated these experiences were: credibility, empathy and respect, holding the professional self, diagnostic skill and insight, approach flexibility and range, working to the business context, a philosophy of personal responsibility, and skillful challenging. When critical moments in the coaching intervention occur, they are positive and linked to important outcomes for clients/coaches. Critical moments frequently appear to involve new realizations which are either issue-related or self-related. These realizations are accompanied by emotions such as elation or relief or the sensation of a confidence boost.
Academy of Management Learning & Education
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interviews with eight of these participants (five had experienced critical moments and three had not). 61
Freedman & Perry (2010)
Grant, Green & Rynsaardt (2010)
One case study: an executive client. The two authors are the coach and the client respectively.
Applied EC to high school teachers to examine its impact on leadership and overall behaviour and performance.
Forty-four high school teachers in Australia randomly assigned to either coaching or a waitlist control group. Combination of a randomized controlled design exploring the impact of coaching on goal attainment, mental health, workplace well-being, and resilience, and a quasi-experimental (pre/post) design exploring the impact of coaching on leadership styles.
COGNITIVE–BEHAVIOURAL, – Compared to randomly allocated controls, SOLUTION-FOCUSED participation in coaching was associated with APPROACH increased goal attainment, reduced stress, and (Informed by theories enhanced workplace well-being and resilience. of self-leadership and – Pre/post analyses for the coaching group indicated transformational leadership). that coaching enhanced self-reported achievement Participants in the coaching and humanistic–encouraging components of group received multirater constructive leadership styles and reduced feedback on their leadership self-reported aggressive/defensive and passive/ style and had ten coaching defensive leadership styles. sessions conducted by professional coaches over a twenty-week period.
– After EC the executive was able to manage more effectively other constituencies within his organization. – The executive learned how to achieve his and the organization’s goals by modifying his leadership style: from aggressive domination on those who disagreed and resisted his influence to a sensitive appreciation of others’ defensiveness, anxiety and fear of the unknown.
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
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Presented how a non-voluntary consulting engagement with an executive client eventually resulted in success.
EC Approach/ Technique
Gray & Goregaokar (2010)
Explored the influence of gender regarding how coachees choose coaches.
Study based on a three-year coaching programme managed by the University of Surrey. Twenty-two executive coaches provided ten hours of one-to-one coaching to 201 UK-based owner managers and directors of SMEs. Mixed methods approach.
Several different approaches & techniques. Thirteen of the twenty-two executive coaches held qualifications in NEUROLINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING
– Qualitative data showed that female coachees tended to prefer female coaches, partly as a role model of business success, whereas male coachees tended to justify the selection of a female coach as more approachable for discussion of sensitive, personal issues. A minority of male respondents displayed sexist attitudes in their comments on the selection process.
(Although presented by the authors as an outcome study, it is about gender issues on coach selection and the EC process).
– But, subsequent quantitative data analysis, revealed no statistical significance in gender choices (i.e., no bias in the selection of either female or male coaches). – Found that a sexist behaviour or even harassment of a female coach by a male coachee is likely.
Combination of qualitative. and quantitative data. Forty-six semi-structured interviews and two focus groups of coaches. 64
Examined the Presentation of the use of Narrative case studies of two 360-degree executives. Assessment and Stakeholder Analysis (360-NASA) as a powerful tool in EC.
A combination of approaches/techniques including EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE, MBTI, Narrative 360-degree Assessment and Stakeholder Analysis.
– The use of Narrative 360-degree Assessment and Stakeholder Analyses proved very beneficial in helping leaders deal with critical issues related to their effectiveness in their roles. – 360-NASA helps leaders at any organizational level to understand how others see them, identify and prioritize development goals, and take concrete steps to increase their professional effectiveness on the job.
Global Business & Organizational Excellence
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Augustijnen, Schnitzer, & Van Esbroeck (2011)
Explores the development of an experimental based model of executive coaching.
Qualitative analysis of one hour on average semi-structured interviews with ten coachees who had gone through executive coaching during 2008–09. Analysis through grounded theory.
Development of a four-phase coaching model based on this study. These four phases are: defining formal organization-bound objectives between coach, coachee and employer; self-reflection; self-awareness; changes in behaviour and personal changes.
International Coaching Psychology Review
The relationship based on trust between coach and coachee and openness to coachee introspection are two central variables which dynamically steer and guide the development of process and what happens within the phases.
Chandler, Roebuck, Swan, & Brock (2011)
Examined the effectiveness (characteristics, perceptions and outcomes) of the ACT with GROW coaching model designed for managers in a College of business.
Mixed methodology of quantitative and qualitative survey of five educational leaders and thirty business leaders.
Participants earned certificate based on the ACT with GROW MODEL MANAGERIAL COACHING PROGRAMME
The results strongly support the efficacy of the ACT with GROW model managerial coaching programme.
de Haan, Culpin, & Curd (2011)
Examined how various aspects of the EC intervention make a difference to the coaching clients.
Web-based questionnaire (163 closed and three open questions) completed by seventy-one EC clients after the beginning of their coaching contract and by thirty-one of them again approximately six months later.
– Participants gave high scores on EC helpfulness (i.e., found EC very helpful).
Journal of Leadership Studies
Comparing the educators and the business leaders there were no statistically significant differences in the ratings of the value of coaching. Educational leaders and business leaders have many more similarities than differences in perceptions with regards to the value of managerial coaching.
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– What is helpful in EC is much less predicted by technique or approach than by factors common to all coaching, such as the relationship, empathic understanding, positive expectations etc. – Clients perceive the helpfulness of their coach almost indiscriminately across all possible coaching behaviours. – According to EC participants, the qualities most appreciated in a coach are listening, understanding and encouragement, followed by knowledge, empathy, authenticity and involvement. (continued)
EC Approach/ Technique
– Participants with different learning styles will respond differently to the coaching process. 68
Gray, Ekinci & Goregaokar (2011a)
‘COACHING IN CONTEXT’ (transparent evaluation, questionnaire to measure coaching impact, personalized 360-degree appraisal, psychometric instruments). Used Kolb’s (1984) double-loop of learning.
Describes the use of a particular model of executive coaching (coaching in context) in clinical settings (in the NHS).
Case study of a high-performing acute NHS trust, where EC was used as key feature for behavioural change of Executive Board.
Examines the impact of the use of coaching within the SMEs sector (small and medium-sized enterprises), particularly the factors that influence managers’ decision to engage with coaching, their perceptions of the coaching experience and the benefits from coaching.
A mixed methods NOT SPECIFIED approach with sample directors and managers of SMEs who have participated in a specific leadership skills programme. The methods were: (a) Case study research including qualitative semi-structured interviews with forty-six participants and two focus groups with nine respondents, (b) Postal survey
Clear improvement of the NHS Trust waiting-time performance as a result of the coaching intervention, in addition to achieving as a Trust ‘recognition at the highest level’.
International Journal of Clinical Leadership
Identifiable increased quantitative and qualitative changes achieved by clinicians who had gone through EC. Coaching had significant impact on personal attributes such as ‘managing self-cognition’ and ‘managing self-emotional’. The impact on business-oriented attributes was weaker. Managers’ choice of coaches with psychotherapeutic rather than non-psychotherapeutic backgrounds was statistically significant. Despite operating in a highly competitive environment, coaching in SMEs was use mostly as a personal, therapeutic intervention instead of using it to build business-oriented competencies.
International Journal of Human Resource Management
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(including measurement of satisfaction) of eighty-five participants. 70
Gray, Ekinci, & Goregaokar (2011b)
To specify a set of attributes, identified as important precursors to coach selection.
Mixed methods NOT SPECIFIED combining quantitative with qualitative research design. Collection of pre-survey qualitative interviews with fifteen coachees and two focus group sessions with a volunteer group of coaches.
Women showed statistically significant preference over men for coaches who have the ability to develop critical thinking and action the ability to forge the coaching and coach experience and qualifications.
International Journal of Selection and Assessment
Coachees’ age is not significant in executive coach selection. There is statistically significant relationship between coach attributes and the intention to continue with coaching.
Online survey of 267 coachees, after being piloted on six coachees from a leadership skills programme and six coaches. 71
Newsom & Dent (2011)
Online survey of 130 executive coaches affiliated with a major global leadership training and development organization to examine their coaching work behaviour.
The most frequent coaching behaviours are: the establishment of trust honesty and respect; the use of open-ended questions; the clarification and understanding of client concerns and challenges. Significant differences in coaching behaviour attributed to demographic variations of coach’s gender, level of education or field (e.g. business vs psychology).
International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching & Mentoring
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A work behaviour analysis of executive coaches.
EC Approach/ Technique
Describes a powerful coaching intervention for leadership development (called by the author as ‘The Hero’s Journey intervention’).
Presents the author’s experience as an executive coach.
NEUROLINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING/ GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY. Use of the ‘Hero’s Journey intervention’ tool.
The Hero’s Journey intervention is particularly Industrial & powerful for work at the level of identity in the case Commercial of clients who experience a deep personal feeling that Training a new (or existing) role is not ‘really them’.
Explore the phenomenon of EC as an influence on the organizational climate of learning and performance.
Influences in the deployment of EC as a leadership strategy include the organizational culture, perception of benefits and integration of leadership development.
Semi-structured interviews (of thirty to sixty minutes’ duration) of seventeen HR professionals responsible for selecting executive coaching services in both private and public companies.
This tool facilitates the promotion of staff within an organization and helps people with ‘attitude problems’ to accept responsibility.
Effective EC is aligned to contracted outcomes (i.e., formalized expectations through contracting as indication of organizational investment). Existence of internal or external coaches does not differentiate the EC outcomes. Organizational learning and performance is enhanced if HR professional take into account the implicit models and resources brought by executive coaches. Open culture and support by the organization is considered critical for the EC success. EC as one element of a holistic approach towards organizational learning. Successful EC outcomes depend on matching by the HR professional of the individual or context with appropriate coach. There were no agreed criteria for measuring EC effectiveness.
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Beets & Goodman (2012)
Evaluation of the effectiveness of a training programme for executive coaches in South Africa (explore the successful skills transfer from training to practical settings).
The Success Case Method (SCM)—a mixed method approach. Survey of eighty participants in the training programme complemented with eight qualitative interviews to compare successful with less successful cases of skills transfer.
Six-month training for executive coaches, based on two key philosophies: INTEGRAL COACHING AND ANDRAGOGY.
Majority of respondents attained positive results with all the proximal outcomes from the training. Structured coaching conversations facilitate moving clients to intended outcomes.
South African Journal of Human Resource Management
All six success case coaches reported experiencing significant personal development as a result of the training programme and observed positive changes in their clients. Five reported that the insight they gained helped them to improve interactions with others and particularly with their clients. Also five reported that the training encouraged them to further their studies. Business background seen as advantageous in applying the training in practice, but not a prerequisite. Supervision during the training seen as helpful in obtaining objectivity or providing excellence benchmarks. Barriers to executive coaches’ successful implementation of the skills they acquired through training are: personal circumstances and unfulfilled expectations of the programme content.
De Haan & Nieß (2012)
Study of critical moments in EC conversation.
In almost half of descriptions, the coach and the client referred to the same moments as being critical in the coaching sessions. For the coach moments of self-doubt were mostly described as critical, while the client focused on moments of new learning and a positive change in the coaching relationship.
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
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One case study (process research). Analysis and comparison of the descriptions provided by an executive coach and one of his clients from their experience of exciting, tense,
EC Approach/ Technique
Business performance gains from the perspective of sales revenue and customer ‘upgrade’ were observed.
Strategic HR Review
or significant moments from the time spent. in the coaching conversation (Ten ninety-minute coaching sessions over a period of seven months). 76
Gaskell, Logan & Nicholls (2012)
Jowett, Kanakoglou & Passmore (2012)
Explore how coaching capability and leadership behaviours were developed at an organization (Ageas UK) so as to improve business performance and cultural change at all levels in the organization.
Description of the success of the coaching programme that the authors delivered to Ageas UK. Reported survey results and qualitative feedback from managers who have participated on coaching programmes delivered by the ‘Full Potential Group’.
The coaching programme of the ‘Full Potential Group’ (coaching providers).
Explored the coaching relationship formulated among five coach-coachee dyads using the 3 + lCs (closeness, commitment complementarity and co-orientation) relationship model.
Qualitative data. Ten participants of five coach– coachee dyads. Semi-structured (telephone) interviews of approximately sixty minutes’ duration. Content analysis.
Combination of masterclass for the leadership team and a core module of two-day workshop and one-day follow-up (six to eight weeks later) for key managers.
Managers feel more empowered and better able to lead, guide and support their team.
EC approach/technique NOT SPECIFIED
Proved the importance of closeness (i.e., mutual trust and respect, commitment in developing a close and lasting partnership and motivating) and complementarity in working well together while understanding one’s specific roles. Closeness in the form of trust, respect, liking, and intimacy facilitated open channels of communication including self-disclosure.
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Highlighted the central role of the coaching relationship while its quality and nature was effectively discerned using the 3 + lCs model.
Analysis based on the 3 + lCs (closeness, commitment, complementarity and co-orientation) of two-person relationships model. 78
A seventy-question survey of 110 coaches (with. a minimum of two years of experience) from ten organizations affiliated with executive coaches.
Moen & Federici (2012)
An experiment with the use of a control group. Twenty executives (the company’s CEOs) at a branch of a Norwegian Fortune 500 company, who voluntarily participated in an experiment over a period of one year. Twelve were in the experiment group and eight in the control group. Only quantitative analysis.
Coaching included goal setting and a focus on self-efficacy and causal attributions (i.e., individuals’ internal processing of thoughts and feelings).
Explored the effects of external coaching on goal setting, self-efficacy and causal attribution.
Influence tactics including coalition, consultation, inspirational appeals and rational persuasion were more frequently associated with client commitment. Coaches used different tactics depending on the desired outcome of the influence attempt.
External executive coaching can be an effective tool to improve work-related psychological variables, enhancing employees’ performance. The goal setting strategy dimension, leadership self-efficacy and successful causal attributions to strategy increased in the experiment group compared to the control group.
Leadership & Organization Development Journal
Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice
Strategy appears to be influenced by coaching.
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Lewis-Duarte Examined coaches’ & Bligh (2012) perceived use and effectiveness of the outcome, timing, and objective of proactive influence tactics in coaching relationships.
EC Approach/ Technique
Observed differences between top, middle and lower level managers in terms of stages of change and the perceived developmental needs. This also included differences between managers who have been the beneficiaries of coaching and potential coachees.
Cognition, Brain, Behavior: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Coaches’ choice to focus on strengths in their coaching intervention is due to personal benefits and sense of authenticity that coaches feel that they derive from such an approach and their beliefs about the many benefits their clients enjoy.
International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring
Covariance analysis (ANCOVA) between the results of the control and the experiment group. Instruments that measure goal-setting, self-efficacy and attribution were used. 80
Ratiu & Baban Explored the (2012) readiness for change in the context of coaching based on. the relationship between the stages of change and the developmental needs.
Applied the EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING ‘transtheoretical AND DEVELOPMENTAL model of change’ to COACHING assess the stages of behaviour change and the perceived key developmental needs of eighty-seven managers (ranging from low to top-level management).
Interpretative phenomenological analysis based on the study of six executive coaches’ (three men and three women) beliefs about the practice and impact of strengths-based
An exploration of the mindset of executive coaches using strengths-based coaching.
Strengths coaching aligns with coaches’ own personal philosophy, life purpose and identity and makes intuitive sense. The benefits from strengths-based coaching apply both to the coach and the coachee:
208 appendix ii
coaching. Includes semi-structured, in-depth interviews.
Self-actualizing effects experienced by coaches (for themselves) as a result of using strengths-coaching as an intervention. Coaches report a feeling of fulfillment from using strengths-based coaching. A ‘symbiotic effect’ was observed as a result of the coach and coachee focusing on playing on their strengths. Key outcomes: Awareness and application of strengths leads to faster growth. Drawing on strengths makes goal achievement easier. Playing to one’s strengths is more energizing and effective. An emphasis on strengths broadens one’s perspective and raises one’s awareness of what they can or cannot do. The strengths approach builds one’s confidence and positive emotions. Develops a higher level of satisfaction and fulfillment.
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