Home Research Literature Review Survey of Current Themes in Coaching Research with a Methological Critique

Survey of Current Themes in Coaching Research with a Methological Critique

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Most issues raised were cultural, including eye contact, speaking up, being assertive, or having a problem¬solving orientation. For example, in the Anglo culture, avoiding eye contact is interpreted as lying. In Latin and Asian cultures, looking down in the presence of authority is a sign of respect. Asian managers are usually coached to make eye contact in order to “look tougher”. Latin managers are typically coached to be less emotional and more factual in their communications. For managers that diverge from the dominant culture, coaching was found to have a positive effect, helping them to understand, fit in, and thrive in the social, cultural, and political environment. [15]

Client Perceptions of Effectiveness

An important theme in much of the coaching research was effectiveness. Overall, the Boston research study reported executives scored the coaching experience as a 4 (very satisfactory) on a 5-point scale. They stated they found the coaching process to have added value because they acquired new skills, abilities, and perspectives that they did not have before and which helped them to accomplish things they could not have done before. Internal coaches reported that coaching executives was an excellent way for them to learn more about the business they were serving.

Confirming the findings and expanding one aspect of the Boston study, one of the most recent research studies examined the effectiveness of executive coaching from the client’s perspective. From this study of 12 executives who had undergone successful coaching engagements, Dr. Mary Wayne Bush [16] identified six key elements that are essential for effectiveness in executive coaching engagements. These key elements are:

a committed client participant (motivated, open to coaching, and willing to do the work) the coach’s contribution (background, experience, personal qualities, tools, and resources) a structured development process (time-limited, using standardized assessments) including others in the process (for support and 360 degree feedback) rapport between executive and coach (built on trust and credibility) personal and business results that benefit the client and the organization

The study concluded that coaching was a shared responsibility of three constituents: client, coach, and organization. According to Dr. Bush, organizations can increase the chances of an effective outcome by giving their executives a role in coach selection. Ensuring that Dr. Bush’s six factors are included in each coaching engagement can help coaches, clients, and organizations assess and improve the quality of their coaching outcomes.

A study by Paul Michelman supports Dr. Bush’s conclusion that coaching is a shared responsibility between the executive, the coach, and the organization. He also stresses that an agreement must be reached between the three-way partnership on specific goals and parameters for the coaching engagement. [17] Michelman questioned several dozen coaches and executives who had received coaching. From this input, he developed a framework to describe the role of effective coaching in organizations today. He noted that one increasingly common use of coaching is to help senior executives better understand the challenges of leading younger workers whose work ethics and values are quite different from their own. [18]

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