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Executive coaching : perspectives of effectiveness from executives and coaches

Queensland University of Technology
Publication Date
  • Coaching
  • Effectiveness
  • Executive Coaching
  • Executive Development
  • Law


Over the past two decades there has been a remarkable expansion in the use of executive coaching as an executive development technique. The increasing prominence of executive coaching has been attributed to the emergence of new organisational cultures and the subtler competencies needed by executives in these faster moving organisations. The widespread popularity of executive coaching has been based largely on anecdotal feedback regarding its effectiveness. The small body of empirical research has been growing but conclusive outcomes are rare. The prominent question for those with the business imperative to implement executive coaching has been what are the ingredients of the process that engender an effective outcome? This investigation has focused on the factors of executive coaching that contribute to effectiveness. A qualitative methodology facilitated an in-depth study of the experiences of the participants of executive coaching with the perceptions of both executives and coaches being sought. Semi-structured interviews and a focus group provided rich, thick descriptions and together with a process of inductive analysis produced findings that confidently identify the key factors that contribute to coaching effectiveness. Six major themes were identified, each comprising a collection of meanings. These themes have been labelled Executive Engagement, Preliminary Assessment and Feedback, Coaching Process, Coach.s Contribution, Trusting Relationship and Support from the Organisation. One theme, Coaching Process, comprises three significant sub-themes, namely, Encouragement and Emotional Support, Challenge and Reflection and Enhancing Executive Performance. The findings of this study add value to the field by identifying factors contributing to coaching effectiveness, and providing for the coaching practitioner a basis for enhancing their practice of executive coaching to better meet the needs of executives and their organisations.

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