MEASURING AND MAXIMIZING THE
BUSINESS IMPACT OF EXECUTIVE
G 07-22 (532)
Center for Effective Organizations
Marshall School of Business
University of Southern California
C e n t e r f o r E f f e c t i v e O r g a n i z a t i o n s - M a r s h a l l S c h o o l o f B u s i n e s s
U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n C a l i f o r n i a - L o s A n g e l e s, C A 9 0 0 8 9 – 0 8 7 1
(2 1 3) 7 4 0 - 9 8 1 4 FAX (213) 740-4354
Measuring and Maximizing 1
Running Head: MEASURING & MAXIMIZING IMPACT OF EXEC COACHING
Measuring and Maximizing the Business Impact of Executive Coaching
Center for Effective Organizations
Marshall School of Business
University of Southern California
3415 South Figueroa Street, DCC-200
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0871
213-740-9814 main number
Funding for the research that led to this article was generously provided by Pfizer, Capital One
and the Foundation of Coaching. Beth Neilson provided research assistance. The author thanks
three anonymous referees for their comments. All errors are the author’s.
Measuring and Maximizing 2
This article addresses the conceptual and methodological issues involved in
measuring the business impact of executive coaching. A framework is introduced
for identifying the business impacts of coaching. An application of the framework
is presented using exploratory study data from 12 matched coach-coachee pairs
showing varying degrees of impact of the coaching on business-related outcomes.
The primary conclusion is that the degree of business impact likely is related to
complexity of the executive’s role, and to the relationship between the
organizational environment and individual performance. The implication is that
coordinating executive coaching with other leadership development, performance
improvement, and rewards initiatives should increase business impact.
Measuring and Maximizing 3
Measuring and Maximizing the Business Impact of Executive Coaching
While executive coaching has been gaining in popularity and prominence, the evaluation
of its efficacy has lagged considerably. According to Hall, Otazo and Hollenbeck (1999)
executive coaching “may be used to improve performance or executive behavior, enhance a
career or prevent derailment, and work through organizational issues or change initiatives” (p.
40). Given the multiple objectives, it is not surprising that executive coaching, like most
leadership development, is generally designed and implemented in an analytic vacuum.
In the instances when coaching is evaluated, the most common approach is 360-type
evaluations by direct reports, peers and supervisors. These typically are used to measure
behavior change associated with the coaching, which itself may be only tangentially related to
financial or strategic impacts that matter for the business. The main reason why it is difficult to
link executive coaching to business performance is a line of sight problem between the
individual and business impact. While leaders often are credited with or blamed for the
performance of their piece of the business, the reality is much more complex. With a host of
factors contributing to business success and failure, it typically is asking too much to require
careful measurement of business impacts as the main yardstick to evaluate executive coaching.
Yet despite the difficulties in identifying business impacts, the reason for doing so is
compelling. If coaching improves leadership behaviors, but those behaviors are not the critical
factor impacting business performance, then what is the point of the coaching? Of course, often
there are factors related to a company’s values, culture, vision, etc. that make good business
sense but which do not directly impact the bottom line – at least not in the short run. But if these
Measuring and Maximizing 4
factors have no material impact on the business in the long run, then arguably they are not
relevant for a company’s success, and thus are not a good use of leadership development dollars.
Thus my main proposition is that, in order for coaching to have a business impact, the
leadership behaviors that are the focus of the coaching have to matter to the business either
strategically, financially, or both. The measurement challenge is figuring out which behaviors
matter for business success, and under which circumstances coaching improves those behaviors
and, ultimately, positively impacts the business. This article addresses those issues, starting first
with a review of measurement approaches most commonly used in coaching research. A
framework for identifying the organizational impacts of coaching is then introduced. The results
from a small-scale study that sought to measure the business impacts of executive coaching are
used to illustrate an application of the framework. The article concludes with suggestions for
how the framework might be applied more broadly to coaching evaluation and design.
The literature on executive coaching has expanded rapidly recently (Kilburg, 1996, 2004;
Feldman & Lankau, 2005), coinciding with an increase in coaching (McDermott, Levenson, &
Newton, 2007). Until recently, relatively little had been published on the efficacy of executive
coaching (Kampa-Kokesch & Anderson, 2001; Feldman & Lankau, 2005). However, in the past
few years quite a few studies have addressed the impact of executive coaching.
One way to divide the studies is based on the types of measurement outcomes: (a)
changes in the executive’s leadership behaviors only, (b) changes in perceived effectiveness of
the executive, and (c) changes in “hard” performance measures. This is the approach taken here.
Studies Measuring Behavior Change Attributable to Coaching
Measuring and Maximizing 5
The main focus of coaching is typically behavior change or learning so it is not surprising
that most studies of coaching impact include measurements of changes in these, and that the vast
majority of studies find a positive link between coaching and behavior change. In one of the
earliest such studies, Hein (1989) measured the impact of coaching on providing feedback to
employees, providing direction to coaching discussions, emphasizing facts or concepts, adhering
to schedules in coaching activity, and identifying employee development needs. McCauley and
Hughes-James (1994) studied a leadership development program that included a coaching
component. Their outcome data consisted of self-reports and facilitator reports of learning, and
an instrument used to measure leadership skills.
More recently, Kampa-Kokesch (2001), Saling (2005), Evers, Brouwers and Tomic
(2006), and Orenstein (2006) all measured the impact of coaching on leadership behaviors.
Wasylyshyn, Gronsky, and Hass (2006) measured sustained learning and behavior change as
result of a coaching program.
Despite the growing body of research demonstrating that coaching can positively impact
behaviors and learning, however, it is important to note the limitations. Specifically, the typical
coaching study does not include a true experiment with random assignment. Thus the coaching
engagements that are evaluated are more likely to have positive outcomes because executives are
selected to receive coaching based on criteria designed to maximize the impact of coaching. This
means that any observed positive benefits cannot necessarily be generalized to people who have
not received coaching. The latter might benefit from coaching, but they might just as easily reap
no benefits from coaching and instead be candidates for other HR or OD interventions (training,
performance management, stretch assignments, team building, etc.).
Studies Measuring Changes in the Perceived Effectiveness of the Executive
Measuring and Maximizing 6
While the primary objective of coaching is behavior change and learning, most
organizations promote and support executive coaching in the belief that such changes will also
improve leadership effectiveness. This second set of studies focus on such changes, not instead
of, but in addition to, behavior changes and learning. Similar to the studies focusing only on
behavioral and learning changes, these studies typically find a positive impact of coaching on
perceived leadership effectiveness.
Young and Dixon (1996) focused on both management behaviors and perceived impact,
including a co-worker questionnaire as one of the measurement tools. Peterson’s (1993)
evaluation of a coaching program measured changes in perceived job effectiveness, changes in
likelihood of advancement within the organization, and the extent to which training received in
the coaching program contributed to job effectiveness (measured retrospectively). Ratings were
collected from participants, their managers, and the coaches.
Thach (2002) investigated the joint impact of multi-rater feedback and individual
coaching on 281 executives’ leadership effectiveness. Wasylyshyn (2003) used executives’ self
ratings to gauge improvements in leadership. Goldsmith and Morgan (2004) measured perceived
increase in leadership effectiveness, as determined by co-workers and stakeholders for eight
leadership development programs (most of which included a coaching component). Toegel and
Nicholson (2005) measured the impact of coaching on demonstrated leadership ability through
longitudinal changes in subordinate ratings. Bell (2005) used a general measure of self-perceived
effectiveness of coaching. Kombarakaran, Yang, Baker and Fernandes (2008) measured
executives’ self-perceptions that coaching maximized their contribution to the company, was
beneficial to the business, and was a good return on investment.
Measuring and Maximizing 7
Using a more rigorous measurement approach, Smither, London, Flautt, Vargas and
Kucine (2003) examined the impact of coaching on multi-source feedback ratings (direct reports
and supervisors) for 404 senior managers, compared to 957 senior managers who received the
same multi-source feedback but no executive coaching. The outcome measures included self-
assessed perceived impact of the coaching on job performance and career development. They
found that working with an executive coach improved direct report and supervisor ratings, but
that the measured change in ratings was positive but small.
The Smither et al. (2003) study is one of the only ones in the literature to analyze
outcomes for both a treatment (received coaching) and a control (did not receive coaching)
group, which is the preferred approach in evaluation research. This may partly account for the
small measured impacts because executives have multiple sources of feedback and learning in
their jobs in addition to coaching. In the absence of coaching, learning and behavioral change are
likely to take place, albeit at potentially slower rates than in the presence of coaching. Thus
studies that exclude a comparison group run the risk of over-attributing measured changes
exclusively to coaching. Note that this potential critique applies to all studies, including those
discussed above that measured only behavioral and learning changes.
Studies Measuring Changes in “Hard” Performance Measures
There are far fewer studies that include “hard” performance measures – observable
outcomes that matter for the executive’s job performance. Olivero, Bane and Kopelman (1997)
analyzed a program that first trained and then provided coaching to 31 managers in a health
agency. They found that coaching had a further positive impact on productivity in the managers’
units, following the initial positive impact of the training. Productivity was measured using
criteria such as the percentage of tasks completed successfully and on time.
Measuring and Maximizing 8
Bowles, Cunningham, De La Rosa, and Picano (2007) measured the impact of a coaching
program designed to improve the performance of US Army recruiting managers. They found that
coaching had a bigger impact on meeting performance goals for middle managers with direct
responsibility for supervising recruiters than for executive managers who supervised the middle
managers. Performance was measured as the individual’s ability to meet the recruiting goals
(percentage of goals achieved), and was calibrated relative to the performance of comparable
managers who received no coaching.
These two studies demonstrate that coaching can be linked to hard performance measures
that are part of executives’ objectives. However, the types of performance measures used in both
cases provide examples of the difficulty in linking coaching to performance outcomes that matter
for an organization’s bottom line. For the health agency managers, no differentiation in criticality
was made among the tasks in terms of importance to the agency’s strategic objectives. It is
possible that the coaching succeeded in getting the managers to focus on easier-to-accomplish,
yet less mission-critical objectives, leading to an increase in percentage of goals achieved on
time without necessarily positively impacting the organization’s strategic objectives.
Similarly for the army recruiters: if the recruiting goals addressed only the number of
positions filled, and not the quality of the recruits, better recruiting goal attainment could be
achieved by lowering hiring standards. Identifying this potential shortcoming in recruiting goals
is intended for illustration only – I have no reason to doubt without additional evidence that the
recruiting goals for the managers in the Bowles et al. (2007) article were relevant for the Army’s
strategic objectives. The point for our purposes here is that numerical goals are a measure of
impact that can be used to show coaching’s effectiveness. However, the most readily available
measures do not necessarily provide the deepest insights into executives’ responsibilities and
Measuring and Maximizing 9
their contribution to organizational success. A comprehensive treatment of the relationship of
coaching to business performance requires a framework that takes the organization’s strategy
into account when determining which measures to use when measuring the impact of coaching.
Studies on Feedback that is Related to, but Not Necessarily the Same as, Coaching
Expanding the scope of the literature review to include feedback that is similar to, but not
necessarily the same as, coaching, further evidence of positive benefits can be found.
Barling, Weber and Kelloway (1996) examined the impact of transformational leadership
training on attitudinal and financial outcomes, finding a positive impact on two aspects of
branch-level financial performance. While the training program was not described as explicitly
including a coaching element, the initial training was followed by four monthly individual
“booster sessions” that provided feedback on the managers’ leadership style based on data from
self-report and subordinate questionnaires. The sessions included developing specific personal
action plans for the following month.
Walker and Smither (1999) investigated the impact of upward feedback based on how
managers used the feedback. Managers who met with direct reports to discuss the feedback
improved more, and managers who discussed the previous year’s feedback also improved more.
Thus actively working on the feedback produced greater results than receiving it passively,
though no specific links to business outcomes were made.
Seifert, Yukl, and McDonald (2003) compared the effectiveness of multisource
managerial feedback (subordinates, peers, bosses) delivered only through a feedback report
versus a workshop. The feedback was perceived to be more useful by managers who received it
in a workshop with a facilitator than by managers who received only a printed feedback report.
Again, no specific links to business outcomes were made.
Measuring and Maximizing 10
While these studies show that structured feedback in general and coaching in particular
can have a positive impact, the impacts that have been demonstrated typically fall short of direct
impacts on measurable business outcomes. In other cases, the identified impacts are generally
classified as being business related without an explicit framework that shows how the coaching
or feedback impacts business outcomes. We turn now to a conceptual framework that can be
used to identify how coaching can have such business impacts.
A conceptual approach that can be used to identify the business impact of coaching starts
with Figure 1, which presents a framework for identifying the different people-related factors
that contribute to organizational effectiveness (Levenson, 2005). Not included in Figure 1 are the
technological, financial and physical plant and equipment factors that also contribute to
organizational success. These are excluded for three reasons. First, it is conceptually difficult to
disentangle all the people-related factors without the added complexity of the other non-people-
related factors. Second, in today’s world where knowledge represents one of the strongest
sources of competitive advantage, people are the leading source through which knowledge is
leveraged for strategic and financial success.
[Figure 1 about here]
Third, traditional return on investment (ROI) models in finance ascribe all organizational
benefits derived from a product or change process to differences in capital spending. Figure 1
takes a similar approach, but focuses the attention on differences in people and people-centered
processes. A truly comprehensive model of organizational effectiveness that addressed all the
contributing factors would be both more complex than that in Figure 1 – and more complex than
standard financial models used to make large financial bets everyday in board rooms around the
Measuring and Maximizing 11
globe. As the relatively modest objective here is to understand the business impacts of coaching
relative to other HR or people-oriented efforts to improve organizational effectiveness, the
framework in Figure 1 is quite suitable for that purpose.
The model is based in part on the literatures on organization and team design, which
directly address the role of individual (manager in this case) versus group- or unit-level factors in
impacting organizational outcomes (e.g., Galbraith, 1973; Hackman & Oldham, 1980; Mohrman,
Cohen, & Mohrman, 1995; Cohen & Bailey, 1997). The role of HR initiatives such as coaching
in influencing those outcomes is derived both from the organization and team design literatures,
as well from the extensive literature that attempts to link HR and changes in work practices/work
design to organizational impacts (e.g., Applebaum & Batt, 1994; Huselid, 1995; Youndt, Snell,
Dean, & Lepak, 1996; Ichniowski, Shaw, & Prennushi, 1997; Cappelli & Neumark, 2001).
Further insights into the impact that any one executive can have on organizational performance
were derived from the literatures on managerial competencies and performance (e.g., Drucker,
1966; McClelland, 1973; Bray, Campbell, & Grant, 1974; Kotter, 1982; Spencer & Spencer,
1993; Russell, 2001; Levenson, Van der Stede, & Cohen, 2006).
Many Paths to Organizational Success
A main point about Figure 1 is that many factors contribute to organizational success. For
an individual manager or leader, the skills and motivation they bring to the role and their fit with
the role all strongly impact their job performance. Yet the manager/leader is only one contributor
to a team or group’s success, along with all the direct reports and key stakeholders. The
composition of that group (competencies, functional backgrounds, etc.), and how well the
members work together are critical as well. The leader can influence those dynamics in key
ways, but the leader is not the only main contributor. As such, group effectiveness may best be
Measuring and Maximizing 12
optimized through the use of any number of HR or human capital initiatives, including team
building, rewards, performance management and individually focused leadership development
initiatives such as coaching. Given all these potential ways to improve group effectiveness, our
objective is to identify ways that coaching can provide unique contributions to organizational
The first implication from Figure 1 is that the complexity of the executive’s role should
influence the ability of coaching to impact business outcomes. The larger the number of people
and processes in which the executive is involved, the more difficult it may be for coaching alone
to have a direct impact on business performance. A second conclusion is that the more
interdependent the executive’s actions are with others (direct reports; peers; other stakeholders;
immediate supervisor), the harder it may be for coaching alone to have a direct impact on the
business. If the executive must always work with others to achieve the desired outcomes,
coaching that focuses on the individual alone in those settings may be less successful than in
other settings where the executive is not as interdependent with others in the organization.
While complexity and interdependency likely diminish the ability of coaching to impact
business outcomes, there may be circumstances in which these same factors open the door for
coaching to have a direct, and potentially large, impact on the business. Even in highly complex
and interdependent environments, if the executive impedes the entire group from achieving its
objectives, then coaching may positively impact business performance if it can successfully
address the specific actions or behaviors that are blocking the team’s performance. If it is the
executive who is the true roadblock that is keeping the group from achieving its objectives, and
if coaching can effectively remove that roadblock, then there is a clear path for coaching to have
a positive impact on business outcomes.
Measuring and Maximizing 13
This conclusion applies in general, even in situations of low complexity and
interdependence: if the executive’s behaviors are not the true barrier to business performance,
then coaching to improve “less than perfect” behaviors cannot have a direct, positive impact on
business performance. This is an important point given the way that coaching often is
implemented, using generic competency models and 360 evaluations to identify areas for
behavioral improvement. For example, a leader might be identified as having sub-optimal
communication skills. However, if the skills deficit makes it difficult for others to understand the
executive but not so difficult that she can communicate sufficiently to meet the business
objectives, then coaching to improve the executive’s communication skills may make people feel
better and increase their opinion of the executive – but will not improve business performance.
Similarly, an abrasive manager who rubs direct reports the wrong way may be tagged as
needing coaching to develop a more inclusive, softer management style. But if the manager’s
style keeps the direct reports appropriately balanced at the edge between complacency on the one
hand and focus on making sure every aspect of their jobs are done correctly on the other, then
reducing the manager’s edginess might do nothing to improve business results while potentially
hurting those results. In this case, the manager’s edginess might be the piece of sand that irritates
the oyster and produces the pearl of business performance, and thus we might not want to enlist
the services of an executive coach to extract the piece of sand. Having said this, though, it is
worth noting that other leadership styles might equally encourage high standards of performance
without the abrasiveness that can discourage employees’ motivation. If so, then coaching coiuld
help improve motivation, which in turn might have positive business impacts.
The above examples are not meant to suggest that sub-par or abrasive executive behavior
necessarily has a neutral or even good impact on the business. But in the absence of competency
Measuring and Maximizing 14
models that are closely tied to behaviors that are the true barriers to improving business
performance (Levenson, Van der Stede, & Cohen, 2006), the right chain of causation needs to be
established between changes in an executive’s behavior and improved business results. Thus the
need for frameworks such as the one presented in Figure 1.
Many Measures of Organizational Success
A second main point about Figure 1 is that there are many measures of strategic and
financial performance that organizations use to evaluate success, and multiple routes to
achieving them. Roughly speaking, financial outcomes mostly are measures of short-term
business performance, while strategic outcomes mostly are measures of business performance
that translate into financial outcomes over the medium- to long-term. The fact that there are
multiple routes to impacting financial performance and different time horizons over which to
have an impact is of critical importance when attempting to draw a link between an intervention
like coaching and business impact.
Often when HR/OD professionals are asked to show business impact, they immediately
leap to ROI, the preferred measure of financial return for evaluating capital projects. The
problem with ROI, however, is that it takes a rich set of information on business outcomes and
distills it down into one number, ignoring benefits that cannot be quantified easily in monetary
terms (Levenson, 2003; Levenson & Cohen, 2003; Levenson, 2005). This presents a quandary
for evaluating coaching. What is the monetary value of improved leadership behaviors?
The answer starts with the organization’s strategy. In order to show business impact, it is
necessary to demonstrate an impact on either strategic or financial performance, but not
necessarily both. For example, if the company’s strategy is to increase the percentage of sales
from new products, that is the strategic measure to focus on, not changes in cash flow. Note that
Measuring and Maximizing 15
in this case ROI technically cannot be calculated unless the increase in percentage of sales from
new products translates into increased cash flow. Given the R&D investments necessary to
produce new products, however, it is quite likely that short-term increases in new product flow
could be accompanied by decreases in cash flow. So a successful coaching intervention that
improves the flow of new products could have a negative ROI from a cash flow (short-term
financial) perspective, but a very positive impact on the organization’s strategic objectives over
the longer term – so long as an increased flow of new products is relevant for the organization’s
strategy and ultimately leads to financial success. At a different company, an increased flow of
new products might be much less important for the strategy, and thus much less relevant as the
bottom-line measure of coaching’s impact.
Once the strategic and/or financial objectives have been defined, the next step is to
identify the process improvements that enable them. In the case of new product development, for
example, process improvements could include decreased time from concept to prototype,
increased market success rate (percentage of new products that meet their sales goals), and
increased cross-functional collaboration.
To illustrate the issues involved in drawing a link between coaching and business impact,
the author conducted a study of twelve coaching engagements. The analysis was designed to
contrast coaching engagements that meet traditional criteria of effectiveness based on leadership
behaviors with coaching engagements that had an impact (or at least perceived impact) on the
business. The selection process excluded engagements where there was no perceived positive
impact of coaching, even on leadership behaviors; all of the engagements included in the study
were deemed successful at least from the perspective of improving leadership behaviors.
Measuring and Maximizing 16
Building on that foundation, the study’s objective was to discern how coaching engagements that
are successful in improving leadership behaviors might differ in their business impact, and the
factors that contribute to the business impact difference.
Because of the small sample size, no statistical analyses were conducted. The discussion
instead focuses on the learning from the coaching engagements as a set of case studies. The
implicit hypothesis at the foundation of the discussion is that coaching’s direct impact is on
leadership behaviors, and that business performance is improved through the subsequent
application of those behaviors in the context of outcomes that “matter” for the organization. A
rigorous test of this hypothesis would require a much larger sample of coaching engagements,
and more systematic data analysis. Our more modest objective here is to illustrate the kinds of
insights that can arise from applying the framework.
The data were collected in 2004-05 at four large (Fortune 500 size) firms in three
industries: consumer products, financial services, and health care. The coaching engagements
were identified through collaboration with the corporate HR or OD manager responsible for
overseeing each company’s coaching program. The manager in each case used existing data from
the company’s own interviews and evaluations of ongoing coaching engagements to identify
engagements that were deemed successful from a behavioral change or learning perspective.
All interviews were conducted by the author with the executive who received the
coaching and with the coach. All the executives had positions at the Director level or higher. Ten
different coaches conducted the coaching: nine coaches were responsible for one executive per
person; the tenth coach was responsible for three people. Six of the coaches had business
backgrounds before starting coaching; the other four coaches had psychology backgrounds.
Measuring and Maximizing 17
The interviews addressed (a) the targets areas for improvement that the coaching was
supposed to address, (b) the extent to which the coaching was perceived to have accomplished its
objectives, (c) any subsequent impacts of the executives’ improvements on their ability to
achieve their performance objectives (and how the target areas for the coaching were related to
achieving the performance objectives), and (d) whether in the absence of coaching the
performance improvements would have occurred anyway. After conducting the interviews, the
author coded each interview based on the extent to which a direct link could be made from the
perceived impact of the coaching to business results. The scope of what determined business
impact depended primarily on the executive’s performance objectives – both short-run financial
and operational objectives and longer-run strategic objectives. The impact of coaching on
employee retention – of both the executive and the executive’s direct reports – was considered as
part of business impact to the extent that reducing or maintaining low turnover was critical for
achieving the business objectives.
Because all the data were perceptual and not validated by parties external to the coaching
engagement, and because of the small sample size, the conclusions presented here should be
viewed as suggesting ways that coaching might impact the business, not as proof of impact.
The discussion of the results begins with a summary of the conclusions, followed by a
more detailed presentation of the evidence supporting those conclusions.
The study participants had a difficult time identifying direct impacts of the coaching on
business outcomes. This most likely is because their coaching focused on leadership behaviors
that might impact the business, but were not necessarily guaranteed to do so; performance
improvement was not a main focus of the coaching in any of the cases. For example, in only two
Measuring and Maximizing 18
of the twelve cases a specific business problem was to be addressed as part of the coaching: in
one case the objective was to improve customer service scores and revenue, and low employee
morale/high turnover; in the other case the objective was to create a high performing team.
Achieving business goals was not included as a specific coaching objective in most cases.
However, in virtually all cases the going-in belief was that the coaching was important for
improving the companies’ ability to accomplish business objectives, and was based on what
appeared to be sound logic. For example, in one organization coaches often were provided to
executives taking on new roles to help smooth the transition into those roles and avoid making
mistakes that could materially impact the business. Given the likelihood of mistakes during
critical leadership transition times, the reasoning behind providing the coaching seemed sound:
Coaches who are familiar with the skills needed for effective transitions into larger roles may
help the executive’s job performance during the initial transition period. Yet, given the difficulty
in forecasting where problems may happen, it almost certainly was the case that many of the
coaches in that organization worked with executives who would have made no critical mistakes
in the absence of the coaching.
In a subset of the cases, it was not difficult to draw an indirect link between coaching and
improved business outcomes – or at least the expectation of improved business outcomes.
Examples include improving cross-functional collaboration or improving the chances of success
for an executive new to a role. In these types of cases, even if it is obvious that coaching will not
always have a direct positive business impact, the expectation of positive impacts in a large
enough percentage of cases might warrant the use of coaching in such cases in general. But even
in these cases coaching typically was not the only intervention or change in processes
implemented at the time.
Measuring and Maximizing 19
In a third category of cases, the executive’s team’s contribution to the business was just
one input in a multi-faceted process (e.g., providing technical product development information
or legal advice). This meant that the team’s ability to directly impact business results (and the
ability to draw a clear line of causation between the team’s contribution and business results)
was much more limited. Thus a main conclusion from all three types of cases is that
understanding coaching’s impact on the organization requires placing it in the context of the
environment in which the executive and the executive’s team operates and the other
interventions and processes that have the potential to improve business outcomes.
A general conclusion from the case studies is that, in order for coaching to have a direct
and clear impact on the business, it should to be the case that
a) There are specific individual actions or behaviors for which the executive alone is
responsible, which if performed correctly will positively impact the business, and if
performed incorrectly will negatively impact the business
b) In the absence of the coaching the executive would perform those actions or behaviors
c) In the presence of the coaching the executive performs those actions or behaviors
In short, coaching should have a positive impact on the organization if it improves decision
making and/or execution in ways that would not happen otherwise.
An alternative way that coaching can positively impact business results is by retaining
talent that otherwise might leave the organization. Again, however, certain conditions must hold
for the business impact to be attributable to the coaching:
a) In the absence of coaching the person would leave
Measuring and Maximizing 20
b) In the presence of coaching the person instead stays
c) The organization is better off keeping the person instead of finding a replacement
Thus, reducing turnover does not guarantee a positive impact on the business. Lower turnover is
beneficial in the long run only if the people who might leave are more productive than the people
who would replace them.
Coaching’s Potential Impact on Derailment
One way that coaching might impact the business is by helping executives avoid
derailment, where derailment means failure to deliver on performance objectives with negative
impacts on current or future employment. A consistent theme that emerged from the case studies
is that it can be very difficult for coaching to have an impact in a case of “true” derailment. The
coaches virtually uniformly expressed strong doubts about their ability to help someone who had
already derailed. But identifying potential derailment can be difficult.
In one case, for example, the coach said the person was in a very tenuous position and
might have been close to being fired. The executive, in contrast, was not as concerned, though
that might have been a reflection more of the executive’s personality and a guarded approach to
the interview than an indication of the executive’s true standing in the organization. This
difference, however, is not important. What matters is that both the executive and coach
acknowledged significant problems in the executive’s relationship with one or more key
stakeholders in the organization – people who had an impact on the executive’s success in terms
of both delivering short-term business results and longer-term professional success in the
organization. In this case, both the coach and executive indicated that the coaching had a positive
impact on the executive’s ability to deal with the other stakeholders, though the long-term impact
was uncertain because the executive was seriously considering leaving the organization
Measuring and Maximizing 21
voluntarily at the time of the interviews. Thus the coach may have helped the executive avoid
being fired, but may have only delayed the inevitable, given the executive’s inability to control
the stakeholders’ actions that were so problematic.
In terms of coaching effectiveness, the coaches were probably most concerned about the
executives whose standing had deteriorated so much there was little chance of saving their jobs.
Defined this way, coaching almost certainly cannot stop derailment. But coaching does have the
potential to help executives who have the capability and desire to change, whom the organization
views as flawed – and thus derailment risks – but who remain solid contributors.
Even if coaching can help avoid derailment, it is hard to say whether that has a positive
impact on business results without additional information. In organizations with well developed
leadership pipelines, if a derailed executive leaves quickly and is immediately replaced by
someone who is ready for a promotion or lateral move, the derailed executive’s exit may be a net
positive in the long run – even if the business results suffer temporarily before the executive
leaves. In other, perhaps more common, cases, the business results might suffer for an extended
period of time before the executive leaves and a suitable replacement is identified, hired, and
learns the job well enough to equal or exceed the previous incumbent’s performance.
More generally, and perhaps more cynically, it is straightforward to identify situations in
which coaching does nothing to deter derailment, yet it is in the organization’s best interest to
employ a coach regardless. Using a coach as a type of outplacement service can ease the
transition out of the organization for an executive who is on the verge of being fired. Given the
potentially high cost of involuntary severance, a coach may help the executive realize that
leaving voluntarily is in the executive’s best interest for career reasons. In so doing, the coach
may help the organization avoid costly litigation, sabotage of critical processes, or loss of trade
Measuring and Maximizing 22
secrets. The ROI of the dollars spent on the coaching may be high in such cases, even though the
coach’s contribution is just to minimize outplacement costs, not build positive business results.
Coaching’s Potential Impact on Business Results
More generally, the problem with identifying any direct positive impact of coaching on
strategic or financial results lies in the complexity of executives’ jobs. Few executives perform
tasks themselves that directly impact the development and delivery of an organization’s products
and services. Instead, they create the environment in which others work to execute the necessary
tasks. Exceptions include making key decisions about what products and services should be
created, and how to do so. But those decisions are dependent on the executives’ direct reports
and others in the organization who provide the information on which the executives act. In such
team environments it may be very hard for coaching alone to have a direct business impact.
This is not to say that the success of coaching is usually judged on the basis of business
impact. On the contrary, in each of the twelve cases the coaching was deemed to be successful in
achieving the immediate behavioral objectives, which included communication style, motivating
others, influence skills, listening skills, demonstrating empathy for others, building trusting
relationships, anger management, giving performance feedback, agenda setting, building cross-
functional relationships, building credibility, and using emotion as a leadership tool. The
coaching engagements were deemed a success – using the companies’ internal evaluation
procedures – along these behavioral dimensions.
In making the case for potential business impacts, however, there has to be a link
between the behavioral improvements and barriers to business performance. In most cases, such
as the following, there was no such link or a tenuous one at best:
Measuring and Maximizing 23
Example #1: “It’s hard to measure how the coaching moved the needle. I think the
coaching helped me execute changes more effectively. Otherwise it might have
taken longer to get the changes implemented. But it wasn’t just me executing, it
was the rest of the management team. I had to get them inspired and on board,
show that I would back them up. I probably would have gotten the same business
results in the end, had some false starts, taken longer to find the right formula.”
Example #2: “Not sure it would have changed our trajectory [not having the
coaching]. But in a situation like this the biggest issue is retaining talent, need to
give them a positive view of the future. I think that this [my coaching and the
team coaching] has given them hope and energy to stick through [this difficult
business time] … given a real understanding of why people act the way they do. I
think it had an impact on our ability to hold everything together.”
Example #3: “A lot of this stuff doesn’t get solved by coaching, because I was
doing a lot of these things before having a coach. We work in a very complex
system, with a lot of different people. This leadership thing is getting along with
other people, influencing them – not getting them to give up their ideas for yours,
but getting them to go along with you. It may be as much about learning how to
treat people so that they will go along with you.”
As illustrated by these examples, the study found no cases in which coaching had a clear,
direct impact on the executive’s business results absent other interventions. In most cases, the
behavioral objectives of the coaching were too far removed from the barriers to business
Measuring and Maximizing 24
performance. Yet in a small number of cases coaching did appear to have a material impact,
albeit alongside other interventions:
Example #4: “One issue is productivity of the group. The other is people’s
resilience, willingness to take risks – they will reach more. But even if they fail,
typically what happened [in the past] is everyone might get depressed. In the new
environment [which the coaching helped me to create], people bounce back much
faster, respond much better to adversity, don’t worry that they will be blamed for
the failures – so greater productivity because shorter down time after failures. We
see this in the results – we have changed from meeting 20% of our new objectives
before to 100-110%. I am only one part of this … Of course there are other things
that influence the productivity – we are putting in stronger systems so that we can
track earlier whether we’re on track to deliver business success; also structuring
the groups to be more productive, not too dispersed. Using better tools – peer
reviews early in the process to identify holes, blind spots.”
Example #5: “Some locations had business issues – low morale. Talked to coach
about people issues, how to lead them, motivate. Specifically: to show up better as
a leader among senior people and my direct reports. I have laid back style. Didn’t
come across as being influential, assertive enough. Thought was that if I worked
on those skills, would get more motivated employees, which would improve
[execution] for the business and get more money. It worked quite well from a
business standpoint. The morale scores at the site were incredibly low – 35%,
when company was in 60% range – 6 months later the morale went up, was up to
85% within 18 months. 120% attrition initially, 30% after one year, then 20% a
Measuring and Maximizing 25
year after that – unheard of in [this kind of] environment. I do not think that it was
just the coaching or me that led to this. Productivity also improved; reduction in
overall losses to the company – came in 25% better than budget in first year, 15%
better than budget in the second year … Aside from coaching [we] also changed
some of the management at the site; committed to changes on scheduling,
training, etc. … Performance review program that very quickly put people on
probation … the department had been organized into teams allocated to certain
products that we offered. Those teams were reorganized into one team … we also
made it much easier for people to request schedule changes … made it a more
human process … Supervisors of the teams had been isolating themselves. We
wanted them walking the floor, meeting with team members once a week, talk to
them about how they are doing. Had managers who liked to stay in their offices,
ended up terminating several of them, hired new ones who agreed with our
approach … Made it more fun: monthly activities … they have to work hard, but
treat them like humans. I got to sit in the dunking tank in the carnival.”
In the above examples coaching played an important role in helping the executive to
improve business results. But it was one of many complementary things implemented at the
same time. In these situations, the positive impact of the coaching most likely is magnified by its
simultaneous application with other process improvements. This is consistent with the literature
on complementary HR practices and firm performance (MacDuffie, 1995; Ichniowski, Shaw, &
Prennushi, 1997; Becker & Huselid, 1998; Boning, Ichniowski, & Shaw, 2007). Though
executive coaching is not an HR practice typically considered by that literature, coaching that
helps an executive implement such practices would be consistent with the literature’s findings.
Measuring and Maximizing 26
Such coaching might help an executive to design and oversee self-managing work teams,
improve performance feedback, more tightly integrate rewards and performance, or share
information about critical business metrics with frontline employees or lower-level managers.
In an equally small number of cases, it appeared that coaching alone did have a positive,
though hard to quantify, business impact:
Example #6: “Being able to create the right environment, find the right buttons to
push – creates a more high-performing environment, trust in the leader, increases
the reliability of the organization – higher degree of commitment. I think my team
today continues to perform at a much higher rate – the only difference between
this year and 2 years ago: less fear, mistrust, less anxiety unrelated to delivering
the results. The 20-30% of the time that people had been worrying about how I
would react – they now can use that time productively. Also, I feel more effective
in conveying the messages, the inspiration and vision the organization has to
have. I have a lot more reassurance that when I’m not here, things will keep
happening, people will deliver what they are supposed to deliver because they
have greater commitment. We were going in three different directions: (a) people
were quitting both the organization and the project; some would do it more
overtly – would come in and say I don’t like so and so; others would do it more
subtly – would emphasize great opportunity elsewhere. (b) reinforcement for the
way people were behaving at the time – if I’m delivering the results and no one is
complaining about it, the long term destructive impact would have been a lot
higher because either people would not have been willing to move into the area to
work with me, or the entire part of the organization develops bad reputation – lose
Measuring and Maximizing 27
talent as a result. (c) low productivity – why should I stick out my neck to be
productive here when I have to worry about how my boss will react; also impacts
people’s willingness to take risks with business ideas – refrain from being more
aggressive; people producing maybe 70% of what they could produce.”
Example #7: “Since working with [the coach] I am better able to work with
people who have opinions completely contrary to my own. In the past I might
have withdrawn from the interactions – now I’m better equipped to understand
what their real needs are. [Without this] the project might have died, or they might
have done an end run around to find the support they needed – myself or my
department might have been excluded – I am one of several potential sources – it
might have meant a time delay, or the incorrect information, or not aligned with
the organization’s goals (because we are part of the line process that executes the
operational plan – someone else might not be totally aligned). They should come
to me. But if they don’t get the answer [they want], they might go to one of my
peers to get support for their ideas. That could lead later on to very expensive
steps in the process [that otherwise would not have happened], or work that
should not have been done in the first place.”
Thus the case studies suggest that coaching can have positive impacts by changing leader
behaviors and contributing to improved business performance. But it is difficult to draw a direct
line from coaching to improved business performance, particularly because positive business
impacts appear to be achieved when coaching is combined with other interventions and process
improvements. Coaching alone may be too limited to directly impact the business.
Measuring and Maximizing 28
Discussion and Conclusion
The framework introduced in this article for understanding and evaluating the business
impact of coaching suggested that the circumstances under which executive coaching can
directly impact the business may not always be present. The case study data provided some
preliminary evidence consistent with that conclusion. However, there is much that needs to be
further investigated and understood about how coaching does and does not have an impact on
business results, with implications for future coaching research and practice.
The framework raised the concepts of role and task complexity and interdependence as
factors that potentially should be addressed when designing and evaluating executive coaching
engagements. While to my knowledge previous coaching research has not addressed these, role
complexity and interdependence are fundamental issues in the literatures on job and team design
(e.g.,Thomas, 1957; Lawrence & Lorsch, 1967; Hackman & Lawler, 1971; Hackman & Oldham,
1980; Keller, 1986; Hackman, 1992; Campion, Medsker, & Higgs, 1993; Mohrman, Cohen, &
Mohrman, 1995; Wageman, 1995; Cohen & Bailey, 1997; Hackman, 1998; Schmidt, Montoya-
Weiss, & Massey, 2001; Langfred, 2007). Task complexity and interdependence are measures
that describe differences in the product or service being created (e.g., is it physically possible for
only one person to do all tasks), as well as choices in how the jobs are designed (see Wageman,
1995, for an example of choice of interdependence among groups of repair technicians).
In cases where integration of tasks performed by different people is a critical part of the
production process (in part because complexity is high), the executive is more likely to impact
the business objectives by focusing on group processes and the barriers that get in the way of the
group accomplishing its objectives. Examples of this may include manufacturing production
lines, complex R&D processes, evaluations of large scale mergers and acquisitions, and anything
Measuring and Maximizing 29
involving multiple steps in a just-in-time supply chain. In cases where integration is less
important (in part because complexity is low), executives’ efforts to improve business
performance by focusing on individual jobs may stand a greater chance of success. Examples of
this may include sales, call centers, data processing, and technical support.
What is important for coaching impact measurement is that the context within which the
executive operates dictates the behaviors necessary for the executive to positively impact
business results. Including information on the business context and the associated actions and
behaviors as part of the measurement approach is recommended for future evaluation efforts.
A related issue is the kinds of differences one would expect to see in the situations in
which coaching can be more easily directly linked to business impact vs. the situations where the
link is much more difficult to make. One hypothesis is that executives whose teams are
performing at average or below average levels (vs. high performing teams) may be those who are
more likely to be able to translate the impacts of coaching into positive business impact. The
limited evidence provided by the case studies supports this hypothesis: among the handful of
cases where the executives identified a direct link from the coaching to business impact, most
were facing performance issues with their teams. Among the cases where a direct link was harder
to establish, coaching was more likely to be used for developmental purposes that were not
necessarily focused on or related to performance issues.
For example, coaching is often used to round out executives’ leadership skills so they can
be more effective in both current and future roles. In situations where the executives’ current
performance is above average, the potential benefits of coaching may lie only in increasing the
executives’ probability of success in future roles. While such effects could be interpreted as
having a business impact, because the potential benefit is reaped in the future, it is hard to draw a
Measuring and Maximizing 30
direct impact line between the coaching the business benefit. In cases like this we could say there
is no direct business impact, though there is an indirect business impact.
Though the data used for the case studies reported here came entirely from self-reports,
there are obvious reasons to try to include business data when measuring the impact of coaching.
First, respondents (coachees and coaches) may bias their responses, particularly if they enjoyed
the coaching experience and/or viewed the coaching engagement as a success because it led to
behavioral change. Second, respondents may give too much credit to the executive’s ability to
impact business results, versus the results being driven by the executive’s team’s performance.
On the flip side, the benefit of self-report data is that it enables the measurement to focus
on factors within the executive’s control, versus all the organizational and external (to the
organization) factors beyond the executive’s control that influence business performance.
Arguably, coaching should be deemed a success in improving business results if it positively
contributes to a change in business performance, even if it does not account for a majority of the
change in performance. Analyses that use only hard data may find it difficult to detect a very
strong statistical relationship between coaching and business results. Ideally, both self-report and
hard data would be collected and used for analyses of the business impact of coaching.
Finally, despite the potential positive impact coaching may have on the executive’s
leadership behaviors and possible follow-on impacts on business performance, one must always
consider the possibility that coaching is not the appropriate response to a situation. This is of
particular concern because coaching appears to be riding a wave of popularity (McDermott,
Levenson, & Newton, 2007), leading organizations to potentially overuse it as an intervention
when other interventions (or even no intervention at all) may be the more appropriate response to
an executive’s behavioral or performance issues. If the executive has developmental needs, a
Measuring and Maximizing 31
formal training program or on-the-job learning experience (such as a stretch job assignment) may
be the best remedy. If the executive’s team needs help to improve its performance, a direct
intervention in the form of team building, facilitation, skills training, brainstorming/problem
solving, etc. may be more effective than coaching the executive. In such cases, coaching alone
may not be the best intervention, though coaching used in combination with formal training
programs and on-the-job learning may accelerate the learning process.
Any effort designed to address the potential business impact of coaching should first
examine whether coaching was an appropriate intervention in the first place. The methods used
to select the coaching engagements for this article did that, including only ones deemed to be
appropriate applications of coaching. Future research should measure the extent to which
coaching was an appropriate intervention, and attempt to measure appropriateness using
information that was readily available at the start of the coaching engagements. For example,
suppose a company has a coaching program that enables all executives of a particular population
(e.g., all Vice Presidents and higher, or all executives in a particular business unit) to work with a
coach. Suppose further that the executives’ personal development plans could be reviewed for
evidence that either supported or undermined the case for the executive engaging with a coach.
In this situation, the evaluator could use the development plan information to classify executives
as being better or worse suited for coaching, and use that classification as a control variable in
multivariate analyses measuring the business impact of coaching.
In conclusion, though the case study results reported here suggest that coaching may best
impact the business when combined with other interventions, the data limitations do not allow us
to make that conclusion definitively. Additional research using larger data sets is needed to
verify whether these results can be generalized. Research that analyzes business impacts in cases
Measuring and Maximizing 32
where coaching was the only change or intervention, compared to cases where coaching was
used alongside other changes or interventions, would be particularly helpful in shedding insights
into how coaching impacts the bottom line, if at all.
Despite reaching only tentative conclusions about coaching’s ability to directly impact
the bottom line, however, at least one recommendation for practitioners can be made based on
the case study results. Given the apparent importance of using coaching alongside other changes
or interventions in at least some cases, improved up-front evaluation of coaching engagements
may significantly contribute to improving the business impact of coaching. A systematic
diagnosis of the possible issues impacting executives’ performance and the performance of their
units might reveal one set of cases in which coaching alone is not likely to improve performance
on its own; a second set of cases in which coaching should not be considered even as part of an
integrated set of interventions in other cases; and a third set of cases where coaching has the
greatest potential to improve business results when applied on its own. Better partnering of
organizational processes that evaluate the appropriateness of coaching with processes that
comprehensively evaluate performance should best help improve business results.
Measuring and Maximizing 33
Applebaum, E., & Batt, R. (1994). The new American workplace: Transforming work systems in
the United States. Ithaca, NY: ILR Press.
Barling, J., Weber, T., & Kelloway, E. K. (1996). Effects of transformational leadership training
on attitudinal and financial outcomes: A field experiment. Journal of Applied
Pscyhology, 81(6), 827-832.
Becker, B. E., & Huselid, M.A. (1998). High performance work systems and firm performance:
A synthesis of research and managerial implications, Research in Personnel and Human
Resources Management, 16, 53-101.
Bell, S. E. (2005). Myers-Briggs type indicator and executive coaching: Participants’ self-
perceptions about the effectiveness of the two when used together. Doctoral Dissertation,
Boning, B., Ichniowski, C., & Shaw, K. (2007). Opportunity counts: Teams and the
effectiveness of production incentives. Journal of Labor Economics, 25(4), 613-650.
Bowles, S., Cunningham, C. J. L., De La Rosa, G. M., & Picano, J. (2007). Coaching leaders in
middle and executive management: Goals, performance, buy-in. Leadership &
Organization Development Journal, 28(5), 388-408.
Bray, D. W., Campbell, R. J., & Grant, D. L. (1974). Formative years in business: A long-term
AT&T study of managerial lives. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Campion, M.A., Medsker, G.J., & Higgs, A.C. 1993. Relations between work group
characteristics and effectiveness: Implications for designing effective work groups.
Personnel Psychology, 46, 823-850.
Measuring and Maximizing 34
Cappelli, P., & Neumark, D. (2001). Do high-performance work practices improve
establishment-level outcomes? Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 54, 737-775.
Cohen, S.G., & Bailey, D. (1997). What makes teams work: Group effectiveness research from
the shop floor to the executive suite. Journal of Management, 23(3), 239-290.
Drucker, P. F. (1966). The effective executive. New York: Harper & Row Publishers.
Evers, W. J. G., Brouwers, A., & Tomic, W. (2006). A quasi-experimental study on management
coaching effectiveness. Consulting Psychology Journal, 58(3), 174-182.
Feldman, D. C., & Lankau, M. J. (2005). Executive coaching: A review and agenda for future
research. Journal of Management, 31(6), 829-848.
Galbraith, J. (1973). Designing complex organizations. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Goldsmith, M., & Morgan, H. (2004). Leadership is a contact sport. strategy + business.
Hackman, J. R. (1992). Group influences on individuals in organizations. In M.D. Dunnette &
L.M. Hough (Eds.), Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology, Vol. 3. (pp.
199-267). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc., 199-267.
Hackman, J. R. (1998). Why teams don’t work. In R.S. Tindale (Ed.), Theory and research on
small groups (pp. 245-267). New York: Plenum.
Hackman, J. R., & Lawler, E. E. (1971). Employee reactions to job characteristics. Journal of
Applied Psychology Monograph, 55, 259-286.
Hackman, R., & Oldham, G. (1980). Work redesign. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Hall, D. T., Otazo, K. I., & Hollenbeck, G. P. (1999). What really happens in executive
coaching. Organizational Dynamics, 39-53.
Hein, H. R. (1989). Psychological type, coaching activities and coaching effectiveness in
corporate middle managers. Doctoral dissertation, University of Bridgeport.
Measuring and Maximizing 35
Huselid, M. (1995). The impact of human resource management practices on turnover,
productivity, and corporate financial performance. Academy of Management Journal, 38,
Ichniowski, C., Shaw, K., & Prennushi, G. (1997). The effects of human resource management
practices on productivity. American Economic Review, 87, 291-313.
Kampa-Kokesch, S. (2001). Executive coaching as an individually tailored consultation
intervention: Does it increase leadership? Doctoral dissertation, Western Michigan
Kampa-Kokesch, S., & Anderson, M. Z. (2001). Executive coaching: A comprehensive review
of the literature. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 53(4), 205-228.
Keller, R.T. (1986). Predictors of the performance of project groups in R&D organizations.
Academy of Management Journal, 29, 715-726.
Kilburg, R. R. (1996). Toward a conceptual understanding and definition of executive coaching.
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 48(2), 134-144.
Kilburg, R. R. (2004). Trudging toward Dodoville: Conceptual approaches and case studies in
executive coaching. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 56(4), 203-
Kombarakaran, F. A., Yang, J. A., Baker, M. N., & Fernandes, P. B. (2008). Executive coaching:
It works! Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 60(1), 78-90.
Kotter, J. P. (1982). The general managers. New York: The Free Press.
Langfred, C. W. (2007). The downside of self-management: A longitudinal study of the effects
of conflict on trust, autonomy, and task interdependence in self-managing teams.
Academy of Management Journal, 50(4), 885-900.
Measuring and Maximizing 36
Lawrence, P. R., & Lorsch, J. W. (1967). Organization and environment. Boston: Harvard
Business School Press.
Levenson, A. (2003). ROI and strategy for teams and collaborative work systems. In M.
Beyerlein, C. McGee, G. Klein, L. Broedling, & J. Nemiro, (Eds.), The collaborative
work systems fieldbook: Strategies, tools and techniques. San Francisco: Jossey-
Levenson, A. (2005). Harnessing the power of HR analytics. Strategic HR Review, 4(3).
Levenson, A., & Cohen, S. G. (2003). Meeting the performance challenge: Calculating ROI for
virtual teams. In C. B. Gibson & S. G. Cohen, (Eds.), Virtual teams that work: Creating
conditions for virtual team effectiveness. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Levenson, A., Van der Stede, W., & Cohen, S. G. (2006). Measuring the relationship between
managerial competencies and performance. Journal of Management, 32(3).
MacDuffie, J. P. (1995). Human resource bundles and manufacturing performance:
Organizational logic and flexible production systems in the world auto industry.
Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 48(2), 197-221.
McCauley, C. D., & Hughes-James, M. W. (1994). An evaluation of the outcomes of a
leadership development program. Center for Creative Leadership. Greensboro, N.C.
McClelland, D. C. (1973). Testing for competence rather than for “intelligence.” American
Psychologist, 28, 1-14.
McDermott, M., Levenson, A., & Newton, S. (2007). What coaching can and cannot do for your
organization.Human Resource Planning, 30(2), 30-37.
Mohrman, S. A., Cohen, S. G., & Mohrman, A. M., Jr. (1995). Designing team-based
organizations: New forms for knowledge work. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Measuring and Maximizing 37
Olivero, G. K., Bane, D., & Kopelman, R. E. (1997). Executive coaching as a transfer of
training tool: Effects on productivity in a public agency. Public Personnel Management,
Orenstein, R.L. (2006). Measuring executive coaching efficacy? The answer was right here all
the time. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 58(2), 106-116.
Peterson, D. B. (1993). Skill learning and behavior change in an individually tailored
management coaching and training program. Doctoral Dissertation, University of
Russell, C. J. (2001). A longitudinal study of top-level executive performance. Journal of
Applied Psychology, 86, 560-573.
Saling, N. E. (2005). An empirical study comparing the effect of feedback, training, and
executive coaching on leadership behavior change. Doctoral Dissertation, North Carolina
State University, Raleigh.
Schmidt, J.B., Montoya-Weiss, M.M., & Massey, A.P. (2001). New product development
decision-making effectiveness: Comparing individuals, face-to-face teams, and virtual
teams. Decision Sciences, 32, 575-600.
Seifert, C. F., Yukl, G., & McDonald, R. A. (2003). Effects of multisource feedback and a
feedback facilitator on the influence behavior of managers toward subordinates. Journal
of Applied Psychology, 88(3), 561-569.
Smither, J. W., London, M., Flautt, R., Vargas, Y., & Kucine, I. (2003). Can working with an
executive coach improve multisource feedback ratings over time? A quasi-experimental
field study. Personnel Psychology, 56, 23-44.
Measuring and Maximizing 38
Spencer, L. M., Jr., & Spencer, S. M. (1993). Competence at work: Models for superior perform-
ance. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Thach, E. C. (2002). The impact of executive coaching and 360 feedback on leadership
effectiveness. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 23(4), 205-214.
Thomas, E. J. (1957). Effects of facilitative role interdependence on group functioning. Human
Relations, 10(4), 347-366.
Toegel, G., & Nicholson, N. (2005). Multisource feedback, coaching, and leadership
development: Gender homophily in coaching dyads. Academy of Management
Wageman, R. (1995). Interdependence and group effectiveness. Administrative Science
Quarterly, 40(1), 145-180.
Walker, I., G., & Smither, J. W. (1999). A five-year study of upward feedback: What managers
do with their results matters. Personnel Psychology, 52(2), 393-423.
Wasylyshyn, K. M. (2003). Executive coaching: An outcome study. Consulting Psychology
Journal: Practice and Research, 55, 94-106.
Wasylyshyn, K. M., Gronsky, B., & Hass, J. W. (2006). Tigers, stripes and behavior change:
Survey results of a commissioned coaching program. Consulting Psychology Journal:
Practice and Research, 58(2), 65-81.
Youndt, M. A., Snell, S. A., Dean, J. W., Jr., & Lepak, D. P. (1996). Human resource manage-
ment, manufacturing strategy, and firm performance. Academy of Management Journal,
Young, D. P., & Dixon, N. M. (1996). Helping leaders take effective action: A program
evaluation. Center for Creative Leadership, Greensboro, N.C.
Measuring and Maximizing 39
Figure 1: Making the link between leadership development and organization performance
¾ Cost / margins
¾ Quality / innovation
¾ Customer satisfaction
¾Learning / knowledge
Manager level factors
¾ Job fit / career fit
Group / unit factors
¾ Market share / growth
¾ New products
¾ Brand awareness
¾ Customer retention
¾ Stock price
¾ Profit / cash flow
¾ ROA / ROE
HR / Human Capital initiatives
¾ Team building
¾ Performance management