ArticlePDF Available

The coaching ripple effect: The effects of developmental coaching on wellbeing across organisational networks

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Background It has been argued that the quality of daily interactions within organisations effects the wellbeing of both individuals and the broader organisation. Coaching for leadership development is one intervention often used to create organisation-wide changes in culture and wellbeing. Leadership style has been associated with employee stress and wellbeing. Coaching has also been shown to improve individual level measures of wellbeing. However, almost all the research into the effectiveness of coaching interventions assumes a linear model of change, and expects that any flow-on effects are also linear. In other words, much of the research assumed that any change in the leader has relatively uniform effects on the wellbeing of others, and that these effects can be adequately accessed via standard linear statistical analyses. We argue that linear approaches do not take the complexity of organisations seriously, and that Complex Adaptive Systems theory (CAS) provides a useful non-linear approach to thinking about organisational change and the wellbeing of individuals embedded in these systems. The relatively new methodology of Social Network Analysis (SNA) provides researchers with analytic tools designed to access the relational components of complex systems. This paper reports on changes observed in the relational networks of an organisation following a leadership coaching intervention. Methods An AB design coaching intervention study was conducted across an organisation (N = 225). Wellbeing measures were taken for all employees and a social network analysis was conducted on the degree and quality of all organisational interactions. Twenty leaders (n = 20) received 8 coaching sessions. Individual self report measures of goal attainment as well as 360 feedbacks on transformational leadership were assessed in the control, pre and post intervention periods. Results A significant increase in the goal attainment, transformational leadership and psychological wellbeing measures were observed for those who received coaching. Average change in the perceived quality of interaction improved for those who received coaching. However there was a decline in the perceived quality of the interaction others believed they were having with those who were coached. It was also found that the closer any member of the network was identified as being connected to those who received coaching, the more likely they were to experience positive increases in wellbeing. Conclusions This research highlights the influence of leadership coaching beyond the individual leader, and has important implications for organisational wellbeing initiatives and how we measure the impact of interventions aimed at organisational change. Our findings suggest a more nuanced approach is needed in designing interventions in complex adaptive systems.
Content may be subject to copyright.
A preview of the PDF is not available
... The majority of studies investigated the influence of coaching on goal attainment. The findings suggested a positive relation between executive coaching and improved decision making and cognitive flexibility [5], increased goal settings strategy and mastery goal strategy and structure [7], confidence in implementing strategic objectives related to organizational changes [6], progress towards their workplace goals [17]. One study found that coaching was perceived as a valuable tool in gaining awareness into personal resources and strengths [9]. ...
... Some results indicate the positive effect of coaching in the manager's ability to find strategies for coping with difficult situations, such as conflicts or crises [5]. Interestingly, the other-raters such as leader's supervisor or other employees did not report an improvement in leader's competences ( [5], [15], [17], [9]). These results may be explained by the mediating effect of time or the differences on how others perceive the change in the leader's competences. ...
... Such limitations are: small sample size, the convenience type of sample, the biased sample, or selected from a single company. Thirdly, a number of studies used executive coaching as a part of a larger development program ( [14]), [29], [17], [21], [12], [8]), which may have affected the coaching outcomes. The diversity of procedures and coaching approach interventions used makes difficult replications. ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper reviews 21 empirical studies on executive coaching outcomes in the workplace focusing on implications for business practice during challenges inherent in organizational change. It draws on the commonly reported executive coaching positive effects to illustrate the executive coaching impact on behaviors and skills related to leading, managing and finding strategies for coping with challenging situations. The paper considers the benefits of executive coaching, additional opportunities which may be facilitated by its implementation through a coaching-based leadership style within organizations, possible challenges to its more widespread adoption, and the means by which these may be overcome. Implications of the results for business practice are discussed.
... In an organisational context, O'Connor and Cavanagh (2013) found that communication and connectedness levels increased in parallel to the overall wellbeing of the organisation. Hultgren and colleagues (2013) presented an argument that cognitive based therapy (CBT) team-coaching can enhance staff wellbeing, whilst Grant et al., (2009) observed that CBT-based, solution focused coaching was associated with improved workplace wellbeing. ...
... Hultgren and colleagues (2013) presented an argument that cognitive based therapy (CBT) team-coaching can enhance staff wellbeing, whilst Grant et al., (2009) observed that CBT-based, solution focused coaching was associated with improved workplace wellbeing. These empirical studies (Grant et al., 2009;Hultgren, Palmer & O'Riordan, 2013;O'Connor & Cavanagh, 2013) showed an increased in participant wellbeing, associated with the development of leadership and teams. ...
Article
Full-text available
This multi-methods study, informed by the principles of action research, presents an evidence-based model for group coaching for wellbeing. The model is primarily based on psychological wellbeing and positive psychology theories, and it was tested empirically over two group coaching interventions. Coachees' wellbeing improved after the group coaching interventions and the data analysis shows that the programme supported coachees in various areas associated with wellbeing, such as meaning, positive emotions, locus of control, and new perspectives. Furthermore, coachees reported that the coaching programme raised their self-awareness and provided them with a supportive environment for action and change. The study highlighted the crucial role the group can play as a catalyst for change, whilst enabling coachees to experience conditions that contribute to their wellbeing. By shining a spotlight on group coaching, this research has shown the value of working in this way, including the opportunity to make coaching for wellbeing more inclusive, accessible and impactful.
... I can change my mindset regarding how I deal with conflict • I can create a community working space for my team • I can experiment with curriculum and lesson design in the new space • I can implement ideas from my leadership course and assignment • I can offer more help for new staffSuch a desire for coaching and support to be directed from leaders and managers to best serve their teams has been shown to have a net positive effect on the wellbeing of working teams(O'Connor & Cavanagh, 2013). In their meta analysis on the impact of leadership styles and employee wellbeing,Skakon, Nielsen, Borg & Guzman (2010) have identified that transformational leadership styles, of which coaching leadership is one, has the capability to ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Driven by its mission and principles of learning, an International School in São Paulo, Brazil has undergone a change agenda to become a 'culture of learning'. Renovations, alongside the construction of a purpose-built School have taken place, designed with learner-led, participatory pedagogy in mind. The physical environment is mirrored in the architecture of time, with the school timetable remodelled into a series of 90 minute blocks of time to promote inquiry-based learning. The school has also adapted its treatment of wellbeing. This has been most apparent in the provision of three 'wellness days' per semester for staff, first introduced to help staff manage the disorientation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The school seeks to build upon these changes so that 'flourishing' and 'fulfilment' become cornerstones of individual and community operating culture. Commitment to wellbeing is a cultural imperative to achieve this. The theoretical framework of this thesis introduces different conceptualisations of the term wellbeing, connecting it to the Aristotelian concept of eudaimonia as well as to Manfred Max-Neef's Matrix of Human Needs. The thesis analyses how theories of Eudaimonic Wellbeing can be applied in an International School context. The author conducted quantitative research with 58 participants in the form of Donaldson, van Zyl, L & Donaldson's (2022) PERMA+4 Framework questionnaire across various employee groups in the school. Results were combined in a mixed-methods manner with a series of qualitative interviews with nine participants using the author's Workplace Wellbeing Scaffold (WWS). Results show that staff experience varying degrees of eudaimonic wellness along the nine PERMA+4 dimensions, based on which section they work in and by length of service. The findings reveal that two of the PERMA+4 dimensions, Environment and Economic Security, are least positive amongst the sample group. Conversely, participants show strong Positive Emotions, Meaning, Engagement and Accomplishment. Findings prove that a Human Needs wellbeing strategy is a valid means to improve the workplace wellbeing when used with quantitative diagnostic measures. By using the WWS as a means to investigate individual PERMA+4 results, identify unmet human needs and create actionable plans to satisfy those needs in the form of I-Statements, people are able to identify strategies to meet their unmet human needs, in turn improving their wellbeing. It is therefore recommended that leadership adopt a longitudinal quantitative approach to determining the wellbeing of staff, as well as to adopt the WWS to support individuals in improving their workplace wellbeing.
... Coaching for values is an ambiguous concept; academic research focus on this area, where an individual's values-based thinking is explored within coaching practice is relatively rare. Coaching has become a mainstream activity in organisations within the past decade, with an acceptance of internal coaches improving individual effectiveness and organisational development through a traditional goal-oriented coaching methodology (Grant, Cavanagh, Parker, & Passmore, 2010;Jones, Woods, & Guillaume, 2016;O'Connor & Cavanagh, 2013;Watson, 2020). Values-based coaching in organisations has a bearing as numerous organisations build internal value attributes to guide their organisational objectives as drivers for goal attainment within the organisation's social construct. ...
Article
Full-text available
Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was applied to explore coaches’ experience using a values-based coaching framework within an international non-profit organisation. The ‘Coaching for Alignment’ model facilitated values-based coaching through semi-structured interviews; the subjective experience and phenomenological thinking of values were explored. The participants' experience provided emergent themes of thought provocation, empowerment, and discomfort through the coaching dialogue. Preliminary insight into how coaching for values can support the coaches’ development in realising values congruence, interpreted through a positive psychology coaching lens, is offered. Values-based coaching in non-profits organisations can encourage self-reflection and empowerment in coaches supporting organisational coaching programmes.
Article
Full-text available
This paper explores how working from home has impacted leaders and the workforce in corporate environments during the pandemic, how these experiences might influence the workplace of the future, and what role coaching could play to foster skill development in the 21st century workplace. Before the pandemic, plenty of research had already been done on what factors influence well-being and engagement in the workplace. Models explaining the elements of well-being and engagement, as well as, tools to measure their existence or the lack of have been reviewed, tested, and validated. We know little at this point about what combinations of factors caused the decline in well-being and engagement during the pandemic, and what skills in leaders, or requirements for the workplace would be necessary to hone and implement, to improve the situation of well-being and engagement in future work environments. This paper explores how coaching could support leaders in the 21st century workplace. The business world is facing challenges while moving into post-pandemic workplace scenarios. The plurality of interests increases the complexity of the topic. The literature on well-being and engagement has been reviewed. Data that was collected during the pandemic by different organisations and conclusions drawn from these were compared with what the literature says and it was combined with experiences the author made in the field while coaching leaders and their teams in corporate environments during the pandemic. This paper concludes with a recommendation on how to enhance coaching skills among leaders and to build their knowledge and literacy in the field of coaching, to result in positive effects on workplace well-being and engagement in contemporary work environments.
Chapter
Meaning and purpose form a key pillar of psychological wellbeing. Individuals and organizations that score high on these metrics have been found to exhibit a range of positive effects which in turn impact the ‘triple bottom line’ (people, profits, planet). This chapter introduces meaning as a multi-faceted construct and outlines how Steger’s SPIRE and CARMA models can be applied in a one-to-one coaching setting to benefit individuals and help leaders create the conditions for meaningful work, respectively. Several practical methods and techniques on how to measure, identify, create and shape meaning through coaching are presented along with specific questions a coach may ask and a case study to demonstrate how the literature on meaning may inform coaching practice. Consideration also is given to whom meaning-centred coaching benefits most, placing meaning-oriented positive psychology coaching within a future-focused organizational context.
Chapter
Large investments are made in workplaces on learning and development (L&D) activities despite research suggesting low levels of transfer of training. More recently, L&D specialists have introduced Positive Psychology (PP) training and/or interventions as part of their L&D offerings. Currently there is minimal research to suggest follow-up effects or longer-term gains for Positive Psychology Interventions (PPIs). As such, we argue that PPIs activities are likely to suffer from the same challenges as other traditional L&D activities. This chapter explores the similarities and differences between Coaching Psychology (CP) and its applied form, Evidence-Based Coaching (EBC) and PP and its applied form, PPIs. The authors highlight the role that EBC can play to not only enhance transfer of training outcomes but when integrated with PP science, attain shared outcomes i.e. wellbeing and performance. Whilst both PP and CP aspire to offer evidence-based methodologies for enhancing wellbeing and performance, PP has had a much higher profile than CP, hence there is limited research on the application of evidence-based coaching within positive psychological practice. The authors review preliminary research supporting the continued uptake of EBC as a Positive Psychology Intervention and as a powerful way to aid transfer of training in all L&D activities.
Chapter
Full-text available
The field of positive psychology (PP) research and practice is now 20 years old, and it has experienced significant growth since its formal launch in 1998 (Seligman, 1998; Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). It is generally acknowledged that PP is an “umbrella term” and that it covers many different topics from a diverse range of disciplines. A review of the literature by Rusk & Waters (2013) found that the most densely concentrated PP topics are life satisfaction/happiness, motivation/achievement, optimism, and organisational citizenship/fairness. In a similar vein, the field of coaching psychology (CP) has experienced significant growth in research and practice. There are now three meta-analytic studies (Theeboom, Beersma, & van Vianen, 2014; Jones, Woods, & Guillaume, 2015; Sonesh, Coultas, Lacerenza, Marlow, Benishek, & Salas, 2015) and one systematic review (Lai & McDowall, 2014) which highlight that coaching is effective, although the field could benefit from more randomised controlled trials (for example Spence & Grant, 2005).
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents the main findings from Part I of a study investigating if workplace coaching can reduce stress. Thirty-one participants from a UK finance organisation took part in the quasi-experimental study. Depression, anxiety and stress were measured before and after coaching in a coaching and control group. Levels of anxiety and stress had decreased more in the coaching group compared to the control group, and were lower in the coaching group compared to the control group at the end of the study. However, levels of depression had decreased more in the control group compared to the coaching group. Mixed ANOVAS found no significant interactions between time and coaching for depression, anxiety or stress. Nevertheless, high levels of perceived coaching effectiveness were reported by the participants.
Article
Full-text available
As the demand for an evidence-based approach to coaching grows, so does the need for rigourous outcome measures. However, despite the fact that coaching is a goal-focused process, there has been little discussion in the coaching literature about different approaches to measuring goal attainment. Given that goal attainment represents a key dependent variable for coaching interventions, it is important that this gap in the literature be addressed. This paper seeks to stimulate discussion about this important issue by describing an approach to the measurement of goal outcomes, Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS), and discussing the strengths and limitations of the approach. Whilst goal attainment processes are multifaceted and measurement is complicated by a multiplicity of goal constructs and the inherent instability of goals, it is argued that the GAS methodology offers coaches a way of neutralising some of these challenges. In addition, GAS has the potential to stimulate dialogue between practitioners and researchers, as it could provide a methodological framework and language accessible to both.
Article
This article investigates, for leadership research, the implications of new directions in social network theory that emphasize networks as both cognitive structures in the minds of organizational members and opportunity structures that facilitate and constrain action. We introduce the four core ideas at the heart of the network research program: The importance of relations, actors' embeddedness, the social utility of connections, and the structural patterning of social life. Then we present a theoretical model of how network cognitions in the minds of leaders affect three types of networks: The direct ties surrounding leaders, the pattern of direct and indirect ties within which leaders are embedded in the whole organization and the interorganizational linkages formed by leaders as representatives of organizations. We suggest that these patterns of ties can contribute to leader effectiveness.
Article
Scitation is the online home of leading journals and conference proceedings from AIP Publishing and AIP Member Societies