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Purpose – Executive coaching is gaining in popularity as a management developmental activity which facilitates organisational change for sustainability. The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationships among coachee feedback receptivity, pre-training motivation, learning goal orientation, developmental self-efficacy, self-reported job performance improvement, self-awareness, task performance and affective commitment in terms of executive coaching effectiveness as a form of management development. Design/methodology/approach – A non-randomised controlled trial research design was conducted to examine the hypothesized relationships among coachee characteristics and executive coaching effectiveness, as reflected in greater levels of individual outcomes in corporate Israel. Findings – A significant interaction between learning goal orientation and pre-training motivation on improvement in job self-reported performance was found. Additionally, a negative relationship was found between learning goal orientation and improvement in self-reported job performance among coachees with low levels of pre-training motivation. Finally, self-efficacy demonstrates a positive relationship with job performance improvement. Originality/value – This research provides greater insights about the type of individual outcomes executive coaching should achieve, and under which conditions coaching is likely to be more beneficial for participants. This research has value for designing and implementing coaching programmes to drive sustainable development and innovation.
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The role of coachee characteristics
in executive coaching for effective
sustainability
Gil Bozer
Managing Human Resources Department, Sapir Academic College,
Sderot, Israel
James C. Sarros
Department of Management, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, and
Joseph C. Santora
Department of Management, International School of Management (ISM),
Paris, France and Department of Management, Monash University,
Melbourne, Australia
Abstract
Purpose – Executive coaching is gaining in popularity as a management developmental activity
which facilitates organisational change for sustainability. The purpose of this paper is to explore
the relationships among coachee feedback receptivity, pre-training motivation, learning goal orientation,
developmental self-efficacy, self-reported job performance improvement, self-awareness, task
performance and affective commitment in terms of executive coaching effectiveness as a form of
management development.
Design/methodology/approach – A non-randomised controlled trial research design was conducted
to examine the hypothesized relationships among coachee characteristics and executive coaching
effectiveness, as reflected in greater levels of individual outcomes in corporate Israel.
Findings – A significant interaction between learning goal orientation and pre-training motivation on
improvement in job self-reported performance was found. Additionally, a negative relationship was
found between learning goal orientation and improvement in self-reported job performance among
coachees with low levels of pre-training motivation. Finally, self-efficacy demonstrates a positive
relationship with job performance improvement.
Originality/value – This research provides greater insights about the type of individual outcomes
executive coaching should achieve, and under which conditions coaching is likely to be more beneficial
for participants. This research has value for designing and implementing coaching programmes to
drive sustainable development and innovation.
Keywords Israel, Management development, Senior management, Executive training, Coaching,
Executive coaching, Learning-goal orientation, Pre-training motivation, Feedback receptivity,
Developmental self-efficacy
Paper type Research paper
Development of executive coaching as a management development tool
Recently, more organizations are turning to coaching not as a remedial practice,
but rather as a proactive leadership development tool to drive sustainable growth
and innovation (CIPD, 2008). The emergence of coaching, as a development
approach, is aligned with transformational and systematic change in corporate
settings. Understanding how one is perceived by others in an organizational context
is vitally important to leadership and managerial effectiveness (Yammarino
and Atwater, 1993), and represents an opportunity for executives to learn more about
themselves and their work (Moen and Kralsund, 2008). The promise of coaching is not so
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
www.emeraldinsight.com/0262-1711.htm
Journal of Management Development
Vol. 32 No. 3, 2013
pp. 277-294
rEmerald Group Publishing Limited
0262-1711
DOI 10.1108/02621711311318319
277
Coachee
characteristics
much to provide instant solutions, but rather to promote learning and change over time
(de Haan et al., 2011).
The role of executive coaching in organization change
The growing recognition by organizations that continuous innovation and
managerial flexibility are required to address dynamic global change has
encouraged them to move from coaching as an individual intervention, to coaching
as an integrated element of their MD strategy (Riddle and Porhier, 2011). As
executives have a major influence on the viability and, ultimately, on the success of
their organizations (Aitken and Malcolm, 2010), coaching has been recognized as an
essential success factor in fostering innovation and managerial flexibility
(Jones et al., 2006). However, although MD is critical to organizational success,
there has been limited evidence of when it is most or least successful in
changing executives’ behaviors and performance (De Haan et al., 2011). Therefore,
linking coaching practice with theoretical work is critical given that an increasing
number of organizations incorporate coaching as a major component of strategy
development and execution.
Defining executive coaching
Executive coaching involves a highly confidential partnership between an executive
and a coach (Natale and Diamante, 2005). This personal outcome-focussed activity
centers on interpersonal and intrapersonal issues (Greene and Grant, 2003).
Although coaching may be initiated by an executive independently, usually the
organization is another party in this relationship (Scriffignano, 2009). Frequently,
coaching is provided by the organization and involves a clear link between the
individual goals of the coachee and the strategic goals of the organization (Ennis
et al., 2004). Differing from therapy, most definitions assume an absence of serious
mental health problems in the coachee (Brock, 2008), and recognize that the coachee
is resourceful (Berg and Szabo, 2005). Overall, the coaching relationship is described
as an equal partnership and the coach does not have any direct authority over the
executive (Evers et al., 2006).
We define executive coaching as a one-on-one relationship between a professional
coach and an executive (coachee). Its purpose is to enhance the coachee’s behavioral
change through self-awareness and learning, and thereby contribute to individual and
organizational success.
Effectiveness indicators of executive coaching
Executive coaching is a means for increasing productivity, learning, job satisfaction,
and behavior change (i.e. Starman, 2007; Parker-Wilkins, 2006). On this basis, the
effectiveness of a coaching intervention in this paper is assessed using individual
indicators, aggregated into proximal outcomes and distal outcomes.
Proximal outcomes
Proximal outcomes refer to the immediate individual, behavioral, attitudinal, and
cognitive changes experienced by the coachee as a result of engagement in coaching
and include positive feelings toward the organization (Finn, 2007), increased
self-awareness, and enhanced learning (Feldman and Lankau, 2005). The positive
feelings of the coachee can be expressed as satisfaction with the coaching process and
the coach (Smither et al., 2003) and increased self-awareness (Luthans and Peterson,
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2003). For Joo (2005, p. 481) executive coaching may also be a strategic learning tool for
organizations, with “learning in executive coaching [y] focused on cognitive and
affective learning.” Consequently, the proximal outcomes of coaching assessed in
this paper include increased levels of coachee self-awareness, increased coachee career
satisfaction, and increased job affective commitment.
Distal outcomes
Distal outcomes, the ultimate purpose of coaching, consist of individual and
organizational success ( Joo, 2005). Evidence that coaching has a positive impact on
work-based performance is weak, but it is positively associated with stress management,
job satisfaction, self-regard, and leader development and performance ( Jones et al., 2006).
Jarvis (2004) suggested that individual success may be captured via increased
managerial and interpersonal skills, greater problem-solving skills, increased confidence
and an improved adaptability to change, better relationships, a better work-life balance,
and reduced stress levels. Gegner’s (1997) and Hall et al.s (1999) findings support this
argument. Similarly, Smither et al. (2003) found that executives who worked with coaches
set more specific goals, were more open in sharing their feedback, received action ideas
from their supervisors, and had improved performance according to multi-source ratings.
The distal outcomes of coaching assessed in this paper include self-reported job
performance which should translate into organizational success (Kaiser et al., 2008)
and which should result in an improvement in coachee career satisfaction, and job
commitment (Wanberg et al., 2003). Additionally, organizational indicators of success
include improvements in supervisory-rated coachee job and task performance
(Luthans and Peterson, 2003).
Coachee characteristics
Kappenberg (2008) identifies the role of coachee engagement in the success of
coaching. Laske (1999) suggested coachee characteristics such as personality factors
and motivation as predictors of coaching effectiveness. However, limited evidence
exists on the role of coachee personality in coaching success (Stewart et al., 2008).
Accordingly, the coachee characteristics of learning goal orientation, pre-training
motivation, feedback receptivity, and developmental self-efficacy are recognized as
important predictors of coaching effectiveness.
Learning goal orientation
Goal orientation is a motivational variable related to the effort to learn (Fisher and
Ford, 1998). Trainees with a learning goal orientation will strive to gain knowledge for
the sake of learning, unlike trainees with a performance goal orientation who are more
likely to demonstrate their level of skill (Hertenstein, 2001). Hertenstein (2001) found
that individuals with a higher learning goal orientation had greater outcomes
in training interventions in declarative knowledge than those with lower levels of a
learning goal orientation.
Coachee goal orientation may affect the effort used during coaching, and therefore,
impact on coaching outcomes (Ducharme, 2004; Joo, 2005). Goal setting and goal
achievement are integral components of the coaching process (Bowles et al., 2007),
including selecting goals, developing action plans, identifying concrete steps to achieve
goals, and providing coachees with continuous relevant feedback (Kappenberg, 2008).
Scriffignano (2009) reported a significant positive correlation between executives’
learning goal orientation and level of professional development.
279
Coachee
characteristics
Pre-training motivation
Psychotherapy and management training studies indicate that participant motivation
in any developmental process is related to its outcome (Kirwan and Brichall, 2006).
Training motivation is defined as the direction, intensity, and persistence of learning-
directed behavior in training contexts (Colquitt et al., 2000). Chiaburu and Marinova
(2005) suggested that an individual with a higher level of learning goal orientation is
more likely to exhibit higher levels of pre-training motivation, and therefore achieve
greater outcomes in training interventions. Thus pre-training motivation is positively
related to skill transfer and to learning goal orientation (Chiaburu and Marinova, 2005).
Thus, we propose:
H1. Coachee pre-training motivation will moderate the relationship between
coachee level of learning goal orientation and executive coaching effectiveness
as reflected in greater levels of individual outcomes.
Feedback receptivity
Feedback receptivity is a central component in the coaching process (Yukl and
Mahsud, 2010) and a major component of career success (Ashford, 1986). As an
action-oriented development process, coaching focusses on encouraging the coachee
to experiment with new behavior options, and to seek feedback on the outcomes of
those new alternatives by conveying confidence in the executive, providing support,
and establishing feedback channels (Finn, 2007). A coachee’s receptivity to feedback
encompasses “multiple dimensions that work together additively to determine an
individual’s overall receptivity to feedback and the extent to which the individual
welcomes guidance and coaching” (London and Smither, 2002, pp. 82-3). Joo (2005,
p. 480) concluded that “how receptive the coachee is to feedback is critical to proximal
and distal outcome variables.”
Other research has linked learning goal orientation with feedback seeking and
feedback receptivity, where learning goal orientation increases the salience of the
instrumental motive and feedback seeking behavior (Vandewalle, 2003). Individuals
with a strong learning goal orientation tend to perceive feedback as diagnostic
information to develop task mastery (Farr et al., 1993). Tuckey et al. (2002) found, when
individuals with a high level of learning orientation perform poorly, they sought
increased feedback. London and Smither (2002) suggested that individuals with
high levels of learning goal orientation seek knowledge and skills and view feedback
about skill deficits as an opportunity for personal improvement. In contrast,
individuals with a high level of performance goal orientation who view performance
feedback as threatening are more likely to have low levels of feedback receptivity
(London and Smither, 2002). Thus, we propose:
H2. Coachee feedback receptivity will moderate the relationship between coachee
level of learning-goal orientation and executive coaching effectiveness as
reflected in greater levels of individual outcomes.
Developmental self-efficacy
Wood and Bandura (1989, p. 364) defined self-efficacy as “self belief in one’s capabilities
to exercise control over events to accomplish desired goals.” Self-efficacy has emerged
as a powerful influence on participation, behavior, and performance in growth
and developmental programs (Moen and Allgood, 2009), and is a key predictor of
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behavioral learning in training (Wood and Bandura, 1989). Paglis and Green (2002)
found that leaders with high self-efficacy initiated and engaged in more leadership
change efforts than leaders who were more doubtful of their capabilities. Popper
and Lipshitz (1992) suggested that coachee self-efficacy is a key psychological variable
in executive coaching.
Colquitt et al. (2000) suggested that pre-training self-efficacy predicts motivation to
learn, and define “pre-training self-efficacy” as confidence in one’s ability to benefit
from training. The term “developmental self-efficacy” is used here to avoid confusion
with any other form of efficacy that might be measured before a training intervention.
Colquitt et al.’s (2000) finding regarding developmental self-efficacy is consistent with
other studies connecting self-efficacy to pre-training motivation for skills upgrading
(Lim and Chan, 2003; Tracey et al., 2001). Accordingly, we propose:
H3. Coachee developmental self-efficacy will be positively related to executive
coaching effectiveness as reflected in greater levels of individual outcomes.
Figure 1 illustrates the relationships among our three hypotheses.
Method
Sample and procedure
The participants in our pre- and post-tests were 72 coachees, 68 coaches, 29 peers, and
28 direct supervisors. The sample included one data set with two groups. The two
groups are referred to as the experimental group and untreated control group. The
experimental group comprised executives who participated in coaching provided by
four Israeli coaching firms (n¼72), their coaches (n¼68), and their direct supervisors
(n¼28). The control group (n¼29) comprised their peers, executives from the same
organizations as the experimental group. Participants in the experimental group
engaged in coaching and were given surveys prior to and following the coaching
intervention. The control group participants who did not engage in coaching
were given surveys identical to the experimental group participants (excluding those
that measure the coaching experience) at the same times (i.e. prior to and following
the coaching).
Antecedents
Developmental
self-efficacy H3
Outcomes
Proximal outcomes
• increased coachee self-awareness
• increased coachee career satisfaction
• increased coachee job affective commitment
Distal outcomes
• improvement in self-reported job
performance
• improvement in job performance as reported
by direct supervisor
• improvement in supervisory-rated task
performance
Learning goal orientation H1 and H2
Moderators
• pre-training motivation
• feedback receptivity
Figure 1.
Hypothesized association
among coachee
characteristics and
executive coaching
effectiveness
281
Coachee
characteristics
The executive coaching intervention
The coaching approach in this study represents a cognitive-behavioral approach,
where the coach and the coachee work together through a process of behavioral
change. The coaching process included ten to 12 sessions with weekly interventions.
All coaching activities commenced with an assessment and identification of a
developmental issue, followed by a feedback session, goal setting, action planning,
and follow-up sessions, and concluded with an evaluation of outcomes, consistent with
established coaching procedures (e.g. Natale and Diamante, 2005). Because multiple
coaches (68) were involved in this study, it was not feasible to account for the potential
impact of factors such as coaching style and tools on the results. This may not be a
critical issue, since coaching effectiveness is predicted less by technique or approach
and more by factors common to all coaching interventions (De Haan et al., 2011).
Measures
Measures of nine distinct theoretical constructs were used to collect data for the study:
(1) coachee learning goal orientation was assessed using Button et al.’s (1996)
eight-item scale (a¼0.86);
(2) coachee pre-training motivation was assessed using Facteau et al.’s (1995) nine-
item scale (a¼0.87);
(3) coachee feedback receptivity used Ryan et al.’s (2000) 12-item scale (a¼0.93);
(4) coachee developmental self-efficacy used Guthrie and Schwoerer’s (1994)
six-item scale (a¼0.90);
(5) coachee job performance used Griffin et al.’s (2007) 27-scale (a¼0.83, and 0.91
as reported by coachee and direct supervisor, respectively);
(6) coachee supervisory-rated task performance used Walumbwa et al.’s (2008)
four-item scale (a¼0.91);
(7) coachee career satisfaction used Greenhaus et al.’s (1990) five-item scale
(a¼0.84);
(8) coachee self-awareness applied Grant et al.’s (2002) eight-item self insight
measure (a¼0.82); and
(9) coachee job affective commitment used Allen and Meyers’ (1990) five-item
measure (a¼0.80).
Analysis
Data were collected at the individual level of analysis, which focussed on changes in
coaching effectiveness measured in pre- and post-coaching over nine months. A series
of hierarchical regression analyses were employed to examine each hypothesis. First,
each coachee characteristic was entered separately, followed by the pre-coaching
effectiveness scores. Main effects were entered as standardized scores to avoid co-
linearity problems (Cohen and Cohen, 1983). Next, the interaction between the
coachee’s characteristics and each coaching effectiveness measure was entered
(standardized in each case prior to multiplication). In cases where interactions were
found, regression lines were plotted to identify the sources of the interactions.
In interval variables, 1 for low values and þ1 for high values were used (Aiken
and West, 1991).
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Results
Coach demographics
The sample of coaches (n¼68) consisted of 26 (38 percent) males and 42 (62 percent)
females with a mean age of 45 years (SD ¼9.14). These findings are consistent with
previous research (Spence, 2006) suggesting that coaching in Israel is currently
predominantly a female profession. As with previous studies (Brooks and Wright,
2007; Australia, 2010), most coaches were university educated (83 percent); seven
coaches (10 percent) indicated high school as their highest educational level, five
(7 percent) indicated a certificate/diploma, 27 (40 percent) indicated bachelor degrees,
and 29 (43 percent) indicated master degrees.
Coachee/peer demographics
In total, 101 coachees and peers (53 (52.5 percent) males and 48 (47.5 percent) females
representing education, information technology, human resources, operations, finance
and insurance, legal, marketing and advertising, and client services) participated in
this study. The average age of coachee participants was 41 (SD ¼10.19) compared to
34 (SD ¼5.6) among peer participants. In total, 22 (21.8 percent) participants in the
coaches/peers groups held a supervisory or team leadership positions, 31 (30.7 percent)
were middle managers, 39 (38.6 percent) were senior managers, and nine (8.9 percent)
were CEOs or presidents.
Supervisor demographics
The sample consisted of 28 executives who were the direct managers of the coachees
and peers. In total, 19 participants (68 percent) were male and nine (32 percent) female
with a mean age of 44.18 (SD ¼5.38). The highest proportion (n¼14, 50 percent) of
participants worked in large-size organizations (4249 employees), 12 worked in
medium-sized organizations (100-249 employees), and two worked in small-sized
organizations (o100 employees).
Executive coaching effectiveness
A two-way repeated measures ANOVA was applied to examine differences in coaching
effectiveness categorized by group (experimental vs control) and time (pre- and
post-coaching). When ANOVA results indicated a statistically significant interaction,
a Bonferroni procedure was applied to examine the source of the interactions. Figures 2
and 3 show partial support for coaching effectiveness 1, with career satisfaction of
coachees exceeding their peers’ post-coaching (F(1, 94) ¼15.20, po0.001). In comparison,
4.0
3.5
3.0
Coachee
Peer
3.64
3.54
Pre-coaching
3.81
3.31
Post-coaching
Career satisfaction
Figure 2.
Interaction effects of pre-
and post-coaching
intervention on coachee
career satisfaction
283
Coachee
characteristics
peers recorded a higher level of supervisory-rated task performance compared with
coachees’ post-coaching (F(1, 50) ¼5.89, po0.05).
Hypotheses test
H1 posited that coachee pre-training motivation would moderate the relationship
between coachee learning goal orientation and coaching effectiveness. Six hierarchical
regression analyses were employed to examine H1.
Table I indicates that pre-coaching effectiveness measures significantly predicted all
of the six coaching effectiveness measures. The higher the pre-coaching effectiveness
measures, the lower the improvement in post-coaching effectiveness measures. The
strongest relationship was between pre-post-self-reported job performance (b¼0.79,
po0.001). A negative relationship was found between learning goal orientation and
improvement in career satisfaction, hence, the lower the level of learning goal
orientation, the greater the improvement in career satisfaction. A positive relationship
was found between pre-training motivation and improvement in self-reported job
performance and in self-awareness, consequently, the higher the pre-training
motivation, the greater the improvement in self-reported job performance and in
self-awareness. An interaction between learning goal orientation and pre-training
motivation on improvement in self-reported job performance was recorded (b¼0.19,
po0.05) (see Figure 4).
No relationship was found between learning goal orientation and improvement
in self-reported job performance (b¼0.09) among coachees with high levels of
pre-training motivation. In comparison, a negative relationship was found between
learning goal orientation and improvement in self-reported job performance
(b¼0.13) among coachees with low levels of pre-training motivation, supporting
H1 for self-reported job performance.
H2 stated that coachee feedback receptivity will moderate the relationship between
coachee level of learning-goal orientation and coaching effectiveness. Table II shows
the effect of feedback receptivity as assessed through six hierarchical regression
analyses for the experimental group (i.e. coachees) who engaged in coaching and
received feedback from their coaches.
Table II indicates a positive relationship between coachee feedback receptivity and
improvement in job performance as self-reported and as reported by the direct
supervisor. The higher the coachee feedback receptivity the greater the improvement
in self-reported job performance and as reported by the direct supervisor. Additionally,
a significant interaction between feedback receptivity and learning goal orientation on
improvement in job affective commitment was found (see Figure 5), suggesting that
4.5
4.0
3.5 3.54
Coachee
Peer
Pre-coaching Post-coaching
4.08
3.96
Supervisory-rated task
performance
Figure 3.
Interaction effects of
pre- and post-coaching
intervention on
supervisory-rated task
performance
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Executive coaching effectiveness
Self-reported job
performance Self-awareness
Job affective
commitment
Career
satisfaction
Job performance
reported by supervisor
Supervisory-rated
task performance
Step 1 Step 2 Step 1 Step 2 Step 1 Step 2 Step 1 Step 2 Step 1 Step 2 Step 1 Step 2
Measure before 0.79*** 0.77*** 0.36**0.36** 0.26* 0.26* 0.42***0.43*** 0.55* 0.65* 0.49* 0.34
Learning goal orientation (LOG) 0.05 0.04 0.13 0.14 0.05 0.14 0.31* 0.26* 0.18 0.07 0.10 0.17
Pre-training motivation (PTM) 0.23* 0.26** 0.27* 0.28* 0.02 0.01 0.18 0.16 0.05 0.06 0.07 0
PTM LGO 0.19* 0.01 0.22 0.11 0.16 0.33
R
2
0.56*** 0.59*** 0.20** 0.21** 0.07 0.11 0.29*** 0.30*** 0.39* 0.40* 0.23 0.30
df 3.64 4.63 3.64 4.63 3.64 4.63 3.64 4.63 3.21 4.20 3.21 4.20
Notes:
a
bvalues are reported. *po0.05; **po0.01; ***po0.001
Tabl e I.
Standardized regressions
for executive coaching
effectiveness predicted by
learning goal orientation
a
285
Coachee
characteristics
feedback is a key element of developmental support leading to behavior change (e.g.
coachee job performance).
H3 posited that coachee developmental self-efficacy would be positively related to
coaching effectiveness. Six hierarchical regression analyses were employed to examine
H3. As Table III indicates, H3 was partially supported with coachee developmental
self-efficacy positively related to improvement in self-reported job performance
(b¼0.24, po0.05), hence, the higher the coachee developmental self-efficacy, the
greater the improvement in self-reported job performance.
Discussion
The purpose of this study was to examine key success factors of coaching as reflected
in transfer in learning and sustained behavioral change. These outcomes should
translate into organization transformation and sustainability. H1 was partially
supported, with a significant interaction between learning goal orientation and pre-
training motivation on improvement in job self-reported performance. A negative
relationship was found between learning goal orientation and improvement in self-
reported job performance among coachees with low levels of pre-training motivation.
Training motivation is defined as the direction, intensity, and persistence of learning-
directed behavior in training contexts (Colquitt et al., 2000). Theories of training,
development, and performance propose that performance derives fundamentally from
an individual’s motivation and abilities (i.e. Kirwan and Brichall, 2006). Therefore, pre-
training motivation is considered to be a prime indicator of one’s motivation to engage
in coaching activity.
H2 received some support for the suggestion that feedback is a key element of
developmental support leading to behavior change (e.g. coachee job performance).
A significant interaction was found between feedback receptivity and learning goal
orientation on improvement in job affective commitment. A positive relationship was
found between learning goal orientation and improvement in job affective commitment
among coachees with high levels of feedback receptivity, whereas a negative
relationship was found between learning goal orientation and improvement in job
affective commitment among coachees with low levels of feedback receptivity.
These findings add to research that has linked learning goal orientation with
feedback seeking and feedback receptivity. First, individuals who have a strong
learning goal orientation tend to view ability as a malleable attribute that may
be developed through effort and experience (Dweck and Leggett, 1988). Second,
goal orientation influences how individuals view effort expenditures (Ames, 1992).
1.0
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0.0 Low
Coachee learning goal orientation
High
0.047
0.605
0.417
0.315
Low coachee’s pre-training motivation
High coachee’s pre-training motivation
Improvement in self-reported
job performance
Figure 4.
Interaction effects of
learning goal orientation
and pre-training
motivation on
improvement in self-
reported job performance
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Executive coaching effectiveness
Self-reported job
performance Self-awareness
Job affective
commitment
Career
satisfaction
Job performance
reported by supervisor
Supervisory-rated task
performance
Step 1 Step 2 Step 1 Step 2 Step 1
`Step 2 Step 1 Step 2 Step 1 Step 2 Step 1 Step 2
Measure before 0.84*** 0.84*** 0.39**0.39** 0.24 0.25* 0.44*** 0.44*** 0.43* 0.61** 0.51* 0.52**
Learning goal orientation (LGO) 0.04 0.02 0.03 0.01 0.03 0.01 0.21 0.22 0.52* 0.55** 0.19 0.27
Feedback receptivity (FR) 0.40*** 0.45*** 0.05 0.10 0.07 0.05 0.02 0.03 0.53* 0.48* 0.50* 0.53*
LGO FR 0.11 0.12 0.28* 0.02 0.41* 0.26
R
2
0.632*** 0.641*** 0.149* 0.159*** 0.76 0.135* 0.263*** 0.263 0.523*** 0.651*** 0.367*** 0.432***
df 3.64 4.63 3.64 4.63 3.64 4.63 3.64 4.63 3.21 4.20 3.21 4.20
Notes:
a
bvalues are reported. *po0.05; **po0.01; ***po0.001
Table II.
Standardized regressions
for executive coaching
effectiveness predicted by
learning goal orientation
and feedback receptivity
a
287
Coachee
characteristics
Third, individuals with a high level of learning goal orientation tend to perceive
feedback as diagnostic information to develop task mastery (Farr et al., 1993). London
and Smither (2002) found that individuals with high levels of learning goal orientation
seek to acquire knowledge and skills and view feedback about skill deficits as an
opportunity for personal improvement. Similarly, Tuckey et al. (2002) found that when
individuals with a high level of learning orientation perform poorly, their feedback
seeking increased.
H3 was partially supported in the positive relationship between coachee
developmental self-efficacy and improvement in self-reported job performance. This
confidence in improving and developing career-relevant skills has been examined in
relation to employee attitudes on development and training programs in organizations
(Colquitt et al., 2000; Wood and Bandura, 1989). Finn (2007) found a positive
relationship between leaders’ self-efficacy and developmental planning. The lack of
significant relationships between coachee developmental self-efficacy and the other
coaching effectiveness measures in our study may be a reflection of the coachees’
uniformly high levels of developmental self-efficacy.
Conclusions
The extant coaching literature considers executive coaching as a relatively new and
promising learning and development discipline, but empirical evidence is limited
(Passmore and Gibbes, 2007). To address this issue, this study investigated the key
factors associated with coaching effectiveness in organizational settings. The
effectiveness of coaching should translate into organizational change and
sustainability. Not surprisingly but somewhat disappointing, the relatively small
effects of coaching on outcomes found in this study echo previous research on coaching
(e.g. Evers et al., 2006; Smither et al., 2003), and suggest an ongoing longitudinal
examination of coaching as a MD intervention is required.
We found a number of variables that increase the likelihood of executives to learn
from the coaching experience. Specifically, several coachee characteristics were
associated with coaching effectiveness: coachee learning goal orientation was
positively related to coaching effectiveness as identified through improvement in self-
reported job performance; coachee pre-training motivation was positively related to
coaching effectiveness identified through improvement in coachee self-reported job
performance; coachee feedback receptivity was positively related to coachee self-
reported job performance and as reported by the direct supervisor; coachee
1.5
1.0
0.5 Low
Learning goal orientation
High
1.45
0.93
Low feedback receptivity
High feedback receptivity
1.29
1.01
Job affective commitment
Figure 5.
Interaction effects of
feedback receptivity and
learning goal orientation
on improvement in job
affective commitment
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Executive coaching effectiveness
Self-reported job
performance Self-awareness
Job affective
commitment
Career
satisfaction
Job performance
reported by supervisor
Supervisory-rated
task performance
Step 1 Step 2 Step 1 Step 2 Step 1 Step 2 Step 1 Step 2 Step 1 Step 2 Step 1 Step 2
Measure before 0.35** 0.37** 0.71*** 0.70*** 0.66*** 0.63*** 0.57*** 0.60*** 0.18 0.23 0.19 0.08
Developmental self-Efficacy (DSE) 0.24* 0.23 0.07 0.10 0.15 0.10 0.14 0.13 0.20 0.29 0.10 0.06
Measure before DSE 0.07 0.10 0.19 0.05 0.17 0.25
R
2
0.20** 0.20 0.55*** 0.01 0.46*** 0.49*** 0.35*** 0.35*** 0.04 0.06 0.05 0.10
df 2.65 3.64 2.65 3.64 2.65 3.64 2.65 3.64 2.22 3.21 2.22 3.21
Notes:
a
bvalues are reported. *po0.05; **po0.01; ***po0.001
Table III.
Standardized regressions
for executive coaching
effectiveness predicted by
developmental
self-efficacy
a
289
Coachee
characteristics
developmental self-efficacy was positively related to coaching effectiveness reflected in
improvement in coachee self-reported job performance.
Limitations
The conclusions above need to be treated with caution due to the sample size (72
coachees) which restricted the statistical power of the analyses. A major part of this
study was based on self-report data concerned with the relationships between
participants’ personal characteristics and the effects of coaching intervention on their
beliefs, affect, learning, behavior, and performance. Self-reported performance indices
may threaten social desirability. Beyond this, self-rated performance may also share
conceptual overlap with some other self-reported items (e.g. self-efficacy). We
attempted to minimize the impact of these biases in our study by collecting data
over time (i.e. before and after coaching), thereby decreasing participants’ needs to
remember past events. Additionally, coaching behavioral outcomes in this study
were assessed by measuring the impact of coaching on coachee job performance
by collecting data from coachees and their direct supervisors to provide valuable
non-self-report information about changes in coachee behavior. The coachees’ direct
supervisors were expected to provide useful information about changes in coachee
behavior on the job before and after coaching occurred.
Implication for sustainability management development
As learning transfer and sustained behavioral change are key coaching objective,
understanding the coachee is an essential starting point for coaches and organizations.
Our findings indicate that it is most important to consider coachee-related factors
when selecting participants for coaching programs. Although every coachee is a
unique individual, the findings give us tools by which organizations and coaches can
work in partnership to design and develop more effective coaching programs, which
are a primary mechanism by which organizations foster adaptability to change and
sustainability to manage the complexities of modern workplace. Additionally, in order
to maximize the value of coaching for both the organization and the coachee, coaching
should also be treated as a strategic development initiative, with progress being
monitored throughout the intervention, and outcomes evaluated systematically.
Future research
We recommend that replication of this study be carried out with a larger and more
diverse sample. As the supporting evidence for organizational change is still largely
anecdotal, more effort needs to be put into establishing what organizational changes
can be associated with a coaching intervention. This study was constrained in drawing
a link between coaching and improved business performance, as few executives
perform tasks themselves that directly impact on the development and delivery of
an organization’s products and services. Additionally, the more interdependent
the executive’s actions are with others (e.g. direct reports, peers, and immediate
supervisor), the harder it is for coaching that focusses on the individual to be related
to organizational outcomes. Future research may strengthen our study’s findings
by using an external measure of effectiveness (e.g. including actual financial benefits to
the organization associated with coaching).
To conclude, further investigation should be conducted on the impact of coaching as
a mean to accelerate MD to foster development of organizations toward sustainability.
Without a strong theoretical and empirical foundation, executive coaching runs the
risk of becoming a passing fad in the burgeoning MD industry.
290
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About the authors
Gil Bozer is a Lecturer at the Managing Human Resources Department, Sapir Academic College.
He has recently completed his PhD at Monash University, Australia, focusing on the key
determinants of executive coaching effectiveness and their relationships with coaching
outcomes. Gil Bozer is the corresponding author and can be contacted at: gilbotzer@gmail.com
James C. Sarros is Professor of Management, Monash University, Australia. His key research
areas are executive leadership, succession planning, corporate culture and character, and
strategic planning.
Joseph C. Santora is Dean and Director of doctoral studies, International School of Management
(ISM), Paris, France and an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Department of Management, Monash
University, Melbourne, Australia. His areas of research include leadership, executive succession
and non-profit organizations.
To purchase reprints of this article please e-mail: reprints@emeraldinsight.com
Or visit our web site for further details: www.emeraldinsight.com/reprints
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