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Coaching is defined as a one-to-one relationship in which the coach and coachee work together to identify and achieve organisationally, professionally, and personally beneficial developmental goals. However, it is often unclear what the relative effects of coaching are on specific coaching outcomes. We adopt meta-analytic techniques to investigate the predictive power of coaching on coach–coachee relationship outcomes, and coachee goal-attainment outcomes. Our findings suggest that coaching has stronger effects on eliciting relationship outcomes with the coachee than goal-attainment outcomes. Moreover, of the goal-attainment outcomes, coaching has the strongest effect on behavioural changes as opposed to attitudinal changes. Sample type, study design, background of the coach, and number of coaching sessions all emerged as significant moderators. Implications of these findings are discussed.
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The power of coaching: a meta-analytic
Shirley C. Sonesha, Chris W. Coultasb, Christina N. Lacerenzac,
Shannon L. Marlowc, Lauren E. Benishekd & Eduardo Salasc
a Institute for Simulation & Training, University of Central Florida,
Orlando, FL, USA
b Leadership Worth Following, LLC, Irving, TX, USA
c Department of Psychology, Rice University, Houston, TX, USA
d Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, Johns Hopkins
University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
Published online: 25 Aug 2015.
To cite this article: Shirley C. Sonesh, Chris W. Coultas, Christina N. Lacerenza, Shannon L.
Marlow, Lauren E. Benishek & Eduardo Salas (2015): The power of coaching: a meta-analytic
investigation, Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, DOI:
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The power of coaching: a meta-analytic investigation
Shirley C. Sonesh
*, Chris W. Coultas
, Christina N. Lacerenza
Shannon L. Marlow
, Lauren E. Benishek
and Eduardo Salas
Institute for Simulation & Training, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA;
Leadership Worth Following, LLC, Irving, TX, USA;
Department of Psychology, Rice
University, Houston, TX, USA;
Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, Johns
Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
(Received 12 March 2015; accepted 29 June 2015)
Coaching is dened as a one-to-one relationship in which the coach and coachee
work together to identify and achieve organisationally, professionally, and
personally benecial developmental goals. However, it is often unclear what the
relative effects of coaching are on specic coaching outcomes. We adopt meta-
analytic techniques to investigate the predictive power of coaching on coach
coachee relationship outcomes, and coachee goal-attainment outcomes. Our
ndings suggest that coaching has stronger effects on eliciting relationship
outcomes with the coachee than goal-attainment outcomes. Moreover, of the
goal-attainment outcomes, coaching has the strongest effect on behavioural
changes as opposed to attitudinal changes. Sample type, study design,
background of the coach, and number of coaching sessions all emerged as
signicant moderators. Implications of these ndings are discussed.
Keywords: coaching; executive coaching; working alliance; coachcoachee
relationship; goal attainment
Practice points
.The current paper is relevant to a broad spectrum of practice areas as the studies
included in the meta-analysis represent coaching relationships in multiple indus-
tries and contexts (e.g. MBA and executive coaches).
.Our paper departs from the reliance on specic coaching techniques as the expla-
natory mechanism behind coaching effectiveness. It explores the relative effects
of general coaching, characteristics of the coach, the coachee, and the coaching
sessions on both relationship and goal-attainment outcomes, which has never
been meta-analytically investigated. Moreover, it explores the effect of relation-
ship outcomes on goal-attainment outcomes. This serves as a necessary rst step
towards determining the role of the coachcoachee relationship as a mechanism
through which coaching works.
.Tangible implications for practitioners include the following: practitioners need
to foster the development of a healthy, social relationship with their coachees; if
attitudinal outcomes are the goal of the coaching relationship, practitioners need
to work harder to achieve these outcomes as they are harder to develop in
© 2015 Taylor & Francis
*Corresponding author. Email:
Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 2015
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comparison to behavioural outcomes; practitioners need to keep in mind the
type of coachee they are coaching coaches should collect longer term goal-
attainment information for executive coachees in comparison to student
The power of coaching: a meta-analytic investigation
Executive coaching has been described as a catalyst for personal growth and corpor-
ate change(Axsmith, 2004, p. 1). In addition to indirectly engendering organisational
outcomes, coaching enables business leaders to become self-aware and obtain a deeper
understanding of the effects of their language and actions (Sherman & Freas, 2004).
Executive coaching is formally dened as a one-on-one relationship between a pro-
fessional coach and an executive (coachee) for the purpose of enhancing coachees be-
havioral change through self-awareness and learning, and thus ultimately for the
success of individual and organization(Joo, 2005, p. 468). Executive coaching has
impacted the corporate world in a positive way. The International Coaching Federa-
tion (2009) demonstrated that 70% of coachees report an improvement in job perform-
ance, 72% in communication skills, and 61% in business management. Furthermore,
86% report a positive return on investment (ROI) and 96% indicate that they would
repeat the coaching process. Grant, Curtayne, and Burton (2009) conducted a ran-
domised controlled study and found that coaching resulted in increases in goal attain-
ment, resilience, and workplace well-being, and decreases in depression and stress.
Researchers also argue that executive coaching is an effective method of leadership
development(Kombarakaran, Yang, Baker, & Fernandes, 2008, p. 78), and a
recent meta-analysis examining the role of coaching on ve individual level coachee
outcomes provides promising evidence that coaching is an effective intervention in
organisations (Theeboom, Beersma, & van Vianen, 2013).
Coaching entails a collaborative process of learning and behavioural change,
making key constructs from the teams, training, learning, and motivational/behav-
ioural change literature bases particularly salient. Similarities between coaching and
training suggest parallel process-based models involving (1) a facilitator (trainer, train-
ing system, or coach), (2) content or techniques, (3) a learner, trainee, or coachee, (4)
an organisational context, and (5) proximal and distal outcomes.
Despite evidence that coaching works (Theeboom et al., 2013) and provides ROI
(De Meuse, Dai, & Lee, 2009), there is much debate about the specic competencies,
qualications, and conceptualisations of effective coaching (Peterson, 2011). More-
over, academic and practitioner reviews have noted that despite the popularity of
coaching in industry, peer-reviewed empirical work is scarce (Bono, Purvanova,
Towler, & Peterson, 2009; Feldman & Lankau, 2005). Although coaching research
has increased and improved, a signicant portion remains uncontrolled, anecdotal,
and lacking theoretical foundation (Dagley, 2006; Grant, 2013).
The coaching relationship is argued to be the primary explanatory mechanism under-
girding the differential effectiveness of different coaching engagements (Hooijberg &
Lane, 2009; Joo, 2005; Kowalski & Casper, 2007;McNally&Lukens,2006), yet the
specic interpersonal (e.g. trust, rapport, and chemistry) and intrapersonal variables
(e.g. information processing and motivation changes) that precede successful coaching
outcomes have, until recently, been relatively unexplored (Feldman & Lankau, 2005).
2S.C. Sonesh et al.
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Nonetheless, recent works have responded to calls (Boyatzis, Smith, & Van Oosten, 2015;
Kampa-Kokesch & Anderson, 2001) for more research examining the effects of the
coaching relationship on coaching results (Boyce, Jackson, & Neal, 2010; Gessnitzer &
Kauffeld, 2015; Ianiro & Kauffeld, 2014; Ianiro, Lehmann-Willenbrock, & Kauffeld,
2014; Ianiro, Schermuly, & Kauffeld, 2013; Passmore & Fillery-Travis, 2011). The
importance of the coaching relationship raises a fundamental question why? What is
it about the coaching relationship that facilitates desirable coaching outcomes? Is it
increased motivation or deeper commitment to goal setting? Or might there be a more
complex phenomenon underlying the coaching-outcome connection? Fillery-Travis
and Lane (2006) suggested that it is of paramount importance to address these questions
and determinewhich mechanisms can foster effective coaching outcomes. To achieve this
aim, it is necessary to understand the relative effects of coaching on emergent relationship
phenomena between a coach and coachee.
Ultimately, the objectives of this meta-analysis are threefold. The rst objective is
to systematically explore the relative effects of coaching on relationship outcomes that
emerge between the coach and coachee, and what specic relationship outcomes
coaching elicits. The second objective is to explore the relative effects of coaching
on goal-oriented coaching outcomes (e.g. behavioural change, attitudinal change,
and cognitive change), and which types of coaching outcomes are most strongly
affected by coaching. The third objective is to meta-analytically explore the relation-
ship between the coachcoachee relationship and coachee goal-oriented outcomes.
Goal-attainment coachee outcomes
According to goal setting theory, goals improve performance by directing energy and
attention, mobilising energy expenditure or effort, prolonging effort over time (persist-
ence) and motivating the individual to develop relevant strategies for goal attainment
(Locke, Shaw, Saari, & Latham, 1981, p. 145). As such, goal setting is a critical part of
developmental initiatives (Salas & Cannon-Bowers, 2001). In fact, executive coaching
is a goal-focused process (Grant, 2006). Goal attainment is achieved when coachee
performance is goal appropriate so has become a fundamental dependent variable
in coaching research (e.g. Spence, 2007). Empirical evidence supports the notion
that coaching leads to goal attainment (e.g. Grant et al., 2009). For instance, Grant
(2008) conducted a repeated-measures experiment and found coaching increases
goal attainment, cognitive hardiness, and insight, and reduces anxiety.
Relationship outcomes
Coaching shares construct space with mentoring and therapy/counselling (Feldman &
Lankau, 2005) in that the facilitator-recipient relationship is thought to be a key deter-
minant of intervention effectiveness by eliciting changes in the client (Gassmann &
Grawe, 2006; McKenna & Davis, 2009). The relationship between therapist and
patient (or coach and coachee) is evaluated along a number of dimensions such as
respect, openness, and affect (DiGiuseppe, Leaf, & Linscott, 1993; Horvath &
Symonds, 1991; Saltzman, Luetgert, Roth, Creaser, & Howard, 1976). Relationship
forms the medium and context by which specic coaching inputs (e.g. feedback, chal-
lenging questions) are delivered (Baron & Morin, 2009; Horvath & Symonds, 1991).
Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice 3
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Executive coaching is characterised by a series of one-on-one conversations, or ses-
sions, between a coach and a coachee (de Haan, 2012). During these sessions, a quality
relationship based on trust, support, and safety is established, thereby enabling the
coachee to better learn from and reect on their experiences (de Haan, 2012; Joo,
2005). The establishment of a relationship between a coach and coachee leads to
desired outcomes (Baron & Morin, 2009; Horvath & Symonds, 1991). In fact, some
researchers argue that the quality of the coaching relationship represents not just a
critical success factor, but the critical success factor in successful coaching outcomes
(Bluckert, 2005, p. 336). Once a quality relationship is built, the coachee is more apt to
take risks associated with positive change, learning, and development (Bluckert, 2005).
The link between coaching relationships and outcomes has been identied both in
theory (Kemp, 2008) and empirical research (e.g. de Haan, Duckworth, Birch, &
Jones, 2013; Woerkom, 2010). De Haan et al. (2013) investigated 156 coach
coachee pairs and found the coaching relationship to be a signicant mediator
between inputs (i.e. self-efcacy) and desired outcomes. Similarly, Boyce et al.
(2010) demonstrated that the coaching relationship variables of trust, rapport, and
commitment led to the attainment of targeted coaching outcomes. Moreover, execu-
tivesperceptions of outcomes were signicantly related to perceptions of relationship
factors. Empirical results from a similar dyadic eld study conducted by Baron and
Morin (2009) also suggest that the executive coaching relationship mediates the
relationship between the presence of coaching and desired outcomes. In another
study, 84% of coachees identied the quality of their relationship with their coach
as the critical ingredient to their success (McGovern et al., 2001). In addition, multiple
reviews outlining the state of the eld (MacKie, 2007; Passmore & Fillery-Travis, 2011;
Passmore & Gibbes, 2007) identify the impact of coaching relationships on goal
attainment. As such, it is critical to examine the ways coaching impacts desired out-
comes and the coaching relationship.
A testable model of coaching and its outcomes
By extracting core principles and key variables from the existing coaching literature
and conceptually similar elds, we have developed a conceptual model for understand-
ing the effectiveness of executive coaching interventions. Coaching involves pro-
fessional development (Van Velsor & Leslie, 2001) and is related to the learning,
teaching, and training disciplines. Naturally, there are key differences between these
domains (Feldman & Lankau, 2005), but the Baldwin and Ford (1988) training effec-
tiveness and transfer model offers a helpful starting point to guide the structure of the
proposed coaching effectiveness model. The major distinction between coaching and
training (and what makes coaching akin to therapy) is the centrality of the coach
coachee relationship to coaching outcomes (Feldman & Lankau, 2005; McKenna &
Davis, 2009). For this reason, we place the coaching relationship as the most proximal
coaching outcome, dynamically emerging from an interaction of coach and coachee
inputs, coaching techniques, and organisational variables. This emergent coaching
relationship serves to inuence the development of further proximal and distal out-
comes (e.g. goal setting, goal attainment). The idea that coaching is essentially a
matter of input-process-output is neither new nor creative indeed, Ely et al. (2010)
reviewed the coaching literature and have identied many of these same concepts.
However, the explicit modelling and parsing apart of coaching inputs, relationship
4S.C. Sonesh et al.
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variables, and immediate coaching outcomes constitutes a contribution to the coach-
ing literature because it allows for the testing of causal linkages within any given
coaching intervention. Existing models of coaching tend to link coaching inputs to
coaching outcomes without discriminating the theoretical distancebetween inputs
and outcomes or suggesting causal mediating variables (Carey, Philippon, & Cum-
mings, 2011; Grant, 2007; Joo, 2005; Mackie, 2007). As a result, our model is more
methodologically sound (Ajzen, 1996), and will provide a scalable foundation for
future research to be developed and tested.
In this meta-analysis, we explore the current state of the empirical literature on
executive coaching and test the meta-analytic links between key constructs within
our proposed model (see Figure 1). Specically, we explore the direct effect of coach-
ing on relationship outcomes and coachee goal-attainment outcomes, as well as the
role that the coachcoachee relationship plays on inuencing goal-attainment out-
comes. By theoretically linking coaching with proximal relationship outcomes and
distal goal-attainment and coachee outcomes, we provide a more unied understand-
ing of the predictive power of coaching, as opposed to solely exploring the goal-attain-
ment outcomes of interest.
Moderators of coaching effectiveness
This meta-analysis sought to determine whether study characteristics impact coaching
outcomes. Several researchers have criticised the use of data collected within labora-
tories for lacking relevance for understanding the real world”’ (Falk & Heckman,
2009, p. 535) due to unrepresentative student samples and unrealistic settings. Field
Figure 1. A model of the predictive power of coaching.
Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice 5
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studies using executive coachee samples may show lower effect sizes due to the dif-
culty associated with collecting results-oriented outcomes over time, whereas the
control afforded by laboratory studies may produce stronger results. In response, we
took an exploratory approach to determine whether study sample moderates the
relationship between coach behaviours and coaching outcomes, and coachcoachee
relationship and coaching outcomes. Study design is another factor that may inuence
results (Theeboom et al., 2013). We explored whether primary studies utilising
repeated-measures designs (i.e. single group, pretest vs. posttest), independent
groups designs (i.e. control vs. treatment groups), a combination of both designs
(i.e. treatment vs. control group, pretest vs. posttest), or correlational designs inuence
the direction or magnitude of the examined relationships.
Broadly speaking, researchers and practitioners understand what works in coach-
ing, but debate specics, such as the importance of professional certication and the
advantages of coach professional background (e.g. psychology vs. business) (Bono
et al., 2009). In response, we investigate whether the role of the coach and their
level of expertise affect the coachcoachee relationship and coaching outcomes, as
some studies argue that more experience is not necessarily better (Solomon,
DiMarco, Ohlson, & Reece, 1998). Finally, because Theeboom et al.s(2013) meta-
analysis did not, we explore whether the number of coaching sessions moderates the
examined relationships.
As the empirical research on executive coaching and coaching in general is
nascent, this meta-analysis seeks to provide an initial foundation upon which future
empirical investigations and practical advancements in coaching can be based. By elu-
cidating the relative effects that coaching has on relationship outcomes and perform-
ance-oriented goal-attainment outcomes and the specic coaching behaviours and
techniques that contribute to those outcomes, we can begin to better understand
which mechanisms and coaching characteristics contribute to targeted effects. While
previous meta-analyses have examined whether coaching generally works (Theeboom
et al., 2013), this is the rst to differentiate between relationship and behavioural out-
comes, while determining the relative effects of coaching. These aims further the elds
understanding regarding the how and why of executive coaching effectiveness.
Search methodology
We searched the following databases: PsycINFO, Business Source Premier, Human
Resources abstracts, and PsycARTICLES, from January 2000 to December 2014,
using the keywords coaching,leadership coaching, and business coachingcom-
bined with correlation,survey,sample,orexperiment. Additionally, we manually
searched the International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching & Mentoring for rel-
evant primary studies. Our search returned 2123 articles. After removing duplicates
and non-coaching articles, 874 remained.
Inclusion/exclusion criteria
To be included in the meta-analysis, primary studies must have examined leadership,
business, or executive coaching. Studies that explored life, managerial, or peer coach-
ing were excluded. Moreover, studies needed to empirically investigate the
6S.C. Sonesh et al.
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relationships in our model and report data appropriate for conversion to a common
metric, Cohensd. Twenty-four studies totalling 26 independent samples met these cri-
teria and were included in the meta-analysis (see Figure 2).
Coding procedures
Three trained individuals coded a subset of the articles together until 100% inter-rater
reliability was achieved. Two individuals coded each remaining article to ensure
quality and accuracy. Coding discrepancies were resolved via discussion. Each of
the included studies was coded across eight categories: (1) study design (e.g.
repeated-measures [pre-posttest design]; independent groups [treatment vs. control
groups]; independent groups and repeated measures; correlational), (2) coachs back-
ground (e.g. psychology; non-psychology), (3) coachs level of expertise, which we
dichotomised due to the infrequency of primary studies reporting this information
(e.g. novice, expert), (4) the number of coaching sessions provided to the coachee,
(5) sample type (e.g. undergraduates, MBA students, executive coachees, non-execu-
tive coachees, and coaches), (6) the behaviours/techniques employed in coaching
(e.g. goal setting, 360 feedback, challenging questions, behavioural observation, role
play, etc.), (7) relationship variable outcomes (e.g. trust, credibility, working alliance,
information sharing, rapport, communication, conict, openness, and psychological
safety), and (8) goal-oriented coaching outcomes and conceptualisations of coaching
effectiveness which we categorised into (a) generic behavioural change (e.g. improved
job performance, technical skills, leadership skills, impact and inuence), (b) work-
related attitude change (e.g. motivation, self-efcacy, motivation to transfer coached
skills), (c) personal-related attitude change (e.g. reduced stress, happiness), (d) career
Figure 2. Search strategy used for the inclusion of studies in the meta-analysis.
Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice 7
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outcomes (e.g. promotion, career satisfaction), (e) interpersonal/socio-emotional out-
comes (e.g. improved relations with others), (f) cognitive outcomes (e.g. self-awareness,
strategic thinking, emotional intelligence), and (g) satisfaction with coaching. Finally,
we coded for sample size, measure reliability, and effect size metrics.
Original article effect sizes were transformed to a repeated-measures Cohensd, which
represents the standardised difference between pre- and post-coaching outcomes,
using Hedges and Olkins(1985) approach to meta-analysis. This conservative tech-
nique allows for statistical corrections of artifactual sources of variance (Borenstein,
Hedges, Higgins, & Rothstein, 2009). To avoid overestimating the population effect
size given our small sample, we calculated Hedgesgfrom Cohensd. Hedgesgis
still interpreted as the mean difference expressed in standard deviation units but
applies a simple correction to avoid overestimates (Hedges, 1981). A random effects
model was used to conduct the meta-analysis and all effect sizes were weighted by
the reciprocal of the sampling variances (Hedges & Olkin, 1985). Qtests were con-
ducted in order to test for homogeneity (i.e. evaluated on a chi-square distribution
with k1 degrees of freedom; Hedges, 1982).
When relationships between coachcoachee relationships and coachee outcomes
were reported, we focused on the mean corrected correlations and the condence inter-
vals around the mean. This approach followed Hunter and Schmidts(2004) guidelines
so all correlations were corrected for attenuation in the predictor and criterion vari-
ables. The software used for the analysis was comprehensive meta-analysis developed
by Borenstein, Hedges, Higgins, and Rothstein (2005).
Table 1 reports the results of the meta-analyses examining the inuence of coaching on
several coaching outcomes and relationship outcomes. The rst objective of our meta-
analysis was to determine the impact of coaching interventions on outcomes that
emerge from the coachcoachee relationship. To assess this, we examined the
impact of coaching on overall relationship outcomes, which was signicant (g=
0.32, 95% CI [0.27, 0.38]), as indicated by the exclusion of 0 in the 95% condence
interval. To examine more specic coaching relationship outcomes, we assessed the
inuence of coaching on the generic coachcoachee relationship (g= 0.33, 95% CI
[0.17, 0.49]), which was signicant. However, the effect of coaching on working alli-
ance was not signicant (g= 0.40, 95% CI [.02, 0.80]), as indicated by the inclusion
of 0 in the 95% condence interval. In summary, our ndings indicate that coaching
positively and signicantly inuences the coachcoachee relationship.
The second objective of this meta-analysis was to assess the impact of coaching on
goal-oriented coaching outcomes as well as to examine which outcomes are most
strongly affected. In the aim of addressing this goal, we assessed the impact of coach-
ing on overall coachee outcomes. The effect size was signicant (g= 0.10, 95% CI
[0.10, 0.11]); however, coaching had a signicantly larger effect on relationship out-
comes in comparison to coachee outcomes, as evidenced by the non-overlapping
95% condence intervals (Ng, Eby, Sorensen, & Feldman, 2005). Examining more
granular outcomes within this category, coaching had a signicant impact on
8S.C. Sonesh et al.
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Table 1. Meta-analytic results.
Variable kN dHedgesgSE %Var
95% CI
Relationship outcomes 6 580 0.324 0.321 0.000 0.000 0.267 0.376 2286.04*
Generic coachcoachee relationship 3 385 0.332 0.330 0.081 0.007 0.171 0.489 342.774*
Working alliance 3 195 0.399 0.391 0.208 0.043 0.017 0.799 287.675*
Coachee outcomes 40 3756 0.108 0.100 0.002 0.000 0.100 0.107 172,709.93*
Goal attainment 6 216 0.218 0.206 0.055 0.003 0.099 0.314 1869.635*
Behavioural change 10 2350 0.192 0.188 0.020 0.000 0.149 0.227 48,430.793*
Work-related attitude change 11 524 0.186 0.175 0.016 0.000 0.145 0.206 10,541.589*
Personal attitude change 5 149 0.077 0.072 0.003 0.000 0.066 0.078 23,563.984*
Improved relations with others 3 84 0.124 0.115 0.062 0.004 0.006 0.237 3069.875*
Overall satisfaction with coaching 2 173 0.399 0.391 0.124 0.015 0.149 0.634 48.063*
Cognitive change 2 153 0.220 0.217 0.175 0.031 0.125 0.560 299.384*
Task performance 1 107 0.368 0.365 0.017 0.000 0.332 0.399 0.000
Organisation outcomes 1 52 0.284 0.280 0.009 0.000 0.262 0.298 0.000
Notes: k, number of samples; N, sample size; d, Cohensdin a repeated-measures metric; SE, standard error; %Var, per cent of variance accounted for by sampling error; CI,
condence interval; LL, lower limit; UL, upper limit; Q, chi-square test for the homogeneity of true correlations across studies.
*p< .001.
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general goal attainment (g= 0.21, 95% CI [0.10, 0.31]), behavioural change (g= 0.19,
95% CI [0.15, 0.23]), work-related attitude change (g= 0.18, 95% CI [0.15, 0.21]), and
personal attitude change (g= 0.07, 95% CI [0.07, 0.08]). Interestingly, coaching had a
signicantly stronger impact on the majority of coachee outcomes as compared to per-
sonal attitude change, indicated by the non-overlapping 95% condence intervals (Ng
et al., 2005). Findings also indicated a signicant effect of coaching on overall satis-
faction with coaching (g= 0.39, 95% CI [0.15, 0.63]), although this result must be
interpreted with caution, given the associated low number of primary studies (indi-
cated by k) included in the analysis. The effect of coaching on improved relations
with others, most often the coacheessubordinates, was not signicant (g= 0.12,
95% CI [0.01, 0.24]). Additionally, coaching did not signicantly improve cognitive
change outcomes (g= 0.22, 95% CI [0.13, 0.56]), but this nding must also be inter-
preted with caution, given the small number of primary studies included in the analy-
sis. In summary, these ndings demonstrate that coaching signicantly impacts goal-
oriented coaching outcomes, fostering positive change.
In exploration of the third objective, the effect of the coachcoachee relationship on
coachee outcomes, mean corrected correlationswere examined. While based ononly two
studies, and therefore should be interpreted with caution, results suggest that the coach
coachee relationship, working alliance in particular, does signicantly correlate with
overall goal-attainment coachee outcomes (r= 0.463, CI [0.418, 0.445]) (see Table 3).
Sample type
To assess the moderating effect of sample type, additional analyses were conducted.
Table 2 summarises these analyses. The ndings indicate that sample type was a sig-
nicant moderator of the effectiveness of coaching on goal-oriented coaching out-
comes. Specically, overall goal-oriented coaching outcomes were more signicantly
improved in undergraduate students (g= 1.00, 95% CI [0.38, 1.61]) than in either
executive coachees (g= 0.10, 95% CI [0.09, 0.11]) or non-academic, non-executive
coachees (g= 0.10, 95% CI [.10, .11]). There were not a sufcient number of
primary studies to warrant comparison across sample type for relationship outcomes.
Design type
Results of the design type moderator analysis suggest that the study design does mod-
erate the effect of coaching on coaching outcomes. However, the repeated-measures
condence interval overlaps with the independent groupscondence interval,
suggesting that there is not a signicant difference between repeated measures or inde-
pendent groups designs. The number of primary studies was too low (k< 3) to examine
the moderating effect of design type on relationship and organisational outcomes.
Coach background
While there were not a sufcient number of primary studies to run comparative sub-
group analyses of coach background (i.e. psychology or non-psychology background)
on relationship outcomes, the results suggest that non-psychology coaches are effective
in eliciting positive relational outcomes (g= 0.284, 95% CI [0.082,0.504]). Results
suggest that coach background is a signicant moderator of coachee outcomes,
such that a mix of psychology and non-psychology coaches are more effective
10 S.C. Sonesh et al.
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Table 2. Moderator analyses.
Moderator variable kN dHedgesgSE %Var
95% CI
Sample type
Relationship outcomes 6 580 0.324 0.321 0.000 0.000 0.267 0.376 2286.04
Undergraduates 0 0 ––––– –
MBA students 0 0 ––––– –
Executive coachees 1 73 0.290 0.287 0.011 0.000 0.266 0.308 0.000
Non-executive coachees 0 –– – –
Coaches 0 –– – –
Both coaches and coachees 5 507 0.323 0.321 0.028 0.001 0.265 0.376 1808.443
Coachee outcomes 40 3756 0.108 0.100 0.002 0.000 0.100 0.107 172,709.93
Undergraduates 2 367 0.999 0.995 0.312 0.098 0.383 1.607 6.939
MBA students 0 0 –– – – –
Executive coachees 19 999 0.102 0.098 0.002 0.000 0.094 0.101 57,719.286
Non-executive coachees 14 2151 0.106 0.103 0.003 0.000 0.097 0.109 65,378.825
Coaches 0 0 ––– –
Both coaches and coachees 5 239 0.255 0.250 0.056 0.003 0.141 0.360 852.137
Organisation outcomes 1 52 0.284 0.280 0.009 0.000 0.262 0.298 0.000
Undergraduates 0 ––– –
MBA students 1 52 0.284 0.280 0.009 0.000 0.262 0.298 0.000
Executive coaches 0 –– – –
Non-executive coachees 0 ––– –
Both coaches and coachees 0 ––– –
Study design type
Relationship outcomes
Repeated measures 3 112 0.293 0.284 0.108 0.012 0.082 0.503 625.332
Independent groups 0 ––– –
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Table 2. Continued.
Moderator variable kN dHedgesgSE %Var
95% CI
Correlational 1 156 0.617 0.614 0.048 0.002 0.522 0.711 0.00
Repeated measures and independent groups 0 ––– –
Coachee outcomes
Repeated measures 8 300 0.234 0.227 0.024 0.001 0.187 0.281 1700.383
Independent groups 4 570 0.53 0.527 0.143 0.020 0.249 0.810 313.844
Correlational 1 13 0.167 0.156 0.004 0.000 0.159 0.174 0.000
Repeated measures and independent groups 7 2031 0.128 0.124 0.008 0.000 0.112 0.144 61,483.597
Organisational outcomes
Repeated measures 0 ––– –
Independent groups 1 52 0.284 0.28 0.009 0.000 0.265 0.302 0.000
Correlational 0 ––– –
Repeated measures and independent groups 0 ––– –
Number of coaching sessions
Relationship outcomes
13 2 39 0.298 0.287 0.247 0.061 0.186 0.783 143.869
460––– –
79 1 156 0.617 0.614 0.048 0.002 0.522 0.711 0.000
1012 0 ––– –
1315 0 ––– –
15+ 1 73 0.29 0.287 0.011 0.000 0.269 0.311 0.000
Coachee outcomes
13 4 404 0.17 0.169 0.024 0.001 0.122 0.217 879.092
46 6 718 0.099 0.097 0.004 0.000 0.091 0.107 117,170.666
79 1 38 1.84 1.802 0.446 0.199 0.965 2.715 0.000
1012 0 ––– –
1315 0 ––– –
15+ 2 200 1.407 1.392 1.401 1.962 1.339 4.152 5.334
Organisational outcomes
130––– –
12 S.C. Sonesh et al.
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460––– –
790––– –
1012 1 52 0.284 0.28 0.009 0.000 0.265 0.302 0.000
1315 0 ––– –
15+ 0 ––– –
Coaches vocational background
Relationship outcomes
Psychology 0 ––– –
Non-psychology 3 112 0.293 0.284 0.108 0.012 0.082 0.503 625.332
Mix 0 ––– –
Coachee outcomes
Psychology 3 297 1.411 1.393 0.863 0.746 0.281 3.104 27.7
Non-psychology 2 81 1.385 1.362 1.429 2.042 1.416 4.186 5.537
Mix 3 1182 0.089 0.087 0.041 0.002 0.009 0.169 11,509.591
Organisational outcomes
Psychology 0 ––– –
Non-psychology 0 ––– –
Mix 1 52 0.284 0.28 0.009 0.000 0.265 0.302 0.000
Coaches expertise
Relationship outcomes
Novice 3 112 0.293 0.284 0.108 0.012 0.082 0.503 625.332
Expert 1 156 0.617 0.614 0.048 0.002 0.522 0.711 0.000
Mix of novice and expert 0 ––– –
Coachee outcomes
Novice 3 138 0.36 0.35 0.136 0.019 0.093 0.628 96.700
Expert 5 1507 0.148 0.147 0.028 0.001 0.093 0.202 166.079
Mix of novice and expert 1 11 0.066 0.061 0.001 0.000 0.065 0.067 0.000
Organisational outcomes
Novice 0 ––– –
Expert 1 52 0.284 0.28 0.009 0.000 0.265 0.302 0.00
Mix of novice and expert 0 ––– –
Notes: k, number of samples; N, sample size; d, Cohensdin a repeated-measures metric; SE, standard error; %Var, per cent of variance accounted for by sampling error; CI,
condence interval; LL, lower limit; UL, upper limit; Q, chi-square test for the homogeneity of true correlations across studies.
Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice 13
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(g= 0.087, 95% CI [0.009, 0.169]), than coaches solely with a psychology (g= 1.393
95% CI [0.281, 3.104]) or non-psychology background (g= 1.362, 95%CI [1.416,
4.186]). There were not a sufcient number of primary studies to examine the moder-
ating effect of coach background on organisational outcomes.
Coach expertise
Sub-group analyses indicate that coach expertise is not a moderator of the relationship
between coaching and coachee outcomes. Novices (g= 0.136, 95% CI [.093, .628]) are
as effective as experts (g= 0.308, 95% CI [0.093, 0.202]) in achieving coachee goal-
attainment outcomes, as evidenced by overlapping condence intervals that do not
cross zero. There was not a sufcient amount of primary studies to examine the mod-
erating effect of coach expertise on relationship outcomes or organisational outcomes.
Number of coaching sessions
Finally, there was a signicant moderating effect of the number of coaching sessions
provided to coachees on coachee outcomes. Specically, it was found that 13 coach-
ing sessions had a stronger effect on coachee outcomes (g= 0.169, 95% CI[0.122,
0.217]) than 46 coaching sessions (g= 0.097, 95% CI [0.091, 0.107]). Having 79
coaching sessions was superior (g= 0.446, 95% CI [0.965, 2.715]), but this nding
was based on only 1 primary study. There were not a sufcient number of studies to
examine the moderating effects of number of coaching sessions on relationship or
organisational outcomes.
The main purpose of this study was to investigate the relative effects of coaching on
variables highly salient to how coaching effectiveness is conceptualised. We found
that coaching is an effective tool contributing to positive coachcoachee relationships
and that coaching is effective in improving coachee behaviours and attitudes.
Coaching had a signicant positive effect on coachee behavioural change,
suggesting that coaching is effective in improving coachee leadership skills, job
performance, and skills development. Moreover, coaching signicantly improved coa-
chees personal and work-related attitudes. These include improvement in coachee self-
efcacy, motivation to transfer coached skills to the job, stress reduction, and commit-
ment to the organisation. These attitudes are critical to goal-attainment and coachee
behavioural change, as research has shown that work-related attitudes such as self-
Table 3. Meta-analytic effect size between coachcoachee relationship and coachee outcomes.
IV DV kN r
% var
95% CI
Relationship (working
2 186 .432 .463 .783 .418 .445
Notes: k, number of samples; N, sample size; r, correlation; Corr r, corrected correlation; %Var, per cent of
variance accounted for by sampling error; 95% CI, condence interval.
14 S.C. Sonesh et al.
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efcacy, commitment to the organisation, and satisfaction are strong predictors of
improved job performance (Bandura, 1997; Grant & Greene, 2004; Anderson, Kra-
jewski, Gofn, & Jackson, 2008).
Interestingly, cognitive outcomes (e.g. coachee self-awareness and strategic think-
ing) were not signicantly improved by coaching. It is likely that this was not signi-
cant because only two studies explored these outcomes. While generally not the
primary focus of coaching, cognitive outcomes are important in changing the ways
coachees approach their work and promote behavioural change, and ultimately con-
tribute to improved job performance, (Goleman, 2001; Sy, Tram, & OHara, 2006)
and even subordinate job performance (Moshavi, Brown, & Dodd, 2003). Similarly,
coacheesrelationships with their colleagues and subordinates did not signicantly
improve as a result of coaching, though this result should be interpreted with
caution as it is based on a low number of primary studies (k= 3). This highlights
the need for additional work exploring the impact of coaching on these outcomes in
order to obtain a deeper understanding of the effects of coaching.
Our ndings also suggest that coaching is an effective developmental tool to
elicit positive coachcoachee relationship outcomes. In fact, of all the outcomes
examined in this meta-analysis, coaching had the strongest effect on relationship
outcomes. While working alliance was not signicantly improved, it has long
been used in the eld of psychotherapy, as it refers to the quality and strength of
the collaborative relationship between a client and his/her psychotherapist
(Bordin, 1979). In coaching relationships, relationship building is crucial as it con-
tributes to joint goal setting and greater engagement in working on coaching tasks.
It has been shown in previous work that working alliance plays a role in coaching
outcomes (Baron & Morin, 2009), and the ndings of this meta-analysis show that
coaching does in fact elicit this bond between coach and coachee. Research suggests
that transformational coaches are more likely to elicit a strong working alliance
(Sun et al., 2013), but there was not enough evidence in the literature to meta-
analyse this effect. Nonetheless, the results suggest that the emergent relationship
between a coach and coachee may be an important mechanism through which
coaching goals are achieved. While the primary studies included in this meta-analy-
sis did not allow for a robust meta-analytic investigation of the effect of coaching
relationship on coaching outcomes, there is literature that supports this link
(Bennett, 2006; de Haan, 2008; Gessnitzer & Kauffeld, 2015; Gregory & Levy,
2010,2011; Gyllensten & Palmer, 2007; Ting & Riddle, 2006). As such, we
suggest that future research conduct a meta-analytic structural equation model
(SEM) analysis (Cheung & Chan, 2005) to more fully test the proposed conceptual
mediating model presented in this manuscript.
Coaches should adopt a person-centred approach (Rogers, 1951,1959,1961;
Barrett-Lennard, 1998) to coaching whereby the coach approaches the coachee with
the assumption that he/she is his/her own best expert and respects self-determination
(Grant, 2004). By doing so, the coach can build a positive relationship and simul-
taneously leverage the emergent relationship to facilitate the attainment of goal-
oriented coaching outcomes.
Another notable nding is that coachee behavioural change improvements were
found to be signicantly larger than attitudinal changes. This is a promising nding con-
sidering that behavioural change is the most common objective of coaching engage-
ments. This evidence lends support for the continued use of and investment in
Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice 15
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coaching programmes at the academic and executive levels. However, because the
sample type was a signicant moderator of coaching effectiveness, coaches should be
mindful of how and when they measure coaching effectiveness. Specically, coachee
outcome effect sizes were signicantly larger for undergraduate student samples than
executive coachee samples. This suggests that executive coaches might take longer to
behaviourally or attitudinally manifest their coaching outcomes than students who
often have more immediate opportunities to prove performance (e.g. exams). Moreover,
eld samples are often operating in more dynamic environments riddled with potential
confounds (Luthans, Luthans, Hodgetts, & Luthans, 2001) which likely attenuated the
meta-analytic results for executive coachee samples. Executive coaches, as opposed to
academic coaches, may need to collect longer term goal attainment data to accurately
determine whether the coachee has attained his/her goals.
The results of the number of coaching sessions moderator analysis suggest that
more coaching sessions are not necessarily better for achieving coachee outcomes. It
seems likely that session quality is more important than quantity. The ndings point
to a potential sweet spotor curvilinear relationship of coaching sessions, where
too many sessions might lead to burn-out and frustration, while too few may not be
sufcient to achieve goals. The most appropriate number of coaching sessions may
also depend on the complexity and difculty of the coaching goals. Future research
should explore these questions using qualitative techniques to more fully capture
the optimal number of coaching sessions.
The results of the background and level of expertise of the coach moderator analy-
sis suggested that for coaching outcomes, it is not necessary to have an expert coach
but rather have one who has a good mix of both business and psychology backgrounds.
These ndings address the raging debate (Bono et al., 2009; Brotman, Liberi, & Wasy-
lyshyn, 1998; Diedrich & Kilburg, 2001; Kampa-Kokesch & Anderson, 2001) over the
qualications necessary to be a coach and speak to the merits of being balanced in the
way one approaches a coaching engagement.
Limitations and future research
While we found signicant effects, the eld of coaching continues to lack substantial
empirical research. Our meta-analysis explored the changes that coachees experience
as a result of a coaching intervention. While it provides an insight into the relative
effects of coaching, we were unable to explore specic relationship constructs (e.g.
emergence of trust; rapport; shared understanding) or specic goals due to a lack of
primary studies. Moreover, we were unable to explore the moderating effects of pro-
posed variables due to the low frequency with which primary articles report such infor-
mation. Consequently, research examining these questions should be conducted and
empirical work should be explicit in reporting the specic coaching behaviours
used, as well as the characteristics of the coaching sessions and the coach and
coachee themselves. This will enable more robust, systematic examinations to be con-
ducted, such as meta-analytic SEM (Cheung & Chan, 2005). Future studies should
seek to explore the question of what relational attributes are most important for pre-
dicting coachee goal-attainment outcomes. Specically, the eld of coaching would
benet from work seeking to answer the following questions: (1) To what extent is
coaching effectiveness attributable to positive shifts in coacheesrelational and psycho-
logical states? (2) What specic coach behaviours contribute to a strong positive
16 S.C. Sonesh et al.
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coachcoachee relationship? (3) What coach behaviours, strategies, and techniques
contribute to successful coaching engagements?
While our paper describes relationship outcomes as the most proximal outcome that
should ultimately predict goal-attainment coachee outcomes, due to a low number of
primary studies, we were unable to run a meta-analytic SEM to test this link. Future
research should leverage the process-based models (e.g. Baldwin & Ford, 1988),
which are more methodologically sound (Ajzen, 1996) than existing models of coach-
ing. Generally, most models of coaching link coaching inputs to coaching outcomes
without accounting for the theoretical distancebetween inputs and outcomes or
suggesting causal mediating variables (Carey, Phillippon, & Cummings, 2011; Grant,
2007; Joo, 2005; Mackie, 2007). Future work should seek to identify more mediating
mechanisms through which these relationships occur, enabling better understanding
of the conditions under which coaching fosters targeted outcomes.
Moreover, future work should continue to examine how proximal coaching
outcomes (e.g. working alliance) might contribute to or elicit more distal coaching
outcomes (e.g. coachee promotion). For example, many primary studies examined
self-efcacy, commitment to the organisation, and career satisfaction as their depen-
dent variables, while others looked at terminal outcomes like coachee promotion.
As the empirical research on coaching continues to grow, future work could leverage
meta-analytic SEM techniques (Cheung & Chan, 2005) to explore the relative tof
models that explore the temporal nature of relationships between coach and
coachee behaviours, relational processes (e.g. trust, information sharing, and
working alliance), proximal attitudinal outcomes (e.g. commitment, self-efcacy,
and satisfaction), and distal behavioural (e.g. job performance and leadership
ability), organisational, and career-related outcomes (e.g. promotion). Other fruitful
areas for research include comparing different coaching techniques. For example,
assessing the effects of coachee psychological characteristics, and coach inputs such
as experience, background, and licensure would yield useful information with practical
implications. Furthermore, echoing other researchers (Bolch, 2001;MacKie,2014),
we emphasise several methodological issues that need to be addressed, such as the
lack of longitudinal investigations and the fact that most studies exclusively rely on
self-report data. There is much work left to be done to achieve a full understanding
of the coaching process and its effects, but the preliminary ndings are promising.
Coaching should continue to be leveraged as a resource to promote various coachee
outcomes in a variety of industries, contexts, and settings.
The views expressed in this work are those of the authors and do not necessarily reect the
organisations with which they are afliated or their sponsoring institutions or agencies.
Disclosure statement
No potential conict of interest was reported by the authors.
This work was supported by funding from the Society for Human Resource Management
(SHRM) Foundation [Contract number 162] to the University of Central Florida.
Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice 17
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Supplemental data
Supplemental data for this article can be accessed here.
Notes on contributors
Shirley Sonesh is an organisational psychologist and postdoctoral
research scientist at the Institute for Simulation and Training, at the Uni-
versity of Central Florida. Dr Sonesh obtained her doctorate in organis-
ational behaviour at the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane
University. While at Tulane, Dr Soneshs research focused on expatriate
knowledge transfer in multi-national organisations. Currently, she con-
ducts coaching research, research investigating the effects of teamwork
and team-based training in the eld of medicine, the effects of telemedi-
cine on teamwork and patient safety, among other healthcare related
initiatives. Shirley also consults organisations on how to improve train-
ing, teamwork, cultural change, and selection processes. Dr Sonesh has
co-authored a number of published articles in the elds of medical
team training, training evaluation, and simulation in healthcare. She
has been invited to a number of national and international conferences
to present her research related to these elds.
Chris Coultas graduated from the Universityof Central Florida (UCF) in
2014 with a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organisational Psychology. While at
UCF, Chris worked at the Institute for Simulation and Training, under
Dr Eduardo Salas, where he conducted research on teams, training,
culture, leadership, leadership development, and coaching. Chris has
published works in Small Groups Research and Consulting Psychology
Journal, as well as book chapters on training and leadership, and has pre-
sented at numerous conferences. Chris also has a Masters in Industrial/
Organisational Psychology from UCF, as well as Bachelor of Science
degrees from Liberty University in Religion and Counseling Psychology.
In addition to providing consulting services to clients, Chris leverages his
expertise in research methods and data analysis to provide insights and
breakthrough interventions to proactively address current and future
client needs.
Christina N. Lacerenza is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Indus-
trial/Organisational (I/O) Psychology at Rice University. Current projects
include identifying an optimal team composition for team performance,
identifying factors inuencing training effectiveness, scale development
and validation, team training program development, and identifying
effective executive coaching behaviours. As an I/O Psychologist, Christi-
nas mission is to utilise innovative techniques to improve the overall
effectiveness, performance, and well-being of individuals and teams
within rms.
18 S.C. Sonesh et al.
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Shannon L. Marlow is a doctoral student in the Industrial/Organisational
Psychology programme at Rice University. Shannon earned a B.S. in Psy-
chology with a minor in Statistics from the University of Central Florida
in 2013. Her research interests primarily include team processes, with a
particular focus on team training, virtual teams, and performance.
Lauren E. Benishek is an organisational psychologist and postdoctoral
research fellow in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care
Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine who holds an appoint-
ment with the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. Dr
Benisheks stream of research focuses on workplace behaviour and inter-
ventions for improving patient safety and quality healthcare. Her special-
ties include teamwork culture, processes, and performance, individual and
team training development and evaluation, and enhancing training effec-
tiveness. At the time of publication, she has co-authored 10 peer reviewed
articles, 1 book chapter, 1 book, and 30 invited talks and conference pre-
sentations in these areas.
Eduardo Salas is a professor and Allyn R. & Gladys M. Cline Chair in
Psychology at Rice University. Previously he was trustee chair and pro-
fessor of Psychology at the University of Central Florida. He also
holds an appointment as Program Director for Human Systems Inte-
gration Research Department at the Institute for Simulation & Training.
Dr Salas has co-authored over 300 journal articles and book chapters and
has co-edited 15 books. He is on/has been on the editorial boards of
Journal of Applied Psychology,Personnel Psychology,Military Psychol-
ogy,Interamerican Journal of Psychology,Applied Psychology: An Inter-
national Journal,International Journal of Aviation Psychology,Group
Dynamics, and Journal of Organizational Behavior and is past Editor of
Human Factors journal. His expertise includes helping organisations on
how to foster teamwork, design, and implement team training strategies,
facilitate training effectiveness, manage decision-making under stress,
develop performance measurement tools, and design learning environ-
ments. He is currently working on designing tools and techniques to mini-
mise human errors in aviation, law enforcement, and medical
environments. He has consulted to a variety of manufacturing, pharma-
ceutical laboratories, industrial and governmental organisations. Dr
Salas is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (SIOP and
Division 21), the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. He received
his Ph.D. degree (1984) in industrial and organisational psychology
from Old Dominion University.
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... Apart from the difficulty in structuring the outcomes, another challenge for consensus on evaluating the effectiveness of executive coaching is the appropriate research designs (De Meuse et al., 2009;Theeboom et al., 2014;Sonesh et al., 2015;Jones et al., 2016). Most studies on executive coaching investigated the effectiveness of coaching by utilizing a within-subject research design (Jones et al., 2016). ...
... An alternative design is a betweensubjects design where effect sizes represent the differences between the control and the experimental (i.e., coaching) groups (Neal et al., 2006;Orvis et al., 2009). The previous meta-analyses of executive coaching effectiveness (Theeboom et al., 2014;Sonesh et al., 2015;Jones et al., 2016) were based on study selections that include various research designs, such as randomized control trials (RCT) but also quasi-experimental designs that may have overestimated the effect sizes. Theeboom et al. (2014) reported that the studies using a within-subject design show larger effect sizes than those using an independent-group design, implying that the study design considerably influences the relationship between the coaching intervention and the reported outcomes. ...
... Their meta-analysis, which included studies using different research designs, indicated that coaching positively affects skillbased, affective, and individual-level outcomes, with a larger effect size (d = 0.5) for individual-level results. Sonesh et al. (2015) conducted a meta-analysis that explored a different three-dimension framework, consisting of relationship outcomes, coachee outcomes, and organizational outcomes. Their findings suggested that coaching is an effective development tool that contributes especially to improving the coachee outcome related to the behavioral change dimension. ...
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Background: A growing number of studies emphasize executive coaching as an effective developmental tool that managers can use to increase their performance in organizational settings. However, the coaching research suggests a large variety of processes and outcomes, lacking clarity on the primary psychological dimensions most impacted. Method: Reviewing 20 studies with a rigorous methodological design that used control trials and pre-post tests, we evaluated and compared the relative effects of coaching on different types and sub-types of outcomes by means of a classification of coaching outcomes based on previously used taxonomies. Results: The results indicate that the impact of coaching on behavioral outcomes was higher compared to attitudes and person characteristics outcomes, suggesting that behavioral coaching outcomes, especially cognitive behavioral activities, are the most impacted by executive coaching. Moreover, we found significant positive effects for some specific outcomes, such as self-efficacy, psychological capital, and resilience, indicating that executive coaching is effective in producing change even on dimensions considered relatively stable over time. The results show no moderation effects of the number of sessions. The length of the coaching program was a significant moderator only for the attitudes outcomes. Discussion: These findings provide evidence that executive coaching is a powerful instrument for organizations to support positive change and personal development.
... In comparison, in January 2023, Google was able to identify four papers correctly. The correct number of meta-analysis papers published to date in coaching is eight (Burt and Talati, 2017;De Haan and Nilsson, 2023;De Meuse et al., 2009;Graßman et al., 2020;Jones et al., 2016;Sonesh et al., 2015;Theeboom et al., 2014;Wang et al., 2022). ...
Purpose This study aimed to evaluate the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) as a tool for knowledge synthesis, the production of written content and the delivery of coaching conversations. Design/methodology/approach The research employed the use of experts to evaluate the outputs from ChatGPT's AI tool in blind tests to review the accuracy and value of outcomes for written content and for coaching conversations. Findings The results from these tasks indicate that there is a significant gap between comparative search tools such as Google Scholar, specialist online discovery tools (EBSCO and PsycNet) and GPT-4's performance. GPT-4 lacks the accuracy and detail which can be found through other tools, although the material produced has strong face validity. It argues organisations, academic institutions and training providers should put in place policies regarding the use of such tools, and professional bodies should amend ethical codes of practice to reduce the risks of false claims being used in published work. Originality/value This is the first research paper to evaluate the current potential of generative AI tools for research, knowledge curation and coaching conversations.
... The average dose was 64% of the 6-session program, with considerable variability, with additional variability among students in terms of session modality (73% in-person vs. 27% virtual delivery). Because prior work, including the present study, suggests that attendance at coaching sessions moderates effects (Sonesh et al., 2015), future refinement of the program should focus on identifying, assessing, and strengthening factors that may promote attendance. Nevertheless, implementation continued despite the widespread disruptions created by COVID-19, suggesting a high level of stakeholder buy-in, which is critical to the implementation and adoption of school-based programs (Hickey et al., 2018). ...
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Background Youth mental health has declined since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Health coaching and mindfulness-based intervention may support therapeutic processes that promote resilience in the face of risk factors for adverse mental health outcomes. Building Resilience for Healthy Kids (HK) is a school-based intervention designed to support mental health through targeting these processes. Objective In this study, we tested HK in a pilot randomized controlled trial. Specifically, we examined intervention effects on the theoretically-informed therapeutic processes of emotion regulation, mindfulness, self-efficacy, and resilience and the clinical outcomes of depression and anxiety symptoms. The trial took place between April and June 2021, offering an opportunity to assess the impact of HK in the context of COVID-19. Methods Participants were early adolescents (N = 230), randomized to HK or assessment-only. Participants in the intervention condition received weekly one-on-one sessions with health coaches. All youth completed validated self-report measures at baseline and post-intervention. Results Linear mixed effects models indicated that participants who received HK had a greater reduction in emotion regulation difficulties, relative to assessment-only controls (d = 0.84, large effect). Follow-up analyses revealed that youth who endorsed negative affectivity at baseline experienced more benefits than those who did not, and youth who attended more HK sessions increased in self-efficacy, in addition to improved emotion regulation. Intervention effects did not reach significance for other outcomes. Conclusions Findings suggest that HK may support youth in reducing difficulties in emotion regulation, which are precursors to the development of mental health concerns in adolescence. TRN NCT04202913, 12/16/2019.
... In addition to peers, coaches play critical roles in collegiate student-athletes' learning outcomes such as motivation and performance (Amorose and Nolan-Sellers, 2016;Piepiora et al., 2022). Indeed, coaching involves a process where collegiate student-athletes develop abilities, confidence, and social connections through learning and behavioral change (Kavussanu et al., 2008;Sonesh et al., 2015). Coaches' behaviors, instructing strategies and learning situations could all affect coaching results (Vinson et al., 2016). ...
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Introduction Collegiate student-athletes often encounter various stressors stemming from academic study and athletic training, which can potentially have negative effects on their well-being. This study investigates how collegiate student-athletes’ openness to experience and their engagement in knowledge sharing influence their well-being, as well as the moderating role of perceived coaching effectiveness. Methods To examine these relationships, we propose and test a conceptual framework using an online survey conducted among collegiate student-athletes from a southeastern province of China. The participants consisted of 484 collegiate student-athletes who voluntarily participated in the study. We used regression analysis and mediation analysis to test the proposed relationships among the variables. Results Openness to experience has a positive impact on knowledge sharing (β = 0.552, p < 0.05); knowledge sharing with peers positively affects collegiate student-athlete well-being (β = 0.415, p < 0.05) and mediates the relationship between openness to experience and collegiate student-athlete well-being (β = 0.086, p < 0.05). Perceived coaching effectiveness positively moderates the relationship between openness to experience and knowledge sharing (β = 0.170, p < 0.05). Discussion Our study contributes to the collegiate student-athlete literature by shedding light on the factors that influence their well-being, with insights that bear important managerial implications for universities and coaches.
... Ein weiterer Ansatzpunkt, um das Coaching für Menschen in einem frühen Karrierestadium bezahlbar zu machen, ist die Strategie, auf etablierte Coaches zu verzichten und stattdessen Studierende zu Coaches auszubilden (Peer-Coaching). Obwohl in der Praxis häufig argumentiert wird, dass Coaches Lebens-und Berufserfahrung brauchen, um andere angemessen unterstützen zu können, konnte gezeigt werden, dass es keine Unterschiede zwischen erfahrenen und unerfahrenen Coaches in Bezug auf den Erfolg der Klienten gibt (Graßmann et al. 2020;Sonesh et al. 2015 ...
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Zusammenfassung Erste Karriereentscheidungen Jugendlicher und junger Erwachsener sind oft von Unsicherheit begleitet: Welche der vielfältigen Möglichkeiten ist die passende? Um aus vielen Studiengängen und Ausbildungsberufen auszuwählen, ist eine gute Exploration der Möglichkeiten wichtig. Gruppencoaching-Formate bieten hier eine wichtige Möglichkeit, um die ersten Karriereentscheidungen im Übergang von Schule ins Berufsleben oder in das Studium sowie auch später in der Studieneingangsphase zu treffen. Dieser Artikel zeigt anschaulich, dass dieses Format die Schüler:innen in ihrer Entscheidung unterstützen kann und sowohl in Präsenz als auch digital funktioniert.
... In our study, each coachee only participated in one session, but coaching programs can be structured over several sessions over time, e.g., from 1 up to 7 for the same coachee [199]. In this regard, studies have shown that increasing the number of sessions positively influences the relational quality between coach and coachee, thus improving the effectiveness of coaching interventions [201,202]. Since the third phase of the coaching session used in our research is the one in which a relational improvement between coach and coachee should have occurred compared to the first phase, it is possible that this result would have been achieved if the number of sessions per coachee had been greater. This standpoint is in line with studies suggesting that the dialogue between coach and coachee is influenced by co-creation [7], and in a short time it would not be possible to establish a deep relationship [24]. ...
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Life transitions represent moments characterized by changes that can profoundly influence individual life trajectories and subjective well-being. Recently, career coaching has become an important method of helping people expand their self-awareness, facilitate personal development, and increase their performance in the school-to-work transition. Although previous studies have confirmed that one of the most important keys to the success of a coaching program is the quality of the relationship between coach and coachee, there is a lack of knowledge regarding how to objectively measure it. In this pilot study, we adopted a neuroscientific approach to introduce objective measures of the relationship between coach and coachee through the phases of a coaching session. A sample of 14 university students and a professional coach participated in career-coaching sessions while their affective states were measured by recording brain (EEG) and physiological (Skin conductance) activity. Electroencephalographic indicators of valence, arousal, and engagement showed differences between session phases, highlighting the possibility of a neurophysiological measurement of relational dynamics. Our results provide initial evidence that neurophysiological activity can be considered a way to understand differences in the coach-coachee relationship, thereby providing information on the effectiveness of coaching interventions and facilitating a better life transition from school to work.
This article explores how social workers experienced the intersection of social work and coaching roles, and the impact that incorporating dual roles within a child protection context has on social work identity. It discusses the themes from a ‘real-world’ qualitative study conducted in a local authority family support and child protection service in the North of England. Thematic analysis was used to interpret data from focus groups and semi-structured interviews with seven social workers, and semi-structured interviews with six service users. The findings reveal that social work identities initially become disrupted through using coaching, before a more flexible, enriched professional identity is fashioned which is congruent with both the social work persona and coaching attitudes and behaviours. Service users appeared to intuit this shift in professional identity when comparing their received experiences of social work and coaching. They responded by compartmentalising their hostile associations towards their social worker identity and recast them positively as ‘coaches’. The study findings infer significant applied implications for social work practice, education and continuing professional development that includes coaching knowledge and skills training.
This paper sets out the use and benefits of adopting a coaching style of conversation within our everyday practice. Here, we present two case examples within a paediatric setting which applies coaching skills to different contexts to help progress meaningful conversations.
As the British Psychological Society establishes a new Division of Coaching Psychology and routes to chartered membership for coaching psychologists, we revisit the ongoing dialogue into the professionalisation of coaching psychology, with a specific focus on practice in the United Kingdom (UK). We attempt to make distinctions between the practice of a coaching psychologist and a professionally qualified coach. First, we offer an overview of the development of coaching psychology over recent years, contemplating the need to regulate it as a profession. Following that, we consider some of the main coaching and coaching psychology definitions in an attempt to delineate the practice of coaching psychologists from that of non-psychologist coaches. Next, we compare approaches to training and some of the differences between coaching and coaching psychology, as well as the need for an ethical framework and supervision for coaching psychologists. Finally, we conclude by offering a final thought about who is a coaching psychologist.
Our study examines transformative learning outcomes of a group coaching format in a postgraduate program of a German University that is based on the cognitive-developmental approach to coaching. We administered a survey based on Kirkpatrick’s 4-Level Evaluation Model and its advancement by Alliger et al. that includes items from the Transformative Outcomes and Processes Scale. Findings suggest that the group coaching was effective on all levels and fostered transformative learning.
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Objectives: There is a lack of research on the coaching relationship (O’Broin & Palmer, 2006a). The current paper will present the findings from a qualitative study that explored experiences of workplace coaching including the coaching relationship. Design: The study adopted a qualitative design and the data was analysed by Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, Jaraman, & Osborn, 1999). Methods: Nine participants, from two large organisations, were interviewed about their experiences of coaching. Results: ‘The coaching relationship’ was identified as a main theme which, in turn, comprised of three subthemes; valuable coaching relationship; trust; and transparency. These themes highlighted that the coaching relationship was very valuable for the participants and that this relationship was dependent on trust and improved by transparency. Conclusions: It was concluded that it is important that coaches are aware of, and are working with, the coaching relationship. Nevertheless, the participants also highlighted that the relationship was not the only factor that made coaching useful. Working towards goals and improving performance were also valuable components of the coaching. It was, therefore, suggested that coaching may be most beneficial if it incorporates a number of components, including a focus on the relationship. Keywords: the coaching relationship, coaching, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis; valuable coaching relationship; trust; and transparency. Citation: Gyllensten, K., & Palmer, S. (2007). The coaching relationship: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. International Coaching Psychology Review, 2, 2, 168-177.
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Purpose In this study the phenomenon of reflective-self function is explored in terms of its historical understanding – just as the phenomenon of transference was explored in terms of its historical understanding in an earlier instalment (De Haan, 2011). As will be shown, reflective-self function is not only demonstrably linked to secure attachment, it is increasingly held to be at the core of the process and outcome of helping conversations. Design/Methodology This contribution offers a historical summary of the main breakthroughs in attachment research, showing how (in-)secure attachment can be measured reliably and how it can be linked to reflective-self function – the capacity to mentalise. This capacity is further elucidated with the help of three examples from executive coaching and team coaching. Results t is shown how reflective-self function is related to secure attachment, and how mentalising can be used to co-create meaning, insight and understanding with clients. Conclusions Mentalising, as understood by reflective-self function, is a helpful way into awareness, insight and empathetic understanding. Coaches would do well to foster this function within themselves and their clients.
Objectives The coaching relationship has been described as the catalyst for change. This study explores the coaching relationship by comparing the working alliance and the ‘real relationship’ – the undistorted and authentic experience of the other – in participants in skills coaching and transformational coaching. Design A 2 (coaching condition) x 2 (time) factorial design was used. Method Staff from community psychiatric recovery services were trained in a new service delivery approach (Collaborative Recovery Model), followed by coaching from internal coaches once per month to enhance implementation of the training. All trained staff were invited to participate in the research. Forty coachees met the requirements for inclusion in the study (>=3 coaching sessions in six months). Coaches completed a coaching alliance measure after each session. Coachees completed measures of working alliance and real relationship after six months of coaching. Results Analyses indicated that the coaching relationship is stronger after receiving transformational coaching, from both coachees’ and coaches’ perspectives. Relationships developed over time in transformational coaching, but not with skills coaching. Conclusions The results provide preliminary evidence that transformational coaching encourages the development of stronger coaching relationships. Future research should examine the effect of coaching approach on the outcomes of coaching.
Whilst there is growing interest within the emerging coaching psychology literature in exploring specific coaching methods and their relative efficacies, little attention has been afforded the investigation of the relationship itself that is formed between coach and client. In addition, any exploration of the personality, psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioural constructs unique to the coach herself and the potential impact, both facilitative and detractive, of these factors, has remained largely unaddressed. This paper seeks to begin this process of exploration and highlights the importance for ethical and professional executive coaching practice in coaches establishing robust and accountable supervision relationships. The paper provides a theoretical framework for operationalising this supervisory relationship and facilitating coaches own process of introspection and continuous development.
Objectives: Human resources (HR) professionals represent a large and relatively untapped source of experiential knowledge about executive coaching. The purpose of the study was to record the perceptions of these HR professionals. Design: The study was a survey design. Methods: The practitioners completed structured interviews to elicit their perceptions of the overall efficacy of executive coaching, the specific benefits derived and drawbacks experienced from the programmes, their estimates of the cost/benefit of the programmes, and their interest in using executive coaching in the future. Results: As a group, the 17 participants were responsible for more than 1000 individual executive coaching programmes and $15.4 million of expenditure on executive coaching in the preceding two years. The practitioners indicated strong support for the use of coaching in the future, and all rated their programmes as at least moderately successful. The practitioners also identified a large range of benefits for the individual executives and a smaller range for the organisations. The two most commonly expressed drawbacks were difficulty with executives making time for sessions and the expense of executive coaching. Although the practitioners indicated that benefits exceeded costs, only one practitioner indicated completing formal measurement of return on investment. Conclusions: Discussion included consideration of the pressure for more structured and measurable intervention approaches, and the influence such approaches may have on the efficacy of the programmes themselves.