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A brief primer for those new to coaching research and evidence-based practice

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Abstract

If coaching is to continue to grow and develop, if we as coaches are to deliver coaching and coaching methodologies that are genuinely effective for our clients, then we need to be au fait with the coaching literature and the body of research that informs effective coaching practice. In short, we need to engage in evidence-based coaching. Not only does such an approach allow us to work in an ethical and professional manner, steering clear of the all-too-frequent fads and foibles evident throughout sections of the coaching and self-development industry, but it helps us as coaches develop on a personal level. By questioning our assumptions, by engaging in constructive and informed self-reflection about our coaching practice, we become more mature, balanced and purposeful professionals. However, this can feel extremely challenging for those new to evidence-based approaches to coaching. This article aims to provide the reader with basic foundational information about the state of play in coaching research and evidence-based practice along with a simple but very useful framework for evaluating the utility of coaching literature. The article concludes with some tips for staying abreast of emerging coaching research.
The Coaching Psychologist, Vol. 15, No. 1, June 2019 3
Article
A brief primer for those new to coaching
research and evidence-based practice
Anthony Grant & Sean O’Connor
If coaching is to continue to grow and develop, if we as coaches are to deliver coaching and coaching
methodologies that are genuinely effective for our clients, then we need to be au fait with the coaching
literature and the body of research that informs effective coaching practice. In short, we need to engage in
evidence-based coaching. Not only does such an approach allow us to work in an ethical and professional
manner, steering clear of the all-too-frequent fads and foibles evident throughout sections of the coaching
and self-development industry, but it helps us as coaches develop on a personal level. By questioning our
assumptions, by engaging in constructive and informed self-reection about our coaching practice, we
become more mature, balanced and purposeful professionals. However, this can feel extremely challenging
for those new to evidence-based approaches to coaching. This article aims to provide the reader with basic
foundational information about the state of play in coaching research and evidence-based practice along
with a simple but very useful framework for evaluating the utility of coaching literature. The article concludes
with some tips for staying abreast of emerging coaching research.
Keywords: Research; coaching; evidence-based coaching; coach training; coach development.
THE COACHING industry has come a
long way since its early days in the 1990s
when the ‘you too can become a life
coach’ approach dominated. In those times
it seemed as if every man and his dog was
offering life coach training courses and certi-
cations (Grant, 2006). Virtually all of these
courses had no theoretical basis, little in the
way of common ethical and professional prac-
tice standards, and often appeared to be more
about making money for the training organi-
sation than establishing a bona de profes-
sional approach to working with coaching
clients (Spence, 2007). Many drew on ideas
from personal development programmes
such as EST (Leonard, 1998) and broad ideas
plucked from the personal development zeit-
geist (Brock, 2008). Indeed, during the early
1990s there was little to no coaching-specic
research to draw on. The current situation in
coaching differs markedly from those times.
Why bother with research?
Understanding and applying the research
underpinning contemporary coaching prac-
tice brings additional tangible value to our
coaching practice. This is true regardless of the
type of coaching involved (e.g. executive, devel-
opmental, performance, skills or personal/life
coaching), and irrespective of whether one is
an internal organisational coach, a leader who
coaches, or a professional coach.
The ability to demonstrate a good under-
standing of the evidence-base for coaching
is particularly important for those coaches
seeking to work with organisations as an
external coach or coaching consultant. This
is because those human resources practi-
tioners that are tasked with purchasing effec-
tive coaching services for organisations hold
an increasingly sophisticated understanding
of the science underpinning coaching meth-
odologies to put it bluntly they want to
know that we (as coaches) know what we are
doing; they want the evidence.
In addition, we as coaches need to engage
in the kind of informed, purposeful self-
reection that we encourage our coachees to
do. By engaging in constructive and informed
self-reection about our coaching practices;
4 The Coaching Psychologist, Vol. 15, No. 1, June 2019
Anthony Grant & Sean O’Connor
by explicitly benchmarking our own personal
coaching approach with the existing and
emerging research; by seeking to integrate
current best empirical research with our own
personal experience and professional exper-
tise, we become more mature, balanced and
purposeful professionals and more rounded,
more fullled human beings. In a very real
sense, we need to personally embody an
evidence-based approach.
Evidence-based coaching can be under-
stood as coaching that involves the intelligent
and conscientious use of relevant and best current
knowledge, integrated with professional prac-
titioner expertise in making decisions about
how to deliver coaching to coaching clients
and in designing and delivering coach training
programmes (adapted from Grant, 2005;
Sackett et al., 1996; Stober & Grant, 2006).
In order to utilise ‘relevant and best current
knowledge’ we need to be familiar with the
coaching literature: This not as simple as it
sounds. As can be seen from Figure 1, coaching
research is growing almost exponentially each
year.
As we read though the extant coaching
research it is easy to become overwhelmed with
the sheer volume and complexly of publica-
tions. Knowing the basic coaching research and
then staying aware of newly-published coaching
research is challenging for new practitioners,
but not impossible: We simply need to become
informed practitioners that can draw on rele-
vant and best current knowledge.
The Research Relevance-to-Coaching
Practice Model
It is important to note that the research that
can be used to inform coaching practice can
come from a very large number of knowledge
domains. These could include the behav-
ioural sciences, management literature, adult
learning and development, and areas such
as systems theory, neuroscience and psycho-
therapy. The diversity of research that could be
related to coaching challenges us, as informed
practitioners, to determine the extent to which
a particular piece of research really is relevant
to coaching practice. Where that research is
directly and explicitly focused on coaching,
this is an easy task, not so easy where the links
to actual coaching practice are more tenuous.
A useful framework for categorising
research that could be used in coaching is
the Research Relevance-to-Coaching Prac-
tice Model (Grant, 2016). This two-by-two
Anthony Grant & Sean O’Connor
Figure1:PatternofPublications(approx.)intheScholarlyCoachingLiteraturefrom
2000to2017
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
450
NumberofPublications (approx)PerYear
Figure 1: Pattern of Publications (approx.) in the Scholarly Coaching
Literature from 2000 to 2017
The Coaching Psychologist, Vol. 15, No. 1, June 2019 5
framework provides a simple way to catego-
rise research that can be used in coaching as
being either coaching-specic or coaching-
relevant (horizontal axis) and whether or not
this is weak or strong research (vertical axis).
Coaching-specic research includes research
that specically focuses on coaching with
coaching as the primary focus. For example,
this would include outcome studies that
examine the effectiveness of coaching,
research into the impact of coaching on a
range of variables, or qualitative research
into the nature of coach-coachee relation-
ships amongst others.
Coaching-related research includes research
that is not specically focused on coaching
but produces information that could be
used in coaching practice or might indirectly
inform coaching practice. For example, this
would include research from psychotherapy,
economics, management or organisational
research, philosophical paradigms, systems
theory, neuroscience etc. We also need to
consider the rigour and strength of the
evidence presented.
Strong evidence is information and evidence
from properly-designed and peer-reviewed
studies using the correct methodology for
the research question being addressed, and
where the results have been replicated in a
range of appropriate populations.
In contrast, weak evidence is when there are
a small number of studies, limited numbers
of researchers/sources, inappropriate or poor
quality research designs including research
with low statistical power, and/or inappropriate
analyses. Typically, this kind of work is not peer
reviewed. This category would include opinion
articles or anecdotal, unsubstantiated reports.
The point here is that we, as informed
practitioners, need to be critical consumers
of research. We need to build our critical
thinking skills so that we can identify the
research that will shed genuine insight into
coaching practice and methodologies.
One way to present the concepts is
through a two-by-two diagram (see Figure
2). This gure is presented as a useful lens
through which to categorise and classify
different bodies of research. Of course,
there will be different options as to which
studies or which bodies of research should sit
within each quadrant. Keep in mind that this
framework is designed to be an aid to those
who wish to develop a more sophisticated
understanding of evidenced-based coaching
– rather than a denitive categorisation.
The current state of play in coaching
research
Having recommended a cautionary approach
in consuming research and outlined a simple
Figure 2: Research Relevance-to-Coaching Practice Model
A brief primer for those new to coaching research and evidence-based practice
Quadrant Three
Weaker evidence for coaching
Rigorous coaching-related research
Quadrant One
Stronger evidence for coaching
Rigorous coaching-specific research
Quadrant Four
Poorer evidence for coaching
Less rigorous coaching-related research
Quadrant Two
Weaker evidence for coaching
Less rigorous coaching-specific research
Strength of Evidence
Relevance to Coaching Practice
Strong
Weak Lower Relevance Higher Relevance
Coach-related Research Coach-specific Research
6 The Coaching Psychologist, Vol. 15, No. 1, June 2019
Anthony Grant & Sean O’Connor
two-by-two framework that can be used to
categorise different types of research studies,
we can now turn our attention to the current
state of play in coaching research. The
following brief overview describes aspects
of coaching-specic research that draw on
key research that is situated in Quadrants
One and Two. It should be noted that the
following is meant only as a brief primer that
focuses on some key themes in the research
in order to act as a guide for those newly
engaging in evidence-based approaches to
coaching: This should not be taken as a
denitive review of the coaching literature.
Outcome studies
Outcome studies are studies that explore the
impact of a coaching intervention on some
specied variable which is deemed to have
changed as a result of the coaching interven-
tion. There is now quite a considerable body
of research indicating that coaching can be
an effective approach for facilitating change
on a number of variables.
Such outcome variables include goal
attainment, personal resilience, subjective
wellbeing, solution-focused thinking, self-
insight, and transformational leadership
behaviours (Bozer & Jones, 2018). Most of
the extant coaching outcome research has
focused on workplace or executive coaching,
although there is an emerging body of
research looking at personal/life coaching –
particularly where the coaching impacts on
quality-of-life or specic health issues (Hale
& Giese, 2017). The personal/life coaching
research literature also suggests that
coaching is an effective means of creating
intentional personal change (Spaten, 2018).
Coaching outcome research methodolo-
gies vary from single person qualitative case
studies (e.g. Libri & Kemp, 2006) through to
large scale outcome studies (e.g. de Haan et
al., 2016). We have recently seen the emer-
gence of meta-analyses of coaching research
and systematic reviews (Bozer & Jones,
2018). Meta-analyses can be considered
the most sophisticated form of quantitative
outcome coaching research, as it combines
and conjointly analyses a number of previ-
ously published research studies in order to
calculate the average effect size of a number
of different coaching interventions. To date
there have been ve meta-analyses (Burt &
Talati, 2017; De Meuse et al., 2009; Jones
et al., 2016; Sonesh et al., 2015; Theeboom
et al., 2013). The Jones et al. (2016) and
Theeboom et al. (2013) studies are the two
most cited meta-analyses. All of these meta-
analyses indicate that coaching is an effective
change methodology.
It should be noted that goal-focused,
solution-focused and cognitive-behavioural
coaching methodologies are the most vali-
dated in the literature (Bozer & Jones,
2018). However, this does not mean to say
that other coaching methodologies are inef-
fective. Rather this situation reects the facts
that aforementioned coaching methodolo-
gies represent the more common coaching
practices.
Coach-coachee relationship studies and
characteristics of effective coaches
The coach–coachee relationship is a vital
factor in successful coaching practice. The
extant evidence strongly indicates that as
coaches we need to pay particular attention
to the quality of the relationships we have
with our coachees. There is an emerging
body of research looking at the nature of the
coach-coachee relationship. Again, a broad
range of methodologies have been used and
a number of tools for the assessment of
the relationship have been developed (e.g.
Bachkirova et al., 2015; Jowett et al., 2012).
Early research by Gyllensten and Palmer
(2007) explored the qualitative experi-
ences of nine coachees, noting that the
coach–coachee relationship was of three
subthemes: valuable coaching relationship;
trust; and transparency. A more recent large
scale, predominately quantative study, (de
Haan, et al., 2016) utilised data from 1895
client–coach pairs nding that the strength
of the coachee–coach working alliance is a
key ingredient in successful coaching, but
coachee or coach personality and personality
The Coaching Psychologist, Vol. 15, No. 1, June 2019 7
A brief primer for those new to coaching research and evidence-based practice
matching between coach and coaching were
unrelated to outcomes, a nding echoed by
a number of other researchers (e.g. Bozer,
Joo & Santora, 2015).
The research into the coach–coachee
relationship has some similarities with the
research that has looked at the therapist-
patient relationships the ‘therapeutic
working alliance’. But coaching is not
therapy, and the nature of these helping
relationships do differ somewhat.
A key nding in the coach–coachee rela-
tionship research literature emphasises the
importance of having a strong focus on goals
and desired coaching outcomes, rather than
overly concentrating on the deep rapport
and unconditional positive regard central
to psychotherapy. Some research suggests
that while empathy, positive regard and
autonomy support are, of course, important
characteristics of the coach-coachee relation-
ship, a solid focus on goals is most likely the
key deciding factor in creating successful
coaching interventions (Grant, 2013).
As regards the characteristics of effective
coaches; the evidence indicates that coaches
with an academic background in psychology
and/or the social sciences of human behav-
iour (and/or training in evidence-based
methods) are more effective in terms of facil-
itating greater increases in coachees’ self-
awareness and job performance than those
coaches without such a background (Bozer,
Sarros & Santora, 2014). This key research
emphasises the importance of having coach
training that is solidly grounded in the
behavioural science.
Research about how coaching works:
The psycho-mechanics of coaching
There is a considerable amount of research
that sits within Quadrant Three of the
Research Relevance-to-Coaching Practice
Model, much of which challenges commonly-
held coaching assumptions and mythologies.
Goal research is one such example:
Locke’s classic (1996) review of goal-setting
research, although not explicitly aimed at
coaching practices, contains a wealth of
information that should be the bedrock of
any coach who aspires to evidence-based
coaching practice. Locke’s research disem-
bowels many coaching mythologies and
misconceptions. For example, it is often
said in coaching circles that the coachee
should set their own goals as this leads to
more commitment to the goal. Whilst this
is true, Locke’s research shows that when
someone else (not the coachee) sets a goal,
it is more likely to be more stretching, and
stretching goals are very often (but not
always) related to better performance. So,
here we have a conundrum; if the coachee
sets the goal, they will be more committed,
but if someone else sets the goal it will lead
to higher performance. In fact, Locke’s
research shows that it doesn’t matter who set
the goal. The key factor is that the coachee
needs to understand why the goal is being set
and that they agree with that reason. In this
case goal commitment is the same as if they
had set the goal themselves. Although this
may seem pedantic, understanding and then
applying this research gives the coach much
more agency and exibly in their coaching
practice: the coach is no longer bound by
common coaching mythologies, rather
they are able to create their own coaching
approaches based on solid research. In short,
this research gives the coach far greater exi-
bility in being actively engaged in goal setting
with the coachee than common coaching
mythology would suggest.
A second key area in Quadrant Three
is related to the research on self-reection
and self-insight. Drawing on psychotherapy
and counselling theory it is often assumed
that we should encourage our coachees
to engage in deep self-reection, and that
such self-reection will naturally lead to self-
insight and increased wellbeing. However,
there is a body of emerging coaching-related
research that sits within Quadrant Three
that challenges these assumptions. Firstly,
the relationship between self-reection and
self-insight is not clear cut. Indeed, counter-
intuitive as it maybe, there is often a nega-
tive correlation between self-reecting and
8 The Coaching Psychologist, Vol. 15, No. 1, June 2019
Anthony Grant & Sean O’Connor
self-insight (Lyke, 2008), and self-insight but
not self-reection is typically correlated with
wellbeing (Harrington & Loffredo, 2011).
This kind of Quadrant Three research
strongly suggests that coaches need to help
their coachees develop good self-insight,
rather than steering the coaching conver-
sation towards introspective self-reection.
Moreover, this is particularly important if the
coachee has a degree of ‘negative self-talk’
or dysfunctional attitudes (Stein & Grant,
2014).
It is beyond the scope of this primer
article to discuss in depth the utility of
research and evidence from non-coaching
areas such as neuroscience, systems theory
or ‘evidence’ from organisations selling
proprietary leadership development assess-
ment tools. Sufce it to say that we should
regard such ‘evidence’ with caution, particu-
larly where such ‘evidence’ is promoted by
commercial entities or privately-owned ‘insti-
tutes’. A useful point to think about when
evaluating research or coaching literature
from Quadrants Three and Four is to ask
yourself these questions: (1) ‘Is this infor-
mation actually useful in my coaching prac-
tice?’; (2) ‘In what tangible way can I apply
this information, and what difference will
it make?’; and (3) ‘is this interesting, but
not really useful?’. The ‘useful’ vs. ‘inter-
esting’ perspective is a very effective way to
categorise research. For example, some of
the Quadrant Three and Four neuroscience
literature that is discussed in coaching falls
into the ‘interesting’ but not ‘useful’ cate-
gory, and so we should be wary of being side-
tracked by research that is not of tangible
use in developing our coaching skills and
practice.
Simple tips for staying current with the
emerging coaching literature
Staying abreast of good-quality current
research is essential if we are to be effec-
tive evidence-based practitioners. Using
commercial databases or subscribing to indi-
vidual journals can be expensive and time
consuming. Relying on blogs or information
from the providers of commercial coaching
services can lead to the use of inaccurate or
biased information.
One of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to
stay up to date with emerging peer-reviewed
coaching research is to set up an alert in
Google Scholar. To do this you simply need
to decide on your search terms (the cate-
gory or keywords that you are interested in);
for example, ‘executive coaching’. Once
you have run that search simply look for
the ‘Create Alert’ icon in the left column
of the results page, and then click ‘Create
Alert’. You will then receive an email alert
whenever new articles on your topic are
published. You will not always be able to
access the full article for free via Google
Scholar, but you will be able to read a
summary of the article, and that is often
enough for you to be able to decide whether
or not to nd the full paper from the library
or by emailing the authors directly yourself
and asking for a soft copy.
We also need to be aware that each
journal has its own specic target audience
and target readership. This means that
each journal with have a form of implicit or
explicit bias as to what kind of research it
publishes. Some journals will prefer sophis-
ticatedly designed quantitative studies and
be targeted at academics and researchers;
other journals will put more emphasis on
the practical applications of research and
will be aimed more at practitioners. This is
not to say that one is better than the other;
rather this serves as a reminder to us to be
critical in our reading of research and our
use of evidence.
Summary
An awareness of current coaching research
is vital if we are to become (and remain)
mature, balanced and purposeful coaching
professionals. This is vital whether we are a
professional coach, a leader who coaches,
an HR professional or a personal/life coach.
Although the sheer amount of research that
The Coaching Psychologist, Vol. 15, No. 1, June 2019 9
A brief primer for those new to coaching research and evidence-based practice
may be potentially informative to coaching
practice can feel overwhelming, particu-
larly to those new to this area, it is rela-
tivity easy to come to grips with the key
coaching-specic research. In order to stay
abreast of the emerging evidence, we need
to develop a critical and analytical approach
to understanding and consuming research.
In this way we can deliver best practice to our
coaching clients and continue to grow and
develop as coaching professionals.
Key tips
Recognise that research and evidence-
based coaching are the foundations
of professional and ethical coaching
practice.
Become familiar with the key foundational
evidence for coaching effectiveness – i.e.
those peer-reviewed coaching-specic
studies that show that coaching ‘works’.
Become familiar with the coaching-
related research that shows how coaching
works and gives ideas on how to improve
your coaching practice.
Learn to distinguish between high- and
low-quality research.
Remember that each journal, book or
published report on coaching will have
some kind of implicit bias; learn to recog-
nise those biases and take them into
account.
Keep abreast of emerging research through
tools such as Google Scholar alerts.
See research as another personal and
professional development tool; enjoy!
Correspondence
Anthony M. Grant
Coaching Psychology Unit
University of Sydney
Email: anthony.grant@sydney.edu.au
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... Decision-makers in the consulting market (whether individual clients or organizational sponsors/contractors) seldom ask for the evidence base of what is practiced (ICF, 2016;Stephan & Rötz, 2018). In the absence of outside pressure to demonstrate evidence, coaching practitioners' attitudes are even more important for their engagement with coaching research (Grant & O'Connor, 2019). ...
... Psychotherapists in the German context upon which the study of Taubner et al. (2014) and our own study were based generally operate within the health system and without the need to attract clients actively, but coaches need to acquire clients in an increasingly competitive consulting market. Grant and O'Connor (2019) argued that demonstrating a good understanding of the evidence base for coaching is particularly important for those coaches who want to work with organizations as external coaches. HR professionals charged with purchasing effective coaching services for their organizations have an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the scientific basis of coaching methods and want to know that the coaches they commission know what they are doing. ...
... Carkhuff (61) in his well-known work on "the art of helping" emphasizes the importance of attending (physical, active listening, and observing), responding (empathy, respect, and warmth), and personalizing (helping the client to understand where he/she wants to be) as crucial skills in interacting with the client. Instead of directing the discussion, the coach should encourage the client to develop self-insight (74). Furthermore, these authors recommended that coaches (themselves) should also engage in self-reflection to enhance their own self-insight and well-being. ...
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Methodology and research supporting coaching's effectiveness has not kept up with its growth and demand. The current literature on coaching is lacking sufficient empirical rigour and does not meet the standard required for mixed methods design. This meta-analysis investigated the outcomes of coaching, and potential moderating effects of other factors, using only randomised control trial studies. Outcomes studied included performance, well-being, coping, work attitudes, and goal-directed self-regulation. There were no moderating effects identified from participant age, type of measure, or author(s). The results showed that overall coaching has a moderate significant positive effect on coachees, p̂ = 0.42, which indicated that coaching is effective for individuals.
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This large-scale study of executive coaching explores the perceived effectiveness of coaching from the perspectives of coach, coachee, and sponsor, and potential active ingredients including the coach–coachee working alliance, coachee self-efficacy, personality, and “personality match” between coach and coachee. Using a retrospective design, data was collected from 1,895 client–coach pairs (366 different coaches) from 34 countries, and 92 sponsors, for a total of 3,882 matching surveys. Results indicate that coachee perceptions of coaching effectiveness (CE) were significantly related to both coach- and coachee-rated strength of the working alliance and to coachee self-efficacy but unrelated to coachee or coach personality and to personality matching. The coachee–coach working alliance mediated the impact of self-efficacy on CE, suggesting that the strength of this working alliance—particularly as seen through the eyes of the coachee—is a key ingredient in CE. In addition, a strong emphasis on goals in the working alliance can partially compensate for low coachee self-efficacy. The task and goal aspects of the working alliance were stronger predictors of positive CE than the bond aspects, highlighting the importance of a task and goal focus in the coach–coachee relationship.
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There has been an almost exponential growth in the amount of coaching-specific and coaching-related research over the past ten years. At the same time there has been considerable interest in the development of evidence-based approaches to coaching, and many coaching practitioners have incorporated the phrase into their terms of reference for their practice. However, these is still a lack of clarity about what constitutes evidence based coaching, and there have been few, if any, published guidelines about how to determine the relevance of different bodies of research to coaching practice. This article discusses the nature of evidence-based practice as it relates to coaching and then presents a two-by-two framework that highlights the relevance of a broad range of research to evidence-based coaching practice. The aim of this paper is to help further develop a more nuanced view of evidence-based approaches to coaching practice.
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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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Although executive coaching has become increasingly popular in the corporate world for the last 2 decades, there have been few empirical studies on how the match between coach and coachee affects the coaching relationship. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of gender similarity and perceived similarity on executive-coaching effectiveness, as reflected in the improvement in attitudinal and behavioral outcomes (i.e., self-awareness, career satisfaction, organizational commitment, and supervisor-rated task performance). Study participants (68 coach-coachee dyads) were drawn from the clients of 4 Israel-based firms that provide executive coaching. Overall, the coach-coachee match had little significant effect on coaching outcomes. More specifically, gender similarity and perceived similarity had no significant effect at all on career satisfaction and organizational commitment. However, we found gender similarity had a significant relationship with the change of coachee’s self-awareness. That is, male executives with female coaches responded that their self-awareness was not improved as a result of coaching. Additionally, the more coaches perceived similarity with coachees, the higher their supervisor-rated task performance. Since, unlike a mentoring relationship, executive coaching has more specific goals and a highly structured process, it appears to be unnecessary for HR/OD practitioners to be concerned about coach-coachee matching based on similarity (gender or overall perception).
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Meta-analytic results have established that workplace coaching is effective, however, little is known about the determinants of coaching effectiveness. This paper reports an inclusive systematic literature review, covering the quantitative and qualitative research on workplace coaching. We focus on seven promising areas in the current workplace coaching literature that emerged by the synthesis of 117 empirical studies: self-efficacy, coaching motivation, goal orientation, trust, interpersonal attraction, feedback intervention, and supervisory support. The major contribution of our paper is the systematic integration of well-established theoretical constructs in the workplace coaching context and the new insights we provide in the synthesis of these literatures. Based on our review, we provide specific recommendations to be addressed in future research, including recommended research methodologies, which we propose will significantly progress the field of workplace coaching theory and practice.
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This paper presents the results of a project aimed at the development and the use of an instrument designed to identify differences and similarities across coaching approaches at the level of a specific coaching session. 41 professional coaches described one of their typical coaching sessions using this instrument and found it comprehensive. Q-mode Factor analysis suggests that there was one overarching shared viewpoint about the way a mid-engagement coaching session is typically facilitated. This suggests that there may be considerable similarities in how coaching is actually practiced in spite of the existence of a variety of coaching traditions, genres and contexts in which coaching takes place, leading to one extended conceptual definition of coaching. We suggest that the tool makes possible a number of research projects, allows a clearer understanding of services typically provided by contracted coaches and assists in self-evaluation of professional and ‘on-the-job’ types of coaching.