Candidate: Sheila Kampa-Kokesch
Doctor of Philosophy
The purpose of this study was to: (a) consolidate/critique the executive coaching practice literature and empirical research to determine what is known about executive coaching as an individual consultation intervention and (b) provide additional knowledge about outcomes by testing whether executive coaching effects leadership as measured by the MLQ 5x (Short Form) (Bass & Avolio, 1995).
Twenty-seven coaches; 50 clients (pre/early or post/later coaching), and 62 direct-report/peers participated. Coaching provided demographic information, invited client participation, and distributed surveys to clients. Clients provided demographic information, rated themselves on a leadership instrument, and invited direct-report/peer participation. Direct-report/peers rated clients' leadership using a different version of the same instrument.
In analyzing the results, the present sample of coaches were more often women and less likely to possess graduate degrees than coaches in previous research. Clients were also more likely women than clients in previous executive coaching research. Further, they were different from clients in previous MLQ research in that both pre/early and post/later-coaching clients scored consistently higher on active leadership and lower on passive leadership than leaders in previous research. These results may reflect who coaches identified to participate, i.e., clients who were already strong leaders. They may also reflect the leadership gains of pre/early-coaching clients in the two months of coaching that they received prior to this study. Finally, it is possible that only leaders who are "good enough" receive executive coaching. Therefore coaching may be more about enhancing than developing leadership.
Statistically significant differences occurred between pre/early-coaching and post/later-coaching clients for passive leadership and client perceptions of impacting followers, though differences were relatively small. Larger differences occurred when examined for clients in upper-management and CEO positions with post/later-coaching clients rating higher on charismatic behavior, ability to impact followers, and ability to inspire followers. These differences were examined only through client ratings and may therefore be less accurate measures of change.
These findings have implications for coaches, clients, and organizations because they suggest that executive coaching may impact leadership. Additional research needs to more clearly determine what the effects are, who they occur for, and whether they imply leadership development or enhancement.
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