Monday, October 27, 2014

Executive Coaching and Self-Efficacy: A Study of Goal-Setting and Leadership Capacity

Carol-Anne Minski, PhD, Fielding’s School of Human and Organizational Development

Executive coaching has been proposed as an intervention that helps executives improve their performance, and achieve the goals of the organization. It is generally accepted that goal-setting is a necessary condition for successful coaching (Grant, 2004). However, what actually happens in coaching engagements remains a mystery. The purpose of this research was to investigate coaching strategies, and reveal the roles those strategies played in positive goal accomplishment. This dissertation research examined the strategies used by executive coaches to enhance leader’s self-efficacy in goal accomplishment. This was a qualitative descriptive study that utilized a semi-structured interview method with 20 executive coaches. The main focus of the interview was to ask coach participants to describe the specific coaching strategy that takes place during goal-setting with executive clients. Thematic analysis was the method used for identifying, analyzing, and reporting patterns (themes) within data.

A description of what actually happens in the executive coaching engagement to increase self-efficacy was unknown prior to this research. This research has taken the first step to fill that gap in the research literature. As a result of this research, a new a coaching model that coaches can utilize in order to enhance positive goal accomplishment has been discovered. The strategies used by the coaches in this research are based on the following five theories: adaptive leadership, appreciative inquiry, social cognitive theory, adult learning theory, and change theory. Coaches now can have a firmer understanding of how the combination of these evidence-based strategies can influence self-efficacy to accelerate positive goal accomplishment. It is suggested that this model be added to coach training and certificate programs.

Key Words: Executive coach, goal-setting, self-efficacy, social cognitive theory

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