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The executive coaching trend: towards more ﬂexible executives
Renae A. Jones and Alannah E. Rafferty
School of Management, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, and
Received October 2005 Revised February 2006 Accepted February 2006
Institute of Work Psychology, The University of Shefﬁeld, Shefﬁeld, UK
Purpose – This paper proposes to investigate the inﬂuence of executive coaching on managerial ﬂexibility in order to build a stronger theoretical and empirical basis for executive coaching research. Design/methodology/approach – A repeated measures design was adopted. About 11 leaders participated in aleadership development program and received executive coaching over a three-month period. Leaders were surveyed prior to coaching, during coaching, and post coaching. Findings – Repeated measures analysis revealed that self-reported managerial ﬂexibility increased throughout the duration of executive coaching. Research limitations/implications – This exploratory study provides initial support for theargument that executive coaching positively impacts on managerial ﬂexibility. Several areas for future research are discussed including examining the inﬂuence of executive coaching on the dimensions of managerial ﬂexibility. Originality/value – This study provides a detailed overview of how to develop an executive coaching program and empirically tested the effects of executive coaching onexecutives’ ﬂexibility. A number of areas for future research were identiﬁed. Keywords Coaching, Flexible organizations, Management development Paper type Research paper
Leadership & Organization Development Journal Vol. 27 No. 7, 2006 pp. 584-596 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0143-7739 DOI 10.1108/01437730610692434
Authors have argued that there is a great risk of failure in executive positions,with a number of researchers stating that up to 50 per cent of people in executive positions fail at some time in their careers (Hogan et al., 1994; Kilburg, 2000). Kaplan et al. (1985, p. 31) suggest that a potential reason for failures in executive decision-making is that when employees become executives they believe they have crossed an invisible dividing line and have ascended to a “rareﬁedatmosphere” which makes it difﬁcult for people to acknowledge that they require self-development. Executive coaching is a potential means to help executives engage in ongoing self-development, and the use of executive coaching in organisations has rapidly increased in the last ﬁve years. Despite the popularity of executive coaching, little empirical research has examined the effectiveness of thisdevelopment tool (Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson, 2001). Researchers have focused on surveying the types of development practices that are adopted, the outcomes of coaching, and have focused on self-reports of the coaching process. As a result, many unresolved questions remain about the effectiveness, viability, and sustainability of executive coaching practices for management development (Kampa-Kokeschand Anderson, 2001). In this study, we conduct
an exploratory study to determine whether executive coaching positively inﬂuences managerial ﬂexibility. Below, we discuss executive coaching in some detail. Executive coaching Executives often experience unique difﬁculties in their employment situation including isolation and autonomy (Kaplan et al., 1985; Sztucinski, 2001). Research suggeststhat executives report a lack of desire to change because they attribute their existing behaviours as contributing to their current success (Ramsden and Zacharrias, 1993; Sztucinski, 2001). Coaching has been promoted as an important training and development tool for executives as it addresses several of the unique issues experienced by individuals in these positions. First, coaching is done...
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