Coaching as a leadership development tool : a case study to consider the factors that influenced the perceived failure of an executive coaching intervention
Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.
The majority of the literature on executive coaching available today, gives evidence of the growth and success of executive coaching as an industry. The industry is, however, relatively young and immature and not regulated at all. The number of individuals who position themselves as executive coaches has more than doubled in the past 10 years and the industry is growing rapidly. The question then arises whether all coaching initiatives that are taking place are hundred percent successful in achieving the stated objectives. Very little is said and done about the less successful processes. This study allows us to have insight in an executive coaching process involving an executive team and to consider which factors contributed to the perceived failure of the process. By using a qualitative approach and through a case study of the intervention, in-depth interviews were done to enquire from all the participants how they experienced the coaching process. From these interviews, themes were identified to be used by companies, coaches, service providers and clients to understand what some of the elements are that need to be considered in a team-related coaching intervention to ensure a better chance for success. The literature review investigated the definition and history of executive coaching as well as the application and benefits of executive coaching. The study also explored the concept of team coaching, the importance of the related parties in the coaching process, as well as the fact that the industry is not regulated and still quite immature. The context and background of the case study and all relevant information related to the company, the team, the process and the service supplier were considered. The importance of the coaching triangle between the coach, client and the organisation was emphasised in the literature study, but it was also identified as a critical foundation for the success of the executive coaching process. Given the experience from the team that was part of the process, the following elements should be taken into consideration by all parties to ensure that the objectives of the coaching process are met. Firstly, the importance of leadership as the sponsor is critical and an element that should not be ignored. Secondly, the commitment of the entire team is emphasised as a critical success factor. Another important element identified is the ability to take into consideration the time pressures that executive teams experience. Further to that, the importance to keep the momentum of the process going, the selection of suitable coaches, the importance of taking individual needs of the clients into consideration, as well as the lack of buy-in from participants are all success factors that were identified as part of the analysis. Due to the very limited scope of the study, recommendations were made for future research and ongoing practice in the field.