Exploratory study of mapping outcomes of executive coaching with specific focus on unplanned outcomes
Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT:This research assignment is an exploratory qualitative study into mapping unplanned outcomes of executive coaching. The research purpose was twofold: to address the lack of a common and comprehensive framework for the mapping of outcomes of executive coaching, and to add to the body of knowledge regarding unplanned outcomes of executive coaching. In developing the mapping framework, the available literature was reviewed and, through an inductive process, a framework, model, taxonomy and mapping tool were developed. Based on core concepts attributable to Kirkpatrick, Wilber and Jaques, the mapping tool developed was then tested, using data obtained from a purposive sample of seven semi-structured interviews with Gauteng based coachees. The sample excluded any individuals who had been coached by the researcher. During the data analysis, the planned outcomes were mapped using the mapping tool and related processes. Thereafter the actual outcomes were mapped, identifying those outcomes that matched planned outcomes and those that supported the planned outcomes. A technique named ‘outcome chains’ was developed and used for this process. The unplanned outcomes were identified by a process of elimination, being those that remained unallocated in the planned chain process. It was found that outcomes of executive coaching can be mapped using a framework based on the principles of Kirkpatrick, Wilber and Jaques, with all identified outcomes being mapped successfully. Four categories of unplanned outcomes were identified, namely those that hinder the attainment of planned outcomes, insufficient evidence of achieving planned outcomes, actual outcomes related to planned outcomes but with scope different to planned and, fourthly, actual outcomes unrelated to planned outcomes. Additionally, three themes of unplanned outcomes, each with two sub-themes, were identified, namely personal (sub-themes: physical and spiritual), family (sub-themes: immediate and extended) and work (sub-themes: positive and negative). The most surprising finding was that all seven coachees experienced unplanned outcomes, which is markedly different to previous research findings and may be due to the inclusion of non-work related outcomes. The key recommendations arising from this research assignment embrace the research into, and practice of, executive coaching. Regarding the research elements, it is recommended that the mapping framework developed in this research be further refined and tested as a holistic standard for evaluating the outcomes of executive coaching, including those outcomes that impact the coachee as an individual. For the executive coaching fraternity, it is recommended that coaches challenge themselves and their practices regarding the probability, categories and impact of unplanned outcomes, and introduce measures to maximise the upside and minimise the risks of unplanned outcomes. Finally, the regular testing and recording of the coachee’s reaction to executive coaching is recommended as a predictor of coaching efficacy.