Exploring how contextual factors influence the appropriate application of business coaching: the case of Engen
Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The trend towards globalisation and its role in fomenting hyper-competition practices have brought new forms of workforce development and management strategies to the fore. As such, business coaching as a recent addition to the workforce development interventions has moved into the strategy arena. However, as pointed out in various texts (Cavanagh, 2006; Stout-Rostron, 2009a; Chapman, 2010; Peltier, 2010; Rosinski, 2010; Kahn, 2011; Wildflower and Brennan, 2011), business coaching like most other multi-dimensional interventions is complex. This complexity in part stems from the need to align the organisation’s business coaching needs with the needs of the coachee (Stout-Rostron, 2009a). Added to this is the influence of the coachee’s sense of readiness as well as the impact of the three-way coaching relationship to the outcomes of business coaching. This means that, while a business coaching model can contribute to the basket of workforce development interventions, it is possible that the appropriate application of this model will be contingent on the circumstances of particular organisations. Against this background, the aim of this study was to explore how contextual factors influence the appropriate application of business coaching. Towards this end, the study placed the contextual focus at Engen Petroleum Limited and the findings revealed six factors, which can influence the appropriate application of business coaching along the three dimensions of: i) aligning the organisation’s business coaching needs with the needs of the coachee; ii) readiness for coaching; and iii) the coaching relationship. Two of the six factors, namely clarity on expected outcomes as well as programme structure and support can influence the alignment of the organisation’s business coaching needs with the needs of the coachee. Two other factors, namely knowledge about the coaching programme and the level of self-awareness can influence the coachee’s sense of readiness for coaching. The last two factors relating to choice of coach and contract as well as confidentiality and progress reporting, can influence the coaching relationship dimension of business coaching. These findings have implications for coaching research and organisational practice - in particular, at Engen. Thus, to leverage the benefits of business coaching, the researcher developed and recommends ‘The Business Coaching Cycle’ (see Figure 6.1) as a framework for Engen and other organisations to consider when seeking to appropriately apply business coaching as a people development strategy. The five components of ‘The business coaching cycle’ include alignment of the organisation’s business coaching needs with the needs of the coachee; ensuring coaching readiness; formalising the coaching relationship; adhering to the coachee’s confidentiality needs when reporting on progress and organisational support for referral of the coachee to an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) or a training intervention when necessary. In terms of contribution to the coaching research, the study raised one possibility for further research, namely: ‘Exploring the readiness of the work environment for the coachee’s behavioural change after a business coaching intervention’.