Towards a conceptual framework of coach supervision for internal coaches within South African organisations

Van Reenen, Michelle Tracy (2015-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Worth already $2 billion worldwide, coaching of managers and executives within organisations is the fastest growing field within the consultancy world. As investing in coaching grows, so does the demand for its assessment by means of coach supervision increase. However, the literature and empirical studies on coaching supervision are few and outpaced by the development of coaching supervision practice in the race against time to claim that supervision is the most effective approach for continuous professional development. For coach supervision to be accepted as viable and relevant to the coaching community, supervision in coaching will need to be something different from supervision in therapeutic disciplines. Therefore, the overarching aim of the study was to describe the views and experiences of internal coaches, managers and supervisors with regards to coach supervision within an internal coaching context of a South African organisation and to develop a conceptual framework of coach supervision. Qualitative research with casing as a research design and grounded theory as research strategy was employed. Unstructured interviews were conducted with 13 research participants and detailed data was obtained. This was complemented with field notes, open-ended interviews, participant observation, and unsolicited documents. A computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) program, namely Atlas.ti, was used during the open, axial and selective coding phases. The key findings may be summarised as follows: there is value derived from internal coaching; confidentiality, safety and credibility are important considerations for internal coaching efficiency; communities of practice are valuable for internal coaches but are not self-organising; there are issues such as coaching versus mentoring; measuring and communicating the value of coaching, reward and recognition for internal coaches need to be addressed for long-term success; it is important to develop awareness and strategies to better manage ethical dilemmas within coach supervision for internal coaches; important contracts (both formally and informally) need to be identified and put in place within the coach supervision system; the role and purpose of coach supervision must be clear from the start; it is not conclusive whether internal or external placement of the coach supervision role in relationship to the organisation is more favourable; there are unique functions of coach supervision within an internal coaching context and there, are factors in the organisation, including organisational culture, that both support or hinder coach supervision. The SYSTEMIC supervision model was developed by integrating concrete constructs of the research participants with key scholarly constructs. It posits that coach supervision is an integral and necessary part of internal coaching within organisations and requires a systemic approach due to the multiparty environment and complexities. Despite the study’s shortcomings its aim has been realised with the study contributing by extending scholarly knowledge on internal coaching and coach supervision, as well as providing insights which may be practically applied in coach supervision in South Africa. The study also makes certain recommendations for further research in the field.

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