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Coaching and its influence on employee engagement within a service department of a motor dealership

Roberg, Matthias (2015-12)

Thesis (M.Phil)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: There is an organisational benefit to having engaged employees. Coaching introduced as a human intervention strategy has proved to have benefits for improving organisational performance. At the outset of this research it was unclear if coaching could influence engagement. The aim of the present research was to gain insight into how coaching influences employee engagement of frontline service employees of a motor dealership. Understanding of employee engagement characteristics and coaching emerged out of an inductive review of peer-review articles and research papers on employee engagement and coaching. The engagement state of ten frontline service employees in a motor dealership was assessed before and after a coaching intervention. The response data collected from two sets of interviews were content-analysed qualitatively in accordance with engagement characteristics determined from the literature. The shifts in engagement response data after coaching were further analysed deductively using the coaches‟ notes and literature on coaching to establish whether coaching had influenced the shift. The results from analysing the response data showed that before and after coaching, participants were neither completely engaged nor non-engaged. What did emerge was that non-engagement organisational aspects factored more strongly than any other engagement category of negative response data before coaching. These responses included a lack of support, a lack of feedback and communication. After coaching, the non-engagement organisational responses reduced considerably. Analysis of the response data after coaching in conjunction with the coaches‟ notes and coaching literature showed that participants had shifted their attitudes. Before coaching, participants looked at the organisational inadequacies for reasons on why they were unhappy. After coaching, the participants sought solutions in themselves, agreeing to change their approach towards colleagues and organisational challenges. The coach focused on a solutions-focused approach. Participants were encouraged to take responsibility for finding other ways to behave, to explore previous limiting assumptions and to rewire their thinking. After coaching, participants seemed more confident and empowered to resolve many of the issues they had communicated before coaching. Implications of this research focus on the use of coaching in organisations. Many organisations do not know how engaged their employees are or the reasons for their current engagement state. Introducing coaching, using appropriately qualified coaches, could encourage employees to deal with issues frustrating them and affecting their engagement levels. Coaching may also support employees taking more responsibility to find independent solutions to their current problems without major organisational interventions.

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