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Research Brief: Evaluating the impact of strengths-based coaching

October 27, 2014

Despite the countless dollars spent on executive coaching in organizations and the popularity of coaching as a leadership development intervention, relatively little quality research exists that demonstrates the impact of coaching on leaders' behavior. 

 

Researcher MacKie attempted to address this gap in the literature in a 2014 study he conducted that

consisted of 37 executives and senior managers in a non-profit organization. Unlike numerous studies conducted thus far that primarily rely on self-assessed reports of impact, MacKie demonstrated the impact of this coaching program based on both the participants perception as well as those of organizational members using the full range leadership model (FLRM). He also attempted to use an experimental design with a control group - something rarely attempted in early coaching research attempts. The coaches in this study utilized a strengths-based approach to coaching and were trained to use a consistent approach to strengths-based coaching. The study identified a significant increase in participants transformational leadership skills as a result of this approach to coaching.

 

There are a number of practical implications of MacKie’s study. First, it is one of the first studies to specifically measure the impact of strengths-based coaching on participants’ effectiveness  as evidence by a 360-degree assessment versus relying only on self-reports of outcomes. Second, it reinforces the value of consistency in coaching practices among coaches and calls for the need for the profession to better align around a set of consistent practices. Finally, MacKie provides a useful methods framework for conducting future evaluative research studies.

 

References:

 

MacKie, D. (2014). The effectiveness of strengths-based executive coaching in enhancing full range leadership developmetnt: A controlled study. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 66(2), 118-137. 

 

(c) 2015 Kevin Nourse, PhD

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