Coaching and Feedback for Leadership Development and Organizational Change
- LAST REVIEWED: 19 October 2016
- LAST MODIFIED: 21 January 2016
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0056
- LAST REVIEWED: 19 October 2016
- LAST MODIFIED: 21 January 2016
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0056
The purpose of this article is to provide a review of predominantly early-21st-century publications in the field of executive coaching and feedback methods and processes. The article begins with books on coaching practice, moves to research on coaching methods and effects, then turns to the literature on feedback. This literature is growing considerably as more practitioners publish work on methods, and as more researchers on organizational behavior and development and organizational psychology conduct studies to understand reactions to coaching and the value of coaching and feedback to clients’ behavior change and job performance.
The “How-To” Literature on Coaching Methods
Search an online bookstore or roam the aisles of a bookstore’s business section, and numerous titles will appear on coaching. Unfortunately, executive coaching is a nonlicensed field, and there are many people who advertise their coaching services. Although there are now academic programs that provide credentialing in coaching, coaches may be former executives, clinical psychologists, social workers, or others who were not trained in the field. Organizational psychologists may learn coaching as one of their methods of practice. Generally, coaches develop their expertise through experience, finding favorite methods (personality instruments, performance measures, interviewing questions, etc.) that they discover work for their clients, or at least ideas that are well received and accepted by clients as having value and that may produce demonstrable improvements in job behaviors and relationships. Most of the literature cited here deals with coaching and feedback in corporate environments—that is, for-profit companies. A few articles are included from the education and health-care areas. These demonstrate that coaching and feedback are valued tools for development of professionals in a host of areas in addition to managers and executives in the corporate world. The books by experienced coaches offer insights about the practice. Some books are addressed to other practitioners; other books are addressed to executives to help them realize that they can benefit from a coach. These books and articles need to be read critically because they usually present compelling arguments and models that seem to be true on face value; however, they are not necessarily based on rigorous research, or any research at all. This is a sampling of the many books available. The material cited here was written by leading experts who are highly regarded in the field. Thorne 2004 views coaching within the mainstream of the leadership development field. Other books include a consumer’s guide to selecting and working with an executive coach (Battley 2006), and an exposition of the psychological underpinnings of coaching that mental health professionals can use to become executive coaches (Peltier 2009, Law 2013). Leimon, et al. 2010 addresses specific issues of women leaders and how coaching can help them. Other books focus on what managers can do to be better coaches and developers of their subordinates (Hunt and Weintraub 2011), and on the tools of the coaching profession (Passmore 2010).
Battley, Susan. Coached to Lead: How to Achieve Extraordinary Results with an Executive Coach. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006.
This book is billed as “the first consumer’s guide to executive coaching.” As such, it is intended to help executives select coaches and engage in coaching practices that will indeed help them. Filled with tips, cases, checklists, and sample documents to guide executives’ self-reflection, performance tracking, and goal setting.
Hunt, James M., and Joseph R. Weintraub. The Coaching Manager: Developing Top Talent in Business. 2d ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2011.
Presents developmental coaching methods that managers can use to guide employees to improve their competence, be more engaged with their organizations, and develop themselves personally. Specific coaching techniques are illustrated through short case studies and self-assessment exercises. Aimed at executives, the book is intended to help readers reflect on their strengths and weaknesses. This second edition adds case examples that demonstrate how developmental coaching can be integrated with goal setting.
Law, Ho. The Psychology of Coaching, Mentoring and Learning. 2d ed. Malden, MA: John Wiley, 2013.
Addresses the psychological principles of coaching and mentoring and integrates them in a framework for the theory and practice of organizational development. This edition includes practical applications and case studies and emphasizes the increasing importance of positive psychology and its role in coaching and mentoring. The book is valuable for coaches, mentors, trainers, psychologists, executives, managers, and students.
Leimon, Averil, François Moscovici, and Helen Goodier. Coaching Women to Lead: Essential Coaching Skills and Knowledge. London: Routledge, 2010.
Focuses on why there are few women leaders, and suggests ways executive coaches can help women at different stages of their corporate careers. Emphasizes the importance of coaching women to succeed, presents the results of a survey that highlights specific career needs women leaders have, presents results from extensive interviews with women role models, and outlines tools and techniques to build a robust business case for coaching women.
Passmore, Jonathan, ed. Excellence in Coaching: The Industry Guide. 2d ed. London: Kogan Page, 2010.
This book is for coaches to help them understand the tools of their profession—what they need to achieve excellence in their practice. It covers how to establish and run a coaching practice, styles and tools of coaching (transpersonal, behavioral, intercultural, cognitive-behavioral), and ways of reducing a client’s stress. It examines issues of accreditation for coaching professionals and ways to assess coaching outcomes.
Peltier, Bruce. The Psychology of Executive Coaching: Theory and Application. 2d ed. London: Routledge, 2009.
A comprehensive resource that integrates psychological and coaching concepts. It is meant to guide mental health practitioners who want to expand their practice into coaching, and business professionals who are interested in becoming executive coaches. Applies psychological theories to coaching strategies.
Thorne, Kaye. Coaching for Change: Practical Strategies for Transforming Performance. London: Kogan Page, 2004.
Demonstrates how coaching can be slotted into mainstream training and change programs. Describes how to use coaching as a key method for initiating and implementing organizational change. The author is a personal coach who specializes in innovation and organization development. Thorne shows how to create, develop, and manage the process of change in one-to-one situations, in teams, and within organizations.
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