Communication Quality and Relational Self-expansion: The path to leadership coaching effectiveness
Human Resource Management
A preponderance of evidence suggests that the quality of the relationship between an executive coach and a coachee is among the most important factors in predicting successful coaching outcomes. With an industry shift in the delivery modality from<br>face-to-face coaching to distance coaching, the question arises how changing technology affects the coaching relationship. A time-lagged field experiment examined<br>the effects of modality (face-to-face, video-conference, and telephone) and perceived media richness on coaching relationships. Results demonstrated that modality did not have a direct effect on the coachee’s perceptions of relationship quality nor the coach’s sense of being trusted. However, significant indirect effects existed, mediated by perceived media richness. As expected, participants viewed face-to-face meetings to be significantly richer than video-conferencing and telephone. Coachee comfort with technology moderated this relationship, such that those who were more comfortable with technology perceived telephone and video-conferencing to be similar in richness to face-to-face sessions. Greater media richness was then associated with higher quality relationships for the coachee and a greater sense of being trusted for the coach. Although we expected emotional expressivity to moderate the relationship between perceived richness and relational outcomes, we did not find statistical support for this hypothesis. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.