Can you hear me now? The influence of perceived media richness on leadership coaching relationships
Executive coaching accounts for a signficant portion of the $50 billion in annual corporate expenditures on leadership development (Prokopeak, 2018). To reduce costs and increase accessibility, coaching services are increasingly being delivered via video-conferencing or telephone, rather than the traditional face-to-face approach (Corbett & Kennedy, 2015). Despite this trend, little empirical evidence exists to indicate how the choice of communication modality affects the coaching relationship.<br><br>Effective communication is fundamental to a high-quality coaching relationship, and the relationship is central to achieving the aims of coaching (Baron& Morin, 2009; Jackson & Neal, 2010). In this article, we draw on media richness theory (Daft & Lengel, 1986) to examine perceived media richness as a mediating mechanism to explain why differences in relationship quality exist among different communication modalities. We test our hypothesis using a time-lagged field experiment in which organizational leaders were randomly assigned to be coached via telephone, video conferencing or face-to-face. We conclude with a discussion of our results.