Can you hear me now? The influence of perceived media richness on executive coaching relationships | Weatherhead School at Case Western Reserve University

Can you hear me now? The influence of perceived media richness on executive coaching relationships

Can you hear me now? The influence of perceived media richness on executive coaching relationships

Authors

Abstract

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.