Attitudinal and behavioral changes on the part of a coachee are often thought to be the hallmarks of a successful coaching intervention. Two useful proxies for determining these kinds of changes are receptiveness to feedback on the part of the coachee and the development of a coachee's level of self-awareness. A recently published Israeli study of executive coaching, based on a sample of 200 participants (including executives and coaches), sought to establish what characteristics in both the coachee themselves and the nature of the coaching relationship in question were positively related to both receptiveness to feedback and self-awareness on the part of the coachee.
In terms of receptiveness to feedback (defined as the coachee's preparedness to modify their interaction style, deal more effectively with change, and build trusting relationships), learning goal orientation, developmental self-efficacy, perceptions of coach credibility, and the coach's perceived similarity to the coachee, were each positively associated with increased feedback receptivity.
Learning goal orientation refers to the motivation one has to realign their learning and task competencies in the direction of new situational and conceptual mastery. Developmental self-efficacy refers to one's overall ability to muster their own motivation levels and strategies in the service of effectively completing a particular developmental objective. Coach credibility is the coachee-derived perception of a coach's combined integrity, confidence, experience, perceptiveness, and conflict resolution abilities. Finally, perceived similarity is based on the coachee's own conception of "fit" between themselves and the coach in terms of relational comfort, and similarities between each person's attitudes, values, beliefs and work styles.
With regard to self-awareness (the coachee's propensity to slow down, "take stock" and be mindful of the effects of their words and actions), developmental self-efficacy, coach credibility and perceived similarity were all determined to be predictive precursors of this coachee attribute.
This study provides some insight into what constitutes effective executive coaching; both in terms of the most effective personal characteristics of the coachee themselves, and in terms of the relationship between coach and coachee. It provides practical support to underline the conditions required for executive coaching to be beneficial, and also justifies the use of assessment approaches to determine whether potential coachees are currently suited for coaching interventions. Perhaps most importantly, the results of this study emphasize two key elements - receptiveness to feedback and self-awareness - that may predict the success of a coaching relationship, and stress the need to appropriately match executives with their potential coaches.
Bozer, G., & Joo, B. K. (2015). The Effects of Coachee Characteristics and Coaching Relationships on Feedback Receptivity and Self-Awareness in Executive Coaching. International Leadership Journal, 7(3).
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