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Willem Jan Hofmans

DBA Graduate - 2015

Thesis title

Effectiveness of Leadership Coaching – An Integrated Evaluation Framework.


Dominique Steiler
Caroline Straub

Willem Jan is chief leadership coach at HFSC with 10 years of coaching experience and 25 years of experience as a senior executive with expertise in general management, marketing, sales, and services in the healthcare and information technology sector. As part of his local, regional, and global responsibilities, he has lived in the Netherlands, the United States, South Africa, Germany, and  Switzerland. Willem Jan’s passion is to support leaders in their development.

Purpose The literature describes that the evaluation of the impact of coaching lags behind. This thesis aims to empirically link leadership coaching with improved coaching outcomes by focusing on the question “What does the application of an integrated evaluation framework tell us about the effectiveness of leadership coaching?” Design/methodology/approach A quasi-experimental, mixed-methods approach has been used based on resources from Leadership, Management, Psychology and Training & Development. Nine criteria have been derived from the literature and six have been used in the methodology. They include the use of multi-source feedback, a pre- and postcoaching design, professional external coaches, formative evaluations of the client, coach, client–coach relationship, and coaching process and objectives. The study has been completed with a sample of 30 clients working with six coaches during a mean time of 8.67 months. Findings The results suggest that leadership coaching has a significantly positive impact on mindfulness. Though also positive, the change in leadership effectiveness, as measured by all evaluators, is not statistically significant. The client-coach relationship does not have a significant impact on coaching outcomes; client satisfaction has a positive impact on outcomes. The achievement of coaching objectives correlates significantly with leadership competencies. There is a slight, insignificant, improvement in business results after leadership coaching. Research limitations/implications Sample size and rater consistency have been important limitations; both should be considered in future research. Mindfulness has only been evaluated as a selfassessment and the use of a more objective instrument could be another area for future research. The study has not controlled for the impact of all external events to coaching. Research into how these changes impact leadership coaching engagements could assist organisations in planning these interventions. Consideration needs to be given in future research to the timing of post-coaching measurements. Practical implications Managers and organisations will now have a framework to evaluate the effectiveness of coaching. They will have to ensure consistency of raters using multi-source feedback for effective measurement and properly prepare leaders before being coached. The development of mindfulness for leaders should receive more attention. Originality/value Grounded criteria are provided to conduct empirical research in the domain of leadership coaching and this will be helpful for researchers. The integrated evaluation framework and the impact of leadership coaching on Mindfulness will be of value to leaders in Business. The importance of coach satisfaction in coaching engagements will be of interest to practising coaches. Keywords Coaching, Leadership, Outcomes