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An exploratory examination of positive and negative emotional attractors' impact on coaching intentional change

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Anita Rogers Howard
Abstract:
Few research studies have tested hypotheses from an integrated, multilevel theoretical model on coaching intentional change. Drawing on Intentional Change Theory (ICT) and supporting cognitive emotion and social complexity perspectives on positive and negative affect, this dissertation presents the first empirical investigation on the differential impact of inducing positive emotion vs. negative emotion in real time executive coaching sessions. Nineteen coaching recipients were randomly assigned to two coaching conditions. In the PEA condition the coachee's own hopes, strengths, desired future (the Positive Emotional Attractor) was the anchoring framework of a one-time, hour-long coaching session. In the NEA condition the coachee's own perceived improvement needs, weaknesses, present reality (the Negative Emotional Attractor) was the anchoring framework. Two central ICT propositions were tested. Hypothesis1 predicted that PEA participants would show higher levels of positive emotion during appraisal of 360-degree feedback results and discussion of change goals than NEA participants. Hypothesis2 predicted that PEA participants would show lower levels of stress immediately after the coaching session than NEA participants. Regression analyses found that the PEA group showed significantly lower levels of negative emotions (p = .05) and anger ( p = .02) and focused more on personal interests and passions ( p = .01) as compared to the NEA group. These findings lend preliminary support to the proposition that framing a coaching session around a coachee's PEA elicits positive emotions that broaden a person's momentary thought-action repertoire, whereas framing a session in the NEA elicits negative emotions that narrow this array. Further, demonstrated time series changes in expressed sadness or depression (.01) and future (.04) offer preliminary support to the ICT proposition that recurrent PEA-NEA arousal, and associated interplay of positive and negative emotion, characterize intentional change. The prediction on post-coaching level of stress was not supported. Keywords. positive and negative emotion, intentional change, emotional appraisal, social complexity, executive coaching, positive psychology.

Table of Contents

List of Tables ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 4

List of Figures ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 5

Preface ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 7

Acknowledgements ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 8

List of Abbreviations ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 10

Ab stract ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 12

Chapter 1: Introduction and Review of the Executive Coaching Literature .................. 14

Chapter 2: Literature Review and the Research Hypotheses ................................ .......... 41

Chapter 3: Methods ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 76

Chapter 4: Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 105

Chapter 5: Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 123

Appendices ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 148

Appendix 1: Recruitment Mailing ................................ ................................ .... 148

Appendix 2: Benefits of Executive Coaching & Assessment .......................... 150

Appendix 3: Study Consent Form ................................ ................................ .... 151

Appendix 4: t - tests on PEA vs. NEA Participants’ ECI - U Feedback

Results ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 154

Bibliography ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 155

4

List of Tables

Table 1, Chapter 4: Inter - rater Cor relations for the Manipulation Check .................... 107

Table 2, Chapter 4: Tests of Hypothesis 1 : Main Effects ................................ .............. 112

Table 3, Chapter 4:

Tests of Hypothesis 1 : Interaction Effects ................................ ...... 120

Table 4, Chapter 4: Tests of Secondary Measures: Main Effects ................................ . 122

5

List of Figures

Figur e 1, Chapter 1: Contributions of the ICT Framework to Coaching Theory and Practice ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 39

Figure 2, Chapter 2: Boyatzis’s Intentional Change Theory ................................ .......... 50

Figure 3, Chapter 2: The Differential Impacts of PEA Framing vs. NEA Framing on a Coaching Recipient’s Change Process ................................ ............................... 74

Figure 4, Chapter 3: Study Procedures ................................ ................................ ........... 81

Figure 5, Chapter 3: PEA Coaching Protocol ................................ ................................ . 83

Figure 6, Chapter 3: NEA Coaching Protocol ................................ ................................ 85

Figure 7, Chapter 3: The ECI - U EI and Cognitive Competencies by Clusters .............. 86

Figure 8, Chapter 3: Examples of Qu estions from the ECI - U ................................ ........ 87

Figure 9, Chapter 3: Variables, Measures and Instruments ................................ ............ 91

Figure 10, Chapter 3: LIWC Dimensions Employed in the Present Study .................... 96

Figure 11, Chapter 3: Focus of All Participants’ Discussion During the Three Transcript Segments An alyzed by LIWC ................................ ................................ ............ 98

Figure 12, Chapter 4: Main Effect for Negative Emotion ................................ ............ 109

Figure 13, Chapter 4: Main Effect for Anger ................................ ............................... 110

Figure 14, Chapter 4: Main Effect for Leisure Activity ................................ ............... 111

Figure 15, Chapter 4: PEA and NEA Means for Positive Emotions ............................ 114

Figure 16, Chapter 4: Interaction Effect for Sadness or Depression ............................ 116

Figure 17, Chapter 4: Interaction Effect for Future ................................ ...................... 118

6

Figure 18, Chapter 5: Conceptualization of Findings on PEA vs. NEA Coaching

Sessions ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 127

Figure 19a, Chapter 5: PEA and NEA Means for Positive Emotions .......................... 129

Figure 19b, Chapter 5: PEA and NEA Means for Positive Feelings ............................ 131

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Preface

THE CHOICE

The intellect of man is forced to choose

perfection of the life, or of the work,

And if it take the second must refuse

A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.

When all that story's finished, what's the news?

In luck or out the toil has left its mark:

That old perplexity an empty purse,

Or the day's vanity, the night's remorse.

William Butler Yeats, 1933

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Acknowledgements

Any dis sertation is a collaborative process. I have been especially blessed to have an inspiring and supportive dissertation committee whose keen analysis, critical feedback, and vital encouragement has been indispensable. My profound thanks go to my advisor and chair, Richard E. Boyatzis, who has been present from the beginning of my doctoral journey and has been an invaluable mentor and guide throughout; to Stephen Wotman whose generous sharing of the Dental Practice Research Network field study opportunity made this research possible; to Melvin Smith for his steadfast understanding and encouragement, especially in moments when the journey seemed most challenging; and to Diana Bilimoria whose faculty sponsorship of my independent study on generative engagement se t the stage for the present research. I also would like to thank T. J. McCallum, Marion Good, Mark Schluchter, Argon Saatcioglu, and Phillip Howard for their helpful consultations on cortisol collection and/or statistical analysis; Paul Hartman and Ellen D ivoky of the General Clinical Research Center Core Laboratory for their instrumental support of my study; and Patricia Petty and Lila Robinson for being the wind under my wings in the OB department.

Behind life achievements are the people we love. I am e ternally thankful to my parents, Jefferson P. and Mary Grace Rogers, for teaching me to love scholarship, activism, and the ‘action - theory link’; to my children, Donielle, Phill, Neal, and Alan, for being my joy and inspiration; to Fatiha Howard, Nour Howa rd and Carla Moreno for bringing new joy into my life; and to my husband, Richard T. Andrews, for believing in me and being there for me every single day of my dissertation journey. I also am grateful

9

for the gift of love and support from dear friends and colleagues with whom I have shared my journey. I am thankful to Carolyn Dennis for being my spiritual compass and sister in life; to Rebecca Flewelling for holding my center and reminding me to laugh; to Marilyn Dyson for being my best friend from girlhoo d to today; to Kathy Reddick, Pam Ogletree, and Debbie Chang for our shared devotion to social equity, change, and sisterhood; to Scott Taylor and Margaret Hopkins for their professional and personal support of my research; to Liz Koman for sharing her ind omitable spirit and joy of life from the first day we met; to Latha Poonamallee for sharing my interest in critical scholarship and partnering with me in this pursuit; to Tony Lingham and Tim Ewing for being sources of insight and inspiration; and to Trace y Messer for her encouraging advice, wisdom, and laughter.

My heartfelt thanks go to each and every one of you. I could not have done this without you.

10

List of Abbreviations

Activation - deactivation Adjective Checklist

AD ACL

A nalysis of Variance

ANOVA

Business

BUS

Clinical Psychology

CPSY

Coaches Trained in a Mixture of Fields

OTH

Dental Practice Research Network

DPRN

Education

EDU

Emotional Intelligence

EI

Emotional and Social Intel ligence

ESI

Emotional Competence Inventory, University Version

ECI - U

General Clinical Research Center

GCRC

Harvard Business Review

HBR

High Achievers

HAs

Hypothalamic - Pituitary - Adrenal Axis

HPA

Intentional Change Theory

ICT

Intentional Change Theory Coaching Model

ICTCM

Journal of Management Development

JMD

Leadership Executive Assessment and Development

LEAD

Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count

LIWC

Masters of Business Administration

MBA

Meta Learning

Model

ML

11

Negative Affect

NA

Negative Emotional Attractor

NEA

Parasympathetic Nervous System

PSNS

Positive Affect

PA

Positive and Negative Affect Schedule

PANAS

Positivity/Negativity

P/N

Return On Investment

ROI

Social Intelligence

SI

Sympathetic Nervous System

SNS

Weatherhead School of Management

WSOM

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An Exploratory Examination of Positive and Negative Emotional Attractors’ Impact on Coaching Intentional Change

Abstract

By

ANITA R OGERS HOWARD

Few research studies have tested hypotheses from an integrated, multilevel theoretical model on coaching intentional change. Drawing on Intentional Change Theory (ICT) and supporting cognitive emotion and social complexity perspectives on pos itive and negative affect, this dissertation presents the first empirical investigation on the differential impact of inducing positive emotion vs. negative emotion in real time executive coaching sessions. Nineteen coaching recipients were randomly assign ed to two coaching conditions. In the PEA condition the coachee’s own hopes, strengths, desired future (the Positive Emotional Attractor) was the anchoring framework of a onetime, hour - long coaching session. In the NEA condition the coachee’s own perceive d improvement needs, weaknesses, present reality (the Negative Emotional Attractor) was the anchoring framework. Two central ICT propositions were tested. Hypothesis 1 predicted that PEA participants would show higher levels of positive emotion during appra isal of 360 - degree feedback results and discussion of change goals than NEA participants. Hypothesis 2

predicted that PEA participants would show lower levels of stress immediately after the coaching session than NEA participants.

13

Regression analyses found that the PEA group showed significantly lower levels of negative emotions ( p = .05) and anger ( p = .02) and focused more on personal interests and passions (p = .01) as compared to the NEA group. These findings lend preliminary support to the proposition that framing a coaching session around a coachee’s PEA elicits positive emotions that broaden a person’s momentary thought - action repertoire, whereas framing a session in the NEA elicits negative emotions that narrow this array. Further, demonstrated time series changes in expressed sadness or depression (.01) and future (.04) offer preliminary support to the ICT proposition that recurrent PEA - NEA arousal, and associated interplay of positive and negative emotion, characterize intentional change. The predi ction on post - coaching level of stress was not supported.

Keywords: positive and negative emotion, intentional change, emotional appraisal, social complexity,

executive coaching, positive psychology

14

Chapter 1: Introduction and Review of the Executive Coa ching Literature

Recent emotion research has expanded our understanding on the distinct and complementary function of positive and negative emotion in human adaptation, coping and health. Building on this work the present study asks, “how do positive emot ions and negative emotions each assist the intentional learning, development and change of coaching recipients, and how can coaches leverage the benefits of this cognitive affective processing?” To underscore the context and relevance of this research ques tion, the introduction offers a literature review on executive coaching and the need for empirical research on coaching; summary discussion on the links between coaching research and emotion research; an overview on the contributions of Intentional Change Theory (ICT) to management coaching literature; and the aims and intended contribution of the study.

Research Context: Executive Coaching as a Management Intervention

Today’s organizations use executive coaching as an effective way to build human resource s and performance. Peterson & Hicks (1996) define coaching as “the process of equipping people with the tools, knowledge, and opportunities they need to develop themselves and become more effective” (p.14). Although the definitions of executive coaching ar e numerous, executive coaching is generally understood to involve practical, goal - focused forms of one - on - one learning and behavioral change (Hall, Otazo & Hollenbech, 1999; Peterson, 1996). Recipients of coaching in business and workplace contexts typical ly are senior to mid - level managers (Judge and Cowell, 1997). A recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) survey of 140 coaches found that most executive

15

coaching engagements are initiated by human resources, the coachee, or the coachee’s manager (Kauffman & Co utu, 2009). It is often suggested that executive coaching is a popular resource in contemporary leadership and management circles due to tremendous

uncertainty , competition and change in today’s organizations and workplaces (Bluckert, 2004; Bowles & Picano , 2006; Colombo & Werther, 2003; Giglio, Diamante & Urban, 1998; Katz & Miller, 1996; Saporito, 1996). Coaching interventions have great appeal in these high challenge environments because they can be customized to the individual needs of leaders and manag ers, aligned with specific organizational agendas, and fitted to an organization’s unique routines and schedules (Weller & Weller, 2004). As an individual - level intervention many organizations use coaching as a cost - effective approach to executive career d evelopment; performance improvement; project - based skill development; leadership development; and as a support to an executive’s own agenda (Hall, Otazo & Hollenbeck, 1999; Quick & Macik - Frey, 2004; Witherspoon & White, 1996). As a team or system - level int ervention organizations spread the benefits of coaching by offering coaching resources to broader segments of the organization; encouraging informal practice of coaching behaviors by leaders and managers; and establishing coaching cultures that foster deve lopmental relationships, motivation and performance, and organizational alignment (Goleman, Boyatzis & McKee, 2002a; Hart, 2005; Kets de Vries, 2005; Kralj, 2001; Orenstein, 2002; Rider, 2002; Schnell, 2005).

Liljenstrand & Nebeker (2008) report that there are many different provider camps on the supply side of executive coaching. Based on their web - based survey of 2,231 coaches with educational backgrounds in Industrial/Organizational psychology (I/O), Clinical psychology (CPSY), Business (BUS), Education (EDU), and coaches

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trained in a mixture of fields (OTH), these researchers found that coaches from different educational backgrounds use distinctly different coaching approaches, offer their services to different target markets, and are hired by clients wi th different coaching agendas and expectations:

The results point toward the existence of at least two, and possibly more, markets with different engagements, clients, settings, approaches, and perceived levels of competitiveness. Based on these findings coaches educated within the field of OTH, BUS, or EDU fields appear mainly to be hired by the individuals receiving coaching services and seem to be more involved in the personal coaching market. Coaches with a background in psychology tend to be hired by organizations, use titles such as Executive Coach and Consultant, and also find the field of coaching more competitive. This group also tends to rely more on their academic training when coaching, attend coaching specific seminars or workshops less frequ ently, and appears to be less interested in coaching - specific certifications or licensure (Liljenstrand & Nebeker, 2008, pp.73, 74).

The diversity in coaching approaches and practices is well documented by coaching researchers. In their review of empirical work on executive coaching Feldman & Lankau (2005) identify five prevailing coaching approaches:

Psychodynamic approach (focuses on the client’s unconscious thoughts and internal psychological states);

Behaviorist approach (focuses on the client’s observa ble behaviors);

Person - centered approach (focuses on the client’s self - understanding without direct intervention by the coach);

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Cognitive therapy approach ( focuses on the client’s conscious thinking); and

Systems - oriented approach (focuses on individual, g roup, and organizational influences on the client’s behavior) (p. 839).

The landscape of coaching approaches and practices is further diversified by such mixed - method forms of coaching as the Cognitive - Behavioral approach ( Ducharme, 2004; Witherspoon & Whi te, 1996) and various integrated models of developmental coaching exemplified by Laske’s (1999) Integrated Model of Transformative, Developmental Coaching (derived from constructive - developmental psychology, family therapy supervision, and theories of orga nizational cognition); Cocivera & Cronshaw’s (2004) Action Frame Theory

approach (derived from social action theory, functional job analysis and an integrated coaching model contributed by Kilburg, 2000); and Passmore’s (2007) Integrative Model for Executi ve Coaching (derived from six traditions including the humanistic, emotional intelligence, psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive - behavioral, unconscious cognition, and cultural perspectives). Although Passmore recently suggested that no coaching models hav e emerged from developmental leadership models in the emotional intelligence stream (Passmore, 2007, p. 68), the present study is an empirical examination of the Intentional Change Theory Coaching Model (ICTCM) — an integrative coaching model developed by Boyatzis (2006) with colleagues at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University and derived in part from research and theory in the developmental leadership and emotional intelligence traditions (Boyatzis, et al ., 2005; Boyatzis, S mith, & Blaize, 2006; Smith, Van Oosten, & Boyatzis, in press). Intentional Change Theory and the ICTCM are presented in detail later herein. Next, a brief look at the fast - paced growth of management coaching will

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help to contextualize, and perhaps to expl ain, the broad diversity in executive coaching forms and practices.

The Growth of Management Coaching

During the1980s the coaching field, then a roughly forty - year old practice, entered an explosive growth phase that continues today (Hudson, 1999; Tobias in Hart, Blattner & Leipsic, 2001; Smith, Van Oosten, & Boyatzis, in press; Wasylyshyn, 2003). More important, in the 1990s the executive coaching sector of the industry emerged as the fastest growing area of consulting (Hall, Otazo, & Hollenbeck, 1999). The numbers are revealing. A 1996 literature review on executive coaching found “literally hundreds of articles” on coaching activities and techniques in three broad domains: sports and athletics, behavioral change in problem populations, and professiona l performance in management and the work place (Kilburg, 1996, pp. 134 - 137). By 1999 researchers reported that the number of executive coaches in the United States had reached the tens of thousands (Hall, et al ., 1999). In February 2004, roughly five ye ars later, a Google search conducted by this author yielded 2,320,000 results for the search term, executive coaching

— results that contained a staggering amount of information on coaching in management, the consulting field, and other professional settin gs.

Though still in its relative infancy, management coaching is a lucrative industry today. Sherman and Freas (in Smith, Van Oosten, & Boyatzis, in press) estimate that roughly $1 billion is spent each year on executive coaching services in the United St ates. Although scholarly research on the monetary value of coaching is scant, a ROI study conducted by the Booz Allen Center for Performance Excellence (McLean, Virginia,

19

USA) suggests that organizational coaching interventions can and do produce positive return on investment, in the Booz Allen study an ROI of $3,268,325 or 689 percent (Parker - Wilkins, 2006). Another ROI study conducted by Metrix Global, a professional services firm, found that an executive coaching program in one client’s Fortune 500 firm produced “a 529 percent return on investment and significant intangible benefits to the business” (Wilson, 2004, p. 98). Contemporary organizations accordingly view executive coaching as a value - added management tool and employ it worldwide (Clegg et al ., 2005; Jenkins, 2006). For example, Eaton & Brown (2002) report that in the mid - 1990s senior leaders and the HR department at Vodafone, a global mobile telephone company, successfully used a system - wide coaching intervention to move the company culture from one of ‘ command and control’ to one of ‘coaching and collaboration.’ A 360 - degree coaching program enabled Menzies, one of Scotland’s largest companies with a turnover of £1.45 billion, to build skills and performance in the areas of leadership, change management, and people development for 60 managers at different levels of the organization (Mackay, 2007). These cases document several ways in which management coaching is implemented in contemporary business settings.

The robust growth of executive coach ing may be due in part to the buy - in of organizational leaders and managers who view receipt of coaching as way to simultaneously enhance success and reduce risk of failure in demanding and stressful executive positions (Jones, Rafferty & Griffin, 2006; Ki lburg, 2000). A number of empirical studies offer evidence to support this idea. A study on coaching high achievers (HAs) found that self - focus on personal performance and development led 14 HAs in business and sports to seek coaching that provided detaile d developmental feedback;

20

positive motivational reinforcement (confidence - boosting); cutting - edge information (relevant theories, literature, methods, etc.); and delivery of rapid results (Jones & Spooner, 2006). Another study on coaching leaders in middle and executive management positions (participants were 59 Station and Company Commanders involved in US Army recruitment) showed that recipients of a competency - based leadership coaching intervention selected improvement and development goals concerned wit h leadership effectiveness, quality of life, and meeting/exceeding quota - objectives (Bowles et al ., 2007). Similarly, in an outcome study on executive coaching Wasylyshyn (2003) reported that in the coaching engagements of 87 surveyed participants:

56% of the coaching agendas were focused on personal behavior change

(listening, tact/diplomacy, collaboration, persuasion/influence, harsh self - criticism, timidity/self - confidence, shift from tactical - to - strategic, customer focus, stress reduction, managing perc eption of ambition);

43% were focused on enhancing leadership effectiveness (projecting confidence, inspiring/motivating others, assimilation into new role, increase in scope);

40% percent were focused on fostering stronger relationships (through enhancing

emotional competence factors such as self - awareness, attunement to others, building relationships);

17% were focused on personal development (legacy, career management, life stage transition); and

7% were focused on work - family integration (p.100).

These studies further reveal that executive coaching interventions often address multiple issues and layered interests. For example, a coaching intervention may focus on a number

21

of objectives dictated by the coaching recipient’s own personal development agenda

along with organizational agendas advanced by the coached person’s boss, senior executives, clients, and/or other extrinsic influences.

A frequently cited survey by Judge & Cowell (1997) found that three categories of executives participate in coaching: ( 1) derailed executives who show promise but need to overcome one or two deficiencies that prevent their advancement, (2) promising executives who want to optimize their performance and goal attainment, and (3) entrepreneurs and/or people in professional pr actices such as medicine and architecture who want to develop strategies for managing their organizational agendas (e.g., leadership, strategic planning, etc.). The prevailing coaching literature suggests that, in general, executives and professionals enga ge coaching services because they seek support in achieving professional and personal goals (Feldman & Lankau, 2005; Witherspoon & White, 1996) … whether motivated by an interest in addressing performance problems and improvement needs, or by an interest i n refining/enhancing skills and performance (Baek - Kyoo, 2005).

Professionals also seek coaching because they believe it works. A number of research findings offer support for this belief. Kilburg (1996, p. 135) cites four empirical studies published betw een 1989 and 1992 that showed positive impacts of coaching on the performance of sales representatives whose bosses became better coaches; on improved chart completion by hospital staffers who themselves received coaching; on increased employee retention i n workers coached by supervisors trained in coaching; and on promotion rates of managers who received career coaching. In a study on coaching provided to public sector managers as follow - up to a training program, coached

22

managers’ productivity increased by 88 percent (Olivero, Bane & Kopelman, 1997). Similarly, pre - interview coaching was positively related to performance of 213 candidates who underwent employment interviews for promotion into higher - level positions (Maurer et al ., 2001).

More supporting evi dence comes from a two - year, university based leadership program in which progressive 360 - degree feedback data on 15 middle level managers from a public sector agency showed that engagement in peer coaching, experiential learning, goal setting, and reflect ive journaling elevated the managers’ leadership competency (Ladyshewsky, 2007). Moreover, a three - year action research project on 281 executive and high potential managers in a mid - sized global telecommunications firm headquartered in the western USA demo nstrated that 360 - feedback based executive coaching increased leadership effectiveness an average of 55 percent in the first phase of the project, and 60 percent by the second (Thach, 2002). Results from another survey indicated that high potential employ ees in a different global company sustained learning and behavior change following receipt of coaching on emotional competence (Wasylyshyn, Gronsky, & Haas, 2006). In yet another study Kombarakaran et al . (2008) surveyed 114 executives and 42 coaches who participated in a 6 - month executive coaching program initiated by a large, multinational corporation. Based on their qualitative and quantitative data, these researchers report that executive change occurred in five areas including people management, relat ionships with managers, goal setting/prioritization, engagement/productivity, and dialogue/communication.

From the standpoint of coachees’ own evaluation of their coaching experience, a number of empirical studies on coaching outcomes suggest that coaching recipients tend

23

to rate their outcomes as positive, although these data were based on self - report methodology and, with one exception, study sample sizes were small (Feldman & Lankau, 2005; Wasylyshyn, 2003). When it comes to media perceptions of executi ve coaching, a meta - review and content analysis of 72 articles on executive coaching in mainstream management and trade publications (1991 - 1998) found that 88 percent of the articles presented coaching as “very favorable” (Garman, Whiston, & Zlatoper, 2000 ).

While prevailing research on the benefits of coaching is largely encouraging, there is a darker side to the coaching picture. Despite the assumed effectiveness and heightened use of executive coaching as a management resource, today’s coaching approache s by and large rest on competing coaching models and best - practice conventions that are not empirically tested, and on a patchwork of theory cobbled from disparate psychological and social science traditions (Baek - Kyoo, 2005; Feldman & Lankau, 2005; Kilbur g, 1996, 2000, 2004). The relative absence of theoretical models and theory - based practice conventions has caused some observers to question whether the executive coaching trend is merely a passing fad (“Coaching: business savior or just a fad,” 2005). One study reports that 94 surveyed hotel managers (62 managers, 32 assistant managers) believed that coaching is a critical tool for developing high - caliber employees and consequently spent significant time during the workday coaching employees; yet they para doxically did not understand how coaching fit into the dynamics of their workplace and much of what they believed to be coaching was inaccurate (Krazmien and Berger, 1997). When these managers were asked to describe the coaching frameworks they employ in c oaching employees, a majority gave responses that suggest they lacked clear understanding on what actually constitutes coaching; they confused

24

coaching with other management tools such as employee training or discipline and reward, and saw coaching as requ iring only ad - hoc attention. Misconceptions such as these lend support to concerns voiced by a growing number of researchers and practitioners regarding the lack of coherence in management coaching models, practice conventions, and professional standards ( Bluckert, 2004) and the paucity of academic research undergirding the field. Consequently, calls for empirical coaching research and theory development continue to be heard.

The Gap in Management Coaching Literature

The troublesome gap in management coach ing literature has been noted and discussed for well over ten years. In 1996 the Journal of Consulting Psychology published its first special issue on executive coaching, a top selling issue for the journal (Diedrich & Kilburg, 2001). Included in the spec ial issue was Richard Kilburg’s (1996) benchmark literature review on coaching wherein he wrote:

The application of coaching as a concept and set of techniques to the art and practice of management has been growing rapidly through the 1980s and 1990s. Howe ver, the scientific basis for these applications is extremely limited at this time. This is even more true for the practice of coaching in the context of consultation. Only two of the research studies covered by this review can be said to be even tangenti ally related to what is now being extensively marketed and practiced in the field (p. 136).

Kilburg produced a second review in 2000, and one year later Kampa - Kokesch and Anderson (2001) published yet another exhaustive literature review on executive

25

coach ing. These authors similarly described a robust professional exchange on coaching definitions, standards, techniques, methodologies, credentialing and clientele, but little empirical work on coaching (i.e., only seven empirical studies on coaching efficac y). Thus, while management coaching “draws heavily on theoretical frameworks and practical skills developed by the psychotherapeutic community” (Judge & Cowell, 1997, p. 75), lack of academic research on the cognitive and behavioral aspects of coaching has

produced a coaching establishment rich in helping traditions and anecdotal success stories (Brotman, Liberi, & Wasylyshyn, 1998; Frisch, 2001; Hart, Blattner, & Leipsic, 2001; Miller, Ogilvie, & Adams, 2000; Witherspoon & White, 1996) but weak in researc h evidence and supporting theory (Boyatzis, 2002, 2006; Ellinger & Bostrom, 1999; Lowman, 2001; Ryska et al ., 1991). A number of empirical studies have investigated such coaching elements as trust (Peterson, 1996); social support (Feltz et al ., 1999; Smith & Smoll, 1990; Young & Perrewe, 2000); and effective coaching practices

(Bowles et al ., 2007; Longenecker & Neubert, 2005; Luthans & Peterson, 2003; Ryan et al ., 1998). It is further reported that “125 peer - reviewed papers (and dissertations) related to c oaching [have] been published in the psychological literature since 1937 … [and] the majority of these publications occurred during the 1990s” (Grant, 2003a, 2003b in Bennett, 2006, p. 243). Notwithstanding these efforts, the absence of definitive empirica l work on coaching is so acute that Kilburg (2004) described the executive coaching domain as trudging toward Dodoville, “a habitat in which most, if not all, coaching methods will produce positive results from a variety of difficult - to - specify but nonethe less real common causes” (p. 210).

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If there is a need to address the documented gap in management coaching literature, what kind of research would be helpful? Concern about the theory gap in

Full document contains 200 pages
Abstract: Few research studies have tested hypotheses from an integrated, multilevel theoretical model on coaching intentional change. Drawing on Intentional Change Theory (ICT) and supporting cognitive emotion and social complexity perspectives on positive and negative affect, this dissertation presents the first empirical investigation on the differential impact of inducing positive emotion vs. negative emotion in real time executive coaching sessions. Nineteen coaching recipients were randomly assigned to two coaching conditions. In the PEA condition the coachee's own hopes, strengths, desired future (the Positive Emotional Attractor) was the anchoring framework of a one-time, hour-long coaching session. In the NEA condition the coachee's own perceived improvement needs, weaknesses, present reality (the Negative Emotional Attractor) was the anchoring framework. Two central ICT propositions were tested. Hypothesis1 predicted that PEA participants would show higher levels of positive emotion during appraisal of 360-degree feedback results and discussion of change goals than NEA participants. Hypothesis2 predicted that PEA participants would show lower levels of stress immediately after the coaching session than NEA participants. Regression analyses found that the PEA group showed significantly lower levels of negative emotions (p = .05) and anger ( p = .02) and focused more on personal interests and passions ( p = .01) as compared to the NEA group. These findings lend preliminary support to the proposition that framing a coaching session around a coachee's PEA elicits positive emotions that broaden a person's momentary thought-action repertoire, whereas framing a session in the NEA elicits negative emotions that narrow this array. Further, demonstrated time series changes in expressed sadness or depression (.01) and future (.04) offer preliminary support to the ICT proposition that recurrent PEA-NEA arousal, and associated interplay of positive and negative emotion, characterize intentional change. The prediction on post-coaching level of stress was not supported. Keywords. positive and negative emotion, intentional change, emotional appraisal, social complexity, executive coaching, positive psychology.