The Nature of the Learning Experiences of Leadership Coaches That Lead to Coaching Competencies| A Phenomenological Study

by Clark R Backus

Institution: The George Washington University
Year: 2017
Keywords: Educational leadership; Adult education
Posted: 02/01/2018
Record ID: 2155203
Full text PDF: http://pqdtopen.proquest.com/#viewpdf?dispub=10681890


This qualitative, phenomenological study addressed the research question: What is the nature of the learning experiences of leadership coaches that lead to coaching competency? With the increasing recognition of leadership coaching as a meaningful leadership development experience (Allen & Hartman, 2008; Maltbia, Marsick, & Ghosh, 2014; Yukl, 2013), there is a growing need for professional coaches to have the knowledge, skills, and behaviors required of an effective coach. Research suggests that a focus on competency development may be critical to long-term viability and career success (Van Der Heijde & Van Der Heijden, 2006). Additionally, recent research indicates that coaches can learn behaviors and skills related to the 11 International Coach Federation competencies from their coaching experiences (De Haan, 2008; Goldman, Wesner, & Karnhanomai, 2013; Passmore & Fillery-Travis, 2011). Six themes emerged from the data collection: (1) The coachs learning was triggered by memorable, episodic events that occurred either during or after the coaching process; (2) a coachs awareness of personal readiness for, and openness to, the coaching process contributed to the coachs learning; (3) the use of a variety of coaching approaches and methodologies helped set the conditions for the coachs learning; (4) a coachs ongoing assessment of the dynamic interaction between coach and client during or after the coaching process contributed to the coachs learning; (5) formal and informal experiences with other coaches and/or with coach trainees also contributed to the coachs learning; and (6) the experiences that led to the coachs learning were highly emotional for the coach. The study concluded that the nature of the learning experiences that lead to coaching competencies can be described by six characteristics. Further, coaches use familiar tools and techniques to construct meaning from coaching experiences to learn coaching competencies, and process-oriented coaching competencies are more frequently learned while coaching than are structurally oriented coaching competencies. The study suggested a model of how coaches learn coaching competencies through the coachs own readiness, ongoing assessment during the coaching engagement, use of reflection, and awareness of personal and client emotions. Recommendations were offered for theory, practice, and future research.