A Large-Scale Study of Executive and Workplace Coaching


The Relative Contributions of Relationship, Personality Match, and Self-Efficacy

Erik de Haan, Anthony M Grant, Yvonne Burger, Per-Olof Eriksson
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research 68.3, 189-207, 2016

This large-scale study of executive coaching explores the perceived effectiveness of coaching from the perspectives of coach, coachee and sponsor and potential active ingredients including the coach-coachee working alliance, coachee self-efficacy, personality, and “personality match” between coach and coachee. Using a retrospective design, data was collected from 1,895 client-coach pairs (366 different coaches) from 34 countries, and 92 sponsors; i.e. a total of 3,882 matching surveys. Results indicate that coachee perceptions of coaching effectiveness (CE) were significantly related to both coach and coachee-rated strength of the working alliance and to coachee self-efficacy, but unrelated to coachee or coach personality, nor to personality matching. The coachee-coach working alliance mediated the impact of self-efficacy on CE, suggesting that the strength of this working alliance – particularly as seen through the eyes of the coachee – is a key ingredient in CE. In addition, a strong emphasis on goals in the working alliance can partially compensate for low coachee self-efficacy. The “task” and “goal” aspects of the working alliance were stronger predictors of positive CE than the “bond” aspects, highlighting the importance of a task and goal focus in the coach-coachee relationship.

Download file:

Large Scale Coaching Outcome Research paper final