The coaching relationship and other ‘common factors’ in executive coaching outcome.


E. de Haan, & C. Sills (Eds.)
Coaching relationships: relational coaching field book (pp. 185-196). Faringdon: Libri., 2012

This is a quantitative study of executive coaching to determine the key factors or ‘active ingredients’ which contribute to its effectiveness.

Data collected from 156 client–coach pairs participating in formally contracted, external executive coaching was analysed to examine the impact on coaching outcome of the following: client self-efficacy, client personality and client–coach personality match (in terms of the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator – MBTI), perceived coach interventions and the strength of the client–coach relationship (using the working alliance inventory).

Strong indications were found for the prediction of coaching outcome by: (1) the coaching relationship in terms of a working alliance, as experienced by the client; (2) the self-efficacy of the client; and (3) generalised coaching technique as experienced by the client. The client–coach relationship (working alliance) strongly mediated the impact of self-efficacy and tech- nique on coaching outcomes, suggesting that the perception of working alliance by the client was the key factor in coaching outcome. Personality or personality matching did not correlate with coaching outcome.

From this research it seems that the so called ‘common factors’ of coaching conversations – i.e. those aspects which are not related to specific coaching technique, approach or philosophy – indeed play a role in influ- encing the outcome for the client. As a result, it appears most important at all times to attend to and develop the coaching relationship as seen by the client.

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