The Impact of Coaching Leadership on Employees' Positive Outcomes

The Impact of Coaching Leadership on Employees' Positive Outcomes

Neuza Ribeiro (Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Portugal) and Rita Menezes (University of Lisbon, Portugal & Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9235-8.ch002

Abstract

Leaders resort to a coaching leadership style—which relies heavily on listening, helping, supporting, developing, removing obstacles, and empowering others—to promote valuable work experiences and positive attitudinal and behavioral responses from employees. These employees' outcomes are an important part of organizational success. In this chapter, the authors examine the connection between coaching leadership style and employees' affective commitment, creativity, and customer orientation. A quantitative study was carried out based on the perceptions of 80 front office workers from different Portuguese organizations on their leaders and their own attitudes and behaviors. The results, consistent with existing literature, indicated that, when leaders adopt a coaching leadership style, their followers are more affectively committed, exhibit more creative behavior, and perform in a more customer-oriented way.
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Introduction

Leadership is seen as an essential element in the study of organizations and it is considered the most important “ingredient” in the success of an organization (May-Chium et al., 2015). Leadership is much more than performing a role. In fact, leaders act in such a way that other people end up following their orders; this skill embodies decision-making, acting, and meeting objectives while influencing or guaranteeing the commitment of others in achieving precisely this. Even though this definition is relatively widespread and accepted, there are many types of leaders and leadership. For example, current economic challenges have increased the need for more positive forms of organizational leadership, and researchers found that participative leadership styles, such as the Coaching leadership style, positively affect business performance (Lancaster and Van der Velden, 2004).

The Coaching leadership style, as an example of transformational leadership, creates high levels of commitment, trust, and inspiration in its followers, whose commitment exceeds expectations (Pradhan and Pradhan, 2015). A leader who is also a coach is a facilitator and a key element in team dynamics. Leaders with Coaching skills help employees to grow professionally, and eventually personally while establishing good relationships with them.

The Coaching leadership style includes listening, helping, supporting, developing, removing obstacles, empowering others (Berg and Karlsen, 2016), setting clear performance expectations, increasing self-awareness, providing constructive feedback, and having regular conversations where individual and organizational goals are discussed (Larsson and Vinberg, 2010; Sparks and Gentry, 2008). Therefore, these leaders promote more positive work experiences and positive attitudinal and behavioural responses from employees. Leader-member exchange theory (LMX) can offer insights on how Coaching can effectively influence attitudes, such as affective commitment and intrinsic motivation (Onyemah, 2009). Leader’s emotional intelligence is also critical in predicting Coaching outcomes (Ladyshewsky, 2010) because emotionally intelligent leaders are more likely to build social relationships that positively stimulate performance (Howard, 2006).

Researchers have proposed that effective Coaching has become an essential element of management and a crucial skill when developing sustainable leadership (Boyatzis et al., 2006; Liu and Batt, 2010). Also, literature on leadership suggests that Coaching is linked to effective management behaviours (Anderson et al., 2009; Hagen, 2010; Kinicki et al., 2011). For these reasons, executive Coaching has been a fundamental component of most organizations’ leadership development strategy (Underhill et al., 2007).

Employees’ performance and organizational success can be deeply influenced by Coaching leadership style, so it is vital to understand what leaders as coaches should do in organizations and how they influence their followers. Therefore, organizations are increasingly expecting leaders to coach their followers, and research has confirmed positive correlations between Coaching and employee satisfaction, individual performance, and achievement of organizational goals (Ellinger et al., 2011; Wheeler, 2011). These outcomes constitute relevant grounds for leaders to adopt Coaching as part of their practices.

Despite Coaching’s popularity in organizations, empirical research on relationships between Coaching leadership style and employees’ attitudes and behaviours is still scarce, even though several authors have confirmed the existence of a few empirical studies on the connection between managerial Coaching and workers’ outcomes (Ellinger, 2013; Gilley et al., 2010; Hagen, 2012; Huang and Hsieh, 2015; Mackie, 2015; Tanskanen et al., 2018).

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