A Study in Leadership Coaching

As a ministry we have been coaching and training coaches for nearly 25 years using an integrated coaching approach that is designed to embed a coaching culture. During that time we have continued to evaluate and improve on what we are doing. A few years ago one of our senior coaches used our coaching methodology as part of his Masters Degree which concentrated on the effects of coaching on psychological empowerment. Here is an overview of what he discovered.


A research examination was conducted on our 9-month leadership coaching intervention.  The coaching intervention focused on the executive leadership team of a Christian organisation, which also involved training the executives in how to coach others within the organisation in order to create a coaching culture flow-on effect within the organisation.


The organisation receiving the 9-month coaching intervention had previously conducted their own assessment on needed areas for organisational health and growth.  They had discovered a need for greater “leadership empowerment,” and therefore committed to a coaching intervention.  They allowed the research with a quantitative and qualitative study to be conducted, so the organisation could understand some of their return on investment, along with the impact created.

 Research Methodology:

Before the coaching intervention started, the researcher used a questionnaire to measure various desirable outcomes, such as leader-empowering behaviours, job satisfaction and psychological empowerment.  This created a baseline on which to contrast any progress.  On the completion of the coaching intervention the same questionnaire collected data to measure the impact from the coaching intervention.  Furthermore, a qualitative interview process took place at the mid-way point, specifically focusing on how empowered people felt from the coaching.

 Research Results:

The quantitative study showed significant results were demonstrated from leaders’ self-reports on leader-empowering behaviours, while their team members’ self-reports revealed a significant flow on effect of psychological empowerment.

The qualitative study, which was a snapshot at the mid-way point, explored the developmental nature of psychological empowerment through coaching. The examination dissected psychological empowerment into its widely accepted four facets of meaning, impact, competency and self-determination.  It was discovered that several of the common practices within coaching, including goal setting, accountability and action-reflection, contributed to the production of outcomes that developed higher levels of psychological empowerment.

 Conclusion and Return on Investment:

The conclusion of the quantitative research revealed that the key areas the organisation wanted to develop in through coaching were achieved through increases in their executive leaders’ leader-empowering behaviours.  It also revealed that those whom the executive leaders coached (and many were not their direct reports) felt more empowered.  Finally, the qualitative research demonstrated that executive leaders felt a greater sense of being more empowered from coaching.  This had a flow-on effect through them having a greater desire to use a coaching approach with their staff.  Furthermore, elements within coaching, such as, goal setting, being held accountable, and action-reflection contributed to greater empowerment.

Response from the Masters Degree Supervisor

This is a powerful presentation that draws together the multiple threads of your research. Your conclusions are well supported by the evidence and you provide some sensible direction as to the use of coaching in leadership development. I think the real story here is the power of an integrated organisational coaching approach rather than ‘executive coaching’ per se. That is, the research in its entirety tells the story of a very well thought out organisational strategy that goes well beyond the one-to-one executive coaching model that is favoured by many organisations. It is a sophisticated model that requires a receptive organisational context. Presumably there are some key people in the organisation who are passionate about coaching. Many organisations would not be receptive to such a program even though the coaching literature is beginning to explore systematic organisational approaches to embedding a coaching culture.

The author of this article is David Allan (MBus) and he can be contacted at

For further information on Coaching and coach training contact Colin Noyes at 

Related Resources

360 Degree On-line Coach Assessment There’s a big difference between hoping you become competent and ensuring that you become competent when it comes to coaching. The 360-Degree On-line Coach Assessment is used to evaluate a coach on Nine Core Coaching Competencies of a Christian Coach. This research-based evaluation tool will allow the coach to view their strengths and possible areas of growth which will help in developing a regular Personal Development Action Plan.

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