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Exploring the meaning of coaching for newly appointed senior leaders in their first twelve to eighteen months in role

G Reynolds International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring 2011

Newly appointed senior leaders are typically expected to “hit the ground running” and start making a difference within a few weeks of their arrival. This study explores how they articulate and interpret their experience of coaching during their transition period. Using a phenomenological based approach, the empirical research involved in-depth interviews with six recently appointed senior leaders in the private and public sectors. The findings revealed that participants attribute particular significance to their coaching in helping them overcome a deep sense of vulnerability in the face of complex challenges, develop new personal, social and cognitive capacities, and identify new purpose and meaning in their whole lives which in turn engenders motivation and ownership of the role. Participants also attributed significant value to the calm, reflective space created by the coach who may need to engage in a variety of ways, as coach, mentor, counsellor or management consultant, depending on their needs.

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