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An Exploratory Qualitative Study of Employee Perceptions of Effective Manager Coach-Employee Relationship

E Albarracin 2018

Previous researchers showed manager coaches face challenges setting up effective employee coaching relationships with their direct reports. Previous quantitative studies about the employee coaching relationship have not fully captured the common factors of effective coaching relationships that contribute to successful coaching outcomes. The purpose was to explore employee beliefs to find the factors that led to an effective manager-coach and employee relationship. One research question guided the study: What are the factors that employees believe lead to an effective manager coach-employee relationship? The researcher used a qualitative, exploratory, theoretical, thematic research design, from a constructivist paradigm to provide greater understanding about employee coaching relationships. The participants were lower-level employees from various industries who had experienced positive employee coaching relationships and outcomes with their manager-coaches. The researcher recruited 18 participants online from LinkedIn using nonrandom, purposive snowball sampling. The researcher collected qualitative data via in-depth, open-ended, semi-structured, telephone interviews. The researcher analyzed the data using deductive and inductive approaches for theoretical thematic analysis through the conceptual lens of social interdependence theory. Eight factors emerged for setting up an effective employee coaching relationship: (a) manager-coach and employee positive interdependence, (b) manager-coach person-set, (c) manager-coach role-set, (d) manager-coach and employee partnership, (e) manager-coach and employee psychological processes, (f) manager-coach and employee relationship, (g) employee coaching growth, and (h) employee coaching outcomes. Results showed that positive interdependence was an antecedent for effective manager-coach and employee relationships. All 18 (100%) of the participants indicated they established positive interdependent relationships with their manager-coaches in organizational settings. The results also showed manager-coach and employee relationships were mutually dependent partnership-oriented relationships that positively evolved over time to become personal and professional working relationships. Eight (44%) of the 18 participants reported that their manager-coaches treated them as equals. Also, 12 (67%) of the 18 participants reported that their manager-coaches treated them as friends. The researcher concluded that positive social interdependence was necessary to establish effective manager-coach and employee relationships. Organizations can use the results of this study to build effective manager-coach and employee coaching programs.

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