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Leaders’ adaptive identity development in uncertain contexts: Implications for executive coaching

K Bennett International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring 2021

Executive coaches need to add value to leaders in uncertain organisational contexts. One way would be to support leaders with their personal uncertainty by encouraging adaptive responses. This qualitative study, using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, explored leaders’ lived experience of personal uncertainty through interviews, to identify leverage points for executive coaching. Since personal uncertainty energises sensemaking and identity work, the inter-related theoretical lenses of sensemaking and leader identity work, currently scarce as lenses informing executive coaching practice, were used to interpret the findings. Implications for executive coaching are outlined and include facilitating leaders’ identity work, particularly their sensemaking, towards adaptive identity development.

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