The executive's perceptions and experience of resilience as influenced by coaching interventions in South Africa

Stevens, Tanya
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Today’s business world is dynamic and ever-changing, and for organisations and executives to survive and thrive, learning and self-development must be a vital component of their individual and business strategy (Luthans, Vogelgesang, & Lester, 2006). Linked to this, in their roles as leaders, executives have to navigate a constant onslaught of changes and challenges from the environment which makes their ability to ‘bounce back’ from negative events, and thus be resilient, crucial (Avolio & Gardner, 2005; Hamel & Valikangas, 2003). Continued learning and development is therefore required in order to enhance executives’ resilience and their ability to adjust to change and deal with the challenges they face (Moran, 2011; Passmore, 2010; Kaye, 2006). One method that has been identified to assist executives in their continued learning and self-development is Executive Coaching, which has emerged as one of the most important developmental and training tools for these individuals (Jones, Reafferty, & Griffin, 2006). This study aims to contribute to the field of Executive Coaching by investigating how executives who have been coached perceive and experience resilience and well as how executives who have not been coached perceive and experience resilience. The study explores the differences between the perceptions and experiences of resilience between the ‘coached’ and the ‘non-coached’ and examines the coaching interventions that played a part in influencing these perceptions. 18 South African executives were interviewed using an unstructured interview format for this study. These interviews were then transcribed and analysed using methods of thematic content analysis and several themes emerged as a result. The study found that, overall, coaching interventions do influence an executive’s perceptions and experience of resilience, most notably in the areas of increased self-confidence, selfawareness and emotional regulation and awareness. The findings further highlight that participants perceive resilience as a multi-dimensional process influenced by multiple factors, and although all the respondents who had been coached indicated they found Executive Coaching to be both helpful and useful, the influence of coaching interventions on resilience fluctuated across the themes that emerged. A significant recommendation from the study is the need for coaches to address coaching interventions and resilience holistically in order to provide comprehensive support and attention to all of the aspects that impact an executive’s resilience.
Thesis (M.M. (Business Executive Coaching))--University of the Witwatersrand, Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, Graduate School of Business Administration, 2013.
Executives, Coaching, South Africa, Training