The Importance of Coach-Coachee Matching – a research study

This article examines the dynamics of executive coach-coachee matching for the purpose of assessing the dynamics of this process in the South African context, with a specific focus on the experiences and perspectives of participants.
The matching process was described as a critical step in the implementation of a coaching programme in an example of a coach-coachee matching study that focused on gender diversity (David E Gray & Goregaokar, 2010). This research study focused on the dynamics of the matching process to enhance the understanding of the developmental elements involved in the establishment of a good coaching relationship that would ensure successful coaching outcomes.

How the Research was Conducted

This study took place in Johannesburg within the South African context of business executive coaching which is growing in popularity in corporates. It involved seven private sector organisations that had implemented executive coaching as a management development tool. The participants included twenty-two (22) participants consisting of fifteen (15) coachees, four (4) HR managers and three (3) coaches.

Research instrument: The researcher used an in-depth semi-structured interview technique for data collection.

Key findings:

Organisation-coachee dynamics:

  1. Factors contributing to positive organisation-coachee dynamics include: an organisational coaching culture and formal programme; trained internal coaches; geographic access to coaches; availability of choice; a dedicated matching person; group coaching and an enabling use of technology.
  2. Factors contributing to negative organisation-coachee dynamics include limited coach experience; remedial coaching; negative feedback and limiting technology use.

Coach-coachee dynamics:

  1. Factors contributing to positive coach-coachee matching dynamics include: complementarity of personality, values and beliefs of the coach and coachee dyad. The other findings pointed to preferred demographics of coach and coachee;
  2. Factors that contribute to negative coach-coachee dynamics included unmet expectations of the coachee; lack of trust; personality clash; crossing of the coaching relationship boundaries; negative impact of coach-coachee demographics.

Conclusions of the study

The conclusions of this study seem to indicate that organisations need to consider the dynamics involved in matching coaches to coachees and implement necessary programmatic strategies to ensure effective matching process with a focus on the establishment of the coaching relationship.

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