Gray D E, Ekinci Y, Goregaokar H: Coaching SME managers: business development or personal therapy? A mixed methods study.
The International Journal of Human Resource Management 22(4): 863-882, 2011.
Abstract: While a growing number of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are making use of coaching, little is known about the impact such coaching has within this sector. This study sought to identify the factors that influence managers' decision to engage with coaching, their perceptions of the coaching ‘journey’ and the kinds of benefits accruing from coaching: organisational, personal or both. As part of a mixed methods approach, a survey tool was developed based upon a range of relevant management competencies from the UK's Management Occupational Standards and responses analysed using importance-performance analysis, an approach first used in the marketing sector to evaluate customer satisfaction. Results indicate that coaching had a significant impact on personal attributes such as ‘Managing Self-Cognition’ and ‘Managing Self-Emotional’, whereas the impact on business-oriented attributes was weaker. Managers' choice of coaches with psychotherapeutic rather than non-psychotherapeutic backgrounds was also statistically significant. We conclude that even in the competitive business environment of SMEs, coaching was used as a largely personal, therapeutic intervention rather than to build business-oriented competencies.