IDENTITY CONSTRUCTION IN COACHING: SCHEMAS, INFORMATION PROCESSING, AND GOAL COMMITMENT

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Abstract

Leadership coaching is a nearly $2 billion per year industry (International Coach Federation, 2012), and although many different theories and approaches to coaching exist, relatively little is known about the differential effectiveness of various coaching approaches. Grounded in theories germane to but that transcend coaching (e.g., social identity, information processing), this study explores the ways in which several factors influence a very proximal outcome of coaching—commitment to set goals. It was hypothesized that coaches can intentionally help their coachees attain a more helpful coaching schema; additionally, it was hypothesized that this schema influences information processing during the session, which in turn affects goal commitment. A laboratory study was conducted in which trained research associates conducted a 1-session coaching session with undergraduate students focused on improving conflict management skills. Key findings highlight the importance of the coaching schema for directing information processing and eliciting higher levels of goal commitment in coaching.

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