Executive coaching: a sustainable leadership development intervention

Duminda Rajasinghe, Eduardo Tome (Editor), Maria Jose Sousa (Editor), Sandra Costa (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


Purpose: The paper aims to report a research that explores leaders’ sense making of their executive coaching experience in terms of their development. It establishes executive coaching as a sustainable leadership development intervention. Design/methodology/approach: This qualitative study employed Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Five participants, three coachees and two coaches were selected from a case study organisation. Two semi-structured interviews were conducted with each participant and both coachee and coach perspectives on coachee development were explored. The analysis was conducted following IPA guidelines. It employed the empathetic and questioning hermeneutics. Findings: The study reveals that coachees become coaches and independent learners due to their engagement with the executive coaching. The study therefore, highlights executive coaching as a sustainable leadership development intervention. Research limitations/implications: The study employed a small purposively selected sample and conducted semi-structured interviews as the only data collection method. The findings are therefore not generalizable. Social implications: This paper engenders a debate on executive coaching’s ability of developing business leaders. It also develops a research base for the practitioner dominant industry so the organisations and the individuals who seek to develop their talent base might benefit from this study. Coaches find this study as an evidence based for their practice. Originality/value: The study incorporates a widely known health psychological research methodology into business research. It also introduces a rare design of IPA conducting two interviews with each participant to deepen the understanding and explores two different perspectives (coachee and coach). This appears as the first executive coaching study with such IPA research design. In addition, it makes the coachee voice heard through this study which is under-represented in coaching research. The research developed an evidence base to support that coachees become coaches and independent learners. Thus, it highlights executive coaching as a sustainable leadership developmental intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th International Conference on Human Resource Development Research and Practice across Europe
Place of PublicationLisbon
Number of pages989
ISBN (Print)9789892076300
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2017


  • Executive coaching
  • leadership development
  • interpretative phenomenological analysis


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