"Coaching Behaviors and Skills Utilized by Empowering Managers"
Presented by Matt M. Starcevich, Ph. D.
(Center for Coaching & Mentoring) and Carol A. Otto, Ph. D. (Ameritech) to the
International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), April 16, 1996, Dallas, Texas.
It's nice to have the opportunity to demonstrate to you that a
key organization element that many consider soft, actually delivers hard results. Today,
we are going to share with you some breakthrough research that clearly shows how an
organization can increase employee productivity and innovation through transformational
leadership and the behaviors these transformation leaders exhibit during empowering
coaching discussions with others.
We've divided our presentation into five parts:
- The Research Journey
- Research Results
- The Coaching Styles of Transformational Leaders
- A Short Video That Allows You To See and Hear the Difference
Between Transformational Leaders and Managers
- Prescriptions For Developing More Effective Transformational
Leaders and Coaches
A literature search of over 200 books and articles confirmed that
successful companies had more innovative and productive employees and employees who were
more loyal and committed. They also had leaders who exhibited characteristics that
"transformed a group of individual into a high performance team." Our first
research question was: If successful companies had more innovative and productive
employees, and if loyal and committed employees were more productive and
innovative....what role does transformational leadership play in creating and sustaining
employee loyalty, innovation, commitment, and productivity?
Yet there existed no valid instrument for identifying those
people who exhibited transformational leadership behaviors. The literature suggested that
leaders exhibited these transformational characteristics:
- Sharing the vision
- Building a learning environment
- Being a positive role model
- Recognizing individual abilities/values
- Reinforcing self-confidence/independence
- Supporting their employees
- Driving out fear
- Encouraging participation/self-expression
- Fostering continuous improvement
- Fostering initiative and responsibility
- Encouraging persistence
- Emphasizing intrinsic outcomes
- Advocating shared leadership
The Transformational Leadership Scale consisted of 54 questions
developed to assess these thirteen areas. In addition three other validated scales were
included in the study:
- Leader-Member Exchange Scale which contained six questions
measuring perceived employee loyalty.
- Commitment Scales which measured effective commitment or
positive feelings of identification with the work in the organization and continuance
commitment which assessed the extent to which an employee is committed because the
cost of leaving was too high.
- Organization Justice Scale which assessed the employees'
perception of formal procedures, interpersonal fairness, fairness in explanation of
decisions and fairness in distribution of rewards.
The total survey was administered to 800 direct reporting
employees of 77 first through middle level leaders in two different organizations. To
simplify the analysis, and to give us a more precise and concise instrument for the
future, we performed a factor analysis that allowed us to create a fifteen item
Transformational Leadership Scale (TLS). This scale was used for both the statistical
analysis and in future testing.
(For a more detailed discussion of the analysis and results, see:
Otto, Carol, A. The Relationship Between Transformational Leadership and Employee
Loyalty, Employee Commitment, and Employee Perceptions of Organizational Justice. A
dissertation submitted to Michigan State University in practical fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Program in Higher, Adult, and
Lifelong Education Department of Educational Administration. 1993.)
Our findings clearly demonstrated a path to achieving employee
productivity and innovation through transformational leadership and employee loyalty and
commitment. There was a high correlation between the fifteen item Transformational
Leadership Scale and:
- Employee Loyalty.
- Employee Effective Commitment (people are committed because they
believe in the work of the organization).
- Employees' Perception of Organization Justice.
There was no correlation between transformational leadership and
Continuance Commitment or being committed because the cost of leaving the organization was
The survey was conducted in two distinctly different
organization. One was an extremely large corporation in the information industry and the
other a medium sized manufacturing firm. There was also one other major factor that
separated these organization....one had been through several significant down sizings over
the last ten years and was going through another one when the survey was conducted. The
second organization had experienced ten years of solid growth. If any factor could have
influenced the outcome, this was it. The psychological contract had been broken in one and
remained intact in the other organization. We found just the opposite:
The more frequently leaders exhibit transformational leadership
characteristics, the more loyal and committed employees are....regardless of the effect of
down sizings or growth.
The Coaching Styles of Transformational
Having identified those leaders that make a difference, we next
wanted to study how they behaved in one of their responsibilities - coaching others. We
chose to focus on coaching for two reasons:
- Along with teamwork, the prescription for the 90's has been to be
less of a boss and more of a coach.
- This model was based on and 1985 research project that studied the
actual coaching behavior of effective and ineffective coaches. This is described in a book
co-authored by Matt M. Starcevich, Ph. D., The
Coach: Creating Partnerships For a Competitive Edge. Which happens to be on sale at
the ISPI bookstore.
- The research had two limitation:
- The effective and ineffective coaches were selected based upon
peer and employee perceptions and lacked any quantifiable information that these coaches
produced any results.
- The focus of our observations were on "problematic"
Coaching Research Design
To remedy these two, we selected a sample of High, Medium and Low
scoring Transformational Leaders. We gave them the same two coaching cases. These cases
were dealing with discussion with another person aimed at helping them become more
empowered and personally responsible for their growth and changes. We trained two people
to play the role of the employee in these cases. The leaders were told that they would be
video taped during their discussion and that they were to use their natural style and
approach. Over two days, we conducted 24 role play coaching discussions. Before each
discussion, we asked the leader to describe their strategy and after each discussion, we
asked for their evaluation of the results. We also had the employees provide feedback
immediately after the role play and in comparison form at the end of the two days.
Coaching Research Results
- Content analysis confirmed that the transformational leaders
utilized the Eight Step Coaching Model in these positive, empowering coaching discussions.
- Only those who scored as "high" transformational leader
saw their role as helper, facilitator, partner, or ally. The "lows" saw their
role as a boss.
- The employees said the conversations with the "highs"
were enjoyable and productive while they saw the "lows" as jerks who didn't
- The "high" transformational leaders utilized engaging
interpersonal communication skills.
The following two charts illustrate the difference
in some fundamental communication skills, asking questions versus making statements, and
sharing the conversation versus dominating the conversation, between those scoring high on
the transformational leadership scale (TLS), medium and low.
Questions Versus Statements
Employee vs Leader Lines
A Short Video That Allows
You To See and Hear the Difference Between Transformational Leaders and Managers
The video clearly illustrated that the "high"
transformation leaders were more involved in problem solving and questioning for
understanding and acceptance, while the "lows" took a more telling/dictating
Prescriptions for Developing More
Effective Transformational Leaders and Coaches
A short overview was presented on how we train
managers and leaders to be more effective coaches. The talk concluded with a very active
twenty (20) minute question and answer period.
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