Research Digest: Volume 3, Issue 2 (2017)

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Research Digest: Volume 3, Issue 2 (2017)
Institute of Coaching Research Digest

We continue to offer the Research Digest to our members and associates. The Research Digest is published by the Institute of Coaching, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School affiliate and is made possible through a generous contribution by Meyler Campbell, who train business leaders to become professional executive coaches. 

The Research Digest highlights selected papers relevant to coaching theory and research that will enhance coaching practices.  A lead article is selected for the theme of this issue and is described and analyzed in detail, other relevant articles are also referenced. Links are provided to the full articles, and in many cases the full text is available from our resources for IOC members. 

The Theme for this issue of the Research Digest is Leadership in a stressful workplace and the role of coaching.

Workplace environments can be stressful and lead to reduced well-being as well as significant consequences such as burnout. Coaching to prevent burnout has been expanding, particularly for leaders and practitioners in the helping professions. In this issue of the Research Digest, we have selected articles which discuss leadership and stress, and explicitly connect it to the wellbeing of leaders, to the people they work with, as well as to organizational context. The first article on leadership and stress (Harms et al, 2017) is our featured article – it is a meta-analysis illustrating that stress impacts leaders’ behaviors, which has consequences for their relationships and the wellbeing of others. The second article (Sharma et al, 2016) similarly looks at acute stressors, their impact on leaders themselves and on their ability to support others (and thus on social cohesion within the organization). The third article (Kranabetter & Niessen, 2017) also starts from the premise that managers play a role in employees’ health and that transformative leadership is beneficial for employee wellbeing. It explores how transformative leadership is related to employee exhaustion and cynicism – which is lower if leaders are aware of their own health.  All three articles elaborate on the implications of their findings for practice, and as you read these, you will see the potential role of coaching. Then we present three articles which discuss interventions in the workplace – Grant (2017) highlights “third generation coaching” in the workplace which aims to enhance both wellbeing and performance. Vanhove et al 2017 review programs for developing resilience in the workplace, and conclude that their positive effects were generally small, however most effective were one-on-one interventions such as coaching. The final article in this issue (Grover & Furnham, 2016) is an extensive systematic review of the effectiveness of coaching in the workplace and the potential mechanisms through which it achieves its impact. It covers research by academics and practitioners, evaluates the methodological quality of the papers and concludes that research on coaching effectiveness has made significant strides, but has significant gaps that need to be filled.

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