Journal of Occupational

This study presents a meta-analysis synthesizing the existing research on the effectiveness of workplace coaching. We exclusively explore workplace coaching provided by internal or external coaches and therefore exclude cases of manager–subordinate and peer coaching. We propose a framework of potential outcomes from coaching in organizations, which we examine meta-analytically (=17). Our analyses indicated that coaching had positive effects on organizational outcomes overall (δ = 0.36), and on specific forms of outcome criteria (skill-based δ = 0.28; affective δ = 0.51; individual-level results δ = 1.24). We also examined moderation by a number of coaching practice factors (use of multisource feedback; type of coach; coaching format; longevity of coaching). Our analyses of practice moderators indicated a significant moderation of effect size for type of coach (with effects being stronger for internal coaches compared to external coaches) and use of multisource feedback (with the use of multisource feedback resulting in smaller positive effects). We found no moderation of effect size by coaching format (comparing face-to-face, with blended face-to-face and e-coaching) or duration of coaching (number of sessions or longevity of intervention). The effect sizes give support to the potential utility of coaching in organizations. Implications for coaching research and practice are discussed.

Practitioner points

  • Our meta-analysis supports the positive effects of workplace coaching as an approach to employee learning and development in organizations, with a variety of criteria.
  • Our findings indicate that coaching was more effective when conducted by internal coaches and when multisource feedback was excluded.
  • Workplace coaching was effective whether conducted face-to-face or using blended techniques (i.e., blending face-to-face with e-coaching).

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