Research Paper By Ann Herd
(Life Strategies Coach, UNITED STATES)
Assessment tools are increasingly being used by executive coaches during coaching engagements, to provide clients with personalized feedback. In this paper, literature pertaining to coaching assessments and feedback processes in organizations is reviewed. Based on this review, a decision framework is offered for coaches considering the use of coaching assessments.
The importance of feedback for attaining performance objectives is well-documented, and the processes by which feedback is sought, received, and acted upon by recipients have also received a great deal of research attention (Ashford & Cummings, 1983; Ilgen, Fisher, & Taylor, 1979; London & Smither, 2002; Moss & Sanchez, 2004; Silverman, Pogson, & Cober, 2005). These feedback processes are an inherent and integral part of executive coaching, as the coach and client work together throughout the coaching process to gather, interpret, and act upon feedback that is relevant for the client’s coaching goals. Assessment tools are increasingly being used by executive coaches during coaching engagements to provide clients with personalized feedback (serpacoaching.com). However, there exists a paucity of empirical research on how assessments may be used most effectively in the executive coaching process (Bona, Purvanova, Towler, & Peterson, 2009; Herd & Russell, 2010). The purpose of this paper, then, is to review the literature on coaching assessment tools as well as employee feedback processes to provide a conceptual decision framework for the use of assessment tools in executive coaching.
Assessments in Coaching
The term “assessments” in coaching can be used in a variety of ways, and generally connotes measurement, description, feedback, and/or evaluation. For the purposes of this paper, the term assessments will be used to refer to an instrument or tool with measurement properties that is used to gauge relevant client attributes. In a review of a sample of 53 coaching assessment tools, Herd and Russell (2010) note that a variety of assessment tools are available for use in executive coaching. These include questionnaire and simulation exercises used to measure client constructs such as work performance, personality, leader behaviors, motives and values, executive derailers, cultural preferences, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking skills. Table 1 provides some examples of assessments used in executive coaching.