Contextual Coaching: Leveraging Context for Alignment in the System


Leadership, Management & Business


Philosophy of Coaching: An International Journal





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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Contextual coaching is a process that emphasizes the importance of an organization’s environment or context on leadership development work. It recognizes that certain attributes in an organization’s context like strategy, the organization’s attitude towards development, prevailing leadership style or feedback quality can have disproportionate impact on coaching outcomes and the sustainability of coaching work. Further, the process posits that achieving alignment between the contextual factors most relevant to the coaching work, the developmental objectives of the client and organizational goals and expectations, will result in better outcomes for both the client and the sponsoring firm (Gorrell & Hoover 2009). Although it is accepted that context surrounds all coaching work (Johns, 2006), there is an absence of empirical research on how it influences coaching effectiveness and sustained behavior change in organizations. This paper examines the perceived presence of contextual factors in an organization, considers how coaches incorporate them in practice, and suggests a framework to enhance coaching outcomes. The multi-phased qualitative/quantitative study utilizes the coach’s perspective to identify which contextual factors they most incorporate into their work and which factors they believe are most influential in promoting the sustainability of behavior change by the coaching client.