Awareness Based Coaching - a tool for leadership development: A qualitative study of how awareness based coaching can lead to personal and professional development amongst leaders
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Our world is growing increasingly complex, creating new challenges for leadership. Hence there is a need for leadership development to meet the larger society needs. Coaching is a well-known tool used to support leaders in their developmental process. The purpose of this thesis is to research the longer term impact of awareness based coaching on leaders’ personal and professional development. In order to explore and understand more about the impact of this new awareness based technology, I have conducted a qualitative study where empirical data has been collected through interviews. I have had a hermeneutical approach to the work of analyzing and interpreting my empirical data. Through a thematic analysis, I found four categories: Awareness is the most important thing, Changes in behavior, Changes in attitude, and Perceived internalized leadership development support practices. To expose, contextualize and understand my findings I have discussed the categories in relation to relevant theory. In the discussion I have mainly used the theories of Kegan (1982, 1994, 2000), Kegan and Lahey (2009), Joiner and Josephs (2007), Jordan (2002, 2011), Heifetz (2009, 2010), Dweck (2006) and Argyris (1991) to try and answer my research question: What is the longer term impact of awareness based coaching on leaders’ personal and professional development? Through the course of analyzing and discussing my empirical data I found that the impact of awareness based coaching is individual, and hence there is variety in experienced outcome. Trying to understand why participants experience different impacts of the coaching I saw that varieties in outcome could be explained by differences in my research participants starting points and level of cognitive growth. Although in varying degrees, empirical data suggests that awareness based coaching has led to an increased awareness, changes in behavior, attitudes and leadership style in my research participants. Also, experienced changes seem to be on both a personal and professional level.