Coaching managers: A Q methodological study of managers’ subjective experience of being coaching managers
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The aim of this study is to explore managers’ subjective experience of having a coaching approach to management. This has been researched through a Q methodological approach where 18 participants sorted a sample of 36 statements based on their subjective experience. These statements were prepared on the basis of a research design which included how managers perceive their role as both manager and coach, how they relate to a focus on process and product, and how they experience the relational quality to their employees. Four factors were identified through the factor analysis, and represents different views or experiences of coaching management. Factor 1 experiences coaching as a natural part of their role as managers and find that coaching promote results, learning and growth through reciprocal relations. Factor 2 does not seem to recognize coaching as a central role or management style, and emphasizes independence and autonomy as essential for efficiency and success. Factor 3 experiences that coaching management is primarily about being supportive. They also find that the position as manager brings with it a certain authority. Factor 4 has a results oriented focus and considers shared control as central to promote cooperation. These findings are discussed in relation to two models that show different ways of understanding the experience of being a coaching manager. The theoretical frame includes polarity management, situational leadership and transformational change. The results show that coaching management entails contradictory aspects that the factors relate to differently. What is perceived as polarities also varies. The thesis further addresses how the development of a coaching approach to management can be seen as an integration of polarities through transformational learning.