Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Donna Brown

Abstract

The executive coaching and positive psychology fields are growing; however, minimal research exists regarding the coaching experiences of executive coachees with the various approaches a coach can utilize. The problem addressed in this study was the lack of research on consistent standards regarding how executive coaching should be conducted. The primary purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of executives who have been coached using approaches based on Snyder's hope theory, Buckingham and Clifton's theories of strength-based approaches to leadership, and the theories of positive psychology advanced by Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi. The participants in this study were a purposively selected sample of 20 executives. The primary data collection method was semistructured interviews, and the resulting data were recorded and organized into themes guided by the research questions, and was analyzed for overarching themes, validated, and interpreted against Snyder's hope theory. The findings demonstrated the importance of coaching approaches utilizing all components of hope theory and the importance of the coaching approach being the preference of the executive. These findings can be used by executive coaches to inform coaching approaches that lead to favorable leadership behavioral changes. The potential for social change from this study is that the findings can help guide improvements in leadership in all areas of organizations, including the non-profit sector, that lead to better serving of goals and increasing organizational capacities.