Date of Conferral







John Schmidt


Current efforts to develop and promote women to senior-level positions in organizations remain insufficient. Many leadership development programs are not designed to help women develop a sense of leader identity and self-efficacy. Executive coaching is a process to develop leaders that is customizable for individuals to address their specific needs and goals. A phenomenological study was conducted to gain insight into the lived experiences of executive coaches to discern their strategies and practices for working with women who aspire to attain senior leadership roles. Ten executive coaches working with aspiring women leaders as part of a Network of Executive Women leadership development program were interviewed to capture their strategies and practices. Twelve general types of barriers or challenges were identified from the interviews. Eight different strategies were used to help clients move past barriers/challenges. Coaches are effective in moving aspiring female leaders past barriers; however, more work is needed in leadership identity development. Women face more barriers to advancement than men and consequently more developmental support is needed to achieve greater diversity at the highest ranks of leadership. In order to promote positive social change, the findings of this research should be used to educate corporate leaders on the value of executive coaching, particularly for developing aspiring female leaders.