Date of Conferral







James Brown


African American leaders face inequalities in executive leadership development support such as executive coaching. This phenomenological qualitative study explored the lived experiences of African American leaders that worked with a leadership coach. The intention of the study was to gain insight into factors that led African American leaders to seek assistance from a leadership coach, preferences regarding leadership coach demographics, and goals from coaching. The theoretical foundation for this research was Self-Discrepancy Theory. The study utilized two research questions related to a) the lived experiences of African American leaders that work with, or have worked with, an executive coach, and b) coach matching preferences of African American leaders as they pertain to a coach’s ethnicity. In this study, 11 African American leaders were interviewed. The Descriptive Phenomenological Psychological Method was used to gain insights from the interview data. Notable emerging themes included a) relatability of African American Coaches to the plight of African American leaders, b) Caucasian coaches offering diverse learning opportunity, c) inclination of African American Coaches for mentorship, and d) Caucasian coaches’ knowledge and experiences in mainstreamed leadership. In the spirit of positive social change, these results can help shape a better future for African American leaders and other minority groups through equitable and effective leadership development interventions such as executive coaching.