Executive Coaching Research Overview

The Ashridge Centre for Coaching works in partnership with leading academics and practitioners to conduct research in coaching outcomes and practice.

The centre's main focus of research is on executive coaching - as this takes place in real settings with real clients. Although we have conducted outcome research (quantitative research into the effectiveness of the intervention) within the areas of executive coaching and action learning, we believe that it is important to learn from the much more extensive outcome research in the fields of psychotherapy and counselling.  

We believe that research into change through coaching, and how this change comes about, is highly relevant. A summary of some of our key areas of research is listed below:

Coaching Outcome Research

We are interested in what determines the overall outcome or effectiveness of a coaching contract, and over the years we have conducted a number of research projects investigating the helpfulness of executive coaching conversations. Find out more about this research.

Critical Moments Outcome Research

The centre has been engaged in the study of 'critical moments' in real coaching conversations since 2002, asking clients, coaches and sponsors which moments they would characterise as 'critical' (exciting, tense or significant) in their experience of coaching.

This has provided us with rich insights into the fabric of real coaching conversations, and has given us a first indication of which 'sub-outcomes' (outcomes per moment, session, or between sessions, as opposed to overall outcomes of a coaching assignment) can be achieved. Read more about our 'critical moments' research.

Developing Psychometric Tools for Coaches

The centre has developed several psychometric tools for executive coaches and consultants, including:

  • The Consulting Roles Inventory© This fully validated questionnaire looks at the different contributions that change agents and consultants may make, from expert consulting to coaching. 
  • The Coaching Behaviours Questionnaire© This questionnaire helps you to determine your own consulting profile in relation to six broad categories of intervention type. 

Read more about coaching tools and psychometrics.

Books and Publications

The centre published widely, for both practitioner and academic audiences. Some of our key texts are highlighted below - to find other publications about coaching, use the publications database.

Relational Coaching: Journeys Towards Mastering One-to-One Learning

This book by Erik de Haan introduces a radically different way of looking at coaching, that puts the relationship, from the perspective of the coachee, at the centre. Relational coaching is part of an age-old tradition, that in recent decades has been reinforced by a number of reliable studies. Find out more

Supervision in Action

Supervision assures the quality of professional practice through careful monitoring; it heals wounds through wholesome listening and support, and offers a unique and free space to develop that which we all want to progress: our personal relationships. Read more

The Leadership Shadow

Senior executives need exceptional drive and excellent interpersonal skills to succeed - but under pressure these skills can go into overdrive. Based on extensive research, the authors draw on insights from psychiatey and psychotherapy to reveal how derailment occurs when managers' strengths are overused, and how to avoid downfalls. Read more