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Do mental health stigma and gender influence MBAs’ willingness to engage in coaching?

Julia Anne Millard (PMG Finance, Providence Health and Services, Portland, Oregon, USA and ESMT – European School of Management and Technology, Berlin, Germany)
Konstantin Korotov (Center for Leadership Development Research, ESMT – European School of Management and Technology, Berlin, Germany)

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education

ISSN: 2046-6854

Article publication date: 4 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

While much research has been done on how attitudes toward therapy relate to engagement in it, the willingness to engage in coaching has not yet been studied. As coaching continues to grow in popularity and makes its way into curricula of Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs, it is worth examining what factors may influence people's attitudes toward this new type of psychological support. With frequently noticed and discussed similarities between coaching and therapy, the purpose of this paper is to examine whether particular antecedents of engagement in therapy, namely mental health stigma and gender, would be equally relevant for engagement in coaching by MBA students.

Design/methodology/approach

This was survey research with 54 MBAs at a major European business school.

Findings

The results suggest that while gender does influence an individual's attitude toward therapy, it does not influence an individual's attitude toward coaching. Stigma, however, still impacts attitudes toward both therapy and coaching.

Research limitations/implications

This paper focusses on attitudes. Further research could explore how closely attitudes result in specific behaviors, such as requesting a coach or agreeing to be coached when suggested by MBA program educators.

Practical implications

Implications concern positioning of coaching within MBA programs and preparation of coaches and educators.

Social implications

Gender neutrality of willingness to engage in coaching suggests opportunities for acceptance of other forms of psychological support.

Originality/value

This paper is one of the early investigations of willingness to be coached, particularly in the MBA context.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the three anonymous reviewers for their constructive help with this paper.

Citation

Anne Millard, J. and Korotov, K. (2014), "Do mental health stigma and gender influence MBAs’ willingness to engage in coaching?", International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 277-292. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMCE-01-2014-0001

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited