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The benefits of executive coaching: voices from the C-suite

Clinton Longenecker (College of Business and Innovation, The University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, USA)
Mike McCartney (McCartney Coaching, Toledo, Ohio, USA)

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Article publication date: 4 February 2020

Issue publication date: 28 February 2020




The purpose of this paper is to provide readers with research findings based on qualitative data that describe the benefits of executive coaching from a sample of 70 senior business executives, all of whom have a personal executive coach. In addition, the paper provides readers with specific questions concerning their organizations’ approach to executive leadership development and the application of these potential benefits to their enterprise.


The findings of this study are based on personal interviews with 30 executives and ten four-person focus groups in which both sets of participants were asked to describe personal and organizational benefits associated with their experiences in using executive coaches.


Interviews and focus group findings converged around a number of benefits associated with effective executive coaching. These benefits included improved executive focus, better alignment of key leadership behaviors, candid and ongoing feedback, accountability for appropriate leader behaviors, improved emotional intelligence and ego control and personal support and encouragement, among others.

Research limitations/implications

This qualitative study provides empirical evidence of the benefits of executive coaching from the perspective of senior business leaders. These findings provide researchers with specific criteria that can be tested and measured on a larger scale. The primary limitation of the study is the small sample size of only 70 executives.

Practical implications

The findings of this research provide a compelling set of benefit trends that individual executives, boards of directors and organizations need to consider in the development of their senior leaders. Specific questions are included to guide practitioner’s thinking concerning executive coaching and its role in their organizations.

Social implications

These findings make a compelling case that senior leaders can become more effective and can experience great benefits when they properly make use of an effective executive coach. The development of senior leaders using this tool can have a powerful impact on organizational performance and organization’s culture.


A review of the literature will reveal that anecdotal evidence abounds, but there is limited empirical research chronicling the true benefits of executive coaching.



Longenecker, C. and McCartney, M. (2020), "The benefits of executive coaching: voices from the C-suite", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 22-27.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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