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Managerial coaching: a concept analysis

Vicki D. Batson & Linda H. Yoder

Accepted for publication 3 September 2011

Correspondence to V.D. Batson: B A T S O N V . D . & Y O D E R L . H . ( 2 0 1 2 ) Managerial coaching: a concept analysis.

e-mail: Journal of Advanced Nursing 68(7), 16581669. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2011.
Vicki D. Batson MSN RN NEA-BC
Clinical Nursing Supervisor
Operating Room, Seton Medical Center,
Austin, Texas, USA, Aim. This article presents a report of a concept analysis of managerial coaching.
and Backgound. Managerial coaching has been identified as a means for managers to
Doctoral Student, give support to staff nurses, however, no clear delineation of what behaviours and
The University of Texas at Austin School of attributes constitute managerial coaching or differentiate it from other career
Nursing, Round Rock, Texas, USA development relationships is provided in the current nursing literature.
Data sources. The CINAHL, ProQuest, Business Source Complete and PscyhIFNO
Linda H. Yoder MBA PhD RN
databases were searched for articles published between 19802009 using the
Associate Professor and
keywords coaching, managerial coaching, nurse manager support, nursing leader-
Nursing Administration and Health Care ship, self-efficacy, work environment and empowerment.
Systems Management, Review methods. A hybrid approach was used, incorporating both Walker and
The University of Texas at Austin School of Avants method of concept analysis and Kings conceptual system and Theory of
Nursing, Austin, Texas, USA Goal Attainment to explore the meaning of managerial coaching. Inclusive years of
search ranged from 19802009.
Findings. Managerial coaching is a specific dyadic relationship between the nurse
manager and staff nurse intended to improve skills and knowledge as they relate to
expected job performance. Antecedents and consequences are categorized at the
individual and organizational level. Defining attributes, empirical referents and a
model case are presented.
Conclusion. The theoretical definition for this concept helps to differentiate it from
other types of career development relationships and will give a basis for nurse
managers to understand what skills and attributes are necessary to establish an
effective managerial coaching relationship with staff nurses. Conceptualization will
also assist in developing empirical studies examining managerial coaching behav-
iours in the work environment.

Keywords: concept analysis, managerial coaching, nurse manager support, work

relationships are dyadic in nature, and several relationship
can occur concurrently to meet the career needs of the
Developmental relationships are essential to ensure support individual (Higgins & Kram 2001). Furthermore, job satis-
and development of nurses throughout the career span and faction was found to be positively related to the presence of
are often developed from a variety of sources (Kram 1988, multiple and varied developmental relationships that an
Yoder 1995, Higgins & Thomas 2001). Career development individual experienced (Kram 1988, Yoder 1995, Higgins &

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JAN: CONCEPT ANALYSIS Managerial coaching

Thomas 2001). The desired outcome of such relationships is In a meta-analysis of variables related to nurse job
to promote growth and development that meets the needs of satisfaction, Blegen (1993) found that communication with
both the individual and the organization, and to give supervisors and receiving recognition or feedback about work
opportunities for career advancement (Yoder 1995, Higgins had an important positive relationship to job satisfaction.
& Thomas 2001). The most frequently reported develop- Yoder (1995) evaluated career development relationships and
mental relationships in the nursing and business literature are their perceived effect on professionalism, job satisfaction
mentoring and coaching (Yoder 1995, Higgins & Thomas and intent to stay in a sample of military nurses. Managerial
2001). coaching was perceived by staff nurses to be the most
The concept of managerial coaching has re-emerged in the frequently occurring and valuable relationship, and was
nursing literature as a strategy for providing career develop- found to be positively related to job satisfaction. More
ment for nurses (Yoder 1995, 2002, Kowalski & Casper recently, a study by Kanste et al. (2007), found that reward-
2007, Stedman & Nolan 2007). Managerial coaching is ing transformational leadership behaviours used by managers
important because providing support for staff nurse career served as a protective factor for staff nurse burnout in a
development was found to be essential to both job satisfac- population of Finnish staff nurses. A similar study of the
tion and retention of staff nurses (Coomber & Barribal 2006, relationship of leadership style and work satisfaction in
Hall 2007, Kovner et al. 2006, Kramer et al. 2007). In Canadian oncology nurses found that a relational leadership
addition, the organizational development and business liter- style based on the theory of emotional intelligence was
ature reported a paradigm shift in managerial coaching from directly and positively related to improved work satisfaction
a process of control and prescription that focused on telling (Cummings et al. 2008). The importance of ongoing staff
people what they needed to do to improve performance to an development by nurse managers was cited in both studies as a
interpersonal relationship intended to give empowerment and strategy for improving the work environment and effecting
promote self-efficacy (Evered & Selman 1989, Ellinger & job satisfaction and retention.
Bostrom 1999). If the behaviours described in the concept of Furthermore, in a study of factors related to work
managerial coaching have changed, then it is also important satisfaction of Swedish nurses, nurse manager behaviours
to evaluate that change to promote better understanding of directly related to managerial coaching were identified as
the concept. important to work satisfaction and currently lacking in the
Evaluation of managerial coaching practices continues to work environment (Gardulf et al. 2008). These factors
be difficult because both managerial coaching and mentoring included recognition of personal competence, having clear
are frequently referenced in the nursing and business litera- goals, the ability to receive feedback and developmental
ture without sufficient delineation of how these relationships support from the clinical manager, and opportunities for
are similar or different (Kramer et al. 2007, Fielden et al. growth and advancement. Many nurses in the study reported
2009). This is troublesome for first line managers, because they were dissatisfied with their work environment and the
without a clear understanding of both the behaviours and lack of support given for their professional development.
appropriate use of each relationship, neither can be used to its Internationally, nurse manager support has been identified as
greatest effectiveness. It is therefore imperative to clarify and a key attribute of a healthy work environment (Kanste et al.
differentiate managerial coaching behaviours. 2007, Kramer et al. 2007, Cummings et al. 2008, Sellgren
Managerial coaching behaviours have been described both et al. 2008) and leaders who promote empowerment and self-
directly and indirectly in studies of the nursing work efficacy in their staff have been found to make a positive
environment, both nationally and internationally. Despite difference in nursing satisfaction (Laschinger & Finegan
differing cultures and healthcare systems, the international 2005, Manojlovich 2005, Kanste et al. 2007). Therefore, the
nursing work environment also has been influenced and purpose of this article is to examine the concept of managerial
continues to be influenced by recruitment and retention of coaching in nursing. Managerial coaching differs from other
nurses, restructuring efforts focused primarily on economic forms of coaching such as executive coaching, sports coach-
efficiency, and increasing complexity of technology (Aiken ing, or life coaching and from other types of career develop-
et al. 2001, Coomber & Barribal 2006, Kanste et al. 2007, ment relationships, such as mentoring.
Cummings et al. 2008, Sellgren et al. 2008). Furthermore,
emerging models of the work environment propose that nurse
leader behaviours influence all other aspects of the nursing
work environment (Leiter & Laschinger 2006, Sellgren et al. The concept analysis framework developed by Walker and
2008, Ouzouni & Konstantinos 2009). Avant (2005) was used to examine the phenomenon of

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V.D. Batson and L.H. Yoder

managerial coaching. This framework was developed as a concepts important to the social system. Kings (2006)
modification of Wilsons (1963) concept analysis process. All Theory of Goal Attainment describes a transactional process
uses of the concept and the defining attributes will be that uses four of the concepts; (1) perception, (2) communi-
presented. The analysis of the concept is completed by cation, (3) interaction and (4) transaction. These concepts
identifying antecedents, consequences and empirical refer- reside in the interpersonal system and goal attainment is
ents. In addition, a model case is provided to help clarify the viewed as a process in which two or more people come
circumstances that represent the concept. together to help and be helped (King 1981, p. 142). The
Concept analysis is useful to help clarify and distinguish outcome of the system is health which is defined by King as
phenomena that may be related but separate, and to allow for proper functioning in a role of individuals, small groups and
better understanding and more precise use in building theory society (King 1981).
(Walker & Avant 2005). Using concept analysis to better
understand the phenomenon of managerial coaching can be
Data sources
beneficial in several ways. The literature suggests that the
conceptualization of managerial coaching has changed The CINAHL, ProQuest, Business Source Complete, and
(Evered & Selman 1989, Ellinger & Bostrom 1999), but it PsychINFO databases were searched for articles published
is not clear how this has affected actual coaching practices by from 1980 through 2009, using the keywords coaching,
managers. Whereas there is a growing consensus that managerial coaching, nurse manager support, job satisfaction
coaching is an essential function at every level of leadership, and nursing work environment. Studies or review papers
there is lack of empirical evidence to support the need for and focusing on other types of coaching such as sports coaching,
use of managerial coaching in nursing. Managerial coaching life coaching, executive or peer coaching were excluded
has been mentioned along with mentoring as an important because these did not meet the requirements for the concept
function of nurse manager support, however, a clear delin- analysis. International studies of nurse manager or leadership
eation of what behaviours give evidence of either coaching or behaviours relating to job satisfaction or the nursing work
mentoring is typically lacking (Laschinger & Finegan 2005, environment were included. Only studies published in
Manojlovich 2005, Kanaskie 2006, Kramer et al. 2007). English were retrieved. Both qualitative and quantitative
Although some attributes of coaching and mentoring, and studies were reviewed and included. A review of the business
other types of developmental relationships may overlap, there literature also included texts about the concept. All research
are critical differences that influence the effectiveness of their and review papers retrieved were included in the concept
use by managers. analysis.
The concept analysis was informed by Kings conceptual
system and Theory of Goal Attainment (King 1981, 2006,
King 2007). King used a general systems theory approach to
study the complexity of nursing issues, which could also be
Uses of the concept
used to examine issues of interest to nursing administrators
(King 2006). One primary assumption is that individuals Dictionary references for coaching provided very basic defi-
function in social systems through interpersonal relations in nitions that do not fully explain or define the concept.
terms of their perceptions which influence their life and Merriam Websters Online Dictionary (2009), defined coach-
health (King 1981, 2006). The structure of Kings conceptual ing as to train intensively as by instruction and demonstra-
system is comprised of three open and interrelated systems. tion. Managerial coaching first appeared in the business
The personal system is comprised of individuals, while the literature in the 1950s as a means of training employees
interpersonal system is represented by dyads, triads and small similar to a master-apprentice type of relationship and for the
groups. The social system is a larger group with common next decade the literature focused only on the instrumental or
interests and goals, such as a healthcare organization or task focused aspects of employee skill development (Evered &
societal group. Concepts related specifically to individuals Selman 1989). Since that time, coaching has been discussed in
include perception, growth and development, time and a variety of disciplines including education, sports, nursing,
coping. Perception is important because it represents the sociology, psychology, human resource development and
filter through which individuals evaluate information. business management (Evered & Selman 1989, Yoder 1995,
Concepts of role, communication, interaction and transaction 2002, Ellinger & Bostrom 1999, Longenecker & Neubert
are relevant to the interpersonal system. Finally, organiza- 2005, Boyatzis et al. 2006, Heslin et al. 2006, Kramer et al.
tion, status, power, authority and decision-making represent 2007, Latham 2007).

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The use of coaching in so many areas has led to different Facilitating attributes
definitions of the concept and it has been noted that there is The defining attributes of managerial coaching that are
no consensus about a clear definition or model of manage- considered facilitating attributes are:
rial coaching and no agreement on the capabilities that (1) Developing an interpersonal relationship of mutual
managers require (Evered & Selman 1989, Peterson & trust and respect, (2) setting clear expectations for perfor-
Hicks 1996). In the business literature, managerial coaching mance, (3) providing and soliciting feedback, (4) setting goals
has been described in various ways. For example, Peterson and (5) providing training and/or resources.
and Hicks (1996) described coaching as a process of Although managerial coaching can and does occur when
equipping people with the tools, knowledge, and opportu- managers or employees are new to organizations, effective
nities they need to develop themselves and become more coaching cannot be sustained over time without development
effective, whereas Fournies (1999) described it as a process of mutual trust and positive regard between the manager and
for motivating employees to higher achievement. More employee. This requires the manager to see the employee as
recently, Crane (2007) described managerial coaching as an an individual with unique beliefs, values, knowledge and
enabling process to help employees reach their potential in skills and the innate ability to grow and learn (Ellinger &
a way that they feel helped. While these descriptions are Bostrom 1999, Yoder 1995, Heslin et al. 2006). As the
useful as a starting point, they are not complete in terms of relationship evolves, the manager endeavours to understand
fully describing managerial coaching as a dyadic career what is important to the employee, and what they find
enhancing relationship, but they are consistent in describing exciting about their work and their priorities for growth and
managerial coaching as a process. For the purposes of development. In return, the employee strives to meet the goals
explicating the concept of managerial coaching, the defini- of the organization through excellent work performance.
tion provided by Yoder (1995) is most complete and will be Relationship building is most successful when trust and
used as the definition of managerial coaching for this respect emerge over time, as evidenced by the employees
concept analysis: willingness to engage in developmental activities, including
those involving risk or stretching outside of ones comfort
Coaching is an ongoing, face-to-face process of influencing behaviour
zone (Peterson & Hicks 1996, Yoder 1999, Luthans &
by which the manager (superior, supervisor) and employee (subor-
Yossef 2004, Longenecker & Neubert 2005).
dinate) collaborate to achieve increased job knowledge, improved
Managers articulate and link organizational expectations
skills in carrying out job responsibilities, a stronger and more positive
for employee performance by providing clear expectations
working relationship, and opportunities for personal and profes-
about the skills and knowledge required for success and
sional growth of the employee (p. 291).
advancement. This includes helping the employee link
personal and professional desires for growth and develop-
ment to the mission, vision, values and goals of the
Defining attributes
organization. This also includes promoting an environment
Determining which attributes are most frequently associated of excellence and commitment to continual improvement by
with managerial coaching allows for identification and the manager (Peterson & Hicks 1996, Ellinger & Bostrom
insight into the concept (Walker & Avant 2005). Identify- 1999, Yoder 1999, Longenecker & Neubert 2005, Kowalski
ing attributes also assists with differentiation of managerial & Casper 2007, Kramer et al. 2007). Alignment of goals
coaching from other uses of coaching, and other types of within this framework ensures that the needs of the individ-
career development relationships. Managerial coaching and ual and the organization are not mutually exclusive or where
other career development relationships are usually differen- one is achieved at the expense of the other.
tiated into categories of task (instrumental) and relationship Feedback is the first step towards goal setting in the
(psychosocial)-oriented processes (Kram 1988, Yoder 1995, managerial coaching process. It is important to understand
Ellinger & Bostrom 1999). For the purposes of this that feedback is data that are evaluated through a filter of
analysis, the definitions of these two categories provided values, beliefs and experiences on the part of manager (King
by Ellinger and Bostrom (1999) will be used. Facilitating 2006, 2007). In addition, because the manager also uses
attributes are instrumental functions that are necessary to feedback reported by others, the values, beliefs and experi-
facilitate the process of coaching. Empowering attributes ences of others may influence feedback. Therefore, it is
are those functions or behaviours that promote individual important to ensure that the staff nurse has the ability to
or psychological empowerment and development of self- validate and respond to any feedback before it is used for goal
efficacy. setting (King 2006). Feedback is provided as observational,

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V.D. Batson and L.H. Yoder

reflective, or third party. Observational feedback is based on Congruence between words and actions has been identified as
direct observation by the manager and is intended to help the an essential component of authentic leadership (American
employee identify gaps or opportunities to improve current Association of Critical Care Nurses 2005), and also is
performance. It should be delivered in a timely manner, essential to maintain trust in the coaching relationship.
describe behaviours without judging, and balance firmness Employees are more willing to follow a manager who is
with compassion (Peterson & Hicks 1996, Ellinger & consistent, trustworthy and respectful (Evered & Selman
Bostrom 1999, Yoder 1999, Crane 2007, Kowalski & Casper 1989, Peterson & Hicks 1996, Yoder 1999, Yoder 2002,
2007, Ellinger et al. 2008). Reflective feedback is achieved Laschinger & Finegan 2005, Longenecker & Neubert 2005,
when the manager holds the mirror so that employees can Kramer et al. 2007, Kowalski & Casper 2007). The manager
make their own assessments about their performance (Ellinger is a powerful, living expression of the mission, vision and
& Bostrom 1999). Third party feedback is achieved values of an organization; therefore, both verbal and non-
through 360 degree or peer appraisals that measure perfor- verbal behaviours set expectations for the behaviour of others
mance metrics mutually determined by the coach and (Kramer et al. 2007).
employee (Peterson & Hicks 1996, Ellinger & Bostrom Promoting a sense of positive accountability represents
1999). helping employees continue to work through issues, and
Goal setting is a mutual process that ensures alignment practice and incorporate new skills to move through change
between the employees personal desires and organizational and growth. This sense of accountability is intended to help
needs. Moreover, goal setting increases motivation and the employee retain ownership of goals and processes while
accountability by the employee for completing the develop- experiencing support and feedback (Peterson & Hicks 1996,
ment plan (Kowalski & Casper 2007). Once goal setting is Ellinger & Bostrom 1999, Yoder 1999, Crane 2007, Kramer
accomplished, the manager also must solicit feedback about et al. 2007). Coaches promote this through active listening
progress, obstacles and concerns to monitor goal accom- and reflective questioning to help employees generate their
plishment (Evered & Selman 1989, Peterson & Hicks 1996, own insights and solutions for issues that arise. Positive
Fournies 1999, Yoder 1999, Longenecker & Neubert 2005, accountability also encompasses looking at issues from a
McLean et al. 2005, Crane 2007, Kowalski & Casper 2007, perspective of understanding rather than assignment of
Kramer et al. 2007). In a meta-analysis of the effects of blame, allowing the employee to take calculated risks and
feedback and goal setting, combining goal setting with learn from both successes and failures (King 1981, 2006,
ongoing feedback was found to improve performance more Peterson & Hicks 1996, Ellinger & Bostrom 1999, Yoder
than goal setting alone (Neubert 1998). 1999, Crane 2007, Kramer et al. 2007).
The final facilitating behaviour demonstrated by mangers is Removing obstacles that employees perceive to be in the
providing training, either directly or by identifying resources way of goal attainment represents behaviours by the manager
for training. It is recognized that managers do not have either to give resources, information and facilitate learning (Peter-
the time or the requisite skills to give all instruction and son & Hicks 1996, Ellinger & Bostrom 1999, Yoder 1999,
training for employees, however, involving others gives a Laschinger & Finegan 2005, Kramer et al. 2007). Obstacles
wider base for the effectiveness of coaching (Peterson & frequently cited as barriers to learning by nurses include
Hicks 1996, Fournies 1999, Yoder 1999, Crane 2007). This access to continuing education and opportunities to partic-
may be a source of misunderstanding for managers, who may ipate in nursing research or other activities in the organiza-
think that coaching entails an obligation for directly provid- tion because of staffing constraints (Laschinger & Finegan
ing all or most training to staff. One reason cited by mangers 2005, Gardulf et al. 2008, Sellgren et al. 2008).
for not using coaching is that it is very time intensive to work Challenging/broadening perspectives implies behaviour by
one on one with staff members (Evered & Selman 1989, the manager aimed at assisting employees to incorporate
Longenecker & Neubert 2005). multiple perspectives in viewing issues and problems. Ellin-
ger and Bostrom (1999) described this as a conscious process
Empowering attributes to shift into the perspective of others, using reflection by
Four key behaviours have been identified as essential both the manager and the employee. This also refers to
empowering attributes for managerial coaching: purposeful guidance by the manager to help the employee
(1) Role modelling, (2) promoting a sense of positive identify issues and generate solutions in the broader context
accountability for actions, (3) removing obstacles and (4) of alignment with organizational goals and values (King
challenging/broadening perspectives. Role modelling is per- 1981, Ellinger & Bostrom 1999, Yoder 1999, Kramer et al.
haps the most critical empowering behaviour for leadership. 2007).

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manager did not display appropriate managerial coaching

behaviours (Ellinger et al. 2008). Managerial behaviours that
Antecedents are events or incidents that must be present for were found to impede coaching included being too
the concept to happen (Walker & Avant 2005). The two authoritarian and directive, not being available or approach-
primary antecedents for managerial coaching are the manger able, being not clear, being too intense and emotional and
(coach) and employee. Each person brings to the relationship failing to assess the situation from the employees perspective
a set of beliefs, values, attitudes, knowledge and skills that to validate feedback (Ellinger et al. 2008).
influence the relationship. In addition, the age of each The ages of both the manager and employee have an effect
participant has been found to influence the process through on managerial coaching relative to generational differences
a generational preference for how the relationship should be that influence beliefs and values about the workplace (Weston
structured (Weston 2001). 2001, Stuenkel & Cohen 2005). In a study of generational
On the part of the leader, managerial coaching represents influence on nurse perception of the work environment
a front loaded investment in helping employees reach their (Stuenkel & Cohen 2005), members of Generation X (born
potential. To be successful, the manager must demonstrate between 1960 and 1980) reported a higher level of supervisor
a willingness to know and understand each person as a support. The support was defined as the nurse manager
unique individual before trying to help, motivate or develop making time to listen to concerns and give feedback about
that person (King 1981, 2006, Peterson & Hicks 1996, performance, and a propensity to seek out managerial
Yoder 1999, Crane 2007). This implies both effort and coaching and new skill development. Members of the silent
availability on the part of the manger. Managerial behav- generation (born between 1922 and 1943) prefer managerial
iours identified as conducive to developing a coaching coaching that approximates the older paradigm of control-
relationship include providing genuine feedback, demon- prescribing and are more comfortable with a manager who is
strating caring through support and encouragement, willing to be prescriptive in suggesting solutions/goals. Mem-
demonstrating a demeanour of approachability and availabil- bers of the baby boom generation (born between 1943 and
ity and communicating using a balance of active listening and 1960) are willing to engage in increased dialogue and mutual
reflective questioning (Ellinger & Bostrom 1999, Yoder 1999, goal setting, but may need assistance with balancing their
King 2006, Kowalski & Casper 2007, Kramer et al. 2007, workload when goal setting (Weston 2001).
Ellinger et al. 2008). To engage in effective managerial
coaching, the nurse manager must either possess or develop
these skills. The nurse manager also must believe the employee
is able and willing to growth and develop. Heslin et al. (2006) Consequences are the outcomes produced by occurrence of
found that managers who viewed employees as less capable the concept. Identification of consequences may be helpful
of growth did not participate in coaching behaviours as in determining relationships for examination in research
frequently as those managers who believed that employees (Walker & Avant 2005). Managerial coaching consequences
possessed an inherent desire and capability to improve are identified relative to their influence at the individual and
performance. organizational level. Consequences are experienced differ-
The employee is the other primary antecedent to manage- ently for the staff nurse/employee, nurse manager/coach and
rial coaching. Motivation and receptivity to coaching have organization.
been referred to as the sine qua non of the relationship
(Evered & Selman 1989, Peterson & Hicks 1996, Fournies Employee consequences
1999, Colombo & Werther 2003, Crane 2007). Motivation Primary consequences identified for staff nurses/employees
and receptivity are demonstrated by accepting responsibility are growth, self-efficacy, empowerment and job satisfaction.
for meeting with the manager, ensuring clarity of expecta- Growth includes increased technical competence, clinical
tions, committing to goals and providing feedback about decision-making, ability for autonomous practice and align-
progress, obstacles and successes (Evered & Selman 1989, ment with organizational values and goals (Peterson & Hicks
Yoder 1999, Kowalski & Casper 2007). 1996, Crane 2007, Kowalski & Casper 2007, Kramer et al.
The most common reasons reported by employees as to 2007).
why managerial coaching was not sought out included a Self-efficacy is the confidence in ones ability to accomplish
belief that they would not benefit (Evered & Selman 1989), both routine and complex tasks; individuals with increased
that their manager was not interested in being a coach self-efficacy are more willing to persevere in the face of
(Peterson & Hicks 1996, Heslin et al. 2006) and that their obstacles (Luthans & Yossef 2004, Manojlovich 2005).

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Managerial coaching is believed to promote the development Organizational consequences

of increasing levels of self-efficacy (Evered & Selman 1989, Primary organizational consequences are an improved ability
Peterson & Hicks 1996, Ellinger & Bostrom 1999, Crane to meet organizational goals, improved quality outcomes,
2007), which is critical for nurses to be able to accomplish and an increased reputation as a preferred workplace (Evered
their work and advocate for patients (Manojlovich 2005, & Selman 1989, Peterson & Hicks 1996, Ellinger & Bostrom
Kramer et al. 2007). 1999, Fournies 1999). From studies of Magnet facilities, a
Empowerment represents the ability of nurses to accom- preferred work environment is the result of careful attention
plish their work in meaningful ways (Conger & Kanungo and development of those attributes identified as essential for
1988, Luthans & Yossef 2004, Laschinger & Finegan 2005, professional job satisfaction and quality patient care. Such
Manojlovich 2005, Kramer et al. 2007). Within the coaching studies provided clear empirical evidence that nurse managers
relationship, opportunities and resources for learning and have a profound influence, both directly and indirectly, on all
skill acquisition are identified based on individual needs and other attributes of the nurse work environment (McClure
abilities (Peterson & Hicks 1996, Ellinger & Bostrom 1999, et al. 1983, Aiken et al. 2008, Kramer et al. 2010). Having a
Fournies 1999, Crane 2007, Kowalski & Casper 2007). reputation as a preferred work environment has been found
Empowerment is fostered when managers facilitate partici- to increase job satisfaction and consequently decrease
pative decision-making, and encourage autonomy and calcu- turnover of nurses (Scott et al. 1999, Taunton et al. 1997,
lated risk taking (Laschinger et al. 1999, Manojlovich & Kovner et al. 2006, Herrin & Spears 2007, Kramer et al.
Laschinger 2002). As nurses achieve increased competence 2007).
and ability to influence outcomes of care, they are more
productive and effective in meeting unit goals (Manojlovich
Model case
& Laschinger 2002, Kramer et al. 2007).
Job satisfaction is a measure of the extent to which the staff A model case is an example of all defining attributes of a
nurse believes the work environment enables nurses to give concept (Walker & Avant 2005), and is useful in clarifying
quality patient care (Schmalenberg & Kramer 2008), and is a how the concept is operationalized. The following is a model
combined result of perceived growth, autonomy, collegial exemplar of managerial coaching.
work relationships, teamwork, control over practice, organi- Sue has been a nurse for 5 years and has been a staff nurse
zational empowerment and support. Although professional in her unit since graduation. While in nursing school, she had
job satisfaction is only achieved when all attributes of a the opportunity to spend some time on the unit as part of her
healthy work environment are present, the support provided clinical rotation. She learned that the unit had high morale,
by the nurse manager has been demonstrated to influence job low turnover and very satisfied nurses, which is why she
satisfaction (Manojlovich 2005, Kovner et al. 2006, Leiter & chose this unit for her first job. During her orientation, the
Laschinger 2006, Kramer et al. 2007). nurse manager met with her, both formally and informally to
help ensure that her orientation was progressing as expected
Manager consequences and also as an opportunity to get to know her better. The
Although managerial coaching behaviours describe primarily nurse manager emphasized a commitment to excellence and
those actions taken by the manager to support learning and continual improvement and was clear about departmental
growth by the employee, mutuality is an aspect of the rela- goals and how staff participated in achieving those goals.
tionship acknowledged as beneficial to both parties (Kram Once Sues general orientation was complete, her manager
1988, Evered & Selman 1989, Yoder 1995, 2002, Ellinger & met with her periodically to help her set both short-term
Bostrom 1999). As the manager acquires skill in developing goals for the next year, and to identify long-term goals for her
others, the ability to delegate and share work processes can career development. Sue was impressed with the managers
assist the manager with balancing work priorities and ability to help her sort through issues, identify projects and
increase the overall effectiveness of the unit (Peterson & opportunities that would both challenge her and increase her
Hicks 1996, Crane 2007, Kowalski & Casper 2007). The use skills, and give support and encouragement. Sue felt com-
of compassion and positive regard when developing others fortable discussing both her successes and mistakes and
has been found in affective neuroscience research to have a believed that she was able to learn from both. Sue always felt
protective effect. Boyatzis et al. (2006) suggested that the use she could discuss any issue with her manager because of her
of managerial coaching can reduce what they refer to as approachability. The manager provided constructive feed-
the effects of chronic power stress associated with role back and helped Sue identify possible solutions to issues.
requirements of leadership. Sues manager also assisted in removing any obstacles that

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Organizational Culture

Antecedents Defining attributes Consequences

Staff Nurse Facilitating Behaviors Staff Nurse

Age Development of coaching relationship Growth
Education Setting expectations for performance Increased self-efficacy
Experience Goal setting Increased sense of empowerment
Motivation Providing/soliciting feedback Professional work satisfaction
Receptivity Providing training/resources
Nurse Manager Empowering Behaviors Greater ability to delegate
Age Role modeling Increased ability to balance work priorities
Education Promoting positive accountability Attainment of departmental goals
Coaching skill Removing obstacles Professional work satisfaction
Positive intent Challenging/broadening perspectives
Improved ability to meet goals
Improved quality outcomes
Increased reputation as preferred

Figure 1 Antecedents, Defining Attributes and Consequences of Managerial Coaching Organizational Culture.

might hinder goal attainment. As a result, Sue felt comfort- Index-Revised (Aiken & Patrician 2000), The Essentials of
able accepting projects that required her to stretch beyond Magnetism Tool (Kramer & Schmalenberg 2004) and the
her comfort zone, develop new skills, persevere in the face of Conditions of Work Effectiveness II (Laschinger et al. 2001).
obstacles and be personally accountable for the outcome. Sue Yoder (2002) developed an instrument to measure mana-
believed her growth and development were a direct result of gerial coaching behaviours of first-line managers. The
both her hard work and her managers leadership style. instrument was tested in a study of 414 active duty military
Consequently, Sue felt well positioned for any promotional and civilian nurses and was found to measure coaching
opportunities that might interest her in the future. behaviours, while being easy to administer. Internal consis-
tency was measured, resulting in a Cronbachs alpha of 098.
Because the instrument specifically measures the concept of
Empirical referents
managerial coaching, it could be used in partnership with
Empirical referents are categories of actual phenomena that these other instruments to gain insight into how managerial
demonstrate occurrence of the concept itself. They are useful in coaching is related to the perception of nurse manager
practice because they give clear, observable measurements that support and other attributes identified as necessary for a
help distinguish and differentiate the concept from other healthy work environment.
similar concepts and are extremely useful in instrument
development (Walker & Avant 2005, Fawcett & Garity 2009).
In the case of managerial coaching, empirical referents are
measured by the presence of the defining attributes, goal One limitation of this concept analysis is that much of what is
attainment and overall job satisfaction. Currently, most known about the phenomenon of managerial coaching is
instruments used to measure satisfaction with nurse manager derived from research in practice disciplines outside nursing
support as a component of the nursing work environment and few nursing studies have focused on career development
only give partial or indirect measurements of the empirical relationships between nurse managers and staff nurses.
referents of managerial coaching. Commonly reported instru- Furthermore, while current international research of the
ments include, but are not limited to, the Nursing Work work environment highlights more similarities than differ-

 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd 1665

V.D. Batson and L.H. Yoder

of the original Wilson method of concept analysis (Weaver &

What is already known about this topic Mitcham 2008). In addition, the framework may limit the
Managerial coaching has re-emerged in the nursing ability to give alternate interpretations and give a complete
literature as a process for nurse managers to give account of certain aspects of nursing practice because of the
support and career development for staff nurses. reductionist stance of the method (Beckwith et al. 2008).
Managerial coaching has undergone a paradigm shift Finally, the method has been criticized for referencing
from a prescriptive process of telling others how to concepts as the building blocks of theory rather than niches
improve performance to an interpersonal relationship in clearly described theories (Paley 1995).
focused on promoting empowerment and self-efficacy of Figure 1 represents the antecedents, defining attributes and
staff nurses. consequences of managerial coaching. It is important to note
Managerial coaching behaviours have been described, that managerial coaching in organizations occurs or does not
both directly and indirectly, in international studies of occur within the context of the organizational culture.
the nurse work environment, but there is a lack of Organizational culture is the overarching set of values,
empirical evidence about the effectiveness of managerial beliefs and goals within which all leadership functions
coaching in current nursing literature. are provided necessary support and resources to flourish
or are seen as non-essential and not supported. Administra-
tive support has been demonstrated as essential to a positive
What this paper adds professional work environment through research of Magnet
An analysis of managerial coaching using Walker and hospitals (Aiken & Patrician 2000, Kramer & Schmalenberg
Avants concept analysis method distinguished 2004, Schmalenberg & Kramer 2008). If managerial coach-
managerial coaching from other types of coaching and ing is not valued by organizational leaders, then ensuring that
other types of career development relationships. resources are in place to educate nurse managers and support
Managerial coaching is influenced by organizational their development in this area may be lacking. An organiza-
culture and the presence or absence of organizational tional culture that supports empowerment of the nursing staff
support can influence the extent to which nurse also was found to be essential for a professional work
managers use managerial coaching for career environment (Laschinger et al. 2001). Organizations that
development of staff nurses. support structural and organizational empowerment of
nurses were found to be more likely to continue to achieve
organizational goals during times of transition and restruc-
Implications for practice and/or policy turing (Laschinger et al. 1999).
Managerial coaching is an important interpersonal
relationship that has the potential to enhance
professional growth and development of staff nurses.
Appropriate instruments that operationalize the concept It is apparent that managerial coaching has evolved over the
can be used in conjunction with other instruments that past two decades from a prescriptive process based only on
measure the nurse work environment to evaluate the task related behaviours to a more robust concept with
relationship between managerial coaching and additional psychosocial behaviours focused on developing
leadership effectiveness. self-efficacy and promoting empowerment of employees
Research on specific leadership processes, such as (Evered & Selman 1989, Peterson & Hicks 1996, Ellinger
managerial coaching, can assist in furthering what is & Bostrom 1999, Crane 2007). This evolution is consistent
known about the influence of leader behaviours in with evidence from the nursing work environment that
shaping and improving the nurse work environment. describes a shift from pure management functions to a
balanced use of both managerial and leadership behaviours
by nurse managers (Kramer et al. 2007).
ences (Kanste et al. 2007, Cummings et al. 2008, Gardulf This article provided a description of the concept of
et al. 2008, Sellgren et al. 2008), it also is uncertain if the managerial coaching, including antecedents, defining attri-
theoretical definition of managerial coaching can be similarly butes and consequences. Further study is necessary to give the
used in other countries with differing healthcare systems. empirical evidence to validate managerial coaching as a
Finally, the concept analysis method described by Walker and means for staff development. It is not feasible, nor should it be
Avant (2005) has recently been criticized for its simplification expected that current instruments that measure the nursing

1666  2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

JAN: CONCEPT ANALYSIS Managerial coaching

work environment can be used to fully measure the concept of Colombo J.J. & Werther W.B. (2003) Strategic career coaching for
managerial coaching. Current instruments in use to measure an uncertain world. Business Horizons 46(4), 3338.
Conger J.A. & Kanungo R.N. (1988) The empowerment process:
the nursing work environment need to be used in conjunction
integrating theory and practice. Academy of Management Review
with a specific instrument to measure managerial coaching to 13(3), 471482.
explore the relationship between managerial coaching, nurse Coomber B. & Barribal K.L. (2006) Impact of job satisfaction
manager support and other important attributes and conse- components on intent to leave and turnover for hospital based
quences of the nursing work environment. nurses: a review of the literature. International Journal of Nursing
Studies 44, 297314. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2006.02.004
Crane T.G. (2007) The Heart of Coaching: Using Transformational
Funding Coaching to Create a High Performance Coaching Culture, 3rd
edn. FTA Press, San Diego, CA.
This concept analysis received no specific grant from any Cummings G.G., Olson K., Hayduk. L., Baker D., Fitch M., Green
funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit E., Butter L. & Conton M. (2008) The relationship between
sectors. nursing leadership and nurses job satisfaction in Canadian
oncology work environments. Journal of Nursing Management 16,
Conflict of interest Ellinger A.D. & Bostrom R.P. (1999) Managerial coaching behaviors
in learning organizations. Journal of Management Development
No conflict of interest has been declared by the authors. 18(9), 752771.
Ellinger A.D., Hamlin R.G. & Beattie R.S. (2008) Behavioral indi-
cators of ineffective managerial coaching: a cross-national study.
Author contributions Journal of European Industrial Training 32(4), 240257.
Evered R.D. & Selman J.C. (1989) Coaching and the art of
VB and LHY were responsible for the study conception and management. Organizational Dynamics 18, 1632.
design. VB was responsible for the drafting of the manuscript. Fawcett J. & Garity J. (2009) Evaluating Research for Evidence
LHY made critical revisions to the article for important Based Nursing. F. A. Davis, Philadelphia, PA.
intellectual content. LHY supervised the study. Fielden S.L., Davidson M.J. & Sutherland V.J. (2009) Innovations
in coaching and mentoring: implications for nurse leadership
development. Health Services Management Research 22, 9299.
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JAN: CONCEPT ANALYSIS Managerial coaching

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