Leadership and coaching go hand in many ways because to coach is to lead, and to lead is to coach others. Indeed, leaders and coaches, whatever the title is really theoretical mentoring within the context of a particular organization or activity. For centuries, scholars and philosophers alike have been trying to find a specific and complete definition for coaching and leadership, but have not had much success. True, leadership is, in part, decision making at the nth level; while coaching takes that decision making and often compartmentalizes it into split-second action. In the era of gloablization, theoretical decision making this has become even more critical now that there are so many divergent cultural opportunities that require new skills, approaches, and even that allow coaching to occur not just in the physical environment, but in the virtual as well, with no regard for geographic or political boundaries (Drucker, P.F., et al. 2001). The real question, though, is how one uses theoretical support to make decisions, and what the appropriate methodological approach is for testing leadership theory.
As a case model, we will use a study focusing about emotional leadership and positive behavioral reinforcement. In many ways, this view has been termed "the dark side" or organizational behavior, or the shadow role. This is mean to describe a more censored approach to any attempted regulation of cognition and emotion, conscious or unconscious, in which the mode of expression simply does not "fit" with accepted cultural or group normative behaviors (Fitzgerald and Oliver, 2006). We may also see this "shadow" as a metaphor, not something specific in action or choice, but part of the organizational culture that permeates different organizations in so many different ways. Positive organization behavior (POB), then, is also more than overt behavior: it is covert attitude, perceptions, and the cultural environment of the organization and the way that is communicated to stakeholders. Thus, we can define leadership as a coaching model, or a framework to use as an underlying structure to build teamwork, confidence, improve performance and behavior, and in most any aspect (business, education, sports, etc.) utilize these theories as a way to actualize goals. Because humans are so unique and individualized, there are a number of theories from which to draw from -- and most agree that the integration of a multidisciplinary approach and field of knowledge is what allows one to become both more tactical and strategic. While there are many paths to improvement, and thus many theories of leadership and coaching, there are three principles most of these models have in common:
Establishing a relationship built on trust, communication, and where appropriate, confidentiality.
Models that both leader and subordinate, or client and coach, agree to in terms of expectations.
The ability to evolve dynamic learning environments that can be individualized to different goals (Cortes, 2012; Locke, 2007).
Theories and Models
Because there are so many models dealing with leadership, most experts believe that the success of failure of the model is dependent upon the personality traits of both the leader and staff. All in all, the best approach is likely to be one in which different theories are placed in a tool box, combined in many different ways, and then certain aspects used to promote the particular activity or improve the situation (Wildflower & Brennan 2011).
Leadership is an attitude more than anything else; it is the difference between leading and managing, between quitting if there are barriers and persevering. Leadership is moving through job creation and integration that allows a forward purpose or progression. Another way of looking at the term perseverance in the workplace is to think of it as empowerment -- of the ability to strive forward through adversity, and, when the process is no longer easy, continue forward towards success. Yet, this broad view of the subject does not fit well with quantitative documentation of a rigid, scholarly nature. From the perspective of upper management at the multinational or mega-corporation level, corporate Leadership is not an end in of itself, but rather a safety valve for internal pressures and a way to disseminate organizational challenges (Edmondson and McManus, 2007). In fact, the idea of leadership as a formal field of study is relatively new in scientific terms. Previously, the majority of studies on the topic, about 54%, relied only on qualitative data, and only 39% on quantitative analysis of any kind. While surprising, this might be explained partially because of scholarly reliance on theoretical frameworks of a more multidisciplinary nature -- economics, sociology, or management. These types of theoretical approaches ensure that pragmatic hypotheses will be tested, and then tend to circumvent the need for development of a new, or innovative, theoretical explanation (Fitzgerald and Oliver,, Van Mannen et al., 2007).
When we conceptualize theory, we require core concepts. Just as with other managerial issues, leadership theory should require a unified theoretical approach that can be approached empirically. In fact, the phenomenon of an "emergence of new economic activity" in the 21st century environment lies at the very core of leadership. In this case economic has a much wider and more contextually developed meaning than commercial. While seemingly obvious, the research shows this has not been the case (Welter, 2011). When dealing with leadership we find that more phenomenon-driven research is used as a factual basis than theoretical research (Pacheco, D., et al., 2010). There is not, in fact, a need for a contradiction in these approaches. Instead, the conundrum is that, to a large extend; leadership has focused on younger individuals or owner-managed businesses. Within this sample there may be a large range of individuals, but there is clearly less cohesion and theoretical agreement. Instead, though, we find that it would be more appropriate to study organizations that are more conducive to observation and measurement and that can fit in an appropriate scholarly theory (Locke, Van Maanen, et al.).
Along with a theoretical maxim, we must also ask for epistemological validation for the study of leadership. Of course, epistemology is concerned with how we know what we know, and what basis we might have in making such determinations. In social and behavioral research, for instance, two distinct phases have occurred: 1) a polarization of research methods to conform objectivism/positivism with subjectivism/constructivism, and 2) a reconciliation of these approaches into what is known as a "mixed-method" model (Robson, 2011). Indeed, while the conflict between qualitative and quantitative approaches has endured for decades, if not longer, the more apt approach to entrepreneurialism lies directly in this mixed-method approach; one in which there is clear subjective data that may be combined with quantitative studies to form a more robust outcome. Further, looking at leadership in a multi-disciplinary approach, one finds it is indeed possible to convert and/or combine narrative data into quantitative data and still have meaningful results (Molina-Azorin, J., et al., 2012; Alvesson and Karreman, 2007).
Any research activity begins with some form of question or curiosity. Stripped to its basics, research answers questions. Academic research, however, is more systematized in collecting and analyzing the data. While requirements of research may vary between disciplines, and some may prefer qualitative or quantitative methodologies, multidisciplinary research on entrepreneurship should follow at least six basic guidelines in order to be robust: 1) Contribute to the development of new theories or innovative approaches to theory; 2) Be based the scientific method and rules of data collection; 3) Build upon past studies and contribute to the future of the field; 4) Be objective; 5) Allow for appropriate levels of extrapolation; 6) Be valid, reliable and reproducible (McCaig & Dahlberg, 2010; Edmondson and McManus),
One of the singular problems we find when looking at research from a multidisciplinary approach, as in entrepreneurship and education, is that there needs to be a set of basic assumptions to ensure validity across disciplines. One of the ways this is done is to utilize a singular method -- the scientific method, as a way of approaching any subject. Instead of a formal procedure that is required in every research project, it is more a method of investigation that uses testing an idea or hypothesis, working through the experiment in either a quantitative or qualitative manner (e.g. As long as it is measurable), testing those results, observing and using empirical data to make informed conclusions, and then either proving or disproving the original hypothesis. Thus, the basic research method accepted by scholars is: 1) form a valid hypothesis that is appropriate for the subject matter; 2) design a method of experimentation that will help uncover unknowns; 3) use data appropriately and analyze that data using accepted means, and; 4) formulate a result and/or need for further research. This forms the basis of measurable research, but within the social sciences does not necessarily guarantee universal acceptance of the data (Van Maanen, et al.; Scott, 2010).
Certainly, all research attempts to establish a cause and effect relationship, which requires a sound theoretical framework. For instance, when dealing with entrepreneurialism, a simple cause…