The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Business Coaching as a Development Intervention of Self-Regulation

Ria Parppei

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Faculty of Information and Natural Sciences for public examination and debate in Auditorium TU1 at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 12th of December, 2008, at 12 noon.

Dissertation in PDF format (ISBN 978-951-22-9307-0)   [805 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 978-951-22-9306-3)

Note: The language of the dissertation is Finnish.


Business coaching is a personal method for speeding up goal achievement and making personal development more effective in the context of business and working life. The coaching process has two dimensions: a structure and a dialogue, carried out in systematic interaction between the coach and the coachee. This study examines business coaching as a development intervention of self-regulation. Self-regulation refers to deliberate control of self-generated action, thoughts and feelings to ensure the attainment of personal goals. Self-regulation has been studied mainly in the field of education and self-regulated learning, but in this study the perspective of self-regulation has been extended to the field of leadership and human resources development. There is still little Finnish research on business coaching and its effect, and even the broader international research does not focus on the relationship between coaching and self-regulation.

The objective of this study was to determine which individual structures or processes of self-generated action, thoughts and feelings can be developed by business coaching and how the development of self-regulation is subjectively reported to appear. Thus, the purpose was not to study objective effectiveness by means of pre- and post-testing. The study also examined how the individual positioning in different developmental levels of self-regulation was reported to appear. A qualitative approach was used: collecting data from coaches (n=10) and coachees (n=8) by means of semi-structured interviews and analyzing the material by using deductive content analysis.

The results suggest that business coaching develops particularly conative self-regulation connected to motivation and volition as well as cognitive self-regulation connected to raising awareness, self-observation and self-reflection. It was reported to appear as follows: 1) The structure of the business coaching process developed and supported individual structures, which were connected to a goal and action controls, thus enhancing goal achievement; 2) the dialogue of the business coaching process developed cognitive skills and strategies, which enhanced personal development and performance improvement; 3) in cases in which the self-set goal was related to interaction skills, the coachee adopted self-regulation strategies used by the coach in the coaching process. Thus the results indicated that business coaching is a feasible method when developing the coachee's self-regulation.

Keywords: coaching, business coaching, self-regulation, social cognitive self-regulation theory, volition

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© 2008 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-05-26