Executive coaching can enhance transformational leadership

Tom Cerni, Guy Curtis, Susan H. Colmar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Epstein’s (1998) Cognitive-experiential Self theory (CEST) suggests that all behaviour is guided by two different processing systems – the rational and experiential. This brief report presents results of a study looking at the impact of a 10-week coaching intervention programme based on Epstein’s CEST theory on transformational leadership among 14 secondary school principals. Design: Set up as a pre-test, post-test control-group research design, the present study tested whether changes to CEST information-processing systems could bring about changes in leadership style. Method: School principals in the intervention group focused on developing their rational system and constructive elements of the experiential system. At the commencement of the coaching intervention programme all school staff in the 14 schools were invited to rate their school principal using the MLQ (5X) questionnaire. Results: The results of a 10-week coaching intervention programme showed that there was a significant difference between the pre-test and post-test scores for the intervention group, as rated by their school staff. The control group remained unchanged. Qualitative results indicate that the school principal in the intervention group became more reflective about their thinking processes and leadership practices. Conclusion: This study provides initial evidence that by creating changes to rational and constructive thinking, it is possible to increase coachee’s use of transformational leadership techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-85
JournalInternational Coaching Psychology Review
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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