Prospective associations between working alliance, basic psychological need satisfaction, and coaching outcome indicators: a two-wave survey study among 181 Dutch coaching clients

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: The coach-coachee working alliance and coachee motivation seem important factors for achieving positive coaching results. Self-determination theory, specifically basic psychological need theory, has been proposed as a relevant framework for understanding these relationships. The current longitudinal survey study therefore investigates prospective associations between coachees' appraisal of the working alliance, basic psychological need satisfaction, and the coaching outcome indicators goal attainment, wellbeing, absence of psychopathology, and personal growth initiative.

METHODS: The sample (N = 181) consisted of Dutch coachees that were recruited across a range of coaching settings and contexts. Online self-report questionnaires were administered twice (T 0 and T 1), with an intervening time of 3 weeks, assessing working alliance, basic psychological need satisfaction, goal attainment, wellbeing, absence of psychopathology, and personal growth initiative. Parallel analysis with Monte Carlo simulations and confirmatory factor analyses were performed to assess the dimensionality of working alliance and basic psychological need satisfaction scores. Multiple regression analyses (stepwise) were used to examine prospective (T 0 to T 1) associations between working alliance and basic psychological need satisfaction, and their association with outcome indicators.

RESULTS: The coachees' perception of the working alliance was positively and reciprocally, although modestly, associated with basic psychological need satisfaction. In addition, both working alliance and basic psychological need satisfaction were prospectively associated with goal attainment, but not with other outcome indicators.

CONCLUSIONS: Results provide tentative support for a role of basic psychological need satisfaction in facilitating the establishment of a good working alliance. Additionally, the perception of a good quality, need supportive relationship with the coach appears to be associated with better goal achievement, but not with other outcome indicators. Associations were generally modest, and more research is needed to better measure and comprehend the unique contributions of specific relational and motivational factors to outcomes in coaching and assess the robustness of the current study findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number269 (2022)
JournalBMC Psychology
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Humans
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Mentoring
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Motivation
  • Personal Autonomy

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