Advancing Coaching for Leadership Development: Coaching as an Enabler of Learning and Well-being in Local and Global Organizations

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


The shortage of effective business and societal leaders, able to solve complex tasks in a responsible way, is recognized among the major obstacles facing local and global organizations. However, scholarly understanding of how leaders develop their leadership capabilities sufficiently to address current and future organizational challenges is limited. Foremost leadership development research has been focused on developmental methods such as formal training, mentoring, job assignments, and action learning. Research on coaching for leadership development is lagging behind, despite coaching emerging as a mainstream HR development practice in organizations. Further, extant research largely focuses on the most traditional form of coaching for leadership development - executive coaching, and mainly in traditional hierarchical business organizations.
Against this background, my dissertation explores the role of coaching and the mechanisms of how coaching enables leadership development beyond the mainstream coaching forms and organizational contexts. In particular, the first study, which is a systematic literature review, conceptualizes the global leader learning process from international experience and identifies the moderating role of coaching in global leader learning. It serves as a conceptual foundation for the two following empirical studies, which investigate the two innovative and distinct coaching forms of intercultural leadership coaching and peer coaching. The second study is a pioneering large-scale two-wave survey of 107 coaching dyads examining the role of the coach and coachee’s individual cultural intelligence (CQ) components in coachee learning, carried out in the much under-researched context of international development organizations. The third study is an in-depth inductive study exploring the role of an innovative peer coaching system in fostering employee proactivity and well-being in a self-managing Finnish digital engineering company.
This dissertation extends the theoretical landscape of coaching for leadership development by applying several theoretical perspectives such as the learning perspective, the relational view, the proactivity perspective, and the well-being perspective. It contributes to the coaching literature by outlining the moderating role of coaching in leadership development; identifying the primary role of the coach’s metacognitive and motivational CQ and the secondary role of the coachee’s metacognitive and motivational CQ in coachee learning; and revealing that peer coaching is able to foster employee proactivity and well-being and can substitute for several leadership functions in a self-managing organization. The dissertation contributes to the CQ literature by explicating novel intrapersonal and interpersonal compensatory mechanisms between the CQ components of one person and the CQ components of two different people interacting.
By studying coaching initiatives that penetrate vertically across leadership levels in organizations and horizontally across cultural borders, my dissertation advances scholarly and practitioner knowledge on how coaching enables leadership development beyond conventional coaching forms and organizational contexts. This in turn reveals significant opportunities for more inclusive coaching for leadership development and its possible benefits.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
  • Salin, Denise, Degree supervisor
  • Ehrnrooth, Mats, Supervisor
Award date14.11.2023
Place of PublicationHelsinki
Print ISBNs978-952-232-510-5
Electronic ISBNs978-952-232-511-2
Publication statusPublished - 2023
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • 512 Business and Management
  • coaching
  • leadership development
  • learning
  • well-being
  • intercultural leadership coaching
  • peer coaching


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