Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Coaching and Mentoring: Influence on Behavior, Skill, and Attitude for Mid-Career Professionals in the Financial Services Industry
by Pierce, John Richard, Jr., Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2019, 218; 13881160
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative interview study focused on mid-career professionals in the financial services industry to understand the influence of external coaches and internal mentors on skills, attitudes, and behaviors among two distinct study participant groups, the representative group (RG), composed of Caucasian males, and the non-representative group (NRG) of females of various ethnicities. The study also explored emotional intelligence competencies related to working with external coaches and internal mentors. The study was undertaken to address the lack of research on coaching and mentoring in financial services and to potentially address an aging financial services workforce, the lack of industry diversity, and a demographic shift in wealth creation and distribution to women and minority groups.

Sixty-four topics were identified in the data in response to the three primary research questions. These topics were then distilled into eight key themes with various sub-themes. A key theme in this study focused on gender. Every female (NRG) interviewee expressed deep awareness of gender differences and double standards in the workplace. The verbatim comments in this study are explosive. Gender is explored in relation to succession planning, double standards, aggressiveness, and the loss of identity as the NRG career progresses. A second key theme revolves around trust of the external coach and internal mentor and the ramifications of a trusting, or non-trusting relationship. A third key theme relates to negative coaching and mentoring experiences. This was an unexpected outcome that was experienced frequently with internal mentors and with external coaches specifically when there was not a gender match. Conversely, a fourth theme was the benefits derived from an external coach or internal mentor including the ability to increase patience with others, increase risk tolerance for decision making, improve communication skills, exhibit empathy, understanding new perspectives, leveraging mentors as connectors, and using coaches as a sounding board for difficult personal and professional issues. Additional themes addressed in this study include burnout, responsibility for personal development, and career progression. Overlaying these seven themes is the eighth theme of emotional intelligence that is interwoven through this study. For emotional intelligence competencies, study participants reported a significant increase in self-awareness and self-control (regulation). This study also provides data on skill change, behavior change, and attitude change attributed to external coaches and internal mentors. These changes relate directly to the three research questions where the initial sixty-four topics were developed.

This study is unique as it was conducted by an industry insider and may be one of the first works to interview such senior level industry participants.

This study validated the value of external coaches and internal mentors in financial services. From a practitioner’s perspective, this work validates the investment by the financial services industry in coaching and mentoring programs to advance skill, behavior, and attitude changes. This study also provides a roadmap for the industry to solve an aging demographic problem and may address diversity as wealth creation and distribution moves away from Caucasian males.

Keywords: coaching, mentoring, leadership, leadership development, personal development, emotional intelligence, decision making, effectiveness, career progression, gender, communication, trust, mindfulness, accountability, burn-out

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Nakkula, Michael
Commitee: Kafai, Yasmin, Johnston, Frances
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Chief Learning Officer
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 81/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Finance, Banking, Business education
Keywords: Coaching, Communication, Emotional Intelligence, Gender, Leadership, Mentoring
Publication Number: 13881160
ISBN: 9781085753357
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