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Research

My research activities has centerd around performing the largest controlled trial done to date on the impact of strength-based leadership coaching on transformational leadership. I have also published on talent management, evaluation, positive leadership, team coaching and readiness for change.

 

Peer Reviewed Publications
MacKie D.J. (2017) Positive Approaches to Leadership Development. Chap 17 in The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of the Psychology of Positivity and Strengths-Based Approaches at Work. Lindsay G. Oades (Editor), Michael Steger (Editor), Antonelle Delle Fave (Editor), Jonathan Passmore (Editor)

Positive leadership development offers access to a range of new theoretical and evidence-based approaches that have the potential to refine and enhance how leaders and leadership are developed in organisations. To date there is no grand unifying theory of leadership, studies on leadership development vary significantly in their efficacy (Avolio, Reichard & Hannah et al, 2009) and the evidence base continues to lag behind practitioner applications (Aguinis & Cascio, 2008). Leadership development consumes an estimated $50 billion annually (Bolden, 2007) in the US alone and yet many programs lack a substantial evidence base or coherent theoretical rationale (Brinner, 2012). This review aims to outline some of the potential contributions that the emerging field of positive leadership development can make to enhancing leadership development effectiveness.

MacKie D.J. (2016) Strength-based Leadership Coaching in Organisations. Kogan Page

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MacKie D.J. (2015) Who sees change after leadership coaching: An analysis of impact by rater level and self-other alignment on multisource feedback. International Coaching Psychology Review Sept 2015

Objectives: The objective of this research was to investigate the use of multisource feedback in assessing the effectiveness of a strength-based coaching methodology in enhancing elements of the full range leadership model. It also investigated the effects of self-other rater alignment on leadership outcomes after coaching.

Design: A between-subject non-equivalent control group design was used to explore the impact of strength-based coaching on transformational leadership behaviours measured in a 360-degree feedback process. Thirty-one executives and senior managers from a large not-for-profit organisation were non-randomly assigned to either a coaching or waitlist cohort.

Methods: The coaching cohort received six sessions of leadership coaching involving feedback on leadership and strengths, goal setting and strengths development. After 6 sessions of coaching over three months, cohorts then switched roles.

Results: The results showed that participants experienced statistically significant increases in their transformational leadership behaviour after coaching and this difference was perceived differentially at all levels within the organisation but not by the participants themselves. Raters at higher levels in the organisation were the most sensitive to change. The results also showed that self-other rater alignment was a significant factor in self-ratings of change over time with those participants who initially over-rated themselves, reducing their ratings over time as a consequence.

Conclusion: The results suggest that changes in coachee transformational leadership behaviour after leadership coaching are perceived differentially by rater level within an organisation and that self-other rater alignment is an important moderator of self-ratings over time.

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MacKie D.J. (2015) Evaluating Leadership Coaching in Organisations: A Survey of Formative and Summative Outcomes. International Journal of Coaching and Mentoring  March 2015.

Abstract; This evaluation survey was conducted following a leadership coaching program in which 37 senior leaders and managers participated. The survey aimed to examine the impact of the leadership coaching program in terms of both formative evaluation or how the program was delivered and summative evaluation or the broader impact of the program. A total of 105/250 individuals responded to the survey giving a response rate of 42%. Quantitative analysis showed that respondents were extremely positive about the relevance of the program to developing leaders at their organisation and the level of the intervention. In terms of effective elements of the program, the coaching relationship received the highest scoring responses. Respondents reported perceiving significant positive change at the individual, team and organisational level and these changes were attributed to the coaching program. For changes at the individual and team level, there was a significant trend for participants and raters to perceive greater changes than other employees. This trend was also apparent when the results were analysed by level with those higher in the organisation perceiving the greatest change. A conservative calculation on the return on the investment (ROI) gave a figure of 856%. Specific recommendations from the program in relation to how the program could be run more effectively and how the leadership coaching could be more effectively integrated into the organisation are discussed.

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MacKie D.J. (2015) The Effects of Coachee Change and Developmental Readiness on leadership coaching outcomes: A Controlled Study.   Coaching an International Journal of Theory, Research & Practice March 2015.

Abstract: This study investigates the impact of coachee readiness for change and core personality traits as both criteria and predictors of outcomes after strength-based leadership coaching. Specifically this study examined developmental readiness, change readiness and core self-evaluations (CSEs; locus of control, neuroticism, self-efficacy and self-esteem), in the coachee to measure both their capacity to predict changes in transformational leadership and to act as outcome criteria in themselves after coaching. Thirty executives and senior managers from a large not-for-profit organisation were assigned to either a coaching or waitlist cohort using a between-subjects non-equivalent control group design. The coaching cohort received six sessions of leadership coaching involving feedback on leadership and strengths, goal setting and strengths development. After six sessions of coaching over three months, cohorts then switched roles. The results showed that participants in the waitlist first group declined in both developmental and coaching readiness whilst waiting for coaching. For the coaching first group their CSEs increased significantly over time but this was not the case for the waitlist first group. Only change readiness at Time 1 and CSEs at Time 2 were significant predictors of enhanced leadership effectiveness after coaching. The results suggest that these coachee variables are potential outcome criteria and predictors of change after leadership coaching.

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MacKie D.J. (2015) Coaching for Strength-Based Leadership in Passmore J. (Ed.) Leadership Coaching: Working with Leaders to Develop Elite Performance. 2nd Edition Kogan Page.

Summary: This chapter describes the theory and practice of taking a strength-based approach to leadership coaching.

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MacKie D.J. (2014) The Effectiveness of Strength-Based Executive Coaching in Enhancing full range leadership development: A Controlled Study. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 66, 118–137

Abstract: This study attempts to investigate the effectiveness of a strength-based coaching methodology in enhancing elements of the full range leadership model, especially transformational leadership. Transformational leadership is the process whereby leaders engage and influence their followers towards attaining a shared vision through their capacity to inspire, innovate and personalize their attention. A between-subject non-equivalent control group design was used to explore the impact of strength -based coaching on transformational and transactional leadership behaviors measured in a 360-degree feedback process. Thirty-seven executives and senior managers from a large not-for-profit organization were non-randomly assigned to either a coaching or waitlist cohort. The coaching cohort received six sessions of leadership coaching involving feedback on leadership and strengths, goal setting and strengths development. The coaching protocol was manualized to ensure some methodological consistency between the 11 executive coaches providing the intervention. This involved providing a written manual to each coach and coachee that outlined the required coaching process for each session. After 6 sessions of coaching over three months, cohorts then switched roles. The results showed that participants experienced highly statistically significant increases in their transformational leadership behavior after coaching and this difference was perceived at all levels within the organization but not by the participants themselves. Adherence to the strength-based protocol was also a significant predictor of ultimate degree of change in transformational leadership behavior. The results suggest that strength-based coaching may be effective in the development of transformational leaders.

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MacKie D.J. (2007) Evaluating Outcomes in Executive Coaching: Where are we now and where do we need to be? Australian Psychologist 42(4) pp 310-318

Abstract: To date there have been no universally accepted criteria for what constitutes a successful outcome in executive coaching. This has been partly a function of the range of activities undertaken within the coaching medium and partly the fact that commercial realities mitigate against controlled trials teasing out mediating and moderating variables. Consequently we may need to look elsewhere for some inspiration in how to assess outcome in executive coaching. Both the training and psychotherapy literature have a long history in addressing the problem of evaluating outcomes in their respective domains. The Kirkpatrick model of four-stage evaluation is now nearly 50 years old and suggests key criteria for the effective evaluation of training and management development interventions. The psychotherapy literature has by necessity advocated controlled trials of different therapies and established key process and outcome variables that predict an effective intervention. Incorporating some of their key insights and findings on evaluation should help to accelerate the executive coaching evidence base.

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Other Publications
MacKie D.J. (2015) Strength-Based Leadership Coaching. Harvard Institute of Coaching Research Digest Vol 1

Abstract: The strengths assessment protocol included the peak experiences interview and self- report data from Realise 2 Inventory. The Realise 2 Inventory also provided a useful model for the coaching process as it separates coachee behaviour into four quadrants; realized strengths (those that were known and utilized), unrealized strengths (those that were known but underutilized), learned behaviors (those that were competent but not energizing), and weaknesses (where both competence and energy were low). Crucially this study also included the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) 360 which provided transformational leadership data beyond the level of self-report. Strengths were then developed through a four stage process of identification, pairing with other strengths, alignment with business goals and utilisation to check for over or underuse. Adherence to this protocol was predictive of subsequent increases in transformational leadership behavior.

The impact of this approach was evident beyond the individual: we found highly significant increases in both transformational leadership and leadership outcomes (effectiveness, satisfaction and extra effort) as reported by all raters in the 360 assessment. These changes are perceived differentially throughout the organization: managers were the most sensitive to leader‘s change in behaviour followed by peers and direct reports. Importantly participants themselves did not report significant changes in their own leadership perceptions after coaching, possibly due to their overestimation of their ratings at the start of the program when compared to all other raters.

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MacKie D.J. (2014) Give me Strength HR Monthly

Abstract: Strength-based approaches in leadership development are increasingly popular among leaders and practitioners alike, but the evidence base for this approach lags behind the enthusiasm. Interest in positive forms of leadership development, including strength-based leadership coaching, is growing but what exactly is it, does it work, and how do practitioners develop capacity in this area?

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MacKie D.J. & Kennaugh W.K. (2011) Coaching the Board to Success Company Director May 2011 pp52-53

Abstract: Executive coaching is the medium of choice for many executives and directors looking for a bespoke and tailored approach to their professional and leadership development. Increasingly, boards and senior leadership teams are realising the key benefits of having an external and objective coaching resource to facilitate the board through the key transitions and challenges every high-performing team faces. In this article, we attempt to map out these challenges into five key areas and show how executive coaching can facilitate each transition.

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MacKie D.J. (2008) Leadership derailment and psychological harm. InPsych April 2008  pp

Abstract: The author examines the impact of leadership derailment, that is, when leaders do not realize the high potential displayed in an earlier career. The classification and numerous causes of derailment behaviors are explored. Several suggestions for the successful management of leadership derailment at the individual and organizational levels are presented.

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Editorial Positions

Association for Coaching Practice Editor of Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research & Practice (Click the link below to see the reviews)

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Editorial Board Member of Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research & Practice
Editorial Board Member of International Journal of Coaching and Mentoring
Editorial Board Member of International Coaching Psychology Review