Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Allison Rossett, EdD; Fred J. Galloway, PhD; Bob Hoffman, PhD


descriptive study, e-coaching, employee development, exploratory study, instructional design, Leadership studies, learning, organizations, technology


Employee development in organizations is moving away from classroom instruction to more individualized, flexible forms of just-in-time learning and support, such as e-coaching. E-coaching, conducted partially or entirely at a distance, offers convenience, cost-savings, efficiency, and improved access to people and resources. However, research on e-coaching for work-related purposes is limited. This descriptive and exploratory study used mixed methods to examine e-coaching extent, technologies and practices, and factors that influence deployment and success in organizations. A web-based survey gathered opinions from over two hundred workforce learning and performance professionals. Semi-structured interviews gathered critical incidents from twenty e-coaches. The researcher used Chi-square, analyses of variance, and regression analyses to examine differences by e-coaching level and the influence of individual, organization, and innovation factors. Data showed that most coaching was delivered with little technology, with strong expectations for growth despite weak perceptions of coaching success and organizational support. E-coaching was more typically used as an alternative to face-to-face rather than as an opportunity to do something altogether new, and typically used to serve geographically dispersed employees, provide just-in-time support, address issues of scheduling, provide greater access to expertise and multiple perspectives, and reduce costs. E-coaching involved mostly e-mail, land line telephone, and sharing electronic files, with limited use of video conferencing, and was typically part of a formal and blended learning and development initiative rather than an ad hoc or standalone activity. Certain coaching purposes, topics, and beliefs about e-coaching usefulness as well as a supportive environment were strong predictors of e-coaching level, technology choices, and perceived efficacy. Coaches valued relative advantage, compatibility, and familiarity over media richness, and they used technology-based tools to increase presence, humanize the experience, connect proteges to peers and resources, and track client progress. Many respondents felt that face-to-face contact was necessary for sensitive feedback, physical interactions, or addressing deeper issues. Group and just-in-time coaching received enthusiasm which supports the importance of learning by doing and on-demand resources. Findings converge with the literature and suggest several practical implications for organizations, individual coaches, and others interested in the effective design, support, and implementation of e-coaching for development and performance support.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access