Leadership, power, and symmetry


  • Ole Michael Spaten




Research publications concerning managers who coach their own employees are barely visible despite its wide- spread use in enterprises (McCarthy & Milner, 2013; Gregory & Levy, 2011; Crabb, 2011). This article focuses on leadership, power and moments of symmetry in the coaching relationship regarding managers coaching their employees and it is asked; what contributes to coaching of high quality when one reflects on the power aspect as being immanent? Fourteen middle managers coached five of their employees, and all members of each party wrote down cues and experiences immediately after each session. Thereafter we executed qualitative interviews with both managers and employees. Subsequently, a Thematic Analysis resulted in several themes, including power and moments of symmetry in the coaching relationship. One main conclusion is that the most fruitful coaching was obtained when the coachee experienced moments of symmetry and that necessary and sufficient conditions to bring forth such moments include a strong working alliance and the coach being aware of the power at play.






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