Themes, Approaches, And Assumptions In Qualitative Research In Relation To Coaching Practice

Current debates surrounding the principles of qualitative research

Leadership position in organisation is largely being dominated by male employees. Despite being so much advancement in regards to advocating the role of women at the workplace they are still far much behind to their male counterpart. It is still a male dominated world. The managerial positions are still occupied with male in most cases. Participation rate at the workplace is not the answer that this study is looking for. It is actually about women being at the managerial positions. Surprisingly, only three countries could only break the beliefs and are in managerial positions even more than male employees. Interestingly, the Unites States of America is not one of them. Jamaica, Colombia and Saint Lucia are those three countries where female managers or the bosses are in majority number (Wilson 2016). The fact just shows that female bosses or the managers are still a strange concept to many countries. This even includes developed countries like the United Kingdom and the developing nations such as China (Wilson 2016). The study is aimed at understanding whether the executive training given to women to make them realise that they can also be the mangers or bosses, is sufficient. The fact is being demonstrated by making an analytical review of the chosen article.   

In the chosen article “Understanding the importance of gender and leader identity formation in executive coaching for senior women”, the focus of the literature review section is on women in context to enabling them to identify their potential as managers. The study starts with a fact that in the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) list of 200 largest companies, women only occupy 9.7% of executive management roles (Skinner 2014). The study has tried to illustrate that executive coaching can be really helpful in uplifting the lost ground for women in countries where high difference exist in the participation rates at the managerial post. The study has found this effective also as women who were being trained through the executive coaching program had sensed their importance for organisation.

The study did not cover facts like whether the executive coaching is sufficient for actually positioning women at the leadership positions. There is evident difference between sensing something as important and applying thoughts to attain the same. The ground facts that make up the mind and make women believe that they are better at the executive level. They have more challenges than male and hence, they cannot assume them to be at the leadership position. The chosen literature review has not covered facts like the circumstances which build up such perception in women. Those factors may or may not be the constraints; however, the otherwise situation is also unpredictable without doing any proper study on the topic (Alvesson and Sköldberg 2017).

Evaluation of different approaches in qualitative research and their application to coaching practice

There are indeed a variety of reasons that keep women out of the race for becoming the bosses or the managers. One of those reasons is the societal background which keeps thinking of a male dominated company. Societal beliefs are one of the obstacles to women transgression to the leadership position. In most countries, women are believed as home maker which means they have varying responsibilities under different situation. They need to take leaves when they are pregnant. They need to be flexible when they have given birth to a child, so that, child gets the required cares (Hakim 2016). There are alternative solutions also like approaching the care homes, hiring baby-sitter and others. However, undeniably this all depend on the decision maker that whether they have faith and trust on such options. Some might not prefer to go with such options. In all such cases, women, the mother is the only member which is believed as the fittest role model (Hakim 2016). Male do not take up the position and take care of their kids. The factor is not being covered in the literature review section. Another factor can be the management which preferably can keep women out of the leadership race. They may have the perception that men can only be the better leaders. In such case, women may not be getting the support which is required for being at the mangers level. Women may also not have the same resources like the education and others which is required to become a leader. Women may be judged against a large set of standards while men not. They may be judged on many parameters than men. The imbalance system at the management level is also a potential cause for women not being the managers in most cases (Hakim 2016).     

The chosen literature review did not cover any such factors. It is rather focussed on identifying the productivity of executive coaching to women. Such coaching may be motivational for women; however, training does not answer to all such questions which are not being covered. The study identifies the importance of executive coaching and gives ample of evidence for it; however, it may be just confined to coaching but, not to the consequences.  

The research design resembles its orientation to the constructivist grounded theory. The constructivist grounded theory state that neither data nor theories are discovered but, the researcher actually colours the selected research participants and the data on the basis of their own perception. In the chosen article also, the researcher has selected purposive sampling for selecting the list of participants. The snowball technique was being used by the researcher. The research has purposefully selected women who were all working at the managerial positions within four levels of CEO (Corbin, Strauss and Strauss 2014). Another list of women was those who had at least a minimum six one-to-one sessions across six months of time span with an executive mentor. The list was purposefully being constructed, so that, effective concluding thoughts could be collected. Those experienced women were being supposed to be providing useful responses in regards to the prospect of executive coaching given to women. Women at the senior management level were being selected, so that, validation of the executive coaching can be interpreted.

Identifying assumptions regarding qualitative research held by coaching practitioners

There are issues with the research design being adopted by the researcher. The research design seems to be giving place to biasness. The design was being purposefully made, so that, the researcher could get supportive facts in context to executive coaching. This is relatively easier to interpret results as being assumed at the start of the research. However, this is relatively challenging to find something that was not being assumed (Flick 2014). The study appears as if very well planned and looks like being aimed at attaining the desired outcome. On the other hand, the selection of women belonging to managerial positions may have been done to find the facts which motivates for being into the leadership positions. It looks like as if the researcher is trying to support the executive coaching format for women. The selection of participant in this way may lead to unproductive results. It is like not giving an attempt to find something new which could help to establish whether coaching is an ideal process for motivating women at the workplace. The eligibility criteria set for the selection should not be this way. It should have also considered women who at least for once had considered to go with the executive coaching and had denied any such opportunity in future. This may have produced sufficient facts regarding what they did not like about the executive level coaching. The researcher has probably tried to establish the presumed facts (Gravetter and Forzano 2018).

Data analysis is being done through intensive interview process, so that, sufficient time could be provided to the participants. The data analysis was also done by making a constant comparison of data to data and data to code. All data were being analysed using the NVIVO 8 software system. Nine of the eleven interviews had produced the in-depth results. Adhering to the CGT process, saturation had occurred by the eleventh interview (Higginbottom and Liamputtong 2015). The quality of data may expectedly be good considering a fact that participants were being interviewed thoroughly. Sufficient time was being given to enable them share what they want to speak up about the executive coaching or mentoring. However, results could have been even better, had the selection of participants not been done the way it was actually being done. The process to capture the data and everything was all good. The researcher had noted down the facts shared by the participants and the data were being transcribed verbatim, so that, authenticity of data can be ensured.

Analyzing elements of coaching practice through qualitative research methods and tools

The data analysis was also being supported through a line by line coding of using the NVIVO 8 software system. The coding had continued for months till the time the researcher has reached to the findings. Despite the adherence to every single technique the data analysis section had lacked in making an appropriate selection of participants. The participants as being discussed earlier were done intentionally to get supportive results on the chosen topic. The interview was conducted with the purposefully selected participants. Had it been the different way of selection, the outcome could have been the different (Holloway and Galvin 2016). In this regard, a bit modification in the eligibility level could have been a much fairer selection. The researcher could have been able to get a wide variety of data and the way the researcher has made the analysis, it could have produced a wider view of the topic. Moreover, the data collection or the eligibility criteria for the sampling of participants could have been much better.

The research has produced some useful contribution to the pre-established facts of the research regarding the executive coaching or mentoring. The researcher has presumed that executive coaching is a better option to motivate women at the workplace. According to the researcher, women need motivation and courage to think of the managerial positions in places where they are being dominated by their male counterpart. The executive coaching or mentoring is an essential process to groom women and make them realise that they also have the potentials to be at the leadership position. It may have generated a good amount of knowledge in women who participated in the interviews. As per the researcher, they lack to have the requisite appetite for the higher positions. They neither know how to be the leaders nor do they have any appetite for the same. The executive coaching for such women can be very effective (Ingham-Broomfield 2015).

However, this is not the scenario every time as also being discussed earlier. Women also have circumstances that do not allow them to think of such thing or they could make it happen. Women in many society lack to have a proper support at the workplace or from families. They are considered the sole body to take care of their kids. Male do not take such responsibilities. On the other hand, managers consider men in most cases for promotions. They are carrying a perception that women are not free and have loads of other responsibilities to take care of. This is why it is not fairer enough to assign them to positions which require a complete dedication. They are not the best choice for the leadership position (Jamshed 2014). Additionally, women may also lack in few leadership skills which are necessary in some situations. For example, they may be required making the strategic decisions which needs utmost concentration on everything it does and an utter planning for the same. However, they have loads of other issues which may prevent them from being the right person for the situation in concern. Women are believed to have several reasons for diverted thoughts; however, men are considered to have rock solid concentration on everything they commence. They are firm solid in any situation and do not involve the family matter while dealing with critical tasks. They believe to have the capability which enables a right and an appropriate balance between the family and the official responsibilities (Hakim 2016).

Development of a model of a coach as a researcher-practitioner

The researcher is philosophical at the point when the researcher has set the eligibility criteria for the participants. The eligibility criteria set by the researcher can be biased in nature as only women with past experience of executive coaching and those sitting at the top managerial positions were being considered. The researcher could have gone a different way and had selected even those who have only one or two experience. Those women may have disliked the concept and would have found this unproductive. Considering those women also would have produced a wider data. The data could have provided why to support such programs or why not. Overall, the productivity of the system could have then easily judged which is not possible at the moment with the selection being focussed only on supportive audience (Leung 2015).

The researcher might be struggling to find whether the data collected are the only facts. The researcher is aware of it that only supportive audience were being selected for the interviews. Responses would predictably be in the line of the researcher’s perception of executive coaching. However, the researcher may have struggled to get answers on few questions which are necessary to understand what the barriers to the success of executive coaching are. There are obstacles which may not support women reaching to the leadership position despite being trained from the executive coach. Questions on obstacles would have created issues for the researcher in making any concluding thoughts. Moreover, it has left place for future researches on topic like “do other obstacles are the barriers to the success of executive coaching or mentoring” (McCusker and Gunaydin 2015).  

The focus has remained confined to the research work; however, the researcher had this thought process going in mind that the result will not be the one which is reliable in every regards. The result may be able to predict that executive coaching is good for making women believe in them and think of higher positions in places where they are not given the full leverage. However, the executive coaching will lack the required resources which are necessary to actually support women to get to the top positions.  

From the researcher perspective, the role is to provide ample of data to support the importance of executive coaching or mentoring. In course of the action, the researcher has collected significant data which validates the researcher’s point that executive coaching is the needs of women. The role of the researcher in this field will be to bring more such results may be on some other topics like finding the obstacles that prevent women from being at the managerial position (Noel 2016). The future work will cover other topic as well like whether the executive coaching is alone sufficient to the purpose of the researcher. The researcher has identified that the research conducted on identifying the ‘importance of executive coaching on women’ have certain limitations which may not produce the expected support to women. To add more values to the purpose, there will be needed few more research works on different topics as discussed in the section earlier (Noel 2016).  


The current research work is expected to produce some positive implications like women may feel motivated after being trained under the guidance of executive coach or mentor. They may expectedly get a different vision of their participation at the workplace. However, the researcher will face certain challenges may be due to the limitations of the research work. The data collected from the research do only speak of the motivational factor. It does not cover what could be the other reasons of women not being able to be at top positions in most places across the world. The places where they are largely ignored and not given fair chances of success. It is for women working in the men dominated world. The researcher has the challenge to come up with something that has answers for every single factor forcing women not to think of the top positions (O’Connor 2015).

The research has supplied some good results but, its productivity will depend on the number of future researches on different topics covering the same field. From the researcher perspective, women are not fairly dealt in most places across the globe. The researcher has certain set of objectives which compels the research for topic as such the role of executive coaching in women. The researcher wants to know why women are not the part of managerial posts. To serve the objective, the researcher has kept the research confined just to find the values of executive coaching to women who are not at the managerial position (Patten and Newhart 2017). However, the objective is only partially served. The future goals are still untouched as the research has not provided any outcome on what obstacles stop women from being at the top position. The researcher has already identified the future research works and believes that after commencing the identified topics, the objective will be served. The future topic of research will supposedly be “Finding the obstacle that contribute to sex ratio difference at managerial position” and “Is executive coaching is a sufficient answer for women not being the managers” (Patten and Newhart 2017).  

The objective that the researcher has, will serve in facilitating many future research works. As already been discussed, the research has certain gaps like it has not covered what actually prevents women from being the managers. The researcher has made some wrong considerations and had done it purposefully when sampling the target audience for the interview. However, the researcher is still in the learning period and aimed at attaining the objective that the researcher possesses. From the researcher’s perspective, it is important that the researcher is careful in sampling the target audience (Pavan and Kulkarni 2014).    

The researcher has ample list of opportunities while doing the research work. The researcher could understand where the researched had mistaken in sampling the target audience. On the other side, the researcher could identify the suitable tools like NVIVO 8 software system which is being used to do coding. The researcher had utilised the opportunity and did the coding at every single stage (Punch and Oancea 2014). The researcher had also noted down the every single statement and reconfirmed the same with the participants. This has helped the researcher to get and also secure the useful data. Based on the quality of the data analysis method, the researcher was able to find the research limitation. The researcher did an intensive study on analysing the data and had continued the same for several months. This is why the research was able to get useful results and also identify the future works (Punch and Oancea 2014).  

The researcher did also learn some ethical issues which are important to be considered while doing a research work. The researcher had understood that it was pretty challenging to call the women serving the top managerial positions in different sectors. Such women may not have the time for interviews which is not serving their purpose. It requires a thorough understanding of how could those women be approached. The researcher had ensured that data would be kept under full protection and not be used for any unethical purpose. From the researcher’s perspective, it is important to be ethical while doing the research work. There is no point of being the participant of interviews without having any guarantee for the data protection (Rahi 2017).

According to the researcher, there are several spots which are blind to the researcher. From the researcher’s perspective, the researcher failed to sample the correct audience (Stern and Porr 2017). The research which was on identifying the importance of executive coaching on women not being at the top most positions in male dominated world. The researcher had purposefully selected women having at least the experience of 6 one-to-one interviews on the same topic. The researcher had also selected women who are serving the leading positions in different sectors. The selection of women who repeatedly considers going for one-to-one discussion was not only the way. The researcher could have also selected women who have been for just once in one-to-one interview on the same topic. They might have disliked the topic or had found this as unproductive. Considering such audience also could have added values to the overall responses. The responses could have been quite diverse in nature and hence, the validation of the research (Stern and Porr 2017).  

There are other spots as well like the researcher has taken months to analyse the data. The research needs to be efficient enough to quickly analyse the data. This will increase the researcher’s efficiency in research works and also open up several doors to more future works. It also speak of the credibility that the researcher is capable of doing research within a very limited period of time and that with full perfection. Moreover, the research will get more such options in future which are necessary for an academic and the professional career in research (Van den Hoonaard and Van den Hoonaard 2016). The researcher has also other weak areas also. The data analysis section is perhaps the most prominent weakness that the researcher has. The researcher was not smart enough in sampling the data required. The researcher had purposefully considered women who have already been to such interviews in past as well. However, it could have been much better and results could have been more elaborated if women who have been for such interview but for once (Van den Hoonaard and Van den Hoonaard 2016). They may have rejected the other chance of appearing in the interview. This is because they may have disliked the process or the topic.    

From the researcher’s perspective, it is important to put some plans for future research works and for also the personal & professional development plan. The personal & professional development plan in this regards is of extreme importance. It is imperative to identify the areas of improvement. The researcher has faced the challenge in interacting with women who represent the leading positions in different sectors. The researcher was unable to identify what exactly was the barrier between the researcher and those top women (Wilson 2014). However, the researcher had enough clues on doubts that such women can be approached if they feel the same way or if the person is ethical enough to prove its credibility. The research has planned to go through various academic materials to understand ways that all could be used to prove the ethical in the researcher. The researcher will also follow the senior researchers doing the research work as this will help to understand the different strategies that are feasible to the respective situation. Moreover, the researcher has planned to seek the help from both the academics and the senior researchers (Wilson 2014).  

The researcher also needs to understand how to take care of the research methodology and the data analysis section. The researcher had adopted the ‘Constructivist Ground Theory’ for the research methodology section where ground for research work is created. This was indeed a good selection that the researcher has made; however, the construction is itself a challenge. This is exactly what happened to the researcher. The researcher had constructed that the chosen literature review section and the sampling of data are enough to validate the research (Patten and Newhart 2017). However, the researcher was able to understand at the end of the research that there are shortcomings in the sampling of data. The researcher had identified that considering women with at least one experience of one-to-one interview could have produced wider results. Hence, the data analysis section could eventually have produced a better conclusion on the chosen topic. The researcher has planned to follow the academic articles to understand how they take on the sampling process. The researcher will also follow up the senior researchers during the projects. This will help to understand how they sample the target audience and what their thought processes behind all such works are (Patten and Newhart 2017).    

From the researcher’s perspective, the research-practitioner should follow the essential elements of research like philosophy, purpose and process when dealing a research project. The philosophy should be very clear and concise. The researcher should have a clear understanding of what is being tried for. It means that a clear outcome of the research should be clearly understood. This actually helps to progress the research (Flick 2014). The researcher should have a clear philosophy during the entire research work. This will guide through the successive steps which are essential to a research. The researcher will find the philosophy as guiding to various phases like in the literature review. The researcher will pick up only those articles which will produce the outcome similar to what researcher has thought of. The researcher will also adopt the research design which will produce the expected results. The researcher will accordingly progress with the data analysis section. This is evident that to have a progressive research, it is important to have a clear philosophy in the researcher’s mind (Flick 2014).

The purpose of the research is another important point of consideration. The researcher should have a clear purpose on the matter to cover in the research. In the previous research, the researcher had purposefully selected only those women who already have been for at least six times in one-to-one interviews. The researcher has although analysed that it could have been better, had the research also considered women with just one experience of one-to-one interview. Such women might have disliked the concept or they may have not enjoyed the topic. This could have produced a much wider results and the researcher would have got some other perspective of the chosen topic. However, the purposeful selection had denied the same (Patten and Newhart 2017).

The process of approaching a research is also critical to a much better outcome. Literature review, research design & methodology, data analysis, findings and discussion are all interlinked and essential elements of research. A research indeed follows a successive path. Hence, any failure at any stage may lead to the undesired outcomes. The designing of research question should be in accordance to the purpose of the research. The construction of research objectives should also be in line of the expected outcome that the researcher has anticipated (Ingham-Broomfield 2015). The selection of articles should be done carefully. Only those articles that are relevant to the research purpose should be selected. This will avoid any deviation from the actual path. The research design is another very essential element and ample of caress needs to be put on this to avoid any conflicts between the literature reviews and the research methodology. The data analysis section is another very vital segment that analyses the collected data and put forward the findings which are then matched with the literature reviews. It is again checked to ensure whether there is any deviation. The findings will help to conclude the research and the research limitations. Research limitation will tell whether any future work is required and if it so, then what would be the topics. Research limitation should be clearly identified, so that, further research works are progressive to what has been covered now (Ingham-Broomfield 2015). 


Alvesson, M. and Sköldberg, K., 2017. Reflexive methodology: New vistas for qualitative research. Sage.

Corbin, J., Strauss, A. and Strauss, A.L., 2014. Basics of qualitative research. Sage.

Flick, U., 2014. An introduction to qualitative research. Sage.

Gravetter, F.J. and Forzano, L.A.B., 2018. Research methods for the behavioral sciences. Cengage Learning.

Hakim, C., 2016. Key issues in women’s work: Female diversity and the polarisation of women’s employment. Routledge-Cavendish.

Higginbottom, G. and Liamputtong, P. eds., 2015. Participatory qualitative research methodologies in health. Sage.

Holloway, I. and Galvin, K., 2016. Qualitative research in nursing and healthcare. John Wiley & Sons.

Ingham-Broomfield, R., 2015. A nurses’ guide to qualitative research. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, The, 32(3), p.34.

Jamshed, S., 2014. Qualitative research method-interviewing and observation. Journal of basic and clinical pharmacy, 5(4), p.87.

Leung, L., 2015. Validity, reliability, and generalizability in qualitative research. Journal of family medicine and primary care, 4(3), p.324.

McCusker, K. and Gunaydin, S., 2015. Research using qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods and choice based on the research. Perfusion, 30(7), pp.537-542.

Noel, L., 2016. Essentials of Publishing Qualitative Research: A Book Review. The Qualitative Report, 21(7), pp.1366-1368.

O’Connor, M.K., 2015. Social work constructivist research(Vol. 1134). Routledge.

Patten, M.L. and Newhart, M., 2017. Understanding research methods: An overview of the essentials. Taylor & Francis.

Pavan, G.K. and Kulkarni, N., 2014. Research methodology. International Journal of Innovative Research and Development, 3(7).

Punch, K.F. and Oancea, A., 2014. Introduction to research methods in education. Sage.

Rahi, S., 2017. Research design and methods: A systematic review of research paradigms, sampling issues and instruments development. International Journal of Economics & Management Sciences, 6(2), pp.1-5.

Skinner, S., 2014. Understanding the importance of gender and leader identity formation in executive coaching for senior women. Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 7(2), pp.102-114.

Stern, P.N. and Porr, C.J., 2017. Essentials of accessible grounded theory. Routledge.

Van den Hoonaard, W.C. and Van den Hoonaard, D.K., 2016. Essentials of thinking ethically in qualitative research. Routledge.

Wilson, F.M., 2016. 7 Women in management in the United Kingdom. Women in Management Worldwide: Signs of Progress, pp.91-118.

Wilson, J., 2014. Essentials of business research: A guide to doing your research project. Sage.          

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