Original Research

The scientific building blocks for business coaching: A literature review

Flip Schutte, Renier Steyn
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 13, No 1 | a657 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v13i1.657 | © 2015 Flip Schutte, Renier Steyn | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 August 2014 | Published: 26 March 2015

About the author(s)

Flip Schutte, Graduate School of Business Leadership, University of South Africa
Renier Steyn, Graduate School of Business Leadership, University of South Africa, South Africa

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Orientation: Business coaching is a relatively new approach to leadership development. It is also slowly growing as an academic discipline with only a small number of active researchers and a dearth of published literature reviews.

Research purpose: This article is an investigation into the current level of development of the body of knowledge related to business coaching by means of a systematic literature review.

Motivation of the study: Previous literature reviews summarised the available published articles. In order to contribute to establishing business coaching as an independent academic discipline, the building blocks for science in the phenomenon under investigation have to be scientifically not only summarised, but also synthesised and explored to ground this new discipline as an academic field of research.

Research design, approach and method: A methodological framework has been developed to analyse the information. The data were synthesised according to the following building blocks for science: concepts, definitions, typologies, models, theories and paradigms.

Main findings: A total of 84 articles were accessed by the specified search strategy and 36 were analysed according to inclusive and exclusive criteria. Although coaching has not been sufficiently developed as an academic discipline, it is possible to develop a comprehensive definition of coaching, as well as to identify the main models and theories that apply to this field.

Practical/managerial implications: This literature review has synthesised and summarised the available data in such a way that it will contribute to the conceptualisation and foundation of business coaching as an academic discipline.

Contribution: The building blocks for business coaching as a relatively new and emerging science within the field of business leadership have been defined. This will contribute to the articulation of concepts within this discipline by future researchers and practitioners.


Coaching, concepts, definitions, typologies, models, theories, paradigms.


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