DEVELOPING A CONCEPTUAL UNDERSTANDING OF COACHING FOR MANAGERIAL AND LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN THE MALTESE PUBLIC SERVICE

PhD Thesis


Borg Ellul, D. 2022. DEVELOPING A CONCEPTUAL UNDERSTANDING OF COACHING FOR MANAGERIAL AND LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN THE MALTESE PUBLIC SERVICE. PhD Thesis https://doi.org/10.48773/9w008
AuthorsBorg Ellul, D.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDoctorate of Professional Practice
Abstract

This professional doctorate project seeks to determine whether coaching can be used as a professional learning opportunity (amongst other active forms of professional development) to help reduce the significant skills gap within the Maltese Public Service (MPS). This study reveals a strong backdrop of weak leadership development and corruption issues in the MPS, which can be mitigated by coaching.

This investigation is informed by a constructivist interpretive paradigm (people-centred approach) embedded in a pragmatic research paradigm (mixed-methods). Quantitative data was collected using a SurveyMonkey questionnaire from two-hundred and twenty-two (222) Senior Public Officers (SPOs) deployed in the healthcare, finance, ICT and digital media sectors within the MPS. Qualitative data was collected from twenty (20) individuals who offer coaching services in public and private entities; they participated in the study through semi-structured interviews.

Political influence is a barrier to middle managers SPOs in developing the competencies to coach people. There are no coaching programmes for SPOs available within the MPS. Employees are more resistant to coaching than senior managers, and there are barriers to developing a coaching culture within middle-management levels. The only Ministry within the Office of the Prime Minister micro-manages the MPS’s day-to-day operations rather than providing clear policy guidance and giving the MPS the tools to do its job. This is embedded in and exacerbated by what seems to be a broader culture of nepotism, corruption, and the ‘political’ appointment of people to the MPS who are not qualified for their roles. Politicians often control programmes and activities, and most SPOs feel marginalised and less inclined to participate in their personal development. This is compounded by a transactional culture of telling and bullying/mismanagement, resulting in low morale and service effectiveness.

While the study acknowledges deficits in leadership qualities in higher positions within the MPS, it could be inferred from the data that the barriers to developing a coaching culture within the service do not predominantly lie with senior management but in mid-management levels. The study suggests that employees are more resistant to coaching than senior managers. Paradoxically, despite the lack of coach training for SPOs in the Maltese Public Service, coaching practices have found a strong foothold in the professional development and management practices of some SPOs. The Central Government of Malta, however, may need to develop a clear vision of a future MPS and conduct a cost-benefit analysis of different forms of intervention through a comprehensive coach training programme for success in better talent management (TM), leadership development and succession planning (SP) more generally.

As a contribution to practice, the author has developed a conceptual framework model, and a tentative GROW coaching model designed to understand the complex dynamics of the Maltese Public Service.

KeywordsAwareness, Central Government of Malta, Coaching, Consultancy, Continuous Professional Development, Corruption, Favouritism, GROW, High-Potential Human Capital, Independent Coach Instructors, Leadership Development. Learning, Maltese Public Service, Mentoring, Nepotism, Occupational Sectors, Organisational Culture, Organisational Development, Professional Practice, Return on Investment, Senior Public Officers, Skill Shortages, Succession Planning, Talent Development, Talent Management, Training.
Year2022
PublisherBusiness Law and social Science at University of Derby
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.48773/9w008
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Deposited22 Dec 2022
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Related outputs

The role and impact of executive coaching in the Maltese public sector
Borg Ellul, Duncan and Wond, Tracey 2020. The role and impact of executive coaching in the Maltese public sector. International Journal of Public Leadership. 16 (2), pp. 145-173. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijpl-11-2019-0075