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Title: A longitudinal study to explore and examine the potential and impact of an e-coaching programme on the learning and self-efficacy of female entrepreneurs in the north west of England
Author: Hunt, Carianne
ISNI:       0000 0004 2709 2785
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2010
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The aim of this longitudinal study was to examine the potential of coaching to develop female entrepreneurs' self-efficacy through learning and development. This was achieved by firstly conducting a needs analysis, which explored the potential of an e-coaching programme for female entrepreneurs in the North West of England. Secondly, implementing an e-coaching programme called TEC (Tailored E-Coaching) for female entrepreneurs in the North West of England and exploring the impact of the programme, specifically examining female entrepreneurs' learning development with regard to entrepreneurial self efficacy, general entrepreneurial attitudes and locus of control, compared to a control group who did not receive the coaching intervention. The study consisted of two stages, with two time points in stage two (pre and post programme). A mixed method approach was used, whereby qualitative and quantitative data were collected. The main barriers faced by female entrepreneurs appear to be based on access to funding and finance, balancing domestic responsibilities and work, a lack of human capital, a lack of social capital and lack of confidence. Women often dismiss entrepreneurial endeavours because they believe that they do not have the required skills (Wilson, Kickul and Marlino, 2007). In addition, they do not appear to be accessing the support that is currently available, particularly when compared with male entrepreneurs (Stranger, 2004; Fielden et al, 2003). However, there is limited empirical research examining female entrepreneurs' requirement regarding business support provision. One form of professional one-to-one support that may have the potential to overcome these barriers to entrepreneurial activity is coaching. Longitudinal empirical research examining the effectiveness of coaching and the learning processes in coaching relationships is scarce, with an absence of research using control groups (Smither and London, 2003). Thirty women were involved in stage one of the study. In stage two of the study, sixty female entrepreneurs (coachees and coaches) commenced a coaching relationship for six months and twenty six female entrepreneurs signed up to a control group (those not receiving the coaching intervention). The aim of the coaching programme was primarily to use instant messaging for the majority of coaching meetings. The relationship lasted approximately six months (2006-2007). Qualitative data was analysed using content analysis and quantitative questionnaire data was analysed using paired sample t-tests. The study found that coachees' learning development resulted in increased levels of entrepreneurial self-efficacy and general entrepreneurial attitudes in a range ofkey areas and increased internality regarding locus of control. In contrast, the control group did not show any increase in entrepreneurial self-efficacy and showed a decrease in general entrepreneurial attitudes. Coaches developed their coachees through a range of learning processes, for example, enactive mastery and the clarification of business goals, vicarious experience through shared experiences and verbal persuasion through validation. The study found that online coaching has a variety of advantages, e.g. convenience, ease of access, and time to reflect on information.
Supervisor: Fielden, Sandra Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Female entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial self-efficacy, online coaching