Chapter 6 – Research Implications

Chapter 6 - Research Implications

The Organization

The International Coaching Federation is member driven organization and responds well to the needs its members.  While it is not up to the ICF to promote small business coaching, they will support member coaches interested in specific sectors to speak at chapter meetings, conferences and contribute to ongoing research including this paper.  

Moving forward, it is up to the individual ICF members to create the urgency for dialogue on the importance of coaching small business owners and to support the development of a community of practice to continue this valuable work.  

By doing this study and continuing to advocate for small business owners, my hope is that more small business owners will benefit from coaching, and in turn this will reduce the overall failure rate and improve the quality of lives for individuals who provide such value to our communities, economy and the quality of our lives. 

Small business coaching will continue to grow outside of the ICF.  If these recommendations are not undertaken, small business owners will not have access to the ethical and professional standards of coaching that ICF accredited coaches adhere to.

Future Research

Future quantitative studies could measure the impact of democratizing coaching for small business, specifically focusing on the creation of jobs.  

A larger case study project on the success and challenges of coaching small business owners would add valuable insight into the potential barriers of expanding the market.  Future research could also explore the relationship between the UN’s 2030 Sustainability Goals and how coaches and coaching in general can contribute more significantly to attain these important global goals.

Other projects might consider technology, specifically the use of AI in small business coaching, or a comparison of coaching versus other approaches to supporting small business owners success, along with s a study taking a deeper look into why coaches may not want to engage in the small business coaching market.  

Finally, exploring the role government funding and public policy play in promoting small business success through the lens of coaching support as one intervention would be valuable.

Research Contribution

This research contributes to the understanding of the challenges small business owners face, the concept of using coaching to support small business owners and the influence of professional credentials to further develop the small business coaching market.

Applying social exchange theory to my research on coaching small business owners contributes to the broader body of research by providing a richer understanding of the reciprocal coach-client relationship and the motivations behind it. It brings clarity to the role of organizations like the International Coaching Federation (ICF), illuminating how such entities draw guidance from their members and reciprocate with targeted support.

Additionally, it reveals insights into market dynamics within the coaching industry, offering an understanding of how factors like perceived value and pricing models can influence coaching accessibility for small businesses.

Finally, my research could serve as a framework for other scholars exploring different topics, thereby enhancing the theoretical richness and practical applications of social exchange theory in the overarching fields of coaching and small business research.

In Summary

In conclusion, we have established that small business owners are the cornerstone of our economy and the ones responsible for job creation, innovation, and the development of a healthy community. However, they continue to face several challenges, making them susceptible to failure. 

As this research highlights, coaching can be a viable option to get small business owners the support they need to navigate these challenges, improve their performance and in turn be the drivers in creating secure meaningful employment for others.  Yet, there is a gap in the market, with few ICF credentialed coaches specializing in small business coaching.

The research highlights the opportunity for positive change within the small business coaching market.  Leveraging social exchange theory and case study methodology, the potential for the democratization of small business coaching, making it more accessible and affordable, facilitated by the ICF and their member coaches emerged as a key theme. 

 It offers the opportunity for both coaches and small business owners to work together to make having a small business coach a norm in support of goals greater than themselves.  There is an obvious need to continue this dialogue as it holds unlimited possibilities to make life better for all concerned.

Despite the challenges associated with coaching small business owners, the deep personal rewards, the sheer size of the market and the ongoing need for support all emphasize the viability of pursuing growth in small business coaching.

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