The only person in my way is me : a multiple case study exploring the perspectives of experienced school principals regarding the perceived impact of executive coaching.


School principals serve as fundamental leaders in the educational system. These leaders are essential in ensuring that students in PK-12 schools receive high-quality instruction to prepare them to contribute as productive citizens in society. Principals have many responsibilities, including the critical task of developing teachers and educating students. Within the educational landscape, principals’ duties are immense and complex; therefore, it is essential to prepare them to effectively lead on the campuses where they serve. The United States has experienced an increase in principals leaving the profession. While several factors contribute to principal turnover, one key component is the lack of job-embedded professional development. Experienced principals, which I define as those who have been in their roles for four years or more, need job-embedded professional development to meet their professional needs. Experienced principals often lack specific, intentional, targeted, and differentiated professional learning. This study aimed to examine executive coaching to provide targeted, precise, and meaningful professional development to experienced principals. In exploring the problem, I conducted a multiple case study with the purpose of examining how principals with at least four years of experience perceive the impact of executive coaching on their self-efficacy as leaders. I aligned this study to a theoretical framework centered on self-efficacy. In alignment with the theoretical framework, data collection occurred through semi-structured individual interviews, a focus group interview, and written reflection from participants. This study’s methodology provided an opportunity to understand the perceptions of principals who were engaged in executive coaching and how they perceived how executive coaching impacted their efficacy as a principal. This study’s findings indicated an increase in the perceived self-efficacy of experienced principals after participating in eight executive coaching sessions. Specifically, I found that principals who received executive coaching experienced stronger leadership skills. This study also found that executive coaching provided a safe space for principals to be vulnerable. Finally, the study revealed that executive coaching provided principals with a validation of their experiences as school leaders.