Theories “X” and “Y”
by Erna Kriigel of Stepping Stones Coach
At first glance the title of this article seems to suggest that you might be reading about the difference between coaching women and men. This will not be the case! Instead I will present a connection between coaching and leadership development theory. At times, clients or organizations request some type of academic “proof” that we know what we are doing. The following article very briefly describes some theoretical concepts upon which coaching stands.
the mid 1900’s, Douglas McGregor was a Professor at Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, visiting lecturer at
Theory X describes the human worker as inherently lazy, disliking work, and unwilling to work without strong organizational controls and penalties. Management and organizations must, therefore, instill strict methods and procedures to guarantee output. Coercion tactics, threats of discipline, firm supervision, and detailed task descriptions are part of the carrot and stick approaches which are used to obtain organizational goals.
Theory Y describes the human worker as willing and able to put forth effort or work as a natural part of human life, desiring to be self-directed and committed to meaningful goals, motivated by intrinsic rewards, able to learn responsibility, acknowledges that creative problem solving ability exists throughout the organization, and finally that intellectually capacity of the employees is an untapped resource.
Coaching uses the assumptions of McGregor’s Theory Y in order to help clients reach their significant goals, develop leadership capacity and be positive change agents in their circles of influence. Pass it on!