International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring
2022, Vol. 20(2), pp.85-98. DOI: 10.24384/6arm-w463

Academic Paper

Coaching and mentoring talent to a higher level at The Voice of Holland: Talent development of singing artists

Karin Manuel (NCOI University, Netherlands)

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Introduction

Until the beginning of this century coaching and mentoring have considered as different disciplines in research. Over the past decade, there has been movements to combine research on coaching and mentoring. Nowadays there is a need for research considering both concepts as related (Koopman, Danskin Englis, Ehrenhard & Groen, 2021). The Voice of Holland (TVOH) has been subject of a longitudinal empirical study during the years of 2017 until 2019 to fill this research gap, because it is an example of the application of coaching and mentoring in an integrated manner. TVOH is a television program in which talented singers are coached and mentored to a higher level of performance in The Netherlands. Flyvbjerg (2001, p. 77) states that “one can often generalize based on a single case, and the case study may be central to scientific development via generalization as supplement or alternative to other methods. But formal generalization is overvalued as a source of scientific development, whereas ‘the power of the good example’ is underestimated.

The study explored how coaches at TVOH do develop the singing talent of participants to a higher level of performance. The study examined in which situations the role of coach or mentor arises, merges or alternates, how the role of the coaches has interpreted and experienced, how interventions contribute to the talent development of participants and what effects coaching and mentoring have on the performance of the participants. The study included a literature review on mentoring and coaching, talent development and performance in the music business. At TVOH data has collected by doing desk research, participative observations and by conducting qualitative interviews. The aim of the study was to provide evidence-based insights into the way coaching and mentoring are applied in an integrated manner and into their effect(s) on talent development and performance against the background of a professional career in the music business.

During the study a subjective paradigm and a constructivist-interpretivist research approach was leading, meaning the study focused on revealing viewpoints, perceptions and interpretations of those who were involved in the study (Burrell & Morgan, 1979; Creswell, 2013; Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2019). In research into behavior the emic viewpoint has opposed to the etic viewpoint. An emic viewpoint has attributed to the initiate, who is part of the field and acts accordingly. An etic viewpoint has attributed to the outsider, who is not being part of the field and looks from the outside in (Pike, 1967). The study has conducted from an etic viewpoint by an outsider, not being part of TVOH or the music business. In order to maintain and secure the etic approach during the study the degree of participation by the researcher was moderate. This means that the researcher was identifiable as an observant and only interfered occasionally in the interactions to get clarification (De Walt & De Walt, 2002). The findings are context-specific, but might provide others with useful insights into the contribution of coaching and mentoring on talent development and performance.

This article successively presents a literature review, a description of the methodology, the findings followed by a discussion and finally the conclusions.

Literature review

This section discusses the literature involved in the study. Successively it discusses the contrast between mentoring and coaching, considers relevant forms and approaches of coaching resulting in an appropriate coaching model, presents views on talent development, and provides insights into levels of performance of singing artists in the music business.

Mentoring or coaching?

Parsloe (1992) described mentoring as a process to help and support people to manage their own learning in order to maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance, and become the person they want to be. Faure (2000) approached mentoring as a supportive learning relationship between a caring individual who shares his/her knowledge, professional experience and insights with another individual who is ready and willing to benefit from this exchange to develop his or her skills, confidence, and abilities and to enrich his or her professional journey. According to Blanchard and Shula (2002) mentoring involves supporting people in identifying and defining the needs of their development and setting their goals and objectives. Ragins and Kram (2007) and Eby, Rhodes and Allen (2007) noted that a mentor is likely to work in the same sector as his protégé or brings a deep understanding of the issues and challenges faced by the protégé. Weaver & Chelladurai (1999) claimed a mentor is an experienced professional. Cavanagh (2006) insisted that expert knowledge is critical to coaching as well.

Ives (2008) pointed out that coaching can refer to a form of mentoring. Downey (2003, p. 15) described coaching as "the art of facilitating the performance, learning and development of another." Stober and Grant (2006) considered coaching as a collaborative helping relationship between a coach and coachee, which is focused on working in a systematic way towards agreed goals to enhance professional performance, foster ongoing self-directed learning, increase personal satisfaction and personal growth. Whitmore (2009, p. 10) stated that “coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” Linder-Pelz and Hall (2008, p. 43) stated that “coaching is about facilitating a client’s performance, experience, learning and growth and about actualising goals.” Cox, Bachkirova and Clutterbuck (2010) concluded that coaching can be seen as a developmental process that involves structured, focused interactions and the use of appropriate strategies, tools, and techniques to promote desirable and sustained change for the benefit of the coachee.

Contrasting mentoring with coaching, Renshaw (2008) considered mentoring as a development process with a long-term focus including elements of coaching, facilitating, and counselling, aimed at sharing knowledge and encouraging individual development. He considered coaching as an enabling process with a short-term focus aimed at enhancing learning and development with the intention of improving performance in a specific aspect of practice. Brittain and Potter (2009) claimed that coaching is more task oriented and focused on work situations than mentoring, which includes a more personal relationship involving social support and general career development. Some authors (e.g., Parsloe & Wray, 2000; Stober & Grant, 2006) distinguished mentoring from coaching by considering mentoring as guidance by instructing and coaching as more facilitating in a non-directive way. For other authors (e.g., Druckman & Bjork, 1991; Hudson, 1999) the boundaries between mentoring and coaching are less clear. Nowadays authors (e.g., Koopman, Danskin Englis, Ehrenhard & Groen, 2021; Passmore, Peterson & Freire, 2013; Schermuly & Graßmann, 2018) argued to connect both concepts, as done in this study.

Coaching form, approach, and model

The literature distinguished different forms of coaching including performance coaching, developmental coaching, and transformational coaching. Zeus and Skiffington (2006) and Tschannen-Moran (2014) stated that performance coaching includes the development of individuals skills and abilities. However, Cox and Jackson (2014) claimed that performance coaching focus on the current role, while developmental coaching focus on someone's potential with a view to a future career. Hawkins and Smith (2014) clarified that transformational coaching is enabling change in a coachee's mindset by shifting beliefs, attitudes, or assumptions to address recurring behaviours, emotional patterns, and feelings, in order to enable a significant shift between levels of functioning. Research identified the increase of transformational coaching, focusing on facilitating a greater depth of learning with more sustainable effects (Wellbelove, 2016).

Recently a positive psychological approach often has used to put transformational coaching into practice. Van Zyl, Roll, Stander and Richter (2020) noticed that Positive Psychological Coaching (also referred to as Strenght-Based Coaching) has positioned as a popular solution-focused approach aimed at facilitating goal achievement, wellbeing, and positive change. Haberlin (2019) explained that Positive Psychological Coaching employs a comprehensive approach toward development, which aids coaches to identify and actively deploy their character strengths as well as acknowledges the multiple contexts which influences them. Van Zyl et al. (2020) concluded although different coaching models are applied from a Positive Psychological Coaching approach, this approach lacks a clear demarcated coaching model.

Passmore, Brown, Csigas et al. (2017) explored Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) Coaching as a coaching approach to maximize the potentials of a coachee for further career development. Passmore and Rowson (2019) disputed the effectiveness of NLP Coaching, while De Rijk, Derks, Grimley and Hollander (2019) defended the use of NLP as a coaching approach. Linder-Pelz (2010) explained that NLP addresses the relationships between how people think, speak (to themselves and others), feel and act and that by analysing these relationships people adopt new ways of thinking, feeling, speaking, acting and effectively transform. Based on NLP Dilts (2018) introduced the coaching model of the neurological levels of change as presented in figure 1. to help a coachee increasing his self-awareness, behavioural flexibility and effectiveness.

Figure 1. Coaching Model Adapted from Dilts (2018)

Coaching model adapted from Dilts (2018)

This coaching model assumed that the coaching focuses on encouraging the coachee to develop and exploit his potential in case of obstacles at the level(s) of talent, behaviour, or environment and the coaching focuses on transforming the coachee if causes at the level(s) of beliefs, identity, or mission stand in the way to achieve a higher level of performance (Dilts, 2018). During the study this coaching model has used to interpret the coaching interventions, as this model brings together aspects of developmental and transformational coaching.

Talent development

Different approaches of talent emerged, highlining a distinction between approaches conceptualizing talent as natural ability and approaches considering talent as the mastery of systematically developed skills (Gallardo-Gallardo, Dries & González-Cruz, 2013). Talent considered as natural ability, assumes that the presence or absence of inborn attributes, often labelled as gifts, determine the likelihood of becoming exceptionally competent in a certain field (Howe, Davidson & Sloboda, 1998). Ericsson, Prietula and Cokely (2007) concluded from research across a wide range of performance domains that talent is nearly always made, not born. Gladwell (2008) mentioned that at least 10.000 hours of focused and deliberate practice are required for reaching talented levels of performance. Sloboda (2005) revealed that musical prodigies arise from a supportive environment enabling them to spend a significant amount of time engaged with the materials and training relevant to skill acquisition.

Gagné (2010) explained that innate talent is expressed in the ease and speed in which skills are acquired. Garavan, Carbery and Rock (2012) and Dai (2020) revealed that a talented individual is challenged to develop his talent by doing stimulating tasks and setting realistic goals. Dweck (2006) noticed that especially talented potentials taking on challenges to go beyond the own comfort zone to learn, show progress in their performance in a short period. Garavan et al. (2012) and Nijs, Gallardo-Gallardo, Dries and Sels (2014) stated that innate talent merges with what has been learned. Hambrick and Tucker-Drob (2015) and Tabuena (2020) underlined this approach based on research with a focus on musical talent. In this study talent has identified as the result of an amalgamation of innate aptitude and acquired skills by deliberate practicing and doing tasks beyond the own comfort zone in a limited period of time.

Performance

Motowidlo & Van Scotter (1994) found out that task performance and contextual performance contribute independently to overall performance. Motowidlo, Borman and Schmit (1997) and Sonnentag and Freese (2002) explained that task performance is related to abilities and skills, whereas contextual performance is related to effective behaviour to succeed in a professional set-up. More specific for singing talents, abilities such as breath control, managing resonance, vibrato, and expression techniques are inherent in task performance (Davids & LaTour, 2012; Peckam, 2010; Welch, Howard & Nix, 2019). Personality factors like motivation and persistence to reach a higher level of performance as singer considered to be determining to contextual performance (Haroutounian, 2000a; Subotnik Olszewski-Kubilius & Worrell, 2019). Beeching (2020) noted that the quality of the musical performer’s state of mind is making the difference, explaining that the freedom from controlling thoughts is essential for a musical peak performance. Beeching (2020) and Passman (2019) clarified that singing abilities and stage-performance skills must be shown integrated to be successful in the music business. This study considered task performance and contextual performance independently of each other in relation to the overall performance.

Methodology

This section describes the scope of the study, the data collection, the methods used for coding and analysing the collected data and the limitations of the study.

Scope of the study

A longitudinal empirical study at TVOH during the years of 2017 until 2019 revealed how coaches at TVOH do develop the talents of participants to a higher level of performance. The study sought answers to the following questions: 

  • In which situations the role of coach or mentor arises, merges or alternates at TVOH?
  • How do coaches and participants interpret and experience the role of the coaches at TVOH?
  • Which coaching approaches, forms and interventions occur at TVOH?
  • How do interventions contribute to the talent development of participants at TVOH?
  • What effects can be identified on the performance of the participants at TVOH?

The aim of the study was to provide evidence-based insights into the way coaching and mentoring are applied in an integrated manner and into their effect(s) on talent development and performance against the background of a professional career in the music business.

TVOH started with Blind Auditions, followed by The Battles, Live Shows and (semi) finals. During two seasons (2017/2018 and 2018/2019) the coaches and the participants of TVOH who passed the Blind Auditions were subject of the study. Table 1. provides an overview of the scope of the study, presenting the number of coaches and participants involved in the study.

Table 1. Scope of the Study

ScopeSeason 2017/2018Season 2018/2019
Participants6059
Coaches44

Research approach and data collection

During the study a subjective paradigm and a constructivist-interpretivist research approach was leading, meaning the study focused on revealing viewpoints, perceptions and interpretations of those who were involved in the study (Burrell & Morgan, 1979; Creswell, 2013). The researcher got permission from the creators of TVOH to conduct research into talent development at TVOH as part of a broader research into talent scouting in the music business in The Netherlands. As the researcher entered TVOH as an outsider, not having any connections with the coaches or the participants at TVOH and not familiar in the music business, the etic-approach was dominant during the study (Pike, 1967). Consistent with a constructivist-interpretivist research approach a qualitative and inductive research strategy has applied, resulting in a multi method of data collection (Creswell, 2013; Saunders et al., 2019). Data has collected by one same researcher by doing desk research, participative observations and by conducting qualitative interviews. In order to maintain and secure the etic approach the researcher’s degree of participation was moderate: the researcher was identifiable as an observant and only interfered occasionally in the interactions to get clarification (De Walt & De Walt, 2002). By combining three research methods, known as triangulation, the study has strengthened.

Desk research

Desk research has conducted by studying the website of TVOH at the start to get a first impression about the view of coaches on their role at TVOH, their approach of talent and talent development and their view on performance to succeed in the music business.

Participative observations

Participative observations gained insights into the way the coaches fulfilled their role, their approach of the participants, their interventions and their effects on the development and performance of participants. Table 2. provides an overview of the observed meetings around The Battles, Live shows and (semi) finals, 94 in total during both seasons. The (rehearsals) for The Battles involved 60 participants in 2017/2018 and 59 participants in 2018/2019. In each season 21 of these participants entered the live shows, 6 of them made it to the semi finals and finally 4 to the finals. Each season the coaching sessions after The Battles involved those 21 participants. Of the 31 observed coaching sessions each season, 21 were in preparation for the live shows, 6 for the semi finals and 4 for the finals. 

Table 2. Overview of Observed Meetings

Observed meetingsSeason 2017/2018 Season 2018/2019
Number of meetingsNumber of participantsNumber of meetingsNumber of participants
Rehearsals for The Battles460459
The Battles460459
Rehearsals for the live shows221221
Live shows221221
Rehearsals for the semi finals1616
Semi finals1616
Rehearsals for the finals1414
Finals1414
Coaching sessions in preparation for the live-shows and (semi) finals313121
persons
313121
persons
Total47604759

The researcher was live at the meetings, sitting aside, identifiable as an observant, only interfering occasionally in the interactions to get clarification. The reports of the observations have submitted to those involved for verification and supplementation. In this way interpretations by the researcher have excluded as much as possible. The researcher used the verified and supplemented reports of the conducted observations in the coding process.

Interviews

Data collected by qualitative interviews supplemented the results of the participative observations. After every rehearsal, Battle, Live-show and (semi) final the researcher interviewed the coaches. This means that both, in 2017/2018 and in 2018/2019, the researcher conducted 16 interviews each coach. In total the researcher conducted 128 interviews; 64 interviews each season. The researcher asked the coaches about (1) their opinion about the progress made by their participants (2) their assumption concerning the obstacles to talent development per participant (3) their considerations for their coaching approach and interventions and (4) their view on the performance of the participants. The researcher also interviewed the participants after every rehearsal for The Battle, Live-show(s) and (semi), resulting in 91 interviews in 2017/2018 and 90 interviews in 2018/2019. The researcher asked the participants about (1) the way they experience their coach (2) their opinion about the interventions by the coach (3) their opinion about the effect of the coaching on their talent development and (4) the progress they experience in their performance. Table 3. provides an overview of the conducted interviews, 299 in total. 

Table 3. Overview of Conducted Interviews 

Conducted interviewsNumber in 2017/2018Number in 2018/2019
Participants 'The Battles'6059
Participants live shows and (semi) finals2121
Participants semi finals66
Participants finals44
Coaches6464
Total155154

The researcher transcribed each interview precisely and submitted it to the interviewed person for verification. The researcher used the verified and supplemented transcriptions of the conducted interviews in the coding process.

Coding and analysing

During the study, data collection and data analysis alternated. The researcher analysed data after The Battles, after the live shows and after the (semi) finals. The results of each of these analyses guided the follow up of the study and the further data collection. The thematic analysis of the data took place through the phases of open coding, axial coding and selective coding. An inductive and a deductive approach alternated to analyse the collected data (Saunders et al., 2019). Table 4. illustrates the process of coding and analysing.

Table 4. Process of Coding and Analysing

Process of Coding and Analysing

At first (a) the researcher condensed the observation reports and interview transcriptions into codes. By (b) open coding the researcher divided the observations reports in fragments per code and classified them per coach. Also, the researcher divided the interview transcriptions in sentences per code and classified them per coach. Subsequently, by (c) axial coding the researcher structured data per code into similarities and differences per coach in order to compare them. By (d) selective coding the researcher sought links and explained them by relating the findings from the literature review. In this way (e) the researcher obtained insights into the process of coaching and mentoring at TVOH and into their effect(s) on talent development and performance. Table 5. presents a code grid listing the codes used during the process of coding and analysing the collected data.

Table 5. Code Grid

Codes observation reportsCodes interview transcriptionsThemes
1. Systematic way of working
2. Stimulating/supportive tasks
3. Non-directive style
1. Short term focus
2. Performance goalsetting
3. Current professional setting
Coaching role
1. Guiding way of working
2. Exchange of experience and insights
3. Instructing style
1. Long term focus
2. Personal goalsetting
3. Career opportunities
Mentoring role
1. Orientation on current role or career
2. Orientation on abilities or skills
3. Orientation on change in mindset
1. Improving performance
2.Developing potential
3. Transformation
Coaching form/ approach
Intervention levels:
1. Mission
2. Identity
3. Beliefs
4. Talent
5. Behaviour
6. Learning environment

1. Choice of interventions
2. Experience with interventions
3. Need of interventions
4. Impact of interventions
Coaching interventions
1. Mastering abilities
2. Focused and deliberate practice
3. Challenging goals and tasks
4. Comfort zone
5. Efforts to learn
6. Ease/speed of progress in limited time
1. Talent approach
2. Choice of goals and tasks
3. Execution of tasks
4. Commitment to learn
5. Experienced/shown progress
6. Feasibility of goals and ambitions
Talent development
1. Task performance/singing abilities
2. Behaviour/performance on stage
3. Peak performance
1. Vocal mastery
2. Stage performance
3. Motivation and persistence
4. Freedom from controlling thoughts
5. Overall performance
Performance

Limitations

Although the etic approach was dominant it is possible that the researcher made her own interpretations during the study. Neither it is excluded that the phasing during the field research and the deductive analysis approach in between different phases caused a positive bias confirming existing theory. The findings are context-specific for TVOH.

Findings

The findings of the study are presented through four themes: 'From mentor to coach', 'Talent coaching: combining developmental and transformational coaching', 'Contribution of coaching to talent development' and 'Growing in overall performance'.

From mentor to coach

All coaches of TVOH are well known professional singers or artists in The Netherlands. Their music genres differ and range from rock, rap, soul to folk. Some coaches are more experienced singing artists than others and some of them also are songwriter and/or producer, owning record-labels. A few are in artist-management. The interviews with the participants reveal that these aspects determine their appreciation of the coaches. The impression about the coach as singer turns out to be the most important aspect, expressed as "know how to sing", "professional singer", "successful singer." This indicates a mentoring role. Secondary the impression about the coaching abilities counts, expressed as "experienced coach", "knowing what to do to grow", "encouraging to learn." This indicates a pure coaching role.

The findings of the observed meetings indicate that the coaches initially act primarily as mentors. Up to the Live shows the coaches are mainly instructing the participants how to improve their singing abilities. They provide suggestions for improvement concerning breath control, voice vibrations and timbre. The six more experienced coaches reinforce the suggestions by pre-singing themselves, so the participant can hear the difference with his own performance. The participants experience this as useful, given statements during the interviews like "it helps me knowing how to sing", "now I know how to save my vocal cords" or "it teaches me how to control my voice".

From the Live shows onwards, the coaches take up their purely coaching role. In the running up to the (semi) finals the coaches mainly speak with the participants about how to deal with their nerves, fears, and other kind of blockages to bring their performance to a higher level. Participants refer to the conversations as "sparring about my career path", "holding up a mirror to overcome myself ", "making me reflect on myself" and "helping me to make choices for my professional future." It is remarkable that participants guided by coaches who are singer and not also producer or artist manager did not reach the (semi) finals.

Talent coaching: combining developmental and transformational coaching

It appears from the observed meetings that the coaching of the participants proceeds in phases, showing a focus on developmental coaching through to the live shows, shifting to a focus on transformational coaching towards the (semi) finals.

During the rehearsals for The Battles the coaches mainly focus on strengthening and optimizing present singing abilities to pass to the next stage at TVOH. All coaches push the participants to practise on a regularly basis, illustrated by their statements such as "you have to make singing miles", "it takes a lot of practice to improve your voice techniques" or "you can do better if you start practising a lot." In this phase the coaching is about developing the singing abilities. The coaches clearly monitor if the participants make progress. One of the coaches clarifies: "During The Battles participants need to win of themselves. They must have developed their own singing abilities compared to their auditions." In consistency with this, the findings show that all participants who developed their singing abilities to a higher level reached the Live shows. After passing The Battles the coaches focus on the development of necessary skills to perform on stage, illustrated by statements such as “your movements must match the song” or “you are like a robot on stage” or “try to act more relaxed on stage”.

From the rehearsals for the Live shows on the coaches mainly focus on personal issues and patterns, standing in the way to the participants to elevate their performance. In this phase the coaching is about transformation and personal growth. During the coaching conversations participants arrive at new insights about themselves by reflecting on personal ambitions, own identity, personal thoughts, and beliefs with their coach. Illustrative is a coaching conversation in preparation on the semi-final in which the participant, who seemed blocked at the rehearsal to give a good performance, is being confronted with the burden she had put on herself. The message of the coach: "It is useless to feel scared. It only makes you insecure. You better consider the situation as a challenge, so you probably feel chill on stage." Another example is a participant who prefers combining singing and dancing, while this goes at the expense of participant's singing abilities. The coach asks: "Do you want to build a career as a singer or as a dancer?" and discusses the consequences of the choice to combine both, for the short term (TVOH) and the long term (professional future).

Contribution of coaching to talent development

The findings of the interviews reveal the contribution of coaching to the talent development of the participants. Some participants don’t pass the live shows because further improvement of their singing techniques needs more coaching. Other participants need to leave the contest because of a “trained voice” or “reached limits to further vocal development.” This includes participants who are very eager to learn, submitting many demos, frequently asking for feedback, and practicing for hours. A coach states: “I admire some participants for their mentality, attitude, high perseverance and work ethos. Sadly, commitment is not always enough to make a dream come true.” The findings show that developing singing talent requires intensive practice over a longer period and that its development has limits that cannot be stretched even with coaching.

The findings of the observed meetings also reveal that participants who already master their singing abilities, develop easily and quickly to a higher level of singing performance with the help of their coach. These participants appear to benefit from coaching that focuses on stage performance. Especially the participants who enter the live shows experience this as useful, because of performing live in front of a large audience for the first time. A coach explains the urgency: “The energy emanating from a performance is decisive. It should match the emotion of the song. You need to get into that emotion and to convey it to the audience. If you succeed this, you will make a difference as an artist.” The observed meetings reveal that not all participants with golden voices achieve a good stage performance. One coach being interviewed clarifies: “Some simply don’t seem to feel it, others are hindered by nerves.” Another interviewed coach states: “Talent can be blocked by one’s mindset. If that’s the case I help to break through obstacles standing in the way to flourish.” Interviewed participants in the (semi) finals attribute their progress and growth to the coaching they received. “I would never have come this far without my coach!” is the common adage.

Growing in overall performance

The findings of the observed meetings show that the coaches' focus on improving task performance first and on improving contextual performance at a later stage to help participants grow in their overall performance.

Till the live shows the coaches focus on improving the task performance by giving the participants feedback on their singing abilities. It helps most of them to improve their singing. For example, some participants manage to sing an octave higher of lower, making a better match with the own vocal range. Some start singing less stiffly and sound more natural instead of trained. Other participants learn how to control their voice better to prevent problems with their vocal cords. Participants who do not make (enough) progress in their task performance do not survive The Battles.

At the rehearsals for the Live shows the coaches start to focus on participants' contextual performance as well. During the rehearsals a coach reveals: "Until now the contest was about making progress in singing abilities, from now on it is about improving the whole picture." After the Live shows, the coaching clearly shifts from a focus on singing abilities to effective behaviour to win TVOH. For example, a coach holding relativizing conversations with one of the finalists who is not sleeping and throwing up from nerves. Being interviewed afterwards the coach says: "You must be able to perform under pressure. If not, you are not ready for the music business yet." In the final stage the coaching focuses on helping participants to grow into a total-artist. The winning participants demonstrate that the overall performance must be right to win TVOH.

Discussion

The aim of the study was to fill a research gap by providing evidence-based insights into the way coaching and mentoring are applied in an integrated manner, underlining the impact of coaching on talent development and performance from an example showing that strengthening and optimizing talents by coaching pays off. TVOH has been subject of the study as a good example of a setting for talent development by coaching and mentoring in an integrated manner. The findings show how coaches at TVOH do develop the singing talent of participants to a higher level of performance.

The study reveals how the role of coach or mentor arises, merges or alternates, how coaching interventions contribute to talent development and what effects coaching and mentoring have on performance.

The findings confirm that coaching can refer to mentoring as pointed out by Ives (2008). Derived from the findings the mentor role is dominant while coaching on singing abilities. To be able to do this properly, it proves to be useful for the coach to be an expert in singing. This supports the plea of Weaver & Chelladurai (1999) and Cavanagh (2006) for a mentor being a professional expert. The coaching role is dominant as soon as the coaching concerns the coachee's personal issues and patterns, standing in the way to grow to a higher level of performance. At this point the coach is more facilitating in stead of instructing as stated by Parsloe & Wray (2000) and Stober & Grant (2006). In the context of TVOH mentoring has been followed up by coaching during the coaching process. This indicates mentoring and coaching are interrelated concepts as Schermuly & Graßmann (2018) and Koopman et al. (2021) note, but both roles are not automatically integrated in the person of the coach.

The findings of the study indicate that both roles are needed in coaching talent to a higher level of performance. Further research must point out whether this applies to other contexts. By using the coaching model of the logical levels from Dilts (2018) the study provides insights into which form of coaching is appropriate for talent development to reach a higher level of performance.

In the context of TVOH developmental coaching is applied for the improvement of singing abilities to grow in performance. This is underlining Zeus & Skiffington (2006) and Tschannen-Moran (2014) claiming developing abilities is part of performance coaching. As the coaching process continues the developmental coaching is shifting to transformational coaching as described by Hawkins & Smith (2014). The purpose is to learn to handle self-images, beliefs, and reaction patterns in an effective manner in order to express talents and bring them to excellent performance. This indicates that encouraging transformation is part of performance coaching. Given the findings of the study, talent coaching combines developmental coaching and transformational coaching to bring the coachee to a higher level of performance. It is beneficial to gain more insights into the concept of talent coaching by further research.

The study indicates that innate talent is not enough to succeed. The findings confirm that it takes a lot of effort and practice to develop innate talent to a higher level of performance as noted by Gagné (2010). In the context of TVOH the coaching reaches further than bringing singing abilities to a higher level of performance. As soon as the abilities are on the right level, the coaching focuses on personal factors influencing the performance on stage. This indicates talent coaching goes beyond coaching on task performance. It also involves coaching on contextual performance. Both contribute independently to overall performance as stated by Motowidlo & Van Scotter (1994), and both are required to be able to achieve the highest level of performance.

Conclusions

In the context of TVOH coaching and mentoring contributes to develop talent to a higher level of performance. At TVOH talent coaching goes beyond coaching on task performance. It also involves coaching on contextual performance. Both contribute independently to overall performance and both are required to be able to achieve the highest level of performance. This implies a mentoring role and a coaching role are needed to coach talent to a level of excellent performance. In TVOH the mentor role is dominant while coaching on the necessary abilities to grow in task performance, which is classified as developmental coaching. The coaching role becomes dominant as soon as the coaching concerns the growth in contextual performance, termed as transformational coaching. By combining developmental coaching and transformational coaching talent grows to the highest level of overall performance at TVOH. However, in general the corresponding roles of mentor and coach are not automatically integrated in one person. In the context of talent development this advocates for a coach being a field expert also having excellent coaching abilities. Given the study at TVOH, the effect(s) of coaching on talent development and overall performance seem(s) the highest if a coach meets these characteristics.

Although the implications of this study are context-specific to TVOH, they might be useful for talent coaches and (potential) singing artists in the music business and anyone else interested in talent coaching in general. Based on this study future research could explore the coaching and mentoring role in artist management and its benefits for (starting) artists to build a successful career. This study also encourages to fill the research gap on coaching and mentoring as related concepts by doing further research among coaching practitioners in other settings. Future research could also build on this study to develop a coaching model for talent development from a Positive Psychological Coaching approach, as this approach fits talent development but does not yet know a clear demarcated coaching model.

References

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About the author

Karin Manuel is a consultant and professor of applied sciences at NCOI University in The Netherlands in the field of career development and organisational performance.

Details

  • Owner: Daniel Croft
  • Collection: IJEBCM
  • Version: 1 (show all)
  • Status: Live