Leaders in Limbo: How Can EI-based Coaching Help Leaders Deal with Feelings of “In-betweenness?

Dr. Udayan Dhar
Fellow, 2021-2022

Udayan Dhar is the Sidney L. Miller Career Development Assistant Professor in the Management and Organizations department at Bucknell University, Lewisburg (Pennsylvania), where he teaches courses on Leadership Development and Organizational Behavior. He received his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland (Ohio), and an MBA in Human Resource Management from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai (India).

Dr. Dhar’s research lies at the intersection of leadership, positive psychology, and experiential learning. He has published his work in journals such as the Leadership & Organizational Development Journal, the Journal of Management Development, and the American Psychological Association’s Consulting Psychology Journal; and has presented at academic conferences such as the Academy of Management meetings.

Recent Publications and Conference Presentations:

Boyatzis, R. E., & Dhar, U. (2023). When Normal is Not Normal: A Theory of the Non-Linear and Discontinuous Process of Desired Change and its Managerial Implications. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science.

Dhar, U. (2022). The Interplay of Emotionally Salient Work Experiences, the Ideal Self, and Vocational Outcomes. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2022, No. 1, p. 10922). Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510: Academy of Management.

Dhar, U. (2022). Managerial coaching: a paradox-based view. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 43(2), 291-301.

Dhar, U. (2021). Managerial identity development across the age-spectrum from an ideal self and values perspective. The Journal of Management Development, 40(6), 574-583.

Boyatzis, R.E., Goleman, D., Dhar, U., & Osiri, J.K. (2021). Thrive and Survive: Assessing Personal Sustainability. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 73(1), 27– 50. American Psychological Association.

Boyatzis, R.E. & Dhar, U. (2022). Dynamics of the Ideal Self. The Journal of Management Development, 41(1), 1-9.

Dhar, U., Schaffner, J. J., & Smith, W. A. (2021). Coaching with Compassion. In Positive Psychology Coaching in the Workplace (pp. 483-496). Springer, Cham.

Leaders in Limbo: How Can EI-based Coaching Help Leaders Deal with Feelings of “In-betweenness?

Modern careers are marked by long periods of feeling betwixt, or ‘inbetween,’ which can have
significant impact on people’s wellbeing and career development. Yet, there is no validated
measure of this experience, recognized as subjective liminality. The present research (1)
conducts a systematic review of the literature to operationalize subjective liminality as a
secondorder latent construct reflected by three dimensions: the feelings of novelty, ambiguity, and reduced social identity commitment; (2) develops a scale to measure subjective liminality and demonstrates the validity and reliability of the scale; and (3) shows that subjective liminality as measured by the scale, can predict a variety of career behaviors, including readiness to change, professional identity exploration, and reduced career satisfaction. The next phase of the research will focus on applying this construct to the context of leadership development. Specifically, the study will explore how visionbased coaching might help people deal with feelings of subjective liminality

Dr. Dhar presented his research project — Understanding Subjective Liminality and Exploring Its Application to Leadership — to the t2pRI Board of Directors in July 2022. View Dr. Dhar’s research abstract and presentation.