By Karolyne Williams
Head of Coaching
South African College of Applied Psychology (SACAP)
Coaching plays an important role in developing South Africa’s future prospects through its ability to empower and build leaders who can unleash their own potential and thereby effect positive transformation in all aspects of society.
Coaches empower others through highly effective coaching conversations to achieve their personal and professional potential. In our contemporary world, many managers are fast-tracked. While ambitious and expectant, they may not have had the opportunity of adequate preparation in all spheres of business reality and so may feel wary of being exposed as lacking in some way and perhaps concerned about making mistakes. This distress could actually slow their development, because we often would rather appear to others as if we have it all together. Particularly because of the numerous responsibilities and high pressures carried by executives and managers, they need support. A lack thereof can lead to high personal costs, organisational costs as well as costs to our South African economy at large. Not to mention that talent can be wasted when not nurtured.
Coaching is a relatively young profession in South Africa, but is one form of support that executives and managers can use to accelerate their development. Two of the reasons that it works so well, is because it is tailored to the needs of the individual and because it provides a crucial thinking, learning and exploration space that busy managers and executives often neglect, with negative impact.
Furthermore, typical coaching competencies have become an essential contemporary workplace skill set for leaders and managers. Such competencies include presence, highly effective communication, intra-and interpersonal intelligence, facilitating creative thinking, engaging and inspiring others, role modelling, diversity management, flexibility, understanding individual and group behaviour, identifying and building on strengths.
The growth experienced by the coaching industry in South African in the last decade shines light on the importance of well-educated professional coaches, who have undergone rigorous academic training, have developed self-mastery and have the necessary practical experience to fulfil their role in catalysing others to engage and contribute meaningfully within personal, professional and economic realms.
Coach training programmes need to develop coaching competencies based on solid ethical and theoretical foundations, including those of applied psychology and adult learning. Such programmes should also provide depth and breadth within academic rigour and cutting-edge practical application for the purpose of building the comprehensive knowledge and capabilities of a professional practitioner coach, exposing participants to a variety of coaching models and supporting them to discover their own signature presence and coaching approach.
Excellent coach training programmes contribute significantly to building the coaching profession in South Africa – a profession, whose aim is to generate positive transformation in its clients, who in turn positively impact others.
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