A+ A A-
Fear it, fight it or use it - boosting human capital within organisations

Business coaching, life coaching and executive coaching are the new buzz words streaking across South Africa’s corporate landscape. But what exactly are these development programmes and what are the implications for HR practitioners?


Wikipedia defines coaching as:

A training or development process via which an individual is supported while achieving a specific personal or professional competence result or goal. 1

Although a fairly new concept in South Africa, it began in the USA around the 1980’s, when accountant, Thomas Leonard found that many of his clients who were coming to him for financial advice, were actually looking for assistance in a broader direction. He established the International Coach federation in Houston, Texas assisting his clients to find suitable coaches.


As HR practitioners we all know the challenges of keeping our workforce motivated and productive, finding the right fit for the position, and moving employees in and out of the organisation. But with the limiting labour laws and our penchant for conflict avoidance, these aspects often become the worst facets of our daily work lives.

Subscribe content preview

To continue reading: Log-In above or Subscribe now.

Want the full story?

The SA Leader Magazine Cover


Get The SA Leader  the way you want it

  • One Year Digital Subscription - R320
  • 10 Issues Print Subscription - R580
  • One Year All Access - Just R900  Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only content on SALeader.co.za

If you are already a subscriber, please Log-In using the Log-In button found on the top right of the site!

click here
Published in Leadership
Tuesday, 14 January 2014 12:02

Win the Talent War in 2014

Win the Talent War in 2014

It’s estimated that in 2014, 161.7 million employees around the world will leave their jobs in search for new, better ones.  This trend is set to accelerate. Average employee turnover rates over the next five years are predicted to rise from 20.6 to 23.4%, and the number of global departures in 2018 will stand at 192 million.


According to the study conducted by global management consultancy Hay Group, conducted in association with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), emerging markets are set to feel the brunt of the turnover spike first, beginning this year, while developed economies will start to see departures with a peak in 2014, when conditions improve.


To prevent this mass talent exodus, leaders are going to have to find new ways to improve their employee value proposition.  One of the ways they can do so is by cultivating a coaching culture.  Not only will a coaching culture assist with retention, but it can increase the organisation’s profitability, sustainability and resilience too. 


A coaching culture is defined by the Center for Creative Leadership as an organisational setting in which not only formal coaching occurs, but also, most or a large segment of individuals in the organisation practice coaching behaviours as a means of relating to, supporting and influencing each other.


According to Eileen Thayser, Master Certified Coach and owner of CoachTrax, “A coaching culture extends the one-on-one coaching method to all layers of an organisation.   It is a behaviour, a communication tool, a means of connection and a way to bring out the best in your people. It’s not about barking orders or quick fixes but rather about inspiring, influencing, empowering and motivating people to be the best they can be – to outperform and discover. It’s really the heart of effective leadership.” 


The beauty of a coaching culture is that it is not viewed as a task by employees, but rather as a partnership between the employee and the manager or leader.  This relationship encourages independent thinking, innovation and support for the organisation’s long-term vision and goals.  It also gives employees the confidence and ability to handle whatever challenges may come their way.

“An employee who has self-confidence, feels empowered, trusted, motivated and inspired to be the best they can be will live up to this self-belief, and is ultimately a happy employee.  As we all know, happy employees tend to stay put,” says Thayser.


Thayser provides advice on how business and HR leaders can create a coaching culture:


  1. Culture change starts at the top: leaders can learn coaching styles and cascade coaching behaviours throughout the organisation. Leaders don’t need to become coaches though – a coaching leadership style is more about replacing command and control styles with exploration, questioning andLeaders can learn a coaching style from their own coaches or can go on a coaching course.
  2. Focus training efforts on those leaders who have an inclination to coach. Get volunteers to step forward to lead coaching cultures by giving them the opportunity to role-model coaching leadership.
  3. As people’s behaviours change to be more in line with the emerging coaching culture, reinforce these behaviours through recognition and reward.
  4. Work out ways where the impact of coaching leadership styles can be measured, so that the organisation can see the bottom-line effectiveness of a coaching culture.
  5. Integrate formal and informal coaching and mentoring, whether external or internal, with the organisation’s learning and development strategy for maximum impact.
Tuesday, 10 July 2012 15:20

New Economy Leadership

New Economy Leadership

Inspiring changes take place in organisations that embrace a culture of coaching: relationships improve, creativity flourishes and organisational resilience and capacity soar.

Today’s business climate compels companies to ask employees to do more with less, creating additional responsibilities that elevate stress levels. An effective way to ease this anxiety and create an environment conducive to managing workload is to develop the coaching abilities of managers. Coaching in the workplace spurs organisations to achieve their specific business results and visibly demonstrates commitment to employee growth and career development. In pursuit of results, it says that knowledge alone is not enough. Additional skills to teach and motivate are also needed.

It makes sense that executives are required to coach as part of their key performance indicators (KPIs) and to them it should become second nature.

Coaching’s focus is on a personal disposition to deliver on skills that already reside in the individual: the improvement of existing skills and the development of new ones. It’s also about facilitating optimal performance. While coaching demands dexterity and time, it is indispensable to the kind of employee development that achieves long term results, “which is why it is fundamental that managers address skills development consistently.

When managers are unable to coach, it’s generally because they don’t yet understand its value or long term importance; they do not have coaching skills or; they lack the necessary time. Usually, it’s a combination of all three. Specialising in coaching and talent management, have five steps in transforming managers into coaches:

Evangelise the concept of coaching: It is unlikely that a culture of coaching will flourish if it is forced on managers who are already swamped and don’t grasp its relevance. To build a case for coaching, the longer term benefits in terms of efficiency, time and performance need to be taken into account. When key resources and top talent are operating optimally, it reduces demand made on executives. Part of successful leadership is the ability to inspire, motivate and grow those around you. If managers can see that successful leaders are also accomplished coaches, being an effective coach gains personal relevance.

Clear outcomes and deliverables are critical: Any coaching relationship or progress that is not outcomes driven is a futile exercise. Outcomes need to be measurable and benchmarked with sensory-based evidence and indicators.

Developing coaching skills: Coaching is a skill that may not come naturally to some, especially managers previously rewarded for getting tasks done on their own or through a directive approach. While it is accepted that coaching should ideally be facilitated by an external and independent professional party, organisations are becoming aware that the use of basic coaching skills are an ideal management tool. Classic management styles of command and control have become archaic. There is an increasing awareness and demand for new economy style management for which coaching is a catalytic tool. Fundamental coaching skills – the ability to listen, question, build rapport and constructively feedback, empathy, supportive encouragement and accountability are often not explicitly taught but are all skills that can be enhanced. Basic coaching skills can be taught and rewarded as the most appropriate management style in an organisation. This means being alert to moments when coaching opportunities arise, and implies allocating these moments time as well as actively creating them, such as delegating tasks whose success requires the intervention of coaching.

Engage a coach yourself: Experience is the best teacher and it’s unlikely that managers will effectively use coaching as a skill if they haven’t personally experienced transformation through coaching themselves. It is now accepted as best business practice that executives personally access coaching from time to time themselves. It is also an example of how managers can provide this valuable service for others. Organisations that have skilled coaches within their workforce should consider hiring external coaches to work with key executives.

Recognise those who embrace coaching as a core leadership skill: Managers who manifest strong coaching skills are likely to become an organisations' most effective leaders. By placing these people in key roles and crediting these assignments – at least partially – to their coaching ability, sends the message that coaching is a crucial skill if you’re aiming at being a successful manager.

Published in Skills Development

The SA Leader Magazine


In the May issue

Employee Engagement survey highlights sub-Saharan Africa


Romance Your Customers

Twenty years of democracy - what has the consumer goods industry acheived?


Copyright © 2014 gdmc (Geoffrey Dean Marketing Corporation cc). All rights reserved. Material may not be published or reproduced in any form without prior written permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy. External links are provided for reference purposes. SALeader.co.za is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.

Login or Subscribe