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MANAGEMENT: Honing Inspirational Leaders


Recent Western Cape Business News

To help South African leaders unleash and focus their energy on fulfilling their strategic goals, the UCT Graduate School of Business will run its Strategic Leadership through Coaching course in October fusing leadership, one-on-one coaching and strategy.

The UCT Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB), at the forefront of delivering quality coaching programmes in South Africa, offers the course through the School’s Executive Education unit in partnership with the Centre for Coaching based at the UCT GSB. The Centre for Coaching is currently one of the few coaching bodies in South Africa to have both local and international accreditation.

Leadership coaching is a growing trend in South Africa – and many of the top JSE-listed companies are now establishing coaching programmes and interventions for their senior executives in order to get the best out of them and their organisations.

Said Janine Everson, Senior Lecturer at the UCT GSB and Academic Director of the Centre for Coaching, “Getting the most out of your team is no easy task under the present circumstances, but having open lines of communication, and a self-aware, resilient leader who can inspire confidence in employees and encourage better performances does, of course, impact positively on company profits.”

Craig O’Flaherty, Director of the Centre for Coaching, maintains that these key leadership attributes can be honed through executive coaching – and that the Strategic Leadership Through Coaching programme is particularly beneficial at present because it “enhances the ability to recognise and drive strategic priorities within an organisation – and then matches that ability with coaching techniques that improve a leader’s ability to increase buy-in and bolster team performance.”

The dual purpose of this course has proved popular with delegates in the past – with some even describing the programme as ‘transformational’, added Everson.

Two Gauteng Regional Managers for ABSA Corporate – Cheryl Buss and Joss du Trevou – attended the course last year, and said the experience could not have come at a better time, with the banking industry experiencing tougher times this year.

Said Du Trevou, “The Strategic Leadership through Coaching programme has had a big impact on my leadership style and has helped us considerably as managers to be more resilient during these difficult times.

With the banking sector coming under a lot of scrutiny this year it has been a tough period for the industry, with staff freezes, retrenchments, and a general feeling of uncertainty. The course reinforced resilience as a key attribute needed for successful leadership today. Resilience essentially being the ability to cope with pressure – whether it is from your workload, having difficult conversations with staff or the generally tough situations we currently face,” he explained.

According to his colleague Buss, a key learning was that strategic leadership is about understanding your staff’s diversity and mindset – and realising that they might not be as resilient or flexible as is required to drive the business forward. Leaders need to see the issues and share the vision by connecting and empowering their employees to drive the implementation of change.

Being a good leader means understanding your strengths and weaknesses and being able to cope with changes – from being more resilient to learning how to adapt. However, as you develop these competencies as a leader, you need to remain aware that your team needs to buy in too, to be able to develop or be on the same page as you,” said Buss. “Coaching techniques can assist leaders to help their staff along.”

Everson said the course, which essentially fuses the three disciplines of leadership, strategy and coaching, is aimed at leaders and senior executives – or those tasked with strategy implementation or an organisational change initiative.

The course, which runs from 26 – 30 October,  includes four one-on-one coaching sessions, and delegates will leave with a renewed sense of self awareness and how their leadership style impacts on others – as well as how to engage in powerful conversations that motivate stakeholders, peers and staff.

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