Power of coaching for executives

03 June 2005

The UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) continues to lead the way in innovation in the South African executive education market, with the introduction of personal one-on-one coaching to its Executive Management Programme (EMP) this June.

According to Bruce MacDonald, director of the intensive two-week EMP, the addition of post-course personal coaching will further enhance the learning process for executives on this premier management development programme.

"Coaching has emerged as a very successful method of assisting managers to reflect, assimilate the the learning and apply it once back in the workplace. South African executives will now for the first time be able to obtain this as part of an executive management short programme," he said.

According to the International Coaching Federation (ICF), the leading global coaching body, coaching has many benefits for executives.

"Coaching accelerates the individual's progress by providing greater focus and awareness which leads to more effective choices. Coaching concentrates on where individuals are now and what they are willing to do to get where they want to be in the future," says the ICF.

A recent feature in the US publication Monitor on Psychology argues that executive coaching has come into its own in the last few years.

"The work often is about helping an executive identify his or her strengths and weaknesses and address both. But it also has several other benefits such as serving as a sounding board for strategic decision-making, helping executives manage stress, and helping them to mediate conflict."

According to MacDonald, who is currently taking applications for the 2005 class, coaching will add to the value executive programmes bring to the table in South Africa.

"Because the individuals who come on an executive programme are key drivers within their companies, their development often guides the strategic direction of the business. Courses like the EMP thus have a very important role to play in giving these leaders the tools and support to direct their businesses," he said.

MacDonald said coaching will complement existing factors on the programme that have proven to be key if executives are to reap the full benefits of these high-level programmes. Crucially, it will help them bridge the gap between the learning environment and the workplace.

"It is all too easy for executives to lose momentum when they return to the workplace. They can have the best training in the world, but as we all know, implementation is 80% of the job," he said.

Coaching will also build on the success of the in-house assignment, which requires executives to complete a project focusing on a real issue in their business.

The coaching element will be provided by the Centre for Coaching, which is based at the UCT GSB and affiliated with US coaching organisation New Ventures West.

The EMP runs from July 24 - August 6. Contact Tracy Kimberley on tel 406 1346 or e-mail tracym@gsb.uct.ac.za for details.

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