The news of Lindiwe Mazibuko’s departure from the DA, and the subsequent press storm, quickly became a PR nightmare for DA leader Helen Zille. Then again, it’s not as if the newspapers have been any kinder to her political counterparts: As many headlines have been devoted to Julius Malema’s tax issues as to Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla-related tribulations.
Each of these leaders would have benefited from the input of a business coach. This might seem a contrary statement; after all, coaching is usually seen as a tool for people hoping to improve their performance, something that’s most suited to junior or mid-level employees.
Who benefits from coaching?
In reality, those at the top of their game are just as likely to benefit. Think of it this way: even Usain Bolt, known as the fastest person ever, is constantly on the lookout for ways to shave minutes off his time.
In the same way, even those people who have reached their professional pinnacle may find that they have areas that can be improved upon. Perhaps they’ve proved themselves as effective leaders, capable of inspiring staff and consequently reaping the rewards of increased productivity and profitability – but their softer approach leaves board members feeling unconfident.
Or maybe they’re grappling with the challenges of a restructure which has affected staff morale, to the point where the company is losing valued members of staff. In another scenario, perhaps their vision for the company is spot on, but they’re unable to effectively communicate it to staff.
In each of these instances, coaching can help the executive clarify how to address the challenge they’re faced with. At True North, one of the ways we do this is by asking incisive questions which enable the executive to approach problems from a fresh viewpoint; we enable a mind shift making it possible to consider issues from a new perspective.
This is important, because each of us has an entrenched approach, shaped and reinforced by our experiences and background, which informs our way of doing things. Considering issues from a new angle means that we are able to be more effective and achieve better results. Or, be able to adapt according to the needs of each and every situation we are faced with – respond to versus react to.
What coaching isn’t
Coaching isn’t a magic panacea that will immediately make you better in every area of your job. It will, however, equip you to work through the blind spots that hinder your effectiveness. The ultimate result? An improved ability to communicate; better conflict resolution skills; more flexibility – and therefore greater effectiveness – when it comes to decision making; and increased influence and impact.