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Why becoming a leadership coach during the COVID-19 pandemic is a good idea

A leadership coach connects with a client via an online video call
  • September 09 2020
11 minutes to read

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USB’s MPhil in Management Coaching Head of Programme, Dr Nicky Terblanche, outlines how embarking on a coaching journey can help us thrive during the COVID-19 era.

There is no need to reiterate what the world is experiencing at the moment as a result of one of the worst disasters in recent human history. Instead, why don’t we ask a different question: How can we help this world and especially individuals in organisations to cope and overcome this crisis? One solution lies in leadership coaching. Ever wondered about becoming a leadership coach or formalising your current leadership coaching skills? Perhaps now more than ever is a good time to invest the time and money in yourself to become or grow as a coach. To understand why let’s take a step back and reflect on what coaching is.

Perhaps now more than ever is a good time to invest the time and money in yourself to become or grow as a coach.

Coaching is a fast-growing, emerging international profession. In fact, some say it is one of the fastest growing professions in the world. According to Forbes, the global coaching market is worth more than $2 billion annually and there are currently more than 53 000 coaches worldwide. In South Africa, the two main coaching bodies (COMENSA and ICF) report membership of approximately 1 300 and 400 respectively.

But what exactly is coaching? Coaching can be classified as a helping profession like psychology or counselling. However, coaching is also different from these fields in that it does not treat pathology or trauma. Instead, through creating a confidential, non-judgmental and reflective space, it focuses on helping individuals and teams to gain insight into themselves (self-awareness), identify mental blockages, and to learn and grow with the future in mind through an iterative, facilitated process.

Through creating a confidential, non-judgmental and reflective space, coaching focuses on helping individuals and teams to gain self-awareness, identify mental blockages, and to learn and grow with the future in mind through an iterative, facilitated process.

True to its status as an emerging profession there are multiple definitions of coaching, although they all more or less agree on the fundamental as captured in my favourite definition from Bachkirova, Cox and Clutterbuck (2014): ‘Coaching is a human development process that involves structured, focused interaction and the use of appropriate strategies, tools, and techniques to promote desirable and sustainable change for the benefit of the coachee and potentially for other stakeholders’.

The reason coaching is growing in stature is that there is a growing body of research that shows its effectiveness. In fact, in the last few years, several meta-studies have proven that coaching works! These studies reveal that coaching is effective and provides several positive outcomes, including being effective in leadership development, personal development, positive behavioural change, improved work/life balance, self-awareness, assertiveness and role clarity to name a few. Knowing this, I was curious about the role coaching is playing during these strange times of COVID-19.

The reason coaching is growing in stature is that there is a growing body of research that shows its effectiveness.

I conducted research by interviewing 26 leadership coaches from South Africa, USA, UK and Australia. They told me that during this pandemic, their clients (organisational leaders) faced several severe challenges. Their coaches helped them to make sense of what is happening around them by enabling them to reflect and providing emotional support. But coaches also challenged the leaders to think out of the box, creating the space for them to come up with solutions and to take a forward-looking stance. From my findings, it seems that coaching is playing a crucial role in helping organisational leaders cope in these difficult times through experienced and skilled, well-trained coaches.

Even before COVID-19, organisational leaders have been struggling to keep up with the relentless demands of the current corporate world. I can attest to this through the clients I coach in my own practice. The pandemic has aggravated this situation. Organisational leaders need help and coaching is well-positioned to provide this help. If you, therefore, have a desire to help individuals and teams in organisations, now more than ever is the time to equip yourself with the world-class, academically researched-based qualification offered by USB.

And it certainly is not only altruistic. Coaching has been shown to be a viable additional income stream. A recent study I conducted on African Coaching Practice revealed that the average rate charged by executive coaching in South Africa is just over R1500 per hour. This is not a bad return on your investment in becoming a coach, provided you obtain a decent qualification. If you are already a coach, upping your level of qualification is also a good idea. My research study also showed that coaches with higher levels of coaching training (masters and PhDs) earn higher rates.

Coaching has been shown to be a viable additional income stream. A recent study I conducted on African Coaching Practice revealed that the average rate charged by executive coaching in South Africa is just over R1500 per hour.

Coaching is known to help people and organisations grow and flourish. Now more than ever there is a need for this. To be an effective coach you need proper practical training that is research and evidence-based. The MPhil in Management Coaching from USB is a world-class qualification that will equip you to not only help people and organisations but also earn a new income stream.

 

Dr Nicky Terblanche usbDr Nicky Terblanche
Senior Lecturer and Research Supervisor at USB

Dr Nicky Terblanche is a senior lecturer and research supervisor on the MBA, MPhil in Management Coaching and PhD programmes at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB). His academic interests include both leadership coaching and information systems. He also runs an executive and leadership coaching practice.

He has an MPhil in Management Coaching, an MScEng in electronic engineering and a PhD in Business Management. His research interests include transition coaching, transformative learning, social network analysis, complexity theory and the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in coaching and management.

He has published in several international academic journals and regularly presents at international conferences.

Email: nicktyt@usb.ac.za
LinkedIn: https://za.linkedin.com/in/dr-nicky-terblanche-phd-b004177
Research: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Nicky_Terblanche

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