Release Date: 05 May, 2020

Business And Executive Coaching in the Digital Space

Online Business and Executive Coaching is a competitive advantage in a period of lockdown

In this time of unprecedented disruption as a result COVID-19, lies the opportunity for business leaders to grow and develop their leadership capacity and response to change. This is “business unusual”, which at the same time presents an ideal time and space for people to re-think their priorities and create new ways of thinking, being and doing.  For business leaders, entrepreneurs and executives who are seeking positive growth, this could be the perfect time to embark on a coaching journey.

“Not only does coaching enable leaders to be more effective and resourceful in their current position, but it helps them develop their full potential and transform into sustained peak performance,” says Mapule Mafokeng, a lecturer in coaching skills at Wits Business School (WBS).

“Coaching, even though regarded  an emerging - but rapidly growing - field in South Africa and globally, has never been more needed and important,” says Dr Jabulile Msimango-Galawe, Programme Director of the Master of Management in Business and Executive Coaching (MM-BEC) at WBS. “The challenges that business leaders and executives are faced with today require a different level of thinking, being and showing-up.  The question is, who is ready and who is going to remain standing after the dust has settled?” she asks.

As universities move to online teaching, the 2020 cohort of MM-BEC students at WBS are embracing a unique opportunity to explore what it means to  be able to coach and be coached, anywhere and anytime.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is teaching our students how to be adaptable as a coach and leader in the VUCA [volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous] world. While this is the first MM-BEC cohort to experience online learning at WBS, we are excited to move forward in this time of uncertainty. The VUCA world  is no longer in the future, it is now, and it is exciting to see how the team has embraced technology, leveraged our industry networks and put together a programme that will best enable our students to serve South Africa’s future executives and business leaders,” says  Elona Hlatshwayo, a lecturer of coaching process and practice at WBS.

Dr Jabulile adds to this:  “This is an opportunity we have taken to adapt, and those who adapt fast will have the competitive advantage. The digital world dictates to us (the teaching and training coaching fraternity) to move and move fast. Online business coaching is not a thing in the distant future, it is here now and we have to act now.”

She notes that the future clients of executive coaching students are adapting to the new work from home (WFH) reality, and that coaches need to be prepared to serve them accordingly.

“Now, more than ever, executives need coaching in order to perform under very difficult circumstances, particularly as businesses buckle under the stress of lockdown.  We need to ensure that we are developing coaches who are ready to coach in such a difficult environment.”

For most executives in South Africa, the weeks leading up to lockdown saw an increase in their responsibilities, raised panic levels and pressure to bring their “A game”.  With limited time, many had to navigate issues of data security, WFH readiness, productivity concerns, as well as the health and wellbeing of their employees.  

“As coaches, our role is to partner with the client to ensure that they step into the chaos of change with confidence, and to deliver effectively for their teams and clients,” says Hlatshwayo.  “Being able to achieve this requires that the coach anticipates and adapts to change, not just in being able to use an online platform but also being able to enable our clients to change their mindset about the crisis they’re experiencing, see the opportunities, be able to support their teams and manage their own wellbeing.”

For Dr Jabulile and her coaching faculty at WBS, the key to preparing their students for market is to develop change agility, a vital skill for coaches to adapt their coaching methods to meet new challenges as they arise. 

“Going online is an important step towards developing a new breed of coaches who are future-fit. As Socrates said: ‘The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new!’”

Applications for the 2021 intake of the Master of Management in the field of Business and Executive Coaching at WBS are open.

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