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Where The Mentor Becomes The Mentee

  Nov 15, 2013

By Irene Kinuthia

The objectives of an organisation can sometimes fail to be achieved and this can cause frustration, waste of resources and lead to employees being distant from their work. A number of interventions can be applied to prevent failure and to achieve set out objectives.

On key intervention is Coaching, it has been embraced to be one of the solutions that has been aimed at both personal and organisational development. It has helped not only individuals but also teams to produce positive results by helping them deepen their learning, enhance performance and work engagement and even improve job satisfaction and personal excellence.

Coaching comes at a critical time especially in Africa where it is still an emerging intervention. Though there have been numerous debates between scholars, practitioners and consumers of what coaching can be defined as, simply put it is ongoing leadership, mentorship or guidance to assist an individual to increase the level of their skills.

There are various types of coaching such as career coaching, life coaching, and performance coaching among others.

The Director, Centre for research on Organisations, Work and Family, Irene Kinuthia mentions that one of Strathmore Business School’s primary foci is executive coaching, especially in cases where an organisation contracts a coach for its managers. From her experience, she has seen that that executive coaching is successful when there is a three-way partnership; the coach, and the organisation.

The key work is between the executive and coach, when it is an organisational intervention it should be conducted within the context of the organisation’s goals and objectives. This aspect also covers personal awareness. In her field it is not uncommon for her to hear sentiments from executives:

  • •“how could I not have realized all this time that my character is the main hindrance to success?” or
  • •“If I get to manage myself better, managing the rest of the team will be so much easier!”

Already, one can see that executive coaching, at its best, is an experiential and individualized leader development process that builds a leader’s capability to achieve short- and long-term organisational goals. It is conducted through one -on-one and/or group interactions; it is driven by information from numerous angles and most importantly is based on mutual trust and respect.

Executive coaching influences executives from all angles from the executive’s behavior, to the personal development, career development, leadership style, family life, and health. It covers other competencies such as Strategy execution, Vision setting, communication, and team work as well as stakeholder mobilization.

For this to happen so much needs to be taken into consideration
It is impossible for one article such as this one to capture all that coaching offers but a premise that could summarize the need for coaching is captured by a famous case study dubbed, ‘Wisdom Cannot Be Taught”, and excerpt reads:

“ Leadership cannot be taught. It can only be modeled from within. Leadership development is then an on-going process of enrolling and coaching people to courageously examine their current reality and take purposeful action toward realizing a compelling future.”

By Irene Kinuthia: The Director, Centre for research on Organisations, Work and Family at Strathmore Business School

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