Why does a tennis player practice with a coach? Why does a bodybuilder work with a trainer? Aspiring and professional athletes work with instructors in order to reach their ultimate potential. In the sporting world, having a coach is a no-brainer.

So did you know that coaching is not just limited to sweatier occupations?

In today’s era of fast-paced development, spurred on by the onset of technology, employees and managers alike are under increasing pressure to keep their skills and businesses up with the times. If we are to stay ahead as innovative leaders and fill in the gaps where machines cannot, we have to work continuously on ourselves and our people.

Coaching is the fashionable new way of achieving Personal and Leadership Mastery. It is not teaching – it is guiding the action of learning. Coaching is a process wherein a guide will help a client achieve their full potential.

A coach is a facilitator for inner learning.

Accredited coaches Linda Aiyer and Aletta Raju came to i-Fundi to share their expertise on coaching for Personal and Leadership Mastery. In a two hour workshop, Linda and Aletta spoke to us about coaching as the ideal tool for helping us improve our personal effectiveness.

Linda Aiyer has over 20 years of corporate experience, but always felt like there was something missing in her career. Realising her passion for working with people, she has been focused on coaching for the last 6 years, with clients such as Times Media, Transnet and Media 24.

Aletta Raju’s knowledge and expertise on employee laws and relations is extensive, as she was admitted as an Attorney of the High Court in 1999 attained a Masters in International Human Rights Law in 2007. Aletta has been coaching for 7 years.

Linda and Aletta describe a coach as a “thinking and accountability partner”. With a coach, you will be guided with questions and insights along your personal journey. On a leadership level, you will be able to apply the same coaching methodologies to managing your team and be a coach yourself.

The advantage of this is having an expert opinion and influence on your decision-making and thought processes, giving you the opportunity to grow and build on your personal methodologies. Coaching in leadership is about helping your employees improve their individual and team performance from the roots level in order to improve your business. Coaching is for those who want their businesses to thrive in the competitive age by upskilling your workers from the foundation level.

Coaching is the tool you need to move you and your business to the next level. It is useful in how it pushes your business forward by individually upgrading each component – each member. Coaching is for those who want their businesses to thrive in the competitive age by upskilling your workers from the foundation level. Coaching is a leading style which recognises the value in helping your people prosper, because leading is more than simply delegating and dictating.

Leading as a coach is about leading from the ground up.

Aletta first focused on Personal Mastery and how a coach is there to facilitate private growth. Coaching is an equal partnership and, as Aletta explains, is about “creating a sense of awareness and fostering a sense of responsibility”.

In order to find a starting point for such a journey, Aletta had us fill in the Wheel of Life – a chart where we got to visually map our satisfaction with various aspects of our lives. This gave us an idea of where we should start our focus. Aletta then described the various pathways of change, from tangible changes in our behaviours to subtle changes in our motives. She explained how a coach can assist in this process by being a guide and asking the right questions to prompt effective answers.

Linda then built on this idea by elaborating on how coaching can be implemented as a leadership strategy. She first brought attention to the changing working landscape in terms of technology and how, in today’s economy, we have up to four generations working together in a single environment. These changes pose a challenge to any leader.

Linda led the conversation on the possible impacts these changes will have on our businesses, and then compelled us to discuss how a leader could accommodate such changes using coaching. She initiated this discussion by asking us to reflect on our past managers and what made them good or bad. Essentially, the managers who invested in us and our goals were the ones who were most successful in getting the most out of us.

This ‘investment’ in people is the essence of coaching.

Verena Armstrong from Discovery says the most significant takeaway for her from the workshop was the discussion around generational difference in the workplace, something which she hadn’t previously considered. Linda got us to think about the specific challenges we may be unknowingly facing regarding having three or four generations in a single office.

For tips on how to manage younger colleagues, read our article on understanding Generation Z here.

So how will coaching work for you in your business?

To lead as a coach will benefit any work environment as it is investing in the individuals who make up that team. To coach is to facilitate learning and growth. A leader with knowledge of coaching will know what questions to ask in order to prompt innovation and insight from their employees. By enforcing the foundation of your company, you are setting it up for exponential growth.

We are living in an extremely competitive and fast developing age. The evolution of technology is propelling the advancement of business and people, and because of its velocity, progress is becoming a race. Coaching is your fundamental weapon in pushing forwards. Coaching is the water for the roots of your business that will make it flourish.

For more information on leadership, management and coaching, click here.