Coaching : an effective way to transfer learning and strengthen the capacity of non-profit organisation leaders

Daniels, Desiree Margaret (2011-12)

Thesis (MPhil) -- Stellenbosch University, 2011.


Non-profit organisations (NPOs) play a crucial role in society, largely serving the needs of those members who are most vulnerable. The leaders of these organisations work in challenging circumstances and are often expected to fulfil roles for which they have not been trained. Various leadership development programmes have been designed to equip leaders in this sector with the necessary knowledge and skills to deal effectively with the increasing and more complex demands placed on them. Stand-alone programmes, however, have been shown to have less success in transferring knowledge and skills back to the workplace than blended learning approaches. This means a large proportion of the learning investment is being wasted. Since coaching has proved to be a powerful intervention leading to individual and organisational transformation in many sectors, the main question that this investigation has tried to answer is: To what extent can coaching contribute to enhancing the transfer of learning back into the workplace for NPO leaders who have attended a leadership development programme. Further questions relating to factors influencing the learning transfer process were also addressed during this study, as was the preference for different coaching formats. This investigation involved a case study design and was based on a programme for NPO leaders offered at the University of Stellenbosch Business School, referred to as the NPO Plus programme. The findings of this study are intended to provide insights for trainers on the benefits of using coaching as a component when designing learning interventions, and to shed light on what coaches can expect when coaching NPO leaders. The NPO community, as well as donors, can also get a sense of how coaching can contribute to building and strengthening the overall capacity of leaders in the non-profit sector.

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