Executive coaching : an investigation into the trends in leadership development programmes and the increasing need for executive coaching as a development tool

Pitt, Lucian J. (2001-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2001.


The last few decades have been characterised by a high degree of rapid change in the business, social and political environment. The period we are currently living in has been referred to by one of the writers on the subject as a period of "hyper-change" In a period of "hyper-change" the consequences for global businesses is significant. Organisations constantly face new sets of challenges and before they have worked their way through one set another presents itself. In the area of skills development this could have major consequences for the leadership of organisations. It is said that the only way to succeed in a rapidly changing environment is to ensure that knowledge growth outpaces that rate of change. This implies rapid skills update as well. Under traditional leadership development approaches, through structured programmes, the rate of change in skills growth is not sufficient to ensure that the executive and the organisation remain ahead of change. Indeed, traditional programmes are not even able to effectively deliver the kinds of skills that are needed by today's executive. The skills referred to here are softer skills such as communications skills, diversity awareness, conflict resolution, listening skills and so forth. In the last two decades a new trend has developed in the USA. ..coaching, more precisely executive coaching. Started in 1982 by a financial analyst, Thomas Leonard, the practice of coaching seems to have grown exponentially over the last two decades. The popularity of coaching is ascribed mainly to its effectiveness in being able to deliver quick results. It has also proved to be popular among executives for its flexibility around time and structure of process allowing the executive to focus on areas of improvement that will the greatest impact. Coaching has made its mark as one of the essential development tools that must be found in the portfolio of options of any people development strategy.

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