Coaching as an enabling intervention for the systemic development of strategic leadership in organisations.
Coaching can become a strategic enabling vehicle for leadership development in organisations if it can be offered within and across diverse levels of the organisational leadership. In other words, when it can be conducted in a systemic way, where leadership development is treated as an organisational capacity rather than as an individual trait. This study aimed at exploring the uses of coaching within the Development Aid Agency (DAA). It sought to propose an alternative and complementary systemic coaching approach to dyadic coaching which jointly can awaken the organisation to the untapped leadership talent that otherwise is overlooked due to leadership development being confused as leader's development. The study made use of the qualitative research method. This research method was accompanied by the use of in-depth semi-structured interviews conducted with 15 respondents at DAA. Subsequently, a thematic analysis approach was used to analyse and synthesise research data. Various themes emerging from the interviews were identified as being pivotal for the implementation of both dyadic and enterprise-wide coaching within organisations. Some of the themes identified include: decision-making relating to sourcing of coaching by organisations; the context of leadership development within organisations; leadership development as an organisational phenomenon; the role of coaching in DAA; and opportunities for coaching in the workplace. Factors constituting barriers to the effective implementation of coaching within an organisation were identified. These include, among other factors: absence or lack of executive sponsorship; poor coordination; confusion of what coaching intends to achieve; lack of strategic integration of coaching into other organisational programmes; and finally, poor execution of coaching within the organisation. The major finding was that coaching can indeed be an enabling intervention for the systemic development of strategic leaders within organisations; and that dyadic coaching as a single approach to leadership development across organisational levels is of limited benefit in the context of complex challenges facing organisational leadership. Therefore, a systemic coaching approach to systemic organisational challenges is proposed, so as to augment and capacitate the leadership bench-strength beyond the individual capabilities towards the collective.