• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Personal development and leadership coaching (1)

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Leaders lead from a people point of view, helping people do their work and in the process achieve their potential” (John Baldoni).

In August 2007, our organisation placed newspaper advertisements for “suitably qualified candidates” for the positions of Project Managers, Business Development Managers and Marketing Executives. As is usual with such advertisements, we listed some academic and professional requirements that we expected the candidates to possess.

But, apart from these usually listed requirements, we included four other requirements, which we referred to as “Personal Development Requirements”. The four requirements are what I consider as the four powerful qualities of emerging leaders (the 4Ps). They are: Promise; Passion; Patience; and Productive.

We were eager to develop new leaders in our Company, and we believed that it was time to bring in people that we would be able to train, coach, mentor and model to become the future chief executives of the different business units of the CEED Group.

By that time, I had managed the organisation for more than five years and we had grown from the small business consulting firm that we started with to an organisation comprising four smaller companies and ten business units.

With the plan being to develop each of the business units to full-fledged companies, we decided to recruit personnel that would grow within and with the organisation. I must admit that it was really a great challenge for us to achieve our goal and succeed in our plans.

I suppose that we were possibly too idealistic and too optimistic at that time, thinking that people would just pitch up at our office, get through a few sessions of training and coaching, and be ready for their journey to the top.

After just two years of our experiment, we had managed to retain only three out of the nine people that joined our organisation as a result of the public (newspaper) advertisements.

Of course, I was frustrated because I knew that I had failed woefully in my attempt to raise new and future leaders for my organisation. More frustrating was the fact that I knew that I could not realistically advise or consult for any organisation on personnel retention strategies. My confidence thus took a nosedive.

Looking back as the experience, I sometimes just chuckle in amazement at my own glaring mistakes as a team leader. Of course, with the benefits of hindsight, elapsed time, as well as my own personal growth, development and journey as a team leader, resource manager and coach-mentor, I can pinpoint several areas where we went wrong.

One major area was the failure of the CEED Group management to patiently and painstakingly continue to invest in personal development and empowerment.

The management was obviously so goal-conscious and too performance-driven to understand that the processes of personal development and personal empowerment cannot be rushed.

There is surely no quick fix approach that any manager can adopt in this regard, mainly because personal development in particular is a personal matter. It is no doubt the greatest investment that an individual can ever make in his or her life, but importantly, the individual must be the one to decide and drive the process.

You can teach and coach as much as you want; the responsibility for personal development remains that of the individual. Personal development is of course just what it is. It is the development of self! The ways, means and processes are however much more complex.

As a matter of fact, there is no end to personal development; hence it can in some instances become a lifelong process and a lifetime activity. It is all about identifying the skills that you need to set life goals which can enhance your prospects, raise your confidence and lead to a more fulfilling, higher quality life.

In considering the 2007 project of the CEED Group, I believe that we did not have enough knowledge, capacity and resources to achieve what we set out to achieve in terms of developing new leaders.

For instance, we were not able to provide the best environment and conditions that would potentially boost the personal development, personal empowerment and professional development of the entire organisational team.

Looking back, the CEED Group at that time also did not have the kind of corporate structure and systems that would create the corporate stability and security that the emerging leaders required to freely unlock their potentials and develop optimally.

With the knowledge and experience that we now have, we obviously would have done things so much differently. We are still learning and growing; especially with due regard being given to coaching and mentoring new leaders.

Coaching now focuses on their life goals more than on the organisation’s goals. This is because we desire that their personal development goals dovetail into the corporate goals.

Many more small companies will grow and develop better with this kind of approach. You can read more about the transformational power of coaching at www.ceedcoaching.com.

Emmanuel Imevbere