Elevation

A Golden Opportunit­y– Making Coaching A Catalyst For Africa’s Growth.

- By George Mutendadza­mera

Iread a Euromonito­r Internatio­nal Report in March this year, which identified the Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2021. It stated that the COVID19 pandemic had “created, influenced or accelerate­d each of the 10 trends, forever altering consumer behaviour” post the pandemic. Of the identified trends which include, “Craving convenienc­e”, “Outdoor Oasis”, “Build Back Better”, “Physical Reality”, and six others, the “Build Back Better” trend is what struck me the most. This trend offers the world a ‘second chance to create a better future because “Consumers demand that companies care beyond revenue, and they no longer perceive businesses as profit-driven entities. Protecting the health and interest of society and the planet is the new expectatio­n, to Build Back Better. Companies should help reshape the world more sustainabl­y, leading a shift from a volume- to a value-driven economy and turning the tide on social inequity and environmen­tal damage… Therefore, consumers will help Build Back Better by seeking brands that help make the world cleaner, healthier, more resilient, and equitable”.

Whilst this report focused on brands and private companies, I will discuss it in a context that includes companies, individual­s, teams, countries, government­s, and our African leaders.

I see the “Build Back Better” trend as a golden opportunit­y for Africa as we slowly drive towards the post covid era. It offers us a second chance to create the future we want, to build the Africa we want. How do we achieve this? I have said in the past that success is deeply rooted in mindset.

‘As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he’, please read ‘As a continent believes in its heart, so it is.’ What do we believe about ourselves? As countries, as businesses, as communitie­s, as individual­s? What should we believe about ourselves? Should we be servant to the lender for eternity? Here we have a window to build back better, to create a new Africa, not by might nor by power but by thinking differentl­y. The coaching of leaders, teams, communitie­s, groups, individual­s, entreprene­urs, and more should be the new weapon to create new ways of thinking, to ignite new ideas, to torch creativity, to shift perspectiv­es which will lead us to build back better.

I see the increased use of coaching services as one of the most powerful tools that will ignite Africa’s renaissanc­e. Coaching is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries and in the USA alone the estimated size of the coaching industry in 2022 will be US$20 billion. Yes, similar growth on the African continent will create a value-adding industry to Africa’s economy but more importantl­y it will unlock new ideas, new solutions, new learning, new insights to transform and transport the continent to its rightful place on the world stage.

History records that Africa has been a recipient of foreign aid for years and the undisputed fact is that the aid as currently practiced has failed to get Africa out of the poverty quagmire. At the same time, there is no doubt that the continent has derived some benefits from foreign aid.

The purpose of this article is not to debate the pros and cons of foreign aid but rather to point out that Africa needs much more than just foreign aid. It needs game-changers and I am postulatin­g that a potential game-changer is coaching and yes, throw in mentoring whilst we are there.

The purpose of this article is not to debate the pros and cons of foreign aid but rather to point out that Africa needs much more than just foreign aid. It needs game-changers and I am postulatin­g that a potential gamechange­r is coaching and yes, throw in mentoring whilst we are there.

What is coaching? The Internatio­nal Coaching Federation defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and profession­al potential”. It’s an interactiv­e process that is thought-provoking, creative, leads to results, and brings about change. I have said in the past that the mind is the greatest power in all of creation and coaching is the tool that draws out the best from every client. Good coaches’ partner with their clients to create a safe and supportive environmen­t that allows the client to go deep inside to draw something they didn’t even know was there. The more they engage in the coaching process the greater they develop their capacity to do bigger and better things and to face challenges confidentl­y. I say clients “grow broader shoulders”, “build muscle” with each successive achievemen­t.

In any coaching conversati­on, the starting point must be clarity around what the goal of the conversati­on is. In other words, creating clarity in the client’s mind about what they want to achieve. What does success look like? What is the measure of success? How will the client know when they have gotten there? This is important because it is the client who is familiar with their destinatio­n and therefore must ensure that the conversati­on sets sail headed in the right direction.

A critical success factor in the coaching process is for the coach to understand the client within their context which may include, identity, environmen­t, values, beliefs, history, expectatio­ns. The African leaders, be they in commerce, government, or elsewhere, understand their environmen­t and history better than anyone else and a good coach will be able to understand and help them within their context. Also, a good coach listens actively to what the client wants and is expressing whether clearly or not so clearly. Why is this important? It is important because the client is always best placed to find a solution to any issue bedevillin­g them. They know their context, they understand their environmen­t, they understand their history, they feel the expectatio­ns that rest upon them, and can therefore create solutions based on who they are and their context.

The coach’s crucial role is to help them to draw those solutions that lie within them. Hear me, Africa, you have the solutions within you.

How can this be achieved? A powerful tool the coach possesses is the ability to ask questions that help the client to explore beyond their current environmen­t. This enables clients to help build back better by seeing the future clearly on the screen of their minds. By imagining what is possible, clients can visualise a new tomorrow, they can see what they, their companies, their countries, will look like on the screen of their minds. A new tomorrow that will get them from where they are, individual­ly, or as teams, or groups, or societies, or as countries, to where they want to be. The clients will be able to see what a ‘built back better’ society will look like.

Once the client has a clear picture of what the future looks like, in their context, they can begin to convert that picture into reality. We know that we think in pictures and the clearer the mental picture is the easier it will be to convert it into a ‘thing’.

The most important function of a coach is then to partner with the client to transform the learning and insight into action. This is where the coach partners with the client to design goals, actions, and accountabi­lity measures that move the client towards the achievemen­t of

The most important function of a coach is then to partner with the client to transform the learning and insight into action. This is where the coach partners with the client to design goals, actions, and accountabi­lity measures that move the client towards the achievemen­t of their goals and desires.

their goals and desires. It is at this stage that the issues such as foreign aid come into play. To move forward, the client must now consider resources, support, and potential barriers. The critical point to note at this stage is that it is the client who has come up with solutions, not the coach. The coach’s role is to draw or pull out the solutions from within the client. This is important because we have a higher chance of solving our problems when we align our goals to the solutions we have created.

It is important to note that coaching is a process that can be used to address diverse situations and environmen­ts and this list is by no means exhaustive. For example, leadership coaching can be targeted at leaders in companies, government, non-profit organisati­ons, and others based on the needs of the entities.

How does this help Africa to build back better? With heightened self-awareness, increased confidence, better management, and developmen­tal skills, leaders will be able

Similarly, success in Africa’s developmen­t will be associated with great coaches whose role will be to unlock the raw capabiliti­es seating within each one of us. Africa can move from mediocre to great and when not if this happens, we will be well-positioned to build back better and to create the Africa we want.

to deal with challenges more confidentl­y and more decisively having explored multiple perspectiv­es in the process of creating solutions. When coaching becomes embedded as a culture at a personal, team, group, leadership level it will create a higher calibre of leaders. In much the same way that people across the globe associate sportspers­on’s success with good coaching. The amazing success of the greatest Olympians, the greatest footballer­s, the greatest basketball players, the greatest sportspers­ons is attributed to great coaching. Yes, the individual­s have the raw talent, but for them to move from good to great they get shaped by great coaches, who unlock their talent for a display to the world. Similarly, success in Africa’s developmen­t will be associated with great coaches whose role will be to unlock the raw capabiliti­es seating within each one of us. Africa can move from mediocre to great and when not if this happens, we will be well-positioned to build back better and to create the Africa we want.

Africa is at a crossroads, we can choose to have our main focus be on foreign aid and foreign investment­s as the vehicle out of poverty and misery or we can focus on developing the human resource which, I dare say, we have in abundance. That’s not to say foreign aid and foreign investment are not important, of course, they have their place, but the exact nature must be the result of the implementa­tion of identified goals and actions which form part of our roadmap to move forward.

Let us work together to build back better to create a better future for Africa, our home.

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 ??  ?? George Mutendadza­mera
George Mutendadza­mera

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