Leadership Greatness begins with Leadership Coaching by Goodnews Cadogan

Pan African Coaching symposium : CAD05100

The time has come for African leaders and coaches to come together and accept that coaching belongs in the continent as one of the levers that can enhance leadership capability in all forms of organization existence. For our continent to prosper, it should have prosperous regions. For the African regions to prosper, they have to have successful member countries, and these countries should not only have great leaders, they should have great coaches.

Leadership greatness begins with leadership coaching, in one form or another. In the African tradition, the healing profession and traditional authority are one such good examples of how coaching has made it possible to pass on, from one generation to another, the art and practice of same. Coaching is one of the cornerstones of indigenous knowledge systems. Modern schools of thought on coaching, borrow a lot from how our ancestors have always passed on practice of any of their crafts through coaching and mentoring.
I invite you, together with my partners, to share, craft and envision the role of coaching in the socio-economic development of the African continent.
If you are a coaching executive in a corporation, public or private, or in government and even in the non-governmental sector, you ought to be here. If you are a highly respected professional in any discipline, or just a C-Suite or other executive, you may want to join us, and you will come out richer as we shape the malleable role of coaching in leadership development for Africa’s growth.



If sophisticated leaders in corporate, as well as multi-billionaire investors across the world, fear change, how much more is it for the multitudes of voters beholden to the ANC, for the inches of positive changes that happened since 1994? – Human beings are not good at dealing with change, and we see this in simple family or romantic relationships that may not be serving us well, but we remain attached, nevertheless. Learned helplessness creeps in, and the guilty party, unfortunately understands this, and they carry on plundering with oblivion. In this case, the ANC and alliance leadership ‘know’ that our people do not know better, and they know that the middle class does not have the ‘balls’ to start a ‘new’ party to drive into the new vacuumed space. We are paralysed, and it will take more than one generation to wake up from the slumber, dust ourselves up and drive self-serving leaders out of power. Just recently, one of my friends was saying that as we grow older, we stop looking beyond our small family units, in the hope that our national challenges will sort themselves out. There are very few people who are prepared to take up the proverbial arms and build something new, for there is a lot at stake, including personal safety, in some parts of South Africa. The end to the current state of affairs is not near, for we do not have untainted, young and old leaders from which we can choose, to make a national turnaround. The interconnectedness of the political elite means that whomever we choose within that pool, we are not going to be able to break the cycle of downward spiral. Business leadership has a hand in this, for they are smiling all the way to the bank, whilst the country is burning, literally and figuratively. As Mintzberg says (Governing Management, Managing Government), it is the concert of private, public, non-governmental and co-op leadership that makes democracy go round… Sadly, with us, all are from the same pool of selfish and egoistic leaders (government, politics and business), save for a few from the NGO movement & Co-ops, who lack the resources and the courage to challenge the status quo.
We need business leadership that has the vision of what a democracy in South Africa would look like, and then go and do what is required in their businesses first, to stop the exclusion of skilled and patriotic leaders who want this economy to thrive. They have to ensure that they go beyond the myopic quarterly results to monitor and evaluate leadership efficacy and to top it all, they have to reach out the NGO sector, to finance programmes that will increase the level of socio-political education of the 49m. This is the bridge that will create the union between narrow business interests and the wider societal agenda of driving both formal and informal education needed to shift South Africa in the right direction. A few hundred of millions of Rands, usually spent in 5 year terms, in the months preceding elections, sponsoring political parties, can be diverted to finance the bridge between business and society, through credible social programs.
Political leadership seems to be a passenger in their own political vehicles, just like a driver of a vehicle that has experienced a partial head-on collision with another. The dislodgement of the wheel assembly from the steering column renders both driver and steering wheel, powerless. No amount of logic, finger-pointing, or political reports is going to stem the tide of the challenges in this space.
If South Africa is to be better off than the average African state, after liberation, under the current system of things, it has to look to civil society for the answers (I include business leadership), for these are the ones who have a lot to lose. Political leadership has attained its political power in 1994, including access to resources, and therefore is not motivated to drive societal transformation with the same pre ’94 vigour. Most of the business leaders in South Africa lack a balanced view of the world, and therefore a double-edged sword of a narrow spectrum of consciousness and short-sightedness, is most likely to hurt the very assets they are stewards of.
Business leaders are content with serving the short term needs of the political elite, at the expense of the long term needs of the wider society, members of which are currently disadvantaged as a result of them serving the short term needs of the political elite of the old regime. It is sad state of affairs because it shows that they have a very short memory of what brought the South African economy to its knees in the early ’90s. South Africa’s indigenous businesses and multinationals operating within our borders, in the SADC region and in the rest of Africa, are crying out for leaders who have done a lot of work on their being. Otto Scharmer describes this internal work as the quality of the intention and attention of their leadership practice. Most refuse to go there, for they are afraid of what they might just awake to, as C. Jung states: ““Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
A good example of business and political leaders that are in the same slumber, is in the United Kingdom, and the disastrous manner in which they handled Brexit saga. Lack of foresight and an inability to deal with the complex needs of a diverse society resulted in a tumble of the markets across the globe, massive currency loss of value, as well as deepening of societal divisions along many ‘isms’: age, class and more. It also cost the Prime Minister his job.
Back home, we have been stumbling from one crisis to another, most recently, Nenegate and Tshwane burning. That dream, that Madiba magic that held the nation together at times critical from 1990 onwards, is running on reserve fuel. We run the risk of further crises on all fronts, unless, as in the late 1980’s, business and civil society leadership wakes up by looking within and questioning the attention and intention of their leadership practices, as individuals and collectives, at home, in organisations and in different sectors. We know as a nation that political leaders (when in power) are usually the last to actually see and feel the trend, with recent examples when they have been unable to predict Nenegate, Tshwane, and thirdly, the bigger one: powers of the public protector Constitutional Court judgement.
To all C-Suite executives, I appeal to you, not because you are not Immune to the required Transformation in South Africa, but because you are. My appeal is further motivated by the fact that you are not uniquely blind to the obvious, but your counterparts up in the UK share the same blind spots, including the belief that politics is not your responsibility. Furthermore, it is my belief that you have skills and knowledge to deal with the challenges we face, including the resources to look right in there in your hearts for the reasons why you have mostly been quiet. It is your quietness and your continued support of political leadership, under the guise of supporting democracy, that contributes to the elusive dream of a post ’94 South Africa.
I appeal to you to give that monetary support (hundreds of millions of Rands) to the deserving NGO and Co-Op sector organisations, so that the post ’94 as mapped out in our Constitution, can become a reality.
Most of all, I remind you that it begins with you. It is values-based leadership that will transform your businesses and thereby give you the currency to speak truth to power, for you will have none of the ‘small(anyana) skeletons’ that could tumble out of your closets, when you become true to our Constitution.

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