LEADERS LAB

Weathering the economic storm

Building an organisation with the buoyancy to withstand turbulent economic cycles is critical to survival and future growth.The world economy finds itself in one of the most adverse economic climates. It started as a downturn and then worsened into a deep recession. With organisations everywhere being buffeted by the economic storm, the question maybe asked: What are South African companies doing to keep afloat and steer towards sustainability?

The research team at LifeLab obtained a South African perspective by interviewing 17 companies operating in different sectors and industries. The aim was to find out what strategies they are using to survive the downturn and how they are preparing for a likely upswing later. Read the article published by the University of Stellenbosch Business School in the Leaders’ Lab.

Peer Coaching

The changing business and socio-political climate in South Africa, together with a global context marked by ecological degradation and globalisation, has meant that there is an increasing need for lifelong learning. This research explores how peer relationships utilise coaching skills and processes to enhance professional development in the context of these needs.

This qualitative research found that peer-coaching offered unique advantages in supporting professional and personal development. Successful relationships were found to have three levels of mutuality; the exchange of expertise, rank and role in the relationship. This supported empowerment in the relationship and enabled effective experiential learning.

The research was a masters dissertation at the University of Middlesex (UK), written by Roger Maitland. The research was presented the International Coach Federation’s Research Symposium in San José, USA. An article was published by the International Coach Federation in Campone, F. & Bennett, J. (Eds.) 2005. Proceedings of the Third International Coach Federation Coach Research Symposium. Lexington: ICF.

Positive Psychology as Social Change
How does coaching positively impact on organizational and societal change?

This research study incorporates stories and self-reflexive inquiry from a small sample of leading coach practitioners, consultants and executive leaders working with coaching in their organizations. I have gathered the following stories with a focus on the challenges in organizational and institutional environments, to help us understand if and how coaching has influenced organizational and societal change. Executive coaching practice far outstrips its evidence base of knowledge as coaching continues to grow as an international phenomenon. Organizations today are challenged by the complexity and swiftness of change within business, social and political environments, and leaders are expected to quickly adapt their skills and competence in volatile and often crisis-driven markets and societies (Stout Rostron, 2009:19–22).

This chapter, written by Dr Sunny Stout Rostron, features the work of LifeLab in South African and Namibia in applying peer coaching to HIV and AIDS and workplace wellness. The article (Chapter 14) can be found in Biswas-Diener, R. (Ed.) 2011. Positive Psychology as Social Change. New York: Springer.