Celebrating the leadership spirit of Madiba, the Centre for Coaching at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business and Lead SA formed a partnership to offer free coaching sessions to emerging leaders on Mandela Day this year.
As organisations and individuals across South Africa and the rest of the world turned out to do their 67 minutes of good this Mandela Day, the Centre for Coaching at the UCT GSB turned its attention to what it does best – helping others to succeed through coaching.
In partnership with Lead SA, the centre facilitated a series of one-on-one coaching sessions tailored for individuals and organisations who want to grow their leadership skills and discuss the way forward with an experienced leadership coach. The coaching sessions took place in Johannesburg at GIBS, and on the UCT GSB Campus in Cape Town, as well as telephonically with those who could not make either venue during the week of Mandela Day, including a number of coaches from abroad including Australia and Switzerland.
Primedia Broadcasting Cape Town General Manager Karl Gostner said “One of the most important things about Mandela Day is celebrating Madiba’s legacy which is the legacy of leadership. His leadership style is one of connection and collaboration, and that is at the heart of this project. The aim of the Mandela Day Leaderhip Project was to bring emerging leaders, who are interested in advancing their leadership journey, together with coaches, who have the resources and skills to help these leaders on this journey.”
“The Lead SA philosophy speaks to ordinary South Africans telling them that they all have the capacity to lead and are required to lead in certain moments of their lives,” he said.
Directors of the Centre for Coaching, Craig O’Flaherty and Janine Everson, both agree. “Ordinary South Africans, particularly grassroots leaders are under a lot pressure from their communities. These leaders can benefit from coaching as it looks at developing an individual’s capability to overcome their own particular obstacles that they face as leaders,” said O’Flaherty.
This was certainly the motivation of one of the young leaders being coached on the day, Jacqui Setoaba, Advanced Diploma in Brand Innovation student at the Vega School of Brand Leadership. “The Mandela Day Leadership Development Project was an opportunity for young leaders to take ownership and pay it forward,” she said. “As black people, we come from a situation where we are often dependent on other people to make things happen for us. I aspire to see the next generation of young people doing things for themselves; where they are creating jobs, instituting programmes, and things that will empower them to move forward, so that we move away from a hand-out South African legacy.”
“Mandela optimised the empowerment of individuals and the notion of connecting to others. That’s the power of leadership and coaching people, you are not just a symbol of success but you are connecting directly with other human beings to enable their success,” added Everson.
Director of the UCT Graduate School of Business and Allan Gray Chair in Values-Based Leadership, Walter Baets, said that there is a natural fit between the business school, the Centre for Coaching and Lead SA: “At the UCT Graduate School of Business we are in the business of training future leaders who are not just great business minds, but values-based and ethical too – because that is what the world needs. In common with Lead SA we strongly encourage our graduates to be bold, to make the sometimes difficult choices and be part of building a more equitable and just society.”
Both the coaches and coachees benefited from this initiative as the sessions were not only about the transferring of skills to the leaders but they also inspired connections between the participants. In total 200 hours of coaching were donated and over 180 people were united around leadership in the spirit of Mandela’s leadership legacy.
Head of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, British American Tobacco, and Leadership Coach Leslie Rance, who volunteered his time on the day says, “We are all capable in a number of respects, but there are some things we are not capable of. Mandela was phenomenal but even he walked alongside people and needed some support. Coaching provides the role of support where we share what can be valuable to the others and in turn they share what can be valuable to us.”
Thank you again to the coaches from around the world who donated their time, making this event an amazing success.