Leadership-Executive & Team Coaching: A Systemic Intervention to stimulate employee well-being and company growth

The world was brought to its knees as COVID visited its harshest reality unto us, and for over two years, we grabbled and struggled to find an approach to mitigate the pandemic. But unfortunately, many of the methods we have deployed in past centuries since the industrial revolution in the face of wars, pandemics, famine, outbreaks, etc., did not work.

COVID-19 reports across all sectors revealed that many leaders and executives suffered severe burnout, depression and stress as they sought creative, mentoring and humane ways to navigate the pandemic with employees, revenues and sustainability at heart. But who took care of these executives and leaders on the board? This is the reality check I raise as part of my effort to widen discussions, awareness, possibilities and opportunities of  Leadership-Executive-Team coaching in my engagement with HR institutions, HR consulting firms, HR heads, and CEOs in Ghana and the African continent as a whole.

At that moment, the world shifted from relying on a mechanistic worldview or paradigm where human beings were treated and managed like machines to the ecological worldview or paradigm where humans were treated as beings with feelings, thoughts, experiences, hearts, mindset, vulnerability, fellow-feeling, etc. So we started bouncing back to a new normal, which is not entirely new per se except for the era we settled on a mechanical way of life as the sin qua non of human exceptionality. “Teams are living systems, not manufactured products. So we need not a mechanistic science of teams, but an ecology…” Peter Hawkins.

The new normal is ecologically-driven, rooted in the beingness (ontology) of our humanness, and fostered by neuroscience to maximise and continually explore the phenomenology of who we are.
Grant Soosalu, the founder of multiple Integration Techniques coaching (mBraining of heart, head, and gut), said: “The single greatest influence on profitability and productivity was the ability of a leader to be Compassionate”. Though ‘compassion and leadership influence’ has become a new normal cliché, it does not come as simple and easy as we make it sounds. This is why executive-leadership-team coaching is one of the critical tools to be embedded in human resource management.

Coaching intervention blended with training or mentoring in Ghana and Africa as being done in Europe, North America and parts of emerging Asia will offer human-centred growth and corporate productivity and development. For example, it is said that there is a “22 percent increase in productivity, but when combined with coaching, that figure rises to 88 percent” (Gerald Olivero, Denise Bane & Richard Kopelman, Public Personnel Management).

In a typical troubleshooting approach in most corporate bodies, we say: “Success or failure rises and falls on leadership, or leadership cause and effect”. But with a systemic approach, coaches with systemic thinking niche see shareholders, leadership, executives, management, employees, and company culture (vision, mission, purpose, values, etc.).

Recently on my Facebook wall, I posted that People say: “It is about input and output or cause and effect”, but I invite you to look at the ‘𝗮𝗻𝗱’ which is the “p𝗿𝗼𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀”. So in systemic coaching, we look at cause, effect and process. This is why we advocate the paradigm shift that once you evoke the beingness of an executive member or leadership through coaching, the system should sign up coaching for the team this leader oversees or spearhead.

Today’s employees, according to Gallup, want coach-embedded leaders, not just bosses and managers. This calls for a different delegation modelled executive functioning to a satisfied employee – performance and productivity goal setting that stimulates inspiration, empowerment, corporate purpose and existential meaning. Once a coach and the coaching process fashion this out, the corporate entity can insert coaching into the company’s culture. Experts say: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast and dictates performance“, which is why coaching brings awareness, possibilities, 360o mindset, attitude, behaviour, and non-human systems that redesign corporate culture.

Skills, capacity and experience are not enough in this era and beyond. Corporate Mission, Vision, Purpose, Values (MVPV), etc. can become beautiful on paper framed in glass onto walls everywhere in the company. But if it cannot be ingrained into the body fibre of everyone in the company so they can interlock their personal purposes, values, mission, etc., it becomes a cliché. No matter the mentoring and pieces of training, these become aliens to their bodies.

I implore companies to find coaches to aid them in taking a new look at their MVPV. From neuroscience through mBraining and other works by the HeartMath Institute, cephalic (head) brain, Cardiac (heart) brain, Enteric (gut brain), Autonomic nervous system (ANS), and other intelligences which hold space for all these beautiful words we craft as a language for the whole human. No wonder that when the heart rate variability is in synchronicity during coaching, and the rest of the brains come into coherence, the individual creative brain, compassionate heart, and courageous gut create transformation. Bettie Spruill of Ideal Coaching Global said: “Creation occurs in language”. But a language that can be embodied produces and sustains tremendous change and growth that is co-created between employees and the corporate system.

Human beings are an embodiment of brains, intelligence, frequencies, etc. Hence, a corporate ecosystem and environment must be assisted through coaching to maximise its possibilities, potentials, awareness, corporate worldview, etc., for mutually exclusive growth and success. For example, every employee is a tennis player who needs on-and-off court coaching and other allied support systems. On the court, “off-court” practices amid skills and talent create congruence between the heart, guts and head brains with the best flow of the autonomic nervous system (parasympathetic and sympathetic functions). For tennis players, a lot occurs in them psychophysiologically when a serve is coming through.

This phenomenon is the same for corporate leaders, executives and their teams. On the job and office for corporate or career life – the effectiveness and 360o life-altering and mind-shifting of  “off-court” practices amid skills and talent create congruence between the heart, guts, and head brains with the best of the flow of the autonomic nervous system (parasympathetic and sympathetic functions).

The Insider recently published that the world’s tennis living legend, Serena Williams, said: “I know I joke a lot, but Prince Harry is actually one of my coaches. Whenever I see him, he’s always solving all my life’s problems”. It is also a fact that Serena got coached by Tony Robbinson when her life trajectory hit turbulence. The sense of vulnerability Serena exercises with her life coach causes her to find solutions to her life’s problems.

Coca-Cola HBC said this about their certified coaches programme: “Coaching helps accelerate your success. It concentrates on where you are today and helps you unlock the potential to do more. Coaching addresses a person’s mindset and seeks to remove blockers to performance. Internal coaching gives a coachee the unique blend of a coach who has Coca-Cola Hellenic expertise and great coaching skills. It is a trust-based partnership between an internal coach who will guide the coachee through a learning process to encourage personal discovery & goal achievement. The aim of Internal Coaching is to unlock your potential and help you become more successful.

I mostly ask my leadership or executive clients: “What is the ingredient make-up of your leadership fragrance?” or if it is a team coaching, I phrase it as: “What is the ingredient make-up of your team fragrance?” Then I say to them: “Don’t just answer it logically or cognitively; pause, listen and experience your whole being”. And in all instances, something profound and inspiring emerges. And once the entire body (being) maps the emerged awareness, it triggers a lot of life-shifting possibilities. This is how corporate bodies can explore team coaching to build their company’s masterminds which I call the ANS ( autonomic nervous system) of such corporate bodies.

American University Provost Office of Graduate and Professional Studies Executive Coaching is a proven way to develop an individual, team, and organisational performance across-industries. In addition, the International Coaching Federation’s report on executive coaching benefits is cited.

It is not by accident that Walmart also instituted a coaching programme dubbed: MFC coaching. A coach supports their team by ensuring their goals align with the business’s goals. They communicate with leads about their team’s performance and plans on how to improve the business performance. They support their associates by providing them with long-term career progression and future-focused business planning.

The shift and transformation that executive or leadership and team coaching are waiting to be explored by the corporate body cannot be overemphasised. A corporate ecosystem and environment that has coaching embedded in it create autonomy and space to take initiatives to drive innovation.

This niche of coaching catalyses to facilitate and establish a corporate culture that has coaching embedded to maximise growth and expansion. Experts have alluded to how business management and strategies increase, and resilience is stimulated in such a VUCA era.

A high sense and experience of work-life balance, personal life satisfaction, and corporate success are nurtured. This facilitates fluidity through communication and performance, as well as creativity.

Emotional Intelligence and well-being become more of an experience than a theory that anchors the corporate mission, vision and values to build a brand. Yet, these are cardinal reflections customers these days look out for to associate and invest in. Through coaching, such a human environment is possible to drive social and governance transformation.

The corporate ecosystem in Ghana and Africa must be positioned for a life-altering approach to co-create a 360o shift for new ways of professional and corporate growth through leadership, executive, and team coaching.

The writer is a Transformational Coach| Professional Certified mBIT Master Coach | Certified Professional Corporate Trainer | Lead Consult for Zoweh Global Consult.

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