The development and evaluation of an executive coaching programme
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The 21'' century business environment can be described in terms of globalisation, intensified competitiveness on a global level, and ever-increasing customer expectations. In the changing nature of the world of work, with its increasing complexity, competition and accelerated pace, the issue of leadership development is critical. Executives are pressured to continuously improve their performance, skills and contribution to the organisation. In the mining industry, executives are experiencing ongoing skill shortage, increased job stress, increased job dissatisfaction and the need to redress social imbalances via affirmative action and accelerated career development. This highlights the need to find effective ways of developing executives. In South Africa more traditional forms of executive development, such as prescribed training programmes, courses and business schools are used. Training programmes, courses and business schools do not address specific individual needs but tend to be more generic in content. Over the course of the last 10 years, executive coaching, an oneon- one intervention with middle and senior managers for the purpose of improving or enhancing management skills has become widely adopted by the corporate community. Executive coaching is one of the fastest growing executive development processes in adult learning. Recent literature in the field of coaching purports the advantages of coaching such as increased performance, job satisfaction, team effectiveness, self awareness, decreased job stress, higher optimism and change management. The objectives of this study were to develop an executive coaching programme and to determine the effect of this programme on the general wellbeing, job characteristics, coping strategies, personality characteristics (both pervasive and situational), work-related wellness, as well as the performance of executives in the mining industry in South Africa. A longitudinal design was used. The participants (n = 29) consisted of General Managers, Mine Overseers and Production Managers from one area in a large mining company in South Africa. The Maslach Burnout Inventory - General Survey (MBI-GS), the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES), the Life Orientation Test - Revised (LOT-R), the Job Characteristics Survey - Mining (JCM), the Learned Optimism Scale (LOS), the ituational Sense of Coherence Scale (SSOC), the Perceived Wellness Scale (PWS) and a 360" Performance Evaluation Measurement (PEM) were used. The results showed that the xecutive Coaching Programme developed for this study increased the general wellbeing, job characteristics, performance and coping strategies of the executives in the mining industry. The study also found an increase in the situational personality characteristics (situational sense of coherence and learned optimism) after the completion of the coaching programme. Furthermore, the results showed an increase in the positive affective evaluation of work (engagement) (vigour and professional efficacy), as well as a decrease in the negative affective evaluation of work (burnout) (exhaustion and cynicism). In terms of coping strategies passive coping decreased, while problem-focused coping and emotion-focused coping increased. Interestingly, the findings showed an increase in pervasive personality characteristics and a decrease in absorption of executives after completion of the coaching programme. The qualitative results from the dairy study showed very positive reports in relation to the executives' experiences of the performance evaluation process and the executive coaching programme in relation to their development.