Fezile Ndema – Coega Development Corporation

For years I have heard people talking about being coached and I wondered what it really entails. I thought coaching would be about being given guidelines on how to be a better manager. In my mind I thought a Coach would provide pointers towards what I would have indicated to be my desired goal or goals as a manager. I was intrigued when I saw the profiles of the various coaches that were made available to us at the beginning of the CDC senior management coaching exercise at the beginning of 2019. I chose Judy Janse van Rensburg, which I think, was the best decision.

My Challenges at the beginning of the coaching sessions

Being in my fifties, I am having thoughts of whether I want to work until I reach the age of sixty. If I decide to take an early retirement, what I would do to keep myself busy? I also had challenges in the job I was doing at the time:

  • I had an employee that was not happy with the reporting lines who was acting up, refusing to accept changes in the organisational structure that were affecting her;
  • An error that was committed by one of the senior managers that reported to me and
  • Lack of communication from my superiors.

These were some of the issues that I was confronted with at the very time that the coaching started. These were exacerbated by a feeling of being overwhelmed by the enormity, in terms of the size and complexity, of the Business Unit I was leading.

Twist in the tale

At the beginning of the coaching, I did a deep introspection and I acknowledged personal traits that I need to be mindful off when interacting with others both at work and generally. It was quite an eye opener as all this realization was not an observation form the Coach, it all came from me. This is one of the things I admired about the coaching. My Coach was economical with advice, she had a way of allowing me to find my own solutions to my challenges.

During the coaching period I experienced a devastating episode at work, one that knocked down my self-confidence. In the next coaching session we could only talk about what had happened, what it meant and how I was going to deal with it. During the said period my Coach became my pillar of strength, I appreciated the fact that I could talk about my deep feelings without any inhibitions. She encouraged me to talk and guided my thought towards what I, thought was the best way forward.

Results of the experience?

Although there has been a curve ball during the engagement, my Coach still managed to get me to think and come up with ideal solutions about what I will do in future, which was one of the main desired outcomes of the coaching experience.  My Coach was not only good at giving me space to figure things out for myself, she also gave good advice on my entrepreneurial aspirations, strategic management and my academic endeavors.

I am thankful to my employer for providing the opportunity for me to get a coach and my biggest thank you goes to Judy for providing what I think is a great coaching experience.