Studying managers in transition

I was delighted to graduate with honours from Middlesex University in 2015 and receive a Master’s in Work Based Learning Studies (Professional Practice).  It is my hope that my thesis, ‘Developing a Coaching programme to facilitate transition into a managerial role: A Black African Perspective’ will make a contribution to the improvement of the success rates of newly appointed managers.

I founded Capital Assignments, a pioneering executive search firm specialising in the Financial Services industry in 1995, just after South Africa’s first democratic elections.  With the introduction of Employment Equity legislation at that same time, we went into business keenly focused on identifying and helping to develop Black talent for leadership roles.  Over the past decades, it has been frustrating to see the slow rate of transformation in organisations despite the pressure of the legislation.  It has also been frequently distressing to witness fine talent failing after promotion into managerial roles.

The failure of a new manager leads to serious costs all round.  The company suffers from low productivity, wasteful disruption and high recruitment expenses.  More often than not, the incumbent takes a staggering personal blow that is hard to recover from.  Bearing witness to this, both in the industry we work and other sectors was certainly part of the motivation for me, some years back, to become a professional coach.  Capital Assignments began to offer coaching services to our clients so that both line managers and incumbents could be properly supported in the wake of a new appointment.  In pursuit of my Masters in Coaching, it was a natural step to devise a work-based project that could contribute to the research into better ways to help new managers succeed.

It is my view that coaching, training and mentorship are worth considering as interrelated interventions for managers in transition.  I believe that a holistic approach that combines training to address skills-related competencies, mentorship to foster organisational socialisation and coaching to support new appointees would be a powerful model to enhance the success of new managers.  Within the academic boundaries for my thesis, I decided to focus the study on researching the coaching experiences of new Black managers.

Although transitional coaching plays an important role in the development of leaders globally, there is still a dearth of academic research on the topic of executive coaching; and research that focuses specifically on the impact of coaching on Black managers is even scarcer.

I developed the work-based research project, using an autoethnography approach, to gain insights into the coaching experiences of newly appointed Black managers in order to contribute to the understanding of how organisational transitions in South Africa can be managed more effectively to improve employee retention, productivity and engagement with the organisation.

I have subsequently used the findings from my study to develop ‘How to coach your managers in transition’, a bespoke modular training programme to help Line and Human Resources Managers to develop basic coaching skills so that they are empowered to properly support their new managers and increase their chances of success.

Should you be interested in hearing more about my training programme, please contact me at 021 419 4800.