As development agents technically we’re all in the business of change. Some of use change outputs (number of schools built), some of us change outcomes (number of girls graduating with a degree).
Regardless of the focus, I think we all come up against that linchpin of success (read ultimate reason for failure) leadership. I just had a conversation with someone taking a leadership coaching course at Middlesex University (UK) who said that the job of the leader is to manage and push forward:
- organizational culture
- capabilities of the staff
- execution or the delivery of results (outcomes)
Now I do ‘good’ work that I’m proud of, but the sustainability of the results isn’t always there. I used to think it was a question of bandwith, we did too much for the organization to sustain once we were gone. Then I started thinking it was a question of values; the senior management has a logical framework in-mind that is counter/contrary to the sustaining the new results. Read ‘Herbal tea and a hot shower will prevent HIV/AIDS’ or ‘If I communicate to my staff like human beings all hell with break loose’.
But what if the missing link is coaching; guiding senior leaders on the practice of HOW to move forward the vision, culture, capabilities and results of an organization? The nice thing about coaching is that it takes into account the behavior, thought processes, comfort level of the client. It’s not about what s/he must do, but setting expectations and figuring out how to get there.