How leadership coaching can strengthen your leadership career Stellenbosch Business School Skip to main content
If you’re someone who aspires to leadership and helping others achieve their true potential

If you’re someone who aspires to leadership and helping others achieve their true potential, you’ll likely benefit from a qualification in leadership coaching. We talked to Dr Salomé van Coller-Peter, who helped us unpack the true essence of leadership coaching, and how it isn’t only useful as a way to help others, but to also enhance your career. Here are a few of her insights:

What does leadership coaching really mean?

Leadership coaching has a lot in common with other types of coaching, such as executive and leadership coaching. The key difference, from a high-level, is the client’s role, and also how the client views leadership and management.

When it comes to leadership coaching, your role as a coach is about developing the client’s talent, helping them achieve higher performance, and facilitating their thinking. A coach is a soundboard, or a thinking partner – they provide you with a confidential space where you can brainstorm and get feedback without fear of information being shared with others. Even if your employer is paying for your coaching sessions, your coach will keep your conversations confidential.

How do I know I can trust my coach?

A good coach makes several ethical commitments to their clients, such as confidentiality, do no harm, inclusivity, and a non-judgemental attitude. The best coaches will be registered with an ethical standards body, such as Coaches and Mentors of South Africa (COMENSA), to ensure they maintain their commitment to high ethical standards and will be held accountable if they fail to meet them.

What is the relationship between coach and client like?

It’s more than mentorship, which is very content and process driven, and which is driven by a student/teacher relationship. With a leadership coach, the client and the coach are equals. The coach brings curiosity, presence, confidentiality, and process to the relationship. The coach recognises that every individual has their own answers within, and is there to help the client dig deeper and come up with options, with possibilities, for whatever challenges they face.

So it’s not a quick fix?

Coaching and development is a long-term process. You can’t get up and running in three months.

How does a leadership coaching programme strengthen your leadership career?

A good leadership coaching programme draws on ideas from many different fields that are relevant to a leadership role.

Communication principles are a critical leadership component. You’ll learn how to build rapport, listen with curiosity and authenticity, and withhold judgement – these skills apply to leadership and management roles across the board. Another area, which we have already discussed, is talent development. A good leader knows how to bring out the best in the people around them. As a leadership coach, you also learn how to engage across cultures.

In what ways does Stellenbosch Business School’s leadership coaching programme support your goals in terms of your leadership career?

There are many ways our leadership coaching programme can help you in your career as a leader.

When it comes to developing as an individual, Stellenbosch Business School’s leadership coaching programme focuses on positive psychology and strength-based coaching. Unlike other coaching programmes, which try to improve the areas where you are weak, Stellenbosch Business School’s programme is primarily focused on developing your strengths to give you a competitive advantage. Stellenbosch Business School’s programme further develops this approach by teaching you a variety of coaching models, which you can integrate and adapt to suit your own strengths, as well as the environment you work in.

In addition to the different models and theories, the development of your own coaching style is deepened by exposure to an education that takes advantage of storytelling, diversity and inclusivity (not just in theory, but through contact with students who are from other parts of Africa), and responsible and sustainable development theories.

Another area of the leadership coaching programme that is connected to leadership is ethics and responsibility. During the first week of Stellenbosch Business School’s leadership coaching programme, students will begin learning about COMENSA and other international ethics requirements (such as the ICF). This approach highlights how important ethics is at Stellenbosch Business School.

Case studies are also a vital component of ethics and responsibility learning for students. By unpacking these studies and engaging with other students, they also get feedback on how their approach is or isn’t working, or how it may fail to meet ethics standards. As a leader, it’s critical that you understand the importance of ethics if you wish to serve the people around you.

These are just a few of the elements that are applicable to your success as a coach, as well as your success as a leader.

As an aspiring leader, a leadership coaching qualification could be a valuable asset in your leadership career. To find out more about Stellenbosch Business School’s MPhil in Leadership Coaching, you can visit our website, or, if you have any specific queries, you can contact our staff today.

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