Living a life of purpose: What the MPhil in Management Coaching has taught me
By Christine Wilke
MPhil in Management Coaching student
A few years ago, I made the decision to leave my corporate role and deepening my commitment to a life of purpose. This led to me joining World Vision International, an Evangelical Christian humanitarian aid, development, and advocacy organisation whose vision statement inspires me:
Our vision for every child, life in all its fullness. Our prayer for every heart, the will to make it so.
The shift from corporate to a non-profit organisations (NPO) is a transition story on its own, but the one prevalent theme was the constant level of uncertainty and increasing complexity that the global leaders I coached face. The increased fragility, economic, environmental, and political crises meant that this reality would only become more challenging.
I decided to do the Master of Philosophy in Management Coaching at the USB to improve my leadership coaching skills, as it has an excellent reputation in the international coaching community. The lecturers are international recognised coaches who successfully facilitate a mix of theoretical and practical learning during the course.
I gained an internationally recognised degree, while having the opportunity to reflect on my African roots and practices that are increasing been relevant globally. I believe that this has given me a much deeper perspective and enhanced my unique coaching approach, especially on how to support leaders to navigate uncertainty, complexity, and change.
But I got far more than I expected…
The strong leadership component, the emphasis on self-awareness and reflection, plus the rich dialogue with the lectures and my fellow students showed me my personal and leadership strengths. This was enhanced by the gift of coaching I received as part of the practical component. It was valuable to learn how it felt to be coached and to appreciate how coaching and self-reflection can lead to transformation.
Through learning experience and coaching I have transformed my relationship with myself and others. I have become a more conscious coach and how I have grown as a leader. I did not expect that I and others in my organisation would be able to confidentially see me, as a global leader and that I would be encouraged to apply for more senior leadership positions.
I have become more resilient as I aware of the impact of emotions, how to understand the neuroscience and need for self-care.
The other unexpected benefit was that through the pressure of balancing a part time course and full-time global role, plus the sage advice throughout the course that I am better able to cope with stress and uncertainty. I have become more resilient as I aware of the impact of emotions, how to understand the neuroscience and need for self-care.
This resilience together with enhanced understanding on how to lead through uncertainty and improved coaching skills could not have come at a more opportune time. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that all leaders have had to deal with an unprecedented uncertainty and change in their personal lives, with their teams and the community they work with. I am more able to lean in and support the leaders on how to practice self-care, supporting others, empower and engage their team, while make the changes required now and for the future.
I am now more confident to lean in and make a meaningful impact globally as a leader and as a coach.
I started this journey wanting to live a life of purpose and to support leaders cope with uncertainty and complexity. Through the MPhil in Management Coaching I have strengthened my coaching, but have also grown as a person, a global leader who is has increasing knowledge, skill and resilience to cope with the increasing uncertain world we live. I am now more confident to lean in and make a meaningful impact globally as a leader and as a coach.
About the author
Christine Wilke is the Senior Global Organisation Development and Change Advisor for World Vision International. She is based in Cape Town, South Africa, but supports and coaches leaders and teams virtually and in person across the globe. She is currently completing a thesis on Coaching a Team towards Effectiveness in partial fulfilment for the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Management Coaching at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. She writes in her own personal capacity and the views in this paper do not reflect those of World Vision.