You know about coaching on the sports field, right? Did you know coaching in the workplace is important too? We caught up with SACAP graduate Dr Tracey-Ann Adonis and discovered that coaching in a work environment has many benefits.
From early on in her life Tracey-Ann, 48, knew she wanted a career that would help people. She planned on becoming a physiotherapist but was encouraged to study medicine at Stellenbosch University where she faced a number of challenges. “It was 1990, pre-democracy, I came from an English medium school and I had to adapt to being taught in Afrikaans,” she explains. Tracey-Ann’s daily commute from Cape Town to Stellenbosch also had a detrimental affect on her grades, she says. “I was informed that I could not proceed.”
“It was a devastating moment for a first-generation university student who had passed matric with a good set of results,” she recalls. “The trauma of the experience compelled me to stay at home for a year.” The time out developed Tracey-Ann’s interest in psychology. “It really helped me redefine my academic path that culminated in me receiving a Doctorate in Science Education,” she says.
In line with her core values, today Tracey-Ann is employed just as she hoped she’d be when she was a child. As researcher and project manager in the Community Engagement Unit at the University of the Western Cape, she’s currently involved in an important project that focuses on substance misuse in communities. “My job requires extensive reading, contact with people from diverse backgrounds and engaging with the community, which I love,” she says.
Tracey-Ann’s partiality for helping people ignited her interest in coaching. When the opportunity to enrol in SACAP’s Coaching in the Workplace Online Short Course came up at work she grabbed it. “Having operated for several years in the field of community development I thought it would be a great way to build on my psychology roots and contribute to the development of students,” she says.
Nuts and bolts
Tracey-Ann says she found the course hugely empowering. “SACAP facilitators and coaching mentors provided many opportunities for personal growth, which is testament to their experience in the field of coaching,” she says. “The weekly webinars promoted learning in a non-judgemental and supportive way, too.”
SACAP’s online environment is a feature Tracey-Ann says she really reveres. “The platform is excellent! It’s very user friendly especially in terms of information sharing and being able access the required learning and reading material,” she says. “I participated on Zoom for the first time during the course and I think it worked really well. The facilitating was exceptional. Educators were knowledgeable and more than competent – even navigating load shedding was expertly done!”
Tracey-Ann admits to being a little concerned about getting the work-home-course balance right initially. She has three children and says family time is precious. “The challenge was that the SACAP webinars took place during the evening.” Happily, she was able to instigate a solution. “I negotiated with the family and we worked around my session times,” she explains. “And fortunately I was able to incorporate course reading into dedicated personal development time in my work schedule.”
Tracey-Ann says the time sacrifice she made to complete SACAP’s Coaching in the Workplace Online Short Course was worth every minute. “Instead of rushing in and trying to solve a problem identified by colleagues I now adopt a coaching-facilitating approach, which inevitably results in the colleague with the problem solving it themselves.” This has enormous timesaving benefits. “The course has helped me move towards an ideal work environment,” she adds. “Implementing a coaching style really works!”
Beyond her job, Tracey-Ann feels she’s discovered valuable social skills, too. “The course teaches you tools that you can use in various life situations particularly when engaging with friends and family,” she says.
Five years from now Tracey-Ann hopes her coaching agility in student supervision will aid her promotion to Associate Professor. “My plan is to develop my coaching experience so that I can assist students and staff,” she says. “I’d also like to integrate my competence in community development and engagement with my psychology and coaching background so that I can contribute to uplifting communities by enabling them to recognize their innate potential.”
In the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis our country needs strong managers and leaders like Tracey-Ann more than ever. Coaching is key. By sparking the best in people it empowers them to reach new levels of performance. Beyond individual benefits, this has massive group repercussions, too. SACAP’s Coaching in the Workplace Online Short Course is a superbly structured online course that you can complete in the comfort of your own home. In just 12 weeks you’ll learn skills and tools that will unlock your potential and harness your ability to reach new heights. The next course starts on the 14th of September 2020. Are you ready to fly? Find out more about workplace coaching and why it’s important here.