The coaching practice is one of the facets of Human Resource Development (HRM). The continuing coaching practice in firms has enhanced the achievement of leadership outcomes in most of the prosperous businesses today. Professional coaches have successfully applied the Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory as one of the means to enhancing their coaching leadership capabilities. Any organization requires developing leadership skills essential to the effectiveness of the firm. HRM over the years has played a prominent role in coming up with strategies through leadership development, as well as establishing coaching programmes for the firm’s managers, and the rest of the staff working in the organization.
The coaching experience brings forward successful organizations whereby every staff shares the collective experience of serving as a leader. This has helped the coachee improve on the leadership skills (Lazar, 2003, p. 27). Kolb’s experiential learning theory, therefore, provides us with a useful framework for coaching managers in developing the leadership skills necessary to manage complex situations. A coach will, therefore, adapt the learning style in order to mesh with the most preferred learning style the coachee prefers to make sure that the whole learning process is entirely enhanced.
There can be a risk to the coach who may unknowingly fall in to the trap of the coachee relying heavily on their proffered coaching styles. The Kolb’s learning model, therefore, provides professional coaches a compelling lens from which to look at their own preferred coaching styles (Whitemore & Einzing, 2006, p. 34). Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory works on two levels, which include; grasping and transforming experiences. Learning, therefore, involve two dialectical modes to grasp experience. The figure below shows the four modes of the coaching process. Fig.
1. Four modes of the coaching process (Rosinski, 2003, p. 78). During the coaching dialogue, “meaning- making” becomes one of the processes whereby different perspectives and positions meet and can further be fully developed. The coachee approaches the coach during the coaching process with the intension that something must change or become different during his/her life. It is expected that the coach should challenge the various assumptions and understanding the coachee has on certain events, tasks, situations or context. It is also expected that the coach challenge all these issues with sensitivity and empathy with an intention to sense and grasp the situation from the coachee perspective.
During the coaching process, the coach and the coachee engages in the coaching dialogue with tangible understanding that a solution has to be arrived at. Together, they come up with a common understanding that they will shape meaning, as well as develop fresh or different stories about the particular events or contexts at hand. Both the coach and the coachee are intertwined in a process of concreting “meaning- making” with the intention that both parties change position and move towards a new understanding and insight (Rosinski, 2003, p.
81). The coaching process is essential to leaders since many people end up in careers as a coincident effect of advancement or as a by-product of seeking advanced responsibilities, and getting higher compensations for that particular position in their career. Some leaders even not having chosen to lead others in an organization is a drag on their probability of leadership. When such leaders are faced with such challenges, the mentoring process becomes essential since it’s through this process the leader can be in a better position to function well in the new position.
Coaches become useful and are in the sole spot of being able to re-examine the circumstances around and reactions to becoming a head. Therefore, coaches play a crucial role of offering a safe forum of considering options other than headship when true preferences lay elsewhere (McCauley & Van, 2004, p. 102).