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Extending the worldview of coaching research and practice in Southern Africa: the concept of Ubuntu

H Geber, M Keane International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring 2013

Indigenous knowledge in coaching and coach training is key to Southern Africa’s leadership development and the re-connection to more human and community-centred ways of being. Indigenous knowledge is potentially an important aspect of transformation and redress as well as a unique and valuable resource across disciplines. When we consider the role coaching plays in personal and organizational transformation, and the immediate cultural edges it comes up against, coaching and coach training could contribute significantly to people development and systems healing in a country that is ravaged by poverty, education inadequacies, and past and present social traumas. Yet such coaching, based on well-researched culturally-consonant curricula, is scarce and needs to deliberately draw on relevant cultural heritage and values. This discussion paper presents an argument for the need to include the African paradigm of Ubuntu1 in coaching research, coach training and leadership coaching, given the previous marginalization of Africa cultural knowledge and worldview. We discuss academic coaching programmes offered in South Africa and the necessity for the integration of new cultural perspectives. Based on this we recommend directions for future coaching training and research.

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