Kofi Hagan is a professional manager, a passionate coach and a leadership development strategist from Ghana. He is the founder of Unlimited Impact Coaching and Leadership (UICL) Rwanda, a company he has been managing since July 2009.
He holds a masters degree in Economics and Social Studies. Coaching for him evolved from passion to priority when he was appointed head of the Leadership Development Team in Africa to lead and coach participants of the MBA programme in NGO Leadership jointly designed and run by World Vision International and Eastern University, Pennsylvania, USA.
He talked to Sunday Times’ Sharon Kantengwa about coaching and its importance to society.
What is coaching?
Individuals constitute society and if their potential is not realised fundamentally in society, they themselves remain shadows so society doesn’t benefit either from them. In coaching we help people to perceive and articulate to themselves, first, their basis themselves and then help them to achieve as much as possible.
What role does it play in our lives?
Each time you achieve more of your best self, your self esteem and your performance transform accordingly.
The interactive nature of informing, educating, guiding and supporting people, using self discovery questions has a remarkable ability to create desired behavioural outcomes.
It’s great for a client to have faith in his coach, but I can only truly assist a client when he and I forge a partnership – a relationship that is largely built through genuine conversations that enable me to reach a strategic understanding of my clients and their circumstances. Effective coaching conversations are punctuated with searching questions that engage both the non-conscious and the conscious minds and put their content at the disposal of the clients.
In my role as a coach I enable clients gain confidence to get greater ownership of the aspects of the work place or work processes under their control, enable continuous learning, help define issues using resources that are within the client or in his organisation even though he/she might not be aware of them, help the client develop potential solutions which he might never develop on his own.
I also present myself as an accountability partner; provide skills to enhance team building and team working, serve as a bouncing board and strengthen the emotional intelligence of team members and enable them learn from each other.
What is the motivation behind the whole idea?
I have since my adolescent years cherished the idea of assisting people in a focused way, and to a degree my previous careers and development provided me lots of opportunities to do so. But I made the decision to become a coach during my years as World Vision’s Director of Leadership Development for Africa, a role that provided amazing opportunities for one-on-one coaching of MBA/MA students I was responsible for. This role enabled me to see the unique transformative power of coaching which I honed during the course of my tenure of office as Country Director of World Vision Rwanda.
Why the company (Unlimited Impact Coaching & Leadership) in Rwanda?
I had worked in Rwanda for 6 years and come to experience the country’s challenges that it faced and the aspirations of its people. I also had the opportunity to work with some very capable people. In the process, I got both a sense of the people’s potential and how much they needed to do. I saw the unique role of transformational coaching could play, and wanted to use it as an appropriate tool to support the attainment of people’s aspiration.
On the other hand, Rwanda had become a familiar territory and if one wanted to start a new initiative, it was best to do so here - where I am known and have support. In the next couple of years I will be extending my activities to other countries.
What has providing coaching services in Rwanda meant or taught you?
The potential to publicise and develop awareness are enormous. If we are able to create greater awareness of the benefits of coaching, there will be a marked change in the behaviours of individuals, greater contribution by individuals to the goals or purposes of the organisation and corporation they work for.
Despite the above, it has been my special privilege to coach some amazing individuals who have made great strides in life. They include some who have created new perspectives on life, some have been promoted in their jobs; others have attained higher and more fulfilling jobs or have helped to co-create more positive work environments.