Original Research

Coaching as a support function for potential entrepreneurs

Maddison-Lee Brinkley, Ingrid le Roux
The Southern African Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management | Vol 10, No 1 | a99 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajesbm.v10i1.99 | © 2018 Maddison-Lee Brinkley | This work is licensed under Other
Submitted: 15 August 2016 | Published: 30 August 2018

About the author(s)

Maddison-Lee Brinkley, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Ingrid le Roux, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: There is a longstanding debate on whether the practice of coaching support is useful for entrepreneurs who lack the skills and assistance needed to make a success of their businesses.

Aim: To gain a better understanding of the benefits derived from coaching support, this study explores the debate on whether coaching is useful as a support function for entrepreneurs.

Setting: Entrepreneurs who participated in a support intervention programme to assist them with the development or growth of their business.

Methods: This study employed a qualitative research design and used 12 semi-structured, face-to-face interviews that were conducted with entrepreneurs from the Pretoria region, who received support intervention for business purposes between August and October 2015.

Results: The study found that confusion still exists around the concepts of coaching and mentoring. Furthermore, it was found that both mentoring and coaching are useful as a support function for entrepreneurs, as evidenced through the benefits derived from the intervention. These benefits mainly include the development of skills, particularly of 21st-century skills, new perspectives, enhanced communication, increased self-awareness and learning, and were facilitated by learning.

Conclusion: Both mentoring and coaching can benefit potential entrepreneurs; however, each form contributes different benefits. Coaching contributes to the self-development of entrepreneurs, whilst mentoring assists in the development of managerial functions needed to successfully start and grow a business. It is clear that these different forms of support intervention aid in developing different skills, and therefore, entrepreneurs should articulate their required needs before engaging support.


Keywords

Coaching; mentoring; support; 21st century skills; entrepreneurs

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