The opportunity of one-on-one interaction and coaching by a professional coach will be a significant component in the Women in Leadership 3 (WiL 3) programme in 2022.

For the 36 female academics drawn from 21 South African universities to participate in this year’s WiL cohort, coaching will help them realise their personal and professional goals and give them a greater sense of how they see themselves as leaders, and how they engage with the world around them. This was the message given at the opening session of the WIL programme, that is designed to embolden women leaders and prepare them for more senior roles in academia. The WiL programme is now in its third iteration.

During the first meeting of the 2022 cohort on 25 May, organisers ran an online poll asking if the participants had been coached by a professional coach before. Almost three quarters of the group (74%), comprising deans, deputy deans, heads and deputy heads of departments and directors, said they had not been exposed to such an opportunity.