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Building a Leadership Culture One Manager At A Time
Chipo Phiri, the Director of Talent at UpEnergy Group, shares insights about how best to support managers
About Chipo and her role at UpEnergy
Chipo Phiri is based in Lusaka, Zambia and serves as the Director of Talent at UpEnergy Group, a company that fights poverty, improves health, and protects forests by making clean energy technologies available to more people in the developing world through carbon-financed distribution channels. Chipo oversees Talent across UpEnergy’s 7 operational markets across Africa. Prior to joining UpEnergy, she had 10 years of work experience building high-performing teams, scaling cultural, performance, and professional development strategies.
Chipo shares views on manager support best practices
In June 2022, Chipo participated as one of three panelists invited to comment on our CoffeeChat 2022 Manager Support Survey findings. CoffeeChat's second annual Manager Support Survey captured important trends around leadership development at 50 top companies and organizations with an operational footprint across Africa.
When reviewing the survey results, Chipo was interested in the finding that there is strong interest in using executive coaching to address a toxic team culture. In her experience, she has seen coaching work very well in cases where someone is performing well and navigating a promotion, but has yet to see coaching be able to turn around a particularly bad situation. She recognized that often an executive coach is brought in at a point where it is too late for a leader or team to return to normal, and so a coach’s value becomes related more to change management due to a leadership transition.
Across the UpEnergy Group, there are currently around 12 senior leaders and over 20 middle managers, and they are in the process of rapidly expanding. Chipo was the first full-time HR hire, and the team has just revamped their official values. Two values are around leadership and accountability, which focus on empowering all staff to lead in their own way. Chipo will use this values framework to help guide her in developing a leadership development program going forward. Chipo and several other senior leaders at UpEnergy already work independently with coaches, and going forward, they are considering how to include this as a leadership benefit.
CoffeeChat is a Future of Work technology company on a mission to democratize access to coaching support for the estimated 15 million managers working across Africa. Founded in early 2019, CoffeeChat has worked with dozens of companies to facilitate access to both professional coaches and peer coaches. CoffeeChat was featured in the HolonIQ Africa EdTech 50 list in 2020 and was ranked as a top startup during the Village Capital Future of Work Africa program in 2021.