Original Research

Coaching to support work-life balance of women in leadership positions

Nokuthula Dzingwa, Nicky Terblanche
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 22 | a2509 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v22i0.2509 | © 2024 Nokuthula Dzingwa, Nicky Terblanche | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 December 2023 | Published: 29 April 2024

About the author(s)

Nokuthula Dzingwa, Department of Economic and Management Science, Business School, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Nicky Terblanche, Department of Economic and Management Science, Business School, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa


Orientation: Women leaders face significant challenges because of the multifaceted nature of their lives. They need support to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Research purpose: This study aimed to explore the role of leadership coaching to support women in leadership positions with work-life balance.

Motivation for the study: Leadership coaching is an effective and powerful individual support and development intervention; however, the link between coaching and work-life balance for woman leaders has not been studied sufficiently.

Research approach/design and method: Data were collected via in-depth interviews from (n = 10) women in leadership positions who experienced at least six leadership coaching sessions in the last 18 months. An interpretative phenomenological paradigm was utilised and thematic analysis was used to analyse collected data.

Main findings: Coaching supported women leaders on four fronts: increased self-awareness, designing work-life balance strategies, coping with gender-specific challenges and highlights the importance of organisational commitment to the coaching and support processes.

Practical/managerial implications: Coaches should ensure that coaching programmes integrate strategies and techniques to help women leaders manage emotional, labour and domestic responsibilities. Organisations should take steps to create an inclusive workplace that actively promotes the professional development and well-being of women leaders by recognising and addressing their challenges and providing support through coaching.

Contribution/value-add: This study provides empirical evidence that leadership coaching is a viable strategy to support women leaders with work-life balance.


coaching; leadership coaching; women leaders; work-life balance; working women.

JEL Codes

M12: Personnel Management • Executives; Executive Compensation

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 5: Gender equality


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