Article (June-2021)


A coach must have three Es: Expertise, Experience and Excitement

Suresh Shetye

Designation : -   CEO

Organization : -  Scenarios Management Services, Mumbai


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Does Coaching work in organisations and help transform the business?

SS Coach possesses the exceptional ability to guide and help the people to see themselves as others see them which most people are never good at seeing themselves. The presence of a coach in the organisations also helps clients to discover their blind spots. It also assists to get the coachee exposed to the external unknown market forces and challenges them to take action.

The scope of coaching in the organisations is determined by various situations such as strategic planning, employee engagement, problem-solving, motivating and inspiring, goal setting, delegating, planning and reviewing, learning and competence, team working, performance management, team and people development, performance reviews, career development, performance reviews and relationship alignment. The list is indicative and exhaustive.

Organisational Transformation Program is one of the most favourite projects of leading CEOs as part of Institutional Building initiatives. There are several success stories of business transformations through the successful intervention of Coaching. CEOs have extensively used the coaching experts in their organisations for various transformational initiatives. These initiatives are Performance Improvement Projects, Leadership Pipeline Development Projects, Organisational Restructuring Projects, Mergers, and Acquisition Projects, Business Excellence Projects, Quality Excellence Projects, Business Quality Standards Certification/Award Projects, and Total Quality Management Projects. There are several live case studies across the globe, endorsing the successes of business transformations as a result of coaching.

It is also observed that some of the large-scale conglomerates have trained domain experts in coaching who are hired on their muster roll. Hence, such organisations encourage the internal coaches to drive the transformations for their businesses. It is also common practice amongst the corporates to hire an external senior coach to guide the team of internal coaches to drive their transformational projects as per the planned navigation map.

What are the coaching skills a coach should have?

SS Curly Martin's quote elaborates the kind of skills a Coach should have, "Coaching closes the gap between thinking about doing and doing."

Anne Sullivan had been considered the first coach in history. It was in 1887, Anne was the teacher of a school girl Helen Adams Keller, who went on to become a successful American author, political activist, and lecturer. Anne had taught Helen to communicate effectively to conquer her handicap and learn to read, write and speak despite her deafness and blindness. The said story became popular after the release of the film 'The Miracle Worker'.

A result-oriented successful coach is not only expected to be competent in a variety of skills but should also possess various qualities to perform the coaching role with ease and impact.

Coaching Skills :

  • Looking - Observing the Coachee for his appearance, body language, and response to the various questions of Coach is an important aspect.
  • Listening - Effective listening skill is essential for a Coach to build the trust level with Coachee.
  • Communicating - The purpose and finding the why behind any challenge is critical. The subsequent exchange of messages between Coach and Coachee determines the success in the coaching.
  • Reflecting - The periodical and timely reflection from the Coach on any given perspective enables the Coachee to evaluate the self.
  • Questioning - The probing of Coachee through constant questioning is essential to facilitate the Coaching session that enables the coachee to explore more relevant options to address the issues.
  • Clarifying - The unusual understanding and interpretation on the part of the Coachee often jeopardize the proceedings of coaching, hence Coach is supposed to have 100% clarity on every aspect of coaching.
  • Recognizing - It is the responsibility of the Coach to spot the momentum on the part of the Coachee and acknowledge, appreciate and recognize the positive action and initiative from the Coachee.
  • Challenging - Often Coach is expected to challenge the status quo or certain rigid practices in the organisation. Unless the questionable practice is challenged, no transformation whatsoever is possible.
  • Feedback Sharing - Periodical feedback session on the progress of coaching, enhances the effectiveness of the action learning on the part of the Coachee.

Coaching Qualities :

Apart from the various coaching skills as aforesaid, there are certain qualities expected from a coach. These qualities supplement the coaching skills to deliver the consistently superior performance for any coach, both internal and external :

  • Optimistically Biased
  • Will Towards Generosity
  • High Self-Esteem
  • Accommodating Nature
  • Being Empathetic
  • See the Best in Others
  • High Emotional Intelligence
  • Making It Real

Is coaching required to be redefined in a changing business environment? If so, what factors should be taken into consideration?

SS Coaching demands a new perspective for every new coaching assignment. To cope up with changing environment, a coach is expected to undergo the self-assessment test to stay afloat with new changes in the business environment. The ongoing pandemic situation all over the world has enhanced the utility of having access to the Coach not only by the business leaders but also team members, who need coaching to handle the unprecedented work issues.

The incidences of loss of jobs and loss of business revenue are growing by leaps and bound. The said crisis demands the coaches to step in, to bell out those who have faced the blow of the pandemic-related challenges as well as other new age challenges in their business as well as personal life. The coach is now expected to go beyond his normal role and identify the source of new challenges for his clients, the new trends, the pitfalls, and the probable impact of the changing business environment on his clients. It is desirable on the part of the coach to study human behaviour and its transformation on account of financial loss some job holders and business leaders have suffered from.

The coaching professionals must take into consideration the various challenges in the changing business environment and redefine themselves to provide the solutions. The factors elaborated herein below are of paramount significance :

COVID-19 Pandemic - The impact of the ongoing pandemic is devastative across the world. There are reports about the loss of several jobs and dried up revenue stream has not only created the uncertainly, however, it has also caused a massive impact on the GDP of the several countries. and its global impact on every individual and business organisation. The impactful situation if reviewed properly, the coaches have novel opportunities to provide an effective solution to its clients both the leaders and its teams.

Digital Disruption - The global survey findings report on 'Redefining Leadership for a Digital Age', have covered more than 1000 executives across 20 industries. The said report has confirmed that out of 92% of leaders felt the impact of digital disruption, 15% of them have also confirmed that they are not prepared for it. The new challenges created by the disruption in technology have demanded a change in perspective in leadership attributes. Therefore, the coaches need to focus on change in leadership attributes and work closely with business leaders to identify the relevant leadership attributes that need to be work upon to become an enabler for the leaders to overcome the challenge of digital disruption.

Business Transformation - Every business transformation begins with the personal transformation of its business leader followed by the team. Coach is expected to work on changing the mindset of business leaders from fixed mindset to growth mindset besides working on the entire life cycle of articulating business strategy to team building till working closely with clients during the execution phase. It was an exciting experience for me as a Business Transformation Coach having successfully guided my clients who were stuck in their business. The coach needs to ensure that business leaders follow ORA - ownership, responsibility and accountability to become role models and drives the organisational transformation programs.

Work from Home (WFH) - The ongoing lockdowns and night curfews initiated by the enforcement authorities have forced the corporates to think differently to provide an option for their workforce. Work from home is fast becoming a new normal. Coaches have been bombarded with several queries arising out of work from home practice from the clients such as salary cut of the team during work from home, team's productivity realization, alignment between teams, engagement of team members, work allotment, digital stress and so on. Coaches are expected to be familiar with new challenges hence must give thought to guide their clients for a win-win situation.

New World of Gen Z - Gen Z represents a different genre of perspective being put forth by the youngsters who are curious and never hesitate in challenging the status quo in the corporates. Coaching to Gen Z provides a new dimension of challenges for the coach, Coaching requires a new dimension while dealing with Gen Z with several questions right from AI to the digital age to quick dream realization and so on. A coach who is familiar with the novel aspirations and high expectations of Gen Z have a bright scope for providing successful solutions through innovative coaching to its young clients.

Industry Theme 4.0 and 5.0 - The evolution of industry theme 4.0 and 5.0 have forced the business leaders to accept the massive change in terms of connectivity, the influence of humans and robots, and emergence of AI. The human connectivity and robot's precision becomes a new normal under industry them 5.0. Coaches have to bear in mind the massive transformation both industry themes 4.0 and 5.0 have introduced. The adoption and familiarity of new segments impacting human life and business organisations would be a deciding factor for the success of businesses.

How to establish a coaching culture in an organisation?

SS In this era of business transformation, the organisation that is willing to adopt change management as its long-term strategy is bound to become successful. Corporate culture plays a significant role in driving any organisational transformational program. The importance of coaching has been realized right from CEOs, CXOs, and senior leaders in the organisations.

The foundation of any culture within the organisations depends upon the three key elements such as trust, pride, and enjoyment. Organisations having a built-in coaching culture are those where the trust between the people is promoted, where people take the pride in what they do, and finally where people enjoy working with their colleagues. It is an indicator that such organisations have a coaching culture. Coaching plays a significant role in promoting trust, pride, and enjoyment within the organisation.

The process of coaching culture-building begins from the top layer of the organisation. The ownership, responsibility, and accountability to create a coaching culture rest with the senior leadership of the organisation. CEO becomes a role model for his entire structure in top-down order. His direct reports, skip level builds the web of coaching as part of their independent role. The cascading process enables the Manager to take up the responsibility of coaching not only up to his team but reaching out to the bottom hierarchy level within the organisation.

An organisation that has succeeded in building a strong coaching culture have enjoyed the following benefits :

  • Enhanced employee engagement level with motivated team members.
  • The interpersonal relationship within the teams as well as between leadership teams has improved.
  • The freedom to ask questions to improve the performance at work has facilitated effective communication besides empowerment and accountability within the teams.
  • The focus on coaching has led to the promotion of learning impacting the collaboration as well as key performance indicators.
  • The direct impact was seen in the improvement of peer relationships as a result of various coaching tools and techniques.

The key findings as per QA Research Report 2011 are :

  • 80% of the organisations use coaching as a development tool.
  • Coaching is mostly extended to senior leadership and middle managers.
  • The external coaches are hired for senior leadership such as CEO and CXOs. Organisation promote internal coaches for middle managers and officers.
  • More support is required for internal coaches.
  • Direct benefits of coaching are observed by 95% of organisations.
  • Coaching is used for personal development rather than organisational development.
  • Most organisations have so far considered coaching as a tool to improve poor performance.

Coaching culture across the organisation would be a reality when senior leadership focuses on coaching not only for senior leaders but also extend it to middle managers and operational role holders.

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