Article (June-2021)


Coaching must impact business, people and results

Himanshu Saxena

Designation : -   Founder & CEO

Organization : -  Centre of Strategic Mindset, Mumbai


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Does Coaching really work in organisations and help transform the business?

HS In principle and in philosophy it does, but three things matter - Coachee's Willingness, Coach's Credibility and acumen and a robust process. I will elaborate on these three elements, later.

What does coaching do, can do, or must do? It is a process of challenging assumptions, validating mental models or questioning their veracity or relevance, creating possibilities for growth and transformation. So, there is a strong business case for investing in coaching, purely from the perspective of growth and sustainability of the organisation. Whether it is turn-around, scaling up, starting something new, expanding into new territories; in every situation we need new thinking, challenging of assumptions and new experiments. On our own, it is not easy to do this. For this, we need a sound board, thinking partner and someone who can hold the mirror for generating self-awareness. Let me now elaborate on the above-mentioned elements.

Coachee's Willingness - The old proverb 'You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink' is still relevant. It simply means that you can offer someone an opportunity to change and grow but can't force them to take it. Unless a person is open, receptive and is willing to experiment, transformation cannot happen. In other words, for an object to take a new shape, preparation of clay is essential. So, an organisation must choose the leaders who have learning agility, ambition and the spirit of personal mastery. Having said, an effective coach can generate self-awareness, enable someone to open up and be receptive through a variety of means and methodology.

Coach's Credibility and Acumen - Coaching is a noble and transformational responsibility. It has to be a PURPOSE FIRST - PROFESSION LATER. Coach's credibility emanates from handling a large number of diverse and difficult assignments. In many ways, coach is a student first - student of situation, context, personalities, and teacher later. Coach's acumen is rooted in being a great listener (listening without judgment), ability to ask compelling questions, creating a positive shift in perspective and facilitating guided mastery.

Robust Coaching Process - For coaching to be effective in attaining the intended outcomes, the process must be robust enough for generating self-awareness, eliciting feedback, driving reflections, steering experiments, and establishing accountability. Personal transformation requires inspiration as well as implementation for change to happen.

What are the coaching skills a coach should have?

HS The repository or list of skills needed for a coach can be endless. But there are some primary and fundamental skills and there are those specialized and masterful skills that one should look at.

The primary and fundamental skills for being a coach are :-

  • Building Trust, Rapport & Credibility
  • Listening (Listening without Judgment)
  • Asking Questions (Compelling & Powerful Questions)

The above are the basic ingredients to start the journey of becoming and being an effective coach.

Specialized and Masterful Skills for a great coach are :-

  • Ability to hold space for creating breakthroughs
  • Using silence to trigger structured reflections
  • Creating a positive shift in mind for experiment and renewal

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

HS Contrary to belief, coaching is not soft stuff; it is a hard core, structured and transformational discipline. It must be linked to business priorities and must feature as part of the bigger picture. Coaching must be contextual and part of organisation's transformational DNA. As a process, it must impact three core imperatives - business, people & results. It must also influence how to lead self, lead teams and lead organisation in this digital, disruptive, and diverse world.

How to establish a coaching culture in an organisation?

HS Creating a Coaching Culture in an organisation is not only essential but almost unavoidable in the current context. It should be part of organisational strategy as well as its culture. Following steps can go a long way in establishing the coaching culture in an organisation :-

  • Establish a business case for coaching culture.
  • See coaching as an enabling paradigm for realizing full potential, unleashing creativity, and revving up productivity.
  • It must start from the top. Let top leaders immerse in, and appreciate the power of creating breakthrough and unlocking potential.
  • Let them first focus on the skills of coaching rather than coaching per se.
  • Reflect with them as to how they can use the coaching skills to drive engagement, inspiring commitment and excellence and most importantly enabling people to break their glass ceiling.
  • It is more about being leaders as coaches, seizing a coaching moment rather than coaching per se.
  • Give a fillip to coaching stories and make them viral.
  • Link it with engagement and effectiveness.
  • Reward leaders who are able to create and groom more leaders using coaching tools and process.

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