Article (June-2021)


Effective Coaching is a Learned Skill

Sandeep Kaul

Designation : -   Director

Organization : -  WhiteLight Consulting Private Limited, Mumbai


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Does Coaching really works in organisations and helps transform the business?

SK Yes, Coaching works in organisations and help transform the company. Coaching allows the Leaders, Managers and Employees to achieve their highest potential. It helps them improve as individuals and as a good Team player by overcoming their mental blocks or inhibitions.

Coaching helps in recognising and understanding one's values and beliefs and aligning them with the organisation's vision and mission. It helps in introspection and realising the strength and weaknesses of the employees, which in turn is crucial for achieving the given targets.

It provides an unbiased perspective towards employees and the management of the organisation. It develops resilience and courage in the Leaders, Managers and Employees, which is very important for any organisation or business.

All these things transform the business to an elevated level.

The role of executive coach has always been the source of much debate among executive level leaders. Many people believe that the role of coaching is to tell leaders what they should do. However, effective executive coaches do not give advice, make recommendations or solve problems. They do not even tell leaders what they should or should not do. Instead, they help leaders to find their own answers. A business coach is a professional who helps to facilitate a person or company's growth. Business coaches use different techniques to achieve their goals. Some coaches use a one-on-one setting to provide in-depth advice, whereas others use large group coaching sessions.

As per the Institute of Coaching study, 70% of individuals who receive coaching benefited from improved work performance, relationships and more effective communication skills. While 86% of companies feel that they recouped the investment they made into coaching. Multiple studies have showed that coaching is effective at reducing procrastination and facilitating goal attainment.

Some of the ways in which coaching helps organisations and help transform the business are :

1. Coaching is a proven method for helping individuals and organisations achieve their goals.

2. Coaching is a form of professional development for managers and executives.

3. Coaching is a great way to motivate employees.

4. Coaching helps to improve employee performance and develop leaders.

5. Coaching can help leaders to improve their people skills.

6. Coaching can be used for team building and creating a collaborative atmosphere.

7. Coaching can help managers to overcome obstacles that may be blocking their way to success.

8. Coaching can also be used to help improve a team's performance.

9. Coaching can be used to help managers to develop strategies and tactics.

10. Coaching can be used to help executives to improve their level of self-awareness.

What are the coaching skills a coach should have?

SK The most important skill is listening; like many of the most effective coaches we know, a good coach listens intently when he speaks to his clients. Other skills include being able to ask well-thought-out questions, maintaining an open mind, and being able to ask clients to define their goals clearly.

Being a coach, the most important skill in your arsenal is the skill to listen, to really hear what your client is saying. The ability to listen to your client without judging them or their ideas is essential for creating an environment that encourages them to open up and share their thoughts and feelings. When you create this safe and open environment, your client will feel comfortable giving you feedback, which is the second most important skill in a business coach's arsenal.

Coaching Skills : The general skills and behaviours of a successful coach are :

1. Critical listening skills : To understand and focus on what the client says and asks for.

2. Active listening skills : To help the client to identify and verbalize his/her feelings.

3. Use of active listening skills : To listen actively and to learn, not to defend yourself.

4. The ability to ask open-ended questions and to follow-up with additional questions to clarify thinking and understanding.

5. Ability to make the other person feel comfortable and accepted and to encourage him/her to talk freely.

6. The ability to observe and to describe accurately the feelings and behaviour of the client.

Leadership coaches should be able to help their clients work through problems and issues, help them identify the potential within themselves and inspire them to achieve success.

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

SK In today's remarkably rough times, with the global corona virus outbreak upending the modern world as we know it, everyone is dealing with their own challenges. And that certainly includes the senior leaders in a company. It is these leaders who must keep their organisations afloat. It is they who must inspire people to innovate and try to preserve as many jobs as possible. And while these CEOs are balancing so many impossible dilemmas-what suppliers to pay, what factories to keep open-they must carry the burden of their own uncertainties as well as those of the thousands of workers for whom they bear responsibility.

Business leaders are feeling the pressure caused by these shifts. To adapt to these ever-changing needs and overcome new challenges, the employees need to be coached. They need to be more focused and mentally strong to withstand such pressures. They also need to be creative and innovative in thinking. Coaching can be redefined in these changed work environment to make the workforce future-ready.

In an uncertain world, it's important that business leaders exhibit a higher level of self-awareness and self connectedness. An experienced coach can support the business leader to enhance his/her level of self awareness.

The Number 1 reason why enhanced self-awareness if important is that if the leader can choose the key priorities, then the whole organisation or the business unit can focus their energy on the right things. Business leaders need the agility to create vision and to support a company's greatest asset : its people.

PWC has identified the top 5 workforce priorities that are emerging in the pandemic era. All five have a people component.

1. Protect people.

2. Communicate effectively.

3. Maintain continuity of work.

4. Assess workforce costs.

5. Prepare for recovery.

A good coach can work with business leaders to focus on these 5 priorities in 2021.

How to establish a coaching culture in an organisation?

SK Today, Employees are putting more emphasis on company culture than before. As per a survey done by Deloitte, 94% of executives and 88% of employees consider workplace culture critical to organisational success. According to a study by International Coach Federation, organisations with strong coaching cultures report better revenue growth (51% v/s 38% of peers) and higher engagement (62% compared with 50%).

1. Build Relevance from the Top Down : Organisations with solid coaching cultures have senior leaders involved in their coaching systems. For coaching to become a part of your company culture, start with self. Communicate the benefits of coaching - for each individual and at the business level. This has to be done in a sustained manner.

2. Foster Learning regularly : Every employee in the organisation should understand the basic principles of coaching and performance improvement regardless of role or level. Coaching, like anything we want to excel in, takes hours of practice. The more you coach, the better you become.

3. Help Employees Apply What They Learn : Coaching is a skill that you build expertise by practicing. You can't create a coaching culture without developing an action plan and providing support to make the transition easier on employees. The point is to create a system that helps everyone apply what they learn and check in on it regularly.

4. Develop Positive Accountability for Results : An accountability system encourages employees to take ownership of their performance and encourages managers to take ownership of how they coach others. The benefit of coaching is developing a workforce of people who feel supported in their abilities to make decisions and own their choices.

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