Creating a 'coaching partnership' is critical: Santhosh Babu
How matured is the concept of ‘executive coaching’ in India?
The concept of coaching has been around for as long as the human race itself. Many people have played the role of the coach in the past - teachers, gurus, philosophers, priests, professors and of course, parents. There may be close to 100,000 ‘coaches’ today and the numbers are increasing every day.
The concept of ‘executive coaching’ is at its nascent stage, yet gradually growing and progressing amongst Indian corporates. In a recent survey by ODA, it was found that most corporate and HR specialists acknowledge the potential of coaching and are devising strategies for developing coaching both as a profession (developing internal coaches) and an industry.
What is the role of a coach? How does it contribute to business productivity? When is coaching useful/required?
Coaching is the fine art of facilitating commitment, meaningful engagement, learning and development of the client. A coach co-creates collective and cooperative partnership to unlock the client’s latent potential by invigorating inner power, values and creativity. Coaching ensures enhanced productivity, teamwork and performance. Generally, coaching focuses on continuous development by prompting individuals to build upon new skills, competencies and is a means to bring out the best in ’self’ and ‘others’. Hence it is useful across age groups and industry.
How well is this understood by companies?
Executive coaching is gradually creating a niche for itself within the larger organizational development milieu. Organizations are employing coaching as a preferred intervention tool especially at senior leadership levels so as to energize their teams and achieve corporate goals.
What is the ‘coaching style’ that you have adopted and why does it work best for you?
Coaching happens from the inside out. Though a lot of my work is guided by the system’s perspective and integral approach, yet my coaching style is very flexible, adaptive and client based. The focus is on empowering the client and enabling her/him to identify his/her issues, needs, challenges, aspirations and create awareness of their choices and lead to desired behavior.
What are the other methodologies in coaching? And how do organizations know which methodology will work best for their purpose?
There are several approaches to coaching like NLP based coaching, gestalt coaching, appreciative coaching, etc. Yet, coaches generally prefer an eclectic methodology. For organizations to know the best coaching methodology they must identify:
Executives requiring coaching (level within the organization and their impact on teams)
Areas to be addressed during coaching (behavior, skills, etc.)
Once these are identified, the methodology adopted is primarily facilitating in style, where the coach questions and challenges the individual in order to help realize their inner potential.
What are the challenges in ensuring success of a coaching exercise?
The most critical factor in ensuring success of a coaching exercise is the ‘coaching partnership’. The coaching partnership is a win-win approach in which all partners plan the process, results that they want to produce, and the current reality together. Then they work cooperatively towards the accomplishment of personal, professional and organizational objectives. The partner(s) here refers to the coach who must be competent, the client who must be committed and proactive along with the HR Manager and/or leader in the organization
What is the future of coaching in India?
As the 21st century brings rapid changes and an information overload, there are all indications that coaching will increase, especially from an organizational perspective. One of the most important factors for the rise of coaching is the fact that coaching focuses on positive talent development rather than behavioral correction.
Executive coaching will grow with managers getting trained in coaching skills. There is already an estimated annual growth of around 25 percent along with rising investments in coach training certifications for managerial staff by organizations.
Santhosh Babu is Managing Director, OD Alternatives (ODA)