Article: The 'Inner Game' of coaching: Krishna Kumar

Learning & Development

The 'Inner Game' of coaching: Krishna Kumar

Krishna Kumar, Founder coach & Director, Intrad School of Executive Coaching talks about coaching in India

How matured is the concept of ‘executive coaching’ in India?

Executive coaching as a concept is gradually gaining awareness in the country as more and more coaches are offering their services to the industry. The concept is very well known in the developed world and with the advent of numerous MNCs, I expect that the growth in executive coaching will be rapid.

What is the role of a coach? How does it contribute to business productivity? When is coaching useful/required?
Coaches work towards improving performance of executives, which in-turn leads to better productivity. Ideally, coaching is suggested for those people who demonstrate a keenness to enhance their performance and are on a fast-track in organizations.

How well is this understood by companies?

I feel that the area is not yet fully understood by businesses but awareness is growing.

What is the ‘coaching style’ that you have adopted and why does it work best for you?

Executive coaching is a subset of the world of coaching. When one mentions coaching, people are likely to relate it to sports as the root of all coaching lies in sports.

Personally, I have always used the ‘Inner Game’ methods, which suit my sports and corporate backgrounds. I coach using a combination of sports psychology and the knowledge of behavioral sciences and draw my coaching style from Timothy Gallwey’s seminal work on the ‘Inner Game’ series of books that were later expanded by Sir John Witmore’s and others. I use the concept of ‘Inner Game’, which is built on the principle that while everyone plays different outer games, the inner game remains the same. Success in the outer game depends on mastering the inner state of one’s mind (the inner game).

In addition, I also blend the IAC Masteries in my coaching methodology.

As a Founding Fellow of the ICPA, an initiative of the Harvard Medical College, I am also involved in research on coaching at a global level.

What are the other methodologies in coaching? And how do organizations know which methodology will work best for their purpose?

While coaching as a concept began 30 to 40 years ago, it was Thomas Leonard who formalized it through Coachville, which is one of the first programs to certify coaches. I think that was the beginning of formal methodologies being used in coaching. Leonard went on to found the International Coaching Foundation (ICF) and subsequently also started the International Association of Coaches (IAC).

A coach should select the methodology that works best for her or him. For instance, my organization is a licensed school of the IAC and I am also the president of the IAC Bangalore Chapter. Our ISEC coaches typically follow IAC masteries blended with ‘Inner Game’ learnings.

What are the challenges in ensuring success of a coaching exercise?

Organizations do not point out coaching issues but it depends on the coach to identify the 3-4 areas that will help the individual become a better person. Therefore, coaching looks into making someone better than what he or she is. It is not a remedial or corrective exercise. Most often, coaching is a paid activity. When the organization pays for coaching its identified employees, it is called sponsored coaching, whereas when an individual opts for coaching on their own, it is referred to as personal coaching.

Ultimately, the success of the coaching exercise is gauged by the improved performance of the coachee. To that extent we are dependent on the coachee to deliver results.

What is the future of coaching in India?

I see a huge future for the growth of coaching in our country. At present, I estimate that there are around 2000 coaches who are active in this space but considering the potential available, there is scope for a lot of growth.

Coaching in India has a great future. While it is well established in developed nations like the US, Europe, Singapore, and Australia, it is now gaining pace in developing countries like India. Ironically so, because India dwells on the ‘guru-shishya parampara’, which in fact is the basis of coaching, so it is natural for India to embrace the concept of executive coaching and understand its relevance in enhancing business productivity in a structure manner.

Krishna Kumar, Founder Coach & Director, Intrad School of Executive Coaching (ISEC)

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Topics: Learning & Development, Leadership, C-Suite, #HRIndustry

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