How matured is the concept of ‘executive coaching’ in India?
Although the concept has been around for almost 15 years, it has gained currency in the last 5 years.
What is the role of a coach? How does¬ it contribute to business productivity? When is coaching useful/required?
The role of the coach is to help an executive to choose areas of focus linked to what truly matters to that person and improve his/her performance by leveraging his/her strengths. This is done through structured dialogue held at regular intervals.
This is different from counseling and mentoring. Counseling is about helping a person to deal with emotional issues. Mentoring is about helping a person to navigate through a chosen path. The mentor serves as a friend, philosopher and guide and has a lot more experience in the path that the mentee has chosen.
Coaching is very useful when the person being coached has deep commitment to the process and knows that this is an investment being made in him/her
How well is this understood by companies?
It is being increasingly used by many companies as they have started following the 70:20:10 principle for leadership development. 70 percent of the development is based on structured experiences (assignments, projects, job rotation, etc.), 20 percent is based on coaching and 10 percent is based on classroom education.
What is the ‘coaching style’ that you have adopted and why does it work best for you?
My approach enables the coachee to define what is truly important to the person at ‘this’ stage of his/her life (purpose or calling); what is his/her goal that he/she is focusing on; and what does he/she wish to improve in his/her performance. I then help him/her to identify his/her own gifts that he/she needs to leverage on to enable his/her intention to manifest. My role is to practice with the person, new approaches and behaviors to actually improve the performance. As we progress, I confront the person with areas where he/she is getting stuck and enable a deeper process of reflection by challenging mental models and assumptions that are preventing progress and commit to countermeasures to tackle these. My philosophy is based on authentic dialogue, deep trust and creating conditions in which the person finds his/her own answers.
What are the other methodologies in coaching? And how do organizations know which methodology will work best for their purpose?
Companies sometimes use coaching to provide technical expertise in an area where the coachee is weak and sometimes they use it for handling problem cases. Organizations need to present different models and coaches to the coachee and he/she needs to choose the one that he/she is most comfortable with.
What are the challenges in ensuring success of a coaching exercise?
The biggest challenge is to ensure that the organization is deeply committed to the process, trust the potential of the coachee and ensure that the matching process between the coach and the coachee is well managed.
What is the future of coaching in India?
This field will grow at an exponential rate in India. I get a request for coaching almost every week! I coach chairmen, and CEOs of large corporations in India and top leaders of companies in the US, Europe and the rest of India. The hunger to learn in India is growing and that is an encouraging sign.
Anil Sachdev is Founder & CEO, School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL)