In conversations revolving around productivity, a key element that needs to be picked up is the rising importance of coaching and the impact it has on the organisation. When coaching is carried out with a lot of thought about the larger workplace culture, it adds tremendous value in empowering your workforce from within. It gives them courage to be vulnerable, to take big bets and to unleash their potential. With the agenda of delving into this at greater depth, at People Matters Workforce Productivity Conference, Aishwarya Goel, Co-Founder & CEO, PeakPerformers asks a series of insightful questions to Tanya Pallavi, Head of People Strategy & Development, Mobile Premier League.
Developing your organisation's leadership pipeline:
Tanya raises the very important strategy of ‘hiring people better than ourselves’ which is one of the abiding principles of MPL. And this applies to both techno-functional competencies as well as leadership qualities because this means that you’re constantly raising the bar on talent and knowledge collectively. Secondly, it also shortens the upskilling journey for a leader and thirdly, it creates a diverse talent pool within the organisation inclusive of those who have grown internally and the industry veterans hired. This ecosystem enables organisations to grow and evolve and as we all know, growth is key to every startup out there.
Coming back to growth, as organisations continuously try to grow people from within their company, a number of toolkits are in place from upward manager feedback to employee help indexing to spot potential talent at MPL and the vertical leaders want to be truly invested in them. So what they do is create job opportunities through continuous coaching and even nominating people for executive coaching programs. These vertical leaders who are also the functional leaders are the ones who truly understand the DNA of the company, have immense tribal knowledge and play a fundamental role in building that high performing, leadership pipeline.
On the importance of building and sustaining a strong coaching culture:
“We expect our people managers to be coaches. We encourage our people managers to empower the teams truly rto take bold, big bets. People will only take those bets if you give them complete freedom of decision making. We as an organisation, as a team have to be comfortable with failure and learning in the process,” shares Tanya.
Executive coaching programs can play a fundamental role in creating a space for leaders to step back, to truly be vulnerable, to find a safe space for self-discovery and unleashing their true potential. Executive coaches with a deep expertise can truly equip leaders to navigate the VUCA world. During unprecedented times such as the pandemic, even veteran leaders can struggle with empathy and maintaining productivity in a virtual workplace and an unpredictable environment.
Building transparency among the leadership driving organisational growth:
“Transparency is a byproduct of trust. If I do not trust my team, I can never create the right operating model or create enough transparency in the way I operate. To address the concept of transparency, it’s important to first address the basic premise of trust which is to grow leaders and entrust every employee to carry forward the company’s vision,” advises Tanya.
Maintaining autonomy in our operations as well working towards decentralization of decision making can be effective strategies. When you are transparent with your entire employee base and share more with them, it is likely that you will find greater interest among them as well. What’s essential is to make your workforce part of the company’s growth journey rather than a conduit in growth.
Building growth paths within the company besides executive coaching:
Spotting the potential of talent is one of the primary steps to take in this direction. This will enable you to have a targeted talent growth strategy for elevating that potential to add value to the larger business growth plan. Following this, having the right processes, the right systems, the right operating model which automatically engineers your organisational ecosystem towards growth. Lateral movements, internal job opportunities like cross-functional mentorship are some relevant contributory practices. Having a fluid set of leaders with their own unique skill sets who can act as coaches and guide while exposing your workforce to a number of leadership styles can help them pick up tents that are most aspirational to them and incorporate them in their own leadership styles. It’s a journey of learning that is critical to any professional growth path. Empowering and trusting individuals to take large bets, giving them opportunities to run large scale programs end to end is also very important. Encouraging your people to take up experimental and ambitious projects outside of their domain and regular jobs are a set of people practices that some of the greatest companies in the world such as Google follow.
Although the definition of leadership varies across organisations and while every leader also takes their own time in becoming coaches for the people, nevertheless this is a journey that must be taken to pioneer the growth of individuals as well as organisations at large. Thoughtful investments in time and effort may have to be made at different junctures but it will reap results that will drive innovation and elevate the potential of everyone in your teams.