Are we doing enough for leadership development?
The Learning & Development function in an organization with mature HR practices spends a lot of time and effort to empower their Senior Leaders with skills to lead and develop their teams to achieve results. This Senior Leader spends vast amount of time himself in classrooms.
Often novel and innovative learning solutions are created for him – be it Film based reflection, Harvard Professor’s Strategy workshops or fire walking, all with the hope of making him a better people’s Manager. There are failed attempts to make him align his personal vision with that of the organization.
The effort is often to make him work with the people not against them. The question to ask here, rhetorically though – Are his needs necessarily learnable/ skill based needs only? Is Training the only way this Leader can become more people oriented, empathetic leader? Or will his decision making really improve by attending Business simulation exercises. This is not to undermine the importance of these interventions. They have an important role to play in developing skills. But… many Leaders need to be thinking and charting their change path themselves. They realize that they can do it, but are unable to start. This is where a new, extremely effective and totally scientific L & D tool will be most useful; COACHING. Also known as Leadership Coaching, Executive Coaching, Life Coaching and many other equally attractive names. They all aim to deliver positive change.
This professional alliance between Coach & Client helps close the gap between where they are and where they want to be. It transforms thinking at all levels, creating confident empowered, self-aware Leaders, who have the ability to think and to unlock insight, take action and bring about positive change in any context – routine work or in the Boardroom.
What makes Coaching different from other similar people development interventions?
Coaching is self-directed - The Coach in the navigator’s seat facilitates thinking, does not advise and allows the client to make powerful choices after carefully thinking through, in depth about the issue. He does not brainstorm, but encourages the client to explore his internal landscape completely, access his innermost desires and choose that which he owns and act on.
Coaching is solution oriented - The Coach does not spend time on past, or on root cause analysis or on issue fixing. The client is capable of doing that himself. He spends time with the client getting him/her focused on the solution that is best for him (even though the solution may not be approved by the Coach’s personal standards)
Coaching relies on positive Psychology – Positive psychology has greatly influenced the development of coaching. It has shifted from “ what is not working ‘ to ‘what is working’ and how we can continue to do more of this. It helps focus on strengths and virtue. This new direction amplifies strength rather than just repair damage.
Coaching is autonomous – The client in a Coaching process is the most important entity. The Coach is merely a facilitator who observes, listens asks questions and is totally non-judgmental. The Coach has to create a non-threatening, safe space for the client to share, think and be allowed to jump forward- backward, sideways in an effort to see the big picture in a non-linear pattern to finally arrive at his own solution
Coaching needs to be learned - Coaching is a skill and an art that follows a process, and structure. It needs to be learnt and a good Coach is one who is certified by ICF. It requires focused learning, hours of practice and complete knowledge of the competencies that need to be demonstrated. The International Coach federation ICF has been the instrumental in bringing professional standards and ethical responsibility to this profession. It has helped to dramatically improve the Coaching profession with their continuous work in this area.
And Leaders love all the above reasons. They want to discover their own path and make their own sense of their choices.
Top 3 reasons why Coaches are engaged –
Coaches are no longer hired to usher toxic leaders out of the door:
1. Develop high potentials or facilitate transition – 48%
2. Act as a sounding board – 26%
3. Address derailing behavior – 12%
If you want to engage in a thought-provoking creative process that will inspire you to move to the next level of your personal and professional potential – Get yourself a Coach