Blog: The future of Coaching in India

Training & Development

The future of Coaching in India

Interestingly, the trend I notice that is changing over the last 3 years, is that within these start-ups, CEOs and HR heads are not only looking for coaching their top leadership, but are now open to extending coaching right down to their mid-level managers.
The future of Coaching in India

From soul to self… 

The ancients saw the soul as the final frontier, while the previous century was much taken up with the unconscious. Today we’re trending towards things that we can see, something we can visibly get in touch with and improve (sometimes measure) – the self.  The way I define self is more akin to a container and not so much as a definitive definition. By self, I mean the different behaviors, skills, strengths, values, attitudes, beliefs all present within a single person. Becoming aware of this self and then working on it is what has gained much press. 

Executive coaching essentially works on this 'self', uncovering the various facets and helping the coachee reinforce or redirect.  

The future of coaching in India

The soil in India is just right for the now young plant to turn into a firmly rooted tree. Coaching appeared on the scene about 20 years ago, gained a fair degree of popularity within the last 10 years and now is something most organizations are moving towards especially for their top talent. 

Here are 3 reasons why I feel that coaching should take off into full bloom in India:

Potential and Acceptability 

According to the Hay Group, a major human-resources consultancy, between 25 and 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies use executive coaches.  Also, consider the Total annual revenues  shared by the International Coaching Federation: 

Total Revenue from Coaching

  USD (Million) % of global share % change 2011 - 2015
North America 955 40.6 35.2
Latin America & the Caribbean 92 3.9 26.6
Western Europe 898 38.1 8.5
Eastern Europe 70 3.0 1.4
Middle East & Africa 73 3.1 7.1
Asia 113 4.8 18.8
Oceania 154 6.5 10.4


What do the stats say: A study done a few years ago looked at the amount of information presented in a workshop that actually got implemented into work life. They found that 22% of what was taught showed up in new behaviors in the participant’s work and life (my experience has been that these results are pretty high – you’d count it as good ROI  if 10 to 12% gets transferred)

Then coaching was added to the mix for another batch of participants going through the same workshop, for the next 6 weeks, transfer of what was taught to the workplace went up to 88%. Wow!


Globally, there has been an upsurge in startups and this is one race in which India has been leading the pack. The people founding or running these start-ups need someone to go to for several reasons: brainstorming, bouncing off ideas, and also to devil’s advocate them but with pure intent. They also need someone they can go to be completely transparent. Yes they’re being honest but are unable to be 100% transparent with the board – they need to speak the unspeakable and so are realizing the need for a coach. 

Interestingly, the trend I notice that is changing over the last 3 years is that within these start-ups, CEOs and HR heads are not only looking for coaching their top leadership but are now open to extending coaching right down to their mid-level managers. Coaching cannot be reserved for the executives – the mid and lower level workforce needs it too when it comes to holistic wellbeing etc.

Achieving in the corporate world

A huge chunk of the demand for coaching is being generated from ‘ Achievement’. By the word achievement, I am referring to the sort associated with your profession, job or business – essentially the capitalistic kind. Paradoxically,  one would imagine that a lack of achievement or poor performance is what would spur on the drive to get a coach. I’m sure that does too, but I’m surprised at the role ‘Achievement’ is playing in prodding people/organizations to go out and get a coach.  So how does Achievement increase the need for coaching in India, giving it a brighter future?

India 2.0 is teaming with opportunity and the correlation between effort put in and goals achieved is much clearer and higher than ever before. Achieving goals (role change, salary hike, designation change, bigger car or house and so on), has become more doable. Achieving one’s goals provides the fuel of confidence to achieve the next.  Now you’d think this is a good thing – but not entirely. Let’s consider the other side of the coin: while on the one hand, people have become serial-goal-achievers, the  Gallup  Survey covering more than 142 countries shows that workforce disengagement is at a shocking 70%. 70% of your workforce is disengaged. 

Quite a polarity we have here, on the one hand, people are achieving more but on the other, they become disengaged much quicker. Somewhere the ‘do more’/‘get more’ ‘be more’ takes precedence, but the ‘why’ that’s attached to the goals tends to get lost out. We’re faced with an increasing number of ‘serial goal achievers’,  who beyond a point are forgetting why they set those goals in the first place or are becoming dissatisfied with what they have got once they quickly achieve it.  These ‘Achievers’ are now looking for answers that will help them understand what they really want, how to juggle the different balls in the air and still find time for family or just be more self-actualized (Maslow’s pyramid had been climbed). The answers to these questions one may find in several books but the realization and experiencing the epiphany deep inside is what is prompting folks to get a coach.

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Topics: Training & Development

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