Coaching certainly is not a new concept or a unique invention. Coaching today, has become an integral part of the standard leadership development training programs for select executives and talented managers identified as highfliers or potential future business heads. It has acquired, in current times, a new meaning and opened new opportunities for innovative thinking conceptualizing and finally successful implementation.
Today, executive coaching as a term extends beyond performance coaching and is largely aimed at developing executive competence is or enhancing the managerial and leadership competencies.
But it is argued that executive coaching is only one form of coaching and organizational life requires many occasions when coaching assistance is needed Though normally the boss or the boss’s boss is expected to be the best coach, power distance realities in Indian culture pull down the possibility of the reporting or reviewing managers or higher level executives from the same organization being accepted as coaches. Their effectiveness beyond performance coaching is debatable. It is precisely the power distance in Indian culture that has become a stumbling block in the effective implementation of performance coaching and feedback necessitating the introduction of 360 degree feedback, development centers etc.
But the truth is that every top level manager needs a sounding body or a sounding board. The sounding body helps clarify your own thoughts, rallies questions, provides alternate viewpoints, gets you to critically examine your thoughts and helps you make wiser choices on the basis of the wisdom gained. A coach is therefore one who facilitates in accomplishing one or more of the above. Coaching facilitates towards gaining insights into ones self and recognizing how one’s actions, behavior, qualities and traits influence one’s growth through the impact they are making on others and the environment. It is not merely a question of listening but also an issue of critical questioning ability to see patterns, etc.
Is coaching meant for some and not for others? The answer is obvious. Coaching is for all. The weak performers and average executives need it as much as the future leaders and those with potential. A good coach helps one to work out strategies to discover more and more talent of ours through experimentation and dissemination. Our own values, perceptions and inhibitions may be preventing us from disseminating and using our talent and making the best use of it. An external coach will always help. Also, sometimes, we may be too blind to our blind spots and an external coach may help in addition to all this, a coach may be of help in getting us to discover many unknown parts of our personality.
A boss as a coach has some qualities. He/She understands our work culture and context and organizational realities and as a coach, he/she also helps us to align our individual and organizational realities and match talents to get the best out of each other’s capabilities.
In the corporate context today, it’s vital to have many forms of coaching. At least organizations can do well preparing seniors to coach their juniors either from their own departments or lies of business or from other lines of business and also provide occasionally line managers as coaches from other organization, industries and academics etc, who are good listeners and at the same time facilitators of learning. Coaching is known to deliver maximum value in:
(1) Helping a team work more effectively, (2) taking someone from being a good performer to a great one and (3) developing a high potential executive.
New career coaching/recruitment coaching: This form of coaching is normally undertaken when an employee faces a career choice.
Induction coaching/integration assimilation coaching: This coaching is undertaken when an employee joins a new job or a place or a position or into a role.
Performance coaching: It is undertaken when a person or his/her organization desires to improve performance of an individual in relation to his/her current role.
Potential development coaching: When a person has a lot more potential than what he/she has and he/she is not able to give his/her best, this form of coaching is carried out.
Personal coaching usually undertaken when a person has problems with his/her colleagues, peers, juniors, seniors or customers or gets into areas of conflict, interpersonal tensions etc.
Leadership coaching: When the leadership potential of an individual needs to be developed and he/she needs to be helped to become a future leader, leadership coaching is adopted.
Management development coaching: When a person needs to put to use the skills he/she acquired and he/she should span strategies of developing his/her potential or managerial qualities after training management development coaching is undertaken.
Retention coaching: When a person expresses his/her intentions to quit and the organization is keen to retain him/her, retention coaching can help retain the valuable employees.