Radhakrishnan B Menon
Executive coaching is steadily gaining momentum in India. A decade ago, the word ‘coaching’ was more synonymous in India with sports and the burgeoning business of ‘tutorial’ classes.
Corporate India is warming up to the idea of executive coaching and it is being recognised as a valuable tool for developing talent in organisations. Coaching is administered rather quietly in India due to the confidentiality and sensitivity factors. However, progressive organisations are hugely investing in coaching as a strategic solution for developing leadership in organisations.
In order to establish a coaching cultural change for the benefit of the organisation, it must address four key elements:
Purpose: Why coaching? The organisation should articulate the purpose of coaching in the organisation. The coaching intent, business goals and desired outcomes should be communicated.
Alignment: Is it aligned to the business? It is imperative to ensure that coaching interventions are aligned to the overall business strategy. It can be an integrated approach in terms of (1) enhancing performance and effectiveness, (2) a change management initiative and (3) focus on the self or individual.
Strategy: How is it different? Coaching must be integral to the HR strategy and to its talent development strategy.
Readiness: How do you create coaching readiness? It is important to facilitate a seamless introduction to coaching in the organisation. This is best done through a step-by-step approach that enables understanding, relevance and the roll-out of coaching.
Let me now dwell on how to create readiness for coaching:
Stakeholders: To ensure support and sponsorship, it is critical to identify key stakeholders in the coaching delivery plan.
Marketing: A well-planned coaching ‘marketing’ campaign will go a long way in creating the right awareness—allow the leadership team to be the marketers!
Seize opportunities: Integrate coaching to major HR developmental interventions such as performance reviews, 360-degree feedback and individual development plans.
Panel of coaches: Identify a panel of experienced coaches. The selection of the right coach is very critical—competencies, experience and commitment to coaching are the key factors. The coaches may be from diverse backgrounds, but he or she should have had successful experience of leading teams at high levels in an organisation. Once the panel is selected, it may be a good idea to organise a one-on-one ‘boot camp’ for them. The manager may also be given the option to choose the coach. A workable process would be to have a preliminary meeting with the coach so as to assess the comfort, ‘chemistry’ and