Corporate India gets the coaching context right (Economic Times :2nd October 2007 )

From the days of Arthasastra to now, managing business has undergone a sea change. If Chanakya etched his name in the annals of history as the man, who guided King Chandragupta to build the Mauryan empire, it is now the age of business and executive coaches to call the shots.

Organisations and CEOs in this era can now turn to the services of a coach, who do not remain an information centre but engage the management, hand-holding them. The latest HR mantra is helping organisations to usher in a coaching culture, which will develop managers to become more coaching-oriented in their functioning style.

“The higher one goes, the more lonely you get and tend to seek professional help,” notes HR expert Zahid Gangjee, who has over 30 years of professional expertise.

Attributing the complexity and pressures of modern living to the lonely syndrome, he said for the past five years or so, the help requests have risen. “We have seen dysfunctionals at workplace and had to work at levels much deeper than what seemed on the surface,” he said, adding fixated and tightly holding on to behaviour was a common pattern.

Executive and business coaching has now made its formal entry into India, with the Coaching Foundation India becoming the first recognised organisation that accreditates coaches. Until now, coaches were accredited in the US or Australia.

Development of leaders is central to an organisation’s improvement. Drawing inspiration from fields of counselling, adult learning, sport psychology and consulting, business coaching has rapidly achieved the status of a powerful profession with immense potential, notes Murugappa group former chairman MV Subbiah.

Says Blueshift chairman Sankaran P Raghunathan: “Management gurus and consultants give insights into competition, regulation aspects and work out winning strategies but coaching is different. It is not about how to run the company but about knowing and harnessing the hidden strengths.”

It is a personal therapeutic counselling that can help plug the accountability factor, especially in family business. “Coaching can unleash the potential on a one-to-one or person-to-person basis in a non-threatening manner,” he said, noting that the impact of a coach on a CEO and senior executives is a long-term one.

Managers are expected to wear the coaching hat more often than their managerial hats. Likewise, CEOs are desperately seeking a sounding board and wanting to partner with someone, who can help them navigate their business challenges and realise their full potential, notes Totus Consulting founder-CEO Ganesh Chella.

The six-month training programme is priced Rs 2.5 lakh at the corporate level and subsidised by half if the sum is borne by an individual. “Leaders can be helped to reach their true potential if they can partner with someone, who has the competence and commitment to the cause of development,” he added.

Organisations need to be hand-held and they must provide platforms for engagements. People should learn and practice methods prescribed by the coaches, certified master coach and RPG group technology business president and CEO PK Mohapatra said.

Learn by others’ experience is the way ahead for those in high corporate positions, says ehealth Technology Business Incubator chairman Shivaram Mallavalli.

“Teaching industry is all about application. In an era, where businesses and technologies are emerging, coaching executives and CEOs is critical. It is better to learn from other’s mistakes instead of traversing the path of learning by committing the mistakes all over again,” the Bangalore-based professor noted.

Coaching not only facilitates a 360-degree assessment by the individual, willing to get coached, but a peer review post-coaching is possible as measurement of result is always an issue. Today, managers do not have the luxury of the time needed to mature into their big roles, notes an HR expert.

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Author: Shalini Verma

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