How to get power : Robin Sharma

Robin says “Power doesn`t come from forcing people to listen to you and coercing them to do what you say because you have the right title on your business card.Real power comes when you spread your passion, offer people a reason to climb your strategic mountaintops, treat them with rare respect and give them permission to shine, grow and Lead Without Title.Be there for people and they will be there for you”

Amazing and True !

Appreciative Coaching

I recently had the priviledge to view an Appreciative Inquiry Summit in Mumbai. It was my first experience with such powerful stuff!

The three days were packed with activity with 120 people of different departments all across the organization. The end result was simply amazing.

For those who do not know what this is…..here is a teaser:

Appreciative coaching derives many of its fundamental premises from the work of David Cooperrider and colleagues. Through the use of Appreciative language,the coach and coachee move away from the traditional coaching paradigm of feedback and confrontation directed at performance deficits.Appreciative coaches emphasize that individuals and executives  do not need to be `fixed`but rather require constant affirmation.Coaching therefore does not dialouge around looking for weaknesses or problems, but focusses on existing strengths and distinctive competencies.It assumes that executives,managers and entreprenaurs have already achieved a significant degree of success because of their discintive and unique strengths, that is, something already works well and coaching serves to access this and bring more of it into play.

The fundamental assumption of appreciative coaching is that the solutions we seek and the resources we need are already within us.It is a question accessing,amplifying and integrating all of these to move coachees forward to reach their objectives.

Compassion and concern for the coachee are central to this style of coaching,which attempts to move the individual toward self reflection and self responsibility through appreciating their values,goals and intentions.

(This post has excerpts from Behavioral Coaching: Suzanne Skiffinton & Parry Zeus. I wish to thank the authors for the same.)

International Coach Federation Recommends Following the Five C’s When Hiring a Coach

LEXINGTON, Ky., July 9, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — You want to hire a coach. You have narrowed your initial list down to three potential coaches. But how do you determine which is right for you? Let the ICF help by giving you the top questions to ask each — through the five C’s of hiring a coach: code of ethics, coach-specific training, credential, context and chemistry.
“Choosing the appropriate coach can be a daunting task,” said ICF President Diane Brennan, MBA, MCC(1). “There are thousands of people out there who call themselves a coach — how can you determine which is right for you (and is truly a coach)? The ICF is here to eliminate the confusion and make this process easier for those who want to benefit from a coaching relationship.”
The ICF recommends that clients ask coaches questions based on the five C’s:
1. Code of Ethics. Is the coach a member of the ICF? All ICF members pledge to uphold a set of ethical standards and are accountable to the ethics and standards set forth by the ICF. If the coach is not an ICF member, what ethical standards do they follow? Are they accountable to any standards?
2. Coach-specific training. Has the coach had coach-specific training — training in coaching skills? Or is the said coach marketing him or herself as a coach based on other education/degrees? As coaching is not a regulated profession, many who call themselves coaches have not been formally trained in specific coaching skills and instead are transferring skill sets from other professions into their coaching. This method often results in inadequate and ineffective coaching experience for clients.
3. Credential. Is the coach ICF Credentialed? Or is he/she in the process of acquiring an ICF Credential? When hiring a coach, the ICF strongly recommends finding someone who holds an ICF Credential. The credential signifies: a coach’s commitment to integrity and credibility; an understanding of coaching skills; a coach’s dependability to consumers; a strong code of ethics; superior knowledge and skills; and a coach’s serious stance for ongoing professional development.
4. Context. What other specialized skills does the coach have? How important is experience in specific/relevant areas to you in a coach? Think about the kinds of goals you want to create for your life.
5. Chemistry. Do you feel a connection with the coach? The coach-client relationship is very important; a connection between you and the coach is vital. If it does not “feel” right to you, heavily consider choosing another coach to whom you feel more connected and whom you trust.
The ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaching is a distinct service and differs greatly from therapy, consulting, mentoring or training. Individuals who engage in a coaching relationship can expect to experience fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities, enhanced thinking and decision-making skills, enhanced interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence in carrying out their chosen work and life roles.
The International Coach Federation is the leading global organization for coaches, with 13,000 members in over 80 countries, dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high ethical standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of credentialed coaches. For more information on how to become or find an ICF Credentialed coach, please visit our Web site at http://www.coachfederation.org.
(1) MCC: Master Certified Coach, highest credential awarded by the International Coach Federation.
    ICF HEADQUARTERS CONTACT:
    Ann Belcher, +1.859.226.4428, ann.belcher@coachfederation.org

Training industry gains momentum: Economic Times News Article

Coaching industry has started taking its roots in India. The industry is still in the nascent stage, for it is yet to be tapped and understood properly.

The concept behind coaching, not just talks about academic coaching or sports coaching or mentoring, it is an ongoing relationship which focuses on people/organisations taking action toward the realisation of their visions, goals or desires while maximising their person and professional potential.

According to Sraban Mukherjee, who boasts to have handled major consultancy assignments and conducted more than 100 coaching hours in 2007 with eight clients, besides being a member of International Coaching Federation, USA, the coaching industry is not even one per cent explored in India.

“People and organisations in India are yet to understand the concept behind coaching. Once the importance of the word coaching is understood , the market for coaching business will be automatically established” , said Mukherjee.

Further he added, “In countries like US and UK, coaching is a well established profession. I am expecting the market to grow by 20-30 per cent in India, in next four to five years.” The need for the right career path and stress free life will offer a lot of scope for coaching as a full time career profession.

Talking about coaching industry in India, it’s basically the executive coaching which is gaining prominence these days.

Executive coaching is an experiential and individualised leader development process that builds a leader’s capability to achieve short and long term organisational goals.

The other different kinds of coaching that exist today include life/personal coaching, career coaching, mentor coaching, spiritual coaching, business coaching and relationship coaching. “Whether it is executive coaching or life coaching or any other niche areas of coaching , the bottom line is change.

Hence, it is important to understand the change process so that coaches can navigate with clients in the change journey in a step by step process” , said Mukherjee.

In India, executive coaching is, so far being associated with only a few companies including Hewitt, Grow Talent and Hero Mindmine. Indian School of Business in Hyderabad also conducts regular workshops on executive coaching . “Though a fewer in number, but there are companies like Wipro, Satyam, Hindustan Lever, which are known for having a very good coaching culture in India.

Multinational companies like IBM, Shell, Cadbury are also set to introduce coaching culture in India, very soon. Many are in talks with Hero Mindmine to introduce coaching culture in their respective organisations” , said Mukherjee.

More about Mukherjee: He is a graduate in coaching from ICF, USA, and doctorate from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi,

Mukherjee is currently working as the head of HR consulting and leadership coaching in Hero Mindmine Insititute Limited, a HERO group company.

Empathetic Listening : Steven R Covey

One of my favourite books, usually in the begining left hand corner on the third shelf : The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Covey, caught my attention yet again.

Here is one of my favourite parts  :Empathetic Listening

Covey lists 5 ( five ) levels of listening :

* Ignoring

* Pretending

* Selective listening

* Active listening

* Empathetic listening

The first four are the common ones but Empathetic Listening is the one rarely practiced.

Its LISTENING WITH AN INTENT TO UNDERSTAND. 

Getting inside the person`s frame of reference ( I love to call it getting in the other person`s skin ).

Empathy should not be considered synonymous with Sympathy. The latter is a form of agreement ,the most apt emotion at that time and makes the person dependent.People feed on sympathy.

On the other end of the spectrum, Empathy does not mean that you agree with the teller but that you fully understand the person emotionally and intellectually.

Empathetic listening is the key to making deposits in the Emotional Bank Account and being deeply therapeutic and healing it gives a person “psychological air” : a need next to the basic need of physical survival – to be understood,to be affirmed.

And once that vital need is met the Coach can then focus on problem solving.

On being an Executive Coach : The Hindu Business Line :Mon 07 April , 2008

It was a select gathering of some of Chennai’s young entrepreneurs, and among them a sprinkling of top executives from a few multinationals, who listened with keen intent to a session held recently on the concept of executive coaching by two coaches from the UK, Peter Hogarth and Kenneth MacLennan. Hogarth, regarded as a pioneer in the EC space, having started in 1992, built Change Partnership UK into a global outfit with coaches in over a dozen countries and billing close to 10 million GBP before selling it off and starting again in a very high-end niche in the UK.

Hogarth has been a mentor since 2000 to V. Ramakrishnan, Managing Director of the Singapore-based Organisation Development Lte Ltd. Ramakrishnan established Change Partnership Singapore in 2003 to hive off the burgeoning coaching practice and to give it a distinct identity while Change Partnership India (CPI) was set up in 2004 with T. Ramakrishnan of Laras Leaders as a partner.

Hogarth, says V. Ram, has developed a wide array of tools and interventions which are available to the Indian affiliate, which will also tap into Hogarth’s vast experience as an executive coach (EC) . In Chennai recently for a session with local entrepreneurs to propagate the concept of executive coaching, Ram interacted with The New Manager in a conversation and on mail about whether Indian businesses and CEOs are ready for coaching.

Has executive coaching as a concept gained ground in India or is it early days yet?

It is not an infant and not yet into the teens. When we started just a few years ago the main client base was MNCs looking to get a coach for their senior expatriate managers.

Many Indians were being sent to set up operations here and found the going difficult. These ‘virtual Indians’ had little or no knowledge of the working Indian ethos and needed the support of an experienced hand to make their way forward, especially in the early days.

While not mainstream yet it is more accepted and we are seeing Indian firms asking for coaches. In India we are currently doing several assignments, all with MNCs. The names are confidential.

When does a CEO typically find the need for an EC? Are Indian CEOs ready for it — is it an admission of a shortcoming or a weakness, rather, is it perceived as such and that’s why they are not forthcoming even if they do need guidance?

Often a quality functional specialist who has delivered good results consistently, say, as a marketer or finance head or manufacturing chief, is elevated to become a CEO either within the firm (rarely) or is hired into that position, or in the case of MNCs is parachuted into that position.

Undoubtedly these are competent, intelligent and highly motivated people. The need is for them to understand and acquire cross-functional skill sets quickly. There is little room for error or mistakes; the stakes are high for the company and CEO. This is where most executive coaching goes to develop the manager for a higher role in short order or help the person improve his performance just that tad so he goes from being good to outstanding.

The second area is where the CEO/Chairman needs to vent, talk, share, debate. He or she cannot do so internally as it develops political ramifications. There is a need for a ‘sounding board,’ an objective and experienced listener who can talk to the person as an equal, draw on his experience, active and informed debate of the pros and cons through skilful query and help the person develop his or her insights.

The crux to coaching is not giving advice or one-on-one consulting; EC is about questioning in a way that helps the person find the needed insights.

It is important that the coachee sees the need for and benefits of EC. It cannot be and should not be sold or forced. Initially, as with all new ideas, there is scepticism. Once they understand what they can get out of the sessions, and that is the EC’s first focus, they become willing partners.

The situation to avoid is where they become totally dependent on the EC; the EC cannot become a surrogate CEO.

When is an EC ready to be an EC — obviously you are dealing with high achievers, right at the top of the ladder — so what skills/knowledge does an EC bring to the table that he has the CEOs ear? How does the EC stay ahead of the knowledge/skills barrier that a CEO would turn to him/her?

In the CPI scheme of things we are looking for high performers who have held and been successful in senior general management positions over and above their functional specialists. We find that people who have been at the coal face and worked on it seem to command greater respect and are more skilful in assessing and understanding the coachees’ needs.

The key skill for an EC is the ability to raise the appropriate question to develop the needed insights. The coachees are high achievers, talented and often need just a trigger to get them going. On occasion, the coachee would draw on the EC’s experience to find solutions to specific situations — sort of directed advice.

The single most important caveat for an EC is that he or she should encourage the coachee to assess the inputs in terms of the situation and circumstances around the problem and generate his or her own solution. These can be discussed and debated with a coach but cannot be handed out as a solution by the coach.

The EC has probably four hours to assess and understand the coachee, determine the needs and develop a coaching plan.

An EC needs to be able to run what is called a triangular assessment centre — the key strength for which is detecting trends and patterns in the feedback given by the coachee, his peers, direct reports, his supervisor and customers and the EC’s own observations derived from a structured interview.

The EC has to spend time in staying current in a whole slew of subjects — general affairs, overall trends, vertical knowledge, specialist functional knowledge, understanding evolving HR and business practices.

The EC also needs to nurture a large network which can be tapped to provide specific inputs.

Formally, every EC in the CPI system has a ‘buddy’ partner, a shadow coach with whom he shares the situation, the challenges and explores solutions — it is mutual learning. As always, the EC and the buddy have to maintain the very highest standards of confidentiality.

Coaching high achievers is an issue, especially the early generation of young managers. Many have difficulty in accepting their shortcomings and we have learnt that if there is no open mind, these superb functional high-performers trip up sooner than later.

The more mature ones understand that in recommending a coach, the company’s message is: “We value you but you need to commit to develop yourself if you are going to stay valuable!” They recognise that in some firms it is de rigueur and over time people start seeing the value.

If executive coaching generally remains in the realm of managerial issues what’s the difference between a management guru and an EC?

EC has a wide range and needs to be restricted to management issues though it is used extensively for people in management positions or getting ready for such positions. EC offers a way for thinking through solutions to practical problems, near-term challenges and to develop that incendiary thought processes that long-term leaders seem to have.

What are Change Partnership’s plans for the Indian market? Will you target medium-sized companies/large ones — is it more by word of mouth?

The market is big, nascent and growing. Currently the focus is all-India and on MNCs — they want it and see the cost benefit. Indian companies are just beginning – though a few have been at it for some years now — and only the large to mid-sized firms would value a top-notch coach.

SMEs in our experience often do not see the need and if they see it baulk at paying for it.

Thus far it has been based on our global networks but plans are underway for a more structured approach to market and business development.

We have a training programme for our new coaches and are searching for experienced general mangers who would seek to build on EC as a career. They cannot be just retirees who share an experience.

One issue that should bother people is that many jobless professionals and retirees are now calling themselves coaches and mentors.

This category includes lifestyle coaches (teaching dance, music, etc,) and a lot of people who have learnt off the Net or self-learn tapes.

The Seven Steps Of Effective Executive Coaching : Book Review

The Seven Steps Of Effective Executive Coaching  by

Sabine Dembkowski

Fiona Eldridge

Ian Hunter

The testimonial by Sir John Whitmore on the front cover instinctively made me pick this book and every page I read made it clearer why it had been awarded such shiny words.

“It grabs one`s interest and holds it …. very convincing ….. will be invaluable to many coaches wishing to refine their skills” says Whitmore.

The theories and techniques are explained in detail and the icing on the cake is the real life practical examples of their applications. The detailed explanation of the CREATE model : a seven stage elaboration of the GROW model deserves special mention.

I found the book to be practical , usable , educational to the core , highly insightful and has driven home so many new ideas which I intend to use to sharpen my coaching skills so that I can provide better services to my clients.

Definately goes into the third shelf of my book case : where all my favourite books are !

My heartfelt thanks to the authors