Coaching For High – Flying Corporates

Avinash Kirpal, International Management Institute, New Delhi

“In every field of human endeavour in which performance is key, coaching is integral to helping shift an individual’s mindset, approaches, and behaviour to ensure more effective action and greater business success.”
National Aeronautics and Space Administration -Report. 24. Dec 2002. -E. Saxinger (NASA Work/Life Program Manager)

Many Indian corporate leaders and senior executives are aware that in these times of rapid change what is required from them has less to do with their skills in the techno-commercial strategic areas and more to do with their skills in encouraging creativity, innovation and team-building. Often corporate leaders know what needs to be done to adapt to changing business environments and this is not their main challenge. Their main challenge is to get their teams, and themselves, to do what needs to be done. This involves working on their own mindsets as well as the mindsets of their teams through leadership and motivation. Yet few have received guidance on how to improve their skills in this area.

Like other skills these too can be developed through learning. However this learning cannot be acquired from short-term training programmes or from attending lectures, or even from reading books. Studies have revealed that any benefit from this type of training does not last. It lacks follow-up, direct application and continued guidance. The learning that is required needs to be focused on specific needs, followed up over a period of time and based on actual experiences. It is a learning which perpetuates itself on feedback. It needs to be on the job and experiential. This is where corporate coaching comes into the picture.

The Public Personnel Management Association Journal (Winter 97, Vol. 26 Issue 4,) quotes a study which showed that training alone increased productivity by about 22% while training plus coaching increased productivity by 88%.

Executive coaching as a specialised discipline has been flourishing in the United States for over twenty years. “For years, CEOs of some of the most successful and largest companies have relied on executive coaches. Henry McKinnell, CEO of Pfizer, Meg Whitman, CEO of eBay, and David Pottruck, CEO of Charles Schwab & Co., are a few who rely on a trusted adviser.” (The Business Journal. Nov. 2002.) Coaching is gaining popularity in the UK and other mature market economies where corporations face the full blast of international competition. Research studies in these countries show spectacular improvements in performance after executive coaching.

In India corporate leaders had been slow in taking to coaching, probably because it was (mistakenly) viewed as an admission that the management is lacking in some attributes. However it is now being appreciated that in fact coaching provides an opportunity to strengthen developmental attributes and hence performance. It is noted, for instance, that all top sports people use coaches to improve their performance, though they already perform very well. In fact where talent already exists the benefits from coaching are multiplied. With this realisation dawning in the corporate world here the use of coaching is catching on in India as well. Management training institutions and consultancy firms are now offering executive coaching. They have the expertise in different functional and behavioural areas; also through national and international networks they access the most relevant talent for the coaching exercise.


Pioneering Executive Coaching In India

What is common to GE’s Jack Welch, IBM’s Sam Palmisanio, and e-Bay’s Meg Whitman? They all had to seek the expertise of an executive coach in order to strengthen their vision, performance and capacities. A Chicago Tribune article once quoted, ‘Who exactly seeks coaches – Winners who want even more out of life.’

Executive coaching has become more mainstream today. It is accepted as part of standard leadership development for elite executives and talented up-comers. It is a one-to-one collaboration between a certified coach and an executive, who wants to generate positive personal changes, inculcate greater adaptability, better his leadership skills, access new perspectives, and above all, reach maximum potential.

Executives should seek coaching “when they feel that a change in behaviour – either for themselves or their team members – can make a significant difference in the long-term success of the organisation,” says Marshall Goldsmith, coach to top executives in many of the world’s leading companies.

However, there are not enough professionals who can don the garb of a CEO coach. It was this lacuna which the CEE, at the ISB, wanted to address. An exclusive Executive Coaching Programme for senior professionals, who want to be CEO Coaches, was held at the ISB, between August 20 and 22. It is the first time that such a Programme is being conducted in India.

Said Deepak Chandra, Assistant Dean, CEE, at the ISB, “It was during a Leadership Skill Programme, conducted by the CEE, when we received a feedback about the felt need in the industry for a cadre of executive coaches. It was then we conceived this pioneering programme to help people, within or outside an organisation, to become good coaches.”

Speaking about the relevance of such a programme in the Indian context, Chandra said, “As a concept, Executive Coaching is still new in India. In our past, the Gurukul system was an example of a one-to-one coach for individual students. It was built on a deeper inter-personal relationship. In today’s world, the concept of hiring a personal guide and coach is not often possible. However, the growing complexity of businesses in this era of globalisation, has prompted senior management to counsel, seek, and simply talk to a person who can be an amalgam of a sounding board, a critic, a seer, a friend, etc.”

Usually CEO coaching focusses on three aspects – strategy, organisational change, and behavioural coaching. The Programme at the ISB concentrated only on behavioural change. The Programme aimed towards improvement of positive and measurable behaviour of the participants, by identifying specific behaviours to improve upon and choosing concrete methods of change. Coached by none other than Goldsmith himself, the Programme rested on Goldsmith’s favourite line– “The same beliefs that lead to our success can make it very difficult for us to change behaviour, and as difficult as it is to change our own behaviour, it is even more difficult to change others’ perception of our behaviour.” Goldsmith has been ranked by The Wall Street Journal as one of the top 10 executive educators. He is one of the foremost authorities on how to help leaders achieve positive, measurable changes in their own behaviour and in the behaviour of their people and teams.

The Pedagogy
Based on an empirically-tested method of executive coaching, Goldsmith devised a straightforward and highly effective process that has consistently delivered successful results across a large population of leaders in a broad spectrum of professions.

Goldsmith, during the programme, explained why leaders, who are becoming increasingly successful, can also face increased difficultly when they need to change. He discussed how the behaviour that led to their present level of success might not be the same behaviour that is needed to reach a higher level of success. Participants got to practice ‘feed forward’ – a positive, simple and focussed tool for development. Next, he shared the results of his research on leadership development that involved over 86,000 participants from eight major corporations. He also communicated his proven ‘pay only for results’ coaching process and taught participants how to use new applications of coaching – such as peer coaching – that have been proven to create better leaders. Participants also took part in various team-building exercises and learnt about ‘team building without time wasting.’ Said participant Vicki Nicholson, Managing Director, CW Solution Private Ltd, and an Executive Coach herself, “What stood out was the simplicity of Marshall’s approach. I got to learn how easy it is to apply a process like this and make a difference in terms of people’s behaviour.” Prasheel Pardhe, Assistant VP, HR, at Bennett and Coleman, vouched, “Marshall gave us tips about a positive way of looking at life – managing it for oneself and for others.”

The Programme saw a host of important portfolio holders from companies such as Raymond Ltd., Aditya Birla Management Corporation Ltd., Godrej India Ltd., HDFC Bank, etc.

Goldsmith rated the group as “more focussed on education” and having “more respect for the educator.” He however detected the group’s shortcoming of “over -analysing and over – complicating simple matters.”

As a parting shot, Goldsmith personally signed copies of his new best-seller on leadership development, ‘What Got You Here Won’t Get You There,’ for each of the participant. Time to get there!

Executive Coaching – article by Jay MacDonald

As the battle heats up to attract and retain the best and brightest talent available, American business is turning for help to an industry it once regarded as highly suspect: executive coaching.

Just a few years ago, when profits and top performers were plentiful, corporate giants pooh-poohed the idea of coaching as just pop psychobabble aimed at eroding their bottom line. The common refrain was, where’s the ROI, return on investment? Even those more progressive companies that welcomed TQM, total quality management, and excellence seminars, based on Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” placed it in the expenditures column.
Today, however, one-on-one executive coaching, not just training, is all the corporate rage.

What has made companies suddenly embrace their softer side? You guessed it: ROI. According to a 2001 MetrixGlobal study of one Fortune 500 company, executive coaching returned more than $5 for every $1 spent, 529 percent, in significant financial and intangible benefits to the company. When the financial benefits of employee retention were rolled into the mix, the ROI was nearly eight to one, 788 percent.

In the 2002 study, “The Economics of Executive Coaching,” Harvard Business School Journal estimated that there were at least 10,000 coaches working in business, up from 2,000 in 1996. That figure was expected to grow to 50,000 by 2007. The International Coach Federation lists 8,461 members and more than 132 chapters in 34 countries. Companies reportedly pay fees ranging from $1,500 to $15,000 per day.

“It’s certainly a hot item right now,” admits Michael Markovits, vice president of global executive and organizational capability, who oversees IBM’s in-house executive coaching. “We’ve done research to show that leadership behavior has a direct impact on climate, and climate has a direct impact on business results. We invest in leadership development because we believe we’re going to be a better-performing company as a result.”

“Business leaders are recognizing that good social skills are good business,” says Peggy Post, great-granddaughter-in-law of etiquette pioneer Emily Post and co-author of “The Etiquette Advantage in Business.” “It’s not a sissy subject at all. It’s a very timely business topic to help increase productivity, employee retention and client/customer retention. It just makes things run much more smoothly,” she says. Executive finishing school? In these downsized, belt-tightening times? That’s right. At the new global dinner table, American business is starting to sit up straight and mind its manners.

Pumping up the EQ
Businesses rely on executive coaches in two main training areas: internally, to groom their junior executives to one day take the helm, and externally, to prepare their leaders to flawlessly represent the company when meeting, dining and socializing with customers and clients.

Such clients as Cisco Systems and Google find coaching a cost-effective way to counter the brain drain of a more mobile and global economy. Catherine Hind, an executive coach in Vancouver, Bristish Columbia, says that under the old business model, employees who excelled at their jobs were often made leaders without ever acquiring the necessary skills to motivate, lead and develop those beneath them. It was a sad sort of “Peter Principle” scenario that left the new leader feeling frustrated and ineffective and the company wondering where all the promise went.

That’s where executive coaches come in. Armed with various assessment tools, they analyze an individual’s strengths and weaknesses and factor in where the employee wants to go and where the company would like to see them go. They then work one-on-one with the individual to help them acquire the competencies they will need to get there and to be effective when they do.

Hind likens it to “Seven Habits” on steroids. “Covey and all that stuff is great, but there’s theory and then there’s embodiment of it. Coaching, because of its ongoing nature, supports the use of a tool like Covey,” she says. “Studies have shown that you’ll absorb maybe 15 percent of a seminar at best, but if you combine that with coaching, it moves up to 89 or 90 percent retention because you’re going to absorb what is specifically relevant to you.”

Some companies, including IBM, actually studied leaders throughout their organization to identify leadership competencies for their execs to acquire. By using self-assessments, management assessments and 360-assessments, they are able to track the progress of employees through this ongoing finishing school. Markovits says the use of coaches to grow leaders internally beats hands-down the previous system of favoritism, fraternalism and that time-honored tradition, sucking up.

“Not everyone is a good role model. By having leadership competencies, it sets out that this is what we want you to aspire to.”It also has opened corporate eyes to how to improve performance. In business today, the focus has shifted from IQ, or intelligence, to EQ, or emotional intelligence. The difference? “IQ is something you are basically born with, and EQ is something you can develop your whole life,” says Hind. “Coaching directly interacts with your emotional intelligence. That is an area you can improve upon with leaders. You can’t make them smarter, but you can help them grow more emotionally intelligent.”

Etiquette lessons
Joel Garfinkle, an executive coach in Oakland, Calif., works with an executive for an average of 12-18 months to polish them up for promotion.”Mostly, it’s a manager saying, ‘I want my employee to be more successful,'” he says. “Either we are fixing a behavior or we’re working to get someone who is already successful to the next level.”
Such clients as Cisco Systems and Google find coaching a cost-effective way to counter the brain drain of a more mobile and global economy. “When a star employee leaves, there are incredible skills and abilities and knowledge capital that are going with them, and that is pretty much irreplaceable,” he says. “The cost of replacing even an average employee can equal about 150 percent of the base salary of that employee.”

Despite appearances, employee satisfaction is not always about the money. Companies find that hiring an executive coach for a rising star might be the coolest new perk they can offer.”Surveys on why people leave a company often find that money is fifth or sixth. Often, No. 1 is recognition,” says Garfinkle. “Hiring an executive coach can be recognition from a manager of the support you need.”
DeNita Turner, president of Laurel, Md.-based Image Builders Inc., has provided the polish to many of the professional athletes in the National Basketball Association. She says coaching is a one-on-one sport that goes far beyond a pep talk in the locker room. “If you’re managing people, I have to care about your dog, your man, your wife, your husband, your house, your flood, the pipes broke, your car doesn’t work, I hate this person, I don’t like where I sit, it’s too dark, it’s too warm, it’s too cold,” she says. “People will say of someone, ‘They’re great in this area, they have wonderful skills BUT …’ When people ask me what I do, I say ‘I take care of everything that comes after the BUT.'”

For Post, executive coaching can run the gamut from cubicle etiquette and body odor diplomacy to how to request or offer help without offending. Not surprisingly, companies call upon the Emily Post Institute frequently for a refresher course in good old-fashioned table manners.

“People judge others by their actions and appearance and words, and certainly table manners seem to rise to the top when people think about etiquette,” she says. “A lot of people just haven’t been taught these skills. It’s just a reality of our informal times; with so many single-parent and dual-income families, there has been a decline in families having a meal together over the past two decades. They want to give their employees these skills without embarrassing them.”
What’s in it for you to take advantage of executive coaching, should it be offered? Plenty. Take one of Garfinkle’s clients, who was working for $120,000 a year, roughly 30 percent to 40 percent below market value, at a dead-end job. With less than two years of coaching, he managed to land a job that paid $165,000 that was three levels above his former dead-end position.”He said to me, ‘If I had talked to this company three months ago, I wouldn’t have gotten past the second interview.’
Author – Jay MacDonald


““It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect it’s successful outcome.”
–William James

“I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”
– Martha Washington

“To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are.”
––Muhammad Ali

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.”
–– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ts not what happens to you that determines how far you will go in life ;it is how you handle what happens to you.
Zig Ziglar

What happens when a Coach is challenged to supply an answer ? (As posted by me on Linkedin )

In most training programs for peer coaches and mentors the curricula focuses on their ability to understand and support the peers, partners and clients with whom they interact. A common element of most coach training manuals, for example, is an emphasis on listening skills and an admonition to stay in the listening role and refraining from giving answers or advice.

But what happens when the partner or client directly asks, “What would you do if you were in my shoes?” “How would you handle this situation?” or “What do you think I should do about this?” In other words, what happens when the peer coach or mentor is being challenged to supply an answer or some advice? How would you handle it personally ?

Renouned Coaches and Trainers in their own right have shared their insight on this question :-

Answers :
 Ray Miller
 (Energy expert, educator, award winning sculptor)

If it is really not a good idea to give an answer and it really is best to have the coachee work it out themselves I usually say something like, “Well describe for me the options in detail, with the pros and cons laid out.
Often during that process the light will go on for the coachee and they know what they need to do.
If it is acceptable for me to give an answer I do. BUT typically not one.
In these cases I often offer a couple of options AND their pros and cons and work with the coachee to still have them make a choice.
If I am still pressed for an answer I have actually said on a couple of occasions, you get paid for the answers, I get paid to train you to know what the answer is. IF you want me to answer I will but then I am doing you job and would appreciate getting your salary………

Scott Byorum
(Author, Artist, Director of Business Development)


I think it is ok to pass out a little opinion or direction in certain conditions, but a more effective way is to ask a question to the question in order to steer the decision making process back to the person being coached:

Q: “What would you do if you were in my shoes?”
A: “Well, let’s examine the facts of the situation again together so you can come up with the best course of action…” (state facts and ask their opinion about each one… the idea is to help them break the situation down into the steps that lead into a solid decision)

It would be prudent to point out that this is their decision ultimately to make to avoid from them resorting to your opinion in the future or retaliating against you for bad advice.

– Scott
 Bjorn Martinoff
(Senior Executive Coach, Global Trainer & Consultant)

Here are some options you have as a coach, and all will depend on the situation, no two coaching sessions are ever he same and that’s the beauty of coaching. There is always something new.

1) Acknowledge the question and make the coachee aware that it is much more powerful for herself to come up with the answer. As a coach I don’t want my coachee to become dependent on me giving the answers. Coaching is asking good questions. Giving advice is not bad however its not coaching. A mentor could give advice or a friend could give advice.
As coaches we have a distinct role to fulfill.

2) Check the emotional state of being of your coachee. He/she may not be in a powerful and resourceful state of being at that moment and this in itself than presents itself as a coaching opportunity. Get them into a more powerful state and than explore the question again

3) Check the level of confidence of your coachee and help them access a confident state of being. Again this is a coaching opportunity.

4) The bottom line is that as a coach I see my clients as whole and complete and capable of answering any question. My job as a coach is to guide them through questions in filtering out that one answer that will work for them. In the end the coachee is the expert in her life and her career and I am an expert at asking good questions. When at the end there is an answer that the coachee has chosen powerfully and that will work in her life, than we have succeeded.

Please remember that after a coaching session the coachee should not only have clarity but also more confidence in himself.

If your coachee is already in a powerful state have him lay out all the options at hand than explore the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for each option.

You can even go as far as ranking each area in terms of importance and add them up. This will provide much insight, clarity, confidence and power.

Barry Goldberg

(Executive and Leadership Coach/ Team Catalyst)
Hello Shalini,

I think you have gotten some good counsel here, so I will address the question from a different point of view.

To my mind, this is a very dangerous question. It is either an indication that the client does not understand the nature of a coaching relationship or that s/he does not have proper respect foer the boundaries. It is, in short, a test. Answering it directly changes the relationship I have with my client (sorry, but I despise the term “coachee”). If I answer the question, I fundamentally undermine the integrity of the coaching relationship- and I turn myself into a consultant. Answering undermines the client’s trust in their own judgment and shifts the accountability for answers to the coach. It mya relieve the client’s temporary stress and feed the coach’s ego- but the longer term effects are much more damaging. So, what would I do?
I would vary my style for handling these things depending on the nature of my history and relationship with the client, but here is the path I would walk down:

1. Remind the client that his answers are the ones that matter- perhaps by asking what he wants to learn from what I would do.

2. Confirm that I will not answer in order to sustain the integrity of the relationship.

3. If it is not clear, prompt for distinctions about the emotional upset. Why is this issue so much harder than others? I often find that the root of such a stymie is a client’s attempt to address an emotional issue with logic or some other disconnect of domains. I want to be certain that the client understands the real challenge(s).

4. Once we have addressed the anxiety of the challenge, then we can begin to break the issue down in a practical coaching manner, maybe by brainstorming possibilities.

Good luck

 Frank (Francesco) S. Adamo
The Godfather of Effective Communications

Interesting, I was mentoring someone and she asked “What should I do?” I had been waiting for her to ask “What would you do?” She never did. I would’ve done something different.
If the person is a personal friend who is asking for advice, then I might consider saying what I would do, but even then, I would be very careful how I would offer my advice.
But to answer your question, I would say “I can’t answer that question,” especially if you’re being paid as a coach. First, if you say what you would do and he/she decides to do what you would do and the results are not good, could he/she take legal action against you? I’m not sure. That’s one reason I would refrain from answering the question.
Secondly, I would advice him/her that I do not know the actual people and the exact situation you are involved in, and what I would do may not and most likely would not be proper unless I was in your shoes. I then would continue to say that as your coach, I’m here to help you to clarify your situation and help you to decide what you want to do. If I interject what I would do, I would not be acting as your coach. I’m here to assist you in finding your own solution.

Hope that helps a bit.
 Ramon Ruiz
Senior Sales and Leadership Techniques Expert Designer.

I do one of the following
A. I give the answer.
B. I give him that kind of look, like saying “we both know that you know… please, c’mon”.
C. I say “I don’t know, it’s your business, not mine.”
D. I tell an example of another client in his same situation that has already solve the same problem.


Clarification added 8 hours ago:
…and please, don’t follow exactly what in those trainings tell you.
Build your own style with your clients, with your practice.

 George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CEAP
Anger Management/executive Coaching for Physicians


This is quite common. The answer comes with experience. It is critical that the coach is at all times in charge of the coaching session.

Regardless of the clients questions, it is the coach who determines the response. It is best for the answers to emerge from the interaction between the coach and the client rather than a direct response to the participant.

Coaches who are clinically trained interviewing have many opportunities to develop skills in art of listening and assertive communication.

Thanks for your question.

Akash Chander
Country Service Manager at LogicaCMG, Coach and Trainer

As a coach, it is easy for me to get into a counselor`s or a consultant`s role. And that`s a trap. I have come across this situation plenty of times and I handle it in the following ways:

1) provide a direction but not the answer
2) ask more questions and help the coached to get more aware of his/her dilemma
3) find out how the coached could find the best person to answer the question
4) last but not the least, if it does mean giving an answer in the best interest of the coached, then go ahead and give it! no rule, method or process is as important as the interest and well being of the coached!
 Maria Marsala
Motivational Business Speaker & Business Strategist

Well, now you know why I added consulting to my ‘bag” of offerings.

The answer to the question, IMO, using coaching terms is: If you did know what to do , what would you do? or throw it back… If you were in my shoes in this situation, what do you think you’d do.
I do offer clients the situations I’ve been in and what I’ve done… or situations of clients (w/o using names, places, etc) and tell them what they’ve done.

And then I always say, it’s up to you.

Seem to have worked these past 9 years.

Words Of Wisdom

        The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.
Frank Loyd Wright

A failure is a man who has blundered, but is not able to cash in on the experience.
Elbert Hubbard

There is only one success–to be able to spend your life in your own way.
Christopher Morley

Failures do what is tension relieving, while winners do what is goal achieving.
Dennis Waitley

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will.
Vince Lombardi

I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure–which is:
Try to please everybody.

Herbert Bayard Swope

Success does not consist in never making blunders, but in never making the same one a second time.
Josh Billings

The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.
Earl of Beaconsfield

Success is the good fortune that comes from aspiration, desperation, perspiration and inspiration.
Evan Esar

Impatience never commanded success.
Edwin H. Chapin

The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do, well.
Henry W. Longfellow

To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.

Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.
Albert Einstein

Business leaders turn coaches for young managers (Economic Times : 10th December )

NEW DELHI: In the last one year, a bunch of industry leaders in the country have turned certified mentors and coaches.

Take the case of RPG Group’s technology businesses president & CEO Pradipta Mahapatra. He is now a certified master coach from the Behavioural Coaching Institute, UK. Similarly, Totus Consulting MD Ganesh Chella has trained in Australia, Elgi Equipments MD Jairam Varadaraj, and HP’s G Inbavanan have become trained business coaches. So did former Sify chairman and the current president of TIE’s Chennai chapter R Ramaraj, who became a coach six months back. There are many others following suit.

So much so, the rising demand for good coaches led Mahapatra and Chella to set up an institute — Executive & Business Coaching Foundation — to train and produce coaches. The institute is now into its second batch, the first programme having already trained and certified 12 coaches including CEOs, MDs and other business leaders. “There’s a clear paucity of good coaches in India,” says Mahapatra. “And we have a programme for business leaders who love sharing their knowledge and experiences.”

Though a new trend in India, business coaching as a profession is fast catching on for several reasons. Youngsters today take on higher responsibilities early on in their career and require the support and mentoring from people who are experienced and understand their needs at that level. Private equity funds, which are increasingly investing in big ventures, also want young entrepreneurs to get the much-needed support. More than that, the need for senior guys to discuss their problems and challenges has given rise to the demand for coaches who are at par with them and are better placed to understand their dilemmas.

In the West, US for instance, coaching is one of most sought after and lucrative profession fetching a fee of anything between $200-500 per hour. Ramaraj of TiE, who became a certified coach six months back and is a senior advisor for Sequoia Capital India, feels that only those individuals who have the zeal and aptitude to coach could justify this kind of a job. “I interact with youngsters a lot and get to hear about a lot of ideas. If I am able to help them even a bit with my experience, I will be happy,” he says.

Though mentoring and coaching has always been a part of a leaders’ job, in a changed paradigm, it has taken on a whole new meaning. While there’s a crucial need for businesses to coach people and bosses, they are constrained on resources and time. This has opened up a great deal of scope for an external coach or someone who can provide time and has the expertise to deal with various issues.

“Today, a boss has less time to listen to his or her subordinates and to take it to a personal level is like asking for too much of the person,” says Mahapatra. “Hence, it helps to get people who have the interest as well as expertise to be a coach and mentor. And who could be better for that role than business leaders themselves, who have seen the ups and downs of businesses.”

Besides, an increasingly global work environment and lack of people for senior executives to talk to, about their problem, too makes room for individuals who have the interest to take on the task. “Expat leaders are coming to India in hordes and taking up the challenge to understand a new work environment and a diverse culture,” says G Inbavanan of HP.

“They need the support and a coach, who has seen the business closely, would be a better option for him. Same for the senior leaders who need people to confide in, but can only trust those who are at par.”