The ‘Vulnerable’ Leader – Do you have the courage to show your authentic self?

The fifth game would decide the clincher of the title between Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz, two of the best teams in the game during the late 90’s. The five game series had tied 2-2 and the best player in the world, Michael Jordan was going through sleepless nights between the fourth game and the fifth. He wished he be injured during practice, wished that his food be poisoned and he be admitted to the hospital. He wished that some calamity befall and the games stay as they are!

The reason? He did not want to be a part of the fifth match and stake the reputation of Air Jordan, the greatest player centre court had ever seen by losing the penultimate game. At the pinnacle of his career, the greatest basketball player of the world faced the most interesting challenge of his life – “The Challenge of Vulnerability.” It is a different story that he played the game, with all his heart and went on to win the most valuable player trophy at the NBA, but his story certainly resonates with the stories of some of the greatest people who’ve lived their time on earth.

How many of us have faced this situation when the odds are stacked against us, when we really want to quit and give up, when we are haunted by the demons that lie dormant deep within us? How many times in our lives have we almost given up, feeling a sense of desperation and deprivation ready to call it quits when your leadership is challenged? How many times have you felt like a vulnerable leader?

There’s good news. When a Michael Jordan can feel vulnerable, so can you and I. We all have our moments when the odds are stacked against us and we question our own ability and capability.

During those moments you need to realize that vulnerability is not an act of cowardice, but the ability to propel yourself and show your authentic self, first to yourself and then to the rest of the world. It is that force that you experience during the most testing of times, yet you break out of its shackles and emerge triumphant. Vulnerability is what brings out the best from within us and makes us stronger.


There are a few myths which are associated with vulnerability which is very important for us to get done with. The top three myths regarding vulnerability are as follows –

  1. Vulnerability is weakness: No it isn’t. It is the strength that gives us an opportunity to surpass our weaknesses
  2. You can stay away from vulnerability: It is a part of our existence and hence a part of us. No one can stay away from vulnerability, however we can cope with it and emerge victorious.
  3. It is not about going all alone: Vulnerability is also about disclosure, about the confidence to confide in someone who you trust and possibly guide you out of the situation.

There are moments during your course of engagement that you feel low, feel the need to back out, feel that the time and the situation are not suitable for your mind to propel towards action, fret not! Vulnerability could be an asset if used well could guide you into your next orbit of confidence and conviction.

Vulnerability is an asset, use it well!


Executive coaching strengthens leadership pipeline

The growth of Executive Coaching Industry in India, over the last few years, gives me immense joy. In the earlier years of setting my business, most of the meetings with potential clients were devoted to building an awareness of the Coaching. The scenario has evolved now, and clients are seeking out coaches for their personal and professional development. The media has played a wonderful role in bring Coaching to the forefront.

Sharing here an article which was published in The Economic Timees.

“Executive Coaching helps successful leaders to become more successful. It is viewed as something special for ‘High Potential Leaders’ to do better in future and improve their retention rate”, explained Dr. PV Bhide, President-Corporate HR, JK Organization during an interview with TJinsite, research and knowledge arm of According to him, the Coaching Industry is growing exponentially in India and is estimated to grow from present Rs. 200 Crore per annum to Rs. 800 Crore per annum by 2014.

Perry Zeus and Dr. Skiffington (of the Behavioral Coaching Institute) defined executive coaching as a time bound dialogue between coach and coachee within a productive and result oriented context. In their view, it is about change and transformation that the coachee aspires, which emanates from asking the right questions rather than providing the right answers.

Rajendra Ghag, Executive Vice President, HR & Admin of HDFC Life christened executive coaching as ‘Gold Mining Mentality’. It is brought into play to unleash the true potential of senior leaders and improve their performance by asking relevant questions. “We hire coaches, who are seasoned professionals from the industry. An ex-chairman of a big company is brought to train senior leaders of our organisation and reduce interference in their work”, he added.

Earlier, executives were reluctant to be coached, but now it is viewed by candidates as a sign of being on an accelerated career growth path. Underlining the challenges of the executive coaching industry in India, Dr Bhide articulated, “There is a need for impetus in propelling research to identify what practices would be more effective from Indian coachees’ point of view. As most ‘Global Coaching Certifications’ teach western coaching models and methodologies.

During one of the Skills Dialogue session, a series of high powered panel discussions organised by, industry experts pointed that there is absence of experienced coaches, who have finer business wisdom as compared to what theoretical coaching model based methodologies provide. And, on the demand side there is a need to sensitize CXOs and HR heads to focus on improvement, change, and outcomes rather than merely a feel-good factor.

Suggesting the way forward, Dr. Bhide advised organisations to identify specific domains that can be benefited most through executive coaching and create a culture of coaching by nurturing internal leaders and managers to become coaches.

Together, experts expressed the want to bring in more structure into this emerging industry to help define the engagement models and professional approach that this function requires in the Indian context.

Link to article:

Times Ascent Online- Executive Coaching: A rage! Cover Story

Sheetal Srivastava

There’s been a need for executive coaching in India for a long time. More-so now than ever before because of the pace of change in the corporate world and people’s expectations from their work.

Given the talent crunch that most HR managers complain about, specially at a senior level, executive coaching helps address a need which is hugely resonant among CEOs and top-level managers. Also, research often highlights that a “bad/uninspiring” boss is the most frequently cited reason for people quitting. Executive coaching helps develop “good/inspiring bosses”.

In fact, it helps in the transition of people from being bosses to coaches, who urge their teams to deliver. Says Radhakrishnan B Menon, managing director, LBW (Leadership in Business Worldwide) Consulting, “Normally focused on senior leaders and high potentials, coaching can improve leadership skills and team performance.” He further adds, “Eventually it generates high performing teams. Best results are achieved when coaching is aligned with business strategy.”

India is fast leaping into a new generation of economy, where the proliferation of new industries and the expansion of the existing ones has led to an unprecedented demand for highly skilled/experienced talent. With investments in these businesses at an all time high, the dependence on people performance has shot up dramatically.

The methods used to nurture talent base need to be in synch with the new dynamics. Today’s professional has changed from the earlier generations. He is far more aware of the unprecedented choice of job and career options. He therefore, looks for meaning beyond the hygiene factors of compensation. It is thus, critical to understand this professional to enable the organisation to leverage his true potential. 

“Coaching worldwide has managed to be a critical intervention in connecting best with the new- age professional, and India seems to be ripe for a similar movement,” avers Abhijit Pradhan, founder & chief explorer, Superstar Business Solutions.

“Businesses also need new and innovative strategies more than ever to succeed in the market place of today. Executive coaching can prime their most important assets – to take up that challenge,” adds Pradhan.

So how does executive coaching help drive an organisation’s business objective? Coaching helps create OWNERSHIP within key talent. It then helps the candidate translate that ownership into ACTION. All this is under the ambit of the overall organisational business goals. Coaching is sensitive to business realities and helps the individual find his answers and strategy in achieving those goals.

“Coaching is based on the belief that people have great potential and that they achieve what they believe. With this in mind, executive coaching is offered to senior people in the corporate world with the overall purpose of utilising the full potential of their senior people,” says Prof. Rooshikumar Pandya, a pioneer in the fields of communication, stress management, and therapeutic suggestions.

Executive coaching differs from a typical HR training. It is a form of leadership development that works one-on-one with an individual (usually senior management); to help them truly get on the mission/vision of an organisation, by addressing hurdles/obstacles they face (could be attitudes, challenging behaviour of peers/subordinates/senior etc). In turn, the coached individual is able to inspire and motivate his/her own team to deliver results, thus, build a winning team.


What do you think is the future of Executive Coaching In India?

I posted this question on LinkedIn a couple of days ago. Here is how it goes:


” Executive coaching as a specialized discipline has been flourishing in the United States, UK and other mature market economies.

“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.)

Research studies in these countries have been consistently showing spectacular improvements in performance after executive coaching.

“These days, coaching is viewed as very positive and demonstrates an organization’s commitment to the employee’s success in both current and future roles. Furthermore, coaching is increasingly provided to mid-level executives, as well.” says Peyton Daniel, Senior Managing Director & Coaching Practice Leader for DBM North America in the recent study conducted by DBM and the Human Capital Institute (HCI)
What do you think is the future of Executive Coaching in India? ”



This is what friends at LinkedIn said :

Sandeep Malviya

This answer is not sector specific. If we see start ups are mushrooming across the sectors, may be IT/Non IT, many young entrepreneurs are coming in the market. We need executive courses which deliver the exposure to understand various business situations after all business is long run game where you have to deal with all kind of stuff. As there are many B-Schools which have launched Executive programmes but I think Executives are more inclined to join Elite Segment only. There is bounds of opportunity to design and make successful this type of courses.


 Phil Johnson, Ph.D. Authentic Leadership™
Business Leadership Coach, Author, Speaker

Shalini – many of The MBL Global Network’s members are coming from India … coaching interest and awareness seems to be growing rapidly.

Nishith Trivedi
Consultant – Infosys

Hi Shalini,

The concept of Executive Coaching is relatively new in India.

Over the last 3 to 5 years it has got traction. As more and more organizations drive to adopt best practices and learnings from the fortune companies, the practice of executive development is becoming more visible.

Lot of mid-size companies too who have active board members have seen getting support for executive coaching esp for C level execs. The large organizations are extending such practices to the mid-level segment to foster effective grooming and succession planning.

In my opinion the future of exec coaches in India will be very good as many C level execs have begun to seek continuous and active support from executive coaches. This trend will gain speed as many Indian as well as non-indian companies are appointing expats in operational roles. The expats are used to such concepts and that would in turn help in getting the initial buy-in.  

 Anshuman Tiwari
Change Management, Business Excellence and Six Sigma professional.

While passion is key to all careers it is even more so for a Executive Coach. I won’t really bother what is the future of Executive Coaching is in India. It doesn’t matter I think. I won’t consider becoming a coach because the future is bright. I would consider it if I think I can do well. I can help. If I am good I will make money also.

Realistically speaking I have some apprehensions about coaching in India – most of us have difficulty admitting we need help. A mix of upbringing, schooling, and role modeling by parents (elders) has made this even worse. Seeking help is considered a sign of weakness.

Going back to how I started my response – I wish there are more coaches who really are good at coaching. Slowly the tide will turn.

Subhas C Biswas
Trainer, Consultant and Auditor

Future is bright.
Coaches are getting matured.
Demands are picking up for young executives.
Parental guidance and traditional coaching is losing its steam.


Mark Herbert
Author, speaker, coach

The rate at which both Indian and Chinese companies and organizations have adopted our “best” practices and modified them to utilize them in their organizations is impressive.
I suspect like in this country it will catch on. Also like this country you will struggle with what defines “effective” coaching and the techniques will need to both integrate the best practices and the cultural nuances appropriate to the culture.
I see coaching as essential to creating the trust and interpersonal relationships that create true engagement. I have a sincere hope that “engagement” as a business philosophy becomes the international standard and that rather than studying “American” management practices or “Japanese” management practices we look for something that transcends.
I have created a very basic model with five elements that I think is applicable in any culture- those elements are: respect, responsibility, information, rewards, and loyalty. There are “skills” that are necessary to implement and sustain that model, but those skills like the elements are transferable.
I also believe that “coaching” needs to be pushed down in the organization. Waiting to implement it at the mid or executive level is wasted opportunity. It should be built into the foundation of leadership and management training.

Deepak Deshpande
Vice President – Human Resources, NetMagic Solutions

Hi Shalini,

This is indeed the best time to have such initiatives in the Chindia subcontinent.

Life coaching is not a new concept to the Indian subcontinent and same is the case with Personal Coaching. Indian scripts are full of examples of such practices. Even today, you will find many top business executives, company owners and successful working professionals who have their own coaches and mentors. Typically they are called as ‘gurus’ and are addressed in several different forms. Some of them are sincere, genuine and few fake.

Business coaching and conflict coaching is still in the nascent stages. Although a sizable number of Companies invest in coaching for the middle level managers, there are very few Companies which have structured and established coaching programs for top business executives.

The Indian subcontinent is certainly waking up to this world of coaching and has begun to appreciate the merits of coaching. So from that perspective surely the future for good coaches in India is surely bright as many C level execs have started to seek on going and active support from executive coaches. This trend will gain momentum as more and more leaders as MNCs appoint expats in their respective organizations. The expats are used to such concepts and that would play a key role in rolling out such practices.

Research data is full of examples where Chindia – Indian and Chinese companies have adopted traditional age old practices and customized them to their organizational needs. Personally I believe coaching as an essential tool to create and enhance trust levels to promote interpersonal engagements

Needless to add, any coaching initiative need to take a top down approach to reap the true benefits and that will happen only when the efforts have a structured process-driven relationship between a trained professional coach and an individual or team. This should include: assessment, examining values and motivation, setting measurable goals, defining focused action plans and using validated behavioral change tools and techniques to assist one to develop competencies and remove blocks to achieve valuable and sustainable changes in both professional and personal life.

One word of caution though, for quick and a healthy start to such efforts, all coaching programs need to have a good blend of western and eastern philosophies and honor local cultural and ethnic sensitivities and customize such programs. Dishonoring local sensitivities is a sure way to the highway of failed experiments. Like they say, THINK global ACT local!


Yes. The future is definitely bright.

The more and more the boundaries of local vs global are getting evaporated, the Indian companies and the top management will find the need to have executive coaching in making their companies grow beyond a certain limit.

The highly competent advisors will be in demand.

We are providing such services to the SME sector.

Arun Dhiman
Student at Jaypee University of Information Technology

hi Mam,
well Executive Coaching, today, is widely accepted as a ‘necessary learning’ in the arena of competitive business. It is accepted as a part of standard leadership development for top- rung executives. It is a Programme of one- to-one collaboration between a certified coach and an executive, who wants to better his leadership skills, access new perspectives and above all reach maximum potential.
The trend is fast catching up in India too. Top corporate executives acknowledge the energising role that a coach plays and are fast seeking the expertise of an executive coach in order to strengthen their business vision, performance and capacities. However, there is a perceived need for a tailored programme to train senior professionals, and thats what Executive Coaching do….

Use of Metaphors and Stories in Executive Coaching

A good coach usually has a lot of tools in his/her toolkit.

A proficient coach would know when to use just the right tool.

I have often found in dealing with my executive clients that the use of metaphors and story telling goes down very well with them. Suddenly they become the anxious little childern wanting to know what happened in the story next and Voila ! they have already put the jigsaw together !!

Using a story can influence the client without being directive. The client gets into a relaxed state of mind and can think clearer, better and faster.

Likewise Metaphors (Greek metapherein ) can be an excellent tool to assist the client out of a ‘stuck-state’. A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them. Metaphors take us beyond one meaning and open up new possibilities and avenues.

New Research Reveals Increased Credibility and Positive Returns for Executive Coaching:Courtesy COMTEX

    Benefits Include Enhanced Organizational Performance and Bottom Line

More than ever, organizations are using executive coaching to enhance performance across the enterprise by grooming high potential employees, while also supporting high-performing executives and leadership teams, according to a new study, Trends in Executive Coaching: New Research Reveals Emerging Best Practices. The research findings were released today by DBM, a global outplacement, coaching, and career management firm and the Human Capital Institute (HCI), a global professional association and educator advancing the science of strategic talent management.

The study of nearly 500 top business and human capital leaders shows that the demand for executive coaching services is growing due to increased credibility and demonstrated impact on the enterprise. The vast majority of respondents (78%) view coaching as a credible and effective way to enhance an individual’s effectiveness in driving the performance of an organization. Key findings include:

— Organizations are benefiting from a high return on investment (ROI) for executive coaching.

— More than three-quarters of enterprise executives view executive coaching as credible and valuable.

— Investment in coaching is on the rise as organizations strive to build ready pipelines of talent.

Organizations benefit from a high return on investment (ROI) of executive coaching.

“DBM’s research reinforces that executive coaching can generate significant rewards within an organization,” said Karen O’Boyle, President of DBM North America. “Businesses that invest in human capital by effectively leveraging executive coaching to groom talent throughout the enterprise are witnessing a significant impact on both operational excellence and the bottom line.”

Of the study respondents who calculate ROI, 77% believe that executive coaching provides their organizations with a solid return. These individuals estimated levels ranging from a minimum of 100% ROI to more than a 500% return.

The research found that organizations are using a combination of metrics and qualitative factors when evaluating the success of executive coaching. Organizations measuring direct financial impact most often track:

    -- executive output (33%), such as sales revenue and productivity

— quality improvements (23%), such as increased reliability or decreased defects

    -- cost savings (23%)
    -- turnover (21%)

In addition to tracking direct evidence of financial return, organizations also considered a variety of qualitative factors when measuring the impact of coaching. These included:

    -- achievement of agreed upon development objectives (84%)
    -- anecdotal evidence of success (83%)
    -- assessment from the coach (82%)
    -- other people's perceptions of the coachee (79%)

— coachee’s ability to be promoted or to take on new responsibilities (74%)

A majority of enterprise executives (78%) view executive coaching as credible and valuable.

“Executive coaching has become an ideal talent management tool for increasing business performance and making a company’s best people better,” said Peyton Daniel, Senior Managing Director & Coaching Practice Leader for DBM North America. “Years ago, organizations hired coaches only to support their top tier executives or to ‘fix’ bad hires. These days, coaching is viewed as very positive and demonstrates an organization’s commitment to the employee’s success in both current and future roles. Furthermore, coaching is increasingly provided to mid-level executives, as well.”

According to the study, the business community has embraced executive coaching as a versatile leadership development tool that can be used to proactively enhance the effectiveness of already high-performing and capable executives.

Interestingly, organizations reported that the predominant use for coaching is to address derailing behaviors. However, when asked to rank the top circumstances where executive coaching has the greatest impact, “addressing derailing behaviors” placed third. The top three opportunities for coaching engagements that can have the greatest impact include:

    1) developing "high potential" candidates for succession planning (29%)
    2) helping a capable executive achieve a higher level of performance (28%)
    3) addressing derailing behaviors (22%)
    Investment in coaching is on the rise.

Organizations are planning to increase their investment in coaching, specifically in order to build a ready pipeline of talent and ensure top talent achieves mission-critical objectives. Future investments are shifting due to evolving outcomes desired, according to the study.

Organizations on the whole plan to increase their use of coaching in order to:

    -- groom high-potential employees (62%)
    -- help capable executives achieve higher levels of performance (58%)
    -- enhance the effectiveness of leadership teams (48%)
    -- provide on-demand coaching for short-term, targeted situations (44%)

The most significant planned decreases in the use of coaching, according to survey respondents, include:

    -- addressing derailing behaviors (14%)
    -- guiding career decisions (12%)

“Executive coaching is clearly an important tool for organizations seeking to embrace the talent economy,” said Allan Schweyer, Executive Director and SVP of Research at HCI. “Talent management executives recognize that executive coaching can not only enhance situational learning, but also lead to enhanced performance and a competitive advantage in the marketplace.”

    About the Study

DBM conducted a research study in partnership with the Human Capital Institute on trends and emerging best practices in Executive Coaching. The 472 respondents were from a wide cross-section of industries and were comprised of HR Business Partners (32%), top Human Resources Executives (26%) and the remainder in Organizational Development and/or Training/Development roles (42%).

DBM is a leading global outplacement, coaching, and career management firm providing services to private and public companies, not-for-profits and governments. Visit to learn more.

The Human Capital Institute is a global network of more than 115,000 members in 40 countries committed to shaping the world’s new talent economy. Visit to learn more.


David Keathley of DBM,                +1-404-325-4100        , Web Site:           

Copyright (C) 2008 CNW Group. All rights reserved

News Provided by COMTEX

Coaching by telephone?

An expression of amazement and sceptism is what I get from executives who hear about Coaching by Telephone at the first instance. I need to clarify here that these are people who have been very recently introduced to the World of Coaching.Yet when we do it over the phone they just love it !

The question which earlier was ,

“How is it possible to read body language over the telephone?”

now turns into,

“How was  it possible to read my body language,thoughts and flow of energy over the telephone?????????”

Coaches who work by telephone become increasly sensitive to tone, pauses and silences. A small shift in the voice communicates almost telepathically with the coach and can prove more effective at a deeper level than just reading of body language.

Organisations usually require coaches to visit their premises and conduct sessions face to face. However even at the workplace telephone coaching is becoming more popular. Coaches often deliver their first session face to face , thereby building enough trust with the client in areas of their relationship, in the coaching process and  also confidence of the client to be able to agree to a coaching session by phone.( ONLY if they feel comfortable enough to give it a try )

Although doubtful beforehand , most of my clients later prefer only to work by telephone !

The benefits include :

* Fewer distractions

* No travel + no wastage of time and energy in cutting through the traffic, waiting at the venue

* sessions can be travelled more easily at odd times and/or across widely spread locations.