Creating readiness for coaching in firms

Updated: Nov 13 2012, 02:25am hrs
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 awarenessallow 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 criticalcompetencies, 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 confidence levels between each other.

Tracking progress: Finally, it is all about measuring effectiveness; being subtle is the name of the game. The tendency to approach it like an appraisal should be avoided. A midway simple progress card on how is it going would be fine. On conclusion of sessions, one may conduct a summary evaluation from both parties.

In summary, there are many challenges before the introduction of coaching in organisations. Sensing readiness, stakeholder building, being prepared, linkage to the business and talent strategy and a well-laid-out implementation plan would deliver astounding success to the organisation.

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do. Leonardo Da Vinci.

The author is founder & MD of LBW Consulting. He is also executive coach to a number of CEOs and an associate certified coach of International Coach Federation