Look at the world of sports. It is replete with examples of coaches turning lacklustre, somewhat motivated individuals into medal-winning fire machines. Now let us apply the same rule to the head of an organisation. The CEO or the functional head as the case may be, is constantly motivating people while keeping a hawk eye on the bottom-line. But in difficult times like these, some times even the best motivated individual finds it difficult stay focused on tracks. It is here that life coach on business coach’s role comes into play.

So what is coaching and who is a business coach or an executive coach?

In business context, coaching is often defined as a powerful dialogue and conversation between a facilitator and a learner within a productive, result-oriented context. Coaching facilitates the exploration of needs, motivations, aspirations, skills, and thought processes to assist the individual in making real, lasting change. It is specific, need-based, time-bound, meaningful and measurable.

A professional coach, who is typically hired by an individual or organisation, specialises in one of the many emerging domains of coaching, including life skills, job skills, business skills, and executive skills.

American psychologist Carl Roger, the founder of the humanistic approach to psychology found that for a person to ‘grow’, they need an environment that provides them with genuineness (openness and self-disclosure), acceptance (being seen with unconditional positive regard), and empathy (being listened to and understood).

Hence, a business coaches largely focuses on grappling with the dilemmas faced by CEO and coaches generally indulge in dialogues in a non judgemental and non-directing way.

Ganesh Chella, Co-founder, Coaching Foundation of India notes that with the growth in the economy, leaders have been thrust into positions of power. Many who are in leadership roles never find time to engage in coaching conversations. The formal coaching culture albeit slow, is catching up in India too.

Also senior board members of several companies say that their CEOs could do with some help with leadership but do not know who to approach or even fear loss of power.

Chella says the coach helps the executive evolve strategies and action plans that will help him achieve his goals within a defined time frame.

One of the key questions companies and even individuals ask is whether to turn to a coach only when there is a problem. “No”, says Chella, “one doesn’t need a problem only a burning desire to become more productive and effective as a leader.” He says seeking a coach is, in fact, “a sign of your openness to a rich developmental experience.”

While sceptics say that executive coaching is as good as tarot card reading, Chella begs to differ, saying coaches often use behavioural or psychometric tools to assess the executive’s current behaviour or personality preferences to expand his self-awareness and make him aware of the choices available in dealing with new situations and new demands.

(This article was published on June 29, 2012)
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