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  • Writer's pictureDr. Rajesh Mohan Rai

EXECUTIVE COACHING: An evolution in the Indian leadership coaching industry

The most prominent shift which is visible today is engagement of executive coaches by Family Managed Businesses. In some cases, to engage with an Executive Coach is a mandate from the funding partner.

Executive Coaching is fairly a new idea in India’s corporates and has gained impetus only in the recent past. As an Executive Coach for over ten years, I have witnessed the transition from “How to position this intervention” to a “Must Be Intervention”. Coaching has moved from a very hush-hush activity to most talked about intervention in Corporate India. It has moved from a HR/sponsor-driven intervention to a business-driven intervention. It has transitioned from a panacea to highly specialized intervention.

Today, Executive Coaches are being engaged for the leaders in Corporate India to help them cope with the ever rising pressure to perform, be agile in their approach in dealing with the challenges faced by them in the ever changing VUCA world, delegate, develop, empower and engage the teams and certainly improve the quality of life for everyone involved.

With ever increasing stress to prove themselves, it’s vital for leaders to become more and more self-aware. With effective questioning a coach supports the client to explore self-awareness and to act fittingly and collaboratively to create a WIN-WIN for all.

Observing these emerging trends, I firmly believe that the executive coaching industry is all set to grow exponentially in India in the near future. To substantiate my observations, I would mention that currently we have over 5,000 certified coaches, 5 ICF chapters in different geographies and have hosted many international coaching conferences in the recent past to make the stakeholders aware what Executive Coaching can do for them. Many courses are available now to train and certify upcoming coaches. Fifteen years back, all this was unheard of.

With experience, Executive Coaches are also becoming more aware and appreciative of the fact that executive coaching relationships are as unique as their participants. No two coaching engagements are alike and that every coaching assignment will present new challenges and they are preparing themselves to face these challenges. The deliverables of an Executive Coach involve helping leaders (and by extension, the organisation) solve problems and achieve better business results. The benefits aren’t just for the coaching client, but also for the people whom the client leads.

Over the past few years, executive coaches have been engaged to develop leaders who are transitioning to higher positions. Even leaders who realize that they need external support to understand and get clarity on their thought patterns and emotional triggers and become more productive and successful are engaging Executive Coaches. Professionals have become keen to explore life beyond the realm of the corporate world, and having a trusted, unbiased and objective, willing to listen, mentor is always helpful. Professionals have started realizing that self-awareness is not limited to leadership roles but is an essential constituent to living a meaningful life. Hence, individuals have started engaging coaches on a personal level. There have been paid networks who are exclusively working for providing coaching to women leaders to help them break the glass ceiling.

There has been a positive modification in the audience that is looking to engage with a coach. From being limited to leaders from multinational companies, now Indian companies are also engaging Executive Coaches for their senior leaders and high potential employees. Even the startups are engaging with Executive Coaches. In some cases, to engage with an Executive Coach is a mandate from the funding partner.

The most prominent shift which is visible today is engagement of executive coaches by Family Managed Businesses. This is a very interesting space. To develop and groom the next generation leaders, to prepare them to manage the business, to ensure the smooth transition from one generation to the next while ensuring that the family relationships are maintained, mid-sized companies have started seeking the support of executive coaches.

Whether an organisation needs outstanding leaders for strengthening culture, learning to communicate better with investors, making better decisions, planning leadership succession, or towards some other end, executive coaching has a proven track record and ROI.

I have seen leaders elevate themselves and their organisations and I couldn’t be prouder seeing their hard work paying off.

In the Indian context, one thing which is absolutely clear is that organisations are not investing in Executive Coaching but they are investing in improved business results through Executive Coaching. However, we still have a long way to go.




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