• Dr. Rajesh Mohan Rai

Leadership Coaching Has Evolved: Is Your Organization Keeping Up?

Article originally published in Times Of India.


The rapidity of changing business scenario is putting a lot of stress on leaders in the corporate world. The organizations are gearing up to face this ever-changing and fast-growing business demands and remain relevant in the VUCA world. A successful organization needs to be agile and flexible to adapt to change at an equal pace with which the changes are occurring. For this, the leaders and the entire workforce needs to be ready to take on new and unprecedented challenges and incorporate new ways of working.

Leadership coaching has evolved from a secretive intervention to the most sought-after intervention to prepare the leaders for the future and stay relevant in the ever-changing business environment. It has transitioned from a measure to support poor performers as part of Personal Improvement Plan (PIP) to prepare high potential employees for a bigger role in a foreseeable future. It is a loud and clear signal to the employee that he/she is valued by the organization and career growth journey is being planned. It is a perk for high performers. 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 asking their organizations for engaging Executive Coaches for them.

Beyond employee satisfaction, employee development employee engagement, career development coaching also enables organizations to institutionalize succession planning by creating a strong and healthy pipeline of leaders

A Leadership coach supports high-achieving business leaders & professionals calibrate their leadership styles and behaviours and improve organizational effectiveness by positively impacting top line and bottom line. Organizations are aware and have accepted the fact that the investment done is not on coaching but for the improved business results.

Leaders – especially senior leaders – are often expected to have all the answers. Leader is the person providing guidance and giving advice all the time, for him/her opening-up to a coach may not come naturally. However, being vulnerable, open, authentic and transparent with the coach helps the leader make progress more quickly and smoothly. A coach’s primary role is to listen to the business leader and help him/her explore his/her own thoughts, assumptions, and blind spots. Executive coaches give senior leaders a rare opportunity to be vulnerable and open with their thoughts, which drives powerful conversations and new insights.

A leader doesn’t have to worry about performing for the coach or hiding the weaknesses and flaws. As part of their role, a coach assumes that the leader is successful and competent. They focus all their energy on getting the leader to the next level. For a leader, working with a coach brings focus, clarity, and structure to professional development. Beyond sharing issues during coaching sessions, a leader must set goals and develop action plans which the coach holds him/her accountable for. This benefits the leader with increased insights while achieving measurable and tangible results with agreed timelines.

A coach always considers the “whole person”, which includes career, life, health, and fulfilment. This means that the leader doesn’t have to limit the conversations to issues with coworkers or direct reports. If there’s an issue that the leader wants to discuss, they don’t have to be afraid to share it with the coach.

A Coach nudges the leader into the “unknown territory” by challenging him/her to look at things from a different perspective. By being willing to experiment with different ways of thinking, the leader gains more insight and walk away with more solutions to the pressing issues at hand.

Coaching is one of the only leadership development solutions that provide human-to-human support to leaders for months (or years) at a time. Coaching is the best platform to develop leaders because it helps them directly address the most pressing challenges they face. Coaching is customized and personal is designed to leverage each leader’s unique strengths and supports them over time as the leaders make lasting changes in their lives. Coaching is unique because instead of giving leaders a one-size-fits-all solution, coaching supports leaders as they develop their own styles and approaches.

Effective coaching can have a profound impact on not only the lives of business leaders, but on the entire organization. As a leader in an organization, you want the organization to succeed in accomplishing its mission. You have put in a lot of efforts to recruit the talent with whom you are currently working. It is worth to keep investing in them, to help them be as great as they can be, both for the sake of the organization and for the sake of their natural desire to become great at what they do. Coaching is a highly leveraged way to up your team’s game, making you better and better at doing great things together.

Is your organization keeping up?