When Arjuna was battling with his inner self on how he could
fight his own, it was with Krishna’s constant urging and guidance that he was
able to make a decision. The key element here is not that he fought with his
cousins or that he came out a winner, but that it was HIS decision, something
that he owned and was completely convinced about. This dialogue between Krishna
and Arjuna symbolizes the very essence of Coaching.
Coaching has traditionally been associated with sports. Why
do we talk about Coaches in Sports and not Teachers? It is because the role of
a Coach is far more than that of just teaching a skill. It is about guiding,
encouraging, enabling and empowering an individual to realize his/her true
potential. Coaching as defined by Oxford dictionary is “The process of training somebody to play a sport, to do a job better
or to improve a skill”. In the context of organizations, it obviously
implies the last two meanings.
Why is Coaching needed? In today’s workplace, one size does not fit
all, you literally have four generations working in certain organizations; what
suits one does not suit another. Coaching thus addresses this need and provides
a more personalized approach than your off-the-rack learning programmes. It
caters to an individual’s needs rather than the needs of the organization and
hence resonates strongly with ones’ selfish motives of self-development.
Who needs it? While it is often believed that Coaching is meant
for the senior leadership, I personally believe that it is relevant for all
levels of hierarchy especially as it gears towards bringing about a fundamental
change in the way we perceive approach and thereby handle situations. As such
the sooner one gets the opportunity to get “coached”, the sooner s/he will be able
to realize her/his potential.
When is the right time? Coaching cannot be task related or time
bound. It does not result in someone getting a coveted position in the
organization; rather it prepares and enables him/her to perform the role to the
best of him/her abilities. So, a Coach will actually help someone to add value
to their existing roles or prepare them for the next higher role.
How to be a good Coach? Coaching efforts will be successful
only if the Coach is able to correctly understand three aspects: Who they are
coaching? What their individual beliefs are? How to channel the individuals’
potential to achieve the desired outcome? All of these help him to “understand the individual and identify the
enablers”. It can never be
prescriptive. In simple terms it will fundamentally change your “way of
working”. And I will in fact say that successful coaching will actually help
you to become the best “version” of yourself.
As author Timothy Gallwey rightly mentions “Coaching is
unlocking a persons’ potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping
them learn rather than teaching them”