Monday, September 10, 2007

Coaching ......Child's play ...Isnt it

Well the latest buzz word in the Indian HR scene is Executive Coaching . As far as Indian managers are concerned executive coaching is not a new concept . I have heard of managers who have had coaches at least five years ago . However , the concept of coaching as a business proposition is gaining rapid currency amongst us in the last year or so. I know of friends and colleagues who are already or aspire to be Executive Coaches . There are some who call themselves Performance coaches and some who just coach ...(performance or otherwise) . When I first heard of real coaches , I was much younger and I dismissed them as personal shrinks to some CEO or wannabe CEO...., but the trend is rapidly changing , almost everybody either wants to be a coach or be coached , which has created this demand for "Your Friendly Neighbourhood Coach" and their USP is ...I don't need to know anything about your business ,or your pressures , I can just coach ....fantastic isn't it . I witnessed a similar phenomena in the US in 2001 . I was looking for a Training Manager , and I had shortlisted some 40 people for a face to face discussion . At least 7 of them (who had no training experience before) told me , that " Of course I can train...., whats the big deal...." . Drawing parallels from the training example , of course any human being can coach anybody else , bring to bear life's perspectives and add value....does it not sound simple enough.

I am sure Marshal Goldsmith (the God of Executive Coaching ) would dismiss me as a cynic and a non believer of people process ...but my disconnect is for the following reasons :

a) To be able to coach others , the coach should not be insecure .....unfortunately most of the coaches that I know are really insecure ( my data is based on a minuscule set of the world of coaches and hence I am aware that I make a sweeping generalization here , but my world view is limited to my experiences ...sorry about that ) and for all the good reasons want to prove to their coachee how smart they are .....and their notion of adding value is to leave you with a feeling that I am actually better than you

b) Coaching as a service will be potent only when the coach is truly interested in the development of the coachee . The kind of money that a good coach commands in the US market ( I am told that a certain Indian CEO Coach charges USD 20K ) for a day' s session makes me feel that it is a very very good business , so to be honest , I also want to be a coach and start making that kind of money ,who cares if I am really interested in the development of my coachee. I can fake it , and if I am Indian , I can add some spiritual masala to a Westerner and help him in his self discovery...cool isn't it ....I like this guy Dr Deepak Chopra , heard him once ....man he was a good speaker ....did he add value ....certainly not !!!

c) I am fundamentally against this notion that a coach can be a person who has no clue of the context of the coachee . Most of my coach pals tell me that you have to be able to ask the right questions ...this paradigm beats the hell out of me ....how do I even ask reasonable questions (forget right ones) if I dont know business and its intricacies . Well a lot of our Indian coaches are probably not the best business managers who graduate into this profession for motives best known to them

I was talking to a friend about enabling people a couple of hrs before I penned down this post . And in my discussion with this person , I told her that the ability to enable people comes only when one is deeply connected at all levels with the individual and has mastered an unknown equation wherein he can reach the individual at the cognitive and affective level . By this notion , I cannot be and should not be a coach, I cannot engage with all and sundry at a level which is required to unlock people's potential . As I sign off , with deep regret , let me confess that I am very simple human being and can't be a Coach

1 comment:

Marjan said...

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