Frequently Asked Questions

Broadly speaking, Coaching is all about humans helping other humans get better at practically anything. A classic example is how good Coaches produce champion sportspersons. Coaching (in the context of leadership, management or business) differs from other professions like mentoring or consulting as the Coach relies on his skills of active listening and powerful questioning to ask for the solution (instead of providing it).

According to the Neuro Leadership Institute, Coaching is facilitating positive change by improving thinking. The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines Coaching as ” An interactive process to help individuals and organizations develop more rapidly and produce more satisfying results; improving others’ abilities to set goals, take action, make better decisions and make full use of their natural strengths”. 

Marshall Goldsmith says that Executive Coaching enables leaders to lead/ behave more effectively, through positive behaviour change that is sustained, recognized and acknowledged by others. In other words, Coaching bridges the gap between learning or knowing and doing ie, it helps translate knowledge into action and results. It accelerates leadership growth on the job.

“A good Coach can change a game, a great Coach can change your life”

 In a Coaching engagement, Coaches communicate  with their client at regular planned intervals. The Coach asks powerful questions, guides exploration and generates insights. With an external coach (unlike being coached by someone in your company), the conversations are confidential and centered on the you. Confidentiality promotes trust and a makes the coach a safe sounding board.  And, the relationship is not complicated by organizational hierarchy, politics or other issues. A few aspects on how Coaching works –

  • It is difficult to look at yourself objectively. A good coach gives you the perspective on yourself you need to shift to make your life, work and career more successful. He can help you tap into powers you never knew you had lurking inside you. 
  • Coaching helps better understand how groups and organizations work to help you hear what others aren’t saying (but do mean), and navigate tricky interpersonal situations with bosses, staff and your peers. You can quickly identify, which of your assumptions and judgements about yourself and others, are making your relationships more difficult. 
  • You have more confidence about the direction you’re choosing and that confidence shows in your personal brand for others to see. 

Can you get ahead without an executive coach? Sure! But a coach will save you time and missteps along the way. Like on the sports field, coaches provide guidance and you do the work on yourself to build the skills, behaviors and insights that define success for yourself so you can get there on your own terms. You’re already working hard in pursuit of your success, why not work smarter and reach your goals faster? 

“Coaching takes you from where you are to where you want to be”

The focus of Coaching is on things that are important to the Client or the Coachee. Its not about what the Coach knows or can share with his Client, it’s more about what matters to the Client. Leadership or Executive Coaching focuses on improving Leadership performance  ie, improving effectiveness of leadership behaviour and impact on business results. The Coach helps address specific growth areas relevant to the Leader. These would include effective decision making, conflict management, influencing, holding others accountable, execution for results, building trust with stakeholders, assertiveness and self-confidence etc. The Coach helps the Leader in achieving clarity of purpose and direction. Also, grow the perception of Leader’s capability and effectiveness (“leadership brand”), as seen by the Board/ top management. Developing executive presence and to be recognized as a high potential leader could be other areas of focus. Similarly, leaders like to focus on career advancement including developing successors, to assure ready replacement when they get promoted. Likewise, in Business Coaching business owners get help in growing their business profitably and sustainably while at the same time maturing as an inspirational Leader who can build and grow high performance teams.

The ultimate goal of effective coaching is to produce a tangible outcome Focusing on this outcome instead of the problem allows the Coachee to access their resources and generate solutions and possibilities. Following questions, when answered, can help define the outcome of the Coaching engagement:

  • What does the Coachee want? The first step is to focus on identifying the desired end state
  • How will they reach their outcome? What are some steps that will get the Coachee from where they currently are to where they want to go?
  • What will unfold for the Coachee out of getting this result? How will the Coachee benefit?
  • How will Coachee know they got the desired outcome? What will be the signals that they have reached completion?
  • People sometimes feel unqualified for coaching unless they have a specific plan of action that they want to work on, but the truth is, working with a coach will probably help you identify that a hell of a lot more quickly.
  • So, in short, the answer is no, you don’t need to have a plan of action or a “thing” that you want to focus on, simply knowing that you want to make some sort of change is enough. Coaches spend the initial sessions with each client getting to the heart of what’s going on for them and building a vision for the future, so all you need to be able to articulate is what’s going on for you right now, and where you’d love to see some improvements.

Again, the answer is No! The only thing is that in order to get the most from any coaching relationship, you need to be committed and ready to put the work in. That might mean committing to trying new mindset tools, being open to approaching things in a slightly different way, or actually prioritizing the time to show up wholeheartedly for sessions together. If you’re ready to start making change happen, then you’re ready to work with a coach.

The Coaching style of leadership is becoming popular especially in managing millennials, where the traditional authoritative or directive styles of leadership are not effective. Part of good leadership means seeing yourself as a coach, not as a king or queen who sits idly by and lifts the odd finger to command. Employees don’t need a pat on the head once a year, nor do they need hand-holding every step of the way. Successful businesses achieve their goals through regular and effective feedback, communication, drive and support . Being an effective and successful leader means coaching your employees. Provide frequent feedback. Communicate and actively listen to build trust and empower your staff. Encourage innovation and experimentation to grow employee talents beyond comfort zones. Focus less on quantity and more on the quality of the exchange between you and each employee, and the returns on investment will multiply fruitfully. 

“The goal of coaching is the goal of good management: to make the most of an organization’s valuable resources.” – HBR

You bet Einstein was right when he said “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” He also said that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’

These words matter to those of us who feel stuck or are looking for a new approach, going through a change or transition or are not getting the results we want. In such situations, coaches can help make significant changes in one’s life, and get the results one always wanted to have.

Coaching is gaining in popularity as companies realize it is the wisest investment to enhance Leadership productivity and performance. Likewise, several career-focused executives and business owners looking to grow sustainably are experiencing the power of Coaching  and its transformational benefits.

Organizations are willing to invest in Coaching as it is one of the quickest ways to enhance leadership growth and to accelerate business performance and results.  

 Here are some key benefits, from my own experience of having been Coached, during my corporate stint –

  1)  Reflection and Self Awareness – My Coach forced me to think, reflect and try to figure out about myself. 

 2)  Goal Setting – The SMART goal setting helped in defining and refining my goals and to crystallize them. I understood the importance of the Big Why and that the secret of passion is purpose. 

 3)  Art of the Possible – One important learning from the sessions was ‘how do you pump yourself up to reach for the skies?’ Being aware, having that goal in front of you and developing a possibilities mind-set is of utmost importance at every stage in your life

 4)  Bridging the knowing doing gap – Somewhere I knew what I wanted to do next, however the action did not follow through. Having a bias for action was an important lesson which helped me to ultimately follow my passion.

 5)  Achieving the balance between the heart , body, mind and soul – It is very easy to forget one’s self nourishment when chasing targets. One must take the time to understand, define, and execute towards their passion in a balanced way – not compromising on the self.

Clearly, it was my Coach who made all the difference – he was very genuine and I always felt that he was truly interested in my progress and well being. He was always accessible and even today I turn to him whenever I hit a roadblock or to bounce off my ideas. I always feel invigorated at the end of these conversations. He guided me to take control of my life and do something different. 

 Coaching is, taking a player where he can’t take himself – Bill McCartney

The duration of coaching depends on the person and the issues. It is ideal for the Coach to meet the Coachee at least once a month, ideally every two to three weeks. Often, Coachees  meet their goals within three to four months, Each session lasts for 60 minutes on average.

Fees vary widely. Typically, the more experienced the coach, the higher the fee. According to some studies, established Coaches charge an average hourly fee of around  $500. Some Coaches charge $20,000 or more for a package of 6 months coaching. However, these rates vary widely from one location to another.

Executive coaching can help achieve higher performance and greater personal satisfaction at work. In order to reap the benefits of coaching be prepared to fully engage in the process. Coaching  requires a substantial investment of time and effort, so before you make the commitment, ask yourself , “Am I ready to be coached?”

There are certain core characteristics that differentiate leaders who evolve through coaching from those who don’t. It’s normal to feel both excitement and trepidation when deciding to work with an executive coach. Start by assessing the degree to which you have these characteristics, then discuss which are the most challenging for you. You may mutually decide that it’s not the right time to proceed. More likely, it will help you develop a stronger relationship and a deeper awareness of how to meaningfully develop as a leader through coaching.

Tolerance for discomfort. Successful coaching requires you to be proactive in embracing new ways of perceiving and acting. In doing so, you will likely experience fear or emotional blocks about new realizations and realities. 

Openness to experimentation. Trying something new means taking risks, and experiments with new behaviors may not work the first time. You have to try out new ideas and actions, fail, learn, and try again.

Ability to look beyond the rational. Behavior is not rational — it’s driven by emotions like fear, anger, and pride. Just because you “know” what to do doesn’t mean that you’ll act accordingly. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of your own behaviors and relationships if you explore their emotional dimensions.

Willingness to take responsibility. It’s hard to change if you don’t believe you have the power to shape your future. Blaming the organization, the boss, too many responsibilities, and so on will block you from growth. You have to hold yourself accountable for making progress.

Capacity for forgiveness. Even if you feel you’ve been mistreated, it’s essential to make peace with the past and channel your energy into progress. You must be willing to forgive and move on.

Self-discipline. Somewhat counterintuitively, your development as a leader will likely require you to let go of ways of thinking and behaving that helped make you successful in the past and be prepared to live with the consequences. It may be hard for others to accept changes in your personal or work relationships. 

Ability to ask for support. Finally, you must be engaged with other potential supporters, not just your coach, throughout the coaching process. You are accountable for change, but you will develop faster if you make yourself vulnerable to others (judiciously), including your boss, peers, and even direct reports. Share goals, ask for advice, listen with curiosity, and most critically, accept and act on the constructive feedback you receive.

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen – Micheal Jordan”