Research Paper By Prem Kamath
(Executive Coach, INDIA)
During these past many years as an executive coach I have been constantly looking for ways to leverage on other people’s knowledge and learn from their experience to grow into an emotionally aware coach. I have also come to realize that even though there are different types of coaching being practiced, in the end it is all about life coaching. This aspect has been further strengthened after joining this ICA program which has convinced me that executive coaching is dealing with issues of relationship dysfunctions at work.
While coaching we are committed to make our clients understand themselves; they have to establish their own values whereby they can achieve happiness. Almost all my clients are at the CXO level (or one level below) and it is ironic that despite all that they have achieved to hold such high positions in organizations, they are seldom happy. Being at the top also makes them lonely and constantly looking over their shoulder to watch out for ambitious executives who are trying to derail them and take over their position!
Relevance to coaching:
Once when I was coaching a rather difficult client I accidently used an interesting and inspiring quote that I had recently come across, to get my client to think of the deeper meaning behind that quote. Till then I too had let my underlying cynical belief about such so called profound thoughts being banal to make me hold back from exposing my client to the truth and optimism that can be generated. I now use a few relevant quotes at the appropriate stage in each coaching session to supercharge my coaching conversation.
I started looking for inspiring quotes to enhance my repertoire and did a lot of research on the internet to home-into web-sites that list such quotes. This search and compilation is the subject of my research paper as it has become very relevant for my coaching practice as described in ‘my model’ and ‘my power tool’. I have spent hours together after accessing ‘Google’ for inspirational quotes to go through 35 web-sites (referenced at the end of this paper) and over 1750 quotes to look for some that are simple but powerful. I chose only quotes that were a line or two long at most but do serve as the tipping point.
My short-list of 75 quotes presented herein below is what I personally find inspiring. Some of them would certainly be useful for other coaches too; however, I would urge all coaches to visit the web-sites listed under ‘References’ at the end of this paper to compile a list of what adds value to their own coaching process. I would like to acknowledge each of the enlightened people who have either created these quotes or compiled them in these web-sites for other people to live them and grow as emotionally aware human beings.
I do not bring in quotes in the first few coaching sessions because those sessions are for ‘getting to know the person within’ my client, evolve the issues that are of concern, ask a lot of powerful questions about those areas of concern and leverage the GROW model to paint the canvas of what they wish to achieve. I then seek their commitment to change (not just by trying) and discuss the feedback from their 360 appraisal and observations of their conducting business meetings and the way they interact with their team. These sessions are all about the way they operate in their organizational role at or near the top and for us to develop a climate of trust and nurturing in our coaching relationship.
My client by then has overcome a lot of apprehension about the coaching process and is ready for the journey into looking at life itself. It is time to apply NLP and CBT where relevant and leverage/ develop my client’s EI potential to take coaching relationship to a higher plane of consciousness. It is not difficult for me by then to visualize which set of quotes from my shortlist would add tremendous value to our coaching conversation. I venture with these one by one and ask as to what the quote means to them, what picture do they see in their mind’s eye and whether they can illustrate an event in their life that conforms most to the quote(s)? Over a period of time I have learned to weave them in so naturally into the coaching conversation that it adds tremendous depth to the process.