A Coaching Model Created by Prem Kamath
(Executive Coach, INDIA)
After working for 32 years at Unilever in India, during which period I worked as Head of the HR function for 12 years in two spells, I decided to go it alone in 2004 as a consultant in leadership development and organizational transformation. Before moving into HR, I had spent 16 years in Sales & Marketing and 4 years in handling the integration activities of Mergers & Acquisitions. This background is relevant for why I evolved my unique consulting and coaching model which is described below.
During the first few consulting assignments itself I found it advantageous to offer coaching to the key senior people with whose active participation it was possible to implement whatever solutions to challenges that we had jointly identified. I say jointly because my consulting model, right from the start was also different in that I refused to submit a report to the company but undertook to work with the HR team to evolve their own action plan. This practice was chosen based on my own experience of being a client at the receiving end of consultant’s reports; thick spiral-bound booklets with colorful charts and conclusions we already knew!
I primarily focus on senior level coaching covering CXOs and the level below. Initially, I read a lot of the classic literature on coaching by Marshall Goldsmith, Robert Hargrove, John Whitmore and Timothy Galway to formulate my coaching process, learning by experience as I went along. My main inspiration has been the GROW model which I have applied to almost all my coaching efforts but I have modified it somewhat after enrolling in this ICA CPCP Curriculum. Outlined below is the coaching model I follow which also serves as a checklist for me to implement all that I have learned at ICA to enhance my coaching effectiveness.
I commence each coaching session with what we have learned at ICA ie a celebration or win, establishing trust via the confidentiality clause, reiterating the ICF guidelines of ethical practice and a review of what action plan was agreed the last time I coached a client (if this is a follow-up session) and what the client wishes to achieve at the end of this coaching session.
The first part of the model is the GROW stage which is particularly relevant in the first and possibly the second session. Needless to say this is the most important stage of the coaching process as it sets the context and identifies the essential steps that are going to be followed. Most senior managers and leaders are quite skeptical about coaching per se, especially in India, where the coaching profession is only now coming into its own but still at a nascent stage. My being relevant to what senior leaders are used to in driving performance is vital.
GROW is well-known in that:
G stands for Goals
R for Reality
O for Options, and
W for Will
Since the GROW model is well established I am not spelling it out in detail here; however, asking the right powerful questions is the most important step in moving forward. Over the years, I have relied on a short question bank that helps me to focus on the essentials and achieve an effective coaching delivery.
The next stage entitled SMART, in my experience needs to be visited through the entire process of establishing the GROW stage considering that:
S is for Specific
M is for Measurable
A (to me) is Aspiration
R is for Realistic, and
T is for Time-Bound
For example, when we look at Reality we must look at specificity, realism and a time span. For Options, we must again be specific in defining them, and so on for the Will aspect. SMART is a way of retaining the focus on grounding one’s coaching process and channelizing the effort in the way our client wants to move. It is the Action Planning aspect of my model and I keep re-visiting it during the coaching contract to keep our eyes on the ball; both mine and that of my client.
We now come to the coaching process itself aptly named COACHED as the acronym; it serves as a reminder to me to ensure that the entire scope of my coaching effort is kept in sharp focus. I will spend a little time, where necessary to explain this aspect of my model in greater detail: