- stands for Competencies
(All corporate organizations that I work with have evolved a set of differentiating competencies that define the behaviors that exemplify those leaders who have the potential for career growth and my coaching has to embed/ enhance these. The use of the 360 degree appraisal is becoming widespread and I rely on it to provide me the necessary well-rounded perspective on my client).
- is for the Organization that has engaged me.
(Every company has its own set of values, a vision and the mission and my coaching has to be conducted with this framework as the backdrop. Further, there are hierarchies, HR processes and policies that cause disruptions or enhance employee engagement all of which impinge upon the client’s emotional state so I need to familiarize myself with these aspects as we move along).
- is for Acknowledgment of the client’s commitment to the coaching process.
(Nothing is more critical for the success of my coaching effort especially in dealing with senior leaders who are initially apprehensive about the results that we can deliver jointly. Such clients are easily distracted, hugely preoccupied and need to be encouraged to take significant steps in our coaching relationship but just by saying that I acknowledge their effort is not enough; it has to be weaved naturally into the ongoing coaching conversation).
- is for a Confident Coaching Conversation..
(My coaching style has always been conversational as I am committed to ensure that there is a natural flow, appropriate use of humor, stories, anecdotes and metaphors. To achieve that state of comfort I invest a lot of time to get to know the person within – almost always end up becoming a good friend – but never lose sight of the fact that I must be able to move from an informal to a formal state…dancing with the client. This helps to maintain objectivity and not get too involved with the client’s personal issues. My clients being very senior people usually have huge egos to deal with and I ensure that my stature as their coach is never compromised).
- is for humor
(Lightness versus Significance is an ICA tool that I related to a lot because I challenge myself in getting to the lightness state naturally so as to not just make the coaching process enjoyable to my client but to me as well. During my corporate career, I loved those bosses who had a sense of humor and were able to even criticize me without my feeling upset. I learned from the way they approached such issues and have been successful at applying that to my coaching effort. Humor cannot be forced so to be able to see the lighter side of life is very important in developing this attribute?).
- is for Energy
(One must always coach with high energy so that it creates a positive frame of mind when clients respond best to the coaching process. It creates a desire for positive action and busts obstacles whenever they come in the way of moving forward towards the goal. The coach must create an environment where the client feels the energy and resolves to achieve what he/she felt was difficult).
- is for Delivery
(A coach moves from strength to strength with a significant win in every session and this is dependant on a focus on delivery of a tangible outcome each time. Self-acknowledgment of such achievements spurs me on to deliver BHAGs – Big Hairy Audacious Goals – which is particularly important for difficult clients and I have had my fair share of such self-opinionated yet high performing CXOs. My coaching model requires me to sit in on meetings conducted by my client and be a ‘fly-on-the-wall’ to observe them in situ and provide relevant feedback; it is crucial to my delivery and most often really difficult to organize especially when my client does not want his team to know he is being coached!).
We now move on to the fourth stage of my model with the acronym LEADERS. It is a listing of the most important tools of the coaching process that we as must keep in focus always and I will describe these in only that much detail as is necessary because they are familiar to us all in ICA.
- is for Listen
(Attentive listening and paying undivided attention to what the client is saying…a fundamental tenet of coaching).
- is for Empathize
(As the coach I must always put myself in my client’s shoes and see it from his/her perspective. Underlying beliefs need to be managed on both sides so that there is a positive movement towards the goal).
- is for Assessments
(There are so many assessment tools that coaches can use but have to be careful not to overuse or misuse. One has to be certified to interpret the results and that is an area of development for me in the near future).
- is for Diversity
(To serve as a reminder that each human being is different and we must appreciate this by actually celebrating diversity! Being aware of the differences that are brought to bear by social, cultural and religious uniqueness and this is even more important in a country like India which boasts of over 25 official languages and nearly a 1000 dialects, many without a script to write in. Thus even though I may be coaching my client in English, I am acutely aware that his/her thinking could be in an own language where metaphors are different).
- is for Emotional Intelligence
(My CXO clients are blessed with very high IQs but need considerable development in their EQ so without making a conscious effort I have to enhance their sensitivity to their team members. While coaching, I also commit myself to understand the client from each of his/her key team member’s perspective. This provides data for enhancing self-awareness and committing to action for leveraging the strengths of each person as complementary to the client’s own).
- is for the client taking Responsibility for the coaching outcome.
(It is easy for a coach, especially if he comes from the consulting field like me, to fall into the trap of not making the client responsible for achieving the coaching objective. The coach also has a responsibility but that is for the process and it is important to be mindful of the difference, always).
- is for Self Development Plan, Self Directed Learning and Self Management
(It seems all about the ‘self’ as a coach but it goes beyond that because it focuses me on the need for constantly updating myself and where relevant and possible, to impart this knowledge and experience to the client in the spirit of continuous learning. There is so much useful material and literature on coaching that can be referenced today that one can get the utmost satisfaction from life).
My coaching model is being used by me every time I coach and it has been an exciting journey for me to pick up new insights into human behavior every day. I have now adopted my learning as a coach to my consulting practice and getting much more work satisfaction: I don’t provide consulting solutions any more but through powerful questions and all other coaching disciplines, get my client to work out their own solution to the challenge …perhaps I am now practicing ‘blended consulting’ in addition to blended coaching!