The Present Challenges
The fragmented nature of the executive coaching industry in India poses many challenges both on the supply as well as the demand side.
On the supply side, there is an absence of experienced coaches who understand and appreciate business complexity and ambiguity. Business and Executive Coaches need to have finer business wisdom as compared to what theoretical coaching model based methodologies provide. Coaches need to focus on improvement, change, and outcomes rather than merely “feel good” factor for the Coachee.
On the demand side, there is a need to sensitize CEOs, CXOs and HR Heads on executive coaching and on what executive coaching can and cannot achieve. There is a need to educate them on the critical role that executive coaching can play in strengthening the leadership pipeline.
There is also a challenge in sustaining the coaching journey. It is critical to gauge the coachee’s level of willingness to learn, change and grow, which will eventually define the success of a coaching exercise.
For executive coaching to be successful, confidentiality of information is essential however there is often a challenge in the extent of information that will be shared with the sponsor (client organization).
Besides Multi Nationals, many large Indian Groups such as JK Organisation (Delhi), Aditya Birla Group, Murugappa Group, Mahindra & Mahindra, Dr Reddy Lab, HCL Technology, etc have been using Executive Coaching successfully.
The Way Forward
Executive coaching will play an active role as CEOs and leaders prepare for growth, change and transformation. Organizations need to identify specific domains that can benefit the most by seeking help of external expertise through executive coaching. Necessary steps should be taken to create a culture of coaching by nurturing internal leaders and managers to become coaches.
While the Coaching Industry in India is in its infancy, there is an increasing trend seen in executive coaching playing a critical role in organizations today. This necessitates more insight in the development of an India approach of executive coaching. There is also a need to bring in more structure into this emerging industry to help define the engagement models and professional approach that the discipline requires.
The Research Paper Survey
The author of this paper conducted a Survey directed at potential clients at senior levels in business and industry.
The key features of the survey are summarized below:
- Survey was sent to 90 professionals in Senior Executive and HR positions in India
- The Survey was specifically targeted to potential client organizations ( not Coaching practitioners)
- There was a 33% response
- The Survey had 21 questions ( details and responses in Annexure )
- The survey design was structured so that the respondents were anonymous
The highlights of the Findings are provided below:
- Close to 50% of the respondents were at CEO and Senior Executive levels.
- The majority of respondents ( 67%) had over 20 years of professional work experience.
- There is an extremely high level of awareness ( 87%) on Business and Executive Coaching.
- The actual usage of coaching interventions is much lower relative to awareness. 47% of the respondents have not used Coaching.
- 84% of coaching clients are Satisfied or Very Satisfied with the Coaching Experience.
- 67% of Clients have used external coaches.
- A resoundingly high percentage of 77% have indicated the inclination to use Coaching in the future – a very high indicator of future potential and business opportunity.
- Only 15% of respondents have used Coaching as an Organization Development intervention.
- Skills training (33%) and mentoring (26%) take the lion share of OD interventions. The low number of 15 % for Coaching provides a significant opportunity.
- In terms of benefit to the Organization, Skills Training at 59% and Mentoring at 44 % have the major share. However 40% of respondents believe that Coaching can provide similar tangible benefits.
- Business Experience at 77% was ranked No. 1 and Leadership Experience at 63% was ranked No. 2 as the key considerations in selection of external coaches. Coaching Certification comes third in priority at 25%.
- The CEO (28%) and HR Head (24%) are the key decision makers in making the Coaching assignment decision.
- No clear pattern emerged on duration of Coaching assignments though the weights appear to be centred in the 1 to 6 month duration
- Qualitative Metrics determine Coaching Effectiveness.
- Leadership Development, Behaviour Improvement and Business Improvement were the key applications ( in that order ) for Coaching interventions.
- 41% of respondents chose “Not aware of Benefits “as the main reason for not using Coaching as an OD intervention.
- 360 Degree is the main assessment tool used by Companies. (42% of respondents). Significantly less use of the others ( Personality, Behaviour etc ).
- Likelihood of using Coaching in the future - As many as 43% respondents ranked “Absolutely “ and 83% as Likely to use Coaching in the future !