In my last blog I had written about the value that a good executive coach brings to the coaching engagement. I had used the example of the change in the results achieved by Novak Djokovic since the time he hired Boris Becker to be his coach. I had talked about the fact that most high performers need a coach not because they are not good, but because the coach helps them achieve goals which they had not even imagined. The results achieved by Djokovic in the last 30 months have ensured that he is being spoken of in the same breath as the all time greats like Sampras and Federer.
Executive coaching or business coaching helps business leaders move from achieving merely “Good” to “Great” results. Business coaching is a relatively recent addition to the various tools used by leadership development practioners and draws heavily from the principles of sports coaching although it is a little more subtle in its application of these principles.
The “Inner game of tennis” talks about the fact that a player faces two opponents, once across the net, and the second within himself/herself. The inner opponent is self doubt, the voice which keeps telling you that you are not good enough and as per Timothy Gallwey, this is the opponent you have to beat to become a winner. The same analogy can be easily ported to a business situation, where every time you want to take a giant step towards achieving outstanding results, the inner voice tells you that you are not good enough to succeed at this level.
So how does a coach help you? A good executive coach will first start by challenging your limiting assumptions. The coaching process is a mix of questioning and listening by the coach, through which a skilled and experienced executive coach will increase self awareness in the client. With the increase in self awareness comes realization that our performance is limited only due to self imposed boundaries, and once this realization sets in, the first step towards achieving peak performance is taken. The coach also helps one identify the imagined constraints towards achieving our goals and then slowly help us strip them away through listening attentively to our apprehensions and worries and then questioning the viability of each of them. A good coach will help you liberate yourself from self imposed boundaries so that you can soar with the freedom of choice.
Executive coaches are not paid to be nice, they are paid to help the client achieve the goals which both have agreed upon at the beginning of the coaching engagement. They do this by at times being hard and letting the client fail rather than tell the client what to do. The enduring image I have of this unique quality of coaches was during a grand slam match where Andy Murray was losing the match and looked wistfully at Lendl, hoping for some tips. Andy Murray’s coach, Ivan Lendl said to him “Stop Looking at me Andy” and then sat with an impassive and stony face for the rest of the match which Andy Murray went on to lose. I am not aware of what happened post that match but within nine months of that match, Murray had won his first grand slam (US open), and followed that up in the next 12 months with an Olympic gold medal and the second grand slam title (Wimbledon) to prove that the US open win was not a flash in the pan. In 2016 when asked about what his coach does he said “Ivan Lendl does not teach tennis, he teaches victory”
Executive coaching works for all, however it is most effective at senior levels due to the costs involved. At senior levels, you are already performing at a very high level. So if your coach can help you achieve an 11.3% improvement (which I mentioned in my last blog about Djokovic and Becker), imagine what that 11.3% improvement in profit margins will mean for your organization and your career? This is going to be the difference in what all you can achieve in your career, the final push, the one additional win which moves you from just being Good to Great.
Feel free to reach out to me in case you feel you need to know more on the process of executive coaching.
Rajiv is the principal consultant at R Square Consulting. Rajiv can be reached at email@example.com for any query, discussion or professional requirements.
About R Square consulting: R Square consulting provides end to end services in the field of building leadership and managerial capability to include leadership development interventions based on a holistic blend of exploration, reflection, action learning, executive coaching, assessment centers and various Organizational development interventions.
R square consulting provides customised and holistic HR interventions for developing the human capital of an organization through:
Assessment and Development Centers
Organizational Development Interventions
Leadership and managerial development
Flexi HR support for SME
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