Show me a shelf of the most popular and latest set of management books and I will point to at least a few of them on the shelf that relate to coaching!

Increasing hiring, the dearth of specialised and trained talent have forced all companies look closely at their processes to enhance the talent of the people in their organisations. Richer companies try to engage the services of ‘executive coaches’ while others make do with internal coaches and put in process to ensure the coaching effort is meshed into the business plan of the organisation and is buttressed by other systems in the organisation such as the reward mechanism, the career and succession planning systems and policies.

Skilful approach

The process of coaching can be defined as a formal, skilful approach towards improving the performance of a set of employees – the protégés –by the coach measured by definite performance outcomes. It can be distinguished from mentoring, which is more informal, and not so performance goal oriented.

Setting up a coaching system is a great thing to do but it is like other talent improvement systems a double edged sword – the policies are as important as the implementation. If any one of them has a fault then there is a greater chance of dissatisfaction and disillusionment among the participants. While several books and research focus on the attributes of a coach, for coaching to succeed, it takes two hands to clap – the mindset and behaviour of the protégé is important too. This article will briefly examine three important things the protégé must do to ensure that he/she benefits from the coaching process regardless of who the coach is.

Coaching cannot succeed if the performance goals are not met and they can be met by the protégé only if he/she unlearns/learns as the case may be. For this to happen, the protégé must be able to identify their preferred style of learning and share the same with the coach.

Much research has been done on this and most of it available on the internet so suffice it to say here that the protégé needs to reflect on whether she/he learns best by seeing things(visual style) ,by listening to things(oral) or by doing things and then reflecting on what went well/not so well and why (Kinesthetic).

This realisation is important so that experiences the protégé and the coach decide are important for the coaching can be accordingly decided.

Also even if they aren’t always available, they know that in a particular experience that is not the preferred style the protégé has to focus more.

Speak thy mind!

Many coaching sessions fail because there is no agreed upon rules in terms of what are the expectations from either side.

What is the role of the coach do they just mention experiences the protégé needs to undergo or do they help in getting the experiences as well, who is responsible for the monitoring and recording of the meetings?

How often does the protégé expect the coach to step in and help?

Are some critical questions the protégé has to raise and dialogue with the coach to ensure that there are no hidden beliefs / expectations / assumptions which can potentially vitiate the relationship as well as the process if left unresolved.

The author works for Infosys Technologies Ltd. and the views expressed here are his own. He can be contacted on Pradeepandanusha@gmail. com

PRADEEP CHAKRAVARTHY