Why do I need Coaching?

 

” Who, exactly, seeks out a coach?…. Winners who want even more
out of life.” Chicago Tribune

Last week I received an email from one of my clients. Here is what she said,” our coaching sessions have been very useful. It made me look at my work approach in a different way and gave me new insights and perspectives of handling my role effectively.”

My client is a senior leader with one of India’s largest Insurance company. A dedicated, hardworking, result oriented person.She is a consistent performer.

Looking at her credentials and her performance one may wonder why she needed a coach.

Why do I need coaching?

Her managers brief was simple. He wanted to ensure that Revathi( actual name changed) could scale up, as her responsibilities grew.

Revathi herself was also concerned when her manager proposed coaching for her. She was consistently performing and achieving all her targets. Her team was happy with her, her stakeholders never complained.

Revathi’s performance was good for the role that she was in. She worked hard, managed her team well, led from the front. But if Revathi went on a holiday, the team found it difficult to manage in her absence. Performance would plummet immediately. There would be a huge backlog of work that would wait for Revathi’s return.

This was noticed by her manager. Revathi was not good at delegating appropriately. She would delegate, but would often look over the team’s shoulder to see if they did their job. This had, to some extent impacted the confidence level of her team.

Revathi defended her inability to delegate. She feared that the team’s execution may not be perfect in her absence.She liked training her subordinates but would prevent them from making mistakes. This resulted in Revathi working round the clock to ensure the team met their deliverables.

Self-Limiting Belief

“You begin to fly when you let go of self-limiting beliefs and allow your mind and aspirations to rise to greater heights”- Brian Tracy

In her current role, she was probably considered an efficient manager. She would meet her targets and was considered having excellent delivery skills.

But her inability to delegate effectively was blocking her growth. Her manager had seen it coming, but Revathi held on to the belief that she cannot risk leaving everything to her team.

Her limiting belief had to be challenged

How Coaching helped

“I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars. I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.” — Warren Buffett

The role of coaches is to support and challenge clients to be their own experts. I had to partner with Revathi and help her address her emotions.I had to challenge her to evaluate the losses of holding on to such beliefs.

Through our regular coaching conversations, Revathi’s perspective towards delegations changed. She finally understood that through effective delegation she can improve productivity and at the same time help develop new skill sets within her team.

As a coach, I had to encourage her to pick up courage and bring the new learning into action.I continued to support her through this transformation. It was not easy for her.

She took small steps to reach her goal. She was committed to the coaching process. With practice and self-awareness, she overcame her barriers to delegation.

Do you have any such belief that is blocking your growth? Then take action.

“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It’s helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” _Tim Gallwey

 

 

Fairness and Respect for Women Executives

“A version of this post originally ran on the Lead Change Group site on 4th August 2017 and can be read at www.leadchangegroup.com.

Is there enough fairness and respect in the workplace for women executives? I asked this question to myself many times in the past several weeks.
In the last couple of months, most of the coaching cases and prospective clients that I was dealing with involved facing issues related to the workplace.
In one case the boss had changed and the new boss did not have much respect for the fairer sex. He wanted her to resign. He cited reasons of aggressive behavior and lack of diplomacy by her while dealing with the onsite team.
In another case, my coachee was perceived to be passive-aggressive in her behavior towards the team. In both the cases, the HR team had to step in to offer coaching intervention for behavioral change.
As I progressed further in understanding my clients, many things unfolded. Some of the behaviors from my coachee’s colleagues, peers, and bosses towards her were not new to me. During my career spanning three decades, I had encountered such folks myself and knew how to deal with them.
What made me sad though, was with so much of hype about diversity and inclusion (D&I), the needle has not moved for many organizations.

Inclusive Behavior Just Another Jargon

This left me to wonder if D&I initiatives are just lip services. Is inclusive behavior another jargon or is this something which organizations follow?
It is disheartening to hear some of the experiences that some of my coachees shared with me. The approach to D&I needs to change; D&I has become more of a rote phase in the industry.
Leveling false charges to stop or stymie the growth of female executives. Assertiveness getting perceived as aggressiveness. Questioning the ambitions of women asking for prime positions. All these and more added to the stress of my clients.
I like and agree with what the Chief Diversity Officer at eBay, Damien Hooper-Campbell has to say on humanizing Diversity & Inclusion.
“Folks, diversity alone isn’t enough. If diversity is getting invited to the dance party, inclusion is being asked to dance when you’re at the party.”
While quoting the above, Hooper-Campbell also talks about getting rid of all the noise that focuses on the diversity hiring and statistics. We all know that diverse workforce helps with profits and business. But is there anyone focusing on what actually happens in the workplace?

What Actually Happens In The Workplace

From what I have heard and seen in the last couple of months while coaching my clients, it seems nobody cares what actually happens in the workplace.
All that matters to the organization is tracking the gender ratio, conducting D&I trainings, or changing a few policies to suit female employees.
In one of the organizations, my coachee, a senior executive, was described as bossy, aggressive, and abrasive by her peers and colleagues.
I wonder if men who shout in meetings and do anything to have the last word in the debate are also perceived and labeled as abrasive, bossy or aggressive. Or are they held in high esteem because they know how to prove their point?

Impact Of Company Culture In Nurturing Women Employees

D&I initiatives and programs are important to create awareness. But organization culture plays a significant role in nurturing women employees.
Attitude and mindset of senior leaders and negative oafish comments belittling the women executives create environments that put off women managers from performing at work.
One of my coachees narrated an incident wherein her boss, a tenured professional in the industry, asked her to resign.He advised her to spend time with her children. He wanted to create an open position to promote one of her male colleagues into her position. Confronted with such bias, she felt victimized and harassed.
Besides D&I initiatives, companies should create an environment which is fair to both men & women. Unfortunately, some company cultures have a long way to go to fulfill such basic needs for fostering female talent.
Do you think there is any enough fairness in the workplace? If not, how can this change? Do let me know your views.