Home > Ideas > No time to Coach!

No time to Coach!

A few friends who, like me, are in the Coaching and Training domain said that they had recently won a 9-month contract to coach over 100 Executive Trainees of a mid-sized IT company.

The contract has training and coaching components and it is going to keep them busy for a while. After offering congratulations and wishing them success in the project I asked 2 questions:

– Why aren’t the Managers directly involved in coaching the new recruits?  Purely from a business perspective that would sound like a stupid question because as an L & D Consultant you wish to do that (and make some money) instead of telling the client to do the job internally. But logically it makes sense for the Manager to get involved directly.

– The second question is a corollary of the first: Why didn’t the company opt for a Train – the – Coach model? Here the company uses the external agency to equip the Managers with Coaching Skills and then conduct the activity on their own after being trained and coached by the consultants.

Ask any Manager and he will aver “I Coach my team-members all the time”; and he genuinely believe its being done. The truth is that most of them do not know what Coaching is, unless they have been through a structured Coaching program. They think that the daily grilling and informal review that they do without fail is COACHING!

Haven’t you wondered why the best sportspersons in the world need Coaching – what do Guardiola or Ferguson or Lendl know that Messi, Rooney and Djokovic don’t know?

It is said that the smarter people need more training. Why?

Two reasons – they encounter tougher business situations because they work harder and at the highest level; hence they are on the lookout for new learning all the time. The other reason being that success actually begets failure and complacence. People get set in their ways and stop experimenting – they most successful companies in the world are the one’s least willing to change. After all they are successful and doing well just the way they are – why change?

Similarly successful people often get caught in this vicious stranglehold of success and need to be reminded regularly as to what should be retained and what eliminated, from their actions and routines in order to achieve greater success.

And Coaches do this important job.

Coaching may not be the answer for every performance related issue but it is an important and useful means to improve the way people work and push them to deliver better results.

One reason why Managers don’t Coach is that they have not been coached – it is not a part of the organisation’s culture for Managers to play the role of a coach – so each successive layer repeats this self-fulfilling prophesy. Why should I provide a facility that I have not received?

Another reason why Managers don’t invest time for this important activity is that they are not confident. There is fear that they may not have the answers for the questions thrown at them by alert team-members. So Managers need to burn the midnight oil to equip themselves before playing this role.

Practice makes perfect, hence they need to be prepared to make some mistakes and improve as they spend more time as Coaches. Coaching needs sustained effort like any other business activity and the returns can be stupendous.

Get set, Coach!

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  1. February 19, 2012 at 5:19 am

    Hey Jay, I would like to take the liberty to add that old adage, that “familiarity breeds contempt” the external coach brings a whiff of freshness and novelty and being detached emotionally ,connects better with the people.There is also a concern with inhouse training (as long as it is not a product training)that more often than not the perspective of the Inhouse Coach is limited to the specific Industry and due to lack of exposure to other industry and best practices, the Program becomes stale and routine.The external L&D Coach reinforces the Corporate philosophy and makes the program participatory .

    • JayadevM
      February 19, 2012 at 5:54 am

      Sunil, thank you for reading.

      That is a great insight and a valid one too. Give people a flavour of something different.

      As an external trainer I welcome the opportunity and would love to hear more managers say this.

      My suggestion through the article was that there are opportunities for the manager to coach their team and raise the performance of team-members.

      If an external vendor is the preferred solution I would be the last one to complain!

  2. G.Venu Gopal
    February 20, 2012 at 5:12 am

    Jayadev,
    there are quite a few managers who fear that one day the junior would take his seat .a smart junior is sometimes seen as a threat to the boss and this is where many managers fail . they have to realise that grooming ones team / junior to take up higher responsibilities is an important task for any manager .

    • JayadevM
      February 20, 2012 at 6:49 am

      How true! Fear is a major reason for not developing juniors.

      Saw a quote by Marcus Buckingham today on his facebook page – talent is common, we all have it; true talent is in developing the talent in others.

      How many managers have the courage to accept and implement this?

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