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Continued from Previous……

Coaching, as expected, generated quite a bit of interest. Some questions are very relevant and should be answered before moving further.

If Coaching is so Important, why Managers don’t do it

There are two reasons for it.

One, most managers do not understand the importance of coaching. They did not receive coaching from their seniors and therefore they are actually unaware of the benefits it may accrue. It is our usual style in all walks of life that we learn in a haphazard manner, or through hit and trial. The most visible example of this is sports. We do not have multilevel training system for any sport, cricket, hocky, football, squash, athletics etc. The young people who are fond of any sport would keep playing in their streets and localities without proper gear and place. Many of them are highly talented which shows in their performance. After many years, if they get lucky, they may be able to participate in a screening camp. A tiny few may be picked up due to their sheer talent and may make it to the national team. The coaching even at national level is little and dismal. These naturally talented players go out in the field and do a wonderful job for a few years. After that, their performance starts declining. It is because they had reached the limit of their natural talent. If they had been receiving coaching at all stages, their capacity to perform would keep on going up rather than sliding down. Our sports are littered with the stories of such wasted talent.

On the job, the story is the same; particularly in the performance-based jobs. Let us say a youngster joins at the entry level as medical representative. He (mostly it is boys) has natural flair for selling and social relationing and by virtue of that, he develops business quickly and is noticed by his seniors. Couple of years of consistent good performance without coaching and he is under consideration for the managerial post. He is upgraded and is mostly never coached for the new position. Again, he performs due to sheer hard work and natural talent and is considered for middle level management in another 3-4 years. I have observed that most such people reach their limit at middle level management where they remain stuck for several years. As the excitement of the position wanes off in few years, and the next upgrade is not seen even on the horizon, they start becoming disillusioned, disgruntled and demotivated. A rising career ends up unhappily, alas too soon. These stories are common and seen all over the workplace. The tragedy is that the entire blame for failure is also put on the person, which is unfair.

When I became a first line manager first time in a well-known MNC thirty-eight years ago, I was called to head office for orientation and training for two days. The Marketing Services Manager gave us (there were two of us) copy of an old circular. We sat down and just went through the contents mechanically. The MSM was a fine person, but not adequate for this job. If an MNC can do that, the state-of-affairs at smaller companies can be well-judged.

Two, most managers do not know the process of integrated coaching. They spend time with their teammates, motivate them, appreciate them, support them, flog them, punish them, but do not coach them. It is not due to lack of time, it is due to lack of understanding.
in our zeal to train managers, we give them several hats. Manager as leader, manager as entrepreneur, manager as big brother, manager as coordinator, manager as trainer and so on. Sometime, somewhere ‘Manager as Coach’ is also huddled in, but it is not the main theme anywhere.

The coaching process is generally a two-step process. First step is to identify the talent and second is to develop and hone it. Coaching is required both at individual level and team level. Team level coaching will be for standard work parameters, while individual coaching will for developing specific talents for specific future course and needs.

Coaching is certainly the most-effective and most-desirable of the managerial responsibilities. It is necessary to understand its importance and implications.

To be Continued.

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