FAQs on Executive Coaching (EC) sessions facilitated by Prof. Pramod Damle
- What is the concept of EC?
Briefly speaking, EC is a specialized series of one-on-one interactive sessions between a coach and a coachee (also called as client) where the coach helps the client to take stock of personal and professional achievements till date, to trace & to try to remove the causes of unexploited potential, to explore & internalize the requisite skillset and to periodically monitor the progress. A coaching agenda may embrace some/ all above tasks and may tackle the chosen priorities from out of many aspects of career as well as the work-life balance. It is a highly individualized, well-defined, deeply thought & aptly directed formal mission that is paid for by the client or the organization s/he serves. EC takes many forms; what’s discussed in these FAQs here is a scheme that is standardized EC offering from SITM.
- What are the pre-requisites for me to be a coachee?
There is nothing specific about the role/ functional walk, it could be manufacturing, sales/ marketing, finance, human resources, or just any other. Coming to the seniority, a few decades ago, coachees used to be members of senior management like Director, CEO, Chairman. These days clients come from next rungs also, like GMs, VPs, etc.
- As a client of EC, what qualities should I seek in my coach?
Coaching is a formidable task and calls for an eclectic set of skills, essentially coming from three walks of life and business, viz. Organization, Business, and Psychology. First criterion talking about ‘Organization’ demands that a coach has closely watched human dynamics across organizational aspects like styles (from bureaucratic to flat), scales (from MSME to TBTF) and structures (from partnerships to large MNCs) in his extensive career. The second domain of ‘Business’ expects an exposure to manufacturing, service & trading across multiple business lines. Final parameter of ‘Psychology’ asks for substantial experience in counselling that in turn asks for patient yet active listening to understand a personality, coping with atypical traits, ferreting out the exact needs of the client and helping to improve the cognitive & behavioural attributes in an overt or occasionally in a sly manner. Without such a background one can hardly fit the bill.
- What does the Coach-Client association looks like and functions like?
As a seasoned professional with a track record of “Been there, Done that”, a coach assumes several roles: an insightful adviser, behavioural analyst, learned philosopher and an experienced mentor, who keeps on juggling these roles based on the context. In him, the client thus gets a catalyst for development of career and fulfilment of life. The coach carries out several actions: reflecting, empathising, encouraging, cautioning, analysing, interpreting, suggesting, prescribing, insisting, hand-holding, emphasising, exploring, explaining, and so on.
- Which of my challenges will be addressed in EC: My personal problems or professional?
It’s almost always a mix of both, though the proportions may differ from case to case. With the areas like work-life balance, workplace spirituality etc. coming within the fold of executive coaching, it would be far from reality to address just one of these two. A client thus stands benefitted in both the spheres of life that complement each other.
- Would the process of EC interfere with my career in any manner?
No way! EC is not a stumbling block; It is rather an enabler that runs in parallel to the normal working of the client as usual. The very purpose of EC is to optimize the potential of the client as an individual and also as a professional with a view to help him/ her push the envelope. Each person has some blind spot, as revealed in the old tale of legendary scientist Newton who dug two holes in his lab-door for his two cats – one big and another small one. EC turns the spotlight sharply on such proverbial blind spots. Inasmuch as it streamlines the thoughts and focuses on the actions of the coachee toward his/ her goals, it does not adversely impact the client’s career/ life. It however needs to be stated that during the moderate time span when coaching is in- progress, the time devotion to EC process will certainly add to the client’s work pressure, since s/he needs to carve out some time to introspect about self, to think of and select from multiple options, to act on the guidelines provided by the coach, to review the progress made in the preceding week, etc. In the long run this short-term pressure pays rich dividends.
- What if the EC turns out unsuccessful? Could it be called off in such cases?
Let us appreciate, EC starts with initial steps like SWOT, ascertaining the personality traits, identifying the problems and areas of improvement, etc. If at all the chemistry between the two parties is a mismatch for any reason whatsoever, that surfaces in this initial phase itself. Chances of this are far and few, still, the EC is offered as a series of assignments (as detailed in FAQ 9) providing a suitable exit points.
- Can you provide me an outline of the EC in terms of its substance and style?
The standardized EC service of SITM consists of two main elements, viz. the substance and the style. The substance includes some/ all of following: base-lining of the client career i.e. what are his/ her personal and professional achievements so far, plotting a clear statement of strengths and weaknesses, analysing the causal factors and their etiological weights, goal setting for the near/ foreseeable future, rehearsing the exercises to hone the desired skills, chalking out the action points to ameliorate, gauging the development and dynamic tweaking of the action plan.
Coming to the style, various interventions are employed like counselling, conceptual inputs, sounding board, systems thinking, hard disputing etc. using a rich toolset of force-field analyses, Mind-maps, Cynefin Matrix, Jo-Hari window, Fish-bone diagram, RACI charts, interpretive structural modelling and many more.
- Is this EC a mono-block assignment, OR, Does it consist of multiple stages?
EC offered by SITM is split into six logical and sequential assignments (each running for about two months), viz. Coaching Needs Assessment (CNA), Goals Setting & Prioritization (GSP), Short-Term Goal (STG), Mid-Term Goal (MTG), Long-Term Goal (LTG) and Coaching for On-going Development (COD). All the six are treated as separate assignments with an in-between exit points. In other words, an aspiring executive will enter into a distinct contract for one assignment at a time. As s/he completes one assignment in about two months, s/he will enter into the next contract. If some unforeseen event (like transfer, job shift) hinders EC, the exit point provides a convenient opt-out.
These six assignments are explained in the table below, depicting 1-year EC program:
Assignment Description Coaching Needs Assessment (CNA) The coach interacts with the client to understand his/ her past track, prospects & problems on professional as well as personal front. For this, the coach may use eclectic tools like Richmond Survey Instrument, Injunctions Scale, TA Personality Styles, etc. Together they discuss and finalize the areas for improvement that are enlisted as coaching needs. Goals Setting & Prioritization(GSP) The client selects coaching needs; The coach adjusts them for size & complexity by weighing client’s work-load, exigencies & constraints. They jointly prioritize & shortlist a few needs. Goals are accordingly set, as per degree to which the needs can be addressed in about a year. These goals are categorized across short-, mid- & long-range goals (STG, MTG & LTG). Short-Term Goal (STG) The coach assists the client ascertain 1 undesired habit/ trait using force-field analysis. This leads to STG of weeding out that trait, like say self-indulgence, procrastination, anger- bursts, antagonism. The coach explains the corrective steps to client for her practice & self-check. A joint review is taken after two weeks. Steps for MTG are also started in this span. Mid-Term Goal (MTG) Continuing assistance for sustaining STG, The coach guides the client in ranking of desired skills suited for mid-range duration, e.g. time management, memory improvement, managing meetings, speed-reading. Weighing these MTGs for significance, together they tick one of them. The coach helps the client in acquiring that skill. Glimpse of LTG are also given. Long-Term Goal (LTG) The coach reviews STG progress and supports the client to boost his/ her MTG practice. Now the potential enablers of long-lasting nature like healthy life-style, positive outlook, daily diary, nurturing relationships are discussed & the best fit is marked as LTG. The client starts toward achieving LTG as guided by the coach. Its review follows after a week or two. Coaching for On-going Development (COD) The Coach helps the client ensure the inculcation of practices for LTG, MTG & LTG. Backlog, if any, is addressed. Remaining short-, mid- & long-term goals are discussed and a broad plan is drawn up showing milestones client’s future achievement. The client is thus initiated on the continuum of self-learning. This marks accomplishment of all the six assignments.
These assignments (shown in the aforesaid table) successively ladder to the next one. Each will run for about two calendar months wherein 2 to 3 meetings (in-person or video-conferencing) will be held, interspersed with several interactions over email.
- How exactly the EC will be kicked off?After completion of initial steps (see FAQ 12) including the documentation formalities and payment of fees, EC will begin with scheduling of the sessions. First meeting will be essentially a face-to-face, in-person at SITM for about half-a-day for base-lining and drawing up the action plan; subsequent meetings will be by way of video-calling for about an hour or so, spread over two calendar months to discuss the progress made, problems faced and amendments needed in the action plan. This will complete the FIRST assignment which will then dovetail into the subsequent assignments.
- How much do I need to pay for the EC?An exquisite consulting service aiming at top executives, EC commands premium rates in the market. However, in line with the objective of ‘Academia contributes to Industry’ SITM offers its standardized EC package for fees of Rs. 50,000/- (INR Fifty Thousand) plus taxes levied by Indian authorities, for each of the six assignments. Thus an aspirant gets the whole EC suite for rupees three lacs, plus applicable taxes. As the coachee/ client needs to visit SITM twice – i.e. for the first and the last session (other sessions would be over video-calling) – to meet the coach, expenses of travel, food and stay will be on client’s account. This offer will remain open till 31-Dec-2018.
- As an aspirant, what are the initial steps I should take for the EC?The initial steps before actual start of EC are: (a) Get an approach paper on EC (will be sent to you in response to your mail to firstname.lastname@example.org) and confirm your interest in EC by perusing it, (b) Accordingly write an email to Prof. Damle (email address as earlier) who will take you through next steps including filling up and signing an engagement letter, (c) Pay the requisite fees to SITM and then (d) Fill up two templates (that will be sent by SITM on receipt of fees) and send it across to Prof. Damle who will revert in about a week and the EC Process begins.
- EC seems a promising tool; What next?If you are interested in this executive coaching service of SITM, or if you have any further queries that need to be resolved to help you decide about this matter, please write a mail to your potential Coach: email@example.com
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