Coaching: the most impactful but mostly neglected
A coach was giving a pep talk to his team before a big game.
He said, "Remember, guys, this is the most important game of your lives. You have to play with all your heart, all your soul, and all your guts."
Then he paused and added, "And if you don't have any guts, don't worry. I have a bucket full of them right here."
That is the essence of coaching – it gives you the guts to take on challenges with a winning spirit.
Coaching in any sport is undoubtedly critical to a team's success, and no one denies it. In sports, there is not only a coach but also a captain to lead the team, just like a CEO in a company. But why don't most companies have a coach?
Unfortunately, corporates in the sub-continent do not see any immediate or measurable benefits from coaching. However, I have been rather fortunate in this regard thanks to working in organisations like Unilever and Robi Axiata.
At Unilever, I learned how coaching, mentoring, and counselling are distinguished and applied in an effective manner. At Robi, before taking on the CEO role, I was intensely coached by a professional, and I must confess that every session used to be discomforting and, at the same time, an eye-opener. These sessions threw light on blind spots in areas I thought I had mastered, and there were plenty of them too.
A former Unilever colleague was sharing a story on coaching where the founder of a prominent business group called him to coach his daughter and sons, who are actively involved in the family business. The colleague put a condition that the coaching would have to start with a market visit. But they could not fathom why on earth they would have to go to a market for corporate coaching. And the assignment never materialised.
The first generation will likely differ significantly from the next in a family business. What worked for the first generation will not work for the next generation. Factors such as social and economic context, family members' profiles and mindset change over time, creating conflict between generations. A third person in the coach role can remove conflicts and drive business performance.
As much as 44 per cent of family businesses experience a growth decline in the first generation, 40 per cent survive through the second generation, 15 per cent make it through the third generation, and only 1 per cent survive onto the fourth generation. In the case of Bangladesh, the scenario is likely to be worse.
Coaching is critical in corporate because it can help leaders and employees in multiple ways. It can empower them to take on responsibility, remove harmful conflicts, increase engagement and satisfaction, improve performance and productivity, adapt to change and uncertainty, and develop leadership potential.
Coaching can help individuals develop their leadership skills and styles, such as communication, collaboration, delegation, decision-making, and emotional intelligence. It can also help individuals inspire, influence, and empower others. As it did for me, coaching can prepare individuals for current and future leadership roles and challenges.
A coach is someone who can give correction without causing bitterness. Unless coached, people can't reach their maximum potential. With the right kind of coaching and determination, one can accomplish anything for themselves, the organisation and the country. Coaching is a valuable investment for anyone who wants to grow, learn, and thrive in today's complex and competitive environment.
The author is founder and managing director of BuildCon Consultancies Ltd