A good executive coach is not merely a behavioral change agent but an invaluable transformative business asset who can help senior leaders unlock their full potential as well that of the teams and organisaitons they lead. “At its core, leadership development is really about growing the complexity of people’s minds, enhancing their self-awareness and linking that behaviour/belief systems to how it impacts business,” says Pratap Nambiar, Chartered Business Coach and Chairman of Thought Perfect, an executive coaching & leadership development company. Presented below is an excerpt from an article published on LiveMint.com, that highlights the enormous impact that an executive coach can make by helping leaders navigate a plethora of business challenges.
In April 2014, consumer goods and services company Marico Ltd underwent a leadership transition—Saugata Gupta became company CEO and managing director (MD). The chairman and MD, Harsh Mariwala, 64, who used to manage the Mumbai-headquartered company’s day-to-day operations, stepped aside, although he continues to be the chairman. The transition of executive leadership from the promoter-family to a team of professionals is hard-won and complex for any corporation. At Marico, Mariwala put in place a two-tier coaching mechanism for his direct reportees—the C-suite team—and their direct reportees to build the company’s leadership capacity.
“I had worked with a coach a few years back, mainly to understand what coaching was, and if it was something we should initiate at Marico for our senior managers,” says Mariwala. “I realized that if you get the right coach, they can add value.” Two executive coaches—Singapore-based Pratap Nambiar and Bengaluru-based P. Vishwanath—were brought in to work with Marico’s senior team through the months before and after the leadership transition. While Nambiar worked with the top four people in the organization, including Gupta, Vishwanath worked with four of the next-level function heads.
“Apart from being somebody you can reflect with, coaches come with an understanding of a range of leadership styles. They can identify gaps,” says Mariwala. “It’s very important for senior leaders to have a road map for improvement.” The ramp-up in leadership capacity-building, Mariwala says, has been valuable for Marico. But, for any top-level coaching mandate to be successful, Mariwala says, the organization must be fully involved and invested in the coaching of its key team members—including in filtering coaches.
“Individual growth maps should be in sync with organizational objectives,” he adds. “Also, I didn’t need to know what Saugata talked about with his coach but I would meet him and the coach once in a few months to understand progress. That involvement is important.”
“When I first met Harsh, he was looking for somebody to work with his direct reports. Several factors—market dynamics, input from the board as well as the transition aspect—went into his decision. Harsh had a very clear mandate for the coaching: to take the organization to the next level and enable its growth. At its core, leadership development is really about growing the complexity of people’s minds, enhancing their self-awareness and linking that behaviour/belief systems to how it impacts business. This work of transformation—for the four top executives I worked with for nine months—came off the basis of a 360-degree feedback that helped us identify both the areas where they were effective leaders as well as their blind spots,” says Nambiar.
– Excerpted from a LiveMint.com article published on July 13, 2015.