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Executive Coaching – Primer

Starting this month, Dr. Pramod Damle would write a series of blogs on ‘Executive Coaching (EC)’ with which he has been helping corporate executives, professionals and businessmen alike. This first blog is simply a primer on executive coaching; later on he will share his EC experiences.

As a potent tool for professional progression, executive coaching (EC) has been gaining the ground all over the world and India is obviously no exception. Gone are the days when it was construed as a stigma for the coachee executive who would then be seen as a laggard. These days EC is getting deployed not for pulling a looser to an optimal level of effectiveness, but as a measure to boost the efficacy of a promising manager who has already been doing well. Another significant change taking place in the field of EC is that instead of being confined to the top brass like MD or CXO it is now descending a notch or two, to the Vice Presidents or General Managers (heading some region/ zone in the field or in-charge of some function in the corporate office) to help them rise to the top. That’s why a manager undergoing EC is considered to be a blue-eyed person on an ascent to the top rung of the ladder.

Briefly speaking, EC is a specialized series of one-on-one interactive sessions between a coach and a coachee (also called client) where the coach assumes a multifarious roles of a professional adviser, behavioural analyst, learned philosopher and an experienced mentor. Juggling these roles based on the context, he helps his client to take stock of his personal and professional achievements till date, to trace & to try to remove the causes of unexploited potential, to investigate & 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 his 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 he serves.

Needless to say that role of an Executive Coach is a formidable one and calls for an eclectic set of skills, essentially coming from three varied walks, viz. Business, Organization and Psychology. The first domain of ‘Business’ expects that the coach has well-rounded exposure to all three sectors of manufacturing, service and trading, across multiple business lines. The second criterion suggests that he has closely watched the human dynamics across many organizational styles (from bureaucratic to flat), scales (MSME to TBTF) and structures (from partnerships to large MNCs) in his extensive career. The final requirement of ‘Psychology’ asks for substantial experience in counselling for patient listening to understand various personalities, coping with atypical traits, ferreting out the exact needs of the person next to him and helping to improve the cognitive and behavioral attributes of the client in an overt or occasionally even in a sly manner. Without such a background one can hardly fit the bill.


– Dr. Pramod Damle

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