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Does Coaching change people?

Source | LinkedIn : By Ram Gopalan

What do you do when the person that you are coaching does not want to change?

I was asked this question by a prospective client a few weeks back. As questions go, this was perhaps the most succinct version but I must confess to have heard variations of this many-a-time over the last few years.

Coaching is not the answer to every situation

When coaching is bundled into a larger Leadership Development program or used as a tool-of-last-resort-after-everything-else-has-failed-to-correct-errant-behaviour without considering the suitability (coach-ability), then we run the risk of the candidate not being receptive. 

Clarity is important

Coaching is an investment and takes significant time & effort. The exec sponsor/ manager of the candidate needs to ensure that they are very clear on why they are bringing in a coach and also take the time to brief & set expectations with the candidate. Without this alignment, coaching runs the risk of being yet another initiative that gets side-lined at the first sign of an important client visit.

It takes time

Despite the best of intentions, far too often we give up too early in the game. It’s important to acknowledge the way we are wired & that it takes time to make lasting behavioural changes. 

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink

All change begins from within. As part of the coaching process, I collect feedback to show executives what their colleagues really think of them. If the person is truly open to change & learning, that is all what it takes to move them forward. 

and finally…

Courage, Humility & Self Discipline

Marshall Goldsmith calls these out as key leadership qualities & I have found that these are equally applicable to  the candidate, the exec sponsor & the coach. All of us are stakeholders & need to be ready to hold ourselves to the highest standards out there.

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