Just like a ship’s captain, a leader is the torchbearer of an organisation. As a leader, listening to and considering the opinions of others is as important as voicing your own. Leadership coaching is now considered a soft skill in the global industry.
Ruchira Chaudhary, Leading Executive Coach, Academic & MD, TrueNorth Consulting and author of the book ‘Coaching the Secret Code to Uncommon Leadership’ touched on this in her address at the Mumbai chapter of the fourth edition of the Indian Business Literature Festival (IBLF) on January 21, 2023.
“Coaching is not an amorphous or nebulous term. Today, people are busy with their lives. We have work to do, domestic issues to resolve and things to sort out. These thoughts become knots in our heads. A coach helps you untangle those knots and gives you perspective. But more than that, he or she is not just a therapist untangling it. A coach helps you go high,” she said.
A Book Author’s Experience
Sharing some roadblocks she encountered while writing the book, Chaudhary recalled, “Since I am not an author, the process of writing the book was not an easy one for me. I was very disorganised. I found it daunting and incredibly lonely. I had no idea whether what I was writing was any good.”
She advised budding authors to surround themselves with people they trust who can help them shine brighter and support them throughout their journey.
Coaching was never considered a part of the corporate building process. In an organisation today, feedback is welcomed from all levels. She said, “There is a cultural shift. Ideas and feedback are not judged on an employee’s standing in the hierarchy, which makes the organisation inclusive at an operational level and ensures that everyone sees themselves as an asset to the organisation.”
She also explained how coaches help a leader find answers to the questions they face on their own. “Many corporate lessons are embedded in everyday life. The answers lie within us. We know those answers. When you surround yourself with these coaches and when they ask us these questions, it gives you clarity, consciousness and confidence. We all need that dose of confidence and a good coach can do that for you,” Chaudhary said.
The last component in this equation is capability. People must become better than what there were yesterday.
The Right Culture
For a better grasp of a good culture, Chaudhary cited Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella’s example. She said, “In interviews, Nadella would say that the C in CEO is about culture. He tried to rebuild a broken Microsoft by focusing on the cultural aspects and the first thing he did was to listen to people, a trait that is in short supply among leaders today. You have to genuinely look after your people and show the way.”
Leadership is altogether a different characteristic that has no relation to an individual’s performance. It comes with many challenges. An ill-equipped person can lead to personal and organisational downfall. Chaudhary explained how it’s not always the case that the best player on the team should be the captain as well.
“History has shown us otherwise. We should start rethinking the leadership model. It’s about the potential and not performance. And everybody wants to be a leader. We, as a society, impose a burden on them. Assure people that they can thrive without being a so-called senior leader,” she added.
An organisation must build a culture of coaching and building others, which will be a good strategy at the broader level. Nurturing a leader will eventually lead to a better work culture and will keep the organisation steady in the face of headwinds. It helps an organisation grow strategically and leave a legacy behind.
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