Saturday, October 9, 2010

“Is Coaching An Integral Part of Leadership Development?” – Professor M.S.Rao

Coaching is one of the most effectual means of leadership development as the coaches involve actively in imparting, interacting and providing feedback to their clients. Any doubts can be clarified instantly as there is accessibility of the coaches for the clients. It provides confidence to the clients thus ensuring effective leadership takeaways. In fact, leadership development is incomplete without referring to coaching and mentoring as the clients need to be coached and mentees need to be mentored through mentoring.

Coaching Types and Methods:

Coaching helps in developing the abilities and skills of the clients. It makes sure their personal and professional advancement. There are various types of coaching such as personal coaching, performance coaching, sports coaching, skills coaching, career coaching, corporate coaching, executive coaching, life coaching, and leadership coaching and so on. With the rapid growth in technology and mushrooming knowledge workers, there are specialized coaches for specific domains.

There are two methods of coaching such as directive and non-directive coaching. In directive coaching, the coach teaches extensively for upgrading the skills and abilities of the clients. However, in non-directive method, the coach questions the clients and moves them forward towards their goals. In this method of coaching, questioning is the key and it emphasizes on Socratic Method.

Coaching Vs Mentoring:

Coaching is different from mentoring. In mentoring, the mentors shape the attitudes, behavior and personality of the mentees. In contrast, in coaching, the coaches build skills and abilities of the clients thus widening their competencies and capabilities. In a nutshell, mentoring involves more of soft skills than that of hard skills while coaching involves more of hard skills than that of soft skills. To distinguish succinctly, coaches accompany achievements and mentors ensure shaping of the mentees.

Coaching helps in discovering the inherent competences and capabilities of the clients and in shaping them as competent individuals further. It helps in motivating and building confidence among the clients through continuous support and guidance. However, mentoring helps in showing the mentees their inherent competencies and thus grooming them.

Coaching is a structured and formal approach while mentoring is not so. Coaching involves physical interaction and constant correction with right feedback. However, mentoring is all about sharing advices and experiences.

Qualities of Coaches:

The coaches must be confidential, friendly and must be psychologists. They must shoot right questions to get best out of clients. They must be good at giving objective feedback. Above all, they must be good listeners with right reasoning and analytical bent of mind.

Qualities of Coachees:

The coachees must be good listeners and should have respect towards coach. They must have passion to learn and upgrade their skills and abiliites and must have ability to take feedback objectively and constructively.

Coaching Strategy:

Coach must have clear strategy with a blueprint about the execution of the coaching process which must be aligned with the goals of the clients. Both coach and coachee must set SMART strategies to achieve desired results. They must set their strategies specifically to avoid deviation and to make sure clarity. The duration of the coaching must be measurable to be clear and to enhance seriousness. The strategies must be achievable so that both the coach and coachees get motivated to take it forward. Besides, the coaching strategy must be realistic and should not be a mere daydream. Finally, the strategy must be time bound to stay focused as well as to check for takeaways.

Coaching and Questioning:

The coaches must use several tools during coaching process such as usage of inquiry, interaction, reflection, and requests to get the best out of the clients. In addition, they must learn the art of questioning as questioning is an integral part of coaching. They must ask open ended questions that help their clients think broadly in coming out with solutions. Clients will be able to think and come out with answers when shot with broadening questions as people are usually committed to their ideas than that of others.

Coaching Questions:

Here are the great coaching questions to ask your clients, or yourself!

• What do you want to learn?
• What skills and abilities do you like to acquire?
• What action will you take to improve your abilities and skills?
• What are your professional goals and how much duration do you take to accomplish them?
• What do you mean by success? Has success got anything to do with coaching? How do you think coaching helps in achieving your success?
• What are the current challenges do you have and how will you overcome?
• Do you have the ability to manage external threats and minimize the internal threats?

The above all are of open-ended coaching questions that grill the clients and dig deep for aligning their efforts and energies with their goals.


Coaching as a career is promising as there are number of specialized areas evolving currently. Coaching makes the difference in the lives of others. It is a priceless gift if you have a coach who has passion to shape your personality.

Most of the leadership development programs include coaching to make the programs effective. Besides, coaching clears and clarifies the any doubts instantly as coaches are available for immediate feedback thus improving the confidence level of clients. Coaching builds leadership competencies and capabilities among the clients. Therefore, we can comfortably conclude, that coaching is an integral part of leadership development.

Professor M.S.Rao
Founder and Chief Consultant,
MSR Leadership Consultant, India
Blog: http://profmsr.blogspot.com
Where Knowledge is Wealth
Email: profmsr7@gmail.com

1 comment:

Ed Oakley said...

Congratulations, Prof Rao! I have a comment about your latest book:

"International leadership trainer, teacher and author, Professor M.S.Rao has written a delightful book that effectively describes 28 different kinds of leadership. It is thought-provoking, easy to read, and I recommend it to any student of leadership."

- Ed Oakley, Founder & CEO, Enlightened Leadership Solutions, Inc., author of several books, including "Making Managers into Leaders"