Leaders used to be assigned executive coaches to help ‘fix’ things. However, in recent years, the awareness of the purpose and role of coaching has changed. Coaching is a more mature and accepted practice in the West compared to the East. It is evolving and becoming more mainstream; a few years ago, it would‘ve been difficult to find for example a certified coach from Korea.
Coaching is now being used as a holistic development approach, not to ‘fix’ things but to create greater self-awareness and support for people to thrive. There is nothing broken to be fixed instead it’s about uncovering the possibilities and how to achieve them. Think of coaching as looking in the mirror; we see our reflection and also how others see us. There are times where we don’t see clearly, as we have blind spots. There are also times that what we see can make us uncomfortable. We need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, as that is where real reflection and learning take place.
Coaching through Covid-19?
We are all in the same storm but not in the same boat. The impact of Covid-19 has affected people differently, in varying degrees of intensity. I saw some initial reactions from my clients in China as things were unfolding in the early days of Covid-19 as being focused on the basic necessities, about family and relationships, both of which we often take for granted. People were finding new meaning and wanting to have deeper conversations around it. With human connections so distant, I found the demand for more regular coaching increasing.
Covid -19 has also been an incubator for people to fundamentally explore their own life purpose and values. The focus initially was more on surviving through the storm, battling with mixed emotions, finding new meaning in the loneliness and reflecting on what was truly important. With time I saw a lot of senior leaders in a reflective mode and questioning their life purpose. Some actually challenged themselves, creating pathways of possibilities, leaning on the newfound meaning to thrive. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, reshaping people’s beliefs, values and purpose.
The next wave in coaching? We are seeing demand for coaching in a variety of areas now, not only focused on senior leaders. Many organizations are making an effort to democratize coaching, either through creating internal coaching communities or working with external partners. Coaching is now deployed for high-potential leaders, new managers and other talent pools.
The focus is on developing a coaching culture so that leaders can be coaches. This will help empower employees and invite them to be curious about their challenges and growth areas and, rather than only solving problems. It is about having empathy and a growth mindset to help people thrive in what they do best and providing all the right conditions for it. With the focus on innovation in start-ups and organisations, coaches are taking centre stage in regular meetings and facilitating one-to-one or group coaching sessions.
People are also engaging personal coaches as they see the benefits of coaching and are committed to transforming their lives in order to engage in deeper conversation and build skills and a mindset to thrive in this dynamic world. My philosophy about the benefits of coaching is that at times you need to slow down so you can run faster. Coaching helps you do both!
Are you facing similar challenges as a Leader ? contact us to discuss more.