Coaches and mentors: Adjusting your sails to face the winds
by Preeti Prayag
3 minutes read
Business leaders are ‘high performers’ who are often described as ‘dynamic’, ‘productive’ and ‘successful’ individuals. But many times they find themselves in catch-22 situations, unable to decide which way to go. They also hit annoying blind alleys, face disappointments, and stalemates that could unnerve them. CEOs, CFOs and CXOs may hold coveted positions, but things are lonely at the top. These are times when they need a confidante to talk to, a guide to direct them, and a friend to help them resolve critical workplace issues.
Who is this person who is a friend, confidante and guide all rolled into one?
Any decision the leaders make will have a chain of predictable reactions: with cheerleaders on one side and scornful folks on the other. This doesn’t mean leaders can avoid making decisions. The question is whom do they turn to when they have to make critical decisions that affect the fortunes and futures of an organisation and its stakeholders?
Who will give them unbiased feedback?
Most often than not, the people who have enough knowledge and experience of workplace situations to advise business leaders are themselves business leaders, perhaps competitors or colleagues who may be busy resolving their own issues. They may not have the time, patience or inclination to give their valuable opinion or advice.
So, who can help?
Over the years, business leaders have built a repertoire of competencies. But sometimes, they are blinded by the situation and, like the mighty Hanuman[AK1] , may not remember what they are capable of. All they need is someone to give them a little nudge and tell them how to manage a situation. Coaches fill this critical gap in business leaders’ professional lives and equip them with the right skills.
Leadership coaching is not just about fixing the complexities in an organisation or about helping leaders firefight during troubled times. It is also not about highlighting the chinks in their armour. It is about discovering and honing the leaders’ strengths while also overcoming their weaknesses.
Preparing for a challenge
Coaching is also about helping leaders foresee a problem before it arrives and equipping leaders with the skills needed to handle issues appropriately. It is about preparing the leader to expect the unexpected and be ready with an appropriate response or reaction to the action that’s about to take place. In short, it is about honing the leader’s management skills effectively.
Clarity of goals
Business leaders also need coaches to help them reach their goals, manage their success, and move forward without getting stuck in a rut. Coaches help bring about this clarity in both, the personal and professional goals of leaders and also help align the two. They assist leaders in chalking out their goal commitments and revise them if necessary. Coaches help leaders think clearly and chart out their individual agendas in marry them with the organisation’s goals.
Leaders must learn to manage their emotions like fear, failure and anger. Coaches play a big role in this. They help in human asset creation – honing individuals with high emotional intelligence who can manage conflicts in the most professional manner, without letting their emotions or personal prejudices come in the way.
Networking and communication
Coaches help leaders develop networking skills and clarity in communication. They also empower leaders to have a healthy engagement with employees; this ensures leaders in turn become mentors to their employees. These employees naturally evolve into the next rung of leaders who can take charge when the time is right.
As someone once said, “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” This is exactly what a coach helps leaders do.
Do your sails need adjusting too? Click here and drop us a line and take the first step to professional growth.
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Preeti Prayag is the co-founder of Mentoring Matters, a platform for businesses and individuals across industries to drive holistic professional growth across mid and senior-level positions through dedicated coaching by certified professionals.