Coaching Groups

(Excerpts from media interaction)

'Leadership Collaboration & Coaching teams'. That’s simple & easy to understand. So what’s special?
What is significant is that it is not practiced. One-on-one executive- coaching is popular, but this has process has not automatically extended to leadership-teams. At best an occasional teaming session or workshop, but nothing on a sustained basis. Considering that the benefits to the enterprise & individuals are so startling, LCC should have been universally prevalent.

Agree, it now seems rather obvious. But why has this not caught on, let alone be universally prevalent?
Maybe because the West didn’t discover it. I am kidding & serious. We adopt things more readily when it originates or is routed through the west. The concept of LCC is indigenous and recent. So there are no buzz words (not yet), intricate models, or 10 steps to effective LCC. Seriously, I am perplexed why this has not been discovered and practiced, like many of the other people-development processes. Maybe it is so obvious that it just got overlooked!

So what really is significant about LCC? I really don’t like to abbreviate things; just that the long form is a mouthful.
The short answer is that it has all the outcomes of executive coaching on one hand, and the benefits of team-building programs on the other. Process and benefits milestoned over a timeline of 9 to 18 months. LCC squarely addresses three critical success factors
  1. » Needs of flatter, boundary less enterprises.
  2. » Focussing leadership team on business goals rather than individual goals.
  3. » Beyond teaming to collaboration, with leaders going the extra mile for each other and the enterprise.

It does seem more holistic, but how is it really more than a sum of independent parts … not just a combination of otherwise already existing initiatives?
Thank you for noticing the 'holistic' angle. This is true when leaders bring more of themselves into the enterprise, and leverage each other for a larger goal. It dilutes the turf-war angles in otherwise role-bound approaches. This 'leader' behaviour tends to then get role-modelled. The resultant synergy can have geometric effects on growth all around

Where & how did the idea for LCC spring from?
Firstly, we must recognise that group coaching is not such a new concept, though here again it is less practiced compared to 1 on 1 coaching. Secondly, we need to look at industry in the context of Eastern, emerging geographies. 21st century leadership in these parts is becoming more about the ‘art of the necessary’ and not just the 'art of the possible'. Numbers are expanding, while time is getting crunched. This pushes the boundaries on conventional approaches. We need more, faster.

So it is really about our environment pushing the need for change.
Absolutely. There is a third factor, and that is people themselves. The demographics of our context compels us, more than ever, to recognise the 'leader' aspect in each person. 21st century leadership will not be about superiority thrust on people by heredity or hierarchy. Growth and wellbeing will be directly proportional to the number of people tapped for their 'leader' capabilities.
Chewable bites. LCC focuses this revolution at the top of the enterprise. At the CEO and CXOs and their teams.

You really are going all out for 'teams'.
Completely. I liked Peter Senge’s insight on 'deficiency' approaches to development. LCCs focus is on the team more than the individual. There is only that much benefit in singling out any one person for coaching or training to become a heroic transformational leader. Standing up, for, and by each other is a far more effective approach.

So how does the process work? And what time frames are we looking at?
We are looking at time-lines of 9 to 18 months. Leadership teams with 10 to 15 leaders. The CEO or business head anchors the program. The on-going interactions happen in specific channels
  • » separately with the CEO
  • » separately with each of the individual CXO's
  • » jointly with / between all peer-group CXO members
  • » with the whole team as a unit (CEO & CXOs)

The interactions are both face to face, and virtual. All on-going interactions are aim to build trust, by demonstrating pro-active support for each other.

And what provides the excitement, the newness, the energy in this ongoing (9 to 18 months, right?) interaction?
It’s a fresh and highly interactive process. We spend most of our awake-life with our work colleagues... but hesitate to 'mine' these relationships for feedback and productive action. The transparent exchanges, from 'team-members' is the best chance to break barriers and building trust in each other and the team as a whole. This hope, causes the energy build-up to push for the larger vision.

So what buzz-words is LCC going to be introducing?
Not buzz-words. But metaphors. Kaleidoscope. Frames. Windows. Again, self-explanatory. K introduces colour, variety and change to create vibrancy. Windows looks at the future, Frames capture the past.
Kaleidoscope uses alternate vehicles (like sports, neo sciences, fine arts) for fresh insights and new learnings. Learning new skills, is a simple way for people to drop their guard, and relate with each other. It also provides glimpses into the proverbial ‘dark area’ and 'blind side'.
Frames are important to give security, comfort and familiarity (as it is from our very own past). It also captures things that we cherish and identifies those that we need to shed.
Windows dare us to look beyond today at what is possible. This is always in the future. It also helps anticipate and prepare for what is coming.

Sounds simple, enjoyable and effective. How do you think industry leaders will respond? Will this catch their fancy?
No reason why it shouldn't catch on. It is cost-effective (compared to one-on-one coaching). It focuses more on the vision of the enterprise, and less on individual objectives. It is real-time players in a real team; no hypothetical cases. It is sustainable, with visible behaviour, actions for all to see. The business leader/CEO is part of the process to steer and anchor things. This process will catch fire. For sure.

Seems like this is an idea that could go viral & start a bush-fire. Any speed-breakers expected?
Like any tool, this also needs to be wielded with expertise. People development is not child’s play. There is serious work happening as we speak to create a ‘certification’ process. This will help initiate and also provide continuous support to LT Mentors. No rocket science, but not a hit & miss chance game.

So, if this is the next big- idea, in management development, how are you securing & protecting its value for the inventors... or creators
You mean 'discoverers' or better still Originators. Am not so fussed about patents and trademarks. For too long 'knowledge' has been used for competitive gain; it’s time to use it to 'raise all boats in the water'. We will get our due, but the real satisfaction will be when this is leveraged universally for positive change, growth, sustainability etc. More and quicker.

Thank you. This has been a very different kind of discussion. Any closing thoughts?
More like opening lines. The concept is new. Will evolve in many ways. Lots of opportunity to build value. For example, just this morning we envisaged the possibilities of multiple-mentors. Imagine having a domain or industry expert also certified & available to tag-team …this is really the beginning to know "what else is there…"

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