Executive Coaching- An answer to today’s scarcity

Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 794 , Published on 15 June 2013

According to Daniel Goleman, “Great leaders move us. They ignite our passion and inspire the best in us”. It is obvious that leaders are the guiding force in any organisations. One doesn’t become a leader overnight. They think and act in a different way with respect to others.  Let us see what makes the leaders different from others. Somebody who is not a leader, the success is all about him. He is more focussed about his own performance, his contributions and his visibility. However, the same person once becomes a leader, his role changes. It does not matter whether he is performing or not but it matters that his team should perform. The definition of success changes for the same person. Now success for him is all about growing others in a team. The transition in his mindset can clearly be visualised. However, it is never easy for anyone to lead the team. One can see many good managers failing in becoming a good leader. According to one of the surveys of McKinsey & Company, leadership is going to be scarce in few years. Fewer qualified leaders are entering into the workforce and replacing the aging people. This is the concern for many of the organisations.


In addition to this, there are unique leadership challenges in India. One of the reasons may be transition in Indian culture. Managers need to understand the emerging need of a new generation.  The new generation have grown with new technologies advancement. They aspire for something new out of their workplace. The concept of satisfaction has been diluted and a new era of employee engagement and employee enablement has evolved. Gone are those days where people do not raise their voice against their peers. In this social media era, people can voice their opinion irrespective of their age or qualification. Thus, they want to enjoy the equality in the workplace too. It is sometimes very difficult for the organisations to orient them towards the mission and vision of the organisation.


Nowadays organisations are finding it very important to build pools of managerial talent internally in order to overcome shortages of talent and thus leadership. The coaching and mentoring of freshers by senior staff executives is a common method for developing the workforce in Indian organisations. The fresh minds are always the target of the organisation. The organizations orient them, enrich them with required skills, and thus create very strong bench strength. But, is that only the freshers, who require mentorship and coaching? Isn’t that the organisations are more focussing on future leaders but overlooking on the scarcity of present leaders? As per the data by Dr. Carl Robinson, Failure rates for senior executives have climbed up to 33 percent. A recent research shows that executives who are rated high on Interpersonal Effectiveness outperform low rated executives by 15 – 20% on yearly revenue targets. In this cut throat competitive business environment, it is obvious to capitalise on   the cutting edge values.


There is no denying the fact that, as the economic environment continues to challenge organizations, it depends on the capabilities of middle level managers to bridge the gap between strategy and execution. Many organisations have realised that middle managers form the backbone of the organisation and are responsible for strategy execution. Therefore, if they don’t develop these managers, their leadership pipeline is going to suffer. Harvard Business Publishing (HBP) believes that ‘the organisations need to focus on developing all middle managers and not just the high potentials.’ In a recent survey by HBP titled ‘Developing Middle Managers in India: Emerging Trends’, 78 % of organisations indicated that in comparison to the last 3 years, their development budgets on middle level manager are expected to increase. Thus with the passage of time and emerging needs, executive coaching has become very essential to develop the middle level managers for the effective management in the organisations.


Is executive coaching a good option to bridge the gap or to develop the managers? How one who has worked hard throughout his career, demonstrating a level of drive, vision and determination that sets him apart from others, can be helped by coaching?

Coaching is a separate business entity. Different coaching providing firms such as Calibra, NEWS, etc., provides special services like new manager coaching, new assignment coaching, succession coaching, etc. However, executive coaching is effective only in following scenarios:-

  • If someone is in midst of change:- In this case if someone is going to change his job or is trying to change his company
  • If somebody wants to enhance his potential:- It happens many times that the manager is high performer but as he gets promotion there is deep sink in his performance. Sometimes, it is said that he is not having high potential. In that case he can go for executive coaching, to find out the bottle neck and enhance his potential
  • If somebody wants to change his behaviour to improve the performance
  • If somebody wants to identify the ways to overcome the hurdles and obstacles, and is looking for new solutions to success path


Still many intellectuals like Douglas McKenna, believe that executive coaching is not the only ways to develop the middle level mangers. High-level training, mentoring, job rotation and special assignments are few of them. The best learning and guidance source is the individual's own manager. But nowadays executive coaching has become a fashion. Coaching relationships stands well only when there is support from executive’s world .Coaching relationship in vacuum will fall. When conditions are right, executive coaching is the best option, but it is not a remedy for every executive development problem. So , it depends on individuals what choice he/she makes.

The Article has been authored by Achintya and Jaikishan N from Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar


  1. http://www.peoplematters.in/articles/leadership/why-the-middle-should-be-your-top-priority
  2. http://www.leadershipconsulting.com/why-executive-coaching-works.htm
  3. http://tlgmarketingconsultants.com/solutions/team-building-and-coaching.html
  4. Effective Training by Blanchard, Thacker and Ram



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