Coaching has been an Indian phenomena since the Vedic ages; be it Krishna to Arjun, Vasistha to Ram or Chanakya to Ashoka. Indian mythology is exemplary of this practice and validates the importance of a coach. To name a Vedic Coaching literature, the Bhagwat Gita or The Gita of Krishna to Arjun, the coaching about “karmayoga” or spiritual discipline is what equipped Arjuna to handle pressures of his dilemma. Krishna elucidates Arjuna from his dilemma of taking a decision, the answer to what is right and wrong and how one can gather the strength to perform a difficult action

In today’s corporate world, there are numerous occasions and examples of similar dilemmas and every worker needs the elucidation of Krishna, the coach. Time and again, when one needs course correction to achieve his goals, advance in his career or seek greater heights, he seeks a compass that could align him to the right course to achieve his goals. A compass which points to the true North and not the magnetic North. A coach is that compass that one seeks, which will guide and help him in this VUCA world. The journey of what one is and what one can be, is often not known to that person. There can be blind spots or sheer reluctance to call for action. A coach serves as a catalyst, and facilitates transformation of one’s inner metal

At IL&FS Financial Services Ltd (IFIN), coaching is embedded in people manager’s everyday work and honors the strength of the existing culture. Culturally employees have unconsciously coached each other. An average stint of over two decades of the first and second line of leadership is a clear testimony of this fact. Through the natural culture in the organisation, leaders are made, and people enhance their own performance standards at work. The leadership team at IFIN is committed to ensure that through an interactive cyclic process internal talent is groomed to pick up high octane roles in the organisation. Strong emphasis is laid on culling out dynamic leaders from the very roots of the organisation. The well-defined succession plan constructs a firm pipeline of leaders, who are ready to don the mantle of any dynamic role, with the belief that there is a Krishna behind them to elucidate their dilemma

With direction from the leadership team, people managers organically display a methodical approach to coaching their direct reports. The people agenda at IFIN is always at priority, which is validated by the amount of growth opportunities the employees get at IFIN. The cohesion between different teams create a gamut of blossoming opportunities for the workforce. More than eighty percent of IFIN’s business expansion is through filling critical positions internally, preparing our people for higher order roles through systematic exposure to critical business techniques and tools. This has been a reality possible only through coaching. The art of being responsible for the success of your people is a common visual at IFIN. The thought provoking discussions help employees to fathom new depths in their personality and skill sets, thus carving out their true potential. We at IFIN believe that people managers should be the facilitators of objective thinking and help employees to find answers to their questions. This method helps employees to find the cause of their barriers and consequently, in removing them forever

The typical coaching conversation starts with establishing focus with the employee, defining the current reality and the need for course correction. One of the most integral parts of this conversation is discovering possibilities through objective questioning, which stimulates thinking in employees. They are guided to seek routes to achieve their optimum potential. Planning of relative actions is the next part where S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) Goals aligned to the current need and potential are developed. The cause of their barriers is unearthed by systematic questioning and employees are encouraged to devise mitigation plans themselves. The conversation ends with a commitment from both ends to be true to the plan and play their respective roles effectively. This model ensures that there is autonomy in the process and employees are true to their commitments. That’s the bedrock of success of this process

At IFIN, we have never had a formal coaching programme since the people agenda was always to win a pole position. The culture here has institutionalised coaching as a prime people practice. The leadership is committed to ensure that the impact is accentuated in the years to come and perhaps blend the organisation wide culture practice in a formal HR intervention. We believe in providing every Arjuna his Krishna, to amplify their performance and make them capable to manage things in this ever changing VUCA world

As shared with IFIN Panorama Editorial Team

Vikram Khanna
HR Department at IFIN


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