While in the spirit of competition, we may focus on being better than others, a good coach focuses on making us better than our best selves. A coach can help maximize our potential.
Coaching involves essentially three aspects, observing, instructing and inspiring. A good coach observes the style of leadership for a period of time. He knows that leadership is a public performance where the leadership skill is on public display. Only after an evaluative diagnosis of the leadership style does he move on to prescribing or instructing.
Krishna first observed the potential in Arjuna’s leadership abilities from a distance. Just like it takes tons of ore to produce a grain of gold, tons of followers have to be filtered to spot leadership material. When Pandavas were in their early teens, Krishna wrote a letter to Dhritarashtra to take good care of them else he would take care of Dhritarashtra just like he took care of his uncle Kamsa earlier. After observing Arjuna from a distance for many years, Krishna observed him from close up during Draupadi’s swayamvara.
Self-evaluation is like streamlining our greatness through the mirror of admiration. Whereas, a coach evaluates by observing defects through the lens of concern.
Krishna observed Arjuna’s behaviour, psychology, intelligence, and luck factor at every step; during the war with Drupada, the burning of lac palace, and the Draupadi swayamvara episode. Only then Krishna froze his talent search. He knew Arjuna was a coachable leader.
The second step was to take personal interest in guiding and developing this young leader. Every emerging leader requires constructive feedback that should be specific, instructive, and real time.
A good coach inspires you to open the cage and face your gigantic fears that you always trembled to confront. Krishna inspired his apprentice to not focus on loss, but to focus on making what he has, as superlative as possible.
Inspired by Krishna, Arjuna established a model-town Indraprastha from a barren ghastly Khandavaprastha given to them by the Kauravas. So successful was he as a king and leader, that Indraprastha became more popular than Hastinapura. Arjuna succeeded because of Krishna’s tutelage.
A coach instills in you an image of what could be inherently true of you as a leader. He coaches you to reach your potential and not stagnate at current levels of performance. When we are ready to get coached, a coach emerges.
· Leaders must continually strive to raise their bar higher and higher.
· This is only possible with the help of an external coach who evaluates your potential and takes you there.
· Leadership coaching involves observing, instructing and inspiring.
· Krishna observed Arjuna, instructed him periodically and inspired him to achieve his potential.
(The writer is an author, Tedx speaker, story-teller, corporate trainer and visiting faculty in several premiere management schools)