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Leaders growing leaders: Amplifying the impact of Coaching

11:10 AM October 18, 2019

For business organizations, teaching leaders how to coach can be a game-changer.  It is not just value added, it is value multiplied.

Human Resource Executives who have implemented company-wide coaching programs affirm the profound impact of leaders acquiring the ability to coach and harnessing it to optimize performance, enhance workplace relationships, and fast-track employee development, among other results.

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Monde Nissin HR Director Luchi Vitales introduced Coaching to her Senior Managers several years ago,  enabling them to provide agile leadership as the company grew. The intervention helped to create a safe and nurturing environment where employees can productively talk about personal and professional concerns, learning needs and development goals, with leaders who genuinely listened.  Heartened by the initial results, she extended the program to practically all leadership levels and campaigned to sustain the coaching practice.  

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“The positive changes most widely acknowledged by the participants,” she says, “lay in essentially two areas —  first, that they developed a more holistic, strategic perspective in managing their respective teams and targets, vis-à-vis the corporate business thrusts;   and second, that they acquired a stronger capability to effectively handle the behavioural issues of their people.” These critical learning points are precious gains for every coaching advocate. 

Vitales is, herself, a Professional Coach with credential from the International Coach Federation (ICF).   She was the 2011-2012 President of the ICF Philippines Chapter, the group organizing the International Coaching Summit for November 8, at the Conrad Hotel, Manila.

Designing coaching programs to build leaders, teaching leaders how to coach their people to their highest potentials, and bringing about a corporate coaching culture are just a few of the enticing subject matters covered by the Summit.  

Championing the Coaching Culture

For many HR heads, striving to achieve a company culture that thrives on coaching can sound like chasing the holy grail.  The challenge begins with a shift from the telling, instructing, and loading up mode of developing people, to stirring their own passions, drawing out what they truly want, and getting them to act on realizing the possibilities they see for themselves.  

How deeply the practice takes root in the workplace is often the result of two factors – HR making a stand for it, and top management championing the cause.  

Senior Vice President of JG Summit’s Corporate Resources Group, Nic Lim, strongly underscores the critical role of  leaders as coaching sponsor, champion, or advocate. “They are the first to be convinced that this program will be of value to their own development and the whole organization,” he says.  “They need to go through the whole process, in order to fully experience and apply the learnings back to their teams.” 

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Lim believes that if an organization is to develop the coaching competency which involves listening skills, delivering feedback, delegating work and encouraging initiative, and if the ultimate intent is for everyone to demonstrate this competency, then development should start from the top.  For him, it is imperative that leaders walk their talk. He stresses that leaders also need to evolve and they cannot give what they do not have. 

“A ripple effect is created in the whole organization when leaders start demonstrating their new skill sets in influencing and coaching their talents,” he states. “Then, learning by osmosis can easily take place.”

PHINMA Corporation’s Vice President for Human Resources, Lin Mukhi, agrees.  She relates that the case for a corporate coaching program first emerged during a business planning session, when people performance was highlighted as a key driver of organizational success.  “It was decided to institutionalize coaching as a way of life among our leaders,” she shared. It was an initiative to strengthen their leadership pipeline, but it also laid down the tracks for cultivating a culture uniquely their own.  Coaching training was launched in March 2015.  

“Our Executive Committee, together with the Presidents of our strategic business units, took the lead and got together for a day of coaching training,” she recounts.  “The Management Committee members from our different businesses followed suit, and today, we make coaching training part of the program for employees moving up from individual contributor to people leader.”

The top executives of PHINMA took the program as a journey of learning and re-learning, for and with their people.  Mukhi recalls their President Ramon del Rosario Jr., and their Chief Operating Officer Roberto M. Lavina, issuing a joint statement which provided a compelling framework for what they had set out to do.  It said — “This is an opportunity to deepen our leadership perspective. It is our people that got us where we are today, it will be our people who will take us where we want to be.”

Mukhi notes with pride that what started as an action point to address their talent management risks, particularly the need for succession planning, has now become a distinctive mark of the PHINMA brand.

Valuing the Takeaways

Leaders consistently coaching their own people sets off a value chain that permeates the entire organizational performance. 

Their biggest gain, Mukhi muses, lies in the tone they have set for their culture and how they lead people.   “The PHINMA service philosophy of Making Lives Better is now also pursued for the growth of our employees,” she declares.   She further points out that the People Practices Survey they use for measuring the success of their people initiatives has yielded inspiring outcomes.  “Comparative results over the first two years showed we moved up in percentage points on four indicators: Building Capability, Managing Performance, Leading and Inspiring People and Empowering and Involving People,” she summed up.

At JG Summit, Lim is looking at specific desired outcomes.  “I see our leaders being skilled in giving and receiving feedback, such that they are able to make the coaching conversations even more effective and accurately targeted,” he says.  “I see our leaders shaping the learning and coaching culture, breaking perceived communication barriers and the traditional functional silos.”

Coaching is no panacea, says Monde Nissin’s Vitales, but it is “definitely an organizational handle by which Leaders can be grounded on a culture of authentic connection to people.”  Assessing the impact of coaching on her organization, she says, “There is now a balance of quantitative and qualitative inputs in conversations founded on the coaching process and discipline.”

The experience has been gratifying, says Lim. “Facilitating the transformation of individuals and organizations is a compelling cause.  Coaching helps build satisfying and lasting relations at work. It is a great platform for keeping your talents continuously motivated to come to work.”

The coming International Coaching Summit hosted by ICF Philippines is a great opportunity for Human Resource Development Executives and other people champions to acquire new inputs, and look at more exciting ways to sustain employee growth and engagement.  Visit the ICF Philippines website to check out registration procedures, Summit content and flow, and the top-notch line-up of speakers and facilitators from the global coaching frontiers.

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