Five Myths About Coaching
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Over the years, I have coached (formally or informally) many managers and leaders, students
I believe that many individuals are not exploring and leveraging the benefits of 1-1 coaching,
and taking advantages of coaching experts due to some widely prevalent myths.
These myths are also becoming roadblocks in talent and succession management for many
organizations , who could benefit from coaching.
In addition, some 1-1 relationships, while being called coaching, may be delivering different
value, e.g., advisory.
These are my observations for the Indian market, and maybe relevant in a limited context
(although I believe that some may apply to broader markets). Executive coaching for
professional managers and leaders is in an early evolution stage in this market.
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All coaches have grey hair..
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Coaching requires functional expertise..
I am unique and no coach can help me..
Coaching is only relevant if I am part of an organization..
Coaching will make me successful overnight..
(and will solve all problems)
Myth 1 : All coaches must have grey hair..
A coach having contextual experience does help
in some ways.
Listening and asking the right questions without
judging are key coaching skills. Experience can
often blunt these skills.
Sheer length of experience in a coach may also
sometimes create a ‘senior-junior” relationship.
In a coach, musts are- the skills of encouraging
openness, creating trust and asking non-
judgmental questions appropriately.
Coaches who have used past experience to
embrace beliefs allowing people their own
uniqueness are likely to be more effective.
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Myth 2: Coaching requires functional expertise..
Pure functional coaching may require functional
expertise. Expertise in a functional subject (except
in coaching) may be more useful in an advisory,
mentoring or training relationship, rather than
The role of the executive coach, however, is to ‘help
the individual help themselves’ rather than give
them expert answers.
Almost all individuals are capable of finding their
own answers. The coach can help a person in
developing the ability to reflect, making choices and
then taking appropriate action in the chosen
Coaching requires expertise in helping the coachee
become more aware of their beliefs, attitudes and
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Myth 3 : I am unique and no coach can help me..
The first part of his ‘mythical’ statement is true, Each
of us is unique, and that is exactly what the coach
A coach can help the person hone their uniqueness in
a more meaningful way towards personal and
Often, the uniqueness posture may be a defense
against opening up or making oneself vulnerable.
It could be an education gap —how a coach can
really help may not be fully understood by a person,
sponsor or manager. All of us can benefit from a
good coach in our lives.
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Myth 4 : Coaching is only relevant if I am part of an
Organizations often sponsor coaching for
individuals as part of their leadership and talent
This is even more evident in sports and
performing arts—any world class professional
has a coach. Their journey of excellence is
enhanced by the coaching relationship—ask any
The broader question could be :
As an individual, do I wish to invest in my
If the answer is yes, coaching may be one of the
options, and not the only one.
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Myth 5 : Coaching will make me a success overnight..
(and will solve all problems)
Coaching can allow opening of new avenues for
growth, changing perspectives and helping improve
effectiveness by removing barriers or by shifting habits.
It cannot be a solution for short term performance
issues which is sometimes expected when hiring a
The answer may lie in other things-fitment into a job,
manager support, skills training etc.)
Often, sponsors see coaching as a ‘correctional’ move
as against a ‘potential enhancing’ mechanism.
Coaching must be viewed as one of the people
development tools to be used alongside other
organizational and HR tools.
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And finally some words about breaking these myths..
Education and conversations are the key
– Coaches and HR professionals can play a leading role
– Improved ethical practices and values of coaches will help propagate the right
mindsets and skills
Role modeling by coaches will help speed the ‘real’ evolution of coaching. Coachees
and sponsors must have great experiences with coaching.
There are no black and white answers of course, since each coach is unique, and
will feel, think, learn and practice in their own way.
A possible formula for coaches :
“Right personal values + effective skills + relevant process”
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I’m a avid believer in people and their potential, and have not been proved too
wrong yet. My biggest investments in trusting and just letting people ‘be’ have all
paid off—creating young entrepreneurs, solid corporate executives and just
unique individuals in their own right. Trust and patience with people comes easy
My boutique consulting company (www.thinktalentindia.com) is trying to work at
creative yet practical people, team and organizational development solutions for
organizations, mostly tuned towards the new world with continuously evolving
features of how people interact, learn and use skills and knowledge.
Coaching, consulting, history, reading and music are all close and enthralling
activities for me. I mentor a few young companies/teams and enjoy the energy
and the astoundingly grounded thought process youth brings.
In my coaching practice (in context of this presentation), I use the NEWS model,
which is great at helping people navigate themselves (see next two slides)
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NEWS™ – The Coaching Framework
I use this for helping navigate individuals
How do you plan?
How do you execute?
What motivates you?
What are your drivers?
Where are you going?
What is your direction?
What is your strategy?
What are your
stoppers and difficulties?
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Strategic LinkTeam Leadership
Team MotivationSelf Motivation
The “12 Box“ possible solutions
(possible areas for coaching towards success in organizational context)
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The starting point can be both mindset and skills in any of these areas based on the initial self assessment
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(and I’d love some comments)
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