• Noor Fathima

Why Coaching is Failing...

Between 2017 - 2019, I interviewed 33 business leaders (manager of managers, senior delivery managers, vice presidents, business unit heads, chief executive officers and global directors) who had undergone some form of coaching in the past in order to understand how effective it was in improving their performance and productivity, both, at the personal and professional levels. I was also curious to know how many of them are still using the techniques and practices learnt during the coaching period.

The findings were not entirely surprising - 90% of the target audience said coaching was extremely beneficial in the 1st year of coaching; however, with time and due to the VUCA world we live in, they were finding it challenging to implement the new techniques learnt and 63% admitted that they had slipped back into using the old techniques (used prior to coaching) as it was easy and more accepted by the teams they were working with.

So The Million $ Question Is - How do you sustain Behavioural Change in a constantly changing-dynamic environment to improve performance and productivity both at the personal and professional level?

Coaching alone would be insufficient! A more comprehensive approach would need to be undertaken. Coaching should be accompanied by Counselling and Mentoring. Thus, the Counselling - Coaching - Mentoring (CCM) model is proposed.

Tragically, many of the practicing coaches have no experience in counselling which is a pre-requisite for Coaching and Mentoring. It is counselling which makes a person coachable, by identifying unconscious biases, self defeating behaviour patterns and mindsets. It helps in isolating Inhibitions and Counter Productive Paradigms and in identifying Triggers, Hooks and Habit Formation Pathways.

A good Coach must be aware of the latest techniques in Cognitive Behavioural Therapies, Human Motivation and Empowerment Methodologies. They should know how to apply the Fogg’s Behavioural Model and Behavioural Grids along with Hooks Canvas and Model. It is only then, that the Coach will be successful in remodelling behaviour and helping the ‘Coache’ in optimising his potential, thereby reducing the Skill - Gap. Behavioural change is long drawn, slow and intensive; which means organisations should be willing to invest time and money if they want to increase performance and productivity of their employees and maintain sustainable growth.

In a study carried out on 21 employees, across various organisations, who underwent the complete cycle of Counselling-Coaching-Mentoring (CCM), it was found that, they were more loyal to the organisation, were capable of working with easy and flexibility in volatile - changing environments, take calculated risks and were unruffled when confronted with ambiguous situations, adopting a ‘Solution Centric Approach.’

They were intrinsically motivated and were able to motivate and influence people around them with ease including external customers and stakeholders. Their performance and productivity increased by 26% in the first quarter and by the fourth quarter it ranged between 66 - 72%; which was phenomenal; as against the traditional isolated Coaching Approach.

For maximum benefit, coaching must be followed by mentoring for at least 4 - 6 months; the number of sessions are dependent on the how quickly the employee displays positive observable behavioural changes. It is Mentoring, that helps employees inculcate Attunement, Mindfulness and Value Based Decision Making Systems; thereby helping them to evolve and grow. Coaching helps an individual manage, lead and succeed on specific skill points or competencies, it encourages collaboration and innovative thinking for a short duration. If the individual is highly intrinsically motivated, the effects of coaching can be seen for a few years.

However, if you as an organisation or an individual you are looking for long term sustainable change, then, you must seek a professional who has a deep understanding of the dynamics human behaviour, knows how new triggers can be implanted in the brain to create new neural pathways and how old hooks can be replaced with new hooks to re-engineer behaviour. Choose a professional who has experience and is well attuned with counselling, coaching and mentoring techniques. It is highly recommended that the professional has a background in Psychology, having worked with adults of varying backgrounds in challenging situations.

Today, there are different types of coaches swarming the market - Sports Coaches, Life Coaches, Health & Wellness Coaches, Skill Development Coaches, Succession Planning Coaches and many more. Whatever type of coach you are, you cannot attempt to re-engineer behaviour without having a sound knowledge of behavioural dynamics, counselling and mentoring.

The author of this article is a practicing psychologist with specialisations in Behavioural Analytics, OD Consulting and Performance & Productivity Management Strategies. For more details on the topic and the research carried out in this area email Dr. Noor Fathima at

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