It was going to be 8 am, and I came out from an exhilarating bath when the mobile jangled. My hair was still wet and tousled, and beads of water glistened on my hand as I raised the phone to my ear.
“Good morning, Coach. Can you see me in my office this morning, please?” It was Mr Rathore, the CEO of a client company. He sounded urgent and worried.
I said, “Sure. I will be there by 10 am. Is that fine?” He agreed, and we hung up.
As I dressed and adjusted my tie, I wondered what could have gone so wrong that he should sound so worked up. In my mind’s eye, I ran through last week’s sessions with the functional heads and tried to hazard some guesses.
It was a swanky modern office that I walked into at 10 am.
“Come in,” called Mr Rathore, as I politely knocked on the etched glass door.
He rushed straight to the point. He never much believed in the niceties anyway, being the alpha male that he was. “Rejections are going through the roof. Do something about it urgently,” he ordered.
I gathered the concerned Heads for a brainstorming and group coaching session. I now knew each of them like the back of my hand, having spent many one-to-one coaching sessions with each of them in the past six months. They were all highly qualified, brilliant people. And that was also part of their problem: their early successes had made them set in their ways. It took me nearly three hard months to open up their minds to a broader range of possibilities. But the hard work was beginning to pay off. In place of the tyrannical consultant, they now saw in me a friend to whom they warmed up and in whom they could now confide and have a sounding board. The paradigm shift was visible: from a “Why me?” they had now come round to the view that all executives need a coach.
It took us a full three hours to get a handle on the problem. The pain-areas were identified, and the game plans were drawn out. As I left for lunch and turned on the ignition of my car, I wondered how much potential lies untapped in people. At the end, the crux of the problem was that the process had remained inefficient because people never gave enough thought to it, caught up as they were in the daily issues. It needed someone to ask those questions for them to probe into their subconscious and look at the issues from 360 degrees.