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Do you need a coach?

Business Coaching is a nascent practice in India and is often clubbed with yet another kind of consultancy or training services. Some companies are hesitant to embrace coaching, perceiving it as quite expensive, yet other executives do not wish to admit t

Tags: business consulting

BY Taslima Khan | October 06, 2010 | COMMENTS ( 0 ) |

Do you need a coach?
Vic Ciuffetelli CEO Asia Pacific, ActionCOACH

Business Coaching is a nascent practice in India and is often clubbed with yet another kind of consultancy or training services. Some companies are hesitant to embrace coaching, perceiving it as quite expensive, yet other executives do not wish to admit to their own need for coaching. I spoke to Vic Ciuffetelli, CEO Asia Pacific, ActionCOACH, World's number one Business Coaching Firm about the relevance of business coaching for small and medium businesses in the country.


Taslima Khan(TK): How do you perceive the current business environment in India for small and medium enterprises?

Vic Ciuffetelli (VC): India will continue to grow at a rate that most world economies will envy. With a growing middle class, the luxury goods and services sector is set for massive growth. Most of this growth will be taken up by the SME sector as new opportunities arise and larger corporations see the merit of outsourcing. The SME sector has always been the greatest source of employment within any country even though this recognition is not necessarily given, and it’s pleasing to see that the government has taken steps to address this in India.


(TK): What are the growth prospects for entrepreneurship in the country?

(VC): With a fast growing economy the prospects for entrepreneurship are very good, however, just as in a fast moving stream there is much excitement in the velocity there is just as much concern in the destructive forces that can come to bear. If entrepreneurs rush to embrace the opportunities without the necessary business planning and modeling they can, just as fast, turn potential success into failure. A fast moving economy is no guarantee to success.


(TK): How does business coaching work for small and medium businesses in India?

(VC): As a business coaching company ActionCOACH specializes in the general model of business, and this hold true for any business in any economy. Most business owners in the first instance are very courageous in taking this step to taking charge of their own success and, for most, moving away from a regular pay packet. Most businesses are started by a person that either has a great idea or is very good at what they do, however there currently is no institution that teaches a person how to start and run a small business. Most experiences are gained through mistakes made, and that can be costly. This is the gap in the market that ActionCOACH saw many years ago and has now become a world leader in educating and coaching business owners.


(TK): How receptive are Indian companies to business coaching as compared to companies elsewhere?

(VC): The uptake of business coaching in India has been comparative to any other economy we have entered. In the first instance there is resistance as business owners don’t believe that someone can know their business better than them, some believe it is a sign of ‘weakness’ to ask for help and others believe that they will sort out the problems by themselves. Once they overcome these objections they quickly see that an outside mentor can fast track success. The rate of business pace today is much quicker than 10 years ago and will continue to speed up in the future. In this environment where change is the norm, a business owner can no longer be expected to keep up this pace on their own.


It’s interesting to note that most of the top Indian entrepreneurs all claim to have coaches in different aspects of their business’s and personal lives.


(TK): What kind of problems can be addressed by a business coach?

(VC): ActionCOACH looks at the business in its entirety. All aspects such as sales and marketing, leadership training, team building, enhancing communication in the business, business planning and execution, adding systems to the business to streamline the output, all with the  aim of raising the profitability of the business. The ActionCOACH definition of a business is a “Commercial Profitable Enterprise that runs without the Business Owner”. If the owner must be there all day every day, then they have a job that they pay themselves rather than truly being an entrepreneur. So our aim is to help the business owner develop a business that they run, rather than the business running them, and to provide the business owner a steady cashflow that they can then invest in other ventures. We coach them to become true entrepreneurs.


(TK): At what stage do companies need coaching the most? What business sectors can particularly benefit from coaching?

(VC): The simple answer is at any stage, however the best results may come from a business that has been in operation for a few years and has stagnated in its growth. As we work on the general business fundamentals, all businesses in all industries have benefitted from our services. The biggest question we face -  is the business owner open to change ?


(TK): What is the current status of business coaching as an industry in India?

(VC): Business coaching around the world is still in its infancy and even more so in India. However as a profession it has the second fastest rate of growth behind the IT sector.

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