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Scaling Coaching in Large Organisations with Mohit Jiwnani

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Do you know what is the most important question for a coach? How to scale my coaching business?
Isn’t it true, as a coach we always look for ways to improve our techniques, especially in large organisations. Well, this time Mohit Jiwnani joined us to help us solve this problem. In this session, Mohit talked to us about Scaling Coaching in Large Organisations. 

He talked about the importance of coaching today more than ever before. Challenges to introducing coaching in an organization, possible resistances in the system, how to create a narrative in an organization to get buy-in from internal stakeholders, including senior leaders, and four ways to scale your coaching in organizations. 

Here is a transcripted version of the conversation that followed.

Scaling Coaching in Large Organisations

What does it take to be able to scale, a coaching program at a large company and large midsize? I feel largely the definitions of scaling remain the same, and are relevant across, organizations, depending on where you’re at and how far along you are in your coaching journey or, in the process of rolling out coaching in your organization. This I would think is also true if you’re going in as an external consultant, and if you’re working with a company and their leadership to help scale and a lot of coaching programs, or even just skill and work with a few of their executives, directors, leaders.

So I think this is applicable across. So right at the top, one of the things that I wanted to call out is just creating an ecosystem of leadership development to drive accountability becomes really important. And this is something that you can hopefully see that relates to the definition that I just shared. One of the things that we’ve tried to do at Intuit is we’ve tried to start by establishing the right expectation for leaders. What I’ve found that’s been missing for many years of doing people development, digital development is that we don’t know what we’re measuring. And, oftentimes we come back and we find it very hard to say whether this was a success or not at the end of six months at the end of the year.

To really start at the top by ensuring that everybody understands what those leaders should behaviors are, what those expectations are, and mapping them to a common set of values, company, mission, vision, wherever possible is something that’s really important. Something that’s really critical to ensure that we’re creating overall success, for the development experience for the coaching program. So that’s right up the top. Number one. 

The second one that I wanted to share was, really trying to design and create some best practices that support coaching as a way of life. Some of you said this when we asked you just what coaching means to you and you know, I think this speaks to, what some of you were sharing, integrating coaching with all other development experiences. I feel, is something that, I as an HR professional did not do very well for a very long time. I think that seems to also be common. I can’t speak for everyone but I’ve definitely seen that as a gap for many years. So integration becomes really important. So really designing and trying to create best practices that will eventually ensure that leaders can continue to sort of, share and scale what they’re learning. 

One of the things that we’ve tried to do at Intuit is to have leaders as teachers.

So if we ever have a leader go in, and be a part of an executive coaching engagement, we have them come back and teach and share their learnings and cascade their learning, as a teacher, as a facilitator, and just like that, there can be many more examples. One of the things that we’ve tried to do more recently is trying to integrate, coaching, and try to see if we can find a space for our senior, most leaders who are and have seen tremendous change through executive coaching.

If we can set them up as coaches and if they’d like to play a role in scaling coaching, may not be at the same level, but at a different level within the organization. So just trying to find more organic or natural ways of integration I think is really important so that people understand that this is not something that they do at a six-month engagement as a one-year engagement, but it’s something that stays on it continues, you know, forever for life.

The third thing is really developing, learning, and resources to support. I feel that a lot of times we do a really good job, of creating coaching as an experience but what happens is that that becomes a siloed experience, and there are other contents and support structures that don’t map to leadership behaviors. I’ll give you an example of one of the things that we were doing, and Intuit many years ago before. And in some of my early days we had, six or seven executive coaches, both internal and external that were doing a phenomenal job and we were using their own processes. We’re using their own framework. None of what they taught mapped to our values, none of what they taught and what they worked with, our leaders on a map to just our culture. And, one of the things that we had to do was do some level setting. And we’d talk about just, “Hey, what does leadership mean to us at Intuit?”

What are our values and how can we make sure that our executive coaches are seeing it all the same way and are speaking the same language, even though using their own processes and their own frameworks. So that I think becomes really important and is an important part of being able to scale, being able to scale coaching across any large company, any medium-sized company has said before. 

I think this is my last one, which is really integrating with key people processes. And some of this, I said in point number two as well, but I feel strongly that there should be systemic structures to support this, including some integration that needs to happen with key people, processes like goal setting, and performance management. So oftentimes we do a great job of rolling out leadership frameworks at companies and setting up. These things, but we don’t ever talk about them and this goes back to just something that I’m going to say all along and something that I’ve said all along so far, it goes back to accountability.

It goes back to really ensuring that we’re doing a solid job of holding our leaders accountable of holding our coaches accountable with the work that we’re doing with, with the engagements that we’re setting up, and this, I think is one way that we can do that and we can do that strategically. We can do that contextually across the businesses, across the organization.

What Should One Look For, In A Coach?

As someone who is so close to this work, I try not to make the decision of what, or who should be the one who should be coaching. But what I do influence is just who should be on the panel and typically what we’ve tried to do when we’ve made those decisions is to do the standard assessment on whether this person has to that experience.

They bring the right value to the company and, will they be able to really understand our values and be able to scale them as part of their process. So, apart from those standard things, what we try and do is just, “Hey, how flexible are they? How adaptable are they? Whether or not their approach, their process will fit well with our company.”

In some cases, it’s a little bit of trial and error. But in most cases, I’m happy to say that whatever decisions we’ve made have not been, have not gone completely bad. I think whatever list of whatever panel we came up with six months ago, one year ago. As they were thinking of scaling, a lot of executive coaching at Intuit largely still remains the same and they’ve been pretty effective. So, we have a pretty robust process now just because, we’re skilling coaching in such a big way. We have so many people that reach out just to be a part of the group, be a part of the team.

We’re just trying to make sure that we manage that well, we’re respectful of everyone that’s reaching out to us. And at the same time, you know, serving the company while serving a leader as well, if that makes sense.

Does Coaching Work Best For Hypos In An Organisation?

I can relate to this. They at least do not want to commit coaching for a large number of employees looking at the time, which will be there as the time and the effort and definitely finances, all that. So there are two parts to the question, first, is that in an organization, does coaching really work best for hypos?

Yes and no, as I said, it really depends on where they are in that journey, not everyone can be coached at all points of time. And I think we all know that right. As coaches, someone, all of us have been practicing coaching for many years, so I think it really depends on a lot of people. That is identified as hypos, and sometimes it also depends on the process that these companies are using to identify hypos. I think that process and just how true that process is it really based on merit. Is it really based on perception? Is it really based on something else? I think that plays a huge part, but just in India, but globally.

So I think that plays a part, but largely, at Intuit, because we have a pretty robust process of identifying high-potential talent. We’ve seen coaching work really well, in those cases, but also we’ve also noticed in some cases that, those leaders have identified, they’ve had some moments in that coaching process where they’ve been like, “Oh, you know what, this is really a true discovery for me as a leader” and as part of their, as part of the realisation, I can say, and this is only been like maybe 2 or 3% of the entire population, that we’ve identified as hypos put them through the coaching process of the last three years. But if you had 2 or 3% of them come back and say, “I don’t think intuit it’s the right place for me.”

I think that’s great, it’s a difficult thing to digest at first, for someone who’s running the program, for their HR business partner, for sure. But for them to be able to have that realisation, I think is great. I think committing coaching to a large number of employees, as I said, depends on a lot on budgets, just the company culture, and so on and so forth. 

But I think, what we can do even with that limitation, is still use frameworks like grow or anything else that you want to use, within your space, something that you would relate to, that is very easy to understand and create some programming and create some content around them to ensure that our managers are coaching, our leaders are coaching, and that can be a good place to start to sort of show the value of just the impact that a program. A structured program can create in that space and sometimes just doing some tests and pilots can be a really good way to get started. It’s not always that, I or someone on my team goes to our leadership and said, “Hey, we want X dollars for this.” And they’re like, “Yeah, absolutely. All yours.” We faced a lot of resistance. We have to do a lot of modeling. We have to do a lot of benchmarking and sometimes we do a lot of testing, and, which often makes the case for eventually being able to scale programs like these or others that I spoke about. 

About Mohit Jiwnani 

Mohit has 15+ years of experience in leadership roles in Human Resources across Talent, Organization Development and DEI. He has lived on three continents and spent years building and leading teams and systems from scratch. 

His approach to Human Resources in organizations has been shaped by early entrepreneur experience and roles in Sales & Program Management. As a consequence he’s developed a holistic perspective of the People function; from inside operations as a customer, as a beneficiary, a people leader defining and implementing strategies and as a consultant responsible for planning, design, execution and evaluating overall effectiveness.

As functional leader of Human Resources in global organizations, he’s gained significant insight and experience in leadership assessment and development, succession management, hi-po identification and development, organizational design and DEI. In the process, he’s also gained unique perspectives on elements of employee experience – from talent acquisition, through onboarding, technical & behavioral competence development, performance management, resource management to leadership development.

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