Meeting the Millennial Challenge with Coaching
Founded more than 100 years ago, J.K. Organisation (E.Z) is one of India’s largest industrial groups. With a portfolio of companies responsible for the manufacture, distribution, sale and service of diverse products, including tires, paper, cement, industrial supplies, seeds, dairy products, textiles and insurance, J.K. employs more than 22,000 people.
As India continues to emerge as a global economic power, J.K.’s leaders are seeking ways to capitalize on this opportunity, retaining the organization’s legacy of excellence while adapting to a dynamic operating environment.
For many years, J.K. achieved excellence via a command-and-control management model, with instruction and innovation moving from the top, down. However, the demands on Indian organizations are changing. While J.K.’s leaders are currently in their fifties, the average age of an Indian citizen is 27. Managers and leaders need skills and strategies to negotiate this generation gap in order to unleash their direct reports’ potential, promote innovation, retain top talent, and ensure J.K.’s continued success in the 21st century.
In 2008, J.K.’s senior decision-makers chose to adopt coaching as a strategy for talent development, leadership enhancement and change management. What began as an initiative pairing external Executive Coaches with senior leaders has evolved into an integrated, award-winning program that incorporates coaching, training for a growing cadre of internal coach practitioners, and opportunities for managers and leaders to learn and use coaching skills with their direct reports. The result is an evolving coaching culture that’s changing the way staff members at every level of the organization approach their work.
“A coaching culture is visible in the behavior of people. It’s a way of looking at people and treating each other. When we describe a coaching culture, we’re describing a learning culture that is respectful and that values people’s potential and promotes innovation,” says Alan Meyne, an International Coach Federation (ICF) Professional Certified Coach and one of the architects of J.K.’s coaching program.
Within the four J.K. companies where coaching is used most frequently, leaders have reported improved performance, profitability and employee retention. Since 2008, revenues have grown by 105 percent, employee satisfaction has increased by 16 percent and attrition of high-potential employees has decreased by two percent (from an all-time high of 7.1 percent to 5.1 percent).
The organization has also transitioned from a top-down management style to a system of collegial, collaborative relationships. Thanks to this change, millennials are taking greater initiative for projects, activities and innovation. No longer is an employee’s value based solely on his or her age and length of tenure with the organization: Now, creative ideas, diverse solutions and the ability to play an active role in the decision-making process are among the factors used to evaluate employee effectiveness.
“Coaching taps into the potential of our people,” says ICF Associate Certified Coach and J.K.’s vice president of human resources, Dilep Misra. “Asking powerful questions, facilitating the process, putting them in charge: It’s all a way to get them involved in the organization’s day-to-day decision-making process, make them a success in their area, and make them a success in achieving the target.”
Looking for more insights into how organizations can use coaching to meet the challenges facing young leaders and adapt to emerging trends in leadership development for millennials and high-potentials? Register for HCI’s upcoming webcast, “Coaching Young Leaders,” with International Coach Federation Global Board Director and Professional Certified Coach Hilary Oliver. The webcast will take place May 20, 2015, at 4 p.m. (New York). Registration is open to all HCI Community Members.