The Relevance of Executive Coaching Perspective on a Board in Conversation with Ravila Gupta

Image from Unsplash by Benjamin Child

Executive Coaching is a unique approach to personal and professional development. It’s a multifaceted discipline that creates awareness, facilitates learning, and generates impactful actions. Having an executive coach in a boardroom allows for a fresh perspective on problem-solving.

Ravila Gupta is an experienced executive, whose combined background in engineering, law, and executive coaching allows her to approach problems and decision-making from a multidimensional point of view.

Facilitation, coaching, consulting, and advising — all come under the umbrella of executive coaching for a board. What is the value of executive coaching for board members and how does it support a board to work together more successfully?

“The most fascinating aspect of a board is that it pulls together people from completely different backgrounds and gears them toward achieving a common goal. Each individual contributes something unique to the magic pot, creating an amalgamation of diverse ideas and thought processes. That is what makes boards so interesting.

“Executive coaching allows me to evaluate a situation and ask questions. To be more clear, it urges me to ask unanswered questions and sometimes even answer unanswerable questions. Asking these questions often brings forth answers and solutions that many could have never imagined, it opens a whole new window of opportunities. This makes navigating any challenge so much more attractive in terms of the information I am able to gather and the solutions I am able to present. On one occasion as a board member, I was involved in a tense meeting where the CEO and board disagreed with the pricing of a game-changing proposal. I took a coaching perspective to the exchange and through measured inquires, was able to peel back the layers with the board ultimately understanding the CEO’s position and ultimately affirming it.

“Another great example of this is a challenge I faced on a non-profit board I serve. We make most of our money through in-person events — which became extremely difficult with the onset of the pandemic. When the board sat down to discuss this issue, everyone was stressed and emotional and scrambling for answers. Our response was typical of the time — the start of the pandemic and plans were running awry. At the time, the board was split into two — some thought the pandemic wouldn’t affect us, whilst others disagreed. At this junction, the executive coach within me was able to understand both viewpoints, ask the right questions and bring the board together in a unified decision — something that was morally correct and agreed upon by all.

“That is the value of an executive coach perspective being on a board. It really does bring out a valuable and visible difference in decision making and problem-solving.”

Thank you for sharing, Ravila!

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