The survival and success of a company depend on its board of directors. They are required to work as a unit playing at their strengths, fostering the talents in the organization for uninterrupted growth and development. For a company to thrive in this competitive world market, the board of directors has to be in sync and work as a team. We are talking about a group of people in executive and leadership positions working towards a common goal. It is easier said than done, and there lies the relevance of coaching the board of directors.
Challenges Faced by the Board of Directors
In the 1990s, a survey was conducted between 218 directors by Coulson-Thomas in the UK. The results showed that 75% of the directors (most holding CEO positions) felt teamwork a challenging area, with a severe lack of team-building exercises. Conduct the same survey in 2021, and the result would hardly be any different. However, that should be concerning to any organization since corporate governance has transformed exponentially since then; the role, responsibility and legal challenges of a board at the moment are more than it ever was.
In any scenario where there is a problem, the solution is not far off; in this case, it is coaching the board of directors. But before going there, let’s understand the challenges of a board:
- The instance of corruption and incompetence, even in the world’s most influential enterprises, created headlines setting new legal precedents and calling for better regulation in boards.
- From the financial crisis of 2008 of banking institutions to the economic downturn of 2020 due to COVID-19, these global events have been cataclysmic to institutions and organizations, disrupting the work and growth balance.
- The present infrastructure relies on fund managers and institutional investors for the coordination and consolidation of shareholder power. It demands more transparency and better reporting on the board’s part.
- Globalization has led to the dissolution of the geographical border, merging trade and business relations. It has increased the pressure on boards to uphold international standards in their conduct.
- The market is constantly evolving, the economy keeps shifting, and technology has become more disruptive. Hence, the board is required to adapt and stay updated as well, creating new leadership models.
- At present, the stakeholders are more aware of the company’s operations and activities; any misstep can cause the share prices to crash.
Coaching the Board of Directors
Considering the challenges and issues at hand, a certified coach to support the board can be refreshing and result-yielding. So, there are two ways in which a board can be introduced to a coach.
- Firstly, during the regular audit or review of the board.
- Secondly, introducing the coach to work side-by-side coaching the executive team, establishing the practice as a core policy of the organization.
In both scenarios, as the coach conducts regular sessions with the board members, it enhances their cohesion as a team, makes them aware of their responsibilities, and improves productivity.
Considering the challenges, the present-day board needs to be more functional, accountable, and high-performing. A healthy ambiance of effective and innovative thinking, decision-making, and dialogue are essential, fostering and encouraging active involvement from the shareholders. All of that can be achieved by coaching the board of directors.
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