Issue 2, 2019. April-May

   

GEORGIAN BUSINESSES EMBRACE COACHING CULTURE

Companies in Georgia are increasingly hiring coaches to empower employees to communicate better and to build stronger teams.

Nino Bakradze

When Aleksi Aleksishvili created the Policy and Management Consulting Group (PMCG), he hired business coaches to work with his new team.

At the time it was a new practice for Georgia, but Aleksishvili had experienced it at international forums. He knew businesses coaches could help his newly founded company create a strong sense of corporate identity.

"To identify what the corporation's goal is and what your role is in achieving this goal is very important. After identifying all these factors, you have a better idea of how to act. That is what we got out of coaching sessions," he told Investor.ge.

Coaching for businesses started gaining popularity in the West in the 1980s, and has become a standard part of business culture over the past decade.

Georgian executives began turning to coaches several years ago.

Nino Dzotsenidze was one of the pioneers of Georgian businesses coaching. She started seven years ago. In the early 2010s, executive coaching wasn't that popular among Georgian companies, Dzotsenidze recalls. Her first client was TBC Bank.

Today, Dzotsenidze consults mostly corporations on an executive level. She explains that the basic step is to have proper performance evaluations, which can expose a range of problems within an organization. "If a company has a proper evaluation system, they will notice how important coaching is," she says.

In the future, Dzotsenidze believes business coaching will be as necessary for businesses as modern accounting systems.

Today, over 100 certified coaches are working with Georgians, both as business coaches and as life coaches.

Tamuna Chichua, a professional coach and the founder of a coaching academy called Growin, hopes that the number of certified coaches will increase in the nearest future. Growin is an official and exclusive representative of Erickson International and offers professionals short-and long-term certified courses in coaching.

"I believe that coaching is crucial for our society and very soon people will realize it. The popularization of this profession means that we will have new positive changes in the field of education, medicine, business and so on," Chichua told Investor.ge.

What is coaching?

The main tenet of coaching is that people know how to solve their own problems, but they may need help to find the answer. A coach works with an individual to unlock their potential by asking questions. The key skill of coaching is asking the right questions to help an individual work through their own issues.

The average price of a life coaching session varies between 50-150 lari. Business and executive coaching
cost more, and are usually negotiated between the coach and client. Coaching sessions are usually held
once a week, for three months or longer depending on a client's needs.

Eka Babunashvili, a coach with over five years of experience, says that a good coach does not make the client dependent on coaching.

"The coach does this by listening, asking focused questions, reflecting back, challenging and acknowledging the client. The coach makes clients' goals clear and helps them to develop a strong strategy and action plan. As the popularity of coaching increases, businesses will have to be aware about coaching standards and what to expect from a professional coach," she told Investor.ge.

As the first Georgian member of International Coach Federation (ICF) she is facilitating "International Coaching Week" early may this year, a voluntary and free event organized to raise awareness about coaching in Georgia.

Tapping into management skills

Dea Chkhaidze's first experience with coaching was in 2016.

Chkhaidze, the HR and Development Director of Georgia Healthcare Group, says coaching has helped her develop leadership skills.

"When I received feedback and evaluation from my manager and colleagues in 2016, it was a wakeup call for me. I considered myself a successful person who had achieved a lot. But from their feedback, it was clear that I needed to develop particular leadership skills," she says. Coaching, she adds, helped her achieve that.

"I set goals and started work to achieve them. This process was a lot of hard work, I had obstacles, but my coach was very supportive and helped me to overcome all of them," she says.

Chkhaidze credits the coaching sessions with making her more confident. She said the practice also helped her learn how to delegate work, how to manage time and motivate staff. Dzotsenidze thinks that if a person knows how to manage herself very well, she can manage others, too.

"Increasing self-awareness is one of the main goals of coaching sessions," she says.