Leadership Interview: Martin Garcia ‘Believe in the Potential’

Martin says every coach should believe in the potential of their coachees. I worked with him on the Coaching Master Class programme in Maersk Line PRN Qingdao North China in 2012 where he was head of HR. ‘Coaching for Potential’ is one of the workshops I run as part of this programme. Martin worked very hard at the time to create a culture of constructive feedback and coaching among his peers in the management team. In this article Martin draws on his professional experience to help us see why it is so important for a coach to believe in the potential of people.

I asked Martin why he was so passionate about coaching for potential and the need for a coach to believe in the potential of their people. Here is his eloquent reply….

“A coach plays a significant role in providing the right environment for the coachee to grow. In talking about the right environment, there is one burning topic that we need to address. Many of today’s leaders face a dilemma where they need to coach somebody but they do not believe in the capabilities, performance or worst do not have belief in the person. So we face this question, can a leader coach someone that he sees no potential?

If we are to act as a coach, then it is a must that we believe in the person’s potential.  It is an essential element for a coach to believe in the potential of the coachee, whether it be a potential to improve performance, potential to change, potential to achieve a stretched goal. Without such belief, there is no right coaching environment to speak of.  This is grounded on Carl Rogers thinking that humans on their very core have a basic tendency which is to achieve one’s potential and achieve it at the highest level. It is this unconditional support and regard for the coachee that is required for any and all coach.

Having said that, there are many discussions between the leader and team member that are not coaching for example performance appraisal, counseling or even feedback. If a leader has absolute no belief in the employee, should we still employ the person? For absolute poor performers, counseling is an effective way to put in place corrective actions. If a doubt exists, particularly a doubt that shouts this person is not good, he cannot do that or he cannot achieve that goal, and the doubt is so strong, then the leader should look into other remedies.  But not coaching, given that if we want to stay real and authentic about coaching, belief in potential is required.

The coach is like the sun, water and soil that nourish a plant to achieve its fullest potential. All these are elements for the plant to grow. Likewise, it is incumbent on any coach to provide an environment where there is a belief that this team member is capable of delivering better performance, doing better and bigger roles, being a better person and being a better professional. All managers would be remiss if they do not have coaching in their toolbox.”.

Update on Martin’s career. In 2014 he became HR General Manager at Maersk Line Hong Kong. In 2017 he returned to his native Philippines and now runs his own HR Consultancy. Martin has a wide-ranging professional network in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mongolia and Philippines, along with 17 years of senior leadership experience.

Martin Garcia on LinkedIn

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