There are no ATC officers on onboard aircraft carriers. All flying operations are supervised by the pilots, who watch every move, intervene in the moment, and can even waive off a landing when the envelope doesn’t look right. I was conducting flying operations from INS Viraat (yes, also when the Prime Minster came on-board in 1988).
Often the operations will go for 24 hours, and during the fleet level practice battles, the flying ops duration will be 96 hours nonstop. There is only one set of supervisory team. These are not impossible situations but a mere BAU routine. That’s why you are hired…
There is a small “bathroom size” space closest to the “Flyco” (the command post from where the operations are conducted). That small space is Bridge Mess, where officers in the thick of the noise, thunder of Sea Harriers, Sea Kings, now Mig-29s, being launched and recovered, arrested on the moving floating airfield.…. Often I will reach Bridge Mess 3 or 4 PM for lunch & see my steward sincerely waiting to serve me. I asked the steward not to wait, keep the platter in hot case and go back to his other duties. Asking in the armed forces is euphemism for being ordered. The steward defied and shall wait to serve me. So one day I yelled at him not wait again.
Next time, I entered the minny “food station” very late, saw my platter in the hot case, was biting my biryani alone in a jiffy. I saw the pantry service door 2 feet by 2 feet sliding slot, creeping open slowly and see my steward smiling at me. I too smiled with gratitude and affection. He said, “Sir, can I tell you something. But promise you won’t get angry with me.”
“सर, मैंने देखा है, जिनके पास काम है, वह खाते कम है।
जिनके पास काम नहीं है वह खाते बहुत है, तंग करते है”
(“Sir, those who are loaded with work, eat little.
Those who are idle, they hog & create trouble”)
Here was a blunt case where a reverse appraisal, brutal, truthful, a bottom to top, in a very hierarchical military system was happening regardless. But how many will care about it. Our personalities, commitments, attitude, competencies, blind spots are so visible to those around us, regardless of who they are. There is no way we can bluff these or them.
If in a strong hierarchy this candid review happens, imagine the extent & manner it must be happening in a flat-hierarchy free world!!
We, all living beings, are all transmitters. We are radiating the conscious, subconscious, real, hidden, what we are, what we are not, all the time. We are social, hence networked since primordial times and we are doing these transactions for millions of years. We are naked in this world, a Bathroom, हमाम में हम सब नंगे है!
As a Coach, my competency, ethics, character, extent of sincerity is front of my client. I am naked. Let me be aware of this all along. When the conversation is going well and not well, is known to both the parties. Am I adding a value? Will I seek a pit stop when I am not at it? What stops from doing that? How do I stay sharp? How can I make coachee look forward to the conversation with joy?
A shift point, learning is embedded here.
Just one word takes care of all the competencies.
Let’s be honest in our roles as coaches.
Anil is Navy Combat pilot (25 yrs) and a pilot-trainer, who operated from both aircraft carriers, he also served Ministry of External Affairs as a Defense Advisor to High Commissioner of India in Islamabad 1991-95. Later he transitioned to TCS (20 yrs) in HR, commissioning campuses in USA and India & a member of TCS Coaching & Mentoring Program Team. He is a runner, swimmer, photographer.
Image Source : These pics were released to media for the general public by the Navy PRO.