"Believe in yourself, openly express yourself, Love yourself first and Don't stop until YOU drop."

My journey

I was always interested in helping people and making a difference in their lives in any way that I could. I started my journey in HR but always felt that there was something missing, so I started digging deeper. The first thing I decided to do was an NLP Coach Practitioner certification which gave me a huge insight into what I was truly looking for – holding space for individuals on their transformational journeys. It also helped me connect with my own self and started me on the journey of coaching. Surprisingly, the ICF certification, which tends to be the first certification, came to me later as I went on to do the NLP master coach certification. That's when I realised that in order to make a dent in the corporate markets, one needs to be equipped with the right knowledge, tools and have a process that the ICF equipped me to and I went on to create a differentiation for myself. I was in my late 40s when I embarked on the ICF certification journey, it was a rigorous one because my mentors made sure that we coached at the PCC level, which was one level higher, even though we were really working on the ACC certification. Having completed that it became so much easier to complete my PCC which I was done with within a year. Since then, there has been no looking back. I choose to remain curious and a lifelong learner and this enables me to keep up with the emerging trends and maintain a steady learning curve.

My programmes – BOLD & Superwomen Lead!

BOLD came to me at a very challenging phase in my life, I was going through a personal setback and my business was at its lowest key. I needed something to turn it around and as cliche as it might sound, BOLD was a bolt of inspiration I was struck by in the middle of the night. That particular year the theme for International Women's Day was ‘Be bold for change’. I had been toying with this idea of coming up with a programme that would resonate with the theme and then literally this was a 3 am inspiration! I thought to myself, “Why not come up with a programme that represents who I am?” BOLD is an acronym - Believe in yourself, openly express yourself, Love yourself first and Don't stop until YOU drop. That is exactly what my journey of resilience looked like!

It is an experiential programme which lays the foundation for women to start their self- reflection journey, build self-worth, self -confidence and self-belief while enjoying the power of collaboration and all this makes you push yourself out of your comfort zone. It was very well received and to date, I have run this program for over 2000 women leaders at various corporates.

It is an experiential programme which lays the foundation for women to start their self- reflection journey, build self-worth, self -confidence and self-belief while enjoying the power of collaboration and all this makes you push yourself out of your comfort zone. It was very well received and to date, I have run this program for over 2000 women leaders at various corporates.

Superwoman Lead came as the sequel to BOLD. After we helped instil self-worth, resilience and self-love, we wanted to enable the women leaders specifically to start believing in their own capabilities irrespective of the number of boxes they checked, for the leadership positions they aspired for. We did a deep dive into understanding what is it that women leaders needed to resolve to join the leadership race and break the glass ceiling. We discovered that competencies were not the problem. It was more about the value systems and the social conditioning that one was put through, especially in the Indian context.

Superwoman Lead Is a leadership journey consisting of a series of programmes and group reviews and coaching where we realign values and work on leadership capability building. The group coaching sessions were a brilliant add-on as they facilitated peer learning and sharing and helped build a community which supported one another.

I'm humbled by the results we have seen while using BOLD and Superwoman Lead together as part of the gender diversity initiatives.

 I am running BOLD as a gender-agnostic programme too and it has delivered similar outcomes. That is exactly what my journey of Resilience looked like; I couldn’t have made it without the support of the men in my life! 

Challenges faced along the way

One of the biggest realisations that I've had along the way as I work with several women leaders, and in my own transformation journey as well is that as women especially, we often suffer from the impostor syndrome. We tend not to own our successes or celebrate our wins. We need to believe in our own capabilities, push ourselves out of our comfort zone and not allow our thoughts to be coloured by others’ opinions.

In my journey as a diversity specialist I have encouraged women to see how one can be courageous and assertive rather than perfect. Perfectionism is a myth, and we are the hardest on ourselves and hold ourselves to unnecessarily high standards. If we are able to let go of that, half the battle is won. 

What is a psychologically safe workplace?

It is essentially an environment where you are not afraid to speak up and express your views in fear of being humiliated, reprimanded, and judged.

It's a non-judgmental space that allows us to learn from our mistakes.

The biggest challenge often faced by us is that we do not feel safe in our workplaces, and this is not just a gender issue. Incivility and disrespect have crept into our workplaces and are the silent killers of creativity and innovation. Empathy is often seen as a sign of weakness and leaders are expected to be stereotypically dominating and tough.

Let’s change the narrative.

Let's go out and occupy space.

Let's create a space at the table for ourselves and be comfortable with the sound of our voices.

Let’s put our opinions out there even if it is different from the rest and be prepared to hear a NO or get pushed back.

Unless we are Ok to try, we will never be courageous enough to face our fears, learn from our mistakes and be better versions of ourselves. 

My approach to maximizing output

The first thing about helping people maximise their full potential is for teams to be okay with conflict. The only way that will happen is if we are able to build workplaces where we trust each other and where, to reiterate, we are not afraid to fail and learn from those mistakes.

Organizations which encourage employees to share different points of view, where every voice in the room is heard, every idea is listened to and together, one harvest’s the collective wisdom of the group.

If we can create an environment and ecosystem which is failure tolerant and allows one to experiment, be creative and innovate and has a consultative approach to problem-solving, organizations would be successful in immersing themselves in the users experience and delivering effective solutions.

If we are able to create a Resilient organization which is able to withstand conflicting opinions yet has a common purpose which drives employees to deliver on the vision and mission of the organisation, I think we're sorted!

Role of Happiness

Happiness is a natural state of being but as professionals how long do we hold onto our happy moments- These moments are called Glimmers. As per psychology - glimmers are small moments that spark joy or peace, which can help cue our nervous system to feel safe or calm; experts say this mindset shift can make a positive impact on our mental health. How long do we hold onto our glimmers and help them generate the kind of enthusiasm, motivation, inspiration that we need to keep going and be even better.

That is where mindfulness plays a very important role.

      Build a happy moment of happiness by holding on to Your Glimmers

      Be mindful and stretch them out

      Draw energy from them and use it to ease out the triggers and the difficult tasks that we do.

At an organisation level we will have much stronger employee engagement. Eventually we will have an ecosystem where we are supportive of each other while we work towards our common purpose.

My experience with various teams

It's very interesting to work with the leadership teams especially the C-Suite and senior management.  It's so amusing to see how seriously people take themselves. I think Marshall Goldsmith in his book “What Got You Here Won't Get You There” has so beautifully illustrated in his twenty deadly habits what we need to do to really drive change and the first thing is to stop taking ourselves so seriously as leaders, start actively listening to other people's ideas - especially the millennials whom we have hired for their new way of working and thinking.

Speaking of a specific instance which really gave me a lot of joy - it was this coaching journey that I had undertaken with certain senior leaders of a Public Sector bank which had gone through a merger. Self-awareness brought about a change in mindset, emotional intelligence, and robust acceptance of change. I also sensed a sense of relief that there are other ways of solving problems and taking decisions other than the authoritative way.

Another instance which has a very close place in my heart is this coaching journey which was part of the Superwoman Lead programme that I did for a senior women leader of a pharma company. The group consisted of such highly accomplished women in STEM and the only thing that we needed to worked upon was the realignment of values of how one perceived oneself, on impostor syndrome and assertiveness. In the year-long journey the change was spectacular and the challenge that I saw was that the organisation was not ready to make space and embrace equality and equity for these empowered and enabled women leaders who now had a voice of their own.

In my opinion it defeats the purpose if we do not sensitise the managers, and the rest of the organisation that diversity and inclusion is an ongoing process. There are certain unconscious biases that are present in us which we need to face up to and truly work towards to be able to demonstrate true allyship.

It’s not enough just to run leadership programmes specifically for women leaders to show that we support the cause of D&I without creating diversity allies and driving allyship within the organisation. It should be more about creating an environment which supports enablement, equity and  equality. In the end, we come together as an ecosystem where we are walking the talk of diversity and inclusion.

Principles & Mantras I abide by

My life’s experiences have helped me become the resilient woman who now stands before you. I discovered the true meaning of this word about six years ago when as a family we went through an extremely turbulent phase which shaped our present life to a huge extent. I had to take on several roles which were way out of my comfort zone. The easiest thing would have been to fall apart and wallow in self-pity and lose myself completely. Instead, I chose to acknowledge that I had hit rock bottom and the only way was now up.

 Certain steps that I took really helped me to cope with this and those are the experiences that I bring to the table.

1.    Acknowledge and create space for your feelings to their fullest capacity. Unacknowledged emotions and feelings build up and create an emotional charge which does not allow your rational brain to work. So acknowledge those feelings but don't allow them to define you.

2.    Make a plan, in fact make several plans. Review them  and re-review them and create SMART goals which you steadily work upon.

3.    Keep these goals close to your heart. Do not TomTom to the entire world. Let your actions to be incongruent with your words.

4.    Upskill- there is no end to learning and I choose to be a continuous learner. There are no shortcuts to success and knowledge helps you get there.

5.    Be vulnerable and do not be afraid to ask for help, because vulnerability is a strength, and it takes strength to be vulnerable.

6.    Lastly be resilient nothing is permanent, it's not all pervasive and it’s certainly not personal. It just feel like that in the moment.

These are some of the mantra's that I bring to my coaching journeys and my facilitation. I live these values; they are an inimitable part of me. These experiences have shaped me and moulded me into the coach that I am today.

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