Influencing as a Leader:
I have just been lucky. Other than that, a few approaches have been helpful.
Firstly, I have always kept my focus on the important – the most strategic agenda. Moving the needle on what would actually make a difference to the clients, team or the organisation. Secondly, I always found that helping others flourish not only made me more successful, but was also more fulfilling. It’s wonderful to see a number of my ex-colleagues or the team members I had hired go on to do bigger things.
Specifically, in my coaching practice, over more than the past fifteen years, it’s been the focus on self-work. Staying committed to working on myself: being more reflective, becoming more self-aware, working on my emotional triggers, examining my deep-seated beliefs and pursuing my life purpose have all significantly impacted my inner state as well as my ability to support and coach others.
Setbacks as Learning Experiences:
Failure and setbacks are a part of life. However, dealing with them is not easy. As I became more self-aware, I started to notice how I routinely reacted to failure – with a sense of loss, with a fear of disapproval from others, becoming self-critical or by feeling that a particular event would significantly affect my life. With time, age and consistent reflection, I have learnt a few things.
Firstly that no single event, however positive or negative (other than dramatically personally tragic), has the power to significantly alter our life’s trajectory. Second, it helps to assess the situation and learn what the event or the universe is trying to teach us in that moment, without judging ourselves or putting ourselves down. Lastly, remembering that having clarity about the higher purpose of our life and following it not only provides us strength and resilience, but is also more important than any outer success or failure.
Growth and Impact of the Coaching Industry:
When I found my calling and started my coaching practice fifteen years ago, coaching was largely unheard of. If I told people I was a life and executive coach, nine out ten times the response was ‘What’s that?’ Fast forward to present time, six out of every ten professionals I meet know about coaching. They have either had a coach or know someone in their organisation or social circle that has had one or have simply heard about it.
Many corporates have embraced coaching in a big way. In my personal experience, some of the larger Indian organisations took on to coaching faster than the MNCs. They have found coaching particularly helpful for their senior leadership. When I work with leaders and entrepreneurs, I focus on working with their holistic being and not just based on the title they have at work. This comes from the belief that, in leadership positions you can’t differentiate professional effectiveness and personal effectiveness, and who you are comes through very clearly. Leaders find the investment they make in their personal growth, and the self-work they do in transforming their inner selves, to be the most enriching.
Writing “Inside-Out Leadership” as a Guide for Aspiring Leaders:
I have made many life choices in my journey as a coach. One of which has been to stay solo and not create a coaching organisation. Further, while coaching is my passion, I restrict it to six hours a day. These choices mean that there are only selected people I can work with. Writing and speaking have been ways to share my learning to a wider audience. It started with writing a blog and based on the encouraging feedback from my readers, it has naturally led me to writing this book.
For people aspiring to become leaders, this book provides several insights, tools and practical ideas that can help them make greater impact, inspire their teams in a new way, manage their own emotions better, operate from a positive and resilient mindset and to discover and live their purpose. These ideas can support them in becoming a better professional and a greater leader, and also help them discover deeper relationships and greater happiness, balance and fulfillment.
Sources of Powerful Lessons:
I learnt a lot from my managers and other seniors in my corporate life. After starting my coaching practice, my greatest source of learning has been meditation, reading and writing. The meditation practice has helped me become clear of my recurring emotional patterns and notice my limiting beliefs. It guides me to align my actions and behavior to my deeper intent. Meditation helps me be centered and stay focused on my life’s purpose.
Besides learning a lot from reading different books on spirituality, psychology and personal growth, reading serves as a constant reminder of all new ideas that I learn and may forget to put in practice. Writing has been a surprising teacher. While I started to write to share my learning for the benefit of others, I have been its greatest beneficiary. Because writing forces me to clarify my own thoughts and crystallize abstract ideas into something coherent.