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Top 100 Influential Coaching Leader | Global Leadership Coach & Organizational Psychologist | Neha Jalan

Neha Jalan

Neha Jalan

"To become a successful leader, it is crucial to focus on serving others." Neha Jalan

Journey of Self Discovery: 

Growing up as a single child, I was introverted and sensitive. We moved cities frequently, and I developed an extroverted personality as a defence mechanism. Along the way, I became intrigued by human behaviour and pursued psychology as a subject. 

I fell in love with psychology and found myself in my school counsellor's office one day expressing my interest in becoming a counsellor. The counsellor advised me that I needed "grey hair" and to come back to him later. That's when I decided to pursue a master's degree in Work and Organizational Psychology at the University of Nottingham in the UK. 

After returning to India, I joined the Times of India, leading various roles, including Chief Culture Officer, Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador, and Communication Head. In these roles, I found myself constantly coaching and supporting leaders, and thus realised that I could make a more meaningful impact on people's lives. 

That's when I discovered coaching as a profession and realized I had found my calling. I embarked on my coaching journey with the guidance of a World Master Coach and the Founder of the International Coaching Federation And kicked started my journey as a weekend Coach. 


My Vision and Mission: 

In 2020, the pandemic had a significant impact on mental health and well-being. As a Leadership Coach and Organisational Psychologist, I observed this impact first-hand. At that time, my weekend coaching was making a significant impact in people's lives. However, I felt that weekends was not enough to make the difference that I wanted to make. In one of my conversations with Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, World Number 1. Executive coach, I realised that we only regret the chances we don’t take. This inspired me to give birth to WeCoach, a global leadership coaching platform that empowers people to live more fulfilling lives, both professionally and personally. 

WeCoach's vision is to empower leaders to discover their unique strengths and abilities. We strongly believe in "SuperPowering" our leaders by unlocking their inner potential and transforming them from the inside out. Our commitment is to offer an engaging, personalized, and carefully curated coaching experience that brings about sustainable behavioural change. Our goal is to equip leaders with the necessary skills and mindset to become better leaders, thereby driving organizational growth. 


Discovering our "SuperPower":

At WeCoach, we help leaders discover their "SuperPower" by guiding them to uncover their VSP - their Values, Strengths and Purpose. We believe that everyone's VSP is unique to them and is their Super Power. By identifying and aligning with their VSP, leaders can tap into their inner potential, find their true calling, and become more effective leaders! 

In my opinion, the most important qualities of a successful leader are authenticity, agility, and emotional resilience. Authenticity allows a leader to be genuine, transparent, and true to themselves by aligning with their VSP - values, strengths and purpose. 

Agility enables a leader to adapt to changing circumstances and make quick and effective decisions. 

Emotional resilience allows a leader to handle stress, setbacks, and challenges with grace and composure, inspiring their team to do the same. These qualities together help a leader lead with purpose, inspire their team, and achieve success. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, I had the opportunity to work with a top financial organization and help their leaders navigate through the changes brought on by the pandemic. Many of the leaders were feeling demotivated and uncertain about how to connect with clients and motivate their teams in a virtual environment. 

To address these challenges, I developed a 3-stage process called ACT. 

"A" - Acknowledge and Accept the current environment that is affecting them, which in this case was COVID-19. It was important for the leaders to recognize and accept the reality of the situation before they could move forward. 

"C" - Concentrate on the areas that one can control. It was important to focus on what can be controlled rather than what cannot. By identifying the areas of their work that they could control, the leaders were able to shift their focus and energy towards productive efforts. 

"T" - Thrive: This stage involved helping the leaders not just survive, but thrive in the face of difficult changes. I worked with them to discover their unique superpower, or their innate strengths and abilities that they could leverage to navigate the challenges they were facing. 

The outcome of this process was positive. The leaders were able to shift their focus from feeling demotivated and uncertain to being more proactive and solution-focused. They were able to navigate the challenges of the pandemic and effectively lead their teams through the crisis. The organization as a whole was able to maintain its operations and even grew during the pandemic, despite the challenging circumstances.  


Effectively managing disputes: 

Managing conflict and stakeholders effectively requires “aligning the people” involved. There are several steps that can help achieve this alignment. 

Firstly, setting the “right context” is crucial. This involves defining the big picture or end goal of the project or initiative. It's important to identify a mutual purpose that all parties can agree on. By doing so, everyone involved can focus on a shared objective. 

Secondly, setting the “right conditions” is essential. This means aligning people's motivations and inherent needs. Trust and respect must be maintained throughout the process. This can be achieved through active listening and empathizing with stakeholders, understanding their perspectives and concerns. 

Finally, working on the “right content” involves exchanging information between all people involved. Once the right context and conditions have been set, it becomes easier to have meaningful discussions about the content. This can help to identify underlying issues and find mutually beneficial solutions. 


The impact of Emotional Intelligence: 

The role of emotional intelligence (EI) in effective leadership cannot be overstated. As people begin their careers, IQ is often seen as the most important factor, as they learn to manage themselves and their work. However, as they progress and start working with teams, the crucial role of EI comes into play. 

Mr. Seth, (name changed for privacy) a stellar regional salesperson, was an example of this. He was intelligent, sharp, competent, and a great deal closer. Impressed by his performance, the CEO made him the national sales head and gave him a large team to manage. However, over a few months, there was significant attrition in his team, and they became demotivated and dejected. Mr. Seth was constantly demanding, impatient, and expecting everyone to be his carbon copy. This is when the CEO realized that just having a high IQ won't help in managing a team. 

To address this issue, Mr. Seth signed up for coaching with me, and we worked on two aspects: enhancing self-awareness and enhancing other-awareness. 

We began by conducting a personality assessment, which helped him discover his strengths and areas of improvement. This gave him insights into his potential strengths and his own hidden weaknesses, such as lacking listening skills and openness to others' ideas, and failing to recognize others' contributions. With this enhanced awareness, he became more conscious of his behavior and started using his strengths, his superpower of a growth mindset, quick connection with people, and problem-solving skills to enhance his relationship with his team. 

In addition, we also did a 360-degree feedback from the team to enhance his other-awareness. We looked at patterns that revealed he could build more empathy, encourage participation by trusting them. Over a few months, we gradually identified baby steps to enhance elements of his EI, which would make him more effective at work. With six months of coaching engagement, he was able to enhance his EI and continues to work on it. 

In conclusion, the story of Mr. Seth highlights the importance of emotional intelligence in effective leadership, especially as one progresses in their career and starts managing teams. Through the coaching process, leaders can enhance their self-awareness and other-awareness, which can lead to improved relationships, better decision-making, and increased productivity in the workplace. 


Experience with Global clients: 

Working with global clients has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me. It has exposed me to diverse cultures, customs, and practices, which have broadened my knowledge and understanding of the world. As a result, I have become more adaptive, flexible, and open-minded.  

However, working across borders does present its challenges. To effectively communicate with clients from different cultures, a high level of cultural sensitivity and respect is required. Over time, I have learned to communicate effectively with my clients, using language that is appropriate and respectful of their culture.  

Despite differences in culture, language, and geography, working with clients globally has taught me that there is an underlying unity in the basic human DNA of fears, values, emotions, and desires. We all share a common need for respect, understanding, and meaningful relationships, regardless of our background. 


My advice to everyone: 

Peter Drucker's quote, "Leadership is all about making a positive difference – not about being smart or right," beautifully captures the essence of successful leadership. To become a successful leader, it is crucial to focus on serving others. My advice to individuals who aspire to become successful leaders is to prioritize developing emotional intelligence, building strong relationships with their team, and prioritizing the needs of others. By doing so, they will create a positive impact, build a loyal team, and achieve greater success. 

However, there are some common pitfalls that aspiring leaders should avoid. One of the biggest pitfalls is focusing too much on their own needs, such as the need to be right, in control, or perceived as smart. When leaders prioritize their own needs over those of their team members, it can quickly erode trust and undermine the team's productivity and morale.  

Therefore, successful leadership is not about being the smartest or always being right. It is about making a positive difference, being authentic, aligned, and putting the needs of others first.

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