Importance of the emotional side of your personality

Many executives are able to achieve success in their careers despite not investing in nurturing the emotional side of their personalities. Especially when they are in jobs demanding deep functional expertise, their organisations tend to condone this gap till it reaches a point where it becomes dysfunctional. This is what happened to John and Sunny. John was so duty bound in his devotion to work that he was never alive and sensitive to the human side at work and at home and it required his organisation to push John to pay urgent attention to it.

Sunny on the other hand was choosing to overuse his technical strengths so much that he failed to recognise his emotional flaws until his fragile relationship with his daughter came as a wake-up call. Kavita Gupta and Purab Rai helped John and Sunny respectively to value and invest in nurturing the emotional side of their lives, in expressing and demonstrating it at work and at home and enrich their lives and of course made them more complete executives.

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When the flaw turns fatal

Most executives have at least a few flaws that fall within the realm of what one might call allowable weaknesses, in the early stages of their careers. This ideally ought to be the right time to fix the flaw and many do end up fixing it in time. In the case of some executives, these flaws remain unattended and tend to turn fatal. By then, everyone except the executive knows about the fatality of the flaw but it is too late. Dr. Avinash Banerjee discovers while coaching Rajan that removing fatal flaws can be tough but never too late.

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Low self-esteem can derail your career

Low self-esteem is quite pervasive though not career derailing amongst many Indian corporate leaders. Many learn to raise the threshold by recognising and working on their self-efficacy. However, there are many others who are not able to recognise low self-esteem as an inhibitor to career progression. Executive trappings that come with a good corporate position often works as a shield to low self-esteem. It could lead to careers being derailed. Sarika Cherian through many twists and turns identifies Sahil’s real dilemma and help him to recognise and accept the need to address the core issue of self-esteem in order to build a sustainable career.

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Transporting the winning attitude

When executives make career changes they bring with them to the new roles the skills and attitude that served them well in the past. While the skills are usually portable attitudes may not be and may need and may need to be in tuned with the new environment. Not recognizing this can lead successive executives even with a great track record in to a downward performance spiral.

Raghuvir Das found Paddy in such a situation and probably quite late. He had to use a range of intervention to help Paddy regain his lost ground and deliver results which Paddy did.

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What makes people miserable

Albert Ellis who has done enormous work in the area of understanding irrational beliefs and came up with Rational Emotive Therapy says that, “Man is not disturbed by events but by the view he takes of them”. So whenever there is an event that executives face, each of them will take a different view to that event and therefore cause different emotions in themselves and as a result act in different ways.

Coaches who are empathetic and tough minded in their listening are able to very quickly spot some of the irrational ideas and mistaken beliefs held by their coachees.
As they pick up data from others they become aware of the unhealthy consequences of such beliefs. Typical unhealthy consequences could include lack of assertiveness, excessive aggressiveness, lack of empowerment, over work, inability to let go, inability to take risks and so on.

Coaches then help their coachees dispute and challenge such ideas and replace it with more balanced ideas or beliefs. This is what Pramodh Bose did with Vicky. Thanks to his efforts, Vicky was able to make behavioural changes that were sustainable.

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Executives succeed when they refuse to become victims of their circumstances

Executives are often victims of their circumstances including some of their seriously unfortunate childhood experiences and this ends up impacting their ability to trust and therefore their attitudes towards others in their work and personal lives. Liberating oneself from the shackles of this is very tough but possible. This is what Sandhya did, thanks to the timely support of her insightful and empathetic Coach, Gowri Mithra.

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Celebrating the feminine side of a woman’s leadership style

As more and more women begin to surely but steadily reach higher positions in the corporate ladder they are confronted not just with external challenges and constraints but internal dilemmas. One of the biggest internal dilemmas is this – should women disown their feminine side because it is likely to be a sign of weakness and act in more masculine ways because it might be a sign of strength. As a coach Preethi Ganguly demonstrated not just deep understanding of this psychological dilemma but great skill in helping Revathy confront this dilemma and actually celebrate the communal or feminine side of her leadership style.

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Catching up on missed managerial learning milestones.

Professionals in large well-structured organisations have the opportunity to transition from individual contributor to first time manager to seasoned manager positions successfully through stage appropriate experiences, structured training interventions and seasoned managerial oversight. Unfortunately, those in smaller organisations without the benefit of such managerial oversight and other developmental inputs may be given higher responsibilities but continue to perform as individual contributors leading to sub-optimal results. Sameer Datta was able to coach Ashwin one such manager quickly catch-up on missed managerial learning milestones.

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Developing this mysterious thing called executive presence

Most organisations are well honed in developing their key executives in conventional, technical and managerial skills. These are typically hard skills which the incumbent develops either through training or job rotations. Executive presence is one of the softer skills which remain beyond formal development process. These are easy to spot but difficult to develop as is realised by Prathap Chawla the coach in Naren’s case.

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Growing a business through disciplined leadership

The early stages of business are characterised by a typical start up culture where everyone knows everybody and everyone does everything. During this stage the entrepreneur is often filling in for many functional gaps in the organization. As the business grows larger the entrepreneur ends up hiring people but continues to work in the same start up style of being involved in everything. This can demotivate his leadership team, defocus the entrepreneur and even derail the growth of the business. The lucky ones like Sridhar realize their blind spots and get to work with seasoned coaches like Rahul Dayal who can quickly instill some managerial and leadership wisdom into them.

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Helping the chosen one claim his succession space

Loyalty and functional expertise are very important ingredients when it comes to being considered for succession especially in a promoter led organisation. However, in today’s competitive and complex business environment these are necessary but not sufficient conditions especially when it comes to leading a business. The loyalists may fail to demonstrate leadership competencies that are now necessary for success. Unfortunately, promoters find it difficult to be honest about these deficiencies with their loyalists who are potential successors. The potential successors also find it difficult to understand these new demands. When one such promoter invited Gagan Rao to work with her loyal executive and potential successor the measure of success was very clear in her mind – Raghavan should make himself acceptable to his peers and claim his space.

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When Indian executives must measure up to global benchmarks

While global corporations have operated in India for many years, for a very long time the Indian operations were treated as outposts with little significance in their global scheme of things and therefore seldom on the radar of their globally mobile talent. Not any longer. For all global corporations today the stakes in India are very high from a talent and market perspective. To this end the Indian operations are now globally integrated and fully verticalised. When it comes to staffing the leadership roles in India, the search is now truly global. Even tenured Indian executives have to measure up to global benchmarks. Fortunately, coaches with a global mindset like Vivek Kumar and Rakesh Rao can help otherwise technically competent executives like Ashok and Vikram respectively to make the cut globally.

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It takes innovation and effort to crack the competency code

When executives need to learn to do something that does not come to them naturally they need to invest a lot of effort and also innovate. With innovation and effort executives can learn to develop competences in areas that just do not come to them naturally. They may still not become the best in the world at this but the beauty is that others will just not notice! When Ramila needed to develop a world view, she partnered with her coach Rohith Kapoor and came up with the extremely innovative idea of creating story boards to master the competence. The power of this idea combined with her effort helped Ramila crack the competency code.

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Waking up and smelling the coffee

Organisations often grow to a size that is beyond the current senior leader’s competence to manage. Inviting a new business leader from outside to head is often the most desirable option. Unfortunately, the incumbent leader is neither ready nor been told of his areas of development lest he decides to throw in the towel. Ramaswamy is one such senior leader who neither shares this belief nor is ready to accept the new leader from outside and begins to act in ways that are dysfunctional to himself as well as to organisation. Dr.Sandesh Reddy helps Ram to accept that the new reality is not only good for the organisation but actually very good for him if he also embraces the change.

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The anxiety of not having a position of authority

Many of the operating roles in the corporate world are high on accountability and are therefore accompanied by position based authority and span of control. In the interest of long term leader development organisations however rotate these executives through roles that are high on problem solving and therefore call for personal authority – typically staff roles of strategic importance. Making this transition is never easy. It is one thing for senior leaders to tell such executives that they should discover their sphere of influence and it is another thing to actually to go through it. As a coach Abhay Bhaskar helped Anand navigate this transition rather well.

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Revisiting functional leadership

It is not often that leaders who have spent significant time in business leadership roles return to functional leadership. When they do return, it is not the lack of deep functional skills but their inability to appreciate some of the nuances in their functional role that can derail them. Pradipta, the coach realised that making such a transition was tough for Sumant, the coachee. Staying sensitive to the culture of the sponsor organisation which had initiated such a transition was crucial for Omkar Parel to navigate his way through the engagement and help Sumant succeed.

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The need for a coach mentor partnership to facilitate radical career shift

Executives are constantly making transitions of one kind or the other throughout their careers. They are changing jobs, changing career tracks and even geographical locations. However, when you have to do all of them together it can become hugely complex and onerous as it was for Vipin who was transitioning from being a senior research scientist to taking profit centre responsibility for a large R&D business across continents.
When the demands for change parameters are this complex, efficacy of coaching alone as an intervention begins to show strains. Anikat Murali discovered how coaching when combined with mentoring can cook up a healthy sandwich for the client.

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Coaching principles applied to peer to peer business mentoring

The need to maintain secrecy of their business ideas and the absence of a supportive group of like-minded peers prevent many successful first generation small and medium sized business owners from freely opening up and speaking about their problems and dilemmas and through that finding meaningful solutions. Unfortunately it is this group of entrepreneurs who need the most help because they form the back bone of the Indian entrepreneurial community. Understanding this need CII partnered with a leading coaching institution to create an innovative platform of support for such entrepreneurs called Business Mentoring forum. This forum is based on the principal of peer to peer mentoring facilitated by a business coach. Dr. Krishan is an early beneficiary of such a forum. With the support of the peers and the facilitation of the forum’s coach Aryan Ahuja he is able to resolve a crucial dilemma.

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When executives search for meaning

Executives lives are like roller coaster rides. There is speed, exceleration and of course many ups and downs. The focus on the moment often keep them away from asking and answering larger existential questions like ‘is it all worth it, What is worth for me and how do I want rest of my life to go on. Most executives cannot find answer to these questions without the help of a trusted thinking partner. Meera was fortunate because in Karan Khanna she found a trusted coach who helped her find answers to these questions and emerge from the shadows.

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The importance of a thinking partner

The work life of a CEO with large global corporations is filled with anxiety, ambiguity, change, performance pressures and not to mention public scrutiny and evaluation. It is in this setting that executives need to make meanings, solve problems and take crucial decisions that impact the fortune of the business and the life of the people. In the course of doing all this they have their emotional side to take care of too and they have to do all this alone. Well, they don’t really have to do it alone. Atleast Bharath realized that he could partner with the coach Rohit Kapoor even as he grappled with his complex executive agendas and use him as a sounding board.

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The Power of public accountability in influencing change

Business Leaders and CEOs have for leveraged the power of holding themselves and their teams publically accountable for their grand visions and audacious goals. These leaders realise that by making public their vision statements and long-term goals, they are in many ways putting themselves in positions they cannot retract from. They also use their public proclamations as constant reminders of the promises they have made. Through this, they perhaps have a far better chance of getting there than if their plans and dreams were top secrets. This time-tested principle applies equally to the world of Coaching or counseling or any behavioural change for that matter.

When clients make public their resolve to change, they are not just holding themselves accountable publically. They are also tacitly enlisting the support of their well-wishers to remind them about their promise and nudge them when they falter. As a seasoned business leader, this approach came very naturally and easily to Mayur when it came to changing a few behaviours of his which others found dysfunctional. With such a strong accountability system in place, working with him was a delight for his Coach, Tarun Jacob.

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It takes trust, time and team work to succeed.

The sponsor organizations often have well identified developmental needs for the nominated coachee. The coachee in turn, more often than not, sees merit in both agreeing and pursuing with the identified needs. Notwithstanding levels of motivation change can take inordinately a longer time than what is planned for and the delta of change is not discernable. Experienced coaches often find it beneficial in putting the early identified goals to question and recommend a mid course change. They often find it beneficial to put the coaching case to peer review with another experienced coach to delineate the next course of action. As a part of ethical practice of the helping profession many coaches choose to invest significantly higher amount of time without seeking commensurate compensation. Vishal Nekkanti encounters such a coaching proposition in case of his coachee Ram.

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