Sunday, October 30, 2016

W.A.I.T - A Powerful tool for Leader as a Coach

W.A.I.T - A Powerful tool for Leader as a Coach

I lead an operations team of a non-profit (along with many other exciting stuff I get to do here :-)... ) and it's quite a task to keep up with all the moving parts. 
An acronym that helps me to stay grounded at times is W.A.I.T: I read this in two ways 
While a weekly operational review is in progress, I tend to provide a bag full of ideas, suggestions and personal insights that would be useful for my team members, real time! Alas, they are not good enough for my team and I ended up talking more and more to justify why my inputs matter! 
That's when I stop myself and say "W.A.I.T!" Why am I doing all the talking? Then I see the conversion becomes less and less about me and more about things that really matter to my team and they take collective action for the benefit of the overall organisation.
During meetings, my colleagues often find myself quiet and observant. I guess at some point they start wondering if I'm mentally present and try to pull me into conversation by asking - "what do you think about this?"
It helps me to jot down few points at the beginning of the meeting - answers to the question "What am I thinking about this subject and what is my stance on the decision made or about to be made?"

So if you find this useful, then W.A.I.T !!!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Journey of an Executive Coach

Since Nov 2012, I'm engaged in Coaching top leaders of a group of companies founded by an Entrepreneur, who is well known and respected by industry leaders. I also coach his two sons, who are engaged in the business. The elder son had an head start in joining the business by a few years. Hence the coaching needs of the two are very different.

During the first few days of my joining, I focused on 1-on -1 coaching of the CEOs and their direct reports. Later, as I developed better understanding of the individuals on the team, I started to conduct Group/Team Coaching sessions. The group sessions were offered to mainly intact teams (from the same company), and not across different companies.

The first few sessions offered me a deeper understanding of the intra personal and interpersonal issues within the team.

Armed with theoretical knowledge and practical experience,  I developed a journey map for the group/team as follows:

A. Self Awareness - A leader's development starts with the motto 'know thyself'. The individuals on the team completed few assessments, including MBTI, conflict Management Styles and Leadership styles, to discover more about themselves.

B. Situational Awareness - collectively teammates completed - SWOT/SCOT Analysis of the organization and the team, Tuckman's stages of team, 'Mad, Sad, Glad' (things that made them happy, angry or frustrated in the last 6 months), etcetera, to understand the current situation they are in better. A lot of time invested in getting the grip on 'reality'.

C. Systems Thinking - after securing clients' / Sponsor's consent, I could collect anonymous feedback from a sample representatives of their top valued 'Customers', 'Employees', 'Vendors' and 'Investors'. I shared the feedback and the patterns that emerged from these conversations during a team Coaching session. This helped the top team to see the various perceptions in play and the reputation they have on others mind in a dispassionate way (since I removed the names and any reference to the person giving feedback). The idea was to help the team realize that the 'Sum of parts in not equal to the whole'. The session that followed where based on appreciative inquiry and systems thinking.

D. Shared Mindset - This helps the team to be aware or realize that 'Goals shared' are not the same or powerful as  'Shared Goals'. The collective vision that emerged for the team is to make theirs a 'High Performance, Customer - centric organization, which is a great place to work'.

The individual and team action plans emerged during these sessions and over the last few months it is on track.

The journey continues. ...

Some of my key insights as a coach:

1. Earn the 'Right to Coach'. It cannot be forced upon the client by the sponsors. Establish that you are not 'Chairman's Spy'

2. Don't get too involved in the business of your clients / Coachee. The behavior patterns changes and before you know you'd start owning and solving the clients problems.

3. Ensure you've got sponsors' Trust. They should trust you enough not to ask what's happening in the coaching sessions.

4. Earn Client's confidence, that you are keeping the conversation confidential and acting on the best interests of the client. You will be privy to a lot of sensitive and conflicting information/ view points about each other on the same team. Acknowledge the same and still be nonjudgmental.

5. Speak truth to the power, when needed. Especially the sponsors when their decisions are impacting individuals and teams.

I had my own share of tough moments in earning the trust and space to be a leader's coach. In couple of instances, I got a perception that the coaching contract is off. However time and again I reminded myself to be nonjudgmental in my approach and seek to understand the concerns of the leaders. This helped me to change my approach and dealing tge situation in a different manner. At the end it paid off. I could earn my place as a coach and be back on track in the engagement. This is still a journey, a lot to learn in this area.

Will keep sharing as I learn more and grow in this journey.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Social Networks for Adoption of Product or new technology implementation

I was watching this video and lots of ideas sprouted in my mind...

For a large organization, it makes much sense to focus on studying this 'Social Networks' and connections at work for making any technology implementation successful (if not increase the adoption rate)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Feedback that works!

One of the most effective models of delivering feedback is set forth in a small handbook, Feedback that Works by Sloan Weitzel, published by the Center for Creative Leadership, 2000. There is a three-step process (added fourth step - See below) in delivering effective feedback:
  1. Capture the situation (S)
  2. Describe the behavior (B)
  3. Describe the impact the behavior had on you or the organization (I)
  4. Place a request (R)

Capture the situation (S): In the first step of the process, you must be specific as to what happened, when it happened and the context. The more specific you can be the better. Refrain from adding any judgmental statements. Be as neutral as possible, avoiding words that might trigger defensiveness. The idea here is to recall the event.

Describe the behavior (B): In this crucial step, you must give information about what behavior needs to stop or continue in order to improve performance. Avoid using adjectives that describe the person, but using words that describe the person's actions are acceptable. The more observable behaviors that can be described the better, as you are presenting facts here, not interpretations. It is important to capture not only what people do, but how they are doing it. This requires keen observational skills in order to describe nonverbal communication and body language.

Deliver the impact (I): In this step, you must focus on the impact of the behavior on you. This is not where you communicate what the impact may have on the organization or on other people. When you interpret and make a judgment about the behavior, you are less effective because the person can become defensive and argue with your interpretation. When you deliver the impact it had on you, it is harder for the person to dismiss your personal experience and it is more likely they will hear what you've said. You are sharing your personal point of view and asking the other person to view their behavior from your perspective. This kind of sharing can build trust and lead to honest sharing.

The fourth step in the process (based on my experience and the 'Conflict Management Tools' program I facilitated at Satyam School of Leadership) is:

Place a Request (R): This is important aspect of Soliciting, Giving or Receiving Feedback. Without placing a request i.e. What would you like the person to keep doing or do differently? and What support would you offer him/her? the other person would not understand what action is expected of him/her.

In brief:
Situation: Where and When did the specific behavior occur?
Behavior: What are the characteristics, actions, words and non-verbal behaviors that need to be repeated or improved?
Impact: What are the consequences? What impact does this behavior have on other people? Is the behavior effective or ineffective?
Request: What would you like the person to keep doing or do differently? What support would you offer him/her?
Some organizations, use a modified version of the above:
- Event
- Action
- Results
- Next Steps
essentially the same principle

Feedback needs to be clear, specific, candid and concise. It should not be judgmental (good/bad), blaming (fault/scapegoating), or come from right/wrong thinking. If delivered in any of these modes, it will trigger either active or passive defensiveness.

These steps are valuable for both positive and negative feedback. Perhaps the best way to begin the practice of effective feedback is to start with positive messages. One message should be delivered at a time, however, to avoid the sandwich effect. When negative feedback is sandwiched in between two positive messages, it is less effective because the positive messages never get heard. This may be perceived as manipulative and insincere and does nothing to build trust.

I also benefited a lot from reading the Q&A material

*p.12 Feedback That Works, Sloan R. Weitzel, Center for Creative Leadership

Friday, May 13, 2011

My 'Yellow Brick Road'

Few thoughts that trigged in me while reading Dr. Myra White's book 'Follow the Yellow Brick Road' - A Harvard Psychologist's Guide to Becoming a Superstar:


I was part of a Non-Profit (around 6 ½ years) in the last decade. We ran a 90 day program in classroom, starting with 'Life Skills' module and then domain skills (Arithmetic, Basics of Computer, Retail, BPO, Automobile etc.). The 'Life Skills' program (first 10 days) is worth mentioning as it followed the same pattern as Dr. White has outlined in her book.


The Program is designed to answer the four key questions,

1.       Who am I?

2.       Where do I come from?

3.       What are my goals? (We believed in multiple goals)

4.       How do I achieve them?


At the end of 10 days, these youth were very clear about their 'Purpose' in life and reportedly felt 'in control'. This was also a testimony of our 'facilitation skills' as we had a challenge of 'Drop outs' in the program. This was a 'Free' course and we were not sure if they would come back again the next day for the classes. Yes, we did not charge any money from these beneficiaries, we found corporate or govt. sponsors for the program, later moved to 'Pay-it-Forward' model. The graduates of the program started to pay for the subsequent batches from their salaries. A commitment to help their fellow youngsters! We were surprised at the evolution of this program. We did not design this to be this way! Neither we forced them into such a model.

These four questions, held the key for success of the participants of this program. Those who kept their 'journals' handy and made copious notes (some students even preserved these notes & exercises that we gave in class - well after 3 or 4 years of their graduation!). We had designed games, activities to help them realize the importance of these four questions. As these were young adults (some of them primarily dropped out of school education system because they were 'Told to do' certain things and they never understood 'why' they were supposed to). We did not want to 'Tell them' what they should 'do'. However, they 'understood' the message.


In these 'First 10 days', around 70% of the students turn around and 'focus' on what they should be doing with their lives. The rest, feel the momentum and join them well before the end of the program. We always enjoyed around 90% employment rate and we followed them for many years after they graduated to ensure that this is 'Sustainable' change.


Taking sessions for these young adults and training facilitators to 'make this happen' were the beautiful moments in my life!

That was my 'Yellow brick road' and I can say proudly that in this process, I could help many walk the same!



Bhaskar Natarajan, ACC

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Thirteen Virtues - Benjamin Franklin

Thirteen Virtues
Franklin sought to cultivate his character by a plan of 13 virtues, which he developed at age 20 (in 1726) and continued to practice in some form for the rest of his life.
His autobiography lists his 13 virtues as:

 1. "Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation."
 2. "Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation."
 3. "Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time."
 4. "Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve."
 5. "Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing."
 6. "Industry. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions."
 7. "Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly."
 8. "Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty."
 9. "Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve."
 10. "Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation."
 11. "Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable."
 12. "Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation."
 13. "Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates."
Franklin did not try to work on them all at once. Instead, he would work on one and only one each week "leaving all others to their ordinary chance". While Franklin did not live completely by his virtues and by his own admission, he fell short of them many times, he believed the attempt made him a better man contributing greatly to his success and happiness, which is why in his autobiography, he devoted more pages to this plan than to any other single point; in his autobiography Franklin wrote, "I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit."

Bhaskar Natarajan, ACC

Monday, December 6, 2010

Outliers - Malcom Gladwell

Ouliers by Malcom Gladwell, examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success. Throughout the publication, Gladwell repeatedly mentions the "10,000-Hour Rule", claiming that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.

Outliers has two parts: "Part One: Opportunity" contains five chapters, and "Part Two: Legacy" has four. The book also contains an Introduction and Epilogue

My Insights:

1. Hard-work - Planned, meticulous, sincere hardwork pays
2. commit 10,000 hrs of your dedicated time for anything you want to specialize in.
3. All great people started by presenting themselves with right opportunity and hard-work to deserve that.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Inner game of Squash!

There are more lessons to be learnt while playing!

I'm a beginner in the game of Squash. The place where I'm staying in Bangalore has good players. I really admire their maturity in hand-holding the new comers!

There is one guy whom I would call 'Raj', is very supportive. He speaks less and shares good tips on playing well. Today is my 7th day in the court... after many sweaty evenings, wrist pain, shoulder pain and silly excuses for not going to court... today I enjoyed my game. I lost all the four games... but I could find myself improving.

I decided to try out the 'Inner game' technique. i.e. have more of positive self-talk about the shots, the placement and less of criticism. It works! When I'm talking positively about my shots and get ready for the next one... my placements improved!

I guess the same applies for work too!

Monday, November 29, 2010

TRUSTED ADVISOR.....#2 - Situational Awareness

Insight #2

How do I demonstrate the situational awareness? some people call it 'Presence of mind'; some prefer 'thinking on the feet'; while others simply say 'Presence'!

Clients would appreciate and engage better with consultants who have 'Situational Awareness'...

few pointers to improve SA: ABCDs of improving SA
- Attitude - It is important to wear an attitude that says, 'I understand your world and I can add value'

- Business Acumen - having a world view of 'how stuff works' in the business context would definitely help. Hard works pays here... do your homework before meeting the client!

- Confidence - modulating voice to suit the context and superior command over language (right vocabulary)

- Discuss freely - before meeting the client, talk to few whom you know about the subject and ask pertinent questions 5W & H framework could be a better place to start.

TRUSTED ADVISOR.....#1 - Arrogance vs Assertiveness!

Every day, I get to learn something new at work. These insights comes from any one or any part of the organization that I interact with and at any point of the day! (Including the 2 or 3 coffee breaks I take in a day).

I shall share one of the many 'insights' here today!

A Client always sees a business consultant as a trusted advisor. If one needs to measure up to that clients' expectations, then need to 'speak' like one!!

So, how do you demonstrate that you are a 'Trusted Advisor'?

There are many facets to this...

Insight #1 - Arrogance vs. Assertiveness:

How do one demonstrate assertiveness?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Executive Presence!

As I begin my journey in Consulting world, I realize the importance of demonstrating 'Executive Presence' in each and every conversation I have (including the coffee breaks!). It is a paradox! I have to be myself and at the same time can't afford to let my guard down! Which is a bit tricky, I say!

People create impressions about you and they want to
1. See or visualize how you would be in a client situation?
2. Experience your 'Senior Voice'
3. Feel proud that you are part of their team!

How does one model 'Executive Presence'?

It is more often 'felt' .... than something that can be 'spelt' :-)

EP includes,
a. Confidence in self
b. Attitude - bright, positive and shining!
c. Content Credibility - knowing my stuff!
d. Assertiveness - Guts to speak my mind.... even though the crowd may think otherwise!
e. Communication - saying it with elegance/poise! using less words but conveying powerful concepts which brings out in-depth understanding...

Will bring out more...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Transition of a Practitioner to a Management Consultant. How to make it smooth?

I've recently made transition from an Internal Consultant to a full fledged Organizational Transformation (Change Management) Consultant. I've learnt a lot of valuable lessons from the last 60 days of my journey. Sharing a few here.... Please feel to add from your own (if any):

1. Understand the 'Framework' your new organization is using. Every consulting firm will be using their own proprietary 'Framework' or 'Model' or 'the way things are done here'. It is extremely important to know this thoroughly and start talking that language.

2. Forget that you were an achiever in the past. In Marshall Goldsmith's words, "What got you here, won't get you there". Think that you are starting afresh! List down the new skills you may have to learn in the new place to succeed.

3. Draw / Visualize the new market landscape. Talk to as many people as you can and try to understand the new market that you are in. Who are the players (Competitors)? What do they offer? How different are you? etc

4. Understand the internal organization dynamics (read - Politics) - Who could be your sponsor? Who could sabotage your efforts? Who could get 'Inspired' by your ideas (they are so inspired and take your ideas as their own - mind you... they are not 'Stealing' ;-) _

5. Be assertive. You've to balance between an aggressive 'prove myself' mode and a submissive 'I'm just a beginner' mindset. You do certainly bring some value and thats the reason they've hired you. So be grounded and speak assertively.

If you've done such transition, please share your lessons...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

OB professor at the University of Lausann on MBTI and NLP

Professor John Antonakis has built a career out of ripping into the sacred cows of modern management theory

He says, “There are too many snake-oil merchants in the guise of consultants, trainers and management gurus. Very little of what they claim is supported by hard evidence, most of which has been totally ignored by those making a lot of money by selling models and techniques that simply don’t work,” said John Antonakis in a recent interview

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Game Changer - Who? Me!

Game Changers

Posted on October 11th, 2010 by admin in Innovation, Leadership

By Mike Myatt, Chief Strategy Officer, N2growth

At one time or another all great leaders experience something that is so big, so impactful, that it literally changes the landscape. It’s what I call a “Game Changer.” A game changer is that ah-ha moment that creates an extreme, disruptive advantage or improvement. What’s interesting is that the best leaders proactively focus on looking for game changers. Sure, great leaders never lose sight of their core business, they pay attention to managing risk, etc., but they spend far more energy intentionally searching for opportunity, but not just any opportunity – a game changer. In the text that follows I’ll not only provide you with a blue print for finding game changers, but I’ll also ask you to share your experiences and insights as well. I hope this post is a game changer for you…

Mike calls SMARTS


Organization Alignment - Demonstration

Stephen Covey has a very dramatic demonstration that he uses to illustrate organizational alignment. In a large room with hundreds of people, he asks everyone to close their eyes. Next he tells everyone to raise there arm and point to true north. He then tells people to open their eyes and look around.

Everyone is pointing in different directions. He then asks the group to imagine that they had to take ten steps in the direction they were pointing. Obviously total chaos would result. He then pulls out a compass and shows everyone where true north is. With a compass, everyone could take ten steps in the same direction and the entire large group would be going in the same direction without bumping into each other.

Achieving alignment is one of the most elusive dimensions of business success. Applying Covey's demonstration, the first step is deciding which direction do we want to go. Where is "true north" for our organization? This may sound simple, but many organizations fail to get agreement at the top levels of where true north is for the organization. Instead, functional or department leaders create their own idea of true north. For an organization to have a chance of achieving a high degree of alignment, there has to be one true north for the entire organization. The definition of true north includes the vision, mission, and values of the organization. It also includes the key strategic objectives that support the mission and vision.

Read more:
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Consulting Chick Insights: Backwards In High Heels

Consulting Chick Insights: Backwards In High Heels: "Famously said of Ginger Rogers: She did everything Fred Astaire did but backwards and in high heels. Not so different from boutique firms..."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

HPCA Virtual Monthly Learning Event - 30th August 2010 - 7-8 pm IST

Click to register -

HPCA Virtual Learning Event - 30th August (Monday) 7:00 - 8:00 pm IST
Simone Peer, PCC on 'The Fun-n-Easy Life by Design'
When - Mon, August 30, 7pm – 8pm GMT+05:30
Where - Virtual - Audio Details upon registration/ confirmation - RSVP

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


A Consulting firm immedately needs 'Training Developers Offshore' - They are looking for India-based (Bangalore) training developers, who can develop instructor led and web-based training materials. The essential attribute is experience in developing technical training – in particular, for ERP’s such as SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Siebel, etc. They should have excellent communication skills, writing and Powerpoint skills, and web authoring skills. If interested contact me. This is a billable role

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Renewing my Blogging habit!

hi folks

Its almost an year now, since I posted last. I realise the need for sharing what I'm learning in the process of doing things.

I shall continue sharing regularly from now on.

Monday, April 19, 2010

HPCA Monthly Learning Event – 8th May 2010

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An ICF Chapter, Hyderabad, India

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Virtual Monthly Learning Events

CCE Units awarded for the participants!!!

You can be from any city within India and register for these programs and earn CCE Units by participating.


ICF Members can participate, benefit, enjoy and learn from these virtual sessions at NO ADDITIONAL COST. Speak / write to us with your ICF Membership number, contact details, City etc and we will guide you with PROMO Code (FREE OF CHARGE)


CLICK the following link for online registration and payment options


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Title: 'Coaching Excellence – Facilitating Learning and Results'


Date: Saturday, 8th May, 2010


Time: 08:30 AM - 09:30 AM IST - VIRTUAL SESSION


(you can login from anywhere [just a local call], upon successful registration, we shall send you the presentation (ppt) used by the speaker, an unique access number and code [pls dont share this code with others] to join the Audio Bridge)




Sivam Chandrasekhar, PCC(<a href=""></a>

Sivam Chandrasekhar, Chandra, as he normally likes to be called, started his professional career as a Chemical Engineer and has more than a decade of corporate and business experience in the US and more than 35 years of business and executive experience in India. In these multi-cultural work environments he has enjoyed playing multifaceted roles in policy making, research, development, project design and supervision, venture capital funding and leadership, for central government agencies and companies, both in the public and private sectors.


With his main strengths in connecting and relating to people and a great passion to interact with people and make a difference in their lives, he changed his career focus to psychology and life coaching. Chandra has more than a decade of counseling, relationship, compassionate and transformational coaching experience in both clinical and non-clinical work environments. He graduated from the International Coach Academy in 2007 as a certified professional coach (CPC) and is one of the first two ICF credentialed, professional certified coaches (PCC) in India, with his wife, Prabha, being the other one.



How to Attend:

This is exclusively for HPCA Members ONLY event. However, Members can bring in Guests by paying a nominal fee to cover our administration charges


CLICK the following link for online registration and payment options


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Rush in your entries as we have limited Audio lines for the event.


Warm Regards

Bhaskar Natarajan

Core Essentials Graduate (CEG) - CoachU Australia

President Elect - Hyderabad Professional Coach Association (HCPA)

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Skype - bhaskarnatarajan5220

India Mobile - +91-9849541110

US Mobile - 216 640 7449

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

I'm a Certified graduate of Core Essentials Program (CEP) from CoachU!!!

I got this mail (See below) couple of days back from the President of CoachUniversity (Australia)....


Extremely happy to share this glad news with all of you!!!

From: Jennifer Corbin, President
Date: Sat, Apr 10, 2010 at 1:26 AM
Subject: CEP Graduation

Dear Bhaskar,

Congratulations on the successful completion of Coach U's Core Essentials Program (CEP).

This email and the attached certificate attests that you are a graduate of the Core Essentials Program thereby completing 77 coach training hours, passing the required course tests and accumulating 20 client coaching hours since enrollment. You are now qualified to use the designation "Core Essentials Graduate" or the acronym "CEG."

The Core Essentials Program includes beginning to intermediate courses to develop strong foundational and core coaching skills and is a prerequisite for Coach U's Advanced Coaching Program and the Coach U Certified Graduate designation, which is an approved ICF Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP).

Please remember that if you wish to apply for your Associate Certified Coach (ACC) with the International Coach Federation, you must apply using the Portfolio Application. In order to utilize the ACTP application, you must first complete the Coach U Certified Graduate (CUCG) or Corporate Coach U Certified Graduate (CCUCG) process, which includes graduating from the advanced program. (The ACTP track standards with the ICF are the same for all approved coach training providers.)

We hope you are proud of your accomplishments to date and are pleased to receive the designation of Core Essentials Graduate. We look forward to continuing to partner with you as you continue on your journey towards becoming a masterful coach.

Best Wishes,

Jennifer Corbin

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Leadership Presence

THE Elements of Leadership: The authors talk about four elements of Leadership Presence. They call this as ‘The PRES Model of Leadership Presence’

P – stands for Being Present, the ability to be completely in the moment, and flexible enough to handle the unexpected.
R – stands for Reaching Out, the ability to build relationships with others through empathy, listening and authentic connection.
E – stands for Expressiveness, the ability to express feelings and emotions appropriately by using all available means – words, voice, body, face – to deliver one congruent message.
S – stands for Self-Knowing, the ability to accept yourself, to be authentic, and to reflect your values in your decisions and actions.

They claim that, Leadership Presence combines power with humility. It’s about where you and those you lead want to go and what all of you want to accomplish and how all of you can benefit from your work together. It’s about relationships and connections between people.

Leadership Presence is about:
- Being Present – not pretentious
- Reaching out – not looking down
- Being Experience – not impressive.
- Being Self-knowing – not self-absorbed.

Each chapter has a simple exercise on these four elements. Enjoy reading and putting them to practice.
You can read an interview with the authors on the same book -

Sunday, January 3, 2010

How engaged are your employees? a simple test


Former U.S. labor secretary Robert B. Reich has devised a smart, simple, (and free) diagnostic tool for measuring the health of an organization.When he talks to employees, he listens carefully for the pronouns they use. Do employees refer to their company as "they" of as "we"?

"They" suggests at least some amount of disengagement, and perhaps even alienation. "We" suggests the opposigs employees feel they're part of something significant and meaningful. If you're a boss, spend a few days listening to the people around you, not only in formal settings like meetings, but in the hallways and
at lunch as well. Are you a "'we" organization or a "tThey" organization? The difference matters. Everybody wants auronomy, masrery and purpose. The thing is, "we" can get it-but "they" can't.

- Daniel Pink, (on his New Book - DRIVE)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Coaching Tip: Self-Efficacy - The Key to Client Confidence

Coaching Tip: Self-Efficacy - The Key to Client Confidence
Category: Coaching Secrets (CS63)
Originally Submitted on 2/14/99.



Self-efficacy is a term used to describe the picture we have of our ability to succeed, usually at a particular task or in a specific situation. It is similar to self-confidence, but is even more closely related to one's own personal abilities than is self-confidence, which can be based on things others than ability. Lack of self-efficacy is likely to prevent an individual from even attempting to reach a goal, no matter how much it may be desired. One of the tasks of a coach is to enhance a client's self-efficacy without boosting it beyond reality and so setting the client up for further failure.

The Coaching Tip

Researchers tell us there are four basic ways in which a person's self-efficacy is most likely to be enhanced. The most powerful and obvious one is to experience success. This is particularly important for clients with little confidence in their own ability. It is for this reason that we encourage such clients to take on relatively small and simple goals at first. This way they can experience themselves as successful, and so enhance their self-efficacy. They are then able to tackle larger tasks.
A second form of self-efficacy enhancement is modeling. If we see someone else with whom we have good rapport who is succeeding, or has succeeded, at a task, and we see that what they did to succeed is not extremely difficult, then we may decide, 'Oh, I can do that!' This is one of the many reasons why Coach University puts so much emphasis on coaches 'walking the walk' as well as talking the talk. Every client is looking for a model to emulate, someone who has been there, and done that, and therefore demonstrates that it can be done.

The third technique that coaches use on a regular basis is verbal persuasion. Not that we would use persuasion to get a client to do something against their values, but persuasion in the form of encouragement, and to talk them through their insecurities. Coaches can often see a client's strengths far more clearly than the client, and must find ways to convey what they see in a way that is convincing enough to overcome the client's self-doubt.

Lastly, emotional arousal may enhance determination so that the individual is spurred to action with such energy that they overcome their belief that they cannot succeed. We occasionally read of situations where an individual has found the enormous strength to shift a car or other heavy weight that is crushing someone, fueled by the desperation of the situation and most certainly not by their belief, had they stopped to think of it, that they could succeed. The last example is the least likely to be used by a coach. However, it may occasionally happen that a client may become excited enough for this to happen. Unfortunately it more often occurs with negative emotions such as fear and anger, which would not normally be desirable for a coach to use.

However, the other three belong in every coach's repertoire. Helping a client to break an apparently unachievable goal into smaller and more easily attained steps, modeling efficacy in such a way that the client is encouraged, not belittled, and persuading the client that s/he is more competent that s/he believes are all useful tools in the coaching tool-kit.

About the Submitter
This piece was originally submitted by Diana Robinson, Ph.D., Personal & Career Coach, who can be reached at, or visited on the web. Diana Robinson wants you to know: Allow me to gift you with a half-hour free coaching session. I also offer two free e-mail newsletters, one on tools for evoluting and one on spirituality. The original source is: Graduate work in Social Psychology.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Everyone Needs Coaching - Even Google CEO Eric Schmidt has a coach!

Quote from Google CEO Eric Schmidt (from Video), "Everybody Needs a Coach. Evey Famous athlete, every famous performer, has somebody who is a coach, somebody who can watch what they are doing and give them perspective. One thing people are never good at is seeing themsevles as others see them. A Coach really really helps"

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My goals...

I'm working on these goals:
1. to be a Certified coach - ACC (ICF Credentialing) by July 2010
2. to publish atleast 4 articles on 'Performance Consulting' and 'Coaching' in National / International Journals (refreed Journals/ trade magazines).
3. to continue and complete Fellow Program in Management (FPM) at XLRI by 2011.

when you meet me ask me about these..

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Personal Branding

The more I think, read and talk about this topic, it fascinates me with new ideas...
Blogging (at work, as well as
so.... what is the connect? How this is to help me in my career?
come along..

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thriving in turbulence

In the last few months of my life, I have been a mute spectator of all the happenings around me. I went on a solo journey to visit places of importance in South India including Kanyakumari, Madurai Meenakshi Amma Temple, Trichy etc. This trip gave me time to reflect and ponder over my next move.

I think I have some clarity on what I should be doing next. Thanks to my wife, who is patient with me and allowing my space. There are few things I should have done by the end of this month, including submission of paper for ISPI, writing an article on Virtual Teams (Tools and Techniques) and getting certified as a Coach for basic skills.

I want to invest my time in growing Hyderabad Professional Coaches Association (HPCA) across the twin cities.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

An evening with Dr. Prasad Kaipa at Hyderabad Professional Coaching Association - (HPCA)

Dr. Prasad Kaipa is a strategic advisor and coach to CEOs, board members and senior executives a visiting professor at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad and is a professor at the Saybrook Graduate School.

I happened to participate in the monthly event of Hyderabad Professional Coaches Association (HPCA) on Wednesday, Feb 4th between 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm. The special highlight of the meeting was a talk by Dr. Prasad Kaipa from Indian School of Business on ‘Coaching through Recession : When the Going gets Tough’.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A meditation on hope

Hope and Change -- Sherwin Nuland, at TED 2003, spoke of the relationship between "hope" and "change". You can't really have the former without the latter, and probably won't bother with the latter without some amount of the former.

Surgeon and writer Sherwin Nuland meditates on the idea of hope -- the desire to become our better selves and make a better world. In a thoughtful 12 minutes, he explores the connection between "hope" and "change" -- a fitting talk to end this week full of both. (Recorded February 2003 in Monterey, California. Duration: 12:37.)

White collar work in the future

This one suggests what white collar (office jobs) might look like in the future today. Thanks for the laugh!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

7th January 2009

This date on my calendar could have been just another day in my life... but it happens to be the day of shock and unfolding of unbelievable stories... yes, I am talking about Ramalinga Raju's confession to SEBI about inflated financials of the company.

I have chosen to speak to my friends about what goes on inside our organization as I have got so many calls from my friends and family enquiring about my well being and that of my family.. I feel responsible to share this with you all. However I am not in a position to share any of my knowledge on this fiasco of this huge scale. So bear with me...

I still remember the scene... I was in an internal meeting with my taskforce team, passionately explaning my strategy to improve 'Employee Satisfaction' (We call this as Associate Delight Index - ADI). Suddenly one of the members stepped out for a minute or so only to return back that there is a news on TV that our chairman has resigned.

We all rushed to the common room where TV is played... to my utter shock and disbelief.. the story slowly unfolded in front of us... the stock price is dropping quickly by the minute... in a span of few minutes the price nearly halved.. Even then the entire story did'nt sink into me.. I immediately called my wife to update her and told her not to panic if someone calls her for clarification and I would'nt be able to confirm or deny any news either.

The next thing I realized is I am in the middle of an ad-hoc meeting at Labrynth with some senior colleagues... all huddling to digest what we saw in the media for the last hour and half.. the same thing was being repeated with more drama..

The meeting was more informal, we had the audacity to crack jokes (I guess that is a natural reaction to calm yourself from the stress you are going through) and thankfully the leaders handled the situation very well..

After a small huddle, we dispersed only to gather back in small groups to further carry out our discussions... the common questions (Not in the same order)I could hear in the aisle and hallways:-
1. How is this possible?
2. How can he do this?
3. What should we do now?
4. What will happen if the Share Price goes to 'Zero'?
5. Will we get our Salary this month?
6. How will our customers react?
7. Why are they using words like 'Fraud'; 'Scam'; 'Enron of India' etc?
8. How can one individual bring us down?
9. Are there other leaders involved in this? What was CFO doing all this while? Where is he now?
10. Whom should we believe / not?

Many senior colleagues who have spent more than 5 years (Loyalists) were very much emotionally disturbed... I have no words to comfort them..

The day was longer for all of us... I found myself hanging around till 8 pm at office with my team members..

I will talk more about what happens inside an organization (Emotions and Stress levels of associates) that is going through such a massive crisis.

I was affected too by what was happening to me and around me... after so many days, I have chosen to come out and post these thoughts of mine now, just because I feel I m in control of the situation than the otherway around...

watch out for more...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The picture we see below is a metaphor of what happens in every organization.

Many of us are pushing and pulling a wagon that is rolling on Squared wheels with a cargo of round wheels. Simply, the current systems and procedures and the like DO work, but they don't work smoothly. And inside the wagon are a wide variety of ideas about what can be done to make improvements.
One paradox is that people are too busy to stop and step back and see what is obvious to other observers. These others often include customers and other departments. (Abhi & I are included in this others too!)
Now, imagine that the pushers and pullers are asked to join a health club (Real Time Learning - RTL from Satyam School of Leadership - SSL) where they get workout schedules, dietary information and the like and that, after a few weeks of this intervention and support, they are healthier and stronger.

Building personal resources is what most of us do within our organizations. We work to develop people so that they are more competent, effective and productive
Now, imagine these same people go back to the workplace more empowered now to push and pull the wagon, but now with round wheels - The solutions were there all the time!!!
Thanks to all of you to make this as a wonderful experience!!!
Now, let's reflect on this question - Are we still pushing the wagon with Squared Wheels?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Made to Stick

Currently I am reading this book titled, 'Made to Stick: Why some ideas survive and others die' by Chip Heath & Dan Heath.

Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that "stick" and explain sure-fire methods for making ideas stickier, such as violating schemas, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating "curiosity gaps."

The authors credit six key principles: simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions and stories. (The initial letters spell out "success"—well, almost.) They illustrate these principles with a host of stories, some familiar (Kennedy's stirring call to "land a man on the moon and return him safely to the earth" within a decade) and others very funny (Nora Ephron's anecdote of how her high school journalism teacher used a simple, embarrassing trick to teach her how not to "bury the lead"). Throughout the book, sidebars show how bland messages can be made intriguing. Fun to read and solidly researched, this book deserves a wide readership.

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (ISBN 978-1-4000-6428-1) is a book by brothers Chip and Dan Heath published by Random House in 2007. The book continues the idea of "stickiness" popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point, seeking to explain what makes an idea or concept memorable or interesting. A similar style to Gladwell's is used, with a number of stories and case studies followed by principles. The stories range from urban legends, such as the "Kidney Heist" in the introduction; to business stories, as with the story of Southwest Airlines, "the low price airline"; to inspirational, personal stories such as that of Floyd Lee, a passionate mess hall manager. Each chapter includes a section entitled "Clinic", in which the principles of the chapter are applied to a specific case study or idea to demonstrate the principle's application.The book's outline follows the acronym "SUCCES" (with the last s omitted). Each letter refers to a characteristic that can help make an idea "sticky":

  • Simple — find the core of any idea
  • Unexpected — grab people's attention by surprising them
  • Concrete — make sure an idea can be grasped and remembered later
  • Credibility — give an idea believability
  • Emotion — help people see the importance of an idea
  • Stories — empower people to use an idea through narrative

Chip Heath is a professor of organizational behavior at Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. Dan Heath, a former researcher at Harvard, is a consultant and developer of innovative textbooks. They also write a regular feature for Fast Company magazine

The more I talk about it, the more I am convinced about the three step change process. During one of my Real Time Learning (RTL) sessions, (this happened in-the-moment without much preparation) I came out with three 'A's for successful habit formation:
1. Awareness
2. Acknowledgement
3. Action

If we need to bring about change 'collectively', we need to follow this 3 step method. i.e. create as much Awareness around that subject (the pros and cons) - generate enough 'data' from the system and validate with group every now and then before proceeding to the next step.

The next step is acknowledgement. i.e. gain acknowledgement from the group that in order to move from 'Current' to 'Desired' state, what are the things that we should 'Start', 'Stop' and 'Continue' doing? Again a series of validations from the group helps (sometimes individual leaders may play an important role here).

The final step is taking 'Action'. This calls for commitment from the top leaders and everyone in the system to make that desired change happen.

Then the set of questions,
1. "What support you may need to make this change happen?"
2. "What risks you foresee in this journey?"

3. "What investments are you are prepared and willing to make to see this happen?"

4. "By when you would accomplish this change?"

5. "What are your measures for successful completion of this journey?"

Thus a new successful habit is formed. I started liking the sound of this logic.

The more I elaborated on this, the more I am convinced. Maybe I would have read this somewhere in a different form.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

tuesdays with Morrie

I am currently reading this true story by Mitch Albom (a successful sports reporter writes about his teacher).

Living Funeral: When you know that you have a terminal illness (Morrie had ALS- Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis) and your days are numbered, what will you do? You have options, says Morrie, “when all this started, I asked myself, ‘Am I going to withdraw from the world, like most people do, or Am I going to Live?’ I decided I am going to live- or atleast try to live – the way I want, with dignity, with courage , with humor, with composure.”

When asked, “What do you dread the most about this slow, insidious decay?’. Morrie looked into straight into the eyes of the most famous interviewer in America. “Well, Ted, one day soon someone’s gonna have to wipe my ass.”

This book moved me beyond words can explain.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I liked this...


I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store;

For Life is a just employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.

I worked for a menial's hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have paid.

--J.B. Rittenhouse

Monday, January 21, 2008

Lavanya is a Chartered Accountant

Lavanya is now a Chartered Accountant (CA). It is very difficult to clear this certification requirement in India. I am extremely happy for her. She finally realized her dream to become a CA after these many years.

Monday, January 14, 2008

My Second Trip to US!

Time moves on... before I could realise I am here again for my second visit. This time it is Peoria, a small industrial town with Victorian style houses, large spaces between houses, big broad roads, icy wind (yes, it is freezing out here!) and friendly people all around!!!

View Larger Map

I kinda like this place... It is already third day today and I have explored this place with my colleagues. I shall get used to Burritos (one ad reads like this, "Burritos, Larger than you head!"... I thought it is funny!!!)

I shall keep posting about my adventure here!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My First Visit to USA


I am back. This time with some exciting stuff. Recetnly I visited San Francisco (San Ramon to be exact) for some field work. For a boy from a small town, it's a big leap. Everything is new. Right from crossing the street (Can you imagine! I spent close to 10 min in figuring out that push button to cross the road!)

View Larger Map

Whether it is about printing a train ticket myself on the vending machine from SFO Airport to Dublin Pleasonton route or taking a cab from the BART station to the hotel (Sierra Suites) where I had booking it was first time for me and luckily it turned out to be a pleasant one!

I braved outside my room in the night to have some snacks as I was hungry. I could find only a Taco Bell outlet and struggled to find something 'Vegetarian'. Finally ordered something and it turned out to be some meat preparation. I didn't like it, but had no heart to throw it in dust bin, somehow gulped and washed it down with the raspberry flavored coke that came with it as a combo pack.

The second day I took a train to SFO airport (Still disoriented in the new timezone!) slept on my way and missed the SFO station. No one around to ask for directions, but somehow figured out that if I stayed on the same train, it would shuttle back to SFO airport. Felt relieved, stayed awhile on my seat (meanwhile, I prayed all the gods I know that no one should be checking my ticket or no camera around to beep that I am carrying an invalid ticket). Finally, understood the system and felt comfortable moving around without any hassles.

Rest of my journey I shall blog when time permits! So Long! :-)

Friday, July 20, 2007

OD - Organizational Development - A Discipline

The first time I heard this term is when I was in Symbiosis (SCMHRD), Pune. I thought it is just another fad and tried to ignore this subject.

But as things unfolded, I started liking this subject and showing more interest in learning this. Now, at Satyam School of Leadership we are doing RealTimeLearning (RTL)based on OD principles of Performance Consulting. 

Now lets, look at OD briefly...
Organization Development (OD) is a powerful approach for applying behavioral science to improving organizational effectiveness and human fulfillment at work. Its primary emphasis is on relationships and processes between and among individuals and groups. OD also encompasses the overall performance of the organization, its effectiveness, structure, and internal/external system impacts. All of these components are critical success factors in the results-oriented organization.
For anyone interested in more about OD, here are some links:

The Nine Steps to OD:

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I am Reading...

1. Survival of the Savvy: High-Integrity Political Tactics for Career and Company Success  
by Rick Brandon , Marty Seldman

2. The Leadership Pipeline - Ram Charan

3. Leadership without Borders - Ed Cohen

4. How full is your bucket? Tom Rath & Donald Clifton

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

the power of positive thinking

Countless Authors, Speakers, Trainers, Gurus .. have all said and written about the power of Positive Thinking. The best seller of Norman vincent peale, is a phenomenon that changed many lives around the world.

Jim Toomey, the creator of Sherman's Lagoo puts it like this,



 Reproduced by permission of JP Toomey. See his site at Sherman's Lagoon.

I came across a term Positive Organizational Scholoarship' (shortly 'POS') during my classes at XLRI. Prof Srinivas, introduced us to this area. Since then I am talking to various professionals, OB specialists, browsing internet and trying to learn more about this and how I can apply to my life.

I found an interview of Kim Cameron,  a professor of organizational behavior and HR management at the University of Michigan Business School.

So, What is POS? as defined by Kim Cameron,
" a new movement in organizational studies and organizational development that focuses on that which is positive, flourishing, and life-giving in organizations. It investigates positive deviance, or the ways in which organizations and their members flourish and prosper in extraordinary ways."
Read more on Accentuate the positive - interview with Kim Cameron, editor of Positive Organizational Scholarship – Interview

Monday, July 16, 2007

I'm back!


I m back to blogging. I shall try to be very regular from now on. I understand the power of blogging and the effects it has on me. It takes a lot to type in few words that express myself!

I shall bring to you some interesting comments, polls, links around the world, about my daughter - Manasvini, about my work, about my passion, about my research work @ XLRI, Movies I see and much more.

In this era of information overload, why should one read my blog? I shall always try to bring in interesting stuff that will add value and profound meaning to those who read this (tall claim uh!)

As of now, I am suffering from a severe 'Time 'mis'Management'. I named my Blog as 'Carpe Diem' is for this purpose. I shall 'Seize the day'!!!

I have started a poll (Pls Look at the right side of your screen) on who/what influences our 'Career Choices'. Kindly vote and we shall get an idea on what moves majority of the people.

Off late I am working on the following areas of interest:
1. Second Life - How it can be used for 'Learnign & Development'?
2. Voice blogging - is this interesting and easy to use?
3. How do professional networks (Like linkedin) 'work'
4. How does a 'Web Radio' work?

If any of you have any comments to post on any of the above topics, you are welcome.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

My first Posting

Hi friends,

After a long gap my love with blogging has taken life...

I shall be in touch with you all thru this medium...

Bhaskar Natarajan