• EQ,  Executive Presence,  Leadership,  Personal Brand,  Success Strategy

    You were given Feedback to Improve your Executive Presence – What do you do now?

    The other day a senior leader contacted me to hire as his coach. His LinkedIn Profile was immaculate – multiple graduate degrees from top-notch schools, a strong track record of professional work in his relevant field. He was given feedback to improve his Executive Presence (EP). However, he didn’t know what that entitles. After further conversation, we found out that in meetings with senior leadership, his challenge was thinking on his feet and being clear and concise in his delivery. Here is an example from another client; let us call him Joe. Joe was doing a presentation on the next direction of their product. Towards the middle, his VP came…

  • Happiness,  Success Strategy

    Optimize Yourself With a Mind-Body Connection

    It was the summer of 2009 when I started my coach training class; the instructor started the session with a guided meditation. The purpose was to be ready and present for the session. However, as someone from the high-paced, left-brained,  hardcore technology field, I could not appreciate it much. Noticing my breathing and the body parts seemed totally nonintellectual! Then, to make things even worse, she asked us to imagine forming a circle with our ancestors and dance with them – I totally checked out and waited impatiently till she came back to reality! Later, as a coach and a workshop facilitator, I have now learned to appreciate the value of…

  • Career satisfaction,  Leadership,  Success Strategy,  Time Management

    Want to Take Your Career to the Next Level? Manage Your Attention Wisely

    “I don’t have the time to pause and think; my days are filled with back-to-back meetings. When someone asks me a question, I tell them what I know and go to my next meeting. I feel like I am fire-fighting”. Adrian, a senior director of a Fortune 100 company, told me this during our recent conversation. He is not alone. If you are even moderately successful, back-to-back meetings are a reality of your life. The more damaging part is that this constant demand for our attention reduces our ability to deep thinking. As a result, we end up exhausted, creating the same old results we did the last year. There…

  • Applying Software Engineering Concepts in Coaching
    Leadership,  Neuroscience,  productivity,  Stress Management,  Success Strategy

    Applying Software Engineering Concepts in Professional Growth

    Last week, I talked to a client who has a Ph.D. in Computer Science and works on a cutting-edge research project for one of the topmost tech companies. He has been feeling overwhelmed with his task list that keeps growing every day and has sophisticated interdependencies. I knew that one way to reduce his “overwhelm” state was to bring him to his strengths. I asked him to describe the tasks as a data structure (software developers store data in different data structures). It made him pause and think. I noticed his energy shifted eventually to a more focused state as he started talking about whether it should be a tree…

  • Executive Presence,  Leadership,  Self-leadership,  Stress Management,  Success Strategy

    A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution

    Conflict is a common issue my clients face in their workplace. I found this talk, A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution by Diane Musho Hamilton, insightful to manage such situations.  Here are my takeaways from it. Our primitive brain sees conflict as a threat. When the stake is high, we get stressed, the Amygdala hijacks the higher brain, our body gets ready for a fight, flight, or becomes frozen. Some of the usual body signals are elevated heartbeat, stiff neck, tight jaw, etc.  In such a situation, pause the thinking brain (usually negative spiral of thoughts) and spend some time noticing the body sensation and be with it.  Some mindful breathing,…

  • A Resting Dog - Image by Pitsch from Pixabay
    Career satisfaction,  Happiness,  productivity,  Self-leadership,  Stress Management,  Success Strategy

    Want To Be Productive? Start With Doing Nothing (Guest post)

    “I am busy all day, trying to complete my to-do list before calling it a day. Yet, some things always remain undone, and, worse still, new things pop up. I go to bed tired, with the dissatisfaction that I couldn’t do what I set out to during the day.” These were Sami’s words as I listened to him in a quiet coffee shop. I am sure it rings a bell with many of you, especially those working at large corporates and juggling family and work. Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 movie “Modern Times” is all about Sami. And perhaps you, too. In this movie, the protagonist was working hard at an ever-accelerating…

  • Career satisfaction,  EQ,  Happiness,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    Reactivity To Thoughtfulness – A Corporate Leader’s Journey

    “He doesn’t work well with others.” “He has issues dealing with bad news.” “He is a star performer, but he is lacking executive presence.”  These are some of the typical “pain points” in organizations. Leaders often spend a lot of time, energy, and money on these symptoms, throw expensive training with minimal sustainable impact. My experience says these are mostly symptoms; a coach approach can help uncover and address the underlying issues to create a long-lasting positive change. Here is the story of a mid-level manager at a large tech organization. Let’s call him Peter. Peter’s issue was poor conflict management. He had a hard time letting go. Hearing the story…

  • productivity,  Success Strategy,  Time Management

    The Myth of Multitasking

    Too many times, I hear that you can’t survive without multitasking. Checking emails during a meeting, responding to a door knock while trying to focus on your work seems to be a common scenario at the workplace. While it often pays off to take care of multiple things at once, it would be useful to look at our brain to see when it is NOT the best strategy. According to this book, any task requiring a small amount of analysis or decision-making is processed in the brain’s pre-frontal cortex (PFC). The PFC is a tiny and very much energy-hungry part that sits right behind our forehead. If the rest of…

  • A Cat Image by Heinz Hummel from Pixabay
    Career satisfaction,  Coaching,  Executive Presence,  Happiness,  productivity,  Stress Management,  Success Strategy,  Time Management,  WorkLife balance

    Are You Sabotaged By Your Inner Hyper-Achiever?

    A high-tech leader, let’s call him Jason, said, “I can’t relax; I always have to do something useful. Nobody makes me do so; it’s me. This is how I am”. Jason is not alone. Many of us have such hyper achievers in us, pushing us to do more. This trait may have helped us be where we are, yet its overuse cause more harm than good. Growing up, we all developed traits that kept us safe, got us what we needed, and helped us achieve success. Other than hyper-achiever, pleaser, perfectionist, victim, are to name a few. My top two are hyper-achiever and pleaser.  Psychologists Hal and Sidra Stone call…

  • Tearing elephant By ArtTower on Pixabay
    Career satisfaction,  EQ,  Executive Presence,  productivity,  Success Strategy

    Use Emotions As Your Ally

    Do anxiety, outrage, frustration, or sadness often grip you? Do they get in the way in high stake situations? Do you wonder why you are not getting what you want? The solution could be lying under your unrecognized emotions. We are emotional beings. Emotions are signals that inform us that something important is at stake. When we notice and acknowledge them and take the time to process them, we can make better decisions and improve our relationships. But when we plow through them with premature action or hide them under a mask, we do more harm to us and those around us. Emotional Intelligence or EQ is a well-known term these…