• Two People Talking Over Coffee
    Coaching,  Success Strategy

    Why Hire a Coach When There Are So Many Books, Podcasts?

    It will be almost impossible to find someone who hasn’t read a self-help book, listened to a podcast, watched a TED talk, or any other YouTube videos that tell you how to improve your productivity and wellbeing, so on. I do have some of my favorites, giving me ideas, insights, and validations. One might ask, why would someone work with a coach when all such advice is already available? The short answer is, they are not mutually exclusive. One does not replace the other – both are useful. Reading books, listening to a podcast helps our overall awareness, we learn a thing or two. And there are times we need…

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

    Applying Software Engineering Concepts in Coaching

    Many of you know that before coaching, I was a software professional, and I studied computer science in college. A common perception is that coaching is the opposite of software engineering. But in this past decade, I noticed many similarities than differences between these two.  Last week, I was talking to a client who has a Ph.D. in Computer Science and works for 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.…

  • Interview with the International Voice
    Career satisfaction,  Leadership,  Personal Brand,  Success Strategy

    My Interview with The International Voice

    A few weeks back, Japnit Sethi from The International Voice, reached out to me to be a guest in his new show on YouTube. Japnit, a Computer Science graduate student at Virginia Tech (my alma mater), founded this with a mission to inspire the next generation of international leaders from all over the world who aspire to make their mark within the North American Tech Industry. We talked about a wide range of topics, starting with how I got into tech, my early days in the US, Job interviews, learning from my career at Microsoft, and finally, my work as an executive coach with leaders in technology. Japnit did an…

  • Superhero
    Leadership,  Personal Brand,  Success Strategy

    Working on Your Confidence? Watch Out Your Go-to Words and Root Cause

    Confidence is a common topic my clients bring to coaching. Anyone working on it knows that confidence is not a simple binary thing. It shows up as a part of a complex set of behavior that stems from inside more than outside. Our word choices often can hinder how confident we appear. “Think” is one such word that got my attention lately. The ability to think – about complex problems, gives us an edge as knowledge workers. Ironically overuse of the word may not serve as much. This tendency is common among women and people who are more analytical. One of my clients, let’s call her Tatyana, is working on…

  • Career satisfaction,  Happiness,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    “Never Looked Back” – Is a Myth

    Recently I was sharing the story of my career change and someone commented, “…and you never looked back”! I was caught by surprise. The fact is, I did look back, many times. The past 10 years of my new career was anything but easy and many times I doubted and regretted my original decision. That comment invoked a deeper insight in me though. “I never looked back”, gives us the impression that the person found their ultimate path and everything became better afterward. It is like those “lived happily ever after” fairy tales. This is far from reality and I am yet to meet someone with significant successes, who never…

  • Leadership,  Success Strategy

    Leading in the Era of AI

    How far are we from machines replacing humans? While much of the corporate research and development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is happening under Non-Disclosure Agreements, a recent demonstration of a personal assistant by Google CEO Sundar Pichai illustrated how advanced their AI research is . Similar research by Microsoft and a plethora of other technology companies, suggests that the impact on humans and our work will be profound. AI is developing as a powerful driver for good; in the field of medicine, for instance, it is already accelerating the development of cures for diseases. At the same time, AI releases human potential for higher-level jobs as robots are already replacing…

  • Courtesy: Prawny from Pixabay.com
    Leadership,  Success Strategy

    The Essential Qualities of Leadership – Examples from My Grandmother and Other Situational Leaders

    What are the most common traits among successful leaders? What process did they all go through? What’s the must-have quality of a successful leader? How my grandmother became a leader? Leadership training doesn’t make leaders. But still, such training programs are quite common in the corporate world. Perhaps this is how they ensure a continuous supply of loyal managers, in the same way as the British colonialist power introduced English in India to create a new class of clerks. Genghis Khan, Ho Chi Minh, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, or my late grandmother, were all extremely successful leaders who crossed insurmountable barriers in leading those around them. They were successful in…

  • 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). 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 comes in…

  • Happiness,  productivity,  Success Strategy

    The Myth Of A “Perfect Day”

    There are not many days like this. Yesterday it seemed like an out of the ordinary perfect day for me. Client #1 made significant progress in an area he was stuck for more than a decade, Client #2 got that final word on the well-deserved promotion, Client #3, while finishing up her project said she wanted to work with me for another project. By the end of the day when I arrived at the dentist’s office for regular cleaning. I jokingly said, “I am having such a good day, hope it continues”. She didn’t disappoint. After the exams, she said, “all looks good, keep doing what you have been doing…

  • EQ,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    Take The Fear Out Of Feedback

    Imagine your boss is saying, “I have some feedback for you” – notice what reaction you get. Very often it feels like a threat, as “We have a problem”! According to this article by David Rock of NeuroLeadership Institute (NLI), “Feedback conversations, as they exist today, activate this social threat response. In West and Thorson’s study, participants’ heart rates jumped as much as 50 percent during feedback conversations. (Equivalent spikes have been found during some of the most anxiety-producing tasks, such as public speaking.) In their self-assessments, participants reported feelings that mirror what just about everyone has experienced personally: nerves, uncertainty, and anxiety. All this physiological stress has the unfortunate…