For every major decision we make, there is an element of choice. The key is to make that choice.
This month we had the absolute pleasure of catching up with one of our esteemed coaches Sudip Verma. A compulsive behaviour reader, Sudip is well recognised for his incisive ability to connect with people at a deeper level. He has over 20 years of work experience across diverse industries and multiple countries with roles spanning customer acquisition and retention, customer life cycle management, product management, business development, partnership, consulting, M&A, analytics, and leadership development.
He likes to describe himself and his current role as a curious conversationist who cherishes being the co-driver in transformational journeys.
When life presented him with a situation to make career choices, he traversed the road less taken and hasn’t looked back since then.
Dig in to learn more about his inspiring journey.
Could you share a bit about your coaching journey? Tell us what inspired you to become a coach?
My journey as a professional coach gained impetus only after a failed entrepreneurial venture.
I believe that in every major decision we make, there is an element of choice. The key is to make that choice. To many, coaching as a profession was not the most logical choice. I faced mixed reactions from my professional fraternity, friends, and my near and dear ones. It became evident to me that most of us try and fit our perceived capabilities, experiences, and knowledge into a professional sphere. Given my professional background and reputation as a credit card expert, most assumed I would fall back into the financial service or consulting industry or join a fintech start-up.
For me, it was a choice of values, choice of response, choice of spending quality time with my daughter in her early years, and a choice of action. Honestly, I was not sure what choices the future would present, but I was sure that I was tired and exhausted from trying to “look good”.
I realised it was not about becoming something or someone, but to be what I already am, what I always have been. Curious, creative, empathetic, and an enabler.
Looking back, I reflect on a few events/experiences that I believe influenced what I do today.
In the early days of my career at Citibank, some of us were in Singapore attending a Hi-PO training program. In the program, we went through an ‘assessment’ and were scored on IQ (Intelligence Quotient), EQ (Emotional Quotient), and AQ (Adversity Quotient). Most scored high on IQ, and if not high on IQ, were high in EQ. The AQ score was spread across. Only two of us were sitting in the bracket of high IQ, EQ, and AQ.
Honestly, I was least glued to the assessment or its result. I was keen on networking with my peers and planning our sightseeing itinerary in Singapore. However, during the lunch break, I happen to sit across from the trainer at the lunch table. She told me, ‘Sudip the bracket which you are in is rare, do leverage it and don’t let it go!’ Her statement did not linger with me for long. However, in my subsequent professional roles, be it at Citibank, Tata group, or Visa where I chose to or volunteered (which I always did) for in-house mentorship or coaching initiatives, I used to invariably land up being the most subscribed or preferred Mentor/Coach. I did not have any coaching credentials, but I realized that one reason I was doing a decent job of it was because I enjoyed doing it. Even if it entailed time and effort, I really enjoyed bonding with my coachees and mentees.
What do you enjoy the most about coaching?
I firmly believe that our experiences shape who we are and the actions we take in life. And it’s our experiences that enable us to have meaningful conversations. Every person I interact with has a unique story to tell, and each interaction creates an exciting learning experience for me.
Coaching allows me to be myself and I love connecting with people in an authentic way.
What’s your take on coaching?
I lean on proven coaching tools and techniques (and learning from different schools). A coach can facilitate transformational journeys playing different roles, but he is not the driver. The driver is the coachee! From helping choose which road to take, to start moving, to reaching the desired destination, the coach can play multiple roles. I usually see myself being a co-driver in the journey who is part conversationist, part strategist, part thought provoker, and a vociferous cheerleader.
How do you stay positive and grounded as a coach?
Many would describe me as an unapologetic optimist. Coaching has taught me to advocate focusing on the outcome rather than the problem, reminding myself from time to time to evaluate the circumstance from a position of presence (instead of dwelling on the past) and focus on what can be done next.
What would be your one message for cultivating empowering belief for transformational change?
Seek out that particular mental attribute that makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive. See every moment as a starting point in your life and keep moving forward from there.
Many of us spend considerable time preparing our car for the journey. Cleaning the wiper, oiling the engine, and adjusting the seat, but none of these actions equate to your car moving.
Remember, a moving car, even if it is going in the wrong direction, is easier to steer rather than one which is not moving