Hello, readers! We’re thrilled to welcome you to our coach spotlight series where we’ll introduce you to one stellar coach every month.
In our first edition, we’re like to introduce you to Mayur Kalra. He is an Executive Coach, ACC, certified by International Coaching Federation, USA. He’s also an NLP practitioner and has been trained by the Master Creator- John Grinder, Carmen Bostic, and Michael Caroll.
In his current role as a Leadership Coach and Facilitator, Mayur conducts individual and group facilitations, engages with business leaders and startup founders, as well as high-growth startup teams across India, the US, APAC, and Europe.
Let’s get to know him better.
Tell us what inspired you to become a coach? Could you share a bit about your coaching journey?
My coaching journey started in 2014, on the other side of the fence. I was going through a role expansion, stepping up to take higher P&L responsibilities, multi-stakeholder engagement, and leading large enterprise and retail teams. My organisation invested in my growth through a coaching engagement, helping me transition into the role more effectively. Over the years this has created a lot of impact for me, both personally and professionally.
Subsequently, I grew with coaching, and in turn, coaching grew on me. I could resonate with the role and ‘being’ of a coach. I had experienced the impact of coaching myself and as a result, I could connect with it better. That’s when I decided to start my coach skills training and get the right credentials needed to become a coach.
I was leading a large expanse of cross-functional teams and had experienced the power of coaching within my teams. I was able to apply coaching skills in my workplace, challenge my team, make them think and build ownership and accountability. It was around this time that I started pro-bono coaching with business leaders to build my practice which helped me gain confidence to make a complete transition in early 2018.
What do you enjoy the most about being a coach?
Coaching has helped me connect with people across the board — right from senior business leaders and emerging leaders to startup founders and high-growth teams across the globe. It’s given me a 360-degree view of leaders and it gives me immense joy to see them growing in their own personal and professional leadership journey. Knowing that I had a part to play in their growth is very gratifying.
For me, coaching has been a thoroughly humbling experience. It has made me more reflective and self-aware and even enhanced my internal relationship with myself. I believe that we’re all lifelong learners and coaching has only made that feeling stronger.
Have you ever been on the other side of coaching? Can you recall an incident in your life where you felt the importance of coaching yourself?
Absolutely, as I said earlier my first experience with coaching was as a learner, and I experienced it firsthand. The impact was transformational and built a lot of clarity. Often enough we feel stuck and short of choices. I was in that phase when I discovered coaching. I must add that it wasn’t easy. I was hesitant at the beginning and it took multiple sessions for me to drop my fears, limiting beliefs, and relook at my inner narrative to understand what was holding me back. Yet, once I opened up to the idea the transformation was huge.
Coaching mindset is at play in most of my daily life situations, decisions, the way I look at things and interpret things. I resonate with Bill Gates’ statement, “ Everyone needs a Coach”.
As coaches, we also need a coach to help us grow, and I am blessed to have one who challenges me and is a catalyst in my growth process to this day.
They say that leadership can be learned but it can’t be taught. If coaches are facilitators of change, how much of this is an inside job? And how does a coach help you to get there?
I believe there is a lot of inner work. We start talking to ourselves from the moment we wake up in the morning. Our inner voice and dialogues play an important role in shaping our days and our life in general. We spend 40% of our awake time talking to ourselves, interpreting the outside and labeling, creating our inner narrative. Ultimately these internal conversations are far more important than anything anyone else can tell us. What happens inside, shows outside and that is where the coaching process and the coach as a catalyst plays a part.
The equation "Performance = Potential - Interference" was coined by Tim Gallwey.
Reducing these interferences is an inside job. A good coach is a good enabler, playing the role of a catalyst to reduce these interferences and guiding an individual to reach their true potential.
The coaching process of asking great questions, listening in a non-judgemental way, and holding a safe space creates reflections and prepares an individual to have those conversations which they need to have with themselves.
The last two years have been challenging at best and many people are finding it hard to stay afloat. How do you predict leadership and management can support their employees to navigate through these stressful times?
The last two years have reset a lot of priorities for individual employees. As a result, the future of work is a lot different than what was initially anticipated by leaders and organisations. Though we continue to predict, extrapolate and find the most effective medium, tools, and ecosystems to make work happen, there are some basic values that stand tall in the midst of all this change. Aspects like empathy and Emotional Intelligence have become even more important as leaders understand their importance in a changing world.
Empathy and compassionate leadership are taking center stage in leadership priorities now, and it is a very welcome change. Compassionate leadership is lending a helping hand - “ I am here to help” which moves beyond “ I feel with you” ( HBR). Sometimes just being there, completely present, and listening deeply without offering advice does all the magic.
Compassionate leadership is also about coaching the other person so that they find their own solutions. Leading with compassion and empathy, referred to as being Leader-Coaches, is what leadership and management can do to support employees during these stressful times.
Tell us something that you do to keep yourself positive and grounded.
Like I said at the start of this conversation, our internal dialogues play a major role in shaping our lives. I am mindful of the stories I tell myself. I check in with myself many times a day, especially when I’m not feeling too positive. These conversations and being present in the here and now help me stay grounded.
Additionally, I make it a practice to switch off all devices before stepping into a coaching conversation. We don’t realize it but truly being present in the moment and ‘listening’ is the biggest thing we can do for each other. My conscious breathing and yoga and mindfulness exercises also play a huge role in keeping me positive and grounded.
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