Success and happiness – what follows the other?


Being successful doesn’t necessarily mean being happy. I meet more and more leaders, who are doing excellently well by their business metrics; their businesses are growing, they are well sought after in the market, and stakeholders seem happy. Still below the surface, there is a lurking feeling of being unfulfilled. They feel that something is missing in their life. The reasons could be many. Some of the causes/sources of unhappiness in otherwise successful leaders are:


  1. Fear of not maintaining the success and achievements. Stress of maintaining at the top gear
  2. Lonely at the top
  3. Fear of making mistake or displeasing someone important; office politics, rat race
  4. Fear of not doing a perfect job
  5. Frustration with colleagues and team, who, they feel, are not as good as them; slower speed of others
  6. Health of self and family
  7. Issues with relationships , friends and family, parents, spouse , children
  8. Business and economic pressures, competition
  9. What next?
  10. Spiritual needs – is this all in life?
  11. Unfulfilled hobbies and desires

 The successful but unhappy leaders are likely to fall quickly and lose their success. In today’s ever changing environment, success is not something which is achieved once and retained forever. It has to be earned every day again and again.

Some of the main derailment risks for these leaders are:

  •  Inability to control their Impulse /Anger Management
  • Poor stress and frustration management
  • Lack of optimism
  • Reality misjudgment
  • Lack of emotional self awareness

 Some HR professionals believe that if their business leaders are happy they will be content and they will have no drive to achieve higher grounds. They believe that happiness in the leaders will bring some kind of complacency in the system.

Contrary to this belief, happy leaders are more likely to be successful.

There are good reasons for this.

Happy leaders are optimistic and they have a realistic vision of what is possible. They can clearly draw the vision, and share with others.

Happiness brings resilience, which means that they don’t go into long depression due to failure. They learn from their mistakes and move on. They have strong belief in what they do, but they are flexible and can easily adapt to changes in the environment.

 Happy leaders can manage their emotions well and understand others with empathy.

They have high self regards and self esteem but it doesn’t lead to arrogance. They are assertive but not aggressive.

 There is no wonder that happy leaders have certain charisma and an aura of positivity around them.

Happiness is contagious and is easily noticeable by their body language. Happy people smile more. There is certain kind of magnetism and attraction around happy leaders. And people notice this general mood of happiness. If the general demeanor of a leader is happy, people feel more comfortable opening up to them. This is the biggest advantage they have in their inter-personal relationships. They radiate energy rather than sucking it.

 Organisations should take note if their leaders are not happy and get them coached towards being happy and fulfilled because happy leaders drive long term and sustainable successful business.



Pankaj Dixit formalPankaj is an executive coach with over 29 years of experience working as leader in various large multinational organisations. Pankaj has widely travelled and has headed multi-locational and multi-cultural teams.

 As an executive coach, Pankaj has worked with leadership teams of large services companies. Apart from personally coaching senior leaders, Pankaj has also coordinated internal coaching programmes.

 Pankaj is an active social worker and volunteers with many NGOs working with under-privileged.


Pankaj is a PCC and also trained and certified on NLP, counselling, EQ, DiSC.


“What I should be doing” is not the right question.

Each one of us faces unique challenges. These challenges are not offered by the situations we are in. These challenges arise primarily from the way we perceive these situations and think about them. When faced with a dilemma or a situation of being at cross roads which seemingly pushes us to take a decision, most tend to ask this question to self or others “What should I be doing”.

In these situations we should rather be asking ourselves “What I should be thinking now “or” what I should be asking myself (question) “.

Recently, I had a “coaching conversation” with a successful professional. This is how it went.

“I am at cross roads & need to get clarity on how to move ahead in making career choices. I am aspiring to be the CEO of mid- size bank & I also would like to initiate my own entrepreneurial venture. I am confused on what to pursue as both are close to my heart” said the client/coachee. This is what I wish to focus on today in my conversation with you today, Coach.”

The conversation lasted close to 20 minutes. During the course of conversation the coach asked questions to facilitate the coachee develop new awareness & insights about his situation. Coachee shared his understanding on what it would entail to pursue either of his career choices and appeared excited and motivated for both. He seemed fully aware of challenges involved and was fully committed to overcome them. He seemed determined to wait & prepare himself.

With his dilemma in the situation strongly evident, the coach asked “So, if you are assured of success in pursuing either of your aspirations, which career would you choose”. With a pause of few seconds, coachee said “Entrepreneurship”.  Coach kept silence. Coachee with a bit of pause again repeated “Yes, entrepreneurship”. He sounded determined &emphatic.The conversation ended with coachee saying, it is quite evident on what I want to do hereon. His voice conveyed sense of clarity & his response to session feedback was “I have achieved the outcome of this session with you, Coach”.

So, at what point did the coachee sensed clarity seeping in. In the feedback coachee himself said, it was that question – “So, if you are assured of success in pursuing either of your aspirations, which one would, you choose”. He said I felt that I would be happier & satisfied building my own enterprise. It would give me the opportunity to live all my related dreams.

Recent brain research demonstrates that motivating ourselves or others to change requires changing our long established brain patterns. New patterns of thinking that lead to change of behavior require deep reflection & intentional ongoing practice. Therefore coaches & coaching conversations foster the development of new neural pathways in the brain, which then make changed behavior possible and long lasting.

Coaching conversations are different in many ways from the typical spur-of-the-moment conversations. They are highly intentional, focused on coachee- his/her strengths & challenges & the attributes he/she brings to the conversation. The purpose of coaching conversation is to stimulate growth & change. In other words, coaching conversations lead to action.

DeepakDeepak Sawhney is a Coach & Leadership Development facilitator. He comes from a rich & diverse background of working in leadership roles in Sales, Marketing & HRD across various sectors. He has been a coach past 4 years including the period as Group Head – Learning & Development in a large corporate. His current clients are Successful Senior Professionals, Entrepreneurs/CEOs & Founders across India. He takes up Training & Coaching assignments at Senior management level. He can be approached at /+ 91 9347207669. His detailed profile can be accessed at

Appreciative Coaching for Transformation

 ‘Appreciative Coach’… Dream Catcher

                                           There is a primal reassurance that goes

                                           with a silent, reflex-level affirmation

                                           that someone is near, that someone cares.

                                           … Jim Butcher

I trust most of the readers to agree that the coaching work becomes fulfilling when the coach holds an ‘appreciative space’ that lets strengths, potential and possibility guide the coaching journey. ‘Appreciative Coaching for Transformation’ provides just the right approach to enable such strengths-based generative coaching.‘Appreciative Coaching for Transformation’ is founded in the ‘Appreciative Inquiry’ (AI … a strengths-based, actionable approach for generative change & development that works on the premise that human beings have inherent strengths/wisdom/dreams, which when affirmed, enable transformation & growth). My rich experience of deploying AI for Coaching has culminated in the creation of my appreciative coaching model and a constellation of tools that facilitate deep transformation.

 In this blog, I talk about the metaphor of ‘Dream Catcher’ that in my view describes the role an ‘Appreciative Coach’in the context of transformational coaching. The legend has it that a ‘Dream Catcher’ is a magical web that allows only the good dreams (aka … Client’s strengths, hopes, aspirations, empowering beliefs, helpful memories etc.) to glide down through its center-hole, whereas the bad dreams (aka … Client’s anxieties, doubts, fears, pains, bad memories etc.) get entangled in the twigs on the sides, only to die with the first ray of the sun (aka … Client’s expanding awareness and insightful Self’s emergence)

 My coaching practice has two sacred norms. First, to stay mindful of my own emerging dynamics and keep emptying myself.Second, is to stay inspired by the metaphor of ‘Dream Catcher’ in my endeavor to be an ‘appreciative coach’. It helps me stay curios, offer appreciative presence, generative listening, facilitative questioning etc.In this endeavor, I am guided by the following AI principles …


Poetic… which holds that “we can choose what we study” makes it easy and elegant to help the Client reframe and perceive own situation with new eyes.

Simultaneity… which holds that “inquiry is intervention” helps ask such coaching question that affirm and amplifies the strengths, potential and possibility-focus.

Anticipatory… which holds that “images inspire action” helps in facilitating Client’s focus on his/her affirmative dreams and aspirations.

Constructionist… which holds that “words create worlds” helps the coach paraphrase and emphasize back to the Client his/her self-empowering conversational content.

 The opportunity offered by this blog is precious to present  a glimpse of my views on the captioned subject, and invoke your perspective and appreciative response. That said, this short blog is just that “a glimpse” of my yet-evolving but abundantly inspiring belief about “Appreciative Coaching for Transformation” and “Metaphor of Dream Catcher” and my other tools & model, for they are emerging from my practice. I invite you to please contribute your views and help enrich the practice of “appreciative coaching”.


???????????????????????????????Neena Vema (PCC) is an OD, Leadership & Coaching Expert. She is trained & certified in Appreciative Inquiry (possibly the first from India) by Profs David Cooperrider& Ronald Fry (the co-creators of AI) at Case Western Reserve University, USA. Neena brings a rich bouquet of diverse experience across Industry (IOCL) ; Consulting (PwC) & Academia. She has impacted the international AI canvas through her path-breaking models … MARG, VALUE Leadership & 7iGMA (Indianized AI process); and her book “Appreciative Inquiry- Practitioners’ Guide for Generative Change and Development” for which the foreword is written by Dr Ronald Fry& appreciation offered by Dr David Cooperrider (



Vaalya to Rishi Valmiki — Coaching Journey of Life

Naradmuni is World’s first & most Pioneering Coach who made a profound impact on world history with one of his most talked about human transformations – which turned Vaalya , the roadside dacoit to Valmiki who went on to become one of the most revered Sages , who wrote Ramayan .  :

For the lesser initiated on the matter , here goes the story :

  • Vaalya used to loot unsuspecting passersby in Jungle as his way of earning for self & family. One day Naradmuni happened to pass by, when Vaalya caught him & asked for money . Naradmuni said ‘ I have nothing on me that can serve your purpose – you’ll be wasting your time on me ‘ . He asked Vaalya as to why is he doing all these supposedly wrong things –robbing  , killing . Vaalya said – “ I do it for my family “. This is when in a typical Coaching approach , Naradmuni asked him if he thinks , whether this is what his family too expects from him . Without hesitation, Vaalya replied in affirmative. Naradmuni challenged Vaalya to check out with the family if they too think so. When Vaalya asked his family , to his surprise he found out that none of his family members was either supportive of his ‘ profession ‘ or wanted to be a partner in his ‘ sin ‘ .
  • This brought in the realization. He was not only in his self created illusion (about what he felt his family wants) but he realized the irrelevance of what he was doing. The impact of that awareness  brought about almost 180 degree transformation from a dacoit to a Sage …. The rest is history, as he went on to write Ramayan .
  •  I find high relevance of this story today. If I liken us with Vaalya — I most certainly don’t mean to refer to anyone as Vaalya literally (as a robber). However the zeal with which many of us work single mindedly to amass material wealth , the speed with which I see greed replacing need as the driver in life and the amazing route we are taking where Money , at the exclusion of everything else , is becoming the Purpose of Life scares me to think which way are we heading . And on top of it , when I see most of us believe that the single minded pursuit of material wealth at the cost of health , family time & purity of soul is what they are doing “ for the family “  …… no other analogy seems better than that of Vaalya’s self created illusion.


  •  In a way hence, I see in our lust for money we have lost touch with reality & life . Like Vaalya we have become “awareness blind “… we are in dire need for a Naradmuni coach in our life to bring in a larger awareness about priorities in life …. If that helps here are some self soul searching questions;
  • What do I want from life  , What will bring real joy to me and my family

  • What do my spouse , my children really need from me

  • What is the best gift I can give to my family , What is that can really make difference to their lives

  • What is the best inheritance I can plan for my children … if it’s the material wealth , why do I feel that my children are not as capable as I have been in generating this much & more wealth

  • When I retire from active life , what is that one thing I’d yearn for . Looking back from a retired state , what is that one thing I’d not like to regret

Finally it’s your life – your choice. You have to take a call to start your life journey from Vaalya to Valmiki …. The sooner it occurs to you is better for you . You can certainly do it on your own , however should you need me to be your Naradmuni , I’d be more than happy … after all it’s not just my Joy , but also my Job !



Yatin brings with him proven track record of   business results of more than 26 years of Corporate working experience in Sales , Marketing , Business development and General management , across a diverse set of industries in India and Asia Pacific , during different    

business phases of Start up, Growth & Turnaround .Yatin has experience of heading businesses/P&L positions for over 15 years .

IMG_3343He is a Graduate in coaching from ICA ( Australia), Professional Certified Coach ( PCC ) credentials from the International Coach Federation (ICF) , USA . He has contributed more than 800 hours of on the job mentoring, more than 100 hours of Pro bono coaching and is currently coaching CEO & mentoring team of Senior managers at a leading facility management company in Bangalore

He is currently the CEO of Smmart Training & Consultancy Services Pvt Ltd. Yatin is a member of ICF & several active coaching groups in India. He regularly participates in discussions on professional web groups & is active on his blogs: , .


Self-Coaching: Discover how to use your own gifts

Coaching is a promising and proven approach for self-development.  While one can definitely reach out to being coached, it is more sustainable when Self-Coaching can be practiced.  Self-Coaching can provide a life long support to live a solution-focused life.  It is also very necessary for trained coaches, so that they are able to experience personal evolution and be a better coach!   Self-Coaching can be interpreted as:

  • the act of taking complete responsibility for ones thoughts, actions and outcomes
  • the act of guiding oneself to empowering thoughts and actions

Self-Coaching uses practices that channelize the mind’s natural process to have self-dialogue, and in this case, a dialogue into a supportive, clarifying, and action-oriented one. Self-Coaching provides a wholesome way of living life, discovering and developing a new way to relate to ourselves.  I use it regularly to release myself from past patterns and address emerging areas of challenges.

Engaging one’s Inner Game  As one progresses on the path of self-development, we do come across our energy blocks.  These blocks take the form of the inner critic, limiting beliefs and sometimes assumptions.  What do these blocks do to us?  It blocks our energy to live life; it builds fear, procrastination, doubt and the need for certainty, all of which come in the way of taking complete responsibility and guiding oneself.  So, when one consciously engages with the inner game, it is essentially a self-coaching process to enable the potential emerge, unbridled and naturally.

Discovering your own gifts Coaching results in the coachee touching their core and from that position becoming capable of influencing and pursuing their goals with clarity and commitment.  That core means the gifts that they innately possess.  Self-Coaching also does the same— helps one discover their innate potential and the way to clear the mental and emotional blocks surrounding it.   We all know Michelanglo’s story of how he sculpted David from a seemingly ruined stone.  It was a matter of what he saw“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”  This realization is the foundation of Self-Coaching.    

Spiritual connectedness is a powerful driver of Self-Coaching   Incorporating our spiritual nature into everything we think, say, and do is a pre-requisite for self-coaching to be effective.  In self-coaching, the emphasis is on creating Awareness, Acceptance, and Action. For example: If one has a fear of starting something new, the process of self coaching helps unfold the beliefs that limit any action to move forward, the spiritual connectedness evokes an equanimous response, where judgment is dropped, and one prioritizes the act of taking responsibility.  In other words, the awareness that I have these limiting beliefs does not translate into blame or guilt rather there is acceptance for what is.  Once acceptance is experienced, the energy blocks release, thus creating space for actions to happen.  

Practices for Self-Coaching  

To develop Awareness and Acceptance

  1. Commit yourself to an energy/spiritual practice—deeply immerse yourself in your spiritual-self
  2. Regular practice— knowing an energy practice is not sufficient; practicing it regularly is essential
  3. Maintain rituals to feel your inner game—maintain a gratitude journal, which keeps the focus on what one has and the abundance from it

To enable Action

  1. With the above steps in place, one can explore how to coach oneself in areas that challenge one the most,through Self-Coaching questions presented here.  These are a few questions and more can be intuitively received when the spiritual connectedness is channeled:
  • What do I want to achieve?
  • How will I know that I have achieved it?
  • What can I do for it?
  • What stops me from moving forward?
  • What can I learn from this?

Self-Coaching can be scaled-up, starting with engaging with individual moments and then extending it to address the bigger picture.   About the Author Bhuvaneshwari (Bhuvi) Ravi Bhuvi is a post graduate Chemical engineer with over 20 years experience in Organization development, Human Capital management, Corporate Planning, Projects & Engineering, Environment, Health & Safety management and Sustainability.  She has a qualification in Managing Organization Learning and Knowledge from Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, CIPD, UK and certification in Executive coaching from Results Coaching System, Australia.  She is also a Reiki master and practices energy healing.  Currently she is Process facilitator, Coach and Consultant with Team Think Advisory, which she co-founded in 2012.   She is also Director, Community Outreach, International Coach Federation, Hyderabad chapter and leads volunteer coaching engagements for non-profits.   She is a spiritual seeker with a vision of transforming her own energy state from ‘surviving’ to ‘being’.  In this journey, she has gathered deep insights and is working towards creating a pathway for more seekers through The Positive Energy Program, co-designed and co-facilitated by her. 

Effective Parenting through Coaching

As I look back at my life, I see myself transitioning into various roles. As a student, life revolved around playing and getting good grades; then getting into a professional PG Course to looking for a good job to build a career; then getting married and taking over the responsibility of running a home; AND THEN BEING A MOTHER !! This is the most blissful time looking at my two lovely angels 5yrs and 2yrs old growing up so fast … phew!

Parenting as blissful it is, has its challenges too. Arshiya is a gift from the gods! She has angelic eyes with a very soft demeanor. That’s the good part, but come to her food habits, it was a nightmare few months back. She somehow got into the habit of eating very selective food items…only plain chapatti or plain rice. I used to lose my patience while playing around her tantrums. I tried all tips and tricks which my parents and friends told me.  And then one day, I decided to wear my coaching hat and talk to her. We both talked for long and I put all my coaching experience into that conversation. Phew… was her approach rational – yes and no. That evening nothing changed – same old ‘dance and music’ while having food !! I continued talking to her and let her find the answer to why she needs to eat complete food. And then one day she hit on a rational that if she eats well she will be “as big and strong as her father”. That was her ‘aha’ moment … and it has been working very well for the past few months.

The Parenting Conundrum … anger and defiance, bullying, lying, manipulation, arguing, fighting, self-esteem, disrespect, aggression, technology and kids, yelling, swearing …. Sounds familiar ? J

There are no quick fixes, easy answers, or recipes for parenting, but I believe most of us have the tools we need to be good parents if only we could find them. Often, when a screw driver would best serve our needs, we reach into the toolbox and come out with a hatchet without realizing it. It is no wonder that our parenting carpentry is such a mess.

What is my goal in parenting – to empower my children to make the right choices or control them and their mind? I am sure everyone is going to pick the former goal, but do we really go by it?

From a little spark may burst a mighty flame – Dante

Power is like a candle with a huge flame. The beauty of empowering a child is that we never lose our own power in the process. Empowering our children  includes giving them a safe and nurturing environment – offering them uncond
itional love, caring touch, tenderness, and concern for their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. In such an environment children would make choices and decisions, mistakes, and assume responsibilities. Engaging them in critical reflection, teaching them to be aware of consequences of their actions on others, showing them how to accept responsibility for their accomplishments and mistakes – all this empowers them to become responsible, resilient, compassionate individuals.

It is extremely diffi
cult to empower our children if we have little or no flame ourselves.

Let’s light the flame as coaches and empower our children. 


SuSurbhee Singhrbhee has been in leadership roles and immensely contributed to various businesses with her acumen. She has worked with large conglomerates such as HDFC Bank, Reliance Infocom, Tata Teleservices.  After a very enriching experience in the telecom and banking industry for 10 years, Surbhee found her calling in the training industry with Franklin Covey South Asia.

Surbhee finished her certification with ICF in April 2013 and has been engaged in various training programs, group coaching sessions and one to one executive coaching sessions. 


Self coaching, walk the talk !

Today’s edition has two bloggers with two different perspectives.

Anuradha Rao says:

I am tempted to agree with Oscar Wilde when he said that it is indeed a dreadful experience to sit next to someone who has spent his / her life trying “…to educate others”. It is indeed true of the coaching experience too. One cannot be a good (let alone being effective) coach and facilitate the process of introspection without having used the process on oneself. The biggest challenge for a coach is to be able to look at the issue / challenge as separate from the self and hence any kind of introspection turns into an argument of sorts which can be quite demotivating. Not to forget that there is no coach (especially, in this case) to facilitate the process. I am the Coach. I am the Coachee. I am the process.

Tips that can help introspect… in essence, Walk the Talk:

Tip 1: Be comfortable in your skin. There is no need for me to know everything about myself all the time. Neither is there the need for me to do a root cause analysis of how I am feeling about everything. Accepting how I feel and going with the flow is imperative to being comfortable under my skin. Most coachees tend to go looking for reasons and finding faults in a way that is equivalent to finding a buried treasure. Well, it is not!!!!Looking for reasons and fault finding is like digging up graves and there is no coming back. A coach who is able to let go and be in the moment is able to better support his / her coachees

Tip 2: Ask the right questions. Avoid WHY questions and most importantly WAIT for the answer. While working with a coachee, we facilitate the process. We take on part of the job and ask the questions thereby simplifying (to an extent) the process. However, when working with self, the roles are merged. My mentor once told me “Waiting for the answer is like waiting for a thunderstorm. You know it’s coming. You can perhaps also predict it to an extent. However, tough to say how hard it will be and if it will make you dance in it or cry”. Waiting for the answer makes us patient and helps us grow thereby polishing a skill – Listening – that is key to good coaching.


Anuradha Rao

Anuradha Rao comes with a total of 23 years of experience in the area of Learning and Development. She has gathered experience both as an entrepreneur and as training lead for E Capital International Services, IBM BTO Operations, MphasiS (HRD), Genpact China and Global Talent & Development lead for Deutsche Bank Operations International (DBOI). Currently, she is faculty (OB and OD) with the Centre for Organisation Development (COD) and the Founder of Aaradhya Learning and Development Solutions where she works on designing, developing and Implementing Learning Solutions. Anuradha has a PhD in English Literature from the CIEFL, Hyderabad, a Diploma in Journalism, is trained on Methods & Methodologies of Learning and Content Development and a certified Coach from Neuro Leadership Group. LinkedIn Profile  Personal Blog


Rashima Malhotra says:

I would like to show my gratitude and thank all the individuals across the world who have brought coaching to the mankind. I extend my thanks to the ICF Hyderabad Charter Chapter for this initiative and platform.

I am sharing my reasons for coaching self and others. It has been a miraculous journey for me as I experienced coaching to be the most powerful and effective tool for the progress of mankind. All the coaches who believe that coaching is a way of being will seamlessly walk the talk.

Why should I self coach or coach others, because:

I see value in coaching

Coaching is a way of being

Coaching is a way forward

While you coach self or others, you ask, you probe, you listen, you acknowledge, you encourage, you partner, you bring the underlying issues forward, you challenge, you empower

Coaching is transformational and can bring shifts / changes within you for life

Coaching turns to doing and doing turns to action and our actions are our ‘karma’

Coaching is out of box thinking

Coaching unlocks potential and there is no barrier to your visioning, thus you make realistic goals to achieve your vision

Coaching gives one clarity and in turn you achieve peace of mind and happiness which may be valuable to you

Coaching works as the onus is on self

Coaching helps you bring your dreams to life

Coaching helps you achieve, live and work towards your wants and desires

Positive attitude, belief in yourself, faith in what you do are few attributes you may want to possess

Self coach…coach others….and contribute to the mankind is an oath I take. What is your perspective, do share.

Thank you for reading the blog, I would like to encourage and recommend all the readers to read the GROW Model by Sir John Whitmore; this will help you develop yourself and others.


Rashima Malhotra, ACC

A people oriented professional with eighteen years of insightful experience in Organization development, Leadership development and Coaching (Executive Coaching; Group Coaching; Life Coaching).Excellent interpersonal communication, leadership and people management skills with extensive experience in training operations and development of workforce.Lead, strategize and manage key projects that leverage L&D skills to meet various needs identified by the business, on an ongoing basis. LinkedIn Profile