Leadership coaching and mentoring is one of the many passions Deepa and Milind share. The sheer joy in helping people ‘be more’ drives us. There is a thrill in watching people fly effortlessly.
Deepa discovered Neuroleadership through David Rock’s body of work through the Leadership Coaching course she attended at IIM Bangalore in early 2016. ‘Your Brain At Work’, ‘Quiet Leadership’ were powerful when we started studying and applying this in our work. We got ourselves a lot of practice in helping the coaches arrive at the ‘Dance of Insight’. We felt like we had found the Holy Grail and we shared it widely.
Milind started scouting for options in courses and programs in coaching and liked the sound of the Gallup Coaching program. He got himself certified in October 2016. We were in Singapore on a business trip when we first took the Strength Finder assessment.
Deepa was certain that her top-5 talent themes would be Discipline, Focus, Communication, Responsibility and Analytical. Her report threw her off! She was disappointed to read Input, Intellection, Strategic, Learner, Activator. She was baffled. ‘With over a 1000 friends on Facebook, someone who had successfully delivered research and consulting projects over 20 years, how can my report say I have no relationship themes and no execution themes?’
Coaching conversations with Milind and self-reflection helped Deepa ‘claim’ her talents. Working on her talents was hard but getting feedback and seeing results made it fun. Strategies to hold her runaway Activator from running amok helped, and the team found her scribbling on a notepad rather than butting and bulldozing her way into presentations.
In December, the Lumière leadership and core teams took the Strengths assessment. Individual inputs and work followed. In Feb 2017 Milind and Deepa facilitated a Strengths appreciation workshop for the Lumière team.
Team members were encouraged to listen to the engaging and powerful ‘Gallup Theme Thursdays’ podcasts on individual strengths. The team were discussing their weekly progress at home and at work. Terms like ‘balconies’ and ‘basements’ and ‘love’, ‘envy’, ‘crazy’ started to be heard. The ‘strengths language’ was becoming a part of the organisation lexicon. The Lumière team’s investment in their talents is helping them convert their talents to strengths.
On the 6th and 7th October 2017, exactly a year from when we first got introduced to the Strengths tool, Deepa and Milind conducted a two day-long workshop in Dubai.
Participants who had some exposure to the Strengths philosophy, and who had their top 5 talents reports, wanted to know HOW to use their strengths. An 8-hour workshop with individual and activities in team syndicates helped participants get an appreciation for their strengths. An outside-in activity where the individual gets feedback is an eye-opener.
The mere idea that ones ‘weaknesses’ are nothing but ‘basements’ to one talents is hugely liberating and empowering. And mindfully using our talents helps to convert these to strengths. Writing down ones road map for the next one month, three months, one year, three years and five years is hard work. We don’t have the time in our everyday lives to ask these hard questions.
We need to have trust in the process. There are no shortcuts but the results are certain. Once the right ingredients of awareness and mindful application come together, our strengths get ‘baked’ in the oven of practice. Learning to discover insights, make small and big shifts in the way we think and act and get good outcomes is liberating.
~ Deepa & Milind Soman