“Don’t share quotes of famous people; make your life an inspirational story for people to share”- Sandhyaa S Pillai

Sandhyaa is an Executive Communication Coach, Mentor for Aspiring Coaches & Corporate Anchor settled in Mumbai & Pune. She has been into coaching for the past 10 years. She is the founder of DRISHTIKONE- A Personal Development initiative for women entrepreneurs and professionals.

Let’s know what she has to share for our readers.

To begin with, how have you been throughout this wonderful journey of coaching the coaches?

It has been quite an interesting journey as coaching requires a lot of self awareness and self work. Coaching as a process requires you to know about yourself in depth. While I coach my clients, I get to learn a lot from their experiences, pain and struggles. So, working as a coach is a life-long learning process. I discovered layers of myself while working with others. It is more like my personal growth journey rather than a profession. So, if you are keen to take up this profession, you should be ready for a lot of self realization and work 

 ” There is no way that you can fake your story. There is no way that you fake your journey”– Sandhyaa Coach.

In your recent interview, you said this and I loved it. Almost everyone these days is not content with themselves or their lives. 

How far can a person be truthful in order to pursue happiness and peace?

A section of people aren’t happy with who they are and what they have. It’s only because they haven’t figured out the ‘WHY’ of their life. People work hard for long hours for their survival. When you start surviving, then no way you are experiencing and when you stop experiencing, you are actually not living/experiencing a life.  

These days people are busy not only with offices but managing their homes mechanically . It’s high time now for us to evolve as human beings.  Do you listen to the person sitting next to you? Do they feel heard and respected in your presence? Do you live each moment with joy and happiness?

We have stopped living and experiencing the ‘NOW’. Instead we are constantly looking into ‘WHAT NEXT or ‘ WHAT HAPPENED’

We could all try to genuinely make an effort to start a conversation. It is important to have simple conversations with our children too on a daily basis. As simple as “ How was your day?” Or “How is breakfast?” This helps to create a bond with your children and also they feel respected and cared for.

Spend time with your peers/ friends/ closed ones once in a while for a cup of coffee to hear each other out. 

Another popular concept in Western countries is ‘Praising Slowness’. This is one way to experience your daily emotions with slowness. Ultimately, one should be aware of what he/she wants to choose daily.

Is it peace, happiness, contentment, award, accomplishments, or fame?

Try to prioritize two things daily in our life: 

Am I having a conversation with someone who cares for me? 

Am I spending time with people whom I love?

When did you realize that your potential and passion meet each other? Or How did you choose this career?

My profession as a trainer and coach was not by choice, it just happened. I joined a business coaching certification course with Jyoti Gulati to figure out ways to scale my business. Little did I know that it is going to be a life changing experience for me. Through these coaching & mentoring sessions with Jyoti, I got aware of a version of mine which I hadn’t seen for years. I could discover that many facets of my life are yet to be explored. 

I have had this skill of  comforting and consoling my friends since school days. I had a lot of my friends who would confide in me and seek help. But I never had friends who I would feel confiding in and was not assertive enough to express my needs. Now, I know to set my boundaries and I treat myself with priority.  I feel my own journey helped me discover not only myself but techniques of how to help others too. This is how my journey started as a coach and haven’t looked back since then. I would like to call my journey an ‘odyssey’

Questions for leadership

Being an executive leadership coach, let me ask you about how to set an Organizational Vision? What is its significance?

My experience of working with various leaders and entrepreneurs has helped me understand one aspect. The ‘WHY’ of the organization is critical for us to set our objectives and key result areas. We need to be culturally aligned too when we break down a company’s vision into objectives.The products and services provided should be culturally and emotionally aligned to that particular region too. So now since we are all globally connected, organizational vision should be re-worked keeping the culture, economy and lifestyle of that region.

For instance, a European cosmetic company can’t keep the same objective for people in India with different skin tone and climate and vice versa.

How can leaders benefit from the 3I model of Communication? Can it be used everywhere?

It’s very simple and common. 3I stands for ‘Impact, Influence and Inspire’. This is something which we can practice everyday to build meaningful relationships in teams.

 Impact -If you could impact the life of at least one team member daily you have made a difference.

 Inspire- Inspiration is something which cannot be given to a person. Inspiration is how you become a role model for others. It naturally happens due to the trust and worthiness the leaders build over a period of time. Are you credible enough as a leader? How do you make them feel about it? How authentic are you as a leader? What is your character and commitment?

 Influence -3Is can be used even at home- This can be started even with your child by spending quality time with them. It’s not about making your child obey you all the time but showing them how to respect each other. Touching the feet of an elderly is beautiful but is that enough for showing respect. Do whatever you do genuinely and influence people around you to take actions. 

If we can do this 3I model in day to day life, we will be able to connect, collaborate and commit better.

How can we help silent but efficient professionals to come up in their life smarter?

Teachers and parents play a major role here for helping introverts express better.

They should allow such individuals to express themselves whenever they want to or whenever they can. Do not judge them, do not interrupt them, just allow them in all the possible ways.

Allow them to write if they are not comfortable with speaking. Make them know that their opinion is also respected. For example, in an online meeting you can allow such persons to chat rather than speaking in between.

How can a shy person try to speak out? 

Well, a very good question. There is a strategic method for initiating small talks known as FORM that stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation, Money. These are 4 ways to start conversations. Start a casual conversation by asking questions about their family; how are all of your family, what are they doing, etc. After that he/she can ask about their job, office matters, where their office is situated. Next, they can slowly take a transition towards their common interests like travel, music, food, politics, sports and so on. This definitely builds a soothing bridge for both to have an ease of communication.  Later discuss investments, insurance or trading. This is easier than you think. So this is a very useful method, you just need to start following this.One could start a conversation by asking questions rather than speaking, this makes the other person feel important and heard. 

Mentoring for women 

Let’s move on to strength of our magazine- yes, something exclusive for women:

Almost every woman who got stuck in their situations has a doubt or vague picture on how to identify one’s potential, talents, strengths. What advice would you like to give such women?

My only advice to such women is to seek support. First of all, one should analyze the fact whether they are stuck and where they are stuck in life? Some of us are fine being a victim and continue tolerating abuse. My advice to such women is to build a great support system once they are ready to come up in their life. Make sure to take action for your personal growth. It shouldn’t become like a ‘Gyan Session’ where someone advises and you just listen. Not only with housewives or women, this is common for men and children as well. Spend time with the future generation and help them become emotionally resilient so that they learn to seek support when needed and stand up for their own rights.

What would you like to tell young moms here so that they can identify the talents of their children and help in bringing them up with self-esteem? 

A very simple tip for young parents, not for moms only. Just have a very high self esteem.. You love yourself. Be a role model for them. Give only the promises that you can keep.If  you can’t keep your promises today how can that person be considered for keeping promises for a lifetime. All these should be brought up from childhood.  If you have an adolescent child, sit with them and get to know what they feel about you, get their true opinion. Whatever they say will be from their innocence so you may have to take it with a pinch of salt. Start learning from your kids ; if you have not learnt that today, you are going to lose them. Children should be given to speak out openly and also to listen to them patiently.

Please share some practical  tips to find the ME time for housewives or aspiring women.

Let the whole family and whole world know that you deserve a ME TIME in your life. Stick a note on your fridge that this is your ME time. It is important to take care of yourself. Share with your family members that the ten minutes at 4pm of your coffee break is your ME time. A child respects your words only when you genuinely respect theirs.  Do not try to juggle with too many things and show them that multitasking is fine. Teach them the importance of NOW.

List out some potentials of women that you have  come across  after coaching them. 

Some people have great potential and some have unidentified potential. In short, all human beings are gifted with an inner potential. Those who have identified it are working on  it but those who haven’t are doing nothing. So what I have to say to the latter category is to seek out help from a coach. Do work on what  you are good at.  Please take out time to sit down with a journal and write down what you like to do, what are your likes, passion, thus you can find out what you are good at. 

An unidentified potential is something that a person has not seen yet. Unconscious Incompetence. 

For e.g-Women are good at multitasking, networking, amazing at sales, very good at getting people together for one purpose.  Can they work on these interpersonal skills and build healthy support communities?

Whom do you aim for by this coaching?

Women who are stuck in their life, those who feel lonely, have mid life crisis, communication issues. I also work with leaders who feel stuck with their business challenges or day to day communication issues

I help leaders and entrepreneurs build healthy teams and drive business results.

How much positivity have you seen across since the pandemic has started?

I feel though we lost a lot during the last few years but the beauty was the pandemic has brought all of us to one platform. There is no disparity of poor and rich, manager and director, etc. And this is indeed a great lesson that reminded us that we all are equal. It’s the way of the Universe showing us we are no way upper or lower or beyond.It also taught us the power of giving and sharing. Vaccination was same for poor, rich, lesbian, woman or man, no disparity at all. In the midst of everything, you are always supported. Another blessing is that the current younger generation have learnt to  adapt and be flexible to the situations. There will be uncertainties in life and one needs to have a PLAN A,  PLAN B and PLAN C.

– JISHA HARIDAS

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