In our Simply.Coach Spotlight we talk to expert coaches from around the world, where they share their journey as a coach, their approach towards and perspective on coaching. For this edition of Coach Spotlight, we have invited Shruti Swaroop. Let’s introduce our guest.
Introducing the Coach: Shruti Swaroop
Shruti Swaroop is an executive coach and a diversity inclusion consultant with over two decades of HR experience. She earned her certifications from Marshal Goldsmith Stakeholder Centric Coaching as well as ICF. She has coached more than 200 individuals, including CXOs. She has over 2500 hours of coaching experience. She speaks at TEDx, The Outstanding Speaker’s Bureau, Growth Mindset and various other panels. Her articles have been published in HR Director Magazine, UK. Her blogs are published in the NASCOM Community regularly. She is also a SHRM master facilitator and facilitates learning programs on a variety of topics, including ‘‘leaders as coaches.’’
In this edition of Coach Spotlight, Shruti Swaroop talks to Ram Gopalan about how she as a coach grows with the flow.
Q: A lot has been achieved in a short time, Shruti. So, congratulations on that and congratulations on EMBRACE. On your LinkedIn profile, you mentioned that coming from a defense background had led you to take inclusion for granted until later you experienced how your gender became both a ‘’privilege’’ and a ‘’handicap’’. Could you elaborate on that and, of course, on EMBRACE?
Shruti: While my sister and I and the other ‘’fauji brats’’ (as we call ourselves) were growing up, we never had any conversation around our gender or religion. Nor do I remember having any conversation around our backgrounds, food habits or any such differentiations. The fact that there is differentiation, the fact that people look at anybody differently based on their caste, language, education or gender is something I did not know till I joined college. It was then that I got exposed to a different world, where I would often be asked where I was from, what my background was, etc. This differentiation was very new to me. Even today I struggle with these conversations.
Q: And how did this all come together when you were founding EMBRACE?
Shruti: I got married and moved to London, which was a different world altogether in terms of diversity. In my office, we had people from Canada, Poland, Australia, Uganda, India, and Pakistan. Everyone worked together. In fact, any process that was in place ensured that nobody would feel left out or differently.
When I got back to India, I thought getting a job would be easier and I will be far more welcome as I was returning to my own country. But that was not the case. Plus, I had taken a break as I had my two children around the same time. So, I would often be rejected based on that.
So, Embrace came into existence as I realized that there is a need for creating a world of acceptance, irrespective of differentiation.
Q: Tell us about your journey as a coach and the decision-making process. How was it to become a coach?
Shruti: Ram, maybe you don’t know this, but you were very instrumental in making me a coach. Way back in 2015 or 2016, I was struggling to find my feet and I was dealing with the CEOs, CXOs, and the board of directors but I just wasn’t able to get through to them. And I remembered at some stage I think we either interacted or I heard about you and came to know that you have done your Marshall Goldsmith Certification. I realized that this could be the answer to my problems. I thought to myself that maybe coaching training would help me get my points across better to the high-ranking officials that I was interacting with. So, I reached out to the Marshal Goldsmith team and got myself certified.
You may also like to read about how our inhouse expert coach, Ram Gopalan, found coaching and his go-to coaching methodology. Click here!
Q: What were some of the things that you did to gain momentum in your coaching journey?
Shruti: I did the Marshal Goldsmith certification first and then the ICF ACC. And then, step-by-step, I got started practicing coaching, reached out to friends and ex-colleagues.
Q: What’s staying detached or dispassionate? How do you keep growing as a coach? Is there any formal training that you would do?
Shruti: In terms of formal training, one is obviously from ICF. Also, I keep listening to related webinars. I am a part of an institute of coaching masterclasses, which I’m very regular with. I keep reading the latest articles. In terms of the informal training, every coaching session helps us grow as a person. For me, coaching is as much about a self-discovery journey as much it is about people and helping them.
Q: How do you prepare for a coaching session? Do you have a ritual? Is there something that you do specifically?
Shruti: I just take myself to the table.
Q: Is it when you’re prepared that you go through the best coaching sessions or when you show up impromptu? Which one works best for you?
Shruti: It won’t be correct if I say I don’t prepare at all, because I obviously read. I know what I am going there for and I go through the previous notes. I go through any psychometric assessment if shared. But my sessions are very informal. I’ve always let my coachees guide the sessions, very gently nudging them along the way in terms of introspection, their journey of self-awareness.
Q: As coaches, we emphasize on setting a goal and working towards it. On the other hand, you are saying that “I go with the flow”. How do you reconcile between the two?
Shruti: So, each one of my buckets—be it coaching, workshop, teaching, writing or entrepreneurship—individually has a goal. For instance, EMBRACE has to grow, it has a goal. Or, If I’m teaching at the business school, there’s a goal—these are the programs I would like to do. For coaching, I have a goal that I have to deliver a certain number of hours by the end of the year, etc. But did I think them through before I got into them? Okay, should I be a coach? No, I didn’t.
Q: What advice would you give to new coaches?
Shruti: I would say “go with the flow”. But it is very important to know what you are doing and why you are doing it before you take the plunge. If you want to get into coaching for money or instant gratification, you should know that it takes time before all that starts coming in. It may sound a little judgmental, but one needs to know oneself a lot more before jumping into coaching. If you really want to become a coach, spend a lot of time doing self-coaching, understanding your own reaction, trigger points and what works and what doesn’t. When you are entirely involved and invested in a coaching session, you should be able to keep your emotions and experiences to the back burner. Otherwise, it all gets very messy when your own level of self-awareness is not as much as it should be. So, I would really encourage and appreciate those who wants to become a coach. I think, India happens to have the maximum number of coaches and we do need more coaches around. But it’s very important to learn to swim on your own and save yourself from drowning before you go on to save others.
Watch the Full Interview!
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Sources: Delenta, Delenta, Acecoachtraining, Simply.Coach, Opengrowth, LinkedIn, IafIndia
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