3 Mins with Sanjay Mehta

3 Mins with Sanjay Mehta, Co-Founder of ENiBLE

Co-Founder of ENiBLE, Sanjay Mehta, is an established professional in the field of coaching and leadership training. After garnering over 20 years of private sector experience with eminent organisations including, Microsoft, Sanjay co-founded ENiBLE with Raymond Thomas.

Today, ENiBLE counts Abbott, PWC amongst its clientele, with numerous individuals having benefitted from Sanjay’s expertise and experience. Below is an excerpt from a recent interview with Sanjay about his coaching journey.

Q: How did you get started with coaching?

Sanjay: I got started with coaching when I started on my own journey 12 years ago as an independent consultant and facilitator. I have always been keen on learning and development and thought a coaching certification would be a good way to do that. My interest in brain science and its application to human performance and development was very strong and hence I took up a coaching program from the Neuroleadership Group (then known as Results Coaching). Little did I realize that while I had been coaching people in my corporate role, I had not termed it as coaching. I had always thought it was part of being a manager.

Q: What attracts you to it?

Sanjay: I find coaching to be an effective way to help people learn new habits and overcome obstacles and accomplish what they set out to do. It is a way to get them to take ownership of their own learning and make better use of the knowledge and skills that they already had but were unable to apply effectively to life and work. Akin to a two way street between the coach and coachee, there can be a lot of questions and sharing to help the coachee make sense of his situation and how to move forward and grow in life and work. In this regard, many a time, I feel that I learn as much about myself as I do about the coachee.

Q: What are some of the challenges you face when coaching?

Sanjay: An example of an internal challenge that I face when coaching is to know when to keep quiet and accept the silence that may ensue between question and answer. Being more of an extrovert, I tend to speak more than I listen. I had to learn to develop active listening skills and learn to be comfortable with someone thinking quietly, rather than firing another question when silence sets in. It is a constant reminder I have to give myself. Consistently practising it though has helped me develop better habits when I coach.

External challenges include a coachee wanting quick answers and solutions for his questions, which is not what coaching is about. It is important to set the parameters around coaching at the onset and ensure understanding on both sides. I had an experience like that previously and the best thing we did was to mutually end the engagement before it went any further. Another challenge may be when the coachee has emotional issues that need to be dealt with first. While a coach can lend an empathetic ear, it is best to engage a trained counsellor (with the coachee’s consent) to manage the situation if it seems like the session is going nowhere with issues more deep seated than first thought. Suffice to say, this is not something coaching is meant for.

Q: What is the spark that keeps you motivated?

Sanjay: I delight in observing coachees making progress during the sessions. You can also see the “lightbulb” going on or the “Ah-ha” moment in them sometimes, which makes us realize we have done something to help them. You see first-hand the progress they are making with their increased self-confidence to overcome barriers and achieve their “once thought lofty goals”. The big spark comes when they give you feedback on how they have benefited from the process through your help. You go back feeling very satisfied that you have made a difference to someone’s life. Even bigger than that spark, is the spark you get when they come back after a long period of time and tell you about where they are now and how you have helped them.

Q: Lastly, any tips on coaching?

Sanjay: Some tips I can share in coaching:

  1. Be curious about your coachee. Both parties will benefit from this as the conversation gets a lot richer – coachee feels you care and you feel you are learning more about them.
  2. Put the ownership squarely on the coachee ‘s shoulders as it is them who will taking action on what was decided. Some coachees may try their luck to reverse this and put the accountability on others.
  3. Keep track and celebrate progress. In the short time you may have, the coachee may not reach the goal set, but may have made progress that needs to be sustained after the coaching is completed.

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