In our partner spotlight, we present the people and companies who create the resources we curate on Learnerbly. We want you to find out what makes their approach and training different, and what you get out of attending their courses.
This month, we’re speaking to Heeral Gudka, leadership coach and diversity consultant. As she explains, part of what inspired her to go into coaching leaders was her own experience with bad managers. Instead of accepting bad leadership, she believes we should strive for more. Make sure to also read her post about Inclusion and Diversity.
Who are you, and what is your expertise?
I am a leadership coach and inclusion & diversity consultant. I've been following this passion for the last 5 years.
Leadership. Inclusion. Wellbeing.
These are the 3 strands which underpin my work. For people to thrive at work they need skilled leaders who know how to create inclusive environments and who care about their people's wellbeing.
I work with leaders and people at all levels. Being effective in life and at work is about much more than knowing how to do your job. A large component is being effective and confident on a personal level.
That’s why the coaching and workshops myself and my associates deliver focus on the core areas of effective performance: leadership, collaboration and confidence. Leadership is not management. Managers do what’s required; leaders do what’s necessary. Confidence is everything when it comes to performing well, whether inside or outside your working environment. And getting the best out of yourself and your team requires collaborative working.
I also know from experience that it’s impossible to build a truly diverse workforce unless the culture of the organisation is relentlessly and instinctively inclusive. The truth is that unless inclusion is a fundamental part of what defines you corporately, diversity will never be anything more than a box-ticking exercise.
I work with my clients to help them build collaborative behaviours within their teams that are an integral part of their business DNA, and by doing that I'm helping them to attract, hire and retain the very best people from every walk of life.
Why did you decide to become a coach?
I spent over a decade in the City of London and saw first-hand the impact which leaders have on the people around them. Unfortunately, it's not always good. So rather than avoiding working with leaders, because I'd had enough of the corporate world at that stage, I threw myself into working with them. Because I knew that even if I only managed to help one leader at a time, that would be a more content leader with happier and more motivated people working with them.
The ripple effect of good leadership is huge and reaches beyond the confines of the office. We should strive for that, rather than being resigned to having ineffective leaders.
What generally surprises people about coaching with you?
I think my clients enjoy working with me because I hold them accountable whilst also being able to be keep things light and enjoyable. Coaching is meant to add to your life — not be a burden. It's my job to make sure you progress and have fun at the same time. It's not rare to hear belly laughs coming from my home-office when I'm working with clients.
What also surprises people is my flexibility - I do most of my coaching work over the telephone. My clients love this as they don't have to rush anywhere to see me and they get to have a lot more flexibility with when they can speak to me. So let's say on Mondays I can start at 8am, catching a client before the work day begins, while I have another client who prefers the 8pm slot, giving him time to shake-off the day's stresses before speaking to me.
It also means I can work with people all over the world - the majority of my international coaching clients are in Bermuda.
Is there a general change that most people who come to you for coaching need to make? Or do people’s problems tend to be unique?
Everyone is unique. No one person's experiences are the same and so I never make any assumptions about what will help a client. One size doesn't fit all and no-one likes being put into a box. I work with people to understand them, how they have come to be who they are, and look at where they want to head.
What often happens is that people come for one thing, but end up working on a lot more with me. After all, why limit your thinking if there is more you can change?
What do you find most rewarding about being a coach?
I love seeing people surpass the expectations they have of themselves. Often we have a limited view of what we can achieve. When my clients start to make changes which initially seemed impossible, that's when I feel most gratified.
If you have a Learnerbly account, you can book coaching with Heeral Gudka here!