Book Review : The Coaching Habit

Coaching is one of the most important tools a leader can use to make his team more efficient, productive, and interested in achieving the common goal. However, knowing this fact, we typically struggle to ask the right question to coach one. Some time, coaching becomes mentoring and loses its focus. The focus of Coaching is to make one more productive and help him achieve his short-term goals. It’s significant to note that coaching is a collaborative process, where the coach and coachee work together towards the cochiee’s goals. The coach provides guidance, support, and expertise, while the coachee actively participates, takes ownership of their development, and implements the recommended strategies.

The process necessitates a focus on short-term objectives, thereby necessitating the coachee’s efficacy in assisting the coachee in attaining their desired outcomes and enhancing their effectiveness. This goal makes this book a useful guidebook for a leader to be a better mentor.

The book is about seven questions, which a leader can ask to be a more effective coach. These questions are:

  1. Whats on your mind?
    • It is a question that says, ‘let’s talk about the thing that matters most., it is a kick-start question.
  2. And What Else?
    • You create more opportunity to create more insight on the topic.
  3. What is the real challenge here for you?
    • This makes you pay attention to the things that immediately need scrutiny.
  4. What do you want?
    • Is the listener aligned to coachee? This helps bring the trust between coach and coachee.
  5. What was most useful for you?
    • People don’t learn while seeing or doing things, but rather when they recall and reflect on something
  6. If You Are Saying ‘Yes’ To This, What Are You Saying No to?
    • It’s a strategic question. It asks people to be clear and committed.
  7. How Can I Help?
    • It’s a lazy question, this is a clear and direct question.

Each question, is an open-ended question, few are enticing to give an alternate to the proposed solution, few are challenging one to explore further, few are helping in finding the other side of the story.

Each question is powerful, but they need additional information to be more effective. Based on situation, requires, these questions can be tweaked and sequence can be changed, or a few questions out of seven can be asked.

Our job as manager/ leader is to help create the space for people to have those learning moments. And to achieve that, we need to ask questions which will make them die deeper to find solution and learn in the process.

Get this #goodreads as one tool in your toolbox. And following mind map for more insights.

Quick Book Summary

Join my reading challenge Sumit’s 2023 reading challenge | Goodreads

Distraction at work

There are many ways to be productive, many tools to use and many methods to follow. However, the tools which we use to be productive on our workstations and mobile, are all fighting for our attention. And the best way to get our attention is to brighten that screen when new notification comes or ping when it arrives first.

Ping for upcoming meeting in 15 min, ping for an email arrived in outlook, a ping someone put something in teams chat box, ohh a bigger ping, someone mentioned me in the chat! That’s cool, it’s all office and they want me on the top of all topics! Another ping from my mobile, this time my family is discussing something in WhatsApp group, as well as my “old school friend group” is on some topics. Let me not mention the constant screen popping from Facebook and Instagram! They all want me be around and participate to make me feel more socially connected!

For sure, both my workstation notification and mobile notifications are designed with good intent to keep me productive and be socially connected! But in second thought, too good is devil! There is no free lunch!

Desktop notifications are constant source of distraction
Teams made us more productive, specially post pandemic, however it’s also eating our focus time
Such mobile screens are not helping me with my productivity but bogging me down to be procrastinating more.

Fortunately I think under obligation all these platforms are offering to shutdown all these notifications! For sure these settings are difficult to find and enable. (We can guess why).

Spend time and follow these links to disable those focus eating notifications from your desktops. I use them regularly for not only for myself but also for my teammates.

The theme I follow is, when I feel need to check something, I’ll go and check, I don’t want something to remind me to do that. Mostly these notifications are not life saving one, and can be ignored. Anything urgent, they will reach to you, don’t worry. Focus on what’s in hand.

The fear of missing out

The fear of missing out is major incentive for one to go on check all those notifications. But to realise that the most important thing is front on oneself and a commitment to complete that Tak’s at hand has higher returns than the activities which demand my attention!

It is the perception that others are having more fun, living better lives, or experiencing better things than you. And this perception is completely false because it’s I’m who is creating the perception. So the way distraction works due to FOMO is the perception of missing out, followed by compulsive behavior to ensure one is not missing out. Hence the control over our feeling is very important to keep us on the track.

It’s not that easy as it said above. I understand. But the way forward is at least “awareness”’of the fact that such FOMO is impacting you and robbing you of your time and your focus. The realisation of this fact itself is a half war won! The rest half, is discipline and constantly reflecting on your journey of recovering your time and focus.

Visit following blogs and get yourself equipped with better tools.,-Even%20though%20FOMO&text=Some%20of%20these%20symptoms%20include,mentally%20exhausted%20from%20social%20media

Book Review : Catalyst: The Ultimate Strategies on How to Win at Work 

Do we learn from our experience? What differentiates an experience with a learning experience? How to ensure we learn from experience and be aware of experience as it’s happening and use it to build the knowledge base? That’s this book is all about “Catalyst”

Really a #GoodRead , Catalyst by Chandramouli.
The author, who has a 30+ year track record in Indian industry across sectors, shares his insights and experiences on how to leverage various catalysts that can accelerate your growth and performance. Some of the catalysts he discusses are: learning opportunities, experience algorithm, good bosses and mentors, first half and second half of career, and knowing when to quit. The book is written in an engaging and easy-to-follow style, with real-life examples and anecdotes.

What makes up experience different than learning? The TMRR model!

This book explains how to convert your time and activity into experience by using the TMRR model, which stands for Target, Measure, Review and Reflect.

So we have so many experiences thru out life, but how many times we learn out of it? Example we are part of so many cross functional teams, lead or part of so many projects, how much we learn apart from learning from “burning fingers”.

This TMRR model is one way to deliberately capture those learning from routine experiences.

The book also emphasizes the importance of learning opportunities, which are situations that challenge you and help you grow. It suggests that you should seek out learning opportunities, such as new projects, roles, assignments or geographies, and use the TMRR model to maximize your learning from them

Compact book full of real examples and guiding on how to navigate those challenges.

Some highlights during my book reading

that project leadership is different from thought leadership. As mentioned, major learning cycles more often than not also happen to be important initiatives and projects for organizations

How much experience you extract out of the learning cycle will be driven by how well you applied the TMRR process on the learning cycle!

“Converting time into experience is the very bedrock of real individual growth. An effective TMRR model is the key to converting the time you are spending at work into an experience algorithm that will drive your success in the future”

“Applying the TMRR algorithm on major learning cycles is an exponential way to drive real individual growth.”

“Just building the experience algorithm is not enough. You have to parallelly grow your productivity. Productivity is the means through which you can convert the experience algorithm into results. The key to growing productivity is to focus on the circle of influence and to make sure you allocate your time to the rocks and not the sand”

Task Vs. Project

Task without Projects?

What qualifies as Task? And what as Project?

“I see many people juggling with their pocket diary, todo list and many other reports, breaking down each activity as task, and ending day with a longer list than seeing few getting crossed off.”

Its depressing and deflating to see the to-do list growing, and no respite to already busy schedule.

the whole reason to maintain a todo list is making us more productive! right?

yes, in essence, its right, but its all depends on how we are making this list. and one of the key differentiation is identifying which items qualifies for being in task list and items which can be part of a project

So what is TASK : a task is something, which you can get it done in one seating, in one go, no follow-up to complete the task

and PROJECT : any thing, which has concrete outcome and a specified timelines. a Project will have many task (> 1 task)

Make a tea for spouse can be a Task if you go in kitchen and make tea in one go, but if you want to make that special Aasam tea, which needs some shopping list and some over night preparation, it qualifies for a Project with multiple tasks, e.g go out and get the special tea, get some special herbs, prepare overnight the water for that wonderful aroma etc…

I know, once we say Project, the fear of getting is complex crips in. But don’t worry, Project is only helping us to have them special focus, that it. It helps us declutter the great big to-do list. It make us see logical structure behind the reason of getting things done.

Once you are done with this, focus on how to make your todo more impactful.

While making a todo list there are many ways to make it light and compact, few of them are making [[Important and Imperative]] list, following [[Urgent and Important]] list

some good reads

Do This Now! List of Imperative Verbs – INK (
The Eisenhower Matrix: Introduction & 3-Minute Video Tutorial

#GoodRead 10% Happier

10% Happier toes the line between being a memoir and self-help book. It focuses on self-help theories at different times within the book, but is less preachy in the way it uses knowledge gleaned from the author’s real-life experiences. The author uses his own personal story as an avenue for exploring religion, mindfulness, and meditation.

Quick Review

Book balance between humour and life lessons, and journey of one to embrace meditation as a lifelong practice

It’s interesting to see, his transformation from a sceptic to follower of a meditation practice. It’s also intriguing to see the challenge which he has faced, are so much same that I can relate to myself. And I think this is also applicable to others. The book is not about “ifs and buts” , it’s about what is it feel like to recognise the inner chatter, calm it down a bit and focus on now.

10 commandments, so to say, is real summary of why and what about meditation. Let me put this for you.

1. Don’t be a jerk

we feel, success needs competition, and it’s opposite to compassion. However, success is possible with compassion only.

2. Hide Zen

Sometimes you need to compete aggressively, plead your own case, or even have a sharp word with someone. It’s not easy, but it’s possible to do this calmly and without making the whole thing overly personal.

3. Meditate

Difficult, but do it 10-15 minute daily. It’s all about acknowledging without any judgement. Let environment tease you, you notice and acknowledge them, and keep breathing.

4. The Price of Security Is Insecurity—Until It’s Not Useful

Okie to have constructive anguish. There’s no point in being unhappy about things you can’t change, and no point being unhappy about things you can

5. Equanimity Is Not the Enemy of Creativity

Mindfulness make us more creative, it tames the mind, to make space for more useful thoughts.

6. Don’t Force It

Embrace ambiguity, take purposeful pause

7. Humility Prevents Humiliation

Put ego aside. Humility helps sanders the edges of ego. Make us more compassionate and approachable.

8. Go Easy with the Internal Cattle Prod

Don’t over do “self criticism”. Listen but don’t accept the inner chatter without a deliberate pause.

9. Nonattachment to Results

Nonattachment to results + self compassion = a supple relentlessness that is hard to match.

10. What Matters Most?

And that’s what we should able to answer. This is “what matter most” to feel anguish about any situation, where you want to react. Pause and ask

Summary in short

Change, How Fast? How to predict?

How to see the future without magical power...

Where is the car?

Photo clicked on Easter early morning in 1900, 5th Ave, New York

Where is the horse?

Photo clicked at same place on Easter Morning 1913

Assuming you can spot the car in first photo, it’s one single car moving along with all horse carts, and in the span of 13 year, can’t spot a single cart in this rush hours by cars (there is one, if you have good eyesight)

So what?

The change is fast, it’s consequential and it’s quintessential for life. And as Heraclitus said…

We can’t escape change, what will help reduce the anxiety for change is anticipating it. But without magical power or without magic ball, how to anticipate change or the future?

Anticipate future 🪄

Study Past

The past gives an ocean of information when it comes to understanding our behavior under a particular situation. If we are a good observer of the past, we can anticipate how we will behave with upcoming changes. As the changes are hardly drastic, unlike Pandemic like outlier events, the changes are typically subtle changes, what surprises us, is our ignorance. We ignore slight changes, which lead to big events. So, start studying the past, it could be as easy as just summarizing each day in your mind at the end of the day, week. (Can write diary, but I’m not good at it, hence not recommending it)

Trends in other domains will soon affect your domain

The future, as I said, is not always an outlier. We can’t prepare for outlier, and there is no point preparing for it, what we can do is connect the dots from past and help understand the upcoming future trends. Look for trends around, what’s happening in other industries will soon come to your domain. You need to be aware and forcefully look for changes happening in other industries.

Be an Entrepreneur

Whatever you do, think like an entrepreneur, what does that mean? When you are an entrepreneur, you have skin in the game. You are invested, and you will have strategies to minimize risk. Now that comes naturally to entrepreneurial person, as he will always strive to survive and succeed. This is a mindset switch. Just thinking of yourself as an owner of a product, department, or organization you are responsible for, you will start working toward sustaining it. Thinking you own your life itself brings lots of clarity and ownership. We will stop playing blame games if we own our life.


The anticipation also forms the basis for the next two actionable, “explore” and “formulate”. How to formulate? Look for the following items to get some hints

  • What did last Year’s strategic plan say?
  • What does your boss or organization want?
  • What new you expect this year and why?

Formulate Strategy

  • Write your vision statement.
  • Write down the strategic plan to show how you will respond and flesh out the mission statement out of your vision.
  • Figure out ways to make sure your future comes out the way you want.
The process is important, as important as the product 
The object of the plan is to change something so it must be IMPLEMENTED!


Productivity Is More about Mind-Management than Time-Management

by Aytekin Tank

Came across a blog with above title. And it’s wonderful. It’s really mindset that.l needs to be fined tuned over what tools we use to make us more productive.

We have many tools and strategies as well as long list of self help books, what’s needed is a mindset to change once’s practice and become more productive.

What I have seen, including myself , we use and learn all these tools with Big Bang, but go back to original “productivity”, blaming either the tools, or being modest and blaming self discipline. Whatever those reasons are, the root cause is always “I’m not motivated” of being productive.

How counter productive is this? Oxymoron may be. But that’s the truth. The truth is, unless one has high Blood pressure or deep sickness, one doesn’t look for his health easily (I know, some of you reading this will be as fit as Rambo, but listen me out), similarly as ping the burn out is manageable and the underperformance is not impacting my routine I’m ok with my habit of loosing sight of my goals or procrastinate something.

But why to wait?

Look for opportunities and start now. Start now saving time and start now in investing future. I’ll talk about this in coming blog. Meanwhile do visit the blog which I came across.