Interviewed by The Success Today – A Digital Webzine.
Could you tell us about yourself and your work?
My name is Pramod Agrawal. To let you know my character – I am passionate, intense, unconventional, curious, optimistic & inspired about Love, Life, Leadership, and Change. When I am interested in something, there is no halfway for me.
I value living a Fulfilling, Purposeful & Meaningful Life because we all get only one and I want to make it count rather than waste or languish it into mediocrity.
I resonate with the thought from Stephen Covey’s Live, Love, Laugh and Leave a Legacy.
One of my core beliefs is to take full responsibility for life – which means unlocking my highest potential and finding a balance between apparently conflicting pursuits of living, loving, laughing, and leaving a legacy.
My personal journey has been fantastic and full of learning & growth – I spent my early life in Hyderabad up until my bachelor’s degree in technology. I left home at 22 first to finish my post-grad from CEPT University, Ahmedabad, and then worked with my mentor-professor at IIMA for a year before I moved to Mumbai in 1992 in the corporate world.
During my 30 years of professional experience a majority of which is in consulting, with well-known corporates, and market leaders in their domains, I have had the fortune of working closely with 300+ business leaders from 40+ countries across industries. My work involved helping them lead effectively, and manage change to transform business & organization.
My perspective, learning, and expertise that I am proud of today I attribute to my curiosity that I tapped into while I worked with 50+ organizations, traveling to 15+ countries & more than 18 states in India so far and reading innumerable non-fiction ranging from psychology to leadership, to performance.
As a certified executive and life coach & change practitioner, I help individuals unlock human potential, improve their quality of leadership and live an extraordinary life towards thriving and inspiring others as opposed to resigning to a mediocre life of mere survival.
How you and your service is helping society?
I do an exercise called the ‘wheel of life’ assessment with people I work with. It is a self-assessment. In most cases, I find people are disappointed in their own assessment of their life on aspects of life. They might be feeling great about one or more aspects of their life but overall they feel disappointed.
Based on my experience, I notice that most people in our society live an ordinary life within a narrow range (3-5 on a scale of 10). They often do not live the life they desire, dream, or deserve. They play a safe game.
I call that resigning to a reduced life. A life governed by others’ expectations or standards.
Even though each of us is so unique, due to various factors, we live a life on a society-defined standard narrow range, ignoring our uniqueness and higher potential.
Most of us do not come out of our conditioning from upbringing even when we grow into adults. They do not even try tapping into their higher potential. This reminds me of a story of a large elephant tied up to a thin pole with a thin rope and not even trying to break even though it is easily and fully capable of doing it.
This quote from Benjamin Franklin describes it aptly that ‘most people die at 25, get buried at 75’. They just breathe and survive.
In my view, survival as a pursuit was ok when we were living in caves and wandering in forests for food and had to save ourselves from becoming prey to wild animals but in the current age and time when such dangers are not there, it is a reduced level of pursuit, and sadly most are not even aware of it.
People undermine their own capacity and potential.
So, by helping people become aware of their situation, their uniqueness, and their potential, I help people tap into their higher potential to live a better quality of life, and consequently, as a society, we grow and improve collective quality of life.
What is the USP of your work?
Everybody is unique and I am one among them with some of my uniqueness in the way I have structured my work with people.
Besides the required competencies of a great coach, I believe that the following 3 unconventional principles set me up as very unique life & leadership coach.
The first principle is the Iceberg principle – in the context of personal change while most coaches focus on behavior and habit changes I believe behaviors and habits are just the tips of the iceberg. What underlies beneath the surface (in the subconscious mind) are the unknowns – mindset, beliefs, and values that are deeper and not easily accessible. However, until a change is worked at that deeper level the change is not going to be lasting and sustainable. It is like if you treat the symptomatic fever or headache and do not treat the underlying infection, the fever is going to come back. I work at the deeper root-cause level which in other words is transformative coaching as opposed to action coaching which is focused mainly on behaviors and habits.
2nd unique principle that is unique to my coaching is – Every complex system has an inherent simplicity and the key is in finding that simplicity and finding the lever – a point that improves the system performance with minimum effort – In my experience as a Theory of Constraint practitioner, one of the powerful principles that I learned and applied is that every complex system (e.g. human being, organization, or car, etc.) has cause and effect relationship that makes it work the way it does. The Key is to find that relationship and find the leverage point, which makes it easier to manage the system. For e.g., simply through the steering, accelerator, and brake we can drive a complex system such as a modern car. Similarly, human beings also have an inherent pattern of how they work and find it helps me to help the person unlock their potential and manage their performance.
3rd principle also quite unique is that I promise measurable and visible improvement in people and I tell them that if they do the work, apply consistently all that they committed to, and are able to show the evidence of the same and they still do not get the results, I refund their financial investment back to them. & having said that I also must say that I have not come across a single person who claimed their money so far.
What are your Vision and Mission?
My vision is ‘to unlock the Human Potential to Lead, Thrive & Inspire’ –
To transform the quality of leadership.
In my view, quality of leadership is a mindset that determines the quality of decisions they take which in turn determines the impact they have on business results and followers.
I see leaders as a leverage point because by helping them transform their quality of leadership & life they in turn influence others they lead and through cascading effect, I intend to help a larger population improve their quality of life and leadership.
What are your achievements in this industry?
In my last 30 years of practicing change, transformation, and leadership, I have worked closely with 300+ business leaders in 50+ large, global corporations who are market leaders in their own domains across 40+ countries.
During these engagements, I have coached and consulted these organizations towards transforming their businesses, leading change, and transforming their performance.
Besides, I have worked with 30+ individuals and facilitated them in their personal & leadership growth journey.
Areas, where I have helped leaders, include improving leadership effectiveness, personal productivity improvements, clarity of their purpose/passion, designing their life and setting up goals and action plans towards living the same, uncovering limiting & unresourceful beliefs that were blocking their progress, mindset shifts that increased their self-awareness, helping individuals tapping in their resourcefulness, helping individual take personal ownership and responsibility of their life, etc.
Does your work ever feel tedious to you? If so, how do you stay driven and motivated toward it?
No, the short and direct answer is no.
I work for about 15 hours on average and in fact, I could say that I am always working. Even when I am on a holiday and talking to some people or even conversing casually, I find myself constantly noticing people’s language patterns, and behaviors and always making mental notes.
It is just so energizing and a learning experience for me and I don’t have to make an effort into it.
I think what I do and how it makes me feel fulfilled is because it is aligned with my values. I have a model that I use to figure out my passion and that way I never feel like I am working. I feel I am just being me and rather than tiring it is energizing.
I am also a big follower of Dr. John Demartini and I so totally believe in that we are naturally inspired and energized if what we do is aligned with our values. Because we value it, it is important to us and therefore we are spontaneously, naturally, and energetically inspired to work on it.
I would prefer the word inspired rather than motivated to do the work I do.
What are your hobbies and specific interests other than your profession?
One of the things I am crazy about is badminton. I play the sport regularly. Not only do I play, I follow that sport crazily in almost every BWF tournament.
I am a big fan of the Singles category for some reason. My favorites have been Lin Dan, Lee Chong Wei, Kento Momota, Loh Kean Yew, Kidami Shrikant, and Tai Tzi Yung. Chirag Shetty and Ranki Reddy pair is also one of my favorites.
Besides, I used to do a bit of long-distance cycling but for the time that is on hold. I intend to resume that in some time.
I am a big music buff. I love ghazals, romantic songs from the 80s right through the contemporary ones by Arijit Singh. Ghulam Ali & his story is one of my favorites too.
I love watching great movies, selective and mostly true stories.
I also read a lot of books, and listen to a whole bunch of podcasts. I find the individual stories very inspiring.
It is a kind of work but like I said it is hard to draw boundaries for me where my work ends and where my personal life begins. They are so integral parts of each other.
You have achieved so much in life, any specific advice you’d like to share with our readers to grow in life?
I believe everybody wants two things 1. achievement and 2. fulfillment as they live their lives, right?
& since every one of us is unique in who we are, what we want, and what makes us feel fulfilled, our first step should be to figure out ourselves at a deeper level – what we value. how do we think? what is the larger purpose that we are after in life? What meaning do you want to give to your life? what cause do you want to dedicate your life to?
Answers to these questions might not be clear to most of us in the first instance. It would take a consistent quest to figure out one’s inner dormant values but this kind of self-awareness or ‘knowing yourself is one of the’.
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