- Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series
- Season 6, Episode 50
- Learn how to build your career on your strengths, and how to integrate people, business and innovation to solve workplace problems and reach successful outcomes.
On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Kishore Yasarapu (prefers to be called YK), founder and CEO of NeoStrategy, a coaching and consulting firm. YK has had two decades of IT consulting experience globally, working in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, in various roles that include sales to innovation lead. YK is a Certified Gallup Strengths Coach who is looking to pursue full-time strengths coaching and consulting, and is based in Hyderabad, India.
Below is a summary of the conversation. Full audio and video are posted above.
Our host was Pooja Luthra, Advanced Consultant and Practice Expert with Gallup India.
YK: After receiving training about 2 ½ years ago, I looked at my strengths report. It gave me some ideas about my strengths in the areas of Input and Intellection. The report said I had a lot of ideas, and that I should start writing and sharing my ideas with others. Before that, I had the idea that I wanted to write but never did anything about that.
On May 1, 2017, Labor Day in India, I went to Facebook and decided to do some blogging, based on Gallup telling me that I should share my ideas and thoughts. Since then, I have written 200 blogs. It all started with the one or two lines in the strengths report that said I had something I should start sharing with others.
The ideas I shared helped me transition from where I was to where I am now. I give all the credit to Gallup. At first, I didn't have the idea of quitting my job and starting my own firm. But people started recognizing some of the good ideas and insights I was bringing. And I thought that there is some power in the report that seems to be working.
I have Input, Restorative, Ideation, Strategic and Futuristic in my Top 5. So I started exploring Ideation, which involves innovation. And I thought, Why don't I base my career on my strengths?" I went through all of my Top 10 about 50 times. I dissected them and created a map of them. And I built what I am doing based on my strengths.
In five months, I got close to 20 clients. And I think it's because I aligned my strengths with my career. For example, problem-solving (Restorative) is No. 2, and I use that in my consulting. It's like a breeze for me. I wake up each day, looking forward to helping my clients.
I had started coaching about five years back with other training, a pilot with friends and colleagues, but Gallup gave me a lot more clarity on how to solve problems, as well as tools. And it gave me confidence that this is going to work. I apply my problem-solving (Restorative) and Ideation in my work.
And I gave priority to my Ideation and came up with the "PBI Approach" -- people, business and innovation. Often in business, things are done in silos. But I believe we need an integration of these three. So how do we integrate these three to get the biggest success?
For me, strengths is a fundamental tool, and I am also keen to apply BP10 in terms of the business part of the approach.
When I look at a business, I coach the core leadership on strengths. This eliminates a lot of the blockers that are hindering their growth. There are a lot of breakthroughs with this. Then I go to the business side, the business processes. Every decision a business is making is coming from the key decision-makers. If you link back to their decisions, you gain insights into the psychology of the business owner. I see that 80% of this is driven by their strengths and patterns. So if I spend my time there, automatically these are getting fixed. In a short time, with this approach, we could almost double their sales and improve their operating margin.
I then move to the next-level team and work with them on strengths. When I do this holistically, three things happen: 1) The leadership team buys into strengths and sees that it works; 2) they're able to implement it from the top down; 3) the company culture is automatically getting built.
I approach my clients, such as corporate executives, with the idea that I'm going to solve their problem and help them get results, and then bring in strengths (saying that it's not possible to solve the problem without knowing yourself). So I don't start with strengths; I start with the problem and solving that problem and bring in strengths.
Where would I like to go from here? I have a slogan: Strengths-based individuals will make a strengths-based organization; strengths-based organizations can make a strengths-based region; and strengths-based regions can make a strengths-based nation. If people start aligning with their strengths, I think you can get more economic growth, more progress, more satisfaction.
I want to get into entrepreneurship-related coaching using BP10; there are many startups in India and it's easy to make a lot of mistakes, such as not choosing the right team.
(Gallup is launching BP10 in India in January 2019 -- in Bangalore on Jan. 21-22; and in Bombay (Mumbai) on Jan. 24-25.)
Even though we may understand our strengths, we are always busy with our lives. How do we make sure we are implementing these strengths day to day? I have used my Ideation and Restorative to create a time management tool called Neo Productivity 4.0. (YK shows a demo screen of this tool -- which he uses with his clients -- that shows which strengths he uses to maximize his productivity in his daily tasks and to integrate his strengths into every part of his life, including family time.)
YK: Restorative relates to my consulting -- it has two dimensions: problem-solving and continuous improvement. I also have Individualization in my top 10, which enables me to see each individual uniquely and help them apply their strengths in the best possible way.
Jim Collison: What do you enjoy most in your coaching?
YK: I do a lot of deep listening. I use my Input, my No. 1 theme. I'm absorbing all of the information and trying to see what the patterns are -- and this gives me clarity to find out where the client is going and what they are trying to achieve. I can see the patterns clearly, like a movie.
JC: In the four years that we've been doing the podcast, what kind of progress have we made in India? Are we seeing that at a cultural level?)
YK: Personally, I have impacted at least 7200 people -- though I haven't coached all of these. I have indirectly or directly made them aware of the power of strengths. In the broader context, yes, there has been some fantastic change, for two reasons. 1) There is a lot of training taking place in India in large corporate contexts. 2) I think once you bring those trainings to India, the impact is only going to increase, including with BP10.
Guest host Pooja Luthra: I think the landscape is changing. We started the certification program in 2014 as well, and I looked at the profile of participants a few weeks ago. When we started, almost 70% of the participants were independent coaches who were looking for certification from an independent organization as an added tool in their consulting. Now that number has flipped, with about 70% of the participants being from corporations and 30% of them being individuals.
This tells me that corporations are taking this up in a big way and making an investment in the idea of strengths. So corporate India, in the way it views strengths, has undergone a huge change in the past four or five years that we've been talking about it. And that is great news.
People are also talking about wellbeing and linking it to the idea of strengths.
JC: If someone is listening to this and is inspired by what you are doing in India, YK, what advice would you give them?
YK: Start with strengths. Align yourself with what your strengths and core inborn talents are; don't do something because someone else is doing it. You will do well by matching what you do with your own talents.
JC: If you're listening and want to find out where the BP10 courses are available, go to Gallup.com/builder.
If you're interested in becoming a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, you can see a complete list of our courses that lead to that at courses.gallup.com.
YK: Jim, what is your secret to being so energetic?
JC: It's a Woo and Communication thing. When I was a kid, I always dreamt of being able to videoconferencing around the world. To be able to talk to you in India, I'd get up at any hour of the day to do that. It's such a privilege. And to get that message out, I'm a Maximizer, anything worth doing is worth overdoing. And Arranger pulls everything together. We have some great new things coming in 2019 that I'm really excited about.
And it's a smaller globe today than it was four years ago.
YK's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Input, Restorative, Strategic, Ideation and Futuristic.