Developing Presence And Power At Work

Where does power come from?

Does our authority come from our position? Or from our presence? Our belief will affect how we show up.

People who see their power as their position will seek to build their status.

People who see their presence as power, will seek to engage to develop their influence. We aren’t always in control of, if and when, we get a position of power. But we are in control of developing our presence to influence others.

We can develop our skills to communicate effectively.

Pallavi Sidhra is a Coach helping women leaders to access the magic inside themselves.

We discussed life, communication and relationships



Pallavi: My formal coaching journey is very recent, about two years ago. But I guess the person I was becoming had been long coming.

Pallavi: And like they say, our transformation just takes many years and lots of iterations. I grew up in India studied there. So obviously education and getting academically sound was a big sort of dream of my parents, let’s say. And then I found that is the best way out to keep people off my back.

Pallavi: Because if you scored well, you did well, then everyone then you were good. You could get away with stuff. I was clueless when I left school and college. It was like, what am I going to do next? So I did very well in my school and college, I topped, but pretty clueless, get started doing law.

Pallavi: So I got a degree in legal studies, never practiced it for a day. And then I went ahead and built a career in shipping. In maritime, because at the time I was looking for legal departments of multinationals because multinational was the cool place to be. And I thought I should get there. [00:01:00] And then then one thing led to another and I just Did my work as I did other things in life, which was, you just put your back into it.

Pallavi: That was the only way I knew things. And I built a career from being an international trainee. And I grew into leadership roles with with one of the world’s biggest shipping companies in the world. And it was a fabulous innings of my life because I got lots of opportunities to travel around the world.

Pallavi: This little Indian girl coming out of a little Corner of the world where, and it was a whole world. You take an eight hour flight from Delhi to wherever. And you were, it was like being in a time machine because what you saw that was so different from what you were used to seeing.

Pallavi: So a lot of cultural awakening, working with people, trying to really get ahead. And after over a decade in that company, then Out of the blue from nowhere, a cancer crept up in me. There was no family history. I was living a fairly healthy life, but I guess you’ve got to do your time.

Pallavi: We’ve got to do our time in certain things. This was about 11 years ago now. So knock on [00:02:00] wood. I feel I’m good now when people ask me the question, are you okay now? I still don’t know how to answer it. Because what do you say? It was actually after I recovered medically from cancer, as I was coming back into life, then along the way I met someone and fell in love, the person I’m with now and we moved countries.

Pallavi: He’s a Brit. He’s not Indian, but we met in India and then we moved countries. Went to Singapore work there. And that’s when I transitioned from leadership to business development and that coming through with my personal growth after cancer and trying to come back into life.

Pallavi: It was an interesting mix. It was a confusing because on one hand I was learning new ways to integrate back into society into my life after. After cancer. But on the other hand, I was also moving out of leadership where I didn’t have any authority and speaking to prospects who were far more experienced than I was, who were far more knowledge experts than I was in [00:03:00] that field.

Pallavi: My job then became having to unlearn everything I had done professionally. And relearn stuff and then meet them at where they are, not just intellectually, so I can answer their questions, but also convince them and influence them to buy from me. This was a, this was quite a big game changer. And in parallel, I was listening to pods, I was reading books, I was trying to figure life out, you get all these questions, why me?

Pallavi: What’s going on? And it’s hard to say any one incident that turned things around for me, but organically I was starting to make sense of life and really starting to understand the whole quality that makes life alive, which is aliveness. How do you show up with this whole degree of presence, which is not just an external confidence, but it is being aware of what your purpose in that conversational meeting is, but equally being intellectually sound and what you’re going to talk about being prepared.

Pallavi: Yet infusing the conversations with a degree of vitality, [00:04:00] with a degree of friendliness, whether that deal got signed or not. The goal was to open a door from a cold call, open a door and then make the relationship happen. And I think it was just very interesting to me. It came very naturally to me.

Pallavi: The professional in me had a lot of professional pride, the intellectual in me wanted to really not be caught out given my whole trust in academics back in the day. And that’s how I realized how I could have been in places where I had a title as a leader. And now I didn’t have a title as a leader.

Pallavi: I was just a salesperson and I had to get the job done. And that transition kept growing. I moved from Singapore, we came to Greece, and then I’ve changed my subject matter expertise within maritime, but from one part of maritime to another. Coaching then was a way for me to deepen into human potential to really understand, can I access my potential?

Pallavi: And I think I was [00:05:00] also developing a bit of nuance around life. Like what moved things in a conversation? 

Pallavi: Why was someone getting iffy when they don’t want to talk to me or what worked in this conversation and I was getting really curious about those pockets, those nuances.

Pallavi: Coaching was just a natural fit. It was a pull. I didn’t have to think too much. Should I make this investment in myself? I’m like there’s something to be learned here. Let’s do this. And this was the long back story. And then LinkedIn was a platform for me to launch myself.

Pallavi: Really, the initial bit was create a checklist and see, can I do this? 

Pallavi: Can I be consistent? 

Pallavi: Can I post interesting content without chat GPT? 

Pallavi: Some of the very basic personal metrics. Can I reach out to people? 

Pallavi: Can I build a network? 

Pallavi: And I was like, hell, I can. And then gradually I Started to engage with LinkedIn in a way that was something I hadn’t thought of sitting on the sidelines when I got into it, I was like, there are real people here and there are ways I can engage with them differently.

Pallavi: I’ve gotten really good over time at sussing [00:06:00] people out very quickly. I think, of course, there’s a lot to be learned. I still make a lot of mistakes. But sussing people out depending on what they’re saying, how they’re saying it, what’s the content of the conversation. And which enables me to decide quite quickly where am I going with them?

Pallavi: Is this a go or no-go? So that’s the long and short of the person behind the profile. 

Rob: Okay. That’s fascinating. The first thing that comes to mind is now what you talk about is presence. You’re able to express your ideas very clearly, you do it with presence.

Rob: But what, when you’re telling me that you’ve grown up was it Delhi or India? It was India. 

Rob: But you don’t have an accent. 

Pallavi: I think I’ve lived in so many different parts of the world that I you just pick the accent where you are. And if you speak to a very British father in law, he’ll tell you my accent still very Indian accent.

Pallavi: So I guess it depends on who your listener is. 

Rob: That’s curious to me because my my parents grew up in Ireland. I grew up in London and I went to a Catholic [00:07:00] school. Where I grew up, Harrow was, I don’t know why, but it seems to be like the first place for immigration for immigrants. So there was a wave of Irish West Indian, Indian, Asian Polish. So it’s like you could see in the area I grew up, but because we, I was brought up a Catholic, so I went to Catholic school, so it’s almost all at that time Irish but mum had lost her accent and she’d lost her accent because she’d come over at nine and you’re double Dutch it’s and so she was, she went through life very kind of combative and also defensive.

Rob: She’d studiously worked to get rid of her accent, whereas my dad and a lot of the other people I was around hadn’t so much. So it was interesting to me. 

Rob: So law wasn’t necessarily your, love or was law something practical that you’ve.

Rob: It seemed like a good career. 

Pallavi: It was actually, I don’t know what to do, let’s take some entrance exams. And I got through a lot. And this was in the back of a really late night party we’d had. Me and my best friend, we went for an exam the next day. And [00:08:00] I made it, she didn’t. I still tease her today about it.

Pallavi: So I was like, yes I’m in. And for three years now, I don’t have my dad on my back anymore. Like I’ve got something to do. So that’s how law happened. There was no love at all. Yeah. Okay. And now I tell people I can barely spell the word LOE . 

Rob: Okay. So then the next. part that was clearly quite formative, I’d imagine is the cancer episode.

Rob: That must be for many people, that’s a changing point in life. 

Pallavi: Yeah, it’s it’s funny because when I put my marketing hat on, we all need that point, the lowest point where you start, but I think reality is a bit different in the sense that there’s so many small organic things that keep happening.

Pallavi: So after cancer, for instance, the medical treatment was over, but it was getting back to my workplace. My boss kept the same position for me for a year. I was away from work and he said, when you’re okay, you come back into the same position. And I was incredibly grateful for that. But coming [00:09:00] back and people’s looks, glances, questions. And I guess your own sort of, confidence is shattered on multiple levels. I guess the point I’m making is that while the medical treatments over the emotional readjustment to life has taken me. I’ve been on the scenic route, as I call it, it’s taken me joyously beautiful amount of time to start figuring life and looking at life differently.

Pallavi: And now it was a long time ago and memories tend to fade and I’m also deliberately not trying to remember too much of it. But it changed my perspective in one profound way for sure, which is that I think about mortality pretty much once a day, twice a week, three times a week. It’s not a taboo thing for me.

Pallavi: And I kind of joke around because humor is hugely valuable for it’s a big value for me. And I’m like, God’s given me these second innings for a reason and I better not screw it up. I’ve got to do something good with it. But I think that sense of timing, that ability to say, what is a 70 year old Pallavi going [00:10:00] to be saying to the Pallavi today?

Pallavi: If I’m fearing over something, that for me is my biggest, it snaps me out of fear like this, because I think I’m my biggest stakeholder. When I bring the 70 year old standing in a corner and just looking at me saying what the hell’s going on, why aren’t you doing this? And why are you twiddling your thumbs?

Pallavi: That I think is the biggest change for me after cancer. Time. You value time, but not in a time management kind of way. Like manage time, but in the sense of fill your time with just rich and beautiful things. 

Rob: It reminds me of the the Stoic Memento Mori, isn’t it? 

Pallavi: Yeah. Yeah. 

Rob: Okay. What exactly is the journey that you take your clients on? 

Pallavi: Great question. So in, in my coaching process, which is a one to one and very personalized women leaders. Come to me obviously with a problem because if there wasn’t a problem, they wouldn’t be looking for a coach.

Pallavi: And the problem usually starts with what is not working, which is at the surface level. So our very first step and I’m talking now a very standard, let’s say six session period, [00:11:00] which is roughly about six, six and a half, seven hours. We go through where they are currently in there, what their problem is, and then we start doing, going deeper into the values that might be informing the situation that are, that they are facing.

Pallavi: Whenever a person comes with a problem at work, it’s never for a technical issue that they’re facing. It’s always a personal development that they, that’s coming in the way. Something personal is coming in the way of the professional development. And this values exercise is really the next two or three sessions devoted to it, because this is where we go quite deep into what might the sources be and why they, once that’s dismantled, why they feel stuck, that’s when we start to turn the sails for the next, for the remaining session to say, so what are you going to do about it?

Pallavi: Somewhere in the middle of these it takes about three to four sessions, depending on where the client is and, how difficult their journey has been. But once we dismantled the source and I’m not a big believer in staying [00:12:00] with sources also, although that’s really important as a professional, I struggled a lot with, I recognize where the problems were.

Pallavi: I recognize my blind spots. My head coach is telling me my blind spots, but it wasn’t easy to determine what do I do next? So in the remaining part of the coaching process, we customize skills and tactics and strategies they can use. So depending on the nature of the challenge, I could look at their communication at work.

Pallavi: We look at how are they communicating? What are the emails read like? Is it a problem specific to a person? Is it a more generic problem? 

Pallavi: And the reason I do that is because when a person gets a taste of success. ability, their own potential that they can unlock something which can’t happen at a theoretical level.

Pallavi: You’ve got to take it down to brass tacks. And when we do that reassurance kind of fuels the next. Conversation they want to have with someone. And then mostly after six or seven or max eight sessions these women are on their own because they’ve [00:13:00] tried and tested some strategies and tactics.

Pallavi: So it’s about starting with the problem statement, focusing, going down to the origin and then going very tailored to how to get out of it. So I use combination of NLP. I use a combination of neuroscience. The philosophy is going forward looking, then backward investigation. And I do this because this is where I struggled the most.

Pallavi: As a brown woman working with different nationalities, different parts of the world. Of course, as a professional, you’re trying to grasp how the culture is and how people communicate. That’s fine. But I think comes a point where you recognize the problem very well, but now you need that helping hand or that guidance.

Pallavi: If you speak to HR at work, they tow the party line, they’re not going to come to you with specifics that you need. They don’t have the time. You’re just one amongst many. Your leader, even though if, even if they’re the nicest people in the planet, the point is that in their role as a leader, they’re [00:14:00] incredibly busy.

Pallavi: You’ve got to work this out yourself. I made so many wrong decisions and I did so many things that would do differently that I think there’s so much value in having someone guide you. Attuned to your authentic style. So if you tell me Pallavi do this, that’s mentoring. This is what I did Pallavi in this situation.

Pallavi: You can do this, that’s mentoring. But this, what I do is we look at my clients authentic style of operating. One client said she was very kind. She came across very soft spoken, but she said, I don’t want to lose that. We don’t want to lose our authentic style. But, we concluded the end of eight weeks or so and she said, I want to be fierce.

Pallavi: So when they come up with anchor words like that, they are such guiding forces to say this is what I want to be here. These are the questions I want to ask in this meeting or in this conversation. That becomes a game changer because now, when you leave coaching with me you’re walking out with some very specific things you can apply to your situation.

Pallavi: As opposed to reading a book, which is generic or listening to a pod, you [00:15:00] still have to make the mental effort to say, after reading a book, what do I extract in integrate into my life? But when you are coaching one on one , you’re co creating solutions.

Pallavi: They’re plated up for you in your style, in your favorite restaurant. And I think that’s what makes it so much fun. And I learned so much in the process. Like it’s so much fun doing this as well. 

Rob: The first point I want to pick up on is the last thing you said there, it’s so much fun.

Rob: Clearly you love what you do? So what is it what’s the part of it that you love?

Pallavi: I think the fact that I’m over all the embarrassments vulnerabilities, I can pretty much bear my soul to someone, but without minimizing myself. That makes me feel that I’m in a very strong place. Now that’s obviously the outcome of a lot of work done in the back.

Pallavi: Now when I show up as this person who’s saying, you know what, I screwed up and I’m not being Precious about the words I use. I use certain words with a very deliberate purpose just to test people, loosen them up a bit, open them up. When you’re sharing with someone that I’ve done this, it [00:16:00] immediately opens the person up as well.

Pallavi: And the quality of your conversation goes from very formal coach, coachee conversation to okay. So what are we, what can we create here? What’s possible here? Like it goes to possibilities. So we shift from. We shift from problem solving to possibilities. And I think that’s where we go from tunnel vision to saying, so what’s possible. 

Pallavi: Maybe you’re, debating it’s the wrong thing you’re focusing on. 

Pallavi: Maybe we need to focus on this. And so many times we would shift the goalpost. But that’s because we’ve uncovered a blind spot. So the fun part is this. This ability to have this open conversation and share my experiences so candidly that they open the other person up and then the quality of the conversation is just like a different planet.

Pallavi: It’s so energizing. It’s so much fun. 

Rob: I can see that because you come across as very poised you’re very deliberate in your choice of words in the way that you talk. So whereas I I have something to say and I stumble da da da I lose my words and my presentation is not.

Rob: [00:17:00] So I can see that you would be intimidating. for someone who might feel that they’re struggling because you are so poised. You do have so much presence. And I suppose when I worked in groups, I realized that I never really wanted to lead. 

Rob: So I started school as a school was a waste of time.

Rob: Didn’t see any sense in it. I was never going to follow anyone else. So I’ve never been a follower, but equally when I’ve been asked to lead, I’d never want to lead because I felt it’s for each person to make up their own choices. 

Rob: When I’ve been in the group, what I found is there’s often someone who comes across as yourself, really poised, they speak really well, they speak for the group, they hold, they have, they’re charismatic and they have all those kind of qualities.

Rob: And then but I would just talk to them and it would turn out that I was the person with the ideas, but I didn’t want to, I couldn’t present them as well. 

Rob: I would just talk to them and then they would just talk to the group. So I always found that way of working for me. I can see that someone’s coming in and they’re maybe feeling self conscious about, communication is a problem and [00:18:00] they look at you and I think that you’ve never suffered what I’ve suffered.

Rob: You’re like, I can’t do what you can do. So I can see how powerful that would be for you to share that because you do come across as if it’s natural and you are naturally poised. 

Pallavi: Thank you. Those are big words you’ve used there Rob and I’m going to have to listen to this.

Pallavi: Your way of operating is also very interesting. So when I do interview you, I’m going to I’m going to go back and listen to this bit. 

Pallavi: I learned over a long time as an outcome of my. Cancer situation that actually we’re here to have a good time before we roll off a mortal coil. I call it mortal coil because we all have we all make mistakes.

Pallavi: We will continue doing it. That’s fine. Yeah. Like I still do it. When I tried to take pictures from a website and say, okay, so what is the persona? What is this media persona probably wants to project to the world?

Pallavi: It was never being this uppity in a nice, big suit or looking really, it’s easy. That’s the easy bit. I can get a red suit and I can wear it, or a dress or whatever. I wanna be the girl next [00:19:00] door . Who was just as much the underdog trying to dodge and trying to find a way into life and said, you know what, to hell with this.

Pallavi: That’s what I am. And I’m, of course, lots of bruises along the way. You stumble, you fumble, you fall, but now here’s an opportunity. People don’t need to do that. So what I was, what I started saying was, I think it’s after cancer and many years after it, when I realized that actually to just bear your vulnerabilities, but then do it a little bit nice, sassy, classy way, as opposed to being a victim mode, I can make it sound really victim like, Oh, yeah, it’s been really tough my 10 years.

Pallavi: And then we can have a sobby conversation, or I can say yeah, it happened and thank God I’m alive and I better do something about my life. 

Pallavi: That’s also why I went for I don’t know if you saw this on LinkedIn, but I went for this standup comedy. In Greece, they, there was a small club doing English style comedy and you could do four minutes of material and you’d get feedback that I was saying I practice and I’m like, I’m just going to go and do it.

Pallavi: Like, how bad would it be? I did twice. The first one was great. I think I got some [00:20:00] claps or laughs for the second one. I bombed like big time, but I said, I’m coming back. This is not over yet. So yeah, because of cancer, I think my, I’m able to say it’s okay, it’s fine. 

Rob: It puts life into perspective, doesn’t it?

Rob: I think stand up has to be the hardest thing. I think public speaking is hard. I wouldn’t say I’m a great speaker, but it took me a lot just to stand up and speak.

Rob: I can remember I went to Toastmasters and the first time I had to give a speech I spent, there’s all the kind of warm up and other things going on before you go and I was just looking at the door and I could just go, I could just go. That terrified me. But for stand up is it’s brutal. It’s one thing to give a speech and people will look bored or whatever.

Rob: Stand up. If you don’t get a laugh, it’s yeah. I have great admiration for you in doing that. 

Pallavi: Thank you. But I have to say it was a workshop. It was a safe space. There were so many other people like me, which is part of the reason I went. I was like, all right, we’re gonna, we’re gonna start with small stakes, but yeah, but it [00:21:00] was fun nonetheless.

Pallavi: Enjoyed it. 

Rob: Normally when you work with people, there is a common problems, common scenarios. So when I would work with people in relationships, when I work with people one. There’s normally a point where they get there where they start to trust you and it’s am I broken?

Rob: Am I unlovable? Is there something wrong with me? So that’s the common thing and I think that comes across in most coaching. So I’m just wondering what are the common fears, misconceptions and myths that people working with you have before they start working? 

Pallavi: I think Given that social media is talking so much about imposter syndrome, about people pleasing, about a lot of these elements, women come quite aware.

Pallavi: And yes, I do feel like an imposter. So they’ll come in saying, I feel like an imposter. And there is a huge gap between and I say this respectfully. So not disrespectfully, but it also applied to me that you recognize the term imposter syndrome, but [00:22:00] then when you start talking about the traits of an imposter.

Pallavi: Or traits of someone who feels legitimate when you start going deeper, you start to realize that this is a, it’s a surface level thought about, okay, I’m not feeling confident here. So one of the biggest moments I encounter is when we reframe and they go, Oh, really?

Pallavi: So for instance, an imposter syndrome, your question, you ask them saying, so how many presentations have you made in the past to senior people? So let’s talk with data. So I bring in I like talking a bit with numbers and data and evidence and facts, because we want the fluff out of the room, right? This is not a therapy.

Pallavi: This is saying let’s go and conquer the world. So one of those is. You ask them factual questions, and as you start to go a bit deeper and gently, you start to realize that there is no evidence for them to say, I feel like an imposter. It’s more lack of training or lack of this. And that kind of goes, and that’s a tough one because it goes from, if I can, An easy go [00:23:00] to, I have imposter syndrome, just saying, now I need to practice that I need to really think through what goes on the slides.

Pallavi: And that transition goes from, I’m feeling, do I need to stop thinking what I need here? So let the thinking come first and then inform your feeling as opposed to feeling first. So they come to me feeling, and then we go on to thinking. Another one is where they. They come to me with statements.

Pallavi: This is how this one spoke to me. This is one this one said to me when I asked them to write up a product description, they said, that’s like making a peanut butter sandwich. It’s simple. Why do I need to do this? How do I respond to such situations? And then you actually track back a little bit with them saying, so what occurred in that moment?

Pallavi: The whole session sometimes goes into dismantling a moment, but the moment you do, you can start to see their eyes widen and they’re saying, okay, and then I didn’t know what to say.

Pallavi: A macro generic feeling down to really zoomed in [00:24:00] moment and asking them what happened there. 

Pallavi: When they sit with that moment, and when you’re doing it in a safe place with someone who’s facilitating that process for you.

Pallavi: There are tremendous moments of insight that come out of it for them as to why did I freeze in front of this person. 

Pallavi: The last thing I’d say, which is very powerful is I love to give them a language they can use. And the words they can use. So one of the things that if someone’s struggling with confidence I tend to say, especially to women is that don’t complete your thoughts, complete your sentence.

Pallavi: You’ll start noticing it and seeing it all the time. So often, even men do, but because I’m a women’s coach and consultant, I’ll stay in that domain, but they just ended with, yeah, we did that. Yeah. Yeah, it was a good presentation. They said it was good. Yeah. So yeah.

Pallavi: No. You’ve got to complete your part because it’s such a harmless, it’s so humble. So yeah, it’s two words. It’s very harmless, but you don’t know when it starts to [00:25:00] happen at other places. And then you don’t know when it starts to get filled in with other people’s thoughts because they interpret it.

Pallavi: And before you know it, because you’re not aware you lose the plot. It’s too hard and it’s too late. So I also work with them to give them a language. If they’ve got a difficult boss? You need to insist more from let’s say a peer. How do you do it without alienating them?

Pallavi: So we kind of work with, so these are some of the fears and some of the things we spend our time in, which either end up becoming tools and strategies they can work out with. Or insights they can walk up and say, Oh, okay. So this is what I need to tweak. And the last bit I’m going to say, that’s the moment of personal power and that gives me goosebumps every single time.

Pallavi: Because when you notice that glint in their eye and you notice in a very quiet and a slow environment, like talking, everything’s just easy. That moment of personal power when they step into when they taste it, it’s just very hard to go out of it again. So that is the connection they draw and then they learn how [00:26:00] to keep resting it every time within them.

Pallavi: That’s usually invigorating as well. 

Rob: Yeah it’s more experiential, isn’t it? It’s where someone experiences something, they know what it feels like. And so they’re more able to calibrate to that in the future. It’s interesting that you say about the not people not finishing sentences. So I edit quite a lot of these.

Rob: Particularly in discussion, I realize how little I finish a sentence because I start one sentence and then I have an idea and I go in another direction and then I go in another direction and I realize when I edit it, it’s all gibberish because I’ve never actually said anything.

Rob: I’ve just started in one direction and then I’ve suddenly had a different idea. And it’s something. One of the challenges I’ve had in speaking is I tend to think as I speak and I’ve needed to learn to shut off ideas. This is what I’m going to say that’s it because otherwise I’ll say something and I’ll, I [00:27:00] could have said it 10 times, but each time it will trigger a different association, a different idea.

Rob: I’ll go off with the idea and I’ll end up without a finished sentence. 

Pallavi: A standard of admission Rob, I should commend you. But one thing I do, I started for myself because I was not a smart ass either. And I tell a lot of my clients as well is we all need to think when we are speaking.

Pallavi: We do, because otherwise it’s, yeah. So I tell them, use, say the statement, get used to saying the statement, ‘yeah, so I’m just thinking as I’m speaking. Please bear with me’, let them know what’s going on and you’ll notice. People actually don’t interrupt you when you say that. It works because you made the intention known that you’re not a slow thinker.

Pallavi: You’re thinking as you’re speaking. Yeah. 

Rob: Yeah, that can make all the difference. It’s being prepared, isn’t it? And when you’re prepared, gives you a level of confidence. 

Pallavi: But like you said, if that you would show some ideas and say, this is what I’m going to talk about or focus on but I think in live conversations, when someone is [00:28:00] saying something and that is not what you’re prepared for, it’s a curve ball, it can come in quite handy to just ask for this time to say I’m just having a thing, but I’m thinking as I’m speaking. And I use that a lot because. Because I think in culture, we put a lot of emphasis on prepare, and it’s great.

Pallavi: But, in a presentation, for instance, it’s not how well you deliver it. What were those two curveballs that you handled well? And not with answers. It could just be, like, I don’t have the answer, I’ll come back. Or this is what I think as of right now, what are your thoughts? And so whichever way you tackle that curveball, I think the differentiator becomes when you’re prepared when that moment comes, because a lot of this is performance without rehearsal.

Rob: Yeah that’s that’s a great insight. Another thing that I’ve realized is when I’m over prepared. So I’m really gonna get this message across. I’m really over prepared. They tend to be my worst presentations because I become so fixated on getting an answer or on, on sharing an [00:29:00] idea that I lose any connection with who I’m talking to.

Rob: And that’s really why It’s really why I do these videos is because I don’t like talking to a camera. It doesn’t give me any energy. I’d rather ideas come up live. And I accept that my like presentation isn’t as poised . But for me that’s an acceptance of that’s the way I work.

Rob: For me, it’s more about what I know just being able to get across that. And I think. All of us, we have to accept our makeup, our strengths. And I think if you accept them yourself, then other people accept you as them. I’m guessing that’s probably a large part of your work is when people come to you, they’re not accepting themselves and through your work, they raise their game, but they also come to accept themselves.

Rob: Which is where the confidence and presence comes from. 

Pallavi: Yeah, I use four terms. I, the only thing I very deliberately stay away from is use terms like self awareness as an arrival point into a conversation, [00:30:00] because the arrival point of a client into my life or into my office is always a problem.

Pallavi: And that problem inevitably takes you down to self awareness. Okay. I just think it’s a boring, if I had a problem at work and I, and there was a coach, lovely coach, but she was talking about self awareness. I like, no, I don’t wanna go. Sounds boring now. It may not be the case for everyone but I think you, you’re absolutely right.

Pallavi: It is about accepting your constitution. This is who you are and, yeah, and it’s not going to be perfect, you’re not a pleasure 24 7.

Rob: I I think for me it’s, you have awareness and when you have awareness you have to accept a large part of my thing is accept reality as it is, accept people as they are accept yourself as you are and then once you have that acceptance you’re able to move on and then you’re able to evolve.

Rob: It all begins with awareness, but awareness on its own isn’t enough. 

Pallavi: Yeah. So the awareness bit is also where a coach can help because that’s where they’ll help you uncover your blind spots. And when I [00:31:00] got my first coach at work and part of the reason what I do, I’m just taking a step back is because I think as little girls, we were never really taught how to tackle situations.

Pallavi: Skillfully, quite difficult conversations. So the communication styles, the operating styles and the rituals you absorbed as a child and you went through with to college they don’t usually work in the workplace. So women end up doing one of two things. They either go along with things and don’t really watch their views.

Pallavi: And they’re like, it’s too much of a hassle, too much of an effort, or like I used to be too much for some people because you want to get the results and it’s not so much about people. You want to get there. Tempering both the approaches is hugely crucial, not just as a woman and as a professional.

Pallavi: I think it’s vital human skill. To be able to figure out when you want a soft touch, when you want a hard touch, who needs tough love or who needs the little gentle pat on their back. What I think made a huge difference for [00:32:00] me was to depersonalize a lot of this stuff and take it at a human level, because when we start to look at the ability to love or be loved as humans or lead or be led as humans you have to realize it is, it was never about you. 

Pallavi: You have this capacity accessible to you and you can take the tools available in the marketplace and expand that capacity for yourself. But your magic and your ability to transform things, it’s within you it’s never outside. That’s the distinction between an external title you get at work is the director of something.

Pallavi: Versus your inner power, which has nothing to do with titles. It’s got to do with everything non formal authority. So how do you, in a conversation or even events, how do you just show up? So I went for an event and this is me having cultivated this over the years. It’s not a recent, look at me, I’m so smart, but I was at this massive event a few weeks ago. 

Pallavi: In one of the parties, after we met the people, we’d gone to meet, what do you do, you can start scrolling [00:33:00] your phone or you can start doing whatever else. I just took my business cards out and I was like, okay, so I’m going to go talk to this one.

Pallavi: And I said, look, ‘hi, I’m so and and instead of just, scrolling on my phone, I’m here to network. I thought I should come and network. That’s what I do. What do you do?’ And they will, Oh, great. And they were like, Oh, I’ve never seen someone come in, what’s the word engaged this way.

Pallavi: This is great. And the conversation started, but I went with a very genuine intention and articulated it. So I’m not here to scroll on my phone. I can do that. I’m here to engage. So this is me. And then I met a few people like that. So this is the skill part. So the self awareness is that, okay, I could be looking good standing alone, and this is feeling really embarrassing.

Pallavi: Okay, that’s, now what? Oh, now I’ve got to do something about this. So it’s like the dance or the tango between self awareness and self expression. This is what I think, and this is how I’m going to bring it out into the world. 

Rob: Yeah. I love that. Basically I’m seeing that there’s, it’s really three things.

Rob: It’s self awareness, it’s the skill and what that leads to is self [00:34:00] expression. 

Rob: I’m going back to how you began, how you, Answered that question. You talked about going back to why, going back to, it was like why I do what I do or something similar. I just wanted to, what’s the end product. So for me people think I do relationships. People think I do conflict.

Rob: People think I do teams, but for me, it’s none of that. It’s about freedom for people. Because the first key focus that I chose was how can people be happier? And it wasn’t so much about happiness as about what’s stopping you.

Rob: So it was overcoming barriers. I only got into relationships because relationships were where everyone was stuck and I started to see the patterns .It’s not about having a great relationship. It’s about feeling free because so many people are stuck in a bad relationship or they’re stuck without a relationship when they want to be in one.

Rob: And they feel that’s the thing holding them back when really they just. need to feel free. So I’m curious, what would be your equivalent? 

Pallavi: It’s [00:35:00] living the life of integrity. Your inner and outer world, your inner world needs to be channeled into your outer world. But you need to do it skillfully.

Pallavi: If I’m in a relationship and I say, this is what I want in this relationship, I would want you to come and give me a cup of tea every day, once a day. It makes me feel loved. That’s not going to work. I’ve got to find a way to, to land it with the other person so they can understand where I’m coming from.

Pallavi: And in that process, I grow because I’m creatively now thinking that this is how I want to experience this relationship with this person or at work. If someone is behaving in a certain way and a lot of times I still don’t succeed. I have to say, this is about living a life of integrity, because when you do, the degree of personal power, you feel and therefore the freedom, like you say, the potential and your capacities that you can expand.

Pallavi: It’s phenomenal. And you can scale your impact. You can’t scale your impact on your own. You need different mechanisms. [00:36:00] It’s not a post a day or a conversation a day. So the ultimate goal is that you’ve got one life. You’ve got to really live it to your maximum potential.

Pallavi: And there is a way to do it. It doesn’t have to be effortsome. You can live in integrity.

Rob: Integrity is one of my core things. And it’s core for that reason. For me honor is so important and integrity is the way that you feel honor. People define things differently, but for me, if you live with integrity. You feel that like you don’t have guilt, you’re not hiding from people, you can just be who you are and then you can look at yourself in the mirror, and for me that’s what it’s about more than what other people see you, if you can be at peace with yourself.

Rob: Now wrapping all that up. You mentioned it’s women leaders, but who is the kind of person that is looking for you? What’s going on before they contact you, you’ve spoken a bit about the problems but then, yeah, if you could give us a snapshot of where they might be now, what [00:37:00] the process would be like and where they’ll get to. 

Pallavi: So a smart, thoughtful, ambitious corporate leader at the workplace. And when I say leader here, they don’t need to be leading people. They are, they could be an individual contributor or a leader.

Pallavi: So aspiring or established leaders. Either they know what the problem is. They can’t get on with the boss. They can’t get on with someone or their career isn’t going the way they want it. So they know, or they’re problem unaware and something isn’t quite working and they don’t know why in their workplace.

Pallavi: They would have wanted to be at a certain level by this stage five years into a role that wants to be at this title and they’re not. And then we start to work backwards on. where the problem, what the problem might be that they need fixing. So you could be problem aware or unaware. And then we get down to the juiciest part, which is the skill.

Pallavi: How do you get out of blind spots? It’s not enough in uncovering it. Those strategies and tactics are quite tailored. So if you’re in [00:38:00] the corporate world and you have a career that’s good, but now you’re hitting a point where you either want to grow to the next level or things are not going in the way you want.

Pallavi: You know what the problem is, or you don’t we can figure that out together.

Rob: What, what comes to mind, when I’m listening is probably someone who wants to move up, wants a promotion but they need to step into the leadership ability and the communication skills to be able to be seen as that person. And so that they get that next level job.

Pallavi: That’s certainly one Rob. And the other is you could be in a certain position that you recently moved to as well and you wanting to strengthen that role, both vertically, upwards, sideways, and downwards. Or it could be that you are aspiring to just grow laterally. You’ve been in the organization 15 years.

Pallavi: Now you want to grow, but it’s not happening. And I just want to also say that what you say, like a promotion, these are some of the macro [00:39:00] cycles in a professional life, but within these macro cycles are the micro cycles where we get caught up. So it could be that a professional is wanting lateral expansion and growth, but it isn’t happening and the projects keep going to someone else. 

Pallavi: What are we going to do that? So visibility networking being seen, being heard presentations. Your whole presence, who you are would be, in a nutshell, the kind of areas we talk about.

Pallavi: I know from a professional angle, I should be doing this, but I also find it a little bit hard. I’m not fully convinced to pigeonhole. If I can use the word to say, this is the problem with the person, because when they come, the problem permeates into more than one aspect of their lives.

Pallavi: So this is really saying if you have a problem going to a social event and saying how do I really engage in network, we can have a chat, work on strategies.

Rob: Something else that comes to mind just quickly before finish is, I was thinking, why women leaders and your answer answered it. 

Rob: In that we’ve changed where women and girls are told be quiet and these kind of things and they’re not [00:40:00] taught to speak up as much as men. And recently we’ve discussed the challenges men are facing with changes and the struggle.

Rob: And it just seems to me I’m not a great one for femininity, masculinity a lot of relationship things like that. I think be who you are and it doesn’t matter what. Whether it’s feminine, masculine, but what I can see is if we’re going to talk in those terms, what you’re teaching people to do is to embrace who they are and do what they are with their own energy, whether that is feminine or masculine.

Rob: Whereas a lot of women leaders tend to feel that they have to be more masculine and take on other ways of acting in the workplace that. that aren’t necessarily natural or organic or comfortable with, but it’s what they feel that they need to do. So it seems what you’re doing is covering that.

Pallavi: You’re spot on. I’m not a big fan of feminine masculine styles as well. And that’s why I didn’t integrate that here, but it is the truth. They exist and there are certain attributes clubbed under each [00:41:00] of these and women not just face that dilemma that they need to behave in more masculine ways, if you will but also the challenge they have with when to show too much empathy or when to scale back.

Pallavi: Where you get taken for granted or you come across as a pushover. So it’s tapping into your authentic voice, who you are, and then saying, how do I bring it into the world? If I had to put this on my tombstone, I’d probably say that, I think we all to a very large extent know what the problems are with us.

Pallavi: Like what’s not working and unless you’re completely self unaware. The challenge is how do I turn this around in a way that works for me? I buy books and I read them and that’s great because those are people’s stories, but that’s not going to be working for you. And I think that’s where coaching comes in to say don’t struggle alone.

Pallavi: You don’t have to do this on your own. Like Mary Oliver said, you don’t have to walk on your knees for miles. You, there are smarter ways to six weeks and you’re past it. So that would be the closing [00:42:00] comment and you can be yourself and still maximize what life has to offer, 

Rob: Great closing words.

Rob: As I would expect from you. One last thing. If someone wants to reach out to you before we go you’re speaking at an event. 

Pallavi: Yeah, we are doing a workshop on the 28th. It’s an in person workshop. I’m very excited about that. I’m doing it with two other colleagues very trained colleagues.

Pallavi: And we are doing a workshop on leadership presence for women leaders in Athens. The title is build your leadership presence and bridge perception gaps at work. So as you start building your presence in a way that you desire, you can start to narrow down and bring down the gaps. And that brings you closer to who you are as a person.

Pallavi: We’re doing the workshop and I invite everyone who listens to this to sign up. We’re making it as accessible as possible in, in all the possible ways of the workshop to make it really accessible to people. 

Rob: Okay. Sounds great. And if someone had questions about it or wanting to reach out to you aside from that where’s the best place [00:43:00] for them to contact you?

Pallavi: On LinkedIn, just DM me. We’re keeping things really simple and I will come back to you. 

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