You Cannot Be A Leader Without Being A Coach: Ruchira Chaudhary

Ruchira Chaudhary's new book is full of interesting anecdotes and insights culled from research and interviews with prominent business leaders


The idea of the boss who loves command and control is outdated. Today businesses across sectors are realising the importance of leaders as collaborators, who can hand hold their peers and guide them toward greater success.

Ruchira Chaudhary’s new book, Coaching: The Secret Code To Uncommon Leadership published by Penguin Random House, is a deep dive into leadership strategies that emphasise the intersection between leadership and coaching. Her book gives us a new paradigm of the idea of leadership.

An alumnus of the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business, Chaudhary straddles the world of corporate houses and academia. She is a leading executive coach, adjunct faculty at several top tier business schools and Managing Director of Truenorth Consulting, a boutique strategy consulting firm.

Chaudhary’s book is full of interesting anecdotes and insights culled from research and interviews with prominent business leaders. She takes learnings on leadership from different walks of life - from the boardroom to a cricket field. We come across toxic managers who achieve results but leave a trail of crippled careers and cultural destruction in their wake. On the other end of the spectrum are leader-coaches who not only meet their targets but also empower their people to become leaders with better capabilities. The latter do that through different approaches, be it greater exposure to senior leaders, increasing the autonomy of teams to make decisions or by being a role model.

There are several examples in the book of leaders using these principles in their style of leadership. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, for instance, fixed the company by consciously modelling a behaviour he wanted managers to adopt. Jaideep Khanna, the Asia Pacific head at Barclays Bank, asked team members to meet the global boss whenever he was in town. Deep Kalra, the Founder of MakeMyTrip, asked young hires to join him for meetings that they usually
would not have been invited to attend.

Coaching the Secret Code to Uncommon Leadership builds a compelling case for the leader as a coach. It also goes beyond simply advocating that to the ‘how’ of making it a reality. It provides practical guidance on how you can embed a coaching culture throughout your organisation. This is exactly what today’s firms and employees need from our leaders.

"Leadership and Coaching are not disparate disciplines; you cannot be a leader without being a coach,” says Chaudhary. Her sentiment is echoed by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of international bestseller Lean In, who also endorses the book. “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence,” says Sandberg Reading this book will make you realize why it is not the usual fare that you see in bookshops. The storytelling is gripping, the authenticity of the narrative easily connects and by the end of the last chapter, there is a lot to take away.

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