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Ashu Khanna
23 Sep 2016 . 3 min read

How I Learnt To Be A Leader...By Looking Inside


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Over a decade ago, I was introduced to the concept of choice, free will. It sounds odd for me to say that I was introduced to a philosophy that is the foundation of Hinduism. This rediscovery was the most empowering place to stand in. I could now design my life and it became possible for me learning to be a leader of my life. I could recreate my life every moment because every moment is a moment of choice!

To take charge of my life, I had to examine my strengths, my limitations and my circumstances as a whole. I had worked with the big six accounting firms as a chartered accountant, I have two sons. I relocated to South East Asia due to my husband’s job and decided to go slower in my career to give time to family. This phase gave me an opportunity to explore and discover different facets of my personality. I tried my hand at executive search, human resources, graphic design, retail and import-export, restaurant, banking. With each experiment I got to know myself better. I realized that I am entrepreneurial, have an inherent ability to connect dots and build relationships. On the other hand, I as not very excited with being structure bound because I enjoy experimenting and innovating myself. Also, I figured I was not cut out to be a restaurateur or tradesperson. 

The big question that stared at me - what next? I had tried so many avenues and did not feel at home with any. While working with a bank, my intuition served me to spot a gap in the market on people development. This seemed like the perfect answer to my quest. I jumped into looking for suitable training programs. A beautiful lady, who then became my mentor coach, decided it was time to rescue me and coached me. That transformative experience helped me find my calling, to be a coach. Feeling hugely inspired and relieved, I deep dived into learning coaching and establishing my brand. 

I have built my skills and relationships and found different ways to express myself. As a coach, I mentor coaches, partner with senior leaders individually and in teams. My writings offer an opportunity to share and learn beyond boundaries. Writing, coaching and establishing the coaches’ community in Mumbai are some of the ways that I share my knowledge. I have examined each relationship and reviewed my behavior and reflected to see how it was in conflict or alignment with desired outcomes. It was uncomfortable, it was painful and it was that honest space where we hesitate to go. Family, friends, coaches, spiritual masters have supported me through this internal journey. No leader achieves success without support from many. 

My relationships have expanded across oceans. The world around me has opened up because I chose to open to accept my emotions, my strengths, my limitations and my circumstances. Each time I digress, I reflect to review my actions, words, and thoughts and change course. Taking leadership of my choices and my life thereon has made me question my beliefs; my definition of success, happiness, wealth, well being and more; challenged my expectations from the world around me and myself; has required me to be deeply honest at all levels. This self acceptance has bestowed the greatest gift of loving myself.


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Ashu Khanna
Ashu, a leadership coach, has been successfully partnering with senior leaders for over a decade now. Ashu is known for her empowering, bold, curious and incisive style. She brings to the table her years of experience as coach, entrepreneur and corporate executive.

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