Life is a Journey

It has been over two years since I traveled for work. I took a short trip to Goa to attend the World Dynamic Premiere of their new model, Slavia. (Once an automobile guy, always an auto guy – even if auto finance or “CV”!). A couple of getaways between the waves, with family and dogs to a pet-friendly resort nearby. So, I was looking forward to this retreat for professional coaches at Yelagiri. Hills are always inviting, even though summer. 

What is your Podi-Idli? 

We left early Bengaluru early morning to avoid the infamous traffic! We decided to meet at Murugan Idli @ Krishnagiri. Idli is one of the most popular breakfasts in the South, hence not what we typically eat out. Murugan is a favorite form of the Divine but not a fancy brand name for a popular restaurant. The restaurant was full of people when we walked in, mostly eating podi idli. We all started with podi idli and vada too. Over the next 30 minutes, we observed podi idli was the most preferred item in the crowded restaurant. Was it the taste, popularity, convenience, or the health quotient of steamed idli? Maybe all of it, and more. 

When 7 coaches come together, the conversation has to go beyond the food. The conversation went to “What is your #podidli?” when John Serrao asked us a classical coaching question: thought-provoking, open-ended and curious.

The question lingered throughout the retreat making us reflect on what our USP is as professional coaches. 


Back home, while on FB, this came up, an ad for the podi, the powder: “Podi Idli is the ultimate comfort food for most Indian households. It is an amalgamation of the fresh taste of familiar spices, childhood memories, and a whole lotta love!” 

Life is a journey… the journey to ‘become a coach’ is as much a transformational one. The climb up the short ghat road, with limited zig-zag, was a quick one. I had got my car serviced and was all set for the drive to the hills. It was great to escape after 2 years of pandemic-related restricted to move. 



This beautiful statue of Buddha greeted at the entrance of the property. One of the core coaching competencies of the ICF way to coaching is coaching presence. We build all our coaching presence outside the training and practice. We adopt different practices to strengthen that. 

At the lobby, it was this statue of Sant Meerabai. She is all about surrender. We keep reminding ourselves about the need to surrender to the coaching process.

Coaching is a transformational process. Hence, deeply spiritual. Mindfulness/meditation and surrender/devotion are all integral to coaching. 



Waking up with Nature: For the next three days, I woke up to this sound of Nature… well before the Sunrise. There was no need for an alarm clock. We are all aligned with Nature, but modern living has taken us away from it. Check out the audio clip. 


Coaching Intensive: We spent 2.5 days reflecting on each of the ICF coaching competencies at the Mastery level. The ICF coaching competencies have so much depth as they unfold in deep exploration and in practice sessions. It was veritable deep dive.

We started the coaching intensive setting the intent. Not mere expectations. There was no need to spend time for ice-breakers or introductions, as that was partly achieved around the podi-idli breakfast. We chose to

  • Building on the coaching fundamentals, building a strong practice.
  • Deeper awareness; deepen the ICF CC awareness.
  • How do I bring synchronicity in every aspect of my being (brave, deep!). 
  • Can we get more clarity?
  • Go back to fundamentals.
  • Blend with ICF CC.
  • Absorb as much, and challenge me.
  • To know what not to do.
  • CC 3 partnering at mastery level. 
  • Being a coach.
  • Be open to what will emerge. 
  • Leave a legacy. Thought leadership. 
  • Pivot – what next as a professional coach?

All at the mastery level.

What does Mastery mean to you in any field? We discussed that in detail. Also, what are the common mistakes, barriers? It is both the art and science, but also beyond.

Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it – Michelangelo.

We were there to re-invent the coach in us. The coach after all assumes the client is complete and thus has all the answers. It all starts with self-work, deep work, or self-care. Hence the retreat.

We discussed the practical issues we coaches face at various levels of our practice.

Mastery is not a mirage. After years of practice, it is about re-inventing the coach in us. 

We will remain in touch to build on this and strengthen our coaching muscle. 

This is a lifelong journey to learn and grow.

Mastery is about coaching from a state of Being. All in the service of our clients. We are blessed to see the transformational shift in our clients through professional coaching.


All work and no play… A retreat is not about all the serious discussions in the conference room. It is also about getting out and getting some fresh air, walking around, go for boating, enjoying the drizzle outdoors, and some rock climbing. 


It was indeed a deep, spiritual Satsang. We discussed “love” in the context of coaching and religion, with an avid golfer in the room, many discussions beyond the inner game. The rock climber brought her perspectives. The engineer, his passion for touching lives. How the Scale-up coach was partnering with clients to move forward, 5X, 10X. And the biker his perspectives. I was happy to be an impresario curious about the unfolding story… we are all genuinely dancing in the moment.

I felt grateful for the role of the impresario

I got some time to reflect deeply, have some deep conversations with others. We always wanted to do something like this for the coaches’  community. We don’t prioritize self-care, self-compassion, or self-love as much as we should. I spent the entire four days without TV and no social media. The TV remained off throughout the stay. I stayed with my morning rituals. I had to skip the long walks due to knee pain. All physical pains are manifestations of mental/emotional disturbances at energy levels. Wonder what caused the knee pain!

I came back with a few good friends


some clarity in my head. #Pivot.  

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The topic of coaching at the Mastery remained in my thoughts.. hence penned down these reflections. Also discussed Mastery at @Mentza today, 28th March. Check out the recording

And the journey continues…

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