Meet Fahad Farook, a certified transformative coach, trainer, compere and speaker. With over a decade of experience, Fahad speaks to the Colombo Gazette and shares his thoughts on work and overcoming obstacles by combining wisdom with the right amount of energy.
Combining wisdom with energy – Do you feel this approach is understood by your clientele or market?
Well, I should hope so! You see, Wisdom and Energy are traits that I try to exhibit in all of my interactions. My training programs, Coaching engagements, Social media content etc., all of it attempts to communicate something that will help you realise wisdom with a sense of energy within that communication. And it’s not solely about that wisdom being imparted by me, especially with my one-on-one coaching interactions, it’s about creating a space for clients to understand their own wisdom as well as finding the energy to go through with decisions they make. These two traits aren’t random, They are the core of my value proposition.
As a trainer , you work towards “breaking away from conditioning” yes? You have worked with a vast number of international and renowned corporates and brands- how does this work especially when leading brands already have their set guidelines, mindframe etc. Have you found this to be challenging?
Well it’s not so much about challenging brand guidelines or even corporate values, it’s more about finding alternative ways to look at predicaments that you might find yourself in, personally or professionally. Most of the time we find that we have a singular perspective to a situation based on past experience and perhaps limited visibility of all the variables involved. I merely ask questions that helps break away from what someone might assume and try to find alternative angles.
What is the most challenging training or transformative programme you have conducted and why?
FF: The degree of challenge can come in many ways, ranging from scale, comprehension capacity and content complexity. It’s really hard to say because sometimes doing the simplest program for 5000 people at once can bring about its own set of challenges while trying to make even a small audience connect with some content principles that are extremely complex is a challenge in itself. However I think regardless of scale or complexity, I try to make everything experiential to some degree, this makes most things much easier to digest.
How do you customise your training programme to fit various industries? For example you have worked with the hospitality industry , IT and Telecom etc. How do you adjust these programmes accordingly ?
FF: This question can be broken down into two broad areas, one is that I do spend a lot of time trying to understand the intricacies of industries and organizations prior to engaging in any sort of intervention with them. The second part is that regardless of industry there are aspects of human behavior and thinking patterns that are pretty uniform and these patters transcend industries. So in that sense it makes it easier because I’m inevitably dealing with people in my line of work.
What do you feel is the biggest fear an individual struggles with in the corporate sector?
FF: I think people are far too complex, and it would be doing them a massive injustice to try and narrow down their fears to one or two things. Rather than fear I think that a common root cause for most problems is insecurity, sometimes people are insecure about their capabilities, about their subordinates, about their job security, about the future, about the organisation etc. and this can lead to the manifestation of various detrimental behaviors that can hurt both them and others.
When it comes to coaching and training – how do you stand out and what methods do you feel are most effective?
FF: It’s all very audience dependent really, my first angle is to understand the balance of advice and insight each person or group needs. You see, it’s not just about them being coached or trained, it’s also about helping them realize the wisdom that they already possess. my methods are very dynamic because people are dynamic; and it differs, as it should for each person and context. sometimes you need to help people gain some insight and sometimes you need to offer them straight up advice. I think the strength of a good coach or trainer is the ability to identify who needs what at which moment in time in order to achieve something that is relevant to them.
Tell us about 2-3 of your biggest clients / organisations you have worked with and as much as you have been invited to transform them, what have you taken home from these sessions?
Over the past decade I have had the serious fortune of working with some amazing people and organisations, and I am not just saying that. Some of these interactions have become friendships based on mutual trust and respect. I constantly have engagements on multiple fronts be it training, consulting or compering with several organisations like the Ceylon Tobacco Company, London Stock Exchange Group, Sri Lanka Telecom, Softlogic Life, MAS, Movenpick Hotels and Resorts and Virtusa to name a very few. I actually consider myself lucky to be able to work with organisations and people who share similar ideals in terms of investing in the future.
What is the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is that if you do it right, it isn’t really a ‘job’.
How do you sell yourself? What is your key selling point?
I constantly try to keep things connected to practical reality. I think in my line of work a lot of people assume that you’re supposed to constantly be spewing out a never-ending stream of positivity and motivation, but nothing could be further from the truth. Life has its ebbs and flows and as a coach and a trainer I need to be able to help people navigate that reality. So, I think why my clients keep coming back is because my interventions help them have an aspirational outlook that is also deeply grounded in reality. There are no fairy tales here!
Let’s talk about this current situation. It’s a difficult time for most and negative emotions can limit people in the decisions and choices they make. What’s the best advice you can share at a time like this?
On the very specific point of negative emotions I think something we need to do is first accept we don’t know how long things are going to be unstable for, Human beings are inherently emotional creatures and it’s natural for our emotional state to take a battering in this context. But I think what we need to do is spend some time comprehending and then accepting the reality of things, and try to understand how we truly feel about it; without trying to sweep it under the carpet. It’s only in this acceptance of whatever emotion we’re feeling that we’ll be able to carefully come up with a rational response to the situation. It’s this carefully orchestrated emotional and rational blend that will ensure the sustainability of our sanity.
Cost savings is a huge factor in most companies. How important is training, self development and coaching at this present time?
I think the simple answer is that whatever you invest your time, money and effort in will yield you a result. So, if an organization is investing in trying to cut down their cost then of course that will yield them a result, however the organization needs to understand that they cannot expect the same result from their people if they haven’t made similar investments in them. While times obviously are tough and certain restrictive measures are needed, I think this is an excellent time to separate organisations that are truly invested in their people from the organisations who only claim people are their most valuable resource in their annual report.