Axelerant has been working remotely since 2012. And, wherein the beginning of working from anywhere was a competitive advantage, now most organizations offer it or a hybrid thereof. Yet, with physical presence shifting, genuine people care is more important than ever before. However, it's often not demonstrated.
Not at Axelerant, for by our purpose,
We genuinely believe that people are the secret to success, and by empowering them in ways that matter to them, we will create substantial value for our customers and positively impact the world.
Therefore people care is at the forefront of all that we do. Because without respect and trust between us all, we'll fail to create meaningful differences.
Our move towards attention to people's health and wellness started six years back when we faced soft skill challenges versus technical. And, in learning what progressive companies were doing to overcome these challenges, we hired our first life coach, Mridula, who is still with us today, leading our Learning and Development programs.
So How Did A Life Coach Make A Difference At Axelerant?
Stepping back to late 2015, our team members worked from across the globe yet didn't meet in person very often or at all. With little personal interactions outside of distributed team tools, people's engagement became dicey because interpersonal interactions tie into agency team wellness, effective team building, and ultimately happiness.
Life coaching is holistic consulting, personalized to each team member by acting as a personal development specialist versus a technology trainer.
And unlike industry consultants who propose solutions and leave the organization to implement them, our life coach stayed helping team members integrate change, new skills, and goals.
The life coach's job is to help team members get from where they are to where they want to be.
With our life coaching helping people get unstuck, improve professional and personal relationships, identify attainable goals, and develop their potential, we realized a positive impact on team members and group morale within a few months of such effort.
We Need More Than A Life Coach
After a few years of collecting data and feedback along the way of life coaching, we found that scaling our life coaching program wasn't sustainable. And, while every life coach brings valuable experience and techniques, we must be highly consistent in setting expectations of people's behavior and outcomes, whatever their role.
Therefore, we introduced the Learning and Development group and shifted life coaching to performance coaching within it.
What Is Performance Coaching?
An individual's needs and requests drove life coaching. Performance Coaching is about empowering our team members, from interns to executives, for alignment, with desired organizational outcomes.
More importantly, performance coaching provides support around a consistent behavior and ownership program. In turn, team members get comfortable speaking directly, albeit politely, so that discussions like feedback, planning, and recognition are mutually beneficial and expectations are genuinely clear.
What Is The Role Of A Performance Coach?
Our performance coaches are highly personalized, direct-action career counselors who don't tell people what to do but guide them up within or out of Axelerant.
The performance coach regularly helps team members understand and achieve their expectations through honest conversations and feedback outside of their key stakeholder relationships. They also help team members reach their career potential by coaching and introducing other educational opportunities through an Individual Development Plan and the Performance & Promotion program.
Additionally, performance coaches support team members to better fit by helping them empower themselves, facilitate personal and professional development, removing behavioral barriers, and bridging leadership and team members' career and concern aspects through a Performance Review.
Further, coaches aid safe space creation for every team member. Enabling them to ask about any organizational situation freely, remove communication barriers, and make departments and service areas better by suggesting ethical challenges for people.
Performance Coaching Model
While we welcome and celebrate people's diversity and individuality, it's not sustainable to provide coaching that's unique to everyone. Such a stance creates an unsustainable people-first mentality that places team members over the organization. Which then produces decision-making outcomes against Axelerant's best interests.
Therefore, we've introduced the Performance & Promotion program and Performance Review to ensure Axelerant's long-term success aligning with our purpose. During each monthly conversation with team members, our performance coaches run through relevant Performance Review aspects based on recent and trending information from team member's stakeholders.
- Alignment to Our Core Values & Traits
- Actual vs. expected KPI performance
- Feedback and recognition, given and received
- Individual Development Plan progress
- Objectives and key results
- Accomplishments - Certifications, Community contributions, Initiatives, External recognition, Non-prioritized Responsibilities, etc.
- Role Correction - job title change, promotion, role transfer, salary correction, etc.
- Other aspects per call participants discretion
By adhering to the points above, each Performance Review meeting provides ongoing clarity for team members about expectations and actual performance. And by these conversations, team members become more comfortable with their position and tend to concentrate on moving forward.
Meet The Coaches
The four professional coaches of the Coaching team work hand-in-hand with team members to help them become the best versions of themselves.
I believe in helping others see more clearly what they already know—and finding the solutions and strengths that are already there inside people.
I love to be surrounded by people who challenge me and recognize that everyone is superior to me in something.
I promise to be kind, honest, and empathetic with others and hold a safe space for the hard, messy, wonderful process of growing and flourishing as a whole human being.
As a coach, she helps people become literate about their inner and deeper selves.
She facilitates this journey in an empowering and safe way, leaving people feeling valued, seen, heard, and connected.
This, in turn, enables team members to realize their passion and potential in both professional and personal spaces.
A combination of empathy, support, and curiosity enables her to create long-lasting bonds with her coachees.
With over two decades of experience, Shalini is dedicated to helping individuals unlock their potential and plan for the future.
She helps foster essential interpersonal skills in team members, which is vital for career growth.
Through insightful coaching conversations, she focuses on helping people take the next step—by making informed decisions and taking meaningful action.
She supports people by creating a non-judgmental space to help build self-awareness, consciousness, and clarity.
Her approach breaks internal barriers by evoking the wisdom of the sage mindset.
Shalini emphasizes a practical practice approach—like improving mental fitness through PQ reps—that helps sustain the positive choices made during coaching conversations.
Importance Of Performance Coaching In The Workplace
By empowering our people from the inside, we can help people reach their potential in ways that align with Axelerant and themselves.
And, by cultivating an entire organization of happy, healthy, positive, courageous, and forward-thinking individuals, we're creating a safe and innovative environment that fuels itself.
All of which helps Axelerant and our people reach new levels of achievement forever.
Mridula Ujjwal, Director of Learning & Development
Outside work, Mridula is a Poetess, Psychotherapist, Numerologist, and Reiki healer. She loves to read, swim, cycle, and take nature walks.