Koushik Chatterjee

Koushik Chatterjee
Koushik Chatterjee
Career Clinic
New Delhi

Name of Business

Career Clinic

Size of Business (Annual, US $)

5-figure

Number of employees

10+

Uniqueness

Discover Career by Choice

1. Hello! Who are you and what expertise-based business do you own?

Hi, this is Koushik Chatterjee – an Indian by heart, and a bong by taste!

I am an ICF Certified Executive Coach with 1500+ passionate coaching hours and rich industry experience. I work mostly with senior IT pros in their middle-ages, I help them transit into the next career of their choice, which is potentially rewarding and enjoyable to them while unlocking their best potential. So that they enjoy the journey with productivity, work-home balance, and happiness.

2. What were you doing before starting this business and what is it that you wanted to accomplish in life?

I was trained as an electronics and telecommunication engineer and stepped into a growing IT premier, which is amongst today’s top 5 global tech service providers.

Two decades of working with the company shaped me and my pathway. From a customer-facing tech support executive to a battle-hardened sales leader, and finally into a bold business leader. Twenty-two years, Seven roles, One brand – HCL.

I had the privilege of witnessing the rapid technological evolution of our times – the internet, the software productivity suite, next-generation PCs, and laptops.

It was at the end of my corporate career, I discovered my penchant for learning and development, as a business. I was fortunate to be a founder member of a start-up learning business in HCL.

When I took the plunge, I was young enough to kickstart ideas, but not too old enough to superannuate from a corporate career. With an idea in mind and an apprehensive family – it wasn’t an easy decision.

I felt I would be at my creative best in shaping up a practice and business, where I am accountable to the most important stakeholder – my customer.  And all this with a sense of self-expression, work-life freedom, and experimenting with a portfolio.

I always wanted to work on blooming the best essence, unlocking the full potential, and nurturing the best version in young students and professionals. It gives me a sense of fulfillment and gratitude to this beautiful planet to see people doing and succeeding in what they love to do.

3. What problems were you facing in achieving your dreams before this business even started?

I pledged a year and a half to my family to follow my craze. 

I did begin with an idea to support university students with real-time project-based learning. A platform was built so that businesses can share problems to solve, and students can seek to solve them in the space of engineering and management. 

The idea emerged as I witnessed how a mentored industry project makes a student employable and ready for the workforce. As a BU leader, I hired project interns into full-time roles, most of whom gave an excellent start and ROI.

The project was bootstrapped, and I was privileged to have a couple of my ex-colleagues believe that we will succeed.

Two things worked well for me. Firstly, creating a twenty-four-month corpus for investment and working capital, Secondly, take the family into confidence that this indeed is the space I’ll enjoy most.

It took a year to hit the campus – slowly universities started to try out as students enjoyed being mentored by industry professionals on problems that bugged their work. Soon it went beyond projects, internships to a few landing up with job offers.

The business needed money to scale the pilot, which did not happen. It was 2014, the early days for the Indian startup ecosystem. The idea possibly needed a people lever to scale, more than tech, which did not catch the fancy of investors.

The rational mind would often overwhelm a sense of fear and failure, but the gut had different vibes to share – stay on it, be flexible to try the net choice, make it happen.

4. What insight led you to start this business?

In the meanwhile, I took up a few consulting and training projects to sustain and grow the charter and continue my path. I discovered while working in different roles in HCL, that hands-on business, sales, and entrepreneurship experience were precious to share, in order to help SMEs grow their business. And also support professionals to prepare for the change in roles and entrepreneurship. I could see myself delivering lasting changes to my clients.

We recouped back as a team.

I started enjoying being a coach. I was thrilled to see the opportunity and experience the fulfillment in unlocking value and unleashing the potential of senior professionals. I chose my mentor coach, enrolled in a coach certification program, and had the necessary training to begin my coaching practice.

5. How did you acquire your early customers, and validate your market?

I wished to serve folks closer to my tribe – middle-aged professionals, in business and sales, preferably from the technology domain.

I researched about coaching programs, talked to coaches and a few friends who have been coached. A 6-month executive coaching program was created, with 18 coaching sessions and always-on access to the Coach.

My goal was to enroll 4 clients in the program, deliver it, refine the offering and understand what matters most to my clients.
There were two channels I went for. Firstly, the immediate network who knows me well. Subsequently, engage with the extended network.

I kept the plan simple. Reach out through LinkedIn/emails. Invite them, people, for an intro coaching session. And deliver the best results.

Since the sessions were complimentary, I could have many coaching conversations to validate the value hypothesis, recognize my coaching style and client preferences. My mentor coach supported me in this journey. With his inspiration and nudges.

A sense of euphoria of becoming a practicing Executive Coach set in.

6. What were some big setbacks in your early journey?

Notwithstanding great feedback from the introductory coaching session, I could initially achieve a conversion of one out of every five. 

I needed self-assurance, defending low morale, and rejig the business plan.

This enforced to step up the outreach, which meant longer complimentary coaching hours, but with disproportionate revenue.

By the first year, I had over a hundred unique coaching conversations. This kept me ticking, showing up for the practice, and not losing heart. I decided to create a balance with my training practice, to ensure cash flow and invest in further coach training.

7. What were the big achievements after your early journey?

I achieved further coach training, shortened my program, created coaching themes or agenda, and increased the program price. There were investments made in personal branding, my Linkedin presence, speaking in related forums.

All of these gradually contributed to a larger connection with the target audience. 

More qualified leads are in the pipeline. More initial coaching conversations. And more clients to serve.

Testimonials are available in Recommendations of Koushik Chatterjee | LinkedIn

8. Which tools were useful in growing your business?

Linkedin helped to connect with target professionals and organizations. Reaching out with personalized insightful messaging helps to connect more and fast. The ability to research about the client and organization led to developing such messages. Articles and posts on the blog helped discovery through organic search. FB Ads have also been tried with good results for generating awareness, leads, and conversion.

9. What habits and systems did you build for your growth and transformation as an entrepreneur?

I developed a habit of being productive by manufacturing my motivation, focusing on the greatest impact areas, calendarizing time, minimizing distraction, and executing with the flow.

My coaches, their knowledge, apps, and systems have helped me grow my learning, network, and delivery.

A simple step of calendaring two hours on two days of the week for prospecting and outreach yielded good results. This led to committing to the entire process – from customer acquisition to a great coaching experience.

Tools like planning a coaching conversation, frameworks like Wheel of Life, and apps like Sticky Notes, Mailchimp helped me to be on top of the job.

Investing 30 mins of reading in the morning, then following videos of great coaches were embedded in my calendar. I also made sure to be joining at least one masterclass or webinar on topics like executive excellence, team coaching, business coaching, and entrepreneurship.

The realization that it’s all about them and not about me; and if they win, I win, has transformed my approach, delivery, and outcome.

10. Which books, podcasts, blogs, or newsletters have influenced your work the most?

I was immensely benefitted from the book The Trillion Dollar Coach – the leadership handbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell.  Believe in people more than they believe in themselves and push them to be more courageous.

Another book that influenced my practice in terms of coaching managers in the organizational context has been Good to Great by Jim Collins. Greatness is largely a matter of conscious choice, and disciple is a powerful theme in my coaching practice.

Apart from these, I could cultivate a regular reading from blogs of ICF, EMCC, other fellow coaches, which helps to validate, refine and reinforce my coaching style.

11. What advice would you give to a 5-years (or 10-years) younger self?

The advice to a 10 year younger self – When you discover what you love to do, do not delay. Train yourself for the job. Show up for work. As you do it more, you do it better. You start building meaning and value. When you make meaning, you make money. ☺

12. Where can we learn more about you and your business?

Linkedin: Koushik Chatterjee | LinkedIn

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/koushik.chatterjee.148

Email: koushik@ithinklearning.in

Visit Career Guidance practice for students: careerclinic.net.in

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