Tanaya Acharekar

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young – Henry Ford

This quote from Henry Ford has stuck with me for years now. I have always found it difficult to stick to something when the learning seemingly stopped for me. I resonate so much with a steep learning curve, challenges, and the things which give me much more autonomy and avenues for creative and meaningful work.

Tanaya Acharekar
Tanaya Acharekar

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

I am Tanaya Acharekar, Founder of Innerglint Coaching and I have coached to date 90 plus paid and pro bono clients in various areas such as career, relationships, goal setting, personal dilemmas, and many more. I help professionals resolve career dilemmas to feel more satisfied and happier about their choices as a Life Coach, NLP Practitioner, EI Practitioner, B school Interview Panelist with 1500+ interviews, and Udemy Instructor with 2 courses and 20000 plus students enrolled from over 148 countries.

Innerglint Coaching helps in

-Providing career coaching services to professionals incorporating the principles of Life Coaching (as defined by ICF), Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Emotional Intelligence, and other approaches.
-Rather than advising professionals with generic options or answers, I help the clients generate answers for themselves through inner exploration, so clients can make their own decisions and are more likely to take sustainable actions.
-Helps clients experience an inner shift, transformation, and perspective change as a benefit of the coaching process. The answers to their dilemmas or questions are just a bi-product.

How does Innerglint Coaching work:

There is usually a pre-coaching conversation between the coach and the prospective client to get to know each other, understand the client’s expectations, their readiness for the process, and discuss how coaching works.
-The coach (I) will answer any questions that the client may have and explore if they are a good fit for each other? If yes, we go ahead with the coaching engagement and discuss logistics.-The coaching engagement may last for a couple of weeks or months depending upon the client’s goals to achieve and his or her progress.
-The sessions are usually 60 or 90 mins long and consist of conversation, visualizations, process interventions followed by an action plan that the client implements until the next session.
-We mutually monitor the progress intermittently. The sessions are driven by the client and facilitated by the coach (I).

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

I belong to an educated middle-class family. On both my maternal and paternal lines, I was surrounded by engineers and doctors who worked for reputable institutions. We had a typical late 80’s childhood with our parents assisting us with our studies, picking us up from hobby lessons, and taking us on family outings and festivals. Binge-watching, junk food, restaurant visits, video games, shopping mall visits were fortunately not a part of our childhood.
My sister and I were brought up with the mindset to maximize focus on studies as we didn’t inherit a hefty family business or riches.  Knowing only education will bring us independence and enable us to support ourselves. We grew up to be sincere obedient daughters.
My childhood has been instrumental in shaping the habits lasting thus far and saved energy and effort in letting go of unproductive patterns. My father has influenced me greatly by advocating for basic, healthy, and disciplined living. I’ve always been raised like the elder son of the family and encouraged to use my literacy and vigilance as tools for protection, security, and growth.

I’ve always known that I needed to be self-sufficient in order to meet my own needs and those of others. I never liked to have a concession or an exemption as a woman. 

After scoring low in the 12th standard and being influenced by a friend, I decided to pursue a career in hospitality. I was the top student in my university’s degree program, but after a brief experience in hospitality, I decided it wasn’t for me. I subsequently went on to earn a master’s degree in human resources, as well as certifications in labor legislation, training and development, facilitation, and a variety of other areas. After that, I went on to teach hospitality and subsequently management education. That’s when, at the age of 26, I realized it was too soon for me to settle into a profile that appeared to be preventing me from growing and forcing me into a comfort zone.

I decided to quit a well-paid job with a prestigious institute to challenge myself and create my own life on my terms and do something significant rather than going with the flow. My value is ‘uniqueness,’ and if you look at the type of non-linear profile I have, you’ll see what I mean.

It was a bumpy start – I had left my job with no plans and started exploring opportunities for myself in the training and development sector, I was fortunate enough to start my first assignment for a project with Hindustan Petroleum as a trainer for training 150 plus petrol pump attendants and then there was no looking back for me. I conducted training programs on soft skills, product training, induction programs for various brands like Izod, Aeropostale, US Polo, GANT, Nautica, Ed Hardy, Spykar, Reliance Ajio, Titan, Zycus, Olam, GTN, and many more along with Campus to Corporate programs. 

I then got associated with a reputed B school in Mumbai as a visiting faculty member for their PGBDM programs. I am an interview panelist for a working professionals MBA Program and boast of interviewing 1500 plus senior and mid-career professionals to date and continuing. I am a Udemy Instructor with 2 courses and 20000 plus students enrolled from over 148 countries. I have also published and presented several research papers on various management topics. I got an opportunity to work and stay in the US for about 2 years and gain some exposure and make connections.

With a solid experience in education, training, and facilitation, I then began my journey inward by formally getting qualified in Life Coaching, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Emotional Intelligence, and a diploma in Hypnosis. I am an ICF accredited life coach and I am now on a journey to taking up the next level i.e PCC from ICF. 

I am now on group career coaching sessions with clients from APAC, Europe, and the United States and have my own career coaching practice by the name of Innerglint Coaching. I have coached to date 90 plus paid and pro bono clients in various areas such as career, relationships, goal setting, personal dilemmas, and many more.

3. What insight led you to start this business?

I have been a solopreneur for a long time, but I recently registered my company to give what I’m doing a distinct identity and to allow more people to join in on the cause.

When I resigned from my job in 2014, I had no idea where I’d end up, but now when I look back on those years, I see it was a chiseling process that allowed me to become who I am today. With the various roles I’ve held, the various industries for which I’ve delivered programs, and the thousands of professionals I’ve interviewed and coached, I’ve realized that one of the major drawbacks of the time we live in is that most career decisions are based on external factors – there is so much external influence, competition, a desire for monetary success, and satisfying our egos, all of which lead to dissatisfaction with our career choices sooner or later.
With the huge personal transformation, I was able to undergo during my coach training which continues today, and other tools I studied, I realized I could help professionals connect with their inner selves to realize what they seek so that their career decisions are driven by who they are rather than the external factors. When clients come to me about their dilemmas and career choices; in a few sessions, they realize that most of the time the concern is not about the career but what they are experiencing now largely stems from who they are: their values, needs, beliefs, fears and their world view and that is a big one. It takes time to accept the responsibility of our own decisions and see how we can get out of our own way.

I’ve always believed that I owe a great deal to the ecosystem around me, and I want to give back to others with the skills I’ve acquired; forming this firm is the first step in that direction.

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

It was tough for me to sustain and find steady work when I first started out on my own after quitting my job in a city like Mumbai. As a freelancer, you can’t truly predict your monthly revenue or what job you’ll get next. I started building my network by joining numerous professional and social media groups and submitting proposals for any HR training/ facilitation needs, as well as chatting with the people who posted such needs. To obtain a feel of what was going on in the sector, I followed people, pages, and went to networking events and education-based marketing events. In a year, I’ve gained a bird’s-eye view of the types of opportunities that would best suit me, and employment has begun to flow in and the number of days I worked climbed considerably. Being a generalist and not being finicky about money, brand, or assignment helped me get started. Once you put your foot in the door, the door begins to open wider for you to have a full picture, and later the opportunity to choose will undoubtedly follow.

Same with my Udemy course, I initially offered it free for friends and acquaintances,  and paid students started enrolling. As I previously stated, I am and have always been an introvert, and making eye contact, making phone calls, and engaging in discussions were all challenging for me. I’ve worked hard to sell myself, but I’ve discovered that I’ve always had a full plate of work, to the point that I’ve had to and continue to say no to some possibilities and will continue to do so.More than 90% of my work is repeat business until now and I realize my works sell more work and I was able to come out of the inferior feeling about myself. I have around me people, organizations who know me and my work and they reach out to me and we collaborate.

I am inspired by this sentence from Dr. Srikumar Rao,” Once the flower blooms, the bees will know”. I started getting clients even before I was ready for them and now, I concentrate more on building my skill than marketing my business.

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

The start of my career achievements would be the decision to come alone to Mumbai for my career and that’s where it all started. With only a distant relative there, it was my start of courage and vulnerability. Things do differ when you are a single woman. I’ve seen it all, from finding an apartment in a family community to safety worries while flying at night while returning from outstation assignments. When I didn’t have set office hours and went to B school sessions on weekends, family, relatives, and others didn’t comprehend what I did. They were concerned, so why don’t you do something that is more understandable for them and tell people that she is an engineer who works for TCS/IBM? But ‘uniqueness’ and ‘variety’ are important to me and hence settling for one wasn’t my cup of tea. But then I had strong support and go-ahead from my family to do what I wanted and I made up my mind to win even if I lose a zillion times. 2014, I quit my full-time job to start as an independent trainer and facilitator, I was approached to assist in the management aspects of a business consultancy, which I joined in 2017; in 2019, I was invited to serve on an interview panel for a prestigious B school’s MBA program; and in 2020, I published two courses on Udemy (written, shot, edited solely by me) When I arrived in the United States, the world was under lockdown and after I came back to India, I set my own coaching firm single-handedly and registered it with Ministry of Corporate Affairs in January 2021. I kept and still keep consistently upskilling myself.

Today, I am proud to have influenced over 25 thousand+ lives through my courses and training and to have made a difference in 148 countries.
I have always been on the fast track to growth and I feel grateful to have inspired and continue to inspire people whom I engage. In a world where your achievements are measured with your business top line or your salary package, I feel grateful to always had the support and blessings of friends, family, and the Universe to be able to make my own choices, not get influenced by anything outward, stay by them and feel grateful about them. I feel anchored with who I am and glad about carving my own unique career path. People tell me that when they speak to me, they can’t help but get inspired and that is my biggest achievement!

6. Which tools were useful for you to grow?

Being independent, working in multiple time zones, and having a variety of tasks, I utilize as many automation tools as possible.

Time blocking tools: Calendly and Oncehub

Payment: I am integrating online booking with a payment gateway to simplify it for people to pay in their respective currencies, I am looking at Razorpay/PayU

Media: Linkedin, Youtube, my Facebook page to disseminate content on coaching. I did use Facebook ads for promoting my Udemy course

Video editing and creation:  Windows video editor, powtoon, and OBS software for creating and editing videos

Facilitation tools: Miro, Mentimeter, slido

7. What habits and systems did you build for your growth and transformation as a coach?

‘Strong intent’ and ‘Gratitude’ undoubtedly! This strongest inner drive to not settle but to push my limits and stay focused fall and rise quickly stronger have been my mantras. Be powerful within, carry your fire with you that lits others. Do not doubt your abilities because somebody else does. Read! You can not read; make books your buddies, nothing can substitute for them. 

Being ‘antifragile’ has served me. What I mean by that is when hit by an unpleasant experience, acknowledge your feelings, grieve and then rise up stronger. Use the experience as your fuel to move further. Don’t feel like a victim but like a warrior!

I never wanted to concentrate on the outcome but on a journey to become the finest coach. I am just at the start of this though, but continuous learning, practice, being open to adapting new styles, being in the mindset to serve the client has helped me better myself every single day.

Not focusing on who I want to be but embracing who I am becoming as a result of my efforts.

I have realized focusing on what are you ready to give up is as important as focusing on the goals and the to-dos. Achieving something is not about the task solely, it is about the integration of your mind and body, their unison along with an alignment from the Universe, and your intent and efforts determine that.

Feeling comfortable in letting go and letting the Universe work for you, you are sure to experience the magic.

Some of the habits that have worked for me are :
Scheduling time on the calendar for most of the repetitive not-to-miss activities to stay on the path. Some of the activities I commit to in a week are reading; journaling and self-reflection time, this usually is at the end of the day for me. I divide my week with specific days for live sessions on coaching, two days for B school sessions, every Friday for admin and accounts work, and likewise. Adding events on my calendar makes me stick to the times, creates times for activities that I may procrastinate, and ensures I am spending a balanced time on all aspects of business operations, learning, health, and wellbeing.

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

Newsletters: 3:2:1 by James Clear,  Granted by Adam Grant

Books: Man’s search for meaning – Victor Frankl
              The Gifts of Imperfection – Brene Brown
              Quiet – Susan Cain
              The subtle art of not giving a f*ck – Mark Manson
              Non-Violent Communication – Marshal Rosenberg

I am a big fan of self-help books because I feel I meet myself through them, they reinstate in me my spirit. All the above books are special in their own ways, Brene Brown speaks so much about courage and vulnerability and busts our myths related to them, Victor Frankl’s book beautifully captures the spirit of people in the Nazi concentration camps and explains the concept of logotherapy – having a meaning/ anchor for your life. NVC by Dr, Rosenberg will indeed change your life with so many aha moments it offers you through its simple model. And if you feel you are an introvert, gift yourself ‘Quiet’ and you will know how much the author knows you than you know yourself.

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

Believe in your choices, don’t add negative feelings to events in life and make them suffer. MOVE ON! The faster you move on, the farther will you go. Love yourself and celebrate the tiniest of achievements. Be kind to yourself, be your best friend, listen to your gut feeling, your body will never lie to you. Reach out for help, it makes your journey easier. 

Don’t live to seek validation and acceptance – you will lose years of your life. Just send out a strong intent, keep working and let the Universe gift you what you deserve.

10. Where can we learn more about you?

My bio: https://www.tanayaacharekar.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tanayaacharekar/

Link to book a discovery call: https://go.oncehub.com/yourdiscoverycall

Facebook page for Innerglint Coaching: https://www.facebook.com/InnerglintCoaching

My Podcast interview: https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/the-unsettling/ep-16-the-light-within-ft-hvOlUN2_Rxg/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHD0_ubx_6spgDKY4rLQf9w

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