Name: Naheed Khan
Industry: Coaching and Development
I am a Master Practitioner of NeuroLinguistic Programming and a Transformational Mindset Coach. For close to a decade now, I have been working with organisations, educational institutions and individuals, helping them create the change and lead the change. I have been a Change Consultant and have worked with the Government of India, facilitating Change Management through Capacity Development.
I am also a Global Goodwill Ambassador and have been associated with various other voluntary organisations providing mentoring and coaching for women and youth empowerment. As an NLP practitioner, I help people reprogram their mind to achieve their dreams, desires and create a future that they want.
As a coach, I guide people to unleash the potential of the mind to create transformation in their personal life, in their profession, their education and in their relationships.
About Futurwits - Futurwits is a venture, which aims to empower organisations, the youth and individuals, with the mindset and the intelligence to innovate and create the future.
We have evolved our understanding of behaviour science, and neurological science to create unique solutions offering consultancy and coaching to empower leadership and people development for the futuristic workplace.
Hi Naheed, please tell us a bit about yourself? What prompted you on the path of entrepreneurship?
I come from a small town in India, and from a family which has bred entrepreneurs for generations, so, I guess you can say that entrepreneurship has been in my blood.
For close to a decade, I worked as a People Development professional with various Multinational companies, Including Fortune 500 companies and also the Government of India. The learning that I got from my experiences was that the approach to Learning & Development delivered exceptional results when it started with understanding and changing the way people think and was not just focused on developing skills.
I used this approach and created transformation in the performance in State Bank of India where I was responsible for Training & Development of officials from more than 450 branches. The region rose to the top 10 in the country in terms of sales and employee engagement.
I again applied the same approach in my engagement with the Future group and was consistently one of the top performers in the country. My biggest achievement was when I could create a change in the mindset of the decision makers and started a Training centre in the Assam Secretariat.
I discovered the unlimited potential of the human mind and how it could create new levels of performance and lead change when it was aligned with a purpose. So, I started as a consultant in 2011 and worked with the biggest names in India. My desire to Disrupt, Create and Innovate the approach to Personal Growth and Development inspired the entrepreneur in me to start my journey in 2015 and I launched my sole venture in India, Adnash Consultants.
I had also been working for youth development since 2003, and with Adnash, I launched special coaching packages to empower youth with the mindset to innovate and create the transformational leaders of the 21st century.
1. My journey in UAE
I had been working as a Consultant for a Singapore based company and travelling to Dubai to facilitate workshops on Design Thinking. I had worked with more than 16 schools in the UAE. I saw the passion in UAE to lead the change and fell in love with the initiatives that were being taken to promote creativity and innovation.
We moved to Dubai in Jan 2019 and I started my venture “Futurwits”, which offers innovative solutions to both Educational Institutions and Organisations based in the UAE.
Our Board of Advisors comprise of multi-disciplinary veterans from HR, T&D, Quality Management, and Design Thinking, who with a combined experience of more 50 years, have created very simple and yet powerful transformational solutions for corporates in India and now in the UAE to empower their teams with a future ready mindset.
2. What challenges you faced on your path of becoming an entrepreneur?
Futurwits is my 3rd venture, I had started my entrepreneurial journey in 2004, with ‘Mantra” which was purely focussed on Personal Development for youth. The venture failed as I had poured in my savings and the set up needed more. I didn’t want to take any financial help from my family and do it on my own. This prompted me to take up a job so that I could finance my business on my own. But I got sucked in. The thought of giving up my stable monthly income which had become my comfort zone, kept me from taking the plunge even though it fuelled my purpose in life. This was the biggest challenge for me on the path of becoming an entrepreneur.
The failures, mistakes, and setbacks only taught me about my strengths and created my roadmap for growth and development. I learned with every step how to make better decisions, how to lead better.
Starting in Dubai, the challenges were different. It was a new place, a new setup, a new life and with limited knowledge of the market, the regulations and the processes. But it has been a great learning and has only made me more stronger and focussed than before.
3. Why do you think the relevance of coaches is growing at both corporate and personal level?
The need for coaching has been growing significantly for more than a decade now. However, the awareness and availability has changed in the last couple of years.
Today, coaching has become a very significant part of personal and professional growth. And the reasons are diverse. From personal issues, to professional stress, an individual today has more on their plate than we did two decades back. From decision making to relationships, the need for guidance is felt due to behavioural modifications which have come with expectations and aspirations.
With the technological advancements, the world has shrunk and the exposure has been exponential. We as humans, have been exposed to drastic transitions in our needs for self esteem and of self actualization.
There has been a shift in our resilience power and communication has evolved. We have been spoilt for choices, but the mindset and thought patterns have not yet adapted to these exponential transformations. We see a conflict in values, a confusion in priorities, and a struggle for aspirations.
This has impacted our personal and professional lives, impacting our behaviour, relationships, decision making and productivity.
We did not expand our thinking at the rate the world has been expanding. This has led to the growing need of coaching for students, youth, entrepreneurs, and professionals. The inability to manage the change leads to stress and it spills in every aspect of our life. It is one of the reasons for mental health issues that is effecting a large part of the population.
Today, we need guidance and help to become better at making decisions, to creating solutions and to leading ourself and others. Our society and educational system did not empower us with the tools and the mindset to adopt and adapt to the exponential changes, and we have seen the struggle in the rising cases of suicides, depression, stress, physical health problems, relationship issues, leadership issues and so on.
4. What marketing activities you undertook to build awareness? And what were the chief learnings from the success and failures of it?
To be honest, in the first couple of years, my only marketing was “word of mouth” which brought me significant work and established a brand image for me. Because of my performance in the organisations that I worked with, I had a good network of corporates who have referred my work to their counterparts and colleagues.
Apart from that, I have been quite active on Linkedin and that has also been a good source of creating awareness about the work that I do. However, apart from that, I have used social media channels and online marketing for target programs.
The initial few months had been challenging as getting the message out to the target audience took a lot of trial and error in identifying the right language and approach.
The work we do has a deeper purpose than just providing coaching, we help people transform their thinking pattern, which brings out their creativity and innovation. The message was not about what you lack, it was about what “more” you can have. Hence, it did take some time for us to get an understanding of how to take this message to people who are unaware about the significance of self awareness in leading a satisfied and happy life.
Self awareness is still classified as being needed by “corporate professionals and leaders”, when in reality it is the essence of a holistic approach to living a healthy life. Creating this message for youth, for individuals and corporates needed us to DISRUPT. CREATE AND INNOVATE. And we failed quite a few times in doing this.
5. What differences did you observe when your landscape changed to the UAE market?
UAE is a place which is very advanced in their leadership aspirations. The mission and goals of the country are very futuristic and I believe that with my work, I can support the mindset transformation and create the paradigm that will empower the youth and organisations of the country to unleash the potential of Human Intelligence and create leaders of tomorrow.
We have also observed that Individual mental strength helps people deal with the challenges and demands of the fast paced life of UAE.
6. You have been using LinkedIn quite actively for your professional reach. Can you share some insights on how it helped you grow.
I had been ignorant of the power of Linkedin for quite a few years, until in 2018 when I started actively engaging on the platform. I observed that the more I shared my views and thoughts, my network grew to add to my own learning and experience on a global platform.
For a professional, Linkedin is the most beneficial platform as it provides a personal reach and connect with the decision makers and leaders. It is 100% authentic and creates a personal connect. I grew my follower base without any marketing activity or promotion on Linkedin. I have only recently purchased a premium profile on Linkedin as it provided me the flexibility to reach out to a larger audience.
However, my investment on Linkedin has been more of my time than money. I have actively engaged with people who share the same passion as me and that has added to my knowledge and learning with a global outlook.
I have been engaged by major brands for consultancy and coaching through Linkedin without any investment for marketing and just by building my brand as an individual and a professional on the platform. It has also helped me connect with prospects and generated business opportunities for me. Today, I have more than 13,500 followers from all over the world, who appreciate my work and have benefitted from it.
I have been told about the algorithms and the approach to growing on Linkedin, but have always found that when we contribute from the heart the message reaches a larger audience. I started with posting 2-3 posts in a day of which 1 was a video post and this has helped me build my personal brand on the platform. I have coached people, including young graduates on how to create content for Linkedin. This has also resulted in many of them getting jobs and projects through the platform.
I have also been approached for synergistic collaborations which is going to be the way of doing business in the future. Presently, I have collaborated with a fellow coach based in Sweden and we are working on a model of “Conscious leadership” for organisations. And am also working with “Thrive Mentoring” based in the UK where I am a contributing mentor to support women empowerment. I have collaborated with universities in India and other parts of the world to deliver lectures and online sessions.
7. What tips you would like to give to young professionals and business owners, on using LinkedIn for their brand.
Linkedin is a wonderful platform to build your personal brand and a valuable network base. Connecting with like minded people will help you expand your knowledge and also provide opportunities to explore projects beyond borders.
For business owners, Linkedin is a great platform to connect and expand their network. It helps generate genuine leads and also form collaborations. For the young professionals, it is a platform that offers real time learning and engaging with experts in the profession that they intend to grow in. Connecting with people from the industry also offers them an opportunity to add value to their own knowledge and develop their resourcefulness.
I recommend that people who are interested in exploring the benefits of this platform, engage on the platform. Create content. Speak out. Express your thoughts and opinions. If you are wrong, you will learn the right ways and that will only help you grow. It also adds a lot of visibility to the business and the services that you are there to offer. Share what you do, your services and how it benefits. Share what value you can create.
8. How has Covid affected your business scenario? How are your clients coping with the same, to survive?
Covid did not affect my business if we are talking from the point of changing the way we had been working. As we were already working in a flexible structure, where there was no obligation of coming to the office to show productivity. It was based always on the ownership of the job and delivering the results. We believe that our productivity is based on how we do our job and not from “where” we do it.
Our workshops and seminars moved online very smoothly. We have been doing webinars and online sessions for corporates, universities and for professional groups. We have also customized our services based on the challenges that the unexpected change brought in the world. Our focus was always on delivering change through mindset and in the current times, this change was felt more explicitly in all the sectors. The current times increased the awareness of the importance of mental strength and emotional intelligence, things which we had been advocating for quite sometime now.
We created special packages to help individuals and organisations address this change and identify the opportunities it brought with it. We have been working with SMEs to help them survive this change and sustain their business, through creating new strategies and cultivating a mindset transformation in their people to implement the change.
Our services have helped SMEs find new avenues to generate revenue and create a roadmap for growth post Covid. It’s a combined approach of leadership, people development, organization vision and consumer behaviour. The strategies are completely based on the mental awareness level of the teams and they are accordingly coached and hand held to help them integrate the system. We have delivered results by increasing their sales and providing customized quality service to their customers.
9. Where do you see yourself growing from here?
We are a people based service. Our growth is in the number of people that we help create transformations in their life. With our current offering of “Business beyond Covid” package for SMEs, we have created a team of experts who have led transformations in companies like Hero Honda, Dr. Reddy’s laboratories, TATA Pigments, SBI, Airtel, Government of India, etc.
The future is more human based and value based than we can think right now, so it is important for professionals and organisations to become proficient in cultivating an emotionally intelligent mindset. Our focus is to help lead this transformation, so that we can empower those organisations who are looking to sustain and grow beyond Covid with the tools to disrupt and innovate their market.
We are currently focused in Dubai, but are looking to expand in the other parts of the emirates.
10. As a coach, what advice you would give to professionals and students alike, to maintain their mental and emotional well being in these times.
As a coach, I have been working with people to help them build their mental strength. In the current times, resilience is the need of the hour. Something which seems to have eroded in the fast paced life that we had gotten so used to.
Being aware of our own emotions, reactions, behaviour and patterns of thoughts, helps us understand others better too. Emotional Intelligence and empathy are the building blocks of the future. But before we apply it as an entrepreneur or a leader, we need to learn to apply it to ourselves as an individual.
Remember, nothing is permanent and every problem creates opportunities. It’s we who block ourselves from seeing these opportunities. We create our own stress. Because nothing in this world can impact us if we don’t allow it to do so. As an NLPer, I work extensively with people to help them understand the power of the mind. It starts with the words that we speak. There is a science behind how the mind works and our words have the power to make us feel strong or weak, which then effects our productivity and performance.
This is a time for evolution, but are we ready to look beyond the challenges and see the opportunities to evolve. Change is the only constant. And when we develop the mindset which facilitates change, we implement success. This is not a theory, it is a fact. I have been working with universities to help students understand the changes that Covid has brought and will be creating in the future in terms of employment and job opportunities.
This is not the time to despair about the changes of the future, rather, it is the time to identify what opportunities are there in the future and what value can you bring to the organisations with your skills and your creativity.
“Be willing to create the future that “you” want and not one that you “fear”.
Where can our audience connect with you?
To connect with me, send me a request on Linkedin, as that is the most preferred platform for me. You can also follow me on other social media channels. My handle is #naheedinspires. You can also check out our websites :
Drop me a mail on firstname.lastname@example.org to know more about my work and the benefits that it brings to people.