Trailblazer of Inspiration
M Krishna Kumar: maximizing the leadership potential in the corporate world
Success is not a one-person show, it needs multiple hands. According to Lailah Gifty Akita, every great achiever is inspired by a great mentor. Mentors see more talent and ability within a person than the person sees in himself and helps bring it out of him. Mentors are highly respected practitioners, like artisanal masters of a craft, who inspires apprentices. M Krishna Kumar is one of a proficient and wonderful individual, who is mentoring the business world. He is a pioneer in the sphere of Leadership and Executive Coaching in India. He’s one of the multi-tasking personalities, and that’s part of what makes him an exemplary leader in this field.
Krishna holds more than three decades of experience as a corporate executive, a sports coach, an entrepreneur, a professor, and an Executive Coach. He is a 60-year veteran of the consulting industry and laid the foundation of Intrad School of Executive School to take up the leadership training at another level.
Krishna is the visiting professor at IIM Bangalore, and he also headed ISC worldwide, the first person outside the US to ever head the board. His journey as a coach has been quite extensive in the world of business as well as in sport. He was the first Asian to be elected the Vice President of the International Association of Coaching (IAC) and also a Founding Fellow of the Institute of Coaching Professional Association at Harvard.
Feather in the Cap of M Krishna Kumar
- Awarded with the United States Professional Registry (USPTR) India Coach 2011
- First person Elected as the Global President of the International Association of Coaching (IAC) outside of North America,
- First person to be appointed as the Global Presidential Ambassador
- Seven-time consecutive Headline Presenter at the World Business & Executive Coaching Summit (WBECS)
- Three-time Speaker at Desafio Coaching, the premier Spanish coaching event
- Delivered keynote addresses at global coaching events in Taiwan, Kuala Lumpur, Budapest, and Bangalore
- Invited to record, by the Institute of Coaching in Boston
M Krishna Kumar established the INTRAD CONSULT to empower the entrepreneurial breed in India with modernized and advanced leadership skills. To know more about the framework of the organization, the milestones, the reach, and the road ahead we speak to the visionary Founder.
Here are edited excerpts.
Provide an overview of your personal and professional journey.
In academic, I did engineering from IIT and an MBA from IIM. After studies, I entered in the corporate sector and worked for a few years. Then, I started working as a CEO for a large Textile multinational, later; I left and started my own business. Besides, I have spent much of my life as a tennis player. It was my hobby. In the mid-90s, when I did not want to compete anymore I certified as a tennis coach. When I came back to India at the end of the ‘90s, I started tennis coaching as a hobby. At the initial phase, it was a small operation; with time, it started getting bigger and bigger. After 10 years, in mid-2007-2008, I had a number of academies. At the same time, I was working as a consultant in corporate so, it was very funny that during one part of the day I was a consultant and another part of the day, I was a sports coach.
I never thought that the two will meet. But fortunately, in 2004, I found out a methodology by which I could use my knowledge of sports coaching in the business world. I became an executive coach and started helping managers, executive to improve their corporate performance. In 2010, I formed Intrad School of Executive School and started the coach certification program. Intrad is among the first few, who started certifying people as coaches. And, as part of the program, I became a licensed school of the International Association of Coaching.
Tell us a bit about the company and its services.
Today, Intrad Consult is a renowned name in Leadership Development and Transformational Leadership. It offers Executive Coaching, Coach Certification programs, and Corporate Training that helps companies meet the demands of the modern world. We have a pool of coaches, offering a lot of programmes in leadership development. Here, we offer end-to-end leadership development consultancy service comprising assessment center, strategy facility, workshop, training and more. We work with the company to groom their leaders and high potential people. Our objective is to take people on a higher level of leadership in companies.
What inspired you to initiate your career in an entrepreneurial path and establish this firm?
I became CEO of a multinational company by early 30. By most standards I was young, and I do it for four-five years. I could not see very much more excitement in doing that. And, I wanted to try to take my fresh on challenges. Going to History, in the second half of the ‘90s were India when there was a lot of opening in the economy after the Narshima Rao government. So India was a very attractive place to start. After a fairly long stint in the corporate sector, I decided to venture out on my own.
The Indian market was growing at a rapid pace in the mid-to-late ’90s and it was my vision to work with businesses in the areas primarily related to market strategy that would support scaling. As the businesses grew, there was a serious dearth of quality leadership, and we expanded our offerings to cover the fields of leadership development with an emphasis on executive coaching.
What are the challenges in the modernised business world? And, how does your company resolve them?
The challenges faced by the industry is to remain agile during the rapid technological and economic change, and this is happening consequent to the introduction of new areas like machine learning, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Social Media and so on. Many businesses are shifted from offering products to working with the cloud. While when the growing market was bringing was creating numerous challenges as well.
The main challenges in the area of leadership development include:
- Building Executive Presence
- Developing a Strategic Orientation
- Growing Emotional Intelligence
- Creating High Performing Teams
- Learning Impactful Communication
Our company tackles people’s problems through blended learning programs that include the following elements:
- 1:1 coaching
- Group coaching
- Experiential workshops
- An online game based simulations and
- Access to our online learning platform
Where do you see the future of this business with modern trends like Artificial Intelligence and electronic business model?
The new generation entering the workforce is completely different to today’s people. They have technical approaches for everything, the office culture, and work environment needs transformation. Apart from managing system and other things, now companies need to focus on people management. People from the new generation do not want to be managed. They want to be mentored and coached. And, they are extremely mobilized.
What is your current business model? List the name of major clients.
We offer a complete bundle of services. We work on emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and coaching and make individuals capable enough to hire a perfect candidate. We support the organization in building and engaged workforce.
We have worldwide connections which provide us tools, techniques to do this. One of the models that we are applying is a game based simulation. Our global partnerships with organizations like the IAC, IIM Bangalore, Alec Sim, Mannaz, Pearson, Harrison Assessments, Silk Road Partnership, and CoachSource.
Verticals & Key Clients:
- Information Technology (IT): Cisco, Dell, Qualcomm. Oracle, CDK Global
- Financial Services, Banking & Insurance (BIFS): Legal & General (UK),
- Engineering & Technology: Boeing, Robert Bosch, Ford
- Consultancy & Services: expleo, Infosys, Wipro
- Consumer: Tata Sky, Decathlon, Pernod Ricard, Tesco
Throw some light on your team and area of expansion.
We are a team of 10 certified coaches, who have extensive experience. Our team is not only from India but across the world. We do have a small core which runs our team. Much of our work is done by visually in India, and across the world.
What do you like to do when you are not involved in your business operation?
Coaching is one of my hobbies. Besides, I also get involved in the research activity of positive physiology and do my own writing.
Tell me about when you failed. How did you overcome?
In the beginning, I got into some lines of business, where I should not. Such as I tried to do a direct mail, in the late ‘90s much before the internet has picked up. Today, it makes sense, but that time it did not make any sense.
What was your journey like to get where you are?
My journey is like a series of learning activities. I do many things, some work out well some don’t. Those that do not work out help me get where we are by teaching what I should not do. It is really wonderful in getting merged in sports coaching, and the consulting coach and becoming an executive coach. It was not that I planned but, I was fortunate enough to do that.
Intrad Consult’s Footprint and Future Ahead
I believe that the future for organizations like ours will be more and more into virtual space. Consequently, we are planning to expand more into applications, virtual interaction and app thriven, learning platforms to keep the pace what industry needs.
A Piece of Advice for Entrepreneurs
Up-skill yourself to become familiar with the domain, get yourself a coach to avoid any painful learning, venture in the field if you are really committed and passionate about it. Don’t enter any business because of money only.
Business is the combination of financial rewards and something that you want to do with passion.
Your favourite quote…
Example moves the world more than doctrine. Every man has his own destiny: the only imperative is to follow it, to accept it, no matter where it leads him. Henry Miller