Interview with Payal Nanjiani, CEO and founder of Payal Nanjiani Leadership Company


Why Executive Coaching is the need of the hour in Corporate India-World renowned executive coach Payal Nanjiani shares her insights.

Question: Tell us something about your work.

Payal’s Response: By my profession, I am an executive coach and author. I’ve been in this field for more than 20 years now.

I write on leadership, and my books have been awarded the New York Big City award and the Canada books of excellence award in the business and self-help leadership book category. My clients are predominantly senior leaders and CEOs of companies worldwide, typically in America and Asia.

I like yoga and meditation and spend a lot of time on the same. I am blessed to have a loving husband and two wonderful children who are now independent and grown up.

Question: What type of coaching do you do?

Payal’s Response: I specialize in helping leaders bring about long-lasting and sustainable change in their behavior and thinking. That’s what allows them to change their results and scale up the company’s growth.

Question: You have been in this industry for the past 21+ years. How has the coaching scene changed?

Payal’s Response: Absolutely. In the past many years, I’ve seen this industry evolve. I’ve coached massively in Corporate America. They’ve been my significant clients. Coaching is a very mature market there.

However, if I talk specifically about India, the market is developing in terms of coaching.

It’s incredible how many people now want to take charge of their careers and do better.

They have ambitions to grow, but sadly they need to learn how to. And so they land up asking their friends about it, who also do not know how to succeed because their career growth is stuck too.

Additionally, organizations still need to support their senior leaders and CEOs regarding coaching. Senior-level executives don’t need training; they need transformation. And many companies in India still need to grasp this concept of transformational leadership. It is one of the reasons why most companies in India need more leadership at various levels.

So I am seeing people and organizations approach me to help them with career transition and to grow in their field of work. It just needs to speed up on their end.

Question: What, according to you, are the essential qualities of a great leader?

Payal’s Response: In one sentence, I would put this– the ability to improve yourself and work harder on yourself than on your job. Leaders cannot effectively lead the team or the organization if they can’t lead themselves. And that’s where I coach leaders. I have been allowed to work with leaders at the bottom of the game and have taken them up. I’ve been coaching the senior management team to help them become great leaders so they can take their group and organization to experience exponential growth.

Question: You’ve been helping companies in India to develop great leaders. What would you say is the major challenge Indian Companies face today concerning leadership?

Payal’s Response: These days I am coaching and training in many Indian companies. They are doing good. They can be great. There are a couple of challenges I’ve observed. To begin with, the current state of leadership in India is that only one in 10 people promoted to leadership positions have the ability to lead. The rest of them are only managing somehow. Usually, people who are star performers or have been with the company a long time are encouraged.

It’s surprising how little thought is put into their appointment and helping them become better leaders.

Your leaders are the spine of the company. And so my request to Indian Companies is to invest in your leaders.

Question: Why is Coaching and leadership training essential or the need of the hour in India?

Payal’s Response: The business world is going through transformation and disruption. Most of the leadership content in the world today needs to be updated.

The best example I can give you is how the education system in India focuses on churning out thousands of MBAs and engineers each year who work heads down in corporate America, with only a few getting into senior executive roles or becoming a CEO.

Further, there was research somewhere that stated that from 2000 to 2019, the United States had more Fortune 500 companies than any other country. In 2020, the U.S. was surpassed by China, where 124 companies were reported, compared to 121 U.S. companies. India is not on that list.

It’s mainly because Indian business leaders have focused on developing technology rather than on people who can be business leaders. We haven’t nourished their souls and spirits to be industry winners. Along with being focused on the numbers, the top management must be willing to step up and help their people develop world-class habits and behaviors that can go a long way in growing the company.

Additionally, leadership is often a very lonely role. All leaders today need a quiet space to reflect with someone who knows what they are doing.

So, if we focus on good coaching for our leaders now, we will soon be included in the game.

Question: You work with big celebrity CEOs. India is going through a start-up revolution. What would be your advice to them?

Payal’s Response: I have many start-ups as clients in America and India. I coach them. I would tell them to develop themselves as great leaders. You see, businesses never slow down; the leader does. So if the leader of the company is not resilient, decisive, and persistent, the business isn’t going to grow. You can do as much marketing and innovation, but it will eventually succumb. So, invest in your growth first before you work on scaling the business.

“ Indian Companies are training their leaders on old leadership content. The business world is going through transformation and disruption. You cannot expect new results with old patterns of things. That’s insane. Additionally, leadership is often a very lonely role. All leaders today need a quiet space to reflect with someone who knows what they are doing. So, if we don’t focus on good coaching for our leaders now, we will soon be left behind in the game” – Payal Nanjiani

About Payal Nanjiani:

Payal Nanjianii is CEO and founder of the Payal Nanjiani Leadership Company. She has been named as most influential Leadership speaker and executive coach by Times Group. To know more details about her, visit

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Neel Achary is the editor of Business News This Week. He has been covering all the business stories, economy, and corporate stories.