"If you want your team to excel in their jobs, they need coaching and mentoring," says Vishakha R.M., CEO and MD of India First Life insurance. "It is about offering a holistic view, beyond the functional, and helping individuals realise their own potential benefits in overall development," explains Vishakha, who guides thinkers and leaders through mentorship associations, including the International Insurance Society Mentor programme, WWB Leadership and Diversity for Innovation Programme and RGA Leaders for Tomorrow programme.
So, does she take special interest in mentoring women to improve gender diversity? "I believe that to promote gender diversity, we need to mentor men to empower them to provide equal opportunities to women," she says. She takes special interest in mentoring women, to prepare them for challenges in continuing their career and motivate them. At IndiaFirst Life, she has institutionalised coaching and mentoring as a part of the development and cultural framework. "Mentoring sessions have been introduced wherein the leadership team mentors future leaders of the company," she says.
Vishakha thinks everyone has something to offer. "With almost every person that I interact with, I come to understand diverse perspectives. It broadens my thought process while approaching a particular situation," she says. To quote Eric Allen, "Everyone is my teacher. Some I seek. Some I subconsciously attract. Often, I learn simply by observing others. Some may be completely unaware that I'm learning from them, yet I bow deeply in gratitude."