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Female Entrepreneur | Suman Kher, Soft Skills Studio

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Suman KherI was born and raised in Bangalore to Punjabi parents. I have also lived in Delhi for 12 years and got my Masters in Literature from Delhi University and an MBA in HR from Symbiosis University. I am passionate about training, writing and skill development. My hobbies include reading, listening to music, chatting on Twitter and watching re-runs of sitcoms. I worked full time for five years in Delhi and then shifted to Mumbai in 2007 where I have been training corporates since 2008-09.

Tell us about Soft Skills Studio

I have been corporate training on my own for the last six years. I conduct corporate training in modules including business communications, soft skills, customer service, email writing, presentation skills and other managerial skills. I was also recently certified as a coach and can now take on one-to-one coaching assignments as well. It was only in July last year that I decided to have a formal online presence on sumankher.com and started a training blog called Soft Skills Studio.

My target audience would typically be anyone who wants to develop their skills through training or achieve their individual goals through coaching. As a corporate trainer, I look at middle managers and above to impart skill training in my sessions.

Why did you set up the company?

The freedom to break away from a 9-5 routine is what primarily made me go out on my own. Plus, work gets repetitive in a full time job. As a corporate trainer on my own, I can choose challenging assignments and deliver them passionately. It is through this freedom that I was able to launch my own blog, which gives me the creative satisfaction of sharing my knowledge with others and showcasing my work to corporates on it.

Tell us about your certifications and experience as a trainer

My journey as a trainer has been brilliant so far. Even after 13 years, I look forward to each session that I conduct. My introduction to training was when I was first certified to be a trainer in 2003 as a part of my job then. When I decided to jump into corporate training in 2009, I got myself an international certification in training from Dale Carnegie, which helped me hone my core training skills. I also got an advanced Train The Trainer certification from IIM, Indore last year to upgrade my training skills. I am also an NLP certified practitioner. And the latest addition is becoming a certified coach from Erickson International. I believe coaching can make a huge difference to skill development programs that I have been conducting so far.

I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to work with well known organisations during my training career. To name a few – J&K Bank, Fastrack Watches, HDFC Bank, Bajaj Allianz GIC, Godrej and Boyce, SBI Life Insurance and L&T Finance.

What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?

When I moved to Mumbai in 2007, I knew no one there and had no contacts. I think the biggest challenge was to bag assignments by just posting my resume online. And contrary to what I believed, it was hard to give up the comforting predictability of a 9-5 job. As someone working on my own, I have to be constantly on the move making networks and tapping people for future assignments.

Even with my blog that I launched last year, managing everything on my own has been the biggest of challenges.

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

I believe in small victories since every new victory overshadows the previous one. To be able to make a career with no contacts to start with is my first achievement. More recently, the biggest achievement has been to see my vision turn into a reality – I worked as an individual all these years but the blog has given me a formal presence, where people now know me on social media for what I do.

The milestones – hitting 200 views on my blog in a single day and getting over a 100 likes on Facebook in a single week – have made the journey worthwhile.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

I believe that only self-motivation can sustain your goals and visions. The things or people that inspire us are support systems that keep us going. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my spouse for being my strongest support system of my life. He kept me afloat even during times I was sinking under the weight of self-doubt.

What advice do you have for women starting out on their own?

Just do it – I know this sounds corny but I think that is the only way to get started. It is harder for us as women, let’s not wait for perfection. We all wait for all the resources to be available and for the whole plan to magically fall into place. But that seldom happens. We just need to find a method in the madness and start moving towards our goal – one small step at a time.

What would be your advice to new trainers?

Training isn’t as glamorous or easy as it looks. Be clear about your reasons for becoming a trainer, acquire relevant skills and certification and be prepared to rough it out. Networking is key to a successful career if you want to be on your own.

Can you recommend any organisations or networking groups that have particularly helped you on your journey?

Job sites and LinkedIn to begin with. More recently, my blog, Twitter and Facebook have helped me connect with people.

If you could ask for one thing to help propel your business what would it be?

I would love to get connected to decision makers like HR managers and CEOs in organisations and explore training and coaching opportunities so that I can help employees improve their skill levels and perform better. Corporates and individuals are free to drop in at www.sumankher.com and explore the kind of association they want to have with me in areas of training and coaching.

I am also developing open sessions for individuals on key skills like presentation skills and assertive communication. The information will be updated on the website soon.

What does the future hold for you?

I believe that the future is pretty bright for me as a trainer and coach. With my passion and expertise in training and my newly acquired skills as a coach, I can make a huge difference in helping people achieve their life goals. I am pretty excited about taking up coaching assignment.

About Suman Kher

Training is the only powerful tool that can transform one of the youngest nations into a skilled workforce ready to take on the world – this sums up my passion for training. Armed with training certifications from Dale Carnegie and IIM, Indore, I have been training corporates for the last six years. I am also certified by Erickson International to be a coach and help individuals meet their personal and professional goals through coaching. I blog about soft skills and training on sumankher.com

This article was provided by WeAreTheCity Delhi Committee Member Ashish Bhardwaj.

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