A Story of Self-awareness and Change

  With Khurram Bhatti

Khurram Bhatti is very skilled in creating opportunities out of challenges, by keeping himself in the here and now. His mindful ability to adapt to change and his strong self-awareness became the foundation of his inspiring story.

Khurram has been through many challenges in his life, and probably the most relevant is the one that changed his career journey from software developer to where he successfully is today as a Certified Coach, Facilitator and Trainer. He listened to his inner voice.

Back in 2011 Khurram was leading a team in a well-known global telecom.

I started interacting with agile coaches and one of the agile coaches invited me to join their monthly agile lab sessions. After joining those sessions, I realized that their complete focus was on people perspective that supports the daily work. Not considering people as a resource, however adding more of human element having emotions and feelings. It really struck me and made me very curious. I felt that I wanted to explore this new area than systems integration and testing, however, I didn’t know what exactly yet.

So, keeping the connection with agile coaches and continuously learning about Lean & Agile, after a few years, I talked with my manager and brought up that the role of scrum master was interesting that I wanted to explore it as a further competence development.

Even though I appreciated my manager´s prompt response to my request, I got registered to other courses that were far from the kind of development I was looking for.

I came to the point that I started to ask myself: “What am I doing here?”, during those technical training sessions.

I realized that I was in the wrong course. I had a good technical background however, I didn’t feel much of internal motivation to do it.

Khurram decided to finish the course and tried to find a way to apply what was learned with the change he was seeking.

I spoke with my manager again about my insights and we discussed different approaches to find the best way to keep providing value to the company, while exploring new opportunities.

Khurram changed team and kept exploring.

Meanwhile, he became member of a newly started corporate club of Toastmasters International, that is a nonprofit educational organization that has clubs worldwide with the purpose to boost communication, public speaking, and leadership skills to their members. He got recommended as VP of Public Relations within first six months and contested at area level in Stockholm and division level in Denmark at speech evaluation contests.

Toastmasters helped me to redefine that curiosity to explore a journey to improve my communications skills which are vital as an agile coach. Then, I started to understand where I wanted to be. So, I left the telecom in 2015 and started finding opportunities where I could experiment with Lean & Agile principles. Luckily, I found one!

I invested in myself and took coaching and leadership courses. Suddenly, the long-awaited change started to happen.

What would you say was the relevant moment where your transition from developer to agile coach took place?

I have been working with software development since 1997. I was curious to use technology to solve daily challenges. Integrating various open-source software to develop solutions, it was fascinating for me. During this time, I realized that to develop better software solutions, the individuals must come together and work as a team.

That was the time I believed in my potential and what I wanted to do, which led to start investing in my self-development, connecting with like-minded people, sharing mutual inspiration, motivation, and ideas. To become an agile coach, it required a lot of effort, time, learning after failures, travelling and commitment to help people grow.

I would say it was focus shift to people a key transition moment. It gives me immense pleasure when I help individuals and teams to transition through the change they struggle with. Giving them the motivation, facilitating them to realize they are bigger than the challenge.

What did you learn from this transition?

First, I am thankful to those individuals who supported and encouraged me in this journey and trusted in my passion and skills.

I recall putting a request to develop myself in Lean & Agile to my then manager, however I wished it could have been supported more. For me to become a leader in Agile path was very clear, and I kept on finding opportunities in and outside work and people who could guide me and support me to learn and even apply the knowledge.

If I look back, I’ve learned that if you have a strong will to change things in your life, the risks are worth to take for your own well-being and those around you. Believe in yourself, simple yet very powerful words.

I learned to use the challenges as fuel by being more instrumental to engage action taking.

To sum up I would say “Failures, challenges, and difficult situations happen not to stop us, but to shape us for the future!”

If you could recommend 3 things that could simplify the journey of creating the change we want, what would those be?

I would say:

  1. Be clear regarding where you are and where do you want to be. Develop more emotional intelligence.
  2. Understand what is challenging for you to perform that change, start with smaller concrete steps to get a feeling of progress.
  3. Boost your self-esteem connected to this change by visualizing how this success might look like once you reach your goa.

    For example: If you want to become a public speaker, then just imagine in how inspired people will be after you perform your speech, the warm feeling of joy and self-fulfillment you will experience.

You will come across many people who will reject you and your ideas. I urge you to listen with an open mind and find what’s worth for you in those words.

Just believe in yourself and good people will surround your life!

What is your next step?

I have started a garage idea “Coaching A Potential” to continue working with my passion.

As a trainer, I focus on helping trainers on how to design their courses for maximum engagement and learning experience. If you want to design a workshop, a course or even a meeting, I can help with designing a more interactive and inclusive learning experience. If a team or organization wants to learn about Agile, I can conduct training sessions to build that gap.

As a coach and facilitator, I help individuals, teams and organizations to define their agile way of working and grow their potential and skills. Often there are internal struggles and mental burden. There, I offer one-on-one coaching, in complete confidentiality.

For teams struggling with conflicts, I help with facilitating sessions, create a safe space where those conflicts can be talked openly.

I will continue doing training courses. Scrum Alliance CSM, ICAgile Agile Team Facilitation (ICP-ATF) and Agile Coaching (ICP-ACC), and Training from the Back of the Room (TBR) practitioner course.

You can connect with Khurram and follow his amazing journey via: Khurram´s Blog