How to Listen and Deliver with Aditya Guthey

By Yuresh Shayzer
April 16, 2024

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Welcome back to Speak to Freedom! Today, we're joined by Aditya Guthey, a tech professional with a fascinating journey. Aditya transitioned from his tech industry experience to become a communication coach, helping others effectively express themselves. Whether it's written or verbal communication, strong skills are essential for managing yourself, leading teams, and achieving your goals. 

We all need to keep growing, and Aditya’s story offers valuable insights for anyone looking to climb the ladder of success. We'll delve into his background, and current work, and explore practical ways to improve communication. So, let's jump into this episode and learn from his experience!

[1:50] What is it that you do in the world?

I am a speaker and coach for tech leaders. I help them improve their communication skills and leadership skills.

[2:10] Can you walk me through how your passion evolved into a career focused on helping others in this area?

With over 10 years in tech, I've grown from an individual contributor to leadership roles like team lead and engineering manager. The journey wasn't without hurdles. Early on, I struggled with people management, communication in meetings, and building a strong brand for my team's work. That's when coaching made a world of difference. I honed my communication skills, not just for meetings but for public speaking as well. In fact, I even started winning speech contests! This transformative experience sparked a passion in me to replicate it for others. I want to empower tech leaders and professionals the way my coaches empowered me. That's why I explored certifications and partnerships with experts like you to build a coaching and speaking business. 

[3:38] It seems like helping people is important to you. What made this specific area the one you dedicated yourself to?

In southern India, even before I arrived, engineering seemed to be written in the stars for me. My parents nurtured that path, and while it wasn't a choice I actively made at first, it blossomed into a fulfilling career. I truly enjoy being part of the tech community and giving back with my skills. Looking back, I'm incredibly grateful to my parents for guiding me towards this path – it's become one of the best decisions I could've hoped for.

[5:10] What motivated you to pursue a career in communication? Did a specific event or encounter shape your understanding of its importance?

As someone who grew up in India with a strong accent, I initially believed communication was all about speaking perfect English. It felt like a competition to speak like a native English speaker, especially in developing countries where Western accents are often seen as desirable. But this pursuit was a dead end. Communication, I came to realize, is far deeper. It's about sharing your ideas, your vision, and even your vulnerabilities – the essence of who you are. It's not about impressing others but connecting with them on a genuine level. This shift in perspective is what now drives me to help others unlock the power of authentic communication.

[7:20] Why Do Some People Say, "I Don't Need That," And where might they be wrong in that thought?

Many professionals, like myself, initially believe mastering grammar, accent, and sentence structure is the key to communication.  Unfortunately, educators often lack the framework to address the deeper aspects that truly matter. My focus isn't on those fundamentals. Instead, I target leaders who've already achieved fluency. They can speak well, articulate clearly, and be understood. Yet, they struggle in leadership settings: team meetings, executive presentations, and asking tough questions – all areas requiring more than just grammar. This is where I come in. Leaders at this stage are ready to delve deeper into communication. They approach me, seeking the advanced techniques I've learned from IDC to navigate these specific challenges.

[9:33] Do people recognize communication weaknesses on their own, or does it take external factors to trigger that awareness?

My experience working with over 200 tech leaders, myself included, reveals a surprising truth: 80% initially struggle to pinpoint their core communication challenges.  They sense a problem – frustration with communication breakdowns—but lack the clarity to identify the root cause. This is where the journey begins. We work together to uncover these hidden hurdles, develop targeted strategies, and overcome them.

[11:40] How do you help people, even beginners, grasp the fundamentals of effective communication?

A common question I receive is whether I primarily work with Indian tech leaders. The answer is no, and it ties back to what we discussed earlier – communication challenges are universal. Even native English speakers struggle in high-stakes conversations. We all experience moments of freezing up, either staying silent or rambling on. This highlights the need to learn the deeper aspects of communication, regardless of your background or accent.

[13:28] Is coaching the only way to develop communication skills, or can people learn through independent methods like reading, watching videos, and practicing on their own?

Anyone can develop communication skills! From reading to online courses, there are many resources available, and some people naturally pick them up through these methods. However, if you're impatient to reach your full potential, working with a coach offers a significant advantage. Communication trainers specialize in this unique field, guiding you through the deeper layers and helping you achieve results faster. Imagine reaching your communication goals in six months instead of five to ten years on your own. 

[14:40] What are your biggest hurdles to becoming a top speaker? Are you focusing on developing specific skills or overcoming personal challenges?

Initially, I thought certifications were enough to launch my coaching business. But the real turning point came when I offered free coaching sessions.  Anyone interested, regardless of budget, could benefit from my guidance. This approach helped me develop my skills and build a strong foundation. Within a few years, I was attracting high-paying coaching clients with ease. Today, I can take on as many clients as my schedule allows. Similar to coaching, I'm currently replicating this strategy in the speaking world.  While Anthony's program provided valuable knowledge, I needed practical experience.  Therefore, I actively seek speaking opportunities – attending at least one to two conferences monthly. This approach allows me to hone my speaking skills and gain valuable experience, even though the financial compensation may not be significant at this stage. I'm happy to share these experiences openly, not to promote specific programs, but to empower aspiring coaches. 

[16:56] What's called a barrier that you ran into that you didn't expect to run into until you did?

Fueled by entrepreneurial advice, I initially believed blind faith was all I needed. In 2019,  I took a leap of faith,  launching my coaching business without a proper plan.  Big mistake! I quickly learned that belief alone isn't enough. Strategy is crucial. Building a coaching business requires content testing, like I'm doing with my keynote speech.  Right now, it's not ready to be monetized.  These processes take time, and a financial cushion allows you to take calculated risks. My biggest lesson:  temper your leap of faith with practical planning. Belief is essential, but it needs a strategic roadmap for success.

[20:17] What are your 2024 goals for this project? What accomplishments by December would make you feel proud of your efforts this year?

My goal is to be able to confidently recognize when my speech is excellent, indicating that I've delivered an outstanding keynote. Although I haven't reached that point yet, I aspire to achieve it and receive positive feedback from the audience.

[21:00] What's your plan to get there? What are the next steps you'll take to improve your delivery?

I aim to take consistent actions every month, actively seeking opportunities for growth and improvement. By regularly receiving feedback from our mastermind group and implementing it, I believe I can achieve my goals.

Key Quotes 

[23:55-24:02] You have to put in the work to let the world know what's valuable; the faster you do that, the faster the success that comes to you. 

How to connect with Aditya Guthey



Website: https://whoweare

Written by: [email protected]

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