Meghna, Sprint Coach at NewCampus

Seven questions with our Program Coach about her career journey and her hopes for future learners at NewCampus

Meghna is a Program Coach at NewCampus, and is supporting the design and delivery of our learning experiences, and creating a sense of community amongst learners in synchronous and asynchronous spaces.

  • Prior to joining NewCampus, she was working as a learning experience designer and facilitator with an edTech start-up based out of India
  • She enjoys working in the domain of learning for the vibrancy of its perks and challenges, and is fascinated by people and how they shape and articulate their thoughts.
  • A dilettante with diverse interests, Meghna finds solace in art cinema, monsoons, and brisk-walking to her math rock playlist.

We thought it'd be fun for NewCampus learners (and their leaders) to get to know Meghna better through 7 simple questions...

Tell us about your journey and experiences before you first became a NewCampus sprint coach. Have you always been in the education/management space?

I have always been in the education space, yes, but it was never my plan! I stumbled upon an opportunity in the domain of social and emotional learning, where I felt a strong sense of purpose and direction. And so, I decided to stay.

After my graduate studies in the subject of education, I started working with an edtech start-up based out of India, where I practised design and facilitation of learning experiences for educators as well as learners.

I think thus far, a lot of my learning has been on-the-job and self-directed, and now I find myself in a phase where I am validating the skills I’ve built over the years, honing them, and filling out any gaps that I notice. It is a very stimulating experience!

What are some similarities/differences between the areas covered by the NewCampus Management Sprint and your personal experience with other development programs?

As a learner/participant, some similarities are:

  • Inter-cohort learning
  • Shared goals held by the learners
  • Expert facilitator(s)
  • Self-reflection driven
  • Activity-based

Some differences:

  • Techniques broken down into small, easy to apply, components
  • Super relevant and contextualised content and discussions - which translates into zero jargon teaching
  • Space for subjectivity and diverse contexts in live workshops
  • Continued 1-1 support for alumni (via post-ME coaching calls)

On the backend, as a learning experience designer, the agility with which we iterate on the experiences - based on learner feedback - is also a difference from what I’ve seen before. 

How did you transition from learning design to coaching?

Ironically I was actually very resistant to the idea of being a coach for a long time, despite also recognising my natural abilities and affinity for helping people discover their passion, purpose, and potential. In hindsight, I think it was during the time when everyone wanted to be a coach -- or fancied themselves a coach -- that I was suffering a mix of imposter syndrome and/or pressure to join the self-promotion bandwagon that I never really felt comfortable doing. 

But as I continued to work with clients who resonated with my personal journey and philosophy, this helped me to remove my own mental blocks and redefine what being a coach means for me, and what aspects of coaching feel most meaningful. And this feels really aligned with my role as Sprint Coach at NewCampus

What are the joys of coaching when being exposed to diverse ideas, talents and backgrounds from learners throughout Asia?

I’ve been noticing how despite coming from diverse contexts, most new managers harbor similar hopes and worries. Understandably, their own personality moulds their experience of a specific challenge, but all of them seem to be driving towards a unified cause - to be better leaders for the people they’re supporting.

And to me, this mix of diversity and similarity makes the live workshops very interesting. When expressed, the differences add nuance to the discussions at hand, while the similarities help learners find common ground and take stock of the progress they’ve achieved.

On a more personal front, the fact that I get to meet and work with so many people, with their differing contexts, is a huge learning curve for an introvert like me, and it’s never not interesting.

Did you feel any growing pains when you were integrating into the work we do at NewCampus?

I wouldn’t call them growing *pains*. My transition into NewCampus has been very smooth so far. That we were able to set expectations mutually during the hiring process over multiple conversations has definitely helped. Additionally, I noticed a sense of intentionality about the kind of people NC wanted to bring into the team. And that awareness was helpful for me in evaluating whether I would thrive in this environment too.

Plus, a lot of the work we do, and the culture we’ve built in the organisation aligns with my personality and value system. So it is more of an *unfolding* that I’m experiencing, not pain.

What challenges do you see learners facing as first-time managers? 

I think all of us hold certain notions about ourselves, and these can really flare up as fears when we venture into something new. For this reason, taking on new responsibilities as first-time managers can be an intimidating and uncomfortable prospect. In the midst of this discomfort, it is very easy to feel like the smallest mistake is a personal failure. Wrestling with this self-doubt and discomfort is a challenge I foresee for learners.

What are some of the hopes that you have for the learners after experiencing the Sprint? 

That they evolve into self-aware people leaders.

I have met some very compassionate and self-aware individuals in ME sprints. And it has helped me realize the importance of understanding oneself when setting goals and charting out a way forward. I believe that self-awareness is a very important trait for anybody, and especially people leaders because any reaction I have will have ripple effects on my team.

ME Sprints tap into the participants’ vulnerabilities by making room for learners to look inwards, and share their leadership struggles. And I think that that’s a starting point for all our learners to become more aware of their motivations and pain points, and use that to identify what they want to do differently and what they want to learn next.

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