DR SATTAR Bawany, 45, compares his role to that of a diamond brilliandeer. He cuts, shapes and polishes new leaders whom he coaches to release their brilliance.

As DBM's head of transition coaching practice for the past three years, Dr Bawany is tasked with setting newly promoted leaders on the right track.

He also helps to single out individuals with potential, assesses their effectiveness and promotes succession planning.

Coaching since 1999, he has more than 25 years in the industry, having held management roles in Mercer Human Resource Consulting and Hay Management Consultants.

Coaching new leaders

Dr Bawany says that one of the biggest challenges facing new leaders today is that they are expected to "hit the ground running" - they need to produce results quickly while grappling with assimilating into a new organisation.

Consequently, many fail within the first year.

He has coached a variety of senior executives, from senior vice-presidents and high potential managers to chief executive officers.

Coaching such a select group involves focusing on encouraging individual initiative and leadership to achieve clearly defined business results.

Working with individual executives in a confidential manner, he helps them sharpen their leadership skills, embrace feedback as an improvement tool to enhance work performance, balance work and life priorities, and manage stress and change.

As their transition and executive coach, Dr Bawany helps leaders to navigate their way through constant change.

They discover how to build inner capacity so that their learning and development become a natural part of their leadership capabilities and help serve as an "inner rudder" during increasingly turbulent times.

His work is satisfying, especially when those whom he coached express how the training gave them personal insights on dealing with obstacles and change.

He recalls: "Recently, an executive from a multinational corporation shared how it was easier to balance work and personal life and how the coaching had given him the courage to pursue his dreams.

"As a result of the coaching engagement, he has since been promoted to a senior leadership role within the organisation."

Manager and lecturer

Dr Bawany wears several hats at DBM, being also its business development head and subject matter expert in leadership development and talent management.

In his latter role, he represents DBM in business development/sales meetings with senior clients and manages projects - from developing proposals and value pricing to follow-up meetings and securing the deal.

Ensuring projects are successfully managed on time and within budget, he coordinates projects within the DBM network of adjunct coaches.

He maintains customer relationships (typically with human resource (HR) and business leaders), resolves any problems and ensures quality control.

Working a 12-hour day that starts at 8.30am and usually ends after 8.30pm, he has regular conference calls with the Asia-Pacific team in the day and North American and European colleagues in the evening.

He also meets clients and manages regional coaching and outplacement projects and holds team meetings daily.

Citing some of the realities of the current economic climate, he says: "The concern today is survival. Organisations are challenged with meeting bottom-line targets.

"Employees need to continuously re-skill themselves to be relevant to industry demands."

This means improving performance, and investing in learning and development programmes that strengthen individual and organisational capabilities.

However, the challenge is to "sell" this value proposition to HR and business leaders, he stresses.

These challenges include understanding the need for an executive coach and for clients to see the benefits of executive coaching as an organisational development tool.

Besides his work at DBM, Dr Bawany also serves as an adjunct professor with the Paris Graduate School of Management and an adjunct lecturer at the Singapore Human Resources Institute.

He is also an honorary academic adviser to the International Professional Managers Association (UK).

First things first

His secret in balancing his heavy workload and home life is effective time management.

He has adopted as his personal mantra, "Put First Things First", the third of seven habits described in Stephen Covey's influential book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Dr Bawany credits his wife, Nora, with being the pillar of his success. She helps him to meet the various challenges of family life including raising their twin sons Adam and Danial.

Weekends are reserved for family activities. Saturdays are for bonding with his boys, and Sunday afternoons are for lunch or a movie with Nora.

"My family is very important to me," he says.

So what does it take to succeed as an executive and transition coach?

Dr Bawany says: "You should have significant business and organisational experience as well as credibility with senior executives.

"In addition, you must communicate well, have listening and questioning skills and be effective at giving psychometric assessments and feedback."