"This is not an easy journey."

Hello everyone! I had the pleasure of interviewing these wonderful individuals, Payal and Naranjan of South Asian Coaches. I've learned many valuable lessons and I hope you will too! Read our amazing interview now available.

Erina Chowdhury

1/8/2022 9 min read

Hello everyone! Welcome to the newest interview of Brown Girls Reunite with our guests Payal and Naranjan from South Asian Coaches! I had an immense pleasure in asking them insightful questions that helped me see life through different lenses. They provided me and hopefully potential readers, with a deeper understanding of the importance of coaching and empowerment. Through this interview, you will gain ways to potentially contact them, their stances on encouraging South Asians through their Instagram account (@southasiancoaches), and overall their experiences as coaches. Remember to check them out through their Instagram page and join their future Instagram lives. Keep scrolling to read our interview!


Payal: Hi, I am Payal! I’m a Career & Personal Empowerment Coach, specifically for mid-career professionals. I started off by focusing on people who have been in the workforce for at least 5-10 years who wanted to make a switch. That kinda grew beyond the career piece itself, which is personal empowerment, which also overlaps with the work that Naranjan and I do together as South Asian Coaches. When I thought about it some more, I realized that it’s not just career empowerment, but it’s kind of like life purpose empowerment, so I call myself a Career Empowerment coach since sometimes people can relate to that a little bit more. More generally, what I am aiming to do, beyond those labels, is just to empower people to get unstuck and tap into their power to create meaningful change in their lives and the areas that they want to change in.

Naranjan: I am a Spiritual Intuitive. I support individuals for them to move through life and recognize the power of who they are, and how much power they truly have. Clearly by identifying how the opinions and judgments of others can influence one's life. Influence in a positive but also in a negative way can weigh you down a path of not your life. So ultimately, my goal (whatever titles we give ourselves) is to create a space for you to have a deeper sense of self-awareness and also to have a holistic relationship with your mind, your body, your spirit, your physical body, and your authentic body. It’s a unison, and we can work these energies with the other parts of ourselves.

What has inspired you to create South Asian Coaches?

Naranjan: I had connected with Payal on a different platform of coaches, and this synergy and connection that we had were spiritual and pretty open and receptive to connections of opportunities. I also met Varsha Mathur, a Dating and Relationship Coach. So these were all independent relationships, and then I had this brain wave of bringing the three of us together and creating a space (specifically for South Asians), so we can support each other with what we’re doing in life. I mean I got my own story, Payal’s got hers, and Varsha has hers, so we wanted to create a space for individuals knowing that we’ve been through it, but at the same token, coming from a stance of support. You lean on us so we can help you navigate through this thing called “life” and being South Asian at the same time, seems like a double whammy. It kind of rippled from there, like how Payal's and Varsha’s ideas had just brought the whole thing together on how we can support other South Asians.

Payal: Naranjan and I wanted to continue this work beyond what we did in the first year when it was 3 of us but not 2 since we wanted to continue the work of South Asian Coaches. We really saw a need for this space, and there are these different spaces being created to talk about not being perfect and embracing yourself for specifically South Asians. It’s a relatively new development like it wasn’t something I grew up with or even in college. So, we wanted to create a space of empowerment, and specifically as coaches, helping to empower the individual to focus on what is possible (like breaking out of a narrative or shifting perspectives). And also looking at where we are suppressing emotion cause we’ve been taught to. A lot of this has been learned through fear, and there may have been a reason for why our families have been teaching that, but if it’s not working for us, have we actually taken the time to look back on that and look at where we can shift to have this work for us. We really want to empower the individual to have them do that, which is our main focus. The questions we ask are asking what can you do about that right now, and along with that self-compassion. I think it’s a huge part of our conversations and our lives and saying, “This is not an easy journey” to break through what you were taught, breakthrough an identity you formed at a very young age, and be taught that if you step out of that identity, there will be repercussions.  It’s a hard thing to do. We provide a space for support to enable other South Asians going through their journeys, to do that in an empowering way that feels authentic to them. 

What are some of the events you hold in South Asian Coaches and what were your favorite moments holding these specific events?

Payal: We did a workshop space back in October of last year, and that was just the start of us delving into the material. We had an intimate group that engaged with us in these conversations. We had worksheets and breakout rooms and all that fun stuff. These were weekly one-hour sessions that ended after a month. It was a lighter version of the program that we launched in May of this year, which is more of a 12-week in-depth program where individuals actually take on areas of their life that they want to create change in. The first one was more informational while the second one was us as coaches challenging them on how to create change in their life in the areas that they desire.

In summer we evaluated what all of us wanted to do. Naranjan and I wanted to continue our work as South Asian Coaches while not knowing exactly what it would look like, but knowing we wanted to be a part of this space to create something here. Right now, we don’t have any programs but what we have been doing are these Instagram lives every week to engage in these sorts of conversations that we’ve thought about to help provide a source of support, validation, and shared experiences for people. In 2022, we are potentially looking at putting some sort of community circle together to start doing that group community basis. We are still in the process of figuring it out.

What are some of the takeaways/values you want other South Asians to learn from the different events you’ve done in South Asian Coaches?

Payal: Freedom is a big value, like freedom from a set perspective, and freedom from constraints we put on ourselves (knowingly or unknowingly). Mental freedom is a value that we address. Along with that, tapping into the emotions that we don’t allow ourselves to tap into. Also, joy and happiness are connected to that freedom too. When life feels heavy because of all the shoulds and burdens that we put on ourselves from the constraints we created mentally, there could be joy. Once we start to uncover some of that and lighten the load, it can allow some of the emotions to come out that we weren’t experiencing in the same ways.

Naranjan: The biggest value that we are looking to offer individuals is an element of independence. An element of independence for them to freely make the decision for them. Not with an underline of judgment or expectation of what the cultural boundaries look like, but independence of free choice. Independence to me is a bigger component, but then you tap onto the element of courage, and an element of strength. These conversations and installed belief systems can be really challenging to move through. We offer an unbiased place where they can lean on, a place where they can make an independent decision of what an individual wants their life to look like with understanding.

What are your favorite moments in South Asian Coaches? And what do you love about doing this account?

Naranjan: I get to connect and have amazing conversations with Payal! I want to say we “banter” on topics that are engaging, that are thought-provoking, and that are challenging. We offer a space to push boundaries, to push expectations, to push environments that are there just because they’re there, doesn’t mean we need to follow them. We’re doing a lot of firsts and having that dialogue with somebody that I can lean on and really delve into the nitty-gritty of these conversations is the best part of having this brand with Payal. We align so well in having this mission to serve other people. It’s not necessarily about making money, it’s more about empowering individuals so that they can make the right choices for themselves.

Payal:   We get to share these conversations with people, which is a lot of fun! I’m learning from Naranjan live through these conversations. She says something, and I am like, “Oh wait, I have to think about this,”. We had a conversation where it was called, ‘Being in our journeys’, and we came up with this framework by going back and forth. We just came up with it in a call, and we were shocked. There was a time where Naranjan said something, and my eyes just started to tear up; I sometimes emotionally connected with what she is saying. We do these Instagram lives because we love to have these conversations, and we love sharing them with those who find resonance with it.

Coaching is also that chance to connect with people and it’s such a blessing to be able to see them on their journeys, and what they're taking on courageously for themselves. It really is a precious journey to go with a client; wherever they end up, is where they will end up. And, I’m learning from my clients as well.

Naranjan: I agree, it’s refreshing to have people come on your path. When you coach individuals who have the same drive and passion to put change in their own lives, it becomes almost an honor to support somebody on their own paths. It is a real blessing and an honor to support individuals on the path of their own evolution.

What would you tell other South Asians who want to create this positive impact like South Asian Coaches? What would you tell them if they want to create a difference in their communities just like you two?

Naranjan: My quest would be for the individual seeking, would be for them to capture what it is that they want to have. What is it? Do they want to create a business, or want to build a career out of it? To define it a little bit more to make it more concrete. Clarify that. The other component is to gain some neutral supporters as you navigate through your life. People around you can help to support you with your “why”. People who are going to encourage you will help you with your ultimate vision. Those are the two big key things that are important to do.

Payal: If someone wants to make a positive change, you need to know how they want to impact their world. There are a million different ways they can do it, but what is the way that is calling to them? I would break it down into: clarity, empowerment, and action. Once you have clarity, you can build empowerment structures that will help to create a supportive community around you that would help you lean into that vision, as opposed to dissuading you from that vision. Also, look at internally what is preventing you from going after it fully. Sometimes it’s fear or self-doubt, and how can we move these blocks away so you can really go after the thing that’s calling you. And lastly, taking action is important because it becomes a reality in the world through action.

Any last comments you would like to share?

Naranjan: Reach out for support. Both of us, in our independent practices, offer free consultations. So if there is an individual reading this that’s going “I kinda want to clarify this,” we are here for a free 30-minute consultation. No pressure, no objective other than supporting you with whatever that’s happening. We’re reachable through a 30-minute consult. Why you’re here on this planet as a South Asian (man or woman), there is a very specific purpose on why you are here. My call to action would be for you to reflect on that, what else can you identify that you’re here to contribute to the world.

Payal: If you’re new to coaching, check us out (whether through Instagram lives or a consult call), and check out what coaching is about. It is a different space from what people are used to, but I as a coach know it’s a powerful space to be in. Challenge what views you might have about coaching, therapy, mental health spaces by putting yourself into it a little bit. There’s nothing you need to commit to. Expanding your worldview, and challenging your mindset is important. So take it on as your personal growth journey, and just check it out!

Please remember to check them out on their Instagram page (@southasiancoaches) and I hope you all enjoy this interview conducted by me (Erina!).