Monica Browning, Founder of Courage Through Coaching

Monica Browning is a life coach helping individuals to understand the impact of their behaviour and transform their lives through the self-learning.

What’s your story?
I’m a co-active career and life coach and the founder of Courage Through Coaching. I came to coaching via a 20-year career in international HR working in global MNCs in the United Kingdom, Australia, Switzerland, Malaysia, Korea and China & Hong Kong. It’s taken me 20 years, but I know I’ve found my path and purpose in helping individuals find their own purpose (inside and outside of work), find alignment in what they are doing, find their courage and their voice and feel alive. My vision for all my clients is that they live and they love courage.

What excites you most about your industry?
Coaching is a growing industry which is helping people all over the world better connect with what’s important, find purpose in what they do, through a creative process of self-discovery and partnership. I personally love the fact that coaching – if delivered in the spirit in which it is intended which is to be 100% in service of the client – shows any individual (no matter what background, experience or seniority) that they can ALWAYS find the right answers for themselves through a process of exploration, self-discovery and open-mindedness.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I grew up in Hong Kong and spent my formative years here before the handover in 1997. My parents left in 1999 and that was the year I started my career in the United Kingdom, but I always had a deep connection with Hong Kong and travelled back regularly to visit friend and family still living in Hong Kong. Whilst I didn’t work professionally in Hong Kong for approximately 15 years, in my last role before returning to Hong Kong I was covering South East Asia (from Australia) and it meant I travelled back more often, eventually making the move back more permanently in 2012.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Definitely personal bias – but Hong Kong – it’s a slam dunk for me. But that’s because Hong Kong is home for me and always has been.

If I had to choose a second city, it would be Kuala Lumpur. I love the vibrancy and edginess of the city (although I lived there 10 years ago so it may have changed). The food, the proximity to other Asian cities, the diversity of the country – ethnicities, food, geography – from an HR perspective the interesting work that this diversity brought during my time working there.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Hmmmm…… I have two that I live by.

1) Feel the fear and do it anyway. (that famous motivational quote)
I have a personal value around personal growth and development and I believe that growth and strength come from challenge and defeat. It takes great courage to make a leap of faith, but without courage and fear together, we can never expect to experience transformation (either individually or in organizations). This is one of the reasons I’ve called my business Courage Through Coaching as through my own personal experience and challenges, I know what it takes to be fearful yet courageous – and I want to help others find their own courage. Fear is not tangible, it is in our heads and it is an emotion – I ask those reading this article how many times have you been afraid of something or to try something, done it and then realized ‘that was easy?’ Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we always assumed the perspective of “That was easy?” to anything we did?

2) Chose discomfort not resentment – from Brene Brown (see below)
How many times have you said ‘yes’ and agreed to do something and then felt so resentful for having to do said something afterwards? Be honest!

Resentment is toxic, it buries deep, it’s ugly and the world does not need more of it and us humans certainly do not need more resentment. A simple ‘no’ or a more courageous conversation may save you (and others who feed off your resentment(s) – from indulging in this bitterness and bad feeling that resentment arouses.

Who inspires you?
Brene Brown – the academic who studies vulnerability and shame. Her research into human behaviour and emotion are fascinating and inspiring and I’m drawn to it not only from a professional perspective but also personally.

Her relatability, her authenticity, and her courage are inspiring. The ability to bring humor whilst sharing very personal, moving and sometimes challenging stories reveal her not only her strength of character but also her humanity. Her TedTalks as well as her written material reveal huge insights into human behavior that if we all understood about each other would help communication and connection on so many levels – in relationships, in families, in schools and in organizations.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The ability to PAUSE before doing or saying something in response to something that has hit a nerve within me!

Asking myself ‘what is the next best thing to do or to say’ in this situation?

Helping others to understand the impact of their behavior and transform their lives (through the self-learning they get through coaching) has given me a whole new insight into my own patterns and behaviors – and the need to keep working on myself!

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have asked for help on a personal and emotional challenge I faced at a much earlier age. It would have helped me to take off my ‘armour’ an earlier stage, get to a level of self-acceptance and self-authority without feeling like a fraud for so many years!

How do you unwind?
Self-confessed ITV Hub or BBC iPlayer box sets /serials. Favourites have included: The Bodyguard; Line of Duty; Killing Eve; Flea Bag and yes even Love Island.

Swimming – pool swimming or open water swimming. (I’ve done a few SwimTrek holidays – it’s like going on a hiking holiday but you’re actually going on a swimming holiday and seeing some of the oceans and waterways of the world this way.)

Hang out with my nephews or godchildren – who are also in Hong Kong. Kids are definitely a good way to forget about the stresses of this world!

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
My most recent escape was to Phuket on a health and wellness retreat – Amity Spa – the personal care and attention to individuals, the hospitality of the Thai’s, the food, the location, the warmth.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown.
And here’s a short YouTube clip (2 mins) from the author.

If organisations want to really transform, create, innovate, they will be required to trust their people more, trust their ability, empower them, be vulnerable, take risks, fail and try again.

Shameless plug for your business:
Who I work with: I work with passionate and inspiring people ready for change. You need to be committed to yourself and to me (otherwise it’s a waste of time and money for you and me!)

What I don’t do: I don’t have the answers for you, you do! I’m not a trained psychologist (and don’t claim to be), I don’t want to FIX you – you don’t need fixing!

What I do: I evoke transformation in you by listening to you, partnering with you, understanding you, sharing hard truths with you and challenging you. I will walk with you as your accountability partner and help you to achieve your personal and or professional goals. I’ll take you on a journey of self-discovery and transformation like no other. I will help you to live and to love courageously.

How can people connect with you?

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
Download free copies of his books here:

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