Yeo Chuen Chuen’s transition from teaching to coaching has encouraged her to expand her own skills whilst encouraging others.
What’s your story?
I spent 14 years teaching but I had always been interested in personal development. At a leadership program by Dr John C Maxwell, I discovered professional coaching. It offered a correlation with what I loved in teaching – distilling the best in people to fulfill one’s potential.
So I did my research and began training to become a certified coach, then a credentialed coach.
In 2017, I found the courage to explore coaching as a career. I first headed learning & development in a global franchise business, gaining skills for the corporate world before launching my coaching and training practice.
What excites you most about your industry?
My industry is Professional Coaching and Training, and Management Consulting. Training compared to coaching, was better understood by consumers. Professional Coaching is highly diverse in what it can deliver. While there are associations that attempt to govern the standard and conduct of coaches, decision makers still need to ask the right questions to get the best for their organisations.
Management consulting can address the gap from a strategy point-of-view and then leverage adult learning mediums like coaching and training to help leaders make the inside-out transformation so that businesses may thrive.
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
Given that coaching is highly unregulated, there’s no one fixed way of doing business, so the ideal of “normal” was already vague and nebulous to begin with.
I believe what differentiates me is my approach to developing a presence and leverage owned media to share my proprietary agile leadership methodology.
This approach to engage consumers is considered rare and uncomfortable to most coaches and trainers, and understandably so. After all, it requires one to stand out and show up, be it by sharing opinions on issues all working professionals are concerned about, or making a stand on relatively controversial matters.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
All the marketing related skills, learn to pitch, learn to articulate my USP to prospective clients, learn to build my own website, do SEO and set up e-commerce stores.
The learning curve was steep. I only knew how to coach, design curriculum, and deliver services (operational and back end) but nothing about sales.
Writing was never my strength, so I engaged a copywriting coach for 6 months. I’m also learning storytelling and will become a certified story lab facilitator.
I write almost daily on LinkedIn and always study the engagement to validate if my writing has achieved the intended effects.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
On separate occasions, business owners encouraged me to write a book. I was resistant but the third time a friend mentioned it, I thought it was too much of a coincidence.
This helped me challenge my self-limiting beliefs. Writing wasn’t my strength, but it’s a skill I have since developed. I used my CliftonStrengths to see connections between the corporate narratives from around the world, observe patterns, and write them down. So this advice about book-writing pushed me to create something actionable and useful for leaders. The personal growth from the discipline of thought to write also served me well.
Who inspires you?
My mentors who have travelled the less trodden path.
I think we have a strong desire to conform, and becoming a solopreneur, the road was very lonely.
When I hang out with my mentors, I draw strength from their courage and am inspired to tap into my creativity to create my own path. I became very agile in my thoughts and behaviour, and any discomfort I felt about not fitting in has always melted away throughout the years. My business changes rapidly as well, as I have become excited about change and am always willing to innovate.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
I’m learning storytelling with Leadership StoryLab and Liz Wiseman’s Multpliers now. Both programs blew me away because of the relevance.
I’m excited to be offering these two programs as parts of my agile leadership development framework in Q3 2022.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Less self-doubt, because it makes the upward ascent painful and laborious.
My best work comes when I’m centred around my purpose. The weight of self-criticism and fear of being judged then fades away. Those moments made me a better person instead of being crushed by the weight of expectations.
Another thing I would do differently is to expand my network earlier and more intentionally. We often get stuck in doing something and neglect the value of having high-value networks. When you get to connect with someone who is right for you and your business, you get to achieve great things together.
How do you unwind?
Quiet time to myself and my thoughts – sometimes it’s just white noise at a cafe, or an aromatic cup of coffee at home, watching some inspiring ted talk, or reading a great article on Harvard Business Review. I also enjoy the mind-body connection that pilates offers. I especially enjoy the 1.5km walk to the studio and endeavour to do it thrice a week.
Basically, any activity that allows me to immerse in my CliftonStrengths which are predominantly in the Strategic Thinking domain. So thinking becomes very important to me to be connected with myself.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
I always thought that to succeed, I needed to transform myself and become someone who I’m not. But I realise while I’m changing myself, it is deepening the level of authenticity that makes me more effective. It’s not to become someone else but to become a better, truer, more authentic version of myself that makes my business grow. Like water that’s constantly being purified, the purer the better.
Everyone in business should read this book:
As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. Such a thin book written so long ago but it reiterates the importance of your mindset, mastery of your thoughts and the never-ending journey of personal mastery for all human beings, not just leaders.
Shameless plug for your business:
ACESENCE doesn’t discuss matters at the macro level – you get a lot of that in the market but we help you connect the macro concepts on the personal level. At the centre of all our programs is application and transference of learning.
You’ll obtain immediate nuggets of wisdom globally validated and customised to your needs. With our global experience and deep conversations with more than 300 senior leaders from nearly 40 countries across industries, we synergize the best of private and government bodies and help you find the best opportunity forward by enabling your greatest asset – your people.
How can people connect with you?
Find me on my website: acesence.com
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