Don’t Tell People You are a Coach!

The word ‘coach’, or the verb in the sentence ‘I can coach you’ can be very intimidating words that can put people off or make them defensive.

Why? People don’t like to know that they need the help of a coach. They don’t like to know they are a weakling, or they have a problem and that a coach is their ‘saviour’.

I know of coaches who get nowhere with their clients when they pitch their business this way.

The tip is not to be too eager, even too loud to say you are a coach or they need coaching from you. Be gentle, even polite to use other more accepting words like a trusted or professional friend, a close partner, or collaborator to help them find brilliant ways/solutions for their issue or goal.

When in the conversation, be patient, respectful, and show curiosity and deep interest in their issues instead of being anxious to push them to find solutions.  Make them always feel that it’s their session and that you are there with them because it is their decision.

Doing it this way makes them feel that you are a trusted partner, and not a coach who is there to coach them.  Such nice feeling helps them to open up to share, resulting in them achieving their goals faster and better.

What Makes A Good Coach

Although John and Sam are both coaches who have been in professional practice for a while, they have different measures of success. John is enjoying far more of it than Sam who is still struggling to make ends meet.

5 factors attribute to this disparity.

The first is purpose. For John it is a calling. He wants to a difference in people’s lives. He loves to give a helping hand to someone who either wants to grow or overcome an issue in their lives. The authenticity in him is obvious. People are naturally drawn to him.  As for Sam, he got into this profession out of ‘no choice’ option as according to him ‘there’s nothing else better to do. So for him ‘its just a job’. It’s obvious how he would behave when he’s with his clients.
The next factor is the sense of responsibility. John is highly responsible in many areas. He does everything to improve himself for he wants to do more for his clients. He keeps his words and delivers on his promise. His clients trust him greatly.  As for Sam, he works more like a ‘clock watching’ employee. He does little to improve himself. He’s calculative and gives the minimum to them.  His clients see him as someone who’s only waiting for his fees to be paid and nothing beyond this.
The third factor is the firm and fair way that John engages with his clients.  He holds them accountable to what they promise to do and is assertive to take them back when they fall off the line; yet he’s fair when they need some breathing space at times.  His clients respect him and this enhances his influencing abilities on them. The results tell it all. Success rates are high too.  Sam, on the other hand, is too relaxed and too compromising on almost everything. Whether they succeed or fail, it makes no difference to him. He has no performance standards to guide his practices. As expected, results are few, with disappointments more.
The fourth factor is John’s process mindedness where smart game plans are built with clear pathways to the goal.  As for Sam, he has none because he’s not all rounded in his thinking. His clients have no clear direction on how to move forward.

Lastly, the fifth factor is being observant with the ability to self-observe himself to know what feelings and emotions need to be managed for greater self-awareness.   Sam, on the other hand, doesn’t have this which explains why he’s temperamental without knowing how to be in control during challenging times. He loses credibility in the eyes of his clients. 


An excerpt of my book launch speech at the 13th Coach Convocation, Awards & Networking (CAN) event held recently….

I stand here today feeling very fulfilled and proud that I have gone full circle to become a full-fledged coach-author with the launch of my fourth and latest coaching book Dialogue with the Sales Coach.

Technically, I have completed my writing life mission in contributing to all the 4 coaching niches of: organizational coaching, life coaching, leadership coaching and business/sales coaching, written in 4 distinctly different coaching books in my name – Dialogue with the Coach, Dialogue with the Life Coach, Dialogue with the Executive Coach; and today, Dialogue with the Sales Coach.

What makes it even more fulfilling for me  is being able to launch this book in front of my own coaching community (that I have built in my 18 years in coaching) and on this grand occasion of the 13th Coach Convocation, Awards & Networking event, which I always regard as the highest point in Coaching and in my own coaching career.

Dialogue with the Sales Coach is a coaching book written and dedicated to everyone: sales and non- sales people as everyone is in sales and we need to be good at it as well – be it selling a product, service, idea, proposal, or even selling ourselves to others.

However, there is a special group of people that I have also written this book for – they are the Coaches who are exceptionally dear to me, and whom I have always want every one of them to be successful in their lives, and in their coaching careers.  I want them to be ‘Coach Movers’ always – a term that I coined 3 years ago.

Typically, Dialogue with the Sales Coach is a coaching cookbook – everything about how to be successful in selling together with all the recipes for sales success. They are all well-captured here; from how to set a strong sales foundation, to how to get customers, how to close the sales and how to take your business successfully to the next level.

Written in the same style like my other 3 books, this one also has 100 sales cases, 100 successful methods and 400 powerful questions to stretch your imagination for even better ideas and ways.

It is very simple, short and very easy to read. This book can be used in many ways: as a reading book, a story book, a reference book and even as a coaching workbook.

I started this journey of writing in 2009 and now it is 2018, averagely, writing a book every 2 years and I am glad that I have been able to keep to this pace with focus, discipline and also with the support of 3 very important people to me: my 2 ‘Angelines’: my wife Angeline (who is in Melbourne and unfortunately is unable to be here, and my 2 children),  and the other Angelin Loo, and  Josephine Ong, my 2 sidekicks who have been with me all these years, as well as in my writing journey.

Before I end, with honor and appreciation, I like to give this latest book of mine to my very dear friend, Tan Sri Datuk Dr M Jegathesan. He too has been with me through most of my coaching career and journey.

Thank you again for being here at this 13th Coach Convocation, Awards & Networking event and at this launch of my latest book, Dialogue with the Sales Coach.


Seldom  we see these 4 words being stringed together as one.

But they are in this story that holds a very special meaning for us, parents and even much more so to the hero and heroine – our son, Kian Joo and his wife, Danielle. 

Here’s their heroic story……

Most newly-weds would usually prefer a romantic and stylish holiday as their kind of honeymoon.  But for these 2 newly-weds, theirs is not. Their idea of a honeymoon is one few would not want, even think of.  It’s one that is built around grit, purpose, love and faith. It has all the trappings of toughness, discomfort, adventure, with no place for beaches, fine dining and moonlight romance.

Their long-term planning was a pledge that they made together to do the rarest form of honeymoon which was to walk the 800 km route taken by Saint James from northern France to Western Spain to a sacred place called Santiago de Camilo where his tomb lays.

It was a torturous honeymoon journey that took them 44 days to walk.  Unless we are made of the tough materials that they have, there’s a high possibility that we would break under the heavy strains of a long journey that seemed to have no end, the scourges of burning  heat, excruciating pains oozing out from feet blisters over blisters, without proper nourishment and living conditions to comfort them.

The power of the mind over matter can’t be better illustrated here than in their epic story which will be forever etched in their minds.  Even as parents, theirs have a thing or two to teach us about life that when we have high purpose and faith in God, we will find the grit to make the impossible, possible.

When they wept openly with joy upon stepping on the soil of this sacred place, we  too wept inside us for we could feel the euphoria that was inside them.

Somehow, their story reminds us of a saying: ‘Challenges are what make life challenging and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful’.

We are truly proud of them and thank them for this invaluable lesson they taught us and everyone about living life to the fullest. 




There is a saying that questioning and listening are like the fragrant coconut rice and the sambal in a nasi lemak dish. You cannot have one without the other!

When you listen well, you automatically ask questions. Not just ordinary questions but powerful ones.

  • What are powerful questions?
  • How can people ask powerful questions?
  • Why are questions so important? 
  • What are the types of questions and when is one better than the other?
  • Read on……


Let me ask you 3 questions:

  • When was a time when someone said to you that they were so blessed to have met you?
  • When was a time when someone told you how appreciated they were for something you did for them?
  • And when was time someone came to you for an advice that changed their life?

Please take a few seconds to think of these…………….

  • Can you recall any of these moments?
  • Why do you think they respond in this way to you?
  • How did all these make you feel?

I’m sure you have had these moments. You see, many of us have been and are still an inspiration to some people in our lives.

So to be an inspiration to people is really not just a tall order, not impossible, not meant only for the giants of mankind like Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa or even Tun Dr Mahathir.  Indeed, we don’t need to make national headlines to be an inspiration to others. Many times, the most inspiring people in the world go unnoticed.

You see, they don’t do it for others to see, but really it’s for God to see.

I’m sure that you too have done many good things for people but they are unnoticed. So really who cares, for it’s for God to see.

There are 4 common qualities that I find in most people who inspire others:

  • Selflessness (not selfishness),
  • Generosity (not stinginess),
  • Courage (not cowardice),
  • Guided by a purposeful sense of service (not disservice).

So anyone with these 4 qualities are an inspiration to people.  A teacher who teaches well is an inspiration to his students.  A waiter who serves well is an inspiration to his customers.  A manager who grows his people well is an inspiration to his people.  And the list goes on.

There are very precious benefits that come to people who inspire others.

They fondly remembered us at the end of our lives. They get blessings, even luck when they give. Finally, there is happiness & fulfilment that comes with it too.

In my work with leaders, we often explore ways how they can make a difference and be more inspirational to their people. These 5 ways keep coming back as the ones that will make them more inspirational:

  • Stand for something
  • Act with passion
  • Show care and kindness
  • Demonstrate integrity
  • Listen more, talk less, and be a coach

Life is indeed too short for us to waste our time doing ordinary things. The Dalai Lama once said, we have no control of the past and the future; the only one we have control of is the Present.

So there’s no point sulking over our mistakes too much. There’s no point getting angry with someone because nothing is going to change.  And no point too getting stressed about something that hasn’t happen. Nothing is going to change.

So let’s use our time in the present moment to make the ordinary things we do, extraordinary. Let us lead a Life with a Purpose. It will make us special. It gives us the passion to do things with excellence.

At the end of life, we want to leave behind fond sweet memories of ourselves to others.  We want to leave our legacy. Our foot prints too.

Adios but Not Goodbye, Jee Kor Ma!

My 6 brothers and sisters called our late aunt, Jee Kor, or Second Aunty but we have always regarded her as ‘Jee Kor Ma’ or in English – ‘Motherly Aunt’. 

She was Jee Kor Ma or ‘Motherly Aunt’ to us because she was truly a mum to us who always treated us like her own children, very similar to her own very loving 5 children: Ah Kwang, Ah Ghim, Niramon, Jenny and Bunny.

For all the years in her long life, she consistently showered us this motherly love, although we were far separated by distance (we in Malaysia, and she in Thailand) and time as we could only get to meet once a while and that time was brief and short as we had duties back home to attend to.

All of us were always so very touched each time we get to meet her again. Her happiness in seeing us again was so extraordinary, very much like the biblical story of Mother Mary’s joy after finding her missing son, Jesus, in the temple.

During this brief time with her, she would drown us with her generous love – her gentle touch, her kind words and her curious questions about us, not forgetting the plentiful delicious Thai goodies she would stuffed into our bags for us to take home, as she was so afraid that we would go hungry without enough to eat.

Jee Kor Ma’s story of love for us is very much seen in her own family as well – very, very admirable for the selfless ways and sacrifices she made to bring up her 4 children at all costs, overcoming the suffering poverty that was inflicted on her when she came to Thailand from China some 80 years ago.

Today her children are very happy and successful people because of her.  It is because they get to follow her footsteps. They take on her values and qualities. Even her loving grandchildren and great grand children are showing much of her great traits. What a blessing!

While we are so sad to lose her, we are also very much at peace for we know she is now in heaven, a better place, a happier place with Jesus, and all her brothers and sisters as well those who had all gone before her.

She was the last Heah clan of her generation on earth, but now reunited with all of them again in Heaven.

So we will only say adios to you, Jee Kor Ma, but not good bye, for we will be united with you one day when God says it’s time too.

Till then, May the Lord Jesus always protect you and Rest in Eternal Peace, Jee Kor Ma, until we meet again!

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