My Coaching Process
Listening and Observing
In my conversations with entrepreneurs, I spend the majority of my time — at least 80% of it — listening. However, the kind of listening I do is not what you might typically imagine.
As you express your thoughts, my mind usually processes it on three different tracks.
The first track is about hearing your story.
As I listen, I continually ask myself: Why are you telling me this? What are you trying to convey?
The second track revolves around understanding who you are.
Stories are just manifestations, and I am more interested in what lies behind — who are you really, and what is your underlying logic or habitual way of thinking? Are there any contradictions in what you say?
The third track concerns your needs.
I continually question what you need at this very moment. Is it:
Encouragement and support?
A safe environment to vent?
Clarity about the current situation?
Clarification about problems or goals?
Brainstorming with experienced individuals?
Insight into blind spots and cognitive limitations?
Learning new tools, skills, or ways of thinking?
External supervision and regulation?
Example of Listening
One of my client Mindy, complained about the difficulties of entrepreneurship and felt like giving up. As she explained her situation, she kept mentioning "my boss."
I was intrigued — who could be the boss of a single founder entrepreneur?
From our previous discussions, Mindy had expressed that a significant reason for her to start her own business was her desire for freedom — a core value that motivated her actions.
She then explained that this "boss" was her investor, who had a habit of micromanaging her company. As she needed his help for the next round of financing, Mindy felt angry but dared not speak up.
After further in-depth conversation, we discovered the root of the problem:
She was yearning for freedom in her ideal world, but was deeply constrained in reality. As a result, she was drained and her initial passion for entrepreneurship was being eroded.
What we needed to do was to uplift Mindy's energy.
In the early stages of entrepreneurship, she was her own most significant resource.
If she could not exercise her initiative, no amount of external resources would make a difference.
With this newfound understanding, Mindy decisively decided to no longer seek a second round of financing from this investor to avoid feeling "held hostage" mentally.
Freed from this mental shackle, she felt her motivation returning.
Later, she found a new investor for the second round of financing, one who would provide capital but not interfere with operations.
While this example might seem trivial and minute, such details can be easily overlooked by untrained ears. But for us coaches, we must never easily let go of such critical details.
Oftentimes, treasures lie within the details of your expressions, as if they're shouting, "Notice me, notice me, I'm significant."
Once my ears capture them, I will guide you to dig deeper, until we unveil the "you" that emerges.
As a coach, aside from listening to what you say and how you say it, I also pay attention to your energy level.
We all have moments when our words contradict our feelings.
Our words can deceive, but the energy we emit is genuine and comes from the deepest part of our hearts.
For instance, one of my advisees could repeatedly tell me, "Selling the company at this time was the right choice," but the low energy in her voice betrayed her.
As a coach, I am highly sensitive to energy. I rely on detecting the energy of my clients to help them understand their deep-seated feelings and thoughts.
After understanding the situation and current state of the entrepreneur, one of our significant responsibilities as a coach is to ask expansive, thought-provoking questions.
It's often described as 'Taking them where they've never been before' — guiding them to ponder questions they've never considered before.
Many times, after I ask a question, the advisee would fall silent. I never rush to fill this silence but let it linger. Why? Because I know, "they are journeying to a place they've never been before."
"I've never thought about this question before," is a sentence I often hear from my advisees.
Examples of Effective Questions
If I observe a client constantly wavering between limited choices, thinking "Should I choose A or B?" I may ask at an appropriate time:
Is there another way of thinking that allows you to have both A and B?
Or, what would option C look like?
Or, is it possible that you need to create your own new option, to pave the way as you walk?
If the advisee's perspective, evaluation, or interpretation of a situation or person reveals certain blind spots or limitations in their thinking, I would ask them in an enlightening way:
Is your interpretation a fact or just your opinion?
How does such an interpretation affect your energy, mood, and aura?
Apart from your interpretation, what other possibilities could there be?
If the advisee is racking their brains with self-inquiries, aimlessly searching the internet for answers, and ultimately becoming more anxious and lost, I will have them pause their thinking and guide them through meditation.
Their inner noise is too much, too overwhelming. In such a state, they're incapable of resolving complex problems.
At this point, I need to help them return to their optimal state, which is often the calmest state. Only after resetting their thoughts can they begin to receive new information.
Then, I would ask them, "What is your inner voice telling you?"
This question often helps them step out of their minds, delve into their hearts, and let their intuition and inner truth provide the answers.
My 4-year-old baby often needs me to find toys for him.
Many times, I glance around and quickly spot the toy he's looking for.
At first, I thought he was just being lazy: the toy is clearly in plain sight, why doesn't he look for it more carefully?
But one day, I squatted down to look around at his height, and I realized that finding a toy really isn't that easy from his four-year-old perspective.
Many toys that I could easily spot were hidden by other objects and suddenly "vanished."
"Perspective" really determines what we can and can't see.
As an entrepreneur coach, my job is to help entrepreneurs see what they can't see or what isn't clear to them.