I am a coach, consultant, facilitator, trainer that develops organizations for change, transformation and innovation. I lead a growing tribe of currently twenty plus coaches that are all hybrid behavioral + process coaches; typically ICF (International Coaching Federation) certified coaches with expertise in Agile, Design Thinking and Lean.
I am concurrently a serial startup entrepreneur and a former banker with a combined quarter of a century experience as a front-line business professional. I practice what I preach – from theory to action, everything that I coach is tried, tested and validated through my own learning by doing. Therefore my coaching is not teaching; it is more about sharing of experience and trying together.
- Behavioral Coaching: My coaching focus is on conversations. I help clients develop stronger conversation and communication skills with habit formation training using many mental models (https://agile-od.com/mental-model-dojo). I am a Certified Positive Psychology Coach (CPPC II) and International Coaching Federation Associate Certified Coach (ICF ACC). In addition to individual coaching with executives and entrepreneurs, I am particularly proficient in group and team coaching.
- Process Coaching: I practice Design Thinking, Agile Scrum and Lean everyday. I am a Scrum.org Professional Scrum Master (PSM II) and Professional Product Owner (PSPO). I use Liberating Structures for my facilitation work, and am also a certified Lego® Serious Play® facilitator.
- Organization Development (OD): I see organizations from five view points: people, process, structure, product & client. Most organizations are well resourced (although efficacy is another question) for the latter two commercial focuses (product & client), therefor I bring the spotlight to the first three areas for Organizational Capability building (people, process, structure).
- Industry Expertise: Prior to becoming a learning professional, I was a career banker between 1994~2011, with significant fixed income transaction experience across Japan, Asia and global Emerging Markets. Since 2011 I have been a serial startup entrepreneur, particularly in the fintech space as I maintain close relationship with the banking and insurance industry.
Further, I work with organizations on bringing drive to the operational and delivery aspects of organizational change, digital transformation and innovation programs. My take is that there’s enough planning and thinking in these programs, but not enough effort in the execution, hence the focus.
Performing teams have processes that work, and people that talk to each other. It’s that simple but organizational reality shows otherwise. I help leaders and teams learn complexity handling and enabling conversation skills to make this simple thing work.
- Complexity Handling: Among the simple-complicated-complex-chaotic spectrum, we often confuse the difference between complicated and complex, and make the common error of using tools and processes meant for complicated tasks, to complex work. Further, we often become overwhelmed and make simple and complicated things complex (and even out of hand – chaotic). Agile Scrum, Design Thinking, Lean Startup are all frameworks and approaches developed for handling complex work, and I make good use of the learnings from the field to coach complexity handling.
- Enabling Conversations: Despite the decades of advances in behavioral and cognitive science, we are still trapped in the use of controlling language. Often, catalyst moments in coaching sessions come when coachees discover the true power of inquiry and dialogue. The challenge is how to sustain that revelation – we are creature of habits, and habits are hard to change. The focus is on the practicing, and I make many references to old and new literature on human sciences for coaching enabling conversation skills.
Meanwhile, I am an ardent advocate of learning organizations, and central to this is the practice of self-organization.
- Self-Organization: Without activating the collective intelligence of the team, developing complex products in today’s evolving technological landscape is an impossibility. And self-organization is a consistent trait observed in high performing teams. Yet again as we are so ingrained in command and control culture, self-organization does not come naturally to most teams. It takes some good coaching and organizational alignment to de-learn the many old habits that we hold, yet with a lot of optimism (it doesn’t hurt to be a Positive Psychology coach!) and respect to our intrinsic drive for autonomy, purpose and mastery, I am confident that change for self-organization can happen with every team.
- INSEAD: Corporate Executive Programme lecturer and workshop trainer
- Major European FMCG: Agile transformation advisor and agile coach for CIO/CTO board
- Global consulting company: Organization wide leadership development programme director
- Singapore Government agency: Executive leadership team coach, organizational transformation programme with Service Design
- Global insurance company: Agile cultural transformation programme lead coach and trainer
- Executive coaching engagements with global financial institutions, MNCs, GAFA
2011 – Present: Lifecycle Pte. Ltd., Founder (Singapore)
2009 – 2011: Barclays Bank, Director (Singapore & Tokyo, Global Markets)
2004 – 2009: Deutsche Bank, Director (Singapore & Tokyo, Global Markets)
2002 – 2004: Bank of America, VP (Tokyo, Global Markets)
1994 – 2001: Morgan Stanley (Tokyo, Investment Banking, Asset Management)
2001 – 2002: INSEAD, MBA, Freshfields Scholarship (France)
1990 – 1994: International Christian University, BA, Liberal Arts (Tokyo)
Certified LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Facilitator, Association of Master Trainers in the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Method (credential)
Hogan Assessment, Level I & II (Advanced Interpretation: HPI, HDS, MVPI, Team Report) Certified (credential)
Career, Education & Qualifications
Confucius’ 7 spaces of learning Knowing to stop – is a simple notion but difficult to practice skill. In “Great Learning (大学)”, written around 2,500 years ago by one of his first disciples Zengzi (曾子),... Read More
Classic Scrum’s Achilles’ heel One of the weak areas of classic Scrum, in my opinion, is the relative simplicity of the ideation phase. “What to build” is sometimes an arbitrary discussion during the Scrum Backlog... Read More
In search of better feedbacking As a coach and mentor, challenging people is a natural part of my work, and sometimes they are in the form of tough messages. Not always though, the messages go... Read More
Glossary: Lean, Agile, Scrum, Sprint, Kanban Consider Lean & Agile as pretty much the same thing, they are basically really good approaches to handling projects with a lot of uncertainties, which is why successful startups... Read More
Pilot objective Within the Scrum community, there is abundant writing suggesting that the two main factors of Scrum implementation failure are: (1) sub-optimal team structure at the onset, and (2) the Scrum Team failing to... Read More
Why brainstorming doesn’t work That was fun, but… Why do we get that slight, lingering feeling of doubt and dissatisfaction after brainstorming sessions? Here’s why: Group dynamics: 80/20 rule applies. Domination: The vocal minority dominate... Read More
The Irony of Delivering Agile Transformation with Waterfall Agile and digital transformation projects are abundant today. The irony is that too frequently, they are planned and delivered in essentially waterfall project management style. Waterfall is... Read More
What is agile? Why agile? How do we do agile? What’s the difference between Agile, Scrum, Lean, Design Thinking? Tell me about Scrum. Is agile a fad? What’s the difference between Agile and agility? All... Read More
The situation is volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous, overwhelming (VUCA”O”). We have an immediate, mission critical challenge to tackle. We need team alignment, and as leader I am tempted to exercise strong command – I am... Read More
Watch on YouTube References Transcript How do we lead with inspiration and purpose? It’s a good question and every leader’s struggle. You want your people to share your vision and enthusiasm of pursuing a common... Read More
Dear Eli, Frankie and team, thanks for the follow-up questions to our group coaching session on “Aristotle’s Influence Model”. What is the difference between influencing and manipulation? How do we influence without sounding like we’re... Read More