The article is edited by dialogue of Milestone and Dr. Marjorie Woo (LMI China Founder, KEYSTONE Founder, MCC Coach)
Host：Dr. Marjorie Woo，good afternoon, thank you very much for accepting our invitation for this interview. And I have a opportunity to be in this lovely office. Thank you.
Dr. Marjorie Woo: it’s my pleasure.
Host: Me too, and first of all would you like to share all of the brief background with audiences of I heard. I know you were born in shanghai and when you in shanghai, like your background after you were born, where you grow up, where you take education, and when you come back to china.
Dr. Marjorie Woo: ok. First of all, I wish I can speak shanghainess. （laughing）Coz I was, en, my family was from shanghai, and I was born in shanghai, and then, we left after I was born, and we moved to Taiwan, we moved to Japan, then we moved to California. So my formative years were very much undergo, lived in five different countries. And in my younger days, my parents, they would speak to each other in shanghainess, they would speak to me in shanghainess, but we reply in Putonghua or in English. So I never really quite learn shanghainess. I could not understand shanghainess if it is speaking slowly. Do you speak shanghainess?
Host：Only a little bit. （laughing）Yidiandian。
Dr. Marjorie Woo：that’s good. It is my privilege to be able to come back to china, and come back to shanghai particular. Back in 1985 it was my first trip to shanghai, in 1985.
Dr. Marjorie Woo: It was in a long time. And came back at the first time with Zeracks cooperation. I worked in the Zeracks headquarters and later on in an international operation, so I was a responsible for Asia pacific, and China bases development. So in Zeracks headquarters they run a group called China business group, so, I was selected to be one of the team, and would be traveling to china. We worked on very joint venture programs. And eventually formed in Zerack shanghai joint venture in shanghai.
Host: So you are involved in the processes of setting up that joint venture?
Dr. Marjorie Woo: I was involved, first of all, in the negotiation of the joint venture, then when the venture was signed, then I was asked by the cooperate CEO, would you like to come to China worked on the joint venture, I go sure (laughing).
Host：that’s coming back home, right?
Dr. Marjorie Woo: exactly. This coming back a full circle，for me. Shanghai to different countries, then coming back to shanghai
Host: I know you achieved very high social states in corporate letter pretty high, what made you thing to set up your own company in shanghai?
Dr. Marjorie Woo: very good question. It is true, in terms like our career in Zeracks at the highest in my career, and then just about that time father was ill, and my father had cancer. So he asked for me to go back to look after his businesses. At first it was very difficult, very challenge, because I did not know what I will do in the family business. I have been away for over 30 years, so, but then I think Chinese tradition, probably deeper than we realize, somehow, would ever I choose the decisions like to choose to go other than going back to going home to be with him, I did not said right, so I finally decided ok, I would go home, that is the best decision, I think.
Host: that really, I think is the value of Chinese traditions.
Dr. Marjorie Woo: yes, I think so. You do not realize it until when you face the challenge of making a decision that you did not want to make. Or rationally, you do not want to make.
Host: could you share with me when you started to interested in coaching?
Dr. Marjorie Woo: Now, I was actually has to do my interests in developing people, in the years with Zeracks, Zeracks is a wonder company that in terms of talent development, I am a benefit of that culture, because my use in zaracks I meet many many different leadership development programs, and the host leader on total quality management .and that was a company write a initiative in and I was started at 1980, so 5 years it was a company program, so we were very much on the total quality management, and then, when I came to shanghai, for Zerack shanghai, from day 1, we have an initiative called zhiliangqusheng. So, it was total quality management from day one.
Host: So you thought of like having a coaching at that time, or you were coaching others a lot?
Dr. Marjorie Woo：at that time, coaching was not a tender used very often. It was leadership development, that include classroom facilitation, and also involved team discussion. Also, later on one and one follow up, that called follow up, was not call coaching. But, in fact, it is a conversion that specifically pertinent to the individual were you want to development. Was very very effective, very very helpful.
Host: So you are personally you are benefit from those program?
Dr. Marjorie Woo: yes, very much so.
Host: so your coaching certification program that called evidence based coaching certification， would your elevate a little bit about this theory or it is different from other types of coaching theories?
Dr. Marjorie Woo: OK. That is the evidence based coaching concept makes a lot of difference to me when I went to the program in my doctor’s degree when I studied. Also, because evidence based coaching concept came from the medical field, it is when should you always motorize the most current theory and the best practice plus the individual. And three together was your client to come up jointly come up a solution that most applicable to the client. So if you take that specifically apply to China, I am always was thinking that China has a lot of talent, and my experience in China really confirm that. What need to do it is profiled the best practice, and the most suitable knowledge that most current knowledge, then, plus yourself it is experience of the individual either as a coach, as a facilitator that working with Chinese talent. So, in another perspective, China is going through a transformation unlike any other in the world. Therefor, just bring any theory, any practice, and use the Chinese talent it is not a way relevant. So, in order to be relevant to China, to the Chinese professionals, then you need to look around, you need to take into the consideration, what is the most current knowledge in terms of theory ,and what is the most actable and most effective skills. And then, you need to take into the consideration, as the coach was the condition of coaching， now the background of the coach and the knowledge of the coach do you have the business experience in China. In order to make the most applicable that the leadership development tool, that is specifically right for these individuals that sating in front of you.
Host: So, this is a very interesting concept, sounds like three elements or three circles of putting these things together.
Dr. Marjorie Woo: exactly. Also, if you link that the global coaching certification organization, such as ICF, ICA and others, usually, the best combination is to take into the considerations of art and the science, and the practice of coaching. So, in the sense, if you look as the evidence based, that the arts is the individual, and the science, and the theories, and the practice is the skills, so that’s the best combination that in my observation, and that’s why I thought particularly for our executives, because technically they are very strong, so when will be most applicable and most helpful is to help them to kind of rise the self-awareness and the countersense level. So once they start they can in their light, they can figure out the best solution for them, not for you, for them.
Host: I also concern about you using your understanding of the both the Chinese culture as well as the western culture in your coaching, could you share with us about what is the difference between if you do coaching use the evidence based theory do coaching in China and compare with your coaching a next step. What will be the differences, or any stories that could like to share with us?
Dr. Marjorie Woo: good question, let me think about it there is a difference because specially in the MNC perspective, because for MNC any coaching given situation, you need to take into the consideration of the coach and coachee, and you also need to take into the consideration the company culture, they work in the macro environment, the business community the business environment they are in. and you need to take into the consideration of the culture – the family culture, the country culture, and those are parts of the coaching dynamics. So for expect, in a way offer time will focusing on the area what their expiration for their career was in the company, and where in terms for them to better understand the Chinese culture vs their home culture, and the third area will be more how do they be able to achieve the work balance. Because of they living in China, their schedule is very hectic, and they also have their family and children maybe quite different live in China, so they are facing the challenge of having to look after their family because they have limited time, they travel a lot with heavy work schedule, and so forth, so it is a different set of challenge in different set of areas for development. And for Chinese exceptive, they are looking at another set of challenges, because often time the company will ask most of them the challenge come from their style of communication. Because in the Chinese culture it is more indirect tan the direct communication, then, that is creates tension, the second thing is their communication style was high quarters, because for one, English is their second language, and to the headquarters they usually dealing with people that older once in qualogical age and they are higher in their position, so the traditional Chinese executive would be trend to differ to them. So instead of express their opinion, they trend to go along, unless they really strong about sth they do not voice their opinion that much. So often times they are asked to be either more erective they need to be more dynamic they have to stand the firm in their believe and they have to give the recommendation and trend to be in culturally to their training. Because many of the Chinese executives are with technical background so, they very strong technically, they do not say a lot of things particular in the Nell executives, and in terms of communications, they are not that adaptable, so, that is more of challenge to them, once they get to a higher level of executive position, they need to spend more their time dealing with people not just process, not operation, and that was very difficult for them, so they have to really change their mindset to because they always doing so good what they are doing, so that is why they are promoted, and then, they still do what they used to do best but no longer applicable it is not enough for their current position. So you need to connect to change their mindset from a technically company executives, to more later communicators and also more interactive, more inclusive with people.
Host: and from what you mention you must have coach in lots of aspect, as well as Chinese executive, so, do you still remember who is your first coach cline? Like how it’s went, because you know for many people who are learning coaching courses the first question in their mind is how can I get my first client (laughing). Do you have any experience to share with us?
Dr. Marjorie Woo：I do. One of my first client was a both very successful one and a challenging one. One of the most challenging one was interesting, because he was a male executive, that is in a very strong minded, strong welled, a male executive of European descent. So the area of development was cross culture, so when we sat down, he said ok, you were potential coach, so tell me what you can do for me that worth the money that I am goanna pay you.
Host: wow, that’s a very direct question.
Dr. Marjorie Woo: that’s right. Well, first of all, I do not know, because we do not yet have the answer, and also that I am not here really to teach you anything. So before we got started, maybe we have a conversation that you can share with we first of all, have you ever had a coach? He says no. I say ok. Then, how do you per see the role of coach, he said well, I am goanna pay you that you must know sth I do not know. You must be able to worth well. Well, that a good enough answer, but the thing is do you see coaching is sth that is your responsibility or mine? He says well, you tell me. So you see the conversation goes like that. finally, I thought in my mind I say ok, we get to a point, we no longer see eye-to-eye and prepared to walk away. Because, it’s not everybody its right a chemistry of match. But fortunately, after our conversation for a while, he seems to say ok, he thought I was pretty honest and pretty open about it, so he says ok, I will give it a try. Then, we went on and it was fine. And at the same time, my another coachee, she is a woman expects, from the US, but she was a US born ABC. So she came here as a expect position and she is very direct and she thinks her way is the best and I am here to teach you. (laughing). So when she came in the people work with her was very challenging they did not like her and she did not understand why. And she said she does has the best intention, because she thinks she is Chinese origins, Chinese American, and I really want to make a difference and I am goanna to do everything I can help. So, that was a took while to change her perspective, and she over a period of 9 month she became much more periotic understanding and much more effective
Host: you are really good at asking questions, and that which is the key element of being a coach. I like the questions you asked about that European coachee, that really changing his mindset. I have another questions of you are a female, and you are female leader both when you in Zaracks and now you have your own company, Now recently that was a hot coffee about female leadership of how to balance your career as well as your family, and also I know in a coaching word majority of the exactly are male. So do you think being a female brings you advantage as a coach or sometimes it could be a disadvantage, I am not sure (laughing).
Dr. Marjorie Woo: I think the answer depends, as the a coach female coach I will say most time could be an advantage, and however, the thing is for women more mature you are, and more experience in the business environment helps. And I think it has more challenge if you are young, you are beautiful, and you are not experience can trend to be a disadvantage (laughing). It can be a stracting, they may not mean to that but they will ask what do you know to teach me, but the potion is not about to teaching you. I think that’s the thing. But I think more when coaching became more understood, and to people, and then its no longer as important as you young as you attractive, but the main things is you need to be profession, and you need to be competent in what you do.
Host: and back to your female leadership, what is your lessons you learn as a leader in developing the coaching business in China. What are your advice to share to our audience like promoting, developing industry of coaching in China or in Shanghai.
Dr. Marjorie Woo: I think regardless the gender, whether you female or male, if you interested in coaching in China, Coz coaching is a concept that relatively new in China. Like anything else when the idea. Or initiative its new. The people or the person that involved you have to believe it or not. You must be passion about it. And then, you need to be processed coz, if you think it’s a new idea, you can come in and just take 3 mins and share your idea you expected that people be able to understand and take on these idea and everything you then look happily after that not the case. Like anything else any new idea takes time to be received, and to be observed, and to build equitability and then to have quality, and then will flourish. so you need to be prepare for that and you need to be persistent.
Host: one of your vision for Keystone this company that you have not mention previously with LMI and keystone for several years what is your vision for your this company here.
Dr. Marjorie Woo: ok, I think the origin of keystone always be developing Chinese leaders. So in terms of that, whether the process or the methods are leadership development, or coaching, so the really the intention is about developing people. You need to have the believe that is the vision that you have in place. So, now, the keystone is a platform and was partners with a vision for keystone is everyone coming contact with keystone. That was the platform will have the opportunity to utilize their potential. So, either by when they went to the certification, then, they can develop to get the quidentialing, and to become an individual coach, or when they can learn to for each everyone about our programs they can be very good at and then come back to teach the program to others. Or they want to be a flex or flex coach or they can become a internal coach as a professional within the organization. So what we want to do is for the people going through our platform, to increase awareness of themselves. And their strength what they like to do and what is important to them and how they can combine their strength, and then make a contribution something somewhere on the platform
Dr. Marjorie Woo: yes, know yourself.
Host: So my last question for today’s interview is, because many of our audiences are on the way to be a certify coach or they are interested in taking a coaching course, so as a PCC you have a lot of experience what is your advice for people who are on the way to be a coach.
Dr. Marjorie Woo: yes, I think to look at coaching it’s a process of adopt development. So, it is a individual development, and it is a continuous development. And it is a journey that really no real end. So if you are interested to become a coach, then, you start to learn, you start to practice and then from practice your reflect what do you have done right, what you could do even better, and then, to attend more learning cessions, and to exchange ideas to other coaches with other Schlosberg and it is a progressive, revalidation of worthwhile, predetermined, individual goals.
Host: thank you very much, its my great pleasure to talking to you today.