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Corporate Coaching Catalyst: Putting Action Before Words

People, (even corporate management), share a common blind-spot, a mis-conception about “Coaching,” says Stephen Ho, founder of Innowise Consulting Ltd – a company with more than a decade of serving leading public and private sector clients.

“They may think a corporate coach offers solutions right away or teaches them knowledge and skills that are required, and carrys them through the darkest valley of their business. That is not ‘Coaching’,” he insists.


“The process of coaching is not feeding you with new strategies, new techniques or new trends. That is what ‘training’ should do - providing tailor-made courses, structured syllabi, flexible classes, etc., and letting you master and new skills and techniques. From ‘not knowing’ to ‘knowing something,’ that is my description for training,” Ho says.

“Coaching is related to goal achievement and is about taking action towards your goals. From not doing to doing something, I would say it this way,” Ho explains.

“For a world-class corporate coaching, our duty is to enhance the awareness of our clients. Many corporate management or business owners do not have a clear picture about themselves. They are not aware of what opportunities/threats they are facing, not aware of the actual resources they have and not even aware of the direction in which they are heading.”


“Our task at the first place, is to dig out the emotional ‘why’ of the goals they set, to uncover the meaning behind the goals. We try to discover just how significant to you or your company it is to achieve those goals? After clarifying the true values of the goals, we would review the resources they have and create an achievable action plan. We would ask a lot of clarifying questions, which is when our clients often realize they have more utilizable resource than they can imagine.”

“Remember, a good coach does not ‘carry you through’ your difficulties. We help you figure out which way or method is the most suitable solution to overcome your obstacles instead. We walk with you, not for you.”


“As more people hear about the results of coaching, there is an increasing demand for corporate coaches,” Ho says. “I always tell my clients I would not come for teaching you “How” and “How to”. That is not my job. I am there to kickstart your pathway towards your goals, guide you through the battlefield, and boost your performance through every single milestone that you can achieve. My market comprises Hong Kong Chinese executives, and of course, I also have clients that are mainland executives. As a bridge connecting China to the world, Hong Kong still has its own advantages and competitiveness and my task is to boost the abilities of our workforce. We have maintained this focus since day one and we know that we are only as good as the service we offer.”

“Recently, I had a project with one of the leading insurance company in Hong Kong, which aimed at boosting the quality of recruitment of their salesforce. We incorporated our unique personal behavioral analysis profile, and the “INNOWISE Learning Mat” – a new concept to knowledge and skills transfer technique – that helped our client storm the insurance market with a record breaking achievement – 300 new cases within 4 months,” Ho says proudly.

“Yes, times are changing and this is why when our clients see the value we bring to the table they tend to retain our services to help them meet on-going challenges.” Ho ends with saying, the credit for our performance is the willingness of our customers to trust us. Success is a two-way street and it takes two hands to clap. We owe all our success to our clients without whom we would not exist today. We grow on their success and that is our only claim to fame.”


Cornerstone International Group’s global Chairman SIMON WAN speaks on what talent top performing companies need and want and why they ought to have it…yesterday! By GLENN ROGERS.

Steve Jobs once said, “When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right,” according to

That’s what came to mind when speaking to Simon Wan, the unassuming, hugely understated chairman of the Cornerstone International in Hong Kong.
Wan is a ‘doer’ not a talker. Widely held in Greater China as ‘the man with the right connections’ Wan is not here to talk about the fine art of head hunting. “I’d rather talk of relationships. “Yes, matchmaking is the result but ‘sustaining relationships’ is the method to get the right results.”

But, in this day and age of competitive extravagance and market exuberance who has the time to put work before results? “We do,” says Wan.

“Cornerstone International is about quality. It is about a sense of humble pride in the quality of personalized service we offer our customers not merely because we want referral business but simply because it is the right thing to do. Our values are the pillars of our foundation and greed or haste will never replace them.”


The glut for the best corporate talent grows unabated but finding the right fit, just in time remains a heady task for competitive companies wanting much more than a ‘search’.

“Here’s when customers need a headhunter with a proven track record of successful matches that have lasted. This is easier said than done simply because the whole head hunting landscape has changed thanks to ‘the Internet of Things’.

Online services like Linkedin suggest a DIY approach but nothing could be further from the truth, says Wan.

“A proper match between human beings can only be qualitatively brought about by an expert. The Internet will never replace the human element.”
“Take the case of China. Ideally, matches made across East and West ought to be in place, right first time. A happy marriage between employer and employee is wishful thinking today, particularly if the match is carelessly and hastily put together. Scores of foreign companies have learned bitter lessons by underestimating the Greater China market. There is a need for an experienced, well-connected, reputation-conscious placement firm with a proven track record. Hiring companies want not just the search but the consultation element too.”


Time is money and the wheels of competition stop for no one, says Wan. “Dialogue between service providers and customers ensures that we know when vacancies will arise, in advance. You only get to this stage of trust between customer and head-hunter after many years of building a working relationship. It is not only a question of trust but one of bi-lateral learning each other’s corporate DNA. It is only when you take time to invest in a relationship that you earn this trust with which comes the opportunity to serve accurately.”

There is merit in taking the time to nurture the relationship. With patience comes greater accuracy which translates into savings in time and effort, better quality of match making and hence satisfied clients.”

The market today wants a head-hunting firm with a global presence. There is no geographical footprint anymore when it comes to sourcing candidates. Customers are growing more objective in their choice of candidates so mandates are growing more performance-based than before.


Candidates today know their options better. The Internet has seen to that. Compensation, rewards, lifestyle options, relocation benefits and drawbacks and portability of related factors like career prospects, insurance and family, are factors that head hunters have to be clearer on (not to mention convincing enough) so as to ensure that candidates are placed properly. The task of convincing the candidate falls largely, if not completely on the shoulders of the match-maker.

“But, perhaps the more important of all are; – the match in the philosophy or thinking of both, the candidate and the company, and the mutual expectations both have. See? The Internet cannot achieve these goals. You need the human element to bring about this synapse. In order for the corporate marriages to last you need both employer and employee to want the same goals and to achieve this marriage of minds, you need free and frank dialogue.”


Consultation is free with Cornerstone International, you just pay for the service, says Wan. Every opportunity to understand you and help where we can is a step toward building a mutually trustworthy relationship, he believes and cites this attitude as fundamental to the Cornerstone thinking.
“We are where we are only because of our customers and so we can’t but help feel an overwhelming gratitude to all the people who gave us the opportunity to serve them. Sharing their views, goals, hopes gave us a better insight into their industries and that experience remains a priceless part of our offerings to the world today. Customers are impressed not just with our global reach and industry-specific competence but more so because we guard our founding principles of service zealously.”


Winning the globally known HKMVC Services Award is not an end in itself but a means to reaching for better standards of service, says Wan. Our real Awards come in the form of satisfied clients, he said.

“The HKMVC Services Awards have a ring of synergy about them and we identify strongly with the very mission of the Awards – to inspire more people to reach beyond their comfort zone and find within themselves to add value to our economy and thus make Hong Kong a city synonymous with higher standards, improved quality and a insatiable hunger for excellence in all we do,” concludes Wan.


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