New Series: Coaching Around the Globe

Michael O. "Coop" Cooper

Past President, International Association of Coaching

We get several requests
each week asking about the state of coaching in different parts
of the globe from our members and the media. It's difficult to answer
these questions, simply because we don't live in other parts of
the world – but our members do! In this new series, we'll be asking
you, our members, to give your insights, opinions and observations
about coaching in your corner of the world.

Below is our first installment in this
series, with insight from the talented Dr. John Koo of China.
We hope you enjoy this series, and we welcome input for other article
ideas and suggestions for improving the IAC VOICE.

in China

A Candid Conversation with Dr. John Koo
Dr. John Koo is the
first and only western-trained clinical psychologist in the world
to also hold a Ph.D. in Chinese Medicine. He has degrees from the
University of Hong Kong and Clayton University, as well as from
the Hunan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

to his web site, Dr. Koo is well-known in Hong Kong as its premier
clinical psychologist. He has authored several books, videos, cassettes
and CDs. He is a frequent subject of television and print interviews
and he is widely recognized by the Hong Kong public.

How many
coaches are in China?

Dr. Koo: The latest official estimate is that there
are 7,000 registered training companies in the major cities of China.
It is important to note the two words "registered" and
"major". They denote that, if we take into consideration
the "unregistered" companies and "minor" cities,
the figure could easily be tripled and quadrupled.

My personal feeling is that there could easily be over 60,000 persons
doing all fashions of coaching work in China.

Where do coaches flourish in China?
(inside companies, as independent business owners, etc.)
Dr. Koo: While there are no formal statistics available,
this is what I can proffer: there are a few regionally and nationally
famous coaches (no more than 5), and a couple of famous training

Very few businesses have "internal coaches" as such, although
some do have HR departments which conduct internal training.

Who seeks coaches?
Dr. Koo: Wow, that's a hefty question! The answer
is likely to be this: probably half the nation. You know, some 12
years ago John Naisbitt ("Megatrends") said that the number
of people in China learning English is larger than the population
of North America.

And you know, at least half of the nation are earnestly learning
to be entrepreneurs."To get rich is glorious": this earth-shaking
utterance by the late premiere Deng Xiao-ping inaugurated an era
of prosperity-seeking in China.

What are some very distinct differences
to coaching in the US/Western Hemisphere?

Dr. Koo: One would think that we're all created
equal, however there are some real differences between what we want
from coaches and coach training than what is available to us now.
There was an abundance of American trainers feverishly putting their
fingers in this delicious Chinese pie, however they met with poor
results. They concluded that China is a tough market.

I think Chinese people really want yankeeism (Western education
and entrepreneurialism), yet they want it localized. They want the
knowledge, yet it must be delivered in such a way that it makes
sense to Chinese people. They want the knowledge translated in a
meaningful manner. We want the superior knowledge of the West, but
not the sense of superiority from Westerners.

In other words, China wants the content of Western knowledge, yet
the content provider must be well-versed with the Chinese culture,
and must be able to blend with China. Remember, when Christianity
conquered Rome, Rome in return paganized Christianity. So the Western
content must be paganized – indigenized – before it can become a
deliverable. We need an army of Western-trained coaches who can
translate training for this culture.

Are the 15 Proficiencies used as the
primary coaching model in Asia?

Dr. Koo: They constitute a beautiful model indeed,
as far as I am concerned. However, the certifying system provides
a major challenge because currently we cannot find Chinese-speaking
certifying coaches to certify our coaches here.

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