On Feb.21st(UTC+8), we had a fascinating 1.5h conversation with Mr.Fionn Wright ,who is the International Coach & Trainer,Award-Winning Documentary Producer and TV Personality. As the guest of InnoKOL Season2 Esposide2, he shared his unique work experience of "Dream Coach" and deep insights on the coaching& training strategies. As a "Conscious Evolutionary Human", he also shared the opinion on the market trends of various industry under current situation.
Jokia: How would you describe yourself in three words? What’s your motto?
In three words, at least in a China context would be - China Dream Coach. And my motto is to "use every challenge an opportunity to evolve".
That brings me to the three words I would use to describe myself outside a China context which would be "Conscious Evolutionary Human" as I have many hats. I'm homeschool (world school) my kids myself, and work on a lot of fun projects around the world.
Jokia: Can you please share more about your educational and professional background? And we’d love to hear what brought you into business coaching& training domain.
So all of my work is in development (or evolution) of human beings 0 those could be my kids, coaching clients, people who read my articles or listen to my interviews, companies that I train or consult for - it’s all about supporting us as a species to consciously evolve. So, I grew up in a business family and started leading teams from a young age. My father always wanted to be a coach, but in those days, there was no such thing as coaching, so he just grew people and teams around him. So, I started coaching early on by learning from him.
Then when I moved to Shanghai and opened my own companies it was clear I needed to keep learning how to be a better coach. I've studied a whole load of different types of coaching, from neuroscience to Neurolinguistic programming to Mindfulness Based somatic coaching to process facilitation to business coaching to vertical leadership development to transformational leadership. and each type of training has given me more tools and supported me to be able to help different types of people in different contexts.
I've been coaching professionally now for over a decade and I love every minute of it. It also gives me the freedom to travel the world with my family. These days I coach executives or entrepreneurs. With the executives its usually when they are thinking about making some sort of a transition, working in a new industry or going from being an employee to being an entrepreneur. With the entrepreneurs its usually about helping them take more control over their life and business, whether that's to scale the business, or automate it or to be able to focus on their priorities like family or setting up more "impact businesses".
I'm lucky to be able to do work I love and work with people who I enjoy working with, but I also know being lucky is a mindset that can be cultivated. A lot of the work I do with people is about their mindsets, helping them be able to frame their situation in a useful way, making the best of the resources they have and the situation they find themselves in. No matter how challenging a situation may seem, there are always more ways to look at it, more perspectives that are useful. So, I help people to expand their perspectives so that they are more aware of the big picture and how they can make an impact. I work with some incredible people all over the world, and I learn a lot from them too, each coaching session I have makes me a better coach.
Often clients come to me looking for solutions, and a lot of the time they leave realizing that they had the solution all the time they just weren’t aware of it. Self-awareness is a huge part of my work, we often look outside for solutions, but if we just quiet our mind, we have a lot of inner wisdom that can guide us solutions. So a lot of my clients start meditating after working with me, and those that already meditate do more different types or deepen their practice. I teach over 30 types of meditation, which is essentially learning 30 different ways to use your mind.
Some of my sessions, we do parts or even the entire session in a meditative or altered state. it helps people tap into things they otherwise would be unlikely to notice, feel or experience. It’s funny how we grow up thinking that there are certain ways of doing things and then just get stuck doing that over and over again, this has a lot to do with the family we grew up in and the education system. Part of what I help people do is break down the way they currently doing things, the way they think, how they feel about certain things, and look at them through the lens of "what is actually useful? Which of these are actually helping me?" And when you do that you begin to realize that we waste a lot of our time, energy and resources that would be better put into use in another area. When we stay in our comfort zone we learn slowly, but if we push ourselves to try things differently, even though its uncomfortable, we learn faster, then your comfort zone expands and you have new capacities to be able to more effectively deal with life and business.
With the sufficient working experience in Africa, Europe, North America, South America & Asia as a business trainer and personal coach helping others BOOST SUCCESS, could you share 2-3 cases impressed you most?
I've had some amazing clients who have really run with what they have learned from the sessions and it had an incredible impact in both their personal lives and their businesses.
One example that comes to mind is a client of mine who I started working with in 2018. His business was already very successful when we met, but he was looking to take it to the next level. In 2019, at the beginning of the year, we did a daylong session and planned out his whole year. Then we did coaching every week, consistently throughout the year. By the end of 2019, his business had grown 15X, he was healthier and just happier. So, we're going to be working again all the way through 2020. He has also gifted a year of coaching to his two sisters to support them to grow their businesses.
Another example was a client who came to me at a time when she was having a hard time. She was already very successful in her career, but wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. She ended up moving country but maintaining her whole business. She now travels around the world, every few weeks moving to a new country. She's making more money than she did before and she's free to live life on her own terms.
Another example was a guy who I worked with for a while before he finally felt ready to leave his job and set up his business. So he went part time until his business could grow big enough to support him. Within 3 months he was making enough to quit his job completely and now he's making multiples of what he did when he was an employee. so those are some cases of what I would call "external success". But with my coaching clients what they usually find is that the biggest value of the coaching is actually "internal transformation".
After working with me they feel happier, lighter, more motivated, more energy and they just feel more excited about life and all the potential that it brings. Their whole world opens up and they realize that they can influence where their life is going and that they want it to be like. Their intimate relationships or marriages improve, they become better parents, they start living life more fully.
Dream comes from within, and all they need do is tap into their inner sense of purpose and make their dream a reality. On the scale of 3 or 6 months this is not easy to do, but if we look at it from the scale of a year or two you can change your whole life around. By continually tweaking small things consistently over time. It’s not that difficult. It just takes commitment and persistence, and as a coach I help keep them accountable to what they really care about. It's easy to get distracted in the modern world with social media and so many opportunities, so I help them to focus on what really matters, what makes a difference.
As we all know there are gaps in Shanghai’s traditional market for corporate training, children’s education and language learning, how prepared are your 3 innovative coaching companies to play a leading role for bridging the gaps?
I don't do corporate training anymore, but I still do trainings for smaller companies where I'm also coaching the founder or leader/CEO. I found that corporate training was largely ineffective in the long run unless you are also working with the leader. You can train the team all your life but if the leader doesn’t change their mindset its limited what you can change.
In terms of children's education, these days I do a lot of work with educational intuitions in understanding things like DQ (Digital Quotient) and how they can create learning processes that match the needs of the modern technological world. Educational methodology around the world is completely outdated. And in many ways, it does more harm to children than good (except for in developing countries). We need an entirely new paradigm of education on planet earth. That’s why I homeschool my own kids.
The whole premise of testing is outdated. We never do another test (except for maybe your driver's license) once we graduate. We need project based, child-led learning where children learn to trust their creative ideas and then make them a reality which essentially is building them to be true leaders. Regarding the time to go to school, I will give the decision to my kids when they get a bit older if they want to go to school, they can choose. It's going to be hard to find a school that's more fun that traveling around the world - snowboarding, skating, playing at the beach, visiting world class museums, working on their own projects, and living on the road getting to visit different countries and cultures.
Now with the coronavirus we see that learning from home is feasible, but also China is a developing country so it’s important that children have access to proper education. The place it may start in china is with children who have special needs, like on the autism spectrum, because they don’t fit in regular schools anyway. and then when that is done well, we might see that there are opportunities for all children. But as I said developing countries are a different case, and China has done a remarkable job of educating most of its population in just one generation - that's phenomenal progress.
And in terms of language learning, I no longer work in that field. The CEO of that company was invested in another company that went IPO, and my focus had also shifted to a more coaching focus.
Jokia: From your perspective, will the emerging technologies replace the role of business coach& trainer in the future? What opportunities and challenges are business coach& trainers facing?
There are certain aspects that can and will be replaced, just like in most fields. And the people who continue to do well are the ones that will learn to work with technology as it develops. There are new AI systems that are getting quite good at coaching. And the coaches who can leverage those AI systems are going to be the ones who come out on top.
But it seems coaching is one of the roles that is going to take longer to be replaced as people like to have another human being on the other side supporting them through what they are going through. So, it’s never going to be fully replaced as coaching is essentially just supporting another human being to develop themselves and there will always be ways that a human being can do that in ways that ai and machines can’t, but it’s going to get narrower and narrower over time.
There is a lot of potential in blockchain and AI to take coaching to the next level. With blockchain it’s about creating value systems that people can trust and entire community can grow together. With AI it’s about continuing to decode the human experience through measurement of objective data - brainwaves, heart coherence, biofeedback, genomics, stages of development etc. - and using that data to tailor experiences for an individual to support them in a personalized way. When we have both of those - the blockchain value-based communities and advanced AI, we have the capacity to rapidly develop large numbers of people very quickly.
In essence, we could bring the human race to an entirely new level of operation that would make earth and our species almost unrecognizable from today’s standards. We are still a relatively primitive species.
Jokia:Could you share why do you think the coronavirus battle is paving the way for a much stronger China 2.0?
I gave 10 specific trends that I'm seeing in that article.
And essentially it comes down to seeing every challenge as an opportunity - which was my motto I shared at the beginning. With the exceptions of the tragedies of individuals and families who have been severely physically impacted by the virus.
For the rest of us, a crisis gives us a chance to see things from a new perspective. And those new perspectives bring us new business ideas, new innovations, new ways of thinking and they are going to help build an entirely new society. Just as Alibaba and JD which started in large part due to SARS have reorganized Chinese society and daily life, we are going to see similarly or even more impactful technologies, norms and regulations arising out of this crisis. The Chinese economy is also 10 times stronger now than it was then.
In the short term many industries will have new challenges to face, and those that come out the other end are going to come out stronger. And my question for people is - how can you find a way to come out of this crisis stronger?
For people who haven’t read my article please click the link below:
And the second is my video interview with CGTN: