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Exclusive Interview With Sam Chia – Business And Executive Coach

Sam Chia, is a business and executive coach with over 25 years of global experience as a regional corporate leader, business consultant, and coach. He applies insights using assessment technology, positive psychology, action learning, coaching, and blended learning to help people to expand their performance and organizational capabilities. He is the CEO of SC Coaching Asia, a premiere results-driven coaching practice that supports people to unleash their unique capability and maximizing their full potentials. His coaching clients include executives from Dell, Adobe, Salesforce, Linkedin, Zendesk, NetApp, Micron, Gap, Walmart, IMF, Citibank, Visa, S&P Global, Accenture, E&Y, ABB, HeroMotorCorp, Merck, J&J, MacDermid Enthone, Alcon, Varian. He is the co-editor and co-author of a groundbreaking publication on Asia executive coaching practices, Coaching in Asia: The First decade. He is a coach-writer for Betterup, the inventor and global leader in virtual professional coaching. He is also a leadership and mindset content writer for The Strategy Journey, a transformation best-seller in the digital age. His mission is to empower people to achieve a positive and meaningful career and life.

Sam Chia, Business And Executive Coach

Introduce yourself! Please tell us about you and your life, so we can get to know you better.

I grew up in a traditional Chinese family in a small town in Malaysia. My grandparent came from China with virtually nothing. With determination, hard work, and perseverance, they build a small business starting from a moving cart selling household food and sundries before setting up their shop. They were well respected by the communities as they were kind, helpful, and had lots of humility.

I lived and grew up with them and their ways of working with people have a profound impact on my leadership practices. I acquire the virtue of treating people with respect, integrity, and gratitude since young. This is the essence of humanized leadership that I practiced when I become a leader.

I helped out in the shop after school since young. This has also resulted in my interest in the business. I studied in two schools with two different languages i.e. English & Mandarin to preserve the Chinese culture of speaking Mandarin as our main medium of education is in English.

I went to college to study accountancy. After completing my Chartered Certified Accountants qualification, I embarked on the accounting profession journey. A few years later, I decided to move on to the business world and transit to take up a commercial accountant role.

This begins my journey in the corporate world as I progressed from a finance role to General Manager, Managing Director, and Vice President responsible for the regional profit and loss of the business of a global organization.

I had developed my leadership capabilities during my 25 years of corporate journey. I had successfully built leaders and teams as I acquired and merged businesses, start-up new businesses in new countries, and restructured and right-sized businesses. All these initiatives had a tremendous impact on people.

I had since worked and lived in different countries and had embraced a diversified culture. I now reside in Singapore.

I have developed a humanized leadership approach practicing the essence of “humanity” from my grandparent. I emphasized the importance of respect and integrity and recognizes the dignity and worth of every person with whom I interact. I focus on a human-centric mindset and engaging the heart of the people working with me with compassion and empathy

I am particularly passionate about growing and developing leaders. I had acquired coaching and training skills intending to develop my team when I was still in the corporate.

When I decided to leave corporate and start my business, it's natural that I had chosen the path of developing leaders as my service.

My mission is to support leaders to be better leaders so that they can create a positive impact on the people and the environment.

In my spare time, I work pro-bono with the leaders from not-for-profit organizations to help them build stronger organizations that do good to the community. I support ex-offenders through career coaching with the hope they can find a new career path and are motivated to build a new life after leaving prison.

I also sit on the panel of judges for Brands For Good which aims to recognize businesses that not only make a difference but also commit as stewards for a positive impact.

I am married with a daughter currently in the third year in a university. I enjoy reading and traveling to different countries meeting people. I similarly enjoy a game of ping pong and a round of golf.

What is your business name and how do you help your clients?

I founded SC Coaching Asia in 2012 with the vision of building better leaders through coaching. I had seen how a good leader can impact the lives of people and the community around them. I had also seen how a bad leader can destroy a company and the people working for them.

I provide leadership and business coaching services to leaders of global organizations, business owners, and leaders of a not-for-profit organization.

Our coaching service supports leaders to be more effective and to be better leaders. We work with them to improve their resilience, adaptability, and effectiveness and the enhanced ability to develop and implement effective strategies.

We empowered them to build and develop a world-class team that can contribute to generating a positive outcome for its stakeholders through the essence of humanity

We also enabled leaders to achieve better work-life harmony with a holistic approach to prioritize what is important to the leader at this point of their career and life.

I hope I can continue the legacy of building great leaders through SC Coaching Asia.

What kind of audience do you target your business towards?

I focus on working with organization leaders as they will have a direct impact on the stakeholders and the businesses around them. It is my hope they will embrace humanistic leadership practices that will create a greater positive impact on the people and environment around them while making a profit.

I have also aspired to support leaders of a not-for-profit organization to better lead and build their organization so that they can do more good to the community.

Who inspires you to be the best that you can be?

I have 3 mentors that had impacted my life and contributed to who I am today.

The first mentor was a managing partner of a public accounting practice. He had created a fantastic work environment where people are happy at work. The company culture is like a close family with mutual respect and support. People are empowered to work and play striving for a balance between work and life. He is our cheerleader at work and our sports event. He had influenced me on the importance of building culture.

The second mentor employed me as the finance manager when I transited from a public accounting profession to the business world. He invested time to guide me to the different functions of the organization, support my MBA education, and create career opportunities to have a breakthrough in my career by recommending me to take up the general manager role in China. He had impacted me by emphasizing the importance of building and developing people.

The third mentor had led me to scale my leadership journey. I had always been results and outcome-driven and delivered my commitment consistently. I don’t feel the need to shout out my achievement. My mentor had feedback to me that this is not sufficient to scale my career. I need to build more visibility and presence so that his peer and his boss can also take notice of my team and my achievement. I understand it is not about myself but about raising awareness about my people too.

I am grateful to my mentors and I will continue to share their teachings and leave an impact on other leaders whom I coach.

Tell us about your greatest career achievement so far.

I became a general manager in a foreign country at the young age of 34 years as I was tasked with transforming our joint venture in China in 1994. I took the courage and the challenge of working in a closed economy at that time. I had to lead a team of subordinates with an average age of 50 years that had little exposure to international business practices.

Applying the humanistic approach to leadership treating people with compassion, respect, and humility, I managed to turn around the joint venture and set up more ventures and new manufacturing plants and sales offices across China. I am proud to have helped my organization build a strong strategic position in China.

Tell us about a pivotal moment in your life that brought you to where you are today.

When I was in my late 40s, our organization was taken over by a new owner. Many of my colleagues lost their jobs as the new owner decided to bring in their leadership team. I was fortunate to retain my role as I had a strong team, and I am delivering a strong profit and loss for my region.

However, it is also a wake-up call that I should take charge of my career.

A few years later after that incident, I decided to forego a lucrative executive salary package to start a business of my own. I was fortunate to have a business partner who supported my transition into the people business.

I started with a joint venture in running a human resource consulting business before setting up SC coaching Asia to focus on leadership and business coaching.

I set a mission to build good and effective leaders and support small businesses building sustainable businesses that do good to people and the environment.

What is your work inspired by?

I had developed many leaders during my 25 years in leading the organizations and am always inspired when they were promoted to take on larger responsibilities or move on working towards their career aspirations.

As a coach now, I can reach out to a more diverse group of people to support them in achieving their goals and have clarity towards a more meaningful life. I believe they will contribute to doing good to the larger community when they are successful.

Follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter and visit my website for more info!

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