Why I Become An Innovation Coach (Part 1)

Why I Become An Innovation Coach (Part 1)

In my late teens, I conceptualised several inventive ideas but I didn’t pursue them. I was too young and lack knowledge. To educate myself, I cut articles on innovation from magazines and newspapers. Internet was expensive and affordable smartphone wasn’t yet invented. I compiled these articles and read them, flipped well in my jacket. I thought I got all the knowledge about starting a business covered, I ventured out from being a corporate salary man. It’s time I whispered to myself. 

A decade ago, I started a cafe business. It closed down within a year. Lessons learned was, start small but how small? I used to work in hotels, starting a cafe was small enough. Our menu was good, ingredients sourced from the right suppliers and the cafe was well equipped. Customer research done, nothing could go wrong. Wronged we were. 

Several years later I learned about the methods of design thinking, business model, first principles, agile and many more. Reflecting on my own experiences, I now know what could have been done better. In between those years, I hear stories from friends and clients that could have save a lot had they know more of these methods. Combining my passion for innovation and people development, I became a man with a mission – assisting them as an innovation coach. 

Here’s the four reasons why I become an Innovation Coach:

  1. Coaching Helps

In those years that I closed down my failed ventures I was fortunate to let several mentors and coaches coming my way. People with shared interests as my own, committed in lending their ears and ideas and saw my potentials with excitement. 

In demanding times it is difficult to bring our mind to the present, coaching helps. I also learned self-coaching and self-talk to contemplate my actions and decisions. It helps me find meaning back again into day to day activities. Finding meaning that is beyond my immediate obstacles and to a cause that’s greater than myself. 

2. Innovation Is A Contact Sport

World Economic Forum (WEF) 2019/2020, reported that collaboration skill is a highly demanded skills in the future of work. Innovators tend to be loners because of varieties of “mights” – ideas might get stolen, might conflicted, might get copied etc..The ideas isn’t celebrated but rather isolated. As a result it is difficult to take off and die off fast. 

In my innovation coaching, I’ll make sure all hands and ideas on deck especially if they are all in the same company! Territorial and fiefdom need to take backseat. Coaches like me will help break ties, stimulate discussion, ask the hard questions and challenge for meanings. In most situations, coaches help the innovation team to own their decision in today’s distracted world. 

3. Multi-Disciplinary Is Passion

I read and get busy with a lot of disciplines – economics, education, parenting, finance, society, science, business and music. My latest interest is in toy making. I don’t do fishing. Bad at gardening too. I’ve stopped bike riding. 

Therefore, once we’ve achieved the coaching goals, I enjoy listening and exchanging ideas with my clients about our interests. I remember of getting into gardening after listening to my client’s story of her tended garden. I went home with some lady fingers seeds. After a few months I found I do not have “green fingers”.

4. Taught Me Patience

I was a difficult project manager in the early years. It propels my career fast. It also reaffirms that I was doing the “right” approach because I seem to be getting the “right” results. Young and naively ambitious. 

As the work get complex and large, pushing it through getting harder and insurmountable. I am beginning to realized that extended team members is hard to monitor. Besides, company projects are additional thing that people do, not in their job description. I got the numbers I need for the project, but many team members hated working under duress with me. There’s no we, only me. 

Coaching sessions taught me patience. It only dawned on me that people want to feel cared and respected. In some situations, they want to see me offering help although they may already know how to do it. I was limited by my approaches – the “what works” from my little experiences but didn’t see how else to make it work better. I learned how to be empathic, energizing my team members and being purposeful my leadership since. I became more disciplined and reduce spontaneity for things that matter.

Innovation projects are fun, so much to learn from and you will a chance to leave your mark in years to come. Let’s do this together and seize the day!

Thanks for reading and do reach out to me for brickbats! 😉