Let’s get to know John Raymond (仲睿盟) PCC, our newly appointed Principal in Asia

Our Head of Coaching John Raymond PCC moved to Singapore at the start of September. As our newly appointed Principal, Asia, John will combine all his skills to lead our talented Asia team and accelerate our presence and offering around the South East Asia region. Nicole Sitosta sat down with John for a quick 10 questions to find out what motivates him, his aspirations for the Asian practice and his “firsts” in Singapore.

 
Q: John, how would you describe yourself?

John: I hate this type of question! (insert John’s contagious laugh) What I would say is that I’m deeply professional, I have a real care and concern for the quality of what the client receives and the rigour of the evidence that supports the way we do things. But to balance this, I also have a real sense of having fun…the silly and daggy* sort of fun. And most importantly, I would like to leave a legacy that builds on itself. By this I mean the work my team and I do lives on beyond any of us.

Q: What’s your superpower?

John: I’d probably say that I can work really hard! Sounds really boring, I know! But I’m often surprised with the feedback that I get “You work really hard…”. And I just go “Well, isn’t that the way everyone works?”.

Q: And the alternative, what’s your kryptonite?

John: I’d also say working hard can be my kryptonite. I can tend to take on too much! I know I get this from my Dad and my Grandfather. I remember my Grandfather saying “There are two types of luck son. There’s good luck and bad luck. And the harder you work, the more good luck you have”. I guess it’s genetic!

Q: What motivates you?

John: A couple of things. I love my work! I enjoy so much about it – from the actual work I get to do, the impact of that work on others, definitely the smart and fun people I work with, and I love the places I get to travel to. The thing for me, the primary driver is not only seeing the direct impact on the people I work with (whether that’s a training course or one-on-one coaching) but also knowing there is a ripple effect of that change. So, if I work with a leader, that’s great, but I know that the impact of that will also be on his or her team, and on their family. I don’t necessarily get to see or know about the ripple effect, but it’s a huge driver for me.

Q: When have you been most satisfied in your role as IECL’s Head of Coaching based in Australia?

John: There’s two things. Firstly, being part of building the credibility, quality and substance of the Coaching Practice and the contribution this makes to IECL’s bottom line. And secondly, seeing the IECL community of coaches strengthen, and that includes Renee Holder and myself as the Coaching Practice team, our associates and our Alumni. Speaking to coaches and hearing how excited they are to be part of the broader IECL family.

Q: What then has drawn you to Asia?

John: Good question. To be honest it’s a very similar thing. I think coaching in Asia is still very much a developing market, not as mature as Australia, and to be able to contribute to the professionalism of the industry and the various markets in Asia is a big thing. I do really appreciate the opportunity and support IECL has given me to be up here; it’s a big move!

It’s also an opportunity to further learn the business side of things. Being able to build the business with GrowthOps. I was asked by the CFO of GrowthOps what my hopes for the region were, and I said that within the next five years I’m hoping to have built a solid business across Asia – a great team, a culture people want to work in, a profitable business, blue chip client base, and heaps of laughs and beers along the way! I really believe it’s a great opportunity to build something special up here.

I think it’s always so interesting how things turn out. I had a mentor, Ann Whyte, who passed away a few years ago. I remember our last conversation over lunch and she was very encouraging about going bigger and embracing the business side.

Q: You’ve mentioned your aspirations for the next five years. What do you intend to do in your new role in your first three months?

John: Get busy! One of the first things I need to get my head around is understanding the cultural differences and the context. There’s a hesitation in saying that, because I really believe there’s a lot more similarities than differences between cultures. I think we have to be careful not to make culture a bigger deal than it should be and see people as people. But I think there are some differences we need to consider particularly from a coaching perspective, so it is really about understanding the market well enough, so we feel confident we are heading in the right direction. I also want to get some work under my belt, getting some one-on-one coaching counterparts for example. I’m also spending a lot of time reflecting on our strategy, and realise it is a moving feast, especially as GrowthOps reveals itself. Personally, it’s also an exciting time to move and for my partner and I to settle in and enjoy what the region has to offer (like the food!)

Q: If we meet again a year from now celebrating what a great year it’s been, what did you and the community you talk so fondly of, achieve together?

John: Externally it’s starting to build the business and community, and IECL’s reputation in the region. A great year is as much about what we do with our clients and Alumni, as what we do internally. Actively working together and collaborating with GrowthOps for the benefit of our clients.

I want the Associates and Alumni communities in Singapore and Hong Kong to feel connected to each other and to us, for them to feel the love that our Australian Alumni feel.

Q: What’s the first five things you did when you arrived in Singapore?

John: On the very first day in Singapore, we went to IKEA, and I’m pretty sure everyone has been to IKEA at some stage. It is not for the fainthearted! I haven’t been to IKEA in many, many years and oh my giddy aunt, I’m not going back again in a hurry! But it’s one of the things you’ve got to do, because everything you need is there! One of the things we were very lucky to do when we first arrived was to have a very special dinner at CÉ LA VI at Marina Bay Sands. That was a pretty amazing “welcome to Singapore experience”. The other food element is going to the hawker markets. We’ve got around five hawker markets within 10 minutes walking distance of home and going there and just having a beer and some satays and sitting at plastic tables and being the only white folks there is just a joy, I love that! I also joined the gym! I’ve got two Fitness First gyms within a 10 minutes’ walk so no excuse not to go! We also had dinner with Babara Lee and her husband Peter and their daughters. Having a family dinner in a new city is special. I just realised most of those are about food, which is probably why I need the gym, so I can work it all off! 

Q: And lastly, what’s next on your bucket list of things to do?

John: This year I’ve ticked off two big things on my bucket list, going to Iceland in March, and going to Africa and on Safari, but one of the things I am looking forward to is travel-related again. My Mum, partner and I are going to Europe next year and in Belgium we’ll be seeing the Western Front sites from WWI. I’m not very good with history, but it will be profound seeing the various places where the battles were. Then going hiking in the Swiss Alps!

* Australian slang for something deeply uncool!  e.g. that sweater your mother knitted for you is so daggy!

JOHN RAYMOND IS IECL’S HEAD OF COACHING AND PRINCIPAL, ASIA. JOHN HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN COACHING SINCE IT BEGAN TO TAKE HOLD IN AUSTRALASIA IN THE MID-1990S. HE BRINGS A SYSTEMS THINKING FILTER TO EVERYTHING HE DOES WITH A STAND OUT CONCEPT FROM HIS MASTERS BEING “THE QUALITY OF THE SYSTEM IS DETERMINED BY THE QUALITY OF THE CONVERSATION”.