Coach FEATURE: Adrian Stones

Adrian StonesIn this series, we get inspired and build our coach community with these "Meet the Coach" features! This month we meet Adrian Stones.

About Adrian Stones

Lives In: Hong Kong

Company: Zenshin

Type of Coach: Executive, Leadership and Wellness Coach

Describe your coaching business in one sentence: I am an executive, leadership and wellness coach who, as a former "Big 4" Partner, brings real-world insights to help leaders perform at their peak and inspire the 'whole person'.

My company name, Zenshin, means 'whole person' in Japanese.

Meet Adrian

QUESTION 1. What one book should every coach read - and why?

I have read a number of books that resonated with me at different points in my life, but the latest one was How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen.

This book shares how to live a life congruent with your values and purpose. Unlike many books targeted at helping leaders become more authentic and focused on their work persona, this one spans both the leader at work and in his/her personal life—a 'whole person' approach.

QUESTION 2. Which website do you visit the most?

No surprises here—it's LinkedIn! I love staying connected with old colleagues and clients, as well as meeting new people and seeing the exciting things they are doing in the field of leadership and wellness.

QUESTION 3. Whom do you admire most and why?

I tend not to have a 'go to' person I admire—never really have, in fact. The reason for this is a long-held belief that we are all 'perfectly imperfect', so following an individual, especially a famous one, is like buying into only a small part of the narrative. We are always missing the bigger story and focusing only on the traits that person chooses to show the world. And this can skew your view of yourself and those around you.

Instead, I focus on character traits that I admire in others, such as courage, integrity, vision, team-work, and compassion. Why? These traits are fundamental to the success of any great leader—and a great person.

QUESTION 4. What's your vision for your life? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I want to live a life in congruence with my values—even if it's not always an easy thing to do.

I want my twin 5 year old daughters to look at me and think "Dad has always been a loving father who did his best for himself and the family. He shared with us the tools to be happy in our own lives and lived his life as an example."

I want to help people by shining a light into their hearts and minds so that they, too, can live a life of congruence and realize their full potential—both at work and outside it.

In 5 years, I see myself still helping leaders become the best they can be. I look forward to leaving behind a track record of positive impact that has rippled through these leaders' organizations, contributing to a more enlightened definition of leadership and personal success.

QUESTION 5. What is your "big project" at the moment?

I am still in the ramp-up phase of my own coaching and leadership development firm, Zenshin—so, I suppose this is my 'big project' at the moment.

I'm not letting it become all-consuming though. As a coach, I need to model the kind of mindset and behaviours that make great leaders—working crazy hours and neglecting my health and the wellbeing of my family is not in line with that.

QUESTION 6. What has been your favourite coaching moment so far?

My favourite coaching moment so far came when I worked with a managing director of a boutique consulting business. Over the course of several sessions, the counterpart addressed his work-related and personal barriers to increased success.

Near the end of one session, he sat there staring at me and said "This is perhaps only the second time in my life that someone has really pushed me to think about what I want and why I want it. My head aches, but in a good way!"

Coaching helped him realize that he had to make a series of directional changes to his company which ultimately resulted in a renewed relationship with the other directors and investors—as well as new financial terms for himself. Outside work, he also experienced a renewed sense of purpose and clarity in his life.

QUESTION 7. What are your Top 3 favourite coaching tools and/or resources?

I am a big believer in The Leadership Circle, since it's not a typical 360 degree assessment tool. Instead, it's an all-in-one tool that not only assesses a leader's current performance, but also provides developmental paths towards personal transformation.

I am also a fan of the GLWS (Global Leadership Wellness Survey). This tool is the most holistic and corporate-friendly wellness tool on the market, covering all aspects of wellbeing and presents them in a very accessible way.

A third tool… I suppose it's the power of empathy. I believe in creating a safe space for my counterparts to really open up and uncover new ways of being. There are few things more powerful than feeling heard, understood, and respected.

QUESTION 8. What do you love most about being a coach?

Difficult to narrow this down to a single thing, but I would have to say that being a coach creates a virtuous circle.

For me to be an effective coach, I have to bring my best self to the session. I need to take care of myself to do that. If I do, my counterpart gets the best of me and that means I am helping my counterpart to the maximum extent possible.

If I take care of myself, that is also caring for the counterpart. There are few roles in the working world that can generate this kind of virtuous cycle.

QUESTION 9. Tell us a secret about you...

Till 2010, I did not work in English! I lived and worked in Japan for 13 years, where I got my start in management consulting and where day in and day out, I only spoke, read and wrote in Japanese…

QUESTION 10. If you could change one thing in our world, what would it be? And how would you go about it?

I would get us to slow down just enough to realize that our headlong rush in pursuit of externally-defined success is harming ourselves and the planet.

Our truth lies within, and that is where real compassion can start. Leaders with this view will help make the world a more humane place to live.

That's why I decided to become an executive, leadership and wellness coach.

Adrian Stones

LEARN MORE about Adrian here:

Visit Adrian's Website here >>
Follow Adrian on LinkedIn Personal Profile >>
And his LinkedIn Company Page >>

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  1. Kitty Koniali

    What a great coaching and life philosophy and a great role model Adrian Stones presents....thank you for introducing us to him!

    • Michela Phillips

      Thank-you, Kitty! We're happy to share his story 🙂


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