Chuen Chuen Yeo, the founder of ACESENCE and renowned executive coach, believes that our world today needs effective, agile leadership that flexes and responses to the surrounding flux while charting a clear path for sustainable growth. Old leadership paradigms are no longer adequate. The trailblazer needs to be well-versed in collaboration, coalition-building, advocacy tactics while navigating complex systems.
What does it take to be such a leader? Who qualifies? Reflecting on the idea that leaders are made, and not born Chuen Chuen explains, “Professionals have long misunderstood the steps needed to maximize leadership effectiveness. The greatest roadblock I most often encounter in my leadership coaching is the dehumanizing of leadership. In that frame of thinking, leadership is seen as an impersonal ‘skill’ or body of knowledge to be acquired. But quite often, it is not knowledge or skills that leaders lack. Great leadership transformation and personal breakthrough only happen when leaders work on themselves and their abilities to connect with other human beings.”
Hence, Chuen Chuen takes every leader into a simple approach that has yielded results consistently, helping leaders to grow beyond their limitations and achieve their fullest potential. The first step is a deep dive into the fundamentals – regardless of the leaders’ background or culture, she helps them drill down to examine their values, talents, priorities, and motivations. Without clarity on these, the leader will be unable to progress beyond their current frame of mind – self-limiting beliefs or actions. And with a clear sight of their innate talents and uniqueness, leaders never fail to tap into their natural strengths while being guided by their core values and grow into the next stage of their personal and leadership potential exponentially
Having worked successfully with leaders from nearly 40 countries, Chuen Chuen is uniquely equipped with sharpened strategies to augment the success of her clients, she shares, “Starting the journey to becoming an executive coach was challenging as I had been a public servant for the greater part of my working life. I created my pathway to success through a series of test and fail fast, test and learn, reinventing myself in the process. It isn’t blind optimism but a series of calculated actions that brought me to where I am now.”
she says, “A leader cannot give what she does not have. For me to help others find the pathway to reach the impossible, I need first to have found it in myself. Growth begins with awareness and control of my thoughts, self-talk, or self-limiting beliefs. This is where the Re4 Coaching Model is applied – to help reshape thinking” .
From public servant to top leadership coach Chuen Chuen’s philosophy in her venture into leadership coaching is deeply rooted in her foundational experience and beliefs as an educator. Throughout her career trajectory, she has been consistently fired by a passion to help learners unleash their untapped potential, regardless of the nature of the audience before her. In the midst of her journey as an educator, she chanced upon a world-class leadership coaching program that captivated her and opened her eyes to a world of new possibilities as a professional leadership coach.
A pioneer in the world of leadership agility coaching for executives, and pursuing an unconventional entrepreneurial route, Chuen Chuen shares, “There was little understanding about the coaching occupation in Singapore at the time, but it dovetailed with my teaching specialization in leadership development and experiential learning for fellow educators as well as student leaders. My work met with success and encouraging feedback. I began to consider specializing as a leadership coach and finally took the plunge when a coaching engagement with senior officers from the United Nations yielded very positive feedback from my clients. It gave me the confidence to become a full-time leadership coach.”
Having overcome her self-doubts and reframing her self-perception as a successful coach, Chuen Chuen quickly rose to become one of Asia’s Most Talented Coaching Leaders, an award that was given by CHRO Asia in 2019 in recognition of her visionary approach, ability to embrace change, and for her valuable contribution to the industry. She subsequently gained more awards and recognition in coaching and woman leadership, with the most recently named in PeopleHum’s Power List 2021 as the Top 100 Global Thought Leader.
ACESENCE – Growing agile mindset in leaders for sustainable business success.
In 2018, Chuen Chuen founded ACESENCE with a mission to ensure business and organizational success by growing agile leaders who are effective and relevant in today’s workplaces. Chuen Chuen’s results-yielding methods are founded upon her proprietary ‘Re4 Coaching Model’. Satisfied clients see her as a strategic partner, laser-focused on helping them thrive and grow through simple, yet powerful strategies that are applicable and easy for anyone to implement.
Not one to delve too deeply into abstract theories, Chuen Chuen is a serious practitioner of what she preaches. Her personal story of how she reinvented herself from a public servant to a successful international leadership coach is a testimony to how one can beat a path to success through an agile mindset. Sharing the secret behind her success, she says, “A leader cannot give what she does not have. For me to help others find the pathway to reach the impossible, I need first to have found it in myself. Growth begins with awareness and control of my thoughts, self-talk, or self-limiting beliefs. This is where the Re4 Coaching Model is applied – to help reshape thinking.”
“Impossible is nothing! It’s all in the mind. As long as I examine the challenge from a different angle, break them down and tackle each part one at a time, always correcting my course as I go along, I’ll get on top of it..”
Forging success in every arena with an agile mindset While Chuen Chuen spends her days coaching and networking to form strategic partnerships, her evenings and weekends belong to her family – her husband and three young boys. Seeking balanced growth in every area of her life, she exercises, does Pilates to increase her mind-body synergy, and stays current by following the news and studying business trends.
Is it really possible to manage a full schedule as a wife, mother of three young boys, and the founder and principal of a business that takes her into tough business environments? She shares, “Impossible is nothing! It’s all in the mind. As long as I examine the challenge from a different angle, break them down and tackle each part one at a time, always correcting my course as I go along, I’ll get on top of it. I also consider what support is needed from partners and stakeholders, and negotiate clearly with them for win-win solutions. Often, we hold ourselves back prematurely and stop ourselves from asking for help and support, but I’ve experienced more than once that if you have a clear ask, you’ll likely get it once you get the mutual interests to align.”
How do we know we are succeeding? When evaluating our effectiveness, Chuen Chuen suggests we ask ourselves: ‘Am I serving others? Am I helping others find their greatness? Am I nurturing better leaders who nurture more leaders? Am I true to my word and mission?’ As a leader in a mainly male-dominated industry, living out an unconventional entrepreneurial dream, Chuen Chuen is well-aware of the scrutiny and pressures faced by a professional which can be both external and internal – from the expectations of self. She has learned, and now shows others, how to navigate these expectations and use them to propel herself forward.
What advice does Chuen Chuen have for other professionals seeking to bring their dreams to life? Chuen Chuen says, “Your best self is yourself. Find your own voice and be the leader you are meant to be. You are more remarkable than you believe.” And as for her legacy as the founder of ACESENCE, she says, “We want to change the future of leadership development – let’s go back to fundamentals and basics. Helping people see that great leadership is everywhere, is attainable by everyone. There are multiple pathways to great leadership once we have the right mindset.”