Leadership Coaching in China

An army of a thousand is easy to find, but, ah, how difficult to find a general.” – Chinese Proverb

This Chinese proverb from the Yuan Dynasty resonates with business leaders across China in modern times. China's rapid development has left it with an acute problem: a lack of capable, experienced leaders. Both foreign and locally owned businesses are finding that ready-for-assignment managers are in short supply. Corporations operating in what is now the world's largest economy have sought to develop their current employees for those roles instead of relying on expensive outside hires who have potentially inadequate understandings of Chinese corporate culture.

Leadership Coaching in ChinaLeadership coaching is gaining a foothold in the country, and is seen by both overseas companies and an increasing number of Chinese companies as an effective way of preparing high-potential employees for management roles.

Leadership roles challenge executives to constantly self-manage, improve business results, build and empower teams, and develop agility to respond to increasingly complex issues. These individuals, when developed internally, have enjoyed success along the way and want to continue contributing to their organization’s greater well-being.

How do corporations prepare potential leaders to take on these challenges? A growing number of businesses are seeking to address this issue through leadership coaching, a relatively new phenomenon in the country.

Leadership coaching, both in China and elsewhere, aims to help senior executives address the requirements of leadership positions and set a course of action for identifying and developing individuals for these positions. Unlike training, leadership coaching enhances performance by developing self-awareness and increasing individuals’ ability to manage their external environment. The role of human resource leaders in China brings them to the center of the leadership issue. Developing and implementing leadership strategies across China is one of the greatest challenges HR leaders face.

It begins by hiring the right people, providing effective role models, and offering mentoring and coaching to address individual development needs. Ultimately, it is necessary to develop individual career plans for leadership high-potentials. This is a huge responsibility and a critical business initiative in preparing organizations to meet future challenges. HR leaders in China are seeking support from their peers and leadership to address the daunting task.

Chambers of Commerce play an important part by providing opportunities for HR managers, directors, and HR VPs to meet and share best practices for leadership development. The European Chamber of Commerce in Beijing is sponsoring a full-day conference for HR professionals to listen to panel discussions with thought leaders in the city and then break into round-table exchanges. The American Chamber provides this same kind of platform, inviting exchanges of ideas, supporting HR professionals seeking solutions, and challenging them with new approaches and successful strategies.

As business leaders become more aware of the need to develop leadership skills within their organizations, HR professionals are moving into more strategic roles in their companies. Yingyi Qian, dean of Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management, expresses the urgency of this new strategic direction:

“They (the leaders) have to think differently, and that is very hard in the Chinese context. In their previous education in China, the goal was most likely rote memorization and seeking standard solutions. Thinking differently is very hard when everything up to now has been about conforming, herding, and group thinking. Even the word “critical” has some negative connotations in contemporary Chinese language that it doesn’t have in English. We are working hard to change this mind-set at Tsinghua, because this is essential to achieve the mission of our school: to create knowledge and cultivate leaders for China and the world.”

Do not be afraid to step outside your native cultural perspective when developing leadership. New points of view will help you generate ideas that can develop leadership internally and improve business performance. How will you develop your high-potentials…?

For over 25 years Laurie has been recognized for her in-depth ability to deliver effective leadership development and strategic talent management for a wide range of Fortune 500 companies. Laurie's results-oriented coaching, focuses on setting clear measurable objectives aligned with organiszational goals.

Career Partners International provides top quality talent management services to organizations of all sizes. Their offices around the world help assessengagedevelop, and transition talent in any industry. To find out more about Career Partners International and how you can maximize your organizational performance, reach out to an office near you or contact us today!

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  1. Danielle Spiekhout's avatar
    Danielle Spiekhout
    | Permalink
    Leadership coaching is a great way to increase engagement and readiness as successors for future leadership roles - both in China and elsewhere.

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