Coach Spotlight: Coach Tommy

May 19, 2023

Posted by BOLDLY

Welcome to this week's Coach Spotlight at BOLDLY! We are delighted to introduce to you ICF Professional Certified Coach and Doctor of Psychology, Coach Tommy. Thank you for joining us Coach Tommy, we look forward to learning more about you and your techniques!

1) To begin with, can you please share with us where you grew up and where you call home now?

I grew up in Hong Kong until moving to study in America as a 17-year-old. I call Hong Kong and Atlanta, USA home nowadays. After the pandemic, the new normal of remote working allows me to coach business leaders around the world virtually. I plan my schedule in such a way that makes it feasible to coach clients in various time zones in English, Mandarin and Cantonese.

2) What does a typical weekend look like for you?

My typical weekend involves taking long walks with my dog named Freedom, a Chinese mutt adopted from Hong Kong’s countryside when she was a baby. There are typically lots of music at my house, either from hearing my wife’s practice as a professional clarinetist or playing classical music, reading and watching historical documentaries. I do not like or watch violent and scary movies.

3) What is your most prized possession?

My most prized possession is my faith and values, especially when work and life get tough.

4) Can you please share with us your professional background and how did your career transition into coaching?

I was initially trained as a clinical psychologist (Ph.D) in the late 80’s and early 90’s in Michigan, USA before credentialed as a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coach Federation (ICF). I acquired valuable in-house corporate management experience in running business teams and worked as a senior consultant for multinational consulting firms for over 25 years. I began transitioning into mostly conducting coaching, as I noticed many business leaders in my practice were not performing as they could be due to psychological barriers, poor habits and uncovered interpersonal dynamics. I believe being formally trained as a psychologist prepares me not only being able to address behavioral challenges, but also understanding underlying obstacles that inhibit many business leaders from moving forward in order to achieve career breakthroughs and promotions.

5) I imagine your background in psychology gives you great insight when coaching- can you tell us a little about that?

My psychological understanding based on empirical research offers me the foundational scientific understanding of one’s mindset, behavioral pattern, motivation and best practice at work. I apply my in-depth psychological knowledge and commercial experience to enable my clients to grow in self-insights and optimizing performance in simple and practical terms.

6) How would you describe your coaching style?

While every client is unique requiring commensurating coaching styles that I have developed for coaching success, my primary coaching style is strength-based and client-centred, as my coachees’ thinking partner. I am passionate about the value of coaching and the positive difference it makes for leadership performance. I am caring and empathetic by nature and am willing to go the extra mile. I see the possibility of activating leaders’ full potential that they sometimes do not see. I prioritize what they themselves want to achieve and help clarify how they could achieve their objectives.

Adept in fostering leadership growth based on shared values in organizational context, I am prepared to challenge my clients’ status quo in their mindset and decisions.

7) We've previously spoken about Imposter Syndrome and the effect it can have on performance. What advice would you give to someone experiencing this, and how do you think coaching can help?

The so-called “Imposter Syndrome,” especially for emerging leaders, often stems from self-doubt, low confidence, feelings of not measuring up and lacking authencity. Coaching could help overcome these tendencies by analysing and increasing self-awareness of underlying factors that trigger the ambivalence of their new roles. Reinforcing one’s strengths based on evidence of past accomplishments and reframing of their self-perception could make a positive difference. Understanding the nature of performance gaps, reducing isolation and seeking support from confident peers and role models or sponsorship through coaching conversations could also help ameliorate these puzzling tendencies. 

8) What are some of the biggest challenges you have seen your coachees overcome during your career?

Lacking motivation and self awareness are some of the biggest challenges in achieving coaching outcomes. It rings true when the Chinese proverb states: “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”  It illustrates that the prerequisite of leadership growth is the desire and motivation of the leader, as well as having the openness to address hidden derailing factors in order to take steps to overcome them.

9) What are the biggest wins or celebrations you've been a part of?

The following testimonials are some of my biggest wins of my former coachees, who graciously wrote about their coaching experience with me:

“I highly value the coaching conversations with Tommy. He is friendly and knowledgeable and our conversations covered a wide range of topics in career and life in general. Tommy helped bring insight, reflection and good decision-making. After the coaching with Tommy, I have become more clear as to what I want to achieve in my career and how to achieve my goals. I highly recommend him as a Coach.”
Partner – Global Law Firm

"I have had Dr. Chan as my career coach for over a decade and he provides a brilliant combination of support and empowerment, helping me work through difficult issues and complex problems and find solutions that work in the real working world.  I particularly appreciate the way his clinical background/business theory with coaching that illustrates how to solve recurring issues in my professional as well as personal life. His cultural understanding of US and Asian business practices combine to be extremely insightful and is unique in the coaching field.  Dr. Chan has been real pleasure to work with is very responsive to queries over the years." 
Managing Director, US Multinational Biotech 

"Dr. Chan’s coaching was really impressive. The concepts and theories he shared were good, and they helped me to better understand problems in my business. Besides, the practice of his coaching was really relevant to my current business challenges. They helped me to handle current work issues more easily. I highly appreciate his coaching."
Senior Director, Equipment Engineering, Global IT 

“Dr. Chan is terrific to work with. He is engaged, curious and atalented listener. He has great perspectives on working in Asia, and on managing around differences in culture, personality and age. He has helped me navigate through various realizations about my approach to my job, and to discard some attitudes and behaviors that were once essential to my success but that became corrosive as I moved into management and leadership roles.”
Director, Research in Finance, Asia-Pacific Region

“Dr. Chan helped me tremendously in overcoming long-term personal hurdles in better connecting with people and handling challenging people dynamics, so as to become an effective executive. His training and experience as a psychologist combined with understanding of business situations made him uniquely effective in addressing deep-rooted emotions and habits that many leaders will find valuable.”
CEO, Learning Platform; E-Commerce


10) Is there a quote you try to live by, and what impact does that have on your coaching and day to day life?

Albert Einstein once said: “If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem, and only 5 minutes finding solutions.” This encapsulates the essence of my coaching philosophy in helping business leaders process and define their leadership challenges before finding practical solutions, in the context of a safe and understanding environment.

11) Lastly, is there anything you'd like to share for those considering engaging a career coach?

“Dear Prospective Coachees, your interest in seeking coaching demonstrates your openness and perhaps courage in fast tracking your leadership growth and development. You are special and unique. You have in your possession keys to unlock your potential through coaching, in order to overcome work challenges, perform at your best and achieve what and who you are meant to be. I look forward to possibly partnering with you in your success journey.”

Thank you so much for joining us Coach Tommy!

If you would like to have a complimentary 30minute chemistry session with Coach Tommy to hear how he can help you overcome work challenges and perform at your best, contact