Master career coach Jean-Francois, Thailand

Coach Spotlight: Master Coach Jean-Francois

April 28, 2023

Posted by Lisa Singh

Welcome to this week’s Coach Spotlight at BOLDLY! We are delighted to introduce to you Master Coach and acclaimed author of Game Changers at the Circus - How Leaders Can Unleash Greatness in Their Organizations, Coach Jean-Francois! Jean-Francois journey has taken him to over 35 countries sharing his coaching expertise from the Philippines to Fukuoka, Columbia and Venezuela. In this coach spotlight, we dive into Jean-Francois personal and professional journey, what inspired him to become a Master Coach and his biggest coaching adventures. Thank you for joining us Jean-Francois!

1) To begin, can you please tell us where you grew up, where you call home now, and your favorite thing about each place?

I grew up in the ‘wild West’ of France, nearby the Atlantic Ocean. What I loved the most was venturing on the sea as a family in our small sailing boat. I am now in awe every time I get that same adventurous feeling with the executive teams I coach!

I call Thailand my home since 2006. Destiny might have decided it long time ago…Thailand was my first long-distance destination as a backpacker in 1989. It was my second expatriation as a Managing Director in 1998. And my choice as a base for my second career as an executive coach in 2006. What I love the most here is that gracious energy of Thai people, which makes daily life so harmonious – a true luxury! As I recently bought a beach-side residence, I can now sail too!

2) What is your most prized possession?

My ‘baby’ grand piano! He is older -and way heavier- than me, but always excited and agile at escaping with me to imagined spaces of inspiration when ‘we’ improvise!

3) Can you please tell us about your career, prior to becoming a Professional Coach?

I held several management positions in Europe and Asia for Lafarge, a multi-national company in building materials. As a young engineer, I started my career in a junior manager job at a factory. Then HR thought it could be interesting to test me at something entirely different, and hence I was transferred (without reluctance – quite to the contrary) to Singapore, in a Marketing responsibility over APAC for a line of high-value products. It turned out much more than fun actually, it was an enchantment for me to discover the region at that time!

Next, I was promoted as a Managing Director for Thailand, based in Bangkok, and then to a Regional Vice President role in APAC. Eventually I served as a Global Vice President for Strategy, back in France at the headquarters. What I loved the most in those management positions was enabling my team-members to grow. And that inspired me to choose Coaching as a second career.

4) You travelled to 35 countries to meet your clients as an Executive and Team Coach; what was the most special experience you had?

Every coaching engagement is a ‘special experience’ to me: I am always inspired to discover clients’ unique worlds!
Among the most singular of those ‘special experiences’ was a team-coaching retreat, deep in the jungle on a remote island in the Philippines, which was interrupted by torrential rains and floods; we got a chance to take our collaboration to a whole new level as we helped each other reach safety!

At the opposite end of the ‘drama-scale’: learning from a tea-master at a matcha tea ceremony in Fukuoka, as a team and I were working on developing ‘Mastery’ in leadership. And, in between on the ‘drama-scale’, partnering with clients confronted to complex and dangerous situations, at their locations - Venezuela, Pakistan and Colombia among others-… We’ve got to uphold the proverb, “a coach in need is a friend indeed”!

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

At my core, I am a beauty-seeker, and that morphs - in my work as a coach – into being a co-catalyst of my clients’ inner greatness - an artistic process that continuously unleashes inspiration and strengthens our love of it. I expand on this in a short talk I offered at WBECS, titled “Stop 'doing' Coaching! Start 'Being' The Coach”. You may like to watch it here.

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6) How would you describe your coaching style?

To me, coaching is an (intelligent) act of unconditional love for the client’s inner greatness. I see my mission as enabling my clients to empower themselves to become who they need to be, to craft their ‘best way forward’ and then embark on it with determination, inspiration, wisdom and resilience.

A few years ago, I gathered “10 insights and 10 tips to coach at your very best” I harvested along my first 10,000 coaching-hours in a talk for WBECS here. That presentation offers additional characteristics of my coaching style.

7) In 2012 you were certified as a Master Certified Coach (MCC) by the International Coaching Federation, what motivated you to become a MCC and can you tell us about the path you took to become a MCC?

I am not proud to say that ‘ego’ was my first motivation to apply for the MCC credential, as soon as I had completed the required 2,500 coaching-hours. And my ego took a huge hit at the first session with my MCC mentor as she diagnosed that I was very far from the level of mastery required!

It took me many months to evolve my coaching posture toward that of a master of the craft. At the recommendation of my first mentor, I hired several additional mentors, from different continents, and learnt a lot from every one of them. I also used Reciprocoach extensively, to record sessions that my mentors could analyze. I obtained the MCC credential in December 2012 and realized that the greatest value of it is actually in the journey to it- as all MCCs will recognize. It is a most humbling journey that I warmly recommend to all coaches.

8) You are also an accomplished author, having written 'Game Changers at the Circus - How Leaders Can Unleash Greatness in Their Organizations'. Can you tell us a little about the book and what inspired you to write it?

Thanks a lot for the chance! I was inspired to write 'Game Changers at the Circus - How Leaders Can Unleash Greatness in Their Organizations' by the team coaching work I did with dysfunctional executive teams. The aim was to share -in a fun and memorable way- concrete ideas about how team-members can be and what they can do to unleash engagement, collaboration and agility in their organization.

I wrote the book in two parts. The first segment is a fable about the transformation of a sluggish circus where animal leaders are stirred into dropping their silo-mentality to orchestrate the greatest performance possible, together as a team. The second part is a Leadership Workbook, which offers straightforward and proven steps leaders and their teams can apply to transform even the most toxic workplace into a positive environment with a culture of Greatness. 

I am so grateful to Ken Blanchard and Marshall Goldsmith for having taken their precious time to read the book and comment on it:

"Game Changers at the Circus' is a unique and charming story with important lessons for every leader. Jean-François Cousin's creative energy springs from every page. Read this book and make a positive difference in your organization!" - Ken Blanchard, co-author of The New One Minute Manager® and Leading at a Higher Level.

"Enjoyable and compelling, this timely fable and its lessons read like a novel but serves as an important business manual. With wisdom and context from a long and successful business career, Cousin has painted a vivid picture of how to enact change effectively. Page after page of insight!" - Marshall Goldsmith, Author of the New York Times and global bestseller What Got You Here Won't Get You There. 

9) Is there a particular audience you think would benefit most from your book, and where is it available for purchase for those wishing to read it?

I wrote 'Game Changers at the Circus - How Leaders Can Unleash Greatness in Their Organizations' for both leaders and coaches to bring out their very best. The book can be purchased at Amazon here.

10) Lastly, over your extensive coaching career, what benefits do you see for those individuals and companies that have engaged in coaching services?

I have recently written an article on this very question for Forbes, titled “Nine Reasons Leaders Are Hiring Executive Coaches, And What Happens Next”. You may enjoy browsing through it here.

In a nutshell, I would say that coaching enhances the holistic well-being of companies’ workforce, and unleashes positive energy, greater collaboration and smarter agility across companies’ ecosystems. To conclude with a telling anecdote of that matter, I once concurrently coached five CXOs in a very large company in South Asia. The first time I visited them on their executive floor, I was startled -when the lift door opened- to see several guards armed with automatic rifles manning that floor. The last time I visited the CXOs, there were no more guards, at any floor.

Thank you Jean-Francois for sharing your inspiring story with us!!

If you would like to have a complimentary 30minute chemistry session with Master Coach Jean-Francois to hear how he can transform your career, your leaders & your workplace, or to learn more about coaching services, contact

About the Author:

Lisa Singh is an Australian, living with her family in the beautiful South Pacific. As Coach Business Partner Lead for BOLDLY, Lisa's team screen and onboard coaches onto our global marketplace, then enable the matching and engagement process so that coaches can do what they do best: deliver exceptional coaching journeys to our coachees. Lisa is a trained nurse, and her role with BOLDLY she loves meeting top coaches and promoting their work for a win:win. Connect with Lisa .

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