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Executive Interview
Adrian Stones
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   Executive Interviews   
An Interview with
Adrian Stones
Managing Director

We work with individual leaders and teams to help them see a new way forward. And we do that in a holistic way that has leadership and wellness coaching at its core, but is not limited to coaching alone.


We like to call it ‘coaching +’.


So, in addition to certified leadership and wellness coaches, you get access to specialists who can help with nutrition, mindfulness, and a host of other disciplines.


Professional athletes have a team of specialists behind them. Why shouldn’t corporate leaders have their own team of specialists, keeping them in optimum shape and ready for the rigours of work and life?

Publish Date: 
11 September 2020
Hong Kong

Tell us about your background, and how you came to found your company?

'Become a leadership coach’.


Over the past 16 years, this same thought popped into Adrian’s head over and over. When he took a 9-month sabbatical in 2004. When he moved from Japan to Hong Kong with his wife in 2011. Really, whenever he listened close enough.


But he continued along the same consulting path he had always known. His 23 years of experience saw him advising CxOs in the world’s top financial services firms, as well as building and leading cross-cultural teams, oftentimes remotely distributed, to deliver projects and large-scale transformation programs. As a Partner at a Big 4 firm, Adrian saw consulting as the best way to help large global organizations successfully navigate change.


Over the years, the consultant lifestyle took its toll. Adrian suffered from a rare auto-immune disease for 2 decades. It impacted his career and his life, although he kept his struggles to himself until very recently. He eventually overcame his chronic condition through dietary and lifestyle changes. He decided to lead a vegan lifestyle in late-2019. He exercised and meditated daily—after failing to stick with meditation as a practice on 3 previous occasions. He breathed. Deeply.


Drawing inspiration from his own C-suite consulting and transformative personal life experience, Adrian wanted to be a different kind of leadership coach. Coaching the whole person, not just the job title. He wants leaders to tune into themselves early and often—their values, their purpose, their mission. He wants leaders to embrace a broader definition of success and well-being.


That's why Adrian founded Zenshin, a different type of coaching firm that inspires the whole you.

What is most important to you and your organization – mission, vision, or core values? Why?

Zenshin (pronounced ‘zensheen’)「全身」is Japanese for ‘whole person’ and sits at the heart of our approach. It can also be written 「前進」, which means ‘progress’. Finally, it can also be written 「善心」, a Buddhist term meaning kindness and benevolence, two traits we believe are key to leadership in our age.


Our mission is to support the growth of individuals and organizations through a perspective that views each leader as a unique, whole person first and their work persona second.


The days when you left the house and assumed your ‘work persona’, leaving your ‘private persona’ at home, are gone—likely never to return.


In this kind of world, leadership needs to be authentic. Zenshin is designed to help leaders define and live that authenticity across all elements of their lives.

Can you explain briefly how your service(s)/product(s) works?

The basic building blocks align with Zenshin’s philosophy of leadership coaching that sees you for your whole self—not just your job title. These building blocks can be applied to either individual or team-based leadership coaching.


The core of our offerings is the combination of ‘work-related’ and ‘personal-related’ coaching. We discuss your desired outcomes and together, tailor a package that chooses from these 2 groupings. If you want to go further, we offer you integrated access to ‘alternative approaches’, such as meditation and breath work, or a nutritionist. We even can take on an advisory role and consult on behalf of your business—if that is what is best for you and your organization.


We offer individual and team-based leadership and wellness coaching solutions, including solutions designed to specifically address the challenges of distributed teams in our Covid world.

How has the industry been changing in recent years?

The coaching industry is maturing globally and Asia Pacific is no exception. An increased focus on credentials and relevant work experience when determining the 'fit' of a leadership coach are two clear indicators of this trend.


While the majority of external coaches are independent freelancers, there is a growing trend towards pulling these freelancers together to help with branding, business development and setting and maintaining quality standards.


Most recently, there has been a significant acceptance of coaching services that don't necessarily occur in person. Zoom and other conferencing tools are helping coaches and clients interact more conveniently and with the same level of connectedness as in our pre-Covid world.

What makes you different from what’s currently available in the market?

We are a coaching firm that blends together leadership and wellness. There are clear linkages between the two spheres, and we know that leaders with a higher sense of well-being perform better at their roles. It just makes sense to us that we look at the whole person, and not just their job title, when we coach.


We know that coaching alone will not necessarily help our clients become the best leaders they can be, so we bring in other practitioners, including those specializing in mindfulness, breathing and nutrition, to help leaders perform at their very best. We are all people first, workers second.


Finally, when the founder is a former long-time management consultant, you can be sure there will be an unparalleled emphasis on ROI from Zenshin’s ‘coaching +’ programs. This emphasis is unique in the Hong Kong market, in particular.

What does the future hold for your company?

Zenshin is excited to offer our services in Hong Kong, but ultimately across Asia Pacific and beyond.


Most importantly, we are intent on sharing with the world a more positive, holistic view of leadership that acknowledges that people need authentic leaders today and that authenticity comes from within.


Adrian Stones

Supplementary Information

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