I am an executive coach, lifecoach and facilitator. I am both creative and corporate and use my background in psychology, my experience of 12 years of consulting and working with business people in Japan, Asia and UK. I have a passion for style and am curious about doing things differently and stylish people who do things differently. I help Clever Rebels and Curious Corporates with personal or organisational changes and challenges. People and organisations who work with me know that life is all life; whether it be work, personal and everything in-between. And they do it with their own style. I work with people’s stories, how they tell them and how they are crafting and living their business and personal life.
“Thank you. I’m feeling energetic and excited for the first time in ages. My mind is buzzing with possibilities.”
“Sarah specialises in stories. A truth seeker. A truth teller. Unapologetic. Committed. Invaluable. I don’t take a step without her.”
I do this through executive coaching, business and skills workshops, communication preferences and psychometrics, and corporate consultation. 12 years working in corporations in Asia has helped me spot repetitive behaviours that make some people happy high-performing superstars and others kind of falling short of their potential (hint; stories, reasons, responsibility)
Examples of people I work with include:
- VP car manufacturer subsidiary
- Marketing Executive car manufacturer
- Marketing Executive hotel chain
- Supply Chain Management executive
- Asia Marketing Director personal care
- HR director, finance industry
- HR manager, medical industry
- Entertainment executive
- IT manager
- Journalist and senior editor
- Interpreter and translator
- Entrepreneur business owner
- Creative entrepreneurs
- NPO President
- UN Japan team
- Food and beverage specialist
- Artist and entrepreneur
- Voice actor
- Corporate Social Responsibility manager
- Big 3 consultant
- New graduate entry worker
- Model and entrepreneur
I do this through life coaching, workshops and retreats, and sponsoring and mentoring.
I’ve got the good questions. I’ve got the gift of intuition. And a strong nose for the truth of a story.
I see patterns. Can join dots quickly, but probably can’t tell you why or how. I can tell from tiny changes in your voice where the real issue is, or where the solution is. The only truly reliable tool I have that something is going in the right direction is goosebumps, chicken skin, my body’s reaction. When my clients, executive or private, say something so true and so new that you can’t ignore the genius of it. My body gives a very clear signal. And we follow that with some good old fashioned logic and tried and tested techniques.
“Sarah is inspiring not because of what she says, but what she enabled me to say.”
They get pretty good pretty quick at seeing it for themselves and before long they’ll be laughing at the old stories. “It’s not true – Oh My Gawd”, as they accidentally say something like “I have never had enough money” or “The VP will think I’m stupid”. Not true. We work these stories and make a mockery of them. And get to a place of honesty from where you can start to make clean, well-informed decisions and changes in life without carrying a lot of well worn cliches, stories and reasons that don’t suit you any more. It’s so good. It’s so so good.
“From the first time I met you, I felt like you didn’t just listen to people, you actually HEARD them and, in doing so, you create a safe space for people to speak honestly and to trust that you have their back. This generates loyalty from those around you, and makes people want to be on ‘your team’.”
I firmly believe in taking care of three things when making decisions and change. It is so easy to forget any of them depending on our personal preferences or what we love and hate doing:
Science; facts, figures, statistics, law, tax, politics, rules, hierarchies, qualifications, language and regulations you know the nuts and bolts of life that you can’t ignore but isn’t very sexy (or is it…?). I ensure you are considering all of these and help you outsource or take steps to manage and consider what you need to follow and which you can be intelligently rebellious with. Where you can innovate, where you can’t. Where you might need a lawyer. And When you could take a risk. Paying taxes is for winners. Ignoring facts and law is for rebels without a clue. I want you to have a better and more truthful experience of life and work.
Psychology; mind, beliefs, values, stories, myths and our mental melodramas and programming that may hold us back and make us believe things that are not true and hamper our decisions. I question and call out beliefs and stories that may not serve you. This is perhaps the most exciting and interesting part of working with me. It’s when my clients get breakthroughs, take a deep breath and think a thought they’ve never thought before or ask themselves a question they have never asked before. I am a qualified practitioner in 3 psychometrics, so we can work with your communication preferences, and workplace competencies in a quantifiable way and explore these. I often find that once people understand their preferences and competencies, they can better set themselves up for success. And those around them.
Supernatural; things you can’t explain, things that can’t be explained, luck, coincidence, synchronicity, beauty and when things start happening and you don’t know logically why.
“As I continue to grow my creative business and develop both professionally and personally, Sarah is there every step of the way.”
People I work with are often those who do things differently but pay their taxes. Who are both fierce and well-mannered. Who are rebellious but understand context and culture and learn learn learn from every experience. They are leaders who have to step up to the plate. They have issues and problems that require a big-picture thinker like myself, to help with joiining the dots forwards and backwards. And sideways. And draw some dots. And erase some. So many dots. They don’t need to be right all the time. But they understand that they fear being wrong. And they ask themselves ‘what can I learn from this experience?’. It takes courage and responsibility. The ability to be wrong, criticised, and vulnerable. I help with that. I listen to people’s stories and together we dig down for truth underneath the stories and which stories they want to take forward and which ones are best left behind or aren’t even true.
“Sarah is more than just a career coach – she is a cheerleader, a confidante and a co-conspirator.”
In October 2012 I quit my full time job one day and was on a plane to NYC 5 am the next day to attend a huge conference called ‘Rich Happy and Hot Live’. It sounds reckless but I had lined up everything to be able to take this bold move: Got buy-in from my partner, got my Japanese Permanent Residence Visa and used savings to pay my investments for the next 2 years so I was winning financially.
From 2011-2013 I was president of professional women’s networking organisation FEW Japan, For Empowering Women. I led a board of 10 Directors from 5 different nationalities and put the organisation back on its feet and back on the map. Now I’m a strategic partner of FEW Japan and I highly recommend them as an organisation.
“Sarah’s keynote was personal, profound, and provoked both thought and action.”
I was the Program Director for a Global Leadership Program and presented at the WIN Conference Japan 2014 (Women’s International Networking) and co-creator of Impact Flourish leadership programme for women and presented at the Impact International Learnfest in the UK Lake District on the “Brave New Workplace”.
I received my BSc honors in Human Psychology and Human Biology from the University of Aston, am a certified practitioner in Saville Wave and Aptitude® test, Lumina Spark® and Insights Discovery®psychometric assessments and trained in Mindmapping®
Clients include FEW Japan, Microsoft, Apple, Sony, Kirin, Nissan, Toyota, Nomura Research Institute, Goldman Sachs, UBS, Blackrock, Canning Professional, Impact International
- In Spring 2016 I organised a team-build for 80 managers in a luxury car parts suppliers. With three weeks notice. Resulting in them running through the streets of Yokohama doing a treasure hunt
- I speak at HR conferences on Diversity and Inclusion, focussing on engaging more women in the Japanese workforce. I’m very passionate about that. Very passionate
- I have spoken at 3 FEW Japan Career Strategies Seminars; 2012, I delivered a workshop on Mindmapping to find your passion, 2014 I delivered a Keynote on how you tell your story and 2016, I opened and closed the event with a call to lose the labels and Rise
- I do sponsored coaching places for women in FEW Japan; at any time, 4 women are enjoying very low coast coaching. Not free, because I think investing in yourself is an act of self respect and commitment
- I am a guest lecturer at Temple University Japan where I run workshops on Lifeplanning and Lumina Spark Psychometric tool
- I am one of the executive coaches on a global car manufacturers’ inaugural leadership programme. One of my clients there said ‘I love you!’ when I asked if he wanted to sign up for a second set of sessions. It wasn’t awkward – it was just an authentic moment, shared (I wish I’d said ‘I know’…)
- I have worked on projects with the First Lady of Japan, Mrs Akie Abe
- I am fascinated by people who get to the top of their game in the corporate and still have incredible and unique sense of style. Clever Rebels of corporate style
- I am fascinated by business and by the hierarchies of corporations and how high performing executives motivate, lead and encourage themselves and others to produce results for the business
- Everybody has stories, I help them turn the bullshit ones around
- Everything that happens today is a story for tomorrow
- I’m a great listener and there is nothing I like more than a great conversation. I love really great conversations. Ones where you feel like you expanded and went new places in your mind. I like kind and boring people (actually there are no boring kind people)
- I used to keep quiet that I taught English here in Japan for 4 years. However working at every level of education, from rural kindergartens to Waseda University and everything in between helps me understand deeply my Japanese clients’ context. And serve them and their international stakeholders even better
- I frequently feel proud of my clients and tell them that. Even the badass, leave-the-emotion-out-of-it ones. I can tell that some of them haven’t been thanked or complimented for months or years. What’s up with that?
- I am not very good at playing politics, but I am excellent at asking the right questions to coach my clients on how to navigate it
- When I worked in an office I would regularly get told off for singing. That was my last office-based job. I understand offices
- I asked my acupuncturist what makes her youthful clients age not become aged: CURIOSITY she said. And blew my mind
- She also said style. People who care about their clothes and fashion, but not to look young, to look good and stylish. Look younger. Mind blown a second time
- I came to Japan in 2001 for a year
- I performed in the Vagina Monologues in Tokyo in 2013
- I used to sing soprano in the British Embassy Choir in Tokyo. I once went into a cosmic trance singing Haydn in German
- One of my dreams came true in 2010, when I sang Joni Mitchell’s Carey with one of Japan’s leading guitarists at a charity event. It was a truly imperfect and miraculous moment
- I’m a Vivienne Westwood fan girl
- As part of my CSR and voluntary arm of my business, I organise mega-clothes swaps at Oakwood Midtown. I LOVE clothes swaps. I am usually wearing or carrying at least one item from a clothes swap (today it’s boots, professional jacket, and Marc Jacobs laptop bag) We support local charities and initiatives as well as having speakers from Corporate CSR talk about their sustainability initiatives, particularly for women, including Resisilience and H&M
- I got married in Tokyo’s largest park under the sakura and we got stormed by about 500 rather tipsy revellers who threw my husband in the air, baseball-hero style
- We are famous in Finland. At said wedding, Finnish TV was doing a documentary on the Cherry Blossom season and they got us in on the act
- I am crazy about heirlooms and how people tell their stories. For me they are connected. Our lives as stories are the fuel for our lives
- I am happier now than I have ever been. Not hysterical, heroic happy. Just daily happy
- I also have bouts of great sadness and questioning. I don’t have it all worked out. But I have worked some of it out. And keep working things out. I want to share that with you
- My clients make me cry sometimes. When I’m in a corporate office, I have to hold back the tears when they have great discoveries or do great things. I like the boundaries and structure of corporate life
- I have about a million ideas a day and I will probably talk about 100 of them, start 5 and implement 1 but it won’t be as I first imagined
- I have a project called ‘Tokyo Style Icons” up my sleeve. Well for about a year now I’ve been planning it. I used to think I was slow to implement. Or lazy. Or ‘flakey’. Now I know life unfolds at its own pace. My pace. your pace
- My husband just had dinner with the Estonian Prime Minister (Objection! Relevance!)
- I’m funny. I love having a really good laugh. I LOL regularly. Not just online
- In 2015 I attended a fashion event hosted by my collaborator the Ambassador of South Africa. Suzy Menkes was there. I was excited but too self conscious to ask for a selfie
- I love life and I love rest. I really love rest. I do my email from bed in the morning. I often stay home all day. Because burn-out sucks. And saying no is gracious
- I have bad days. Bad weeks. Sometimes even bad months or quarters. I used to have bad years. But I’m still a good coach. And I use these times to learn and reflect. And for new stories. LIFE IS SUBLIME. LIGHT AND DARK
- My Style Statement is Heirloom Punk. I’m an extrovert, an intuitive, my Lumina Report tells me my strongest preference is for the inspiring, then commanding archetypes, with the empowering archetype about 50% and the conscientious archetype woefully low at 3% preference. I reserve my 3% preference for paying bills and invoicing, so I can avoid jail and I get paid. MBTI is ENFP, a big picture thinker, deeply imaginative, highly professional, determined and flexible. I fascinate using passion and prestige, Sally Hogshead calls this ‘The Talent’ (UPDATE: latest report tells me I use passion and innovation. I’m ‘The Catalyst’ and ‘The Rockstar’. All good)
- I love Japanese sake, also known as nihonshu (I’m on a 3 month alcohol fast in Q1 2017)
- I’m very creative and used to write songs, plays and poetry when I was young. Some were even performed. That’s a New Year that won’t be forgotten easily. My version of the Nativity put to poetry and typed out on my Dad’s typewriter. Cast, costumed and directed by me. How did the grown ups stifle their laughter? How?
- My Mum and Dad still ride around in a motorhome as soon as the weather gets good. They play bridge, do embroidery, photography, flower arrangement, make cards, cycle, have a great garden, have been playing cards with the same group of 4 couples for 40 years. They inspire me
I am in love with truth, authenticity and responsibility. I deal in transformation, stories and self discovery. I am open to any reasonable idea. I love science and know it can’t explain everything. That interests me. Got any offers? Let me know.
Autumn 2016 past events:
Workshop with Sarah Furuya
September 14th 19:30-21:00
Concept Studio Veda (2nd floor), 4-17-3 Minamiaoyama, Minato, Tokyo 107-0062