On Coaching with Fagan Cheong
“…the art of coaching is a beautiful art, you don’t realise it until you’re immersed in it.” – Fagan Cheong.
I first shook hands with Fagan Cheong about 13 years ago in one of Singapore’s earliest Parkour Gatherings.
Today, Fagan coaches at the Art Du Déplacement (ADD) Academy in Singapore.
Alongside a team of well-versed coaches whom he grows and nurtures with, Fagan actively shares his love for the art & discipline through classes, workshops and performances in Singapore.
Art Du Déplacement? – A 3 minutes video on the origins, what ADD truly is, and how the discipline is properly spread across the world.
Having experienced some of its classes and workshops myself, ADD community has been one of the most stimulating and atmospheric environments i have ever been in.
With the emphasis on Values in every class, I can’t help but to think how that atmosphere and environment can effectively nurture and accelerate positive growth in kids.
ADD IN CHILDHOOD?
No Puns Intended.
Art Du Déplacement perhaps embodies one of the most unique sets of core-values:
“Strong Mind, Strong Body, Strong Spirit”
“To Be and To Last”
“To Be Strong, To Be Useful”
“We Start Together, We Finish Together”
For children who primarily love the physicality of ADD or Parkour, with its core-values, Art Du Déplacement is perhaps one of the best mediums to enable children grasp the importance of life concepts such as growth, teamwork, overcoming fears, and self-control.
The quest is How.
I sat with Fagan Cheong in hopes to explore this highly subjective universe.
In brief, the 20-minutes-turned-70 interview, Fagan touches on 6 important concepts on the Art of coaching:
Taking Interest in Everything
Growth Attitude & Self Awareness
The Matrix-Scale of Improvement
Awareness, Control, then Performance
Bench marking with goals and Intentions
A tightly compressed version of the interview + a little of my own.
The tone changes.
About Fagan Cheong. “My Name is Fagan, I am a parkour/ADD coach. ADD stands for Art Du Deplacement, which is the original name for the discipline. I run, jump, climb, roll and navigate my environment, overcoming obstacles and adapting to the environment. And I teach this art, making my passion, my job.”
In Teenhood- as a target of bully throughout secondary school, he made a resolution to never be a victim again, which was when he found parkour, and used some of its values to never stop finding solutions.
He said that he found himself becoming more extroverted and more willing to share his experiences.
Signature armshake illustrated in ADD’s logo.
Why Art Du Déplacement ? “Along the years I’ve learned a lot about ADD/Parkour, it has impacted my life very positively when i was much younger. I started at 17, and through my teenage years and early 20s, the benefits from training translated into my own lifestyle.
Parkour/ADD is about exploring, finding your way, to overcome problems, which is the obstacle…. I can always find an alternative to overcome any obstacle… it is problem solving in your movements…and can be translated into problem-solving in your life…. Perhaps you need to train, hone your skills and get the strength, and eventually you can overcome any obstacles…”
ADD workshop at Prime Gym led by Yamakasi Co-founder, Laurent Piemontesi. Fagan at the bottom right.
Why Coaching? “I studied hospitality and got a bit demotivated as I felt that I could not make a big enough positive impact in anybody’s life. After graduating… I asked myself what am I good at and decided to give it a try, because it’s now or never.. so i tried coaching…. seems to be working out quite well and i enjoy it …i know that some students have given me feedback that i have positively impacted their lives … it’s good enough motivation for me to keep on doing this.”
It is certainly an opportunity to impact lives.
Fagan begins to touch on some ideas on coach’s growth.
The Rabbit Hole Deepens…
On his Childhood Role Models
“An accumulation of many…I dont remember much from childhood, but something more recent really strikes me…”
“…Laurent Piemontesi from Yamakasi, in a video, shares that “the story is ‘nothing is something’, and everything is in you, there is always a way. Out of nothing you can build something up…”
Fagan goes on…
“…I like the last part which says ‘everything is in you’…Everything is in you… If you don’t have it, you already have in you the possibility of a ‘growth attitude’, and because you have the ‘growth attitude’, you begin to take an interest in everything around you, you start to realise what you need…”
“…It depends whether you want to find a way…”
On Growth Attitude.
In challenging himself for growth…
“Take an interest everything you do, it will unknowingly fulfil your needs.”
Squeezing into a single sentence, Fagan highlights its importance:
“If you take interest in everything, without knowing it, you might find yourself acquiring the skills you might want or need in the future.”
Nurturing Growth Attitude.
“I go through ups and downs, after all I am human like everyone else… It’s really about establishing the attitude to learn and to grow… if you don’t have that ‘want’ and interest to grow, it is very tough to get yourself out any rut or to seek progress. That was the first thing you need”.
“You have to be very aware as well of yourself of what is happening. Are you always giving out negative energy to yourself or to the people around you.. or are you always complaining about things?…”
To nuture growth, Fagan shares some of his…
Writing A Gratitude List
“Before you go to bed overnight…. think of 5 things you did well everyday… Just do it once, and you will start to see…you do it once consecutively..you have built the habit….”Give yourself credit for the journey you’ve started…”
The simple act of penning down your gratifications has the potential to alter our feelings from bad to good, good to great.
It is truly a go-to whenever hopelessness strikes.
Improving is a Matrix Concept
“Improvement can come from many levels… it’s a matrix concept…If something is not working out at the moment, move on to the next parallel scale…and then suddenly you are all strong on all fronts.”
Learning Points are in the details.
“Every little thing counts, it’s all in the details. As common as snoozing your alarm… if you can take care of that..that small change will have a ripple effect on your life…. Every single thing that happens, maybe try to find the learning point, could be for yourself… or something you want to translate to your student.”
We move on to specifics..
On Art of Coaching
“When it comes to coaching… every single thing that happens… find the learning point… could be for yourself… or something you want to translate to your students”
Say for kids class…there is a very rowdy kid.. he has no regard for anyone’s safety…… there is learning point….as a coach that is a learning point for me…. how do i not get him on my bad side, but yet get him to stop with the negative behavior?” “…That is already a learning point for the coach.”
Fagan highlights on emphasising the learning point when it comes to kids.
“In any significant event, you need to make sure there is a learning point… these are the skills they can take into their lives when they’ve grown up..”
In negative reinforcements, say push-ups, to highlight the learning point, Fagan would do the push-ups along with the kid, and ensures the kid understands the underlying reasons for it.
“So kids don’t take it so deeply, at least I am planting a seed. If parents in the room and need to know why.. i will make sure the parents understand why…..
He advice parents should pay close attention to any negative reinforcements coming from the coaches, and whether the coach emphasises on the learning points, as negative reinforcements that are lacking in learning points can be very damaging to kids.
“Positive reinforcements are definitely the way to go, but if you need to use any form of negative reinforcements.. then you need to make sure that the reason or learning point for it is well communicated across..”
Awareness First, Control After, Then Performance
“…Always be aware first…first thing is how to be aware with yourself, aware how your interact with your body and environment … in the corporate environment.. aware of how you are presenting yourself in your work or your interactions with others… what is needed.. your own strengths.. and how to put your strengths to good use…”
“Then start to talk about control… And how do i progress….without getting hurt.”
“One you have awareness and control… it is the solid building blocks… then you talk about performance… Awareness first, control after, then performance.”
“…its all in the approach…”
“…Have a goal, have an intention…. and it make things so much meaningful……It establishes as a bench mark…. to focus…”
I couldn’t agree more.
“If you can understand a few concepts, you can save you a lot of time learning and approaching and instill that sense of establishing your foundation and your safety nets as you progress…” – Fagan Cheong
One of my most enriching conversations, crystalized, and archived.
Some of the most awesome people I’ve met.
ADD Academy Singapore.