February 23

What you can learn about career development from Rohei and Rachel Ong


As I walked down the passageway leading into Rohei, there were people standing with yellow lanyards, preparing to greet me.

I was reminded of church.

But they soon pointed me in the right direction, in the direction of Rohei.

If you’ve never heard of Rohei, you should.

They are a premier learning and development (L&D) consultancy in Singapore which has been training and consulting for the last 17 years.

The level of thought that goes into their training is phenomenal.

I remember attending one of their trainings during COVID lockdown and they even took time to send me a pack of training materials for the training.

We ended up folding little paper hats for ourselves.

Rohei, the brainchild of Praise and Rachel

But Rohei is also the brainchild of Praise and Rachel, two excellent women leaders. You only have to look at how they plan their training to see the value they can bring to people who train under them.

If you’re reading this as someone who’s interested in Rachel Ong and her work in the learning and development space, here’s some things I learnt during their recent trial lesson on relational coaching.

If you’re struggling to coach your staff, here’s what to do.

How do you help adult learners learn?

If you’ve gone for enough adult trainings you would quickly realise that you’re often there more often for the food, than the real learning.

The question is,

How do you help adults to learn better?

And is that really possible?

Especially when all you can give is an hour here or there, or at most 2 or 3 days every few months?

And when all you learn is tidy theory in the comfort of a classroom? Can it really apply in the cut and thrust of a live work situation?

I think Rohei and Rachel have some good thinking which I picked up.

Provoke a deeply experiential learning

When I attended a training by Tong Yee’s team at And in November 2023, I had a deeply experiential learning. I saw what was happening within me and how their training was provoking me to think in new ways.

That afternoon, Wen Wei brought us to a darkened room. The lights were low, and there were sounds of birds, insects chirping, and a light illuminating a river crossing.

He introduced to us the learning experience that would help teams to figure out how to better work with each other.

what I learnt from Vivian Balakrishnan
Sometimes, you might be so stuck in the to-do that you forget to grow.

The level of thought that went into replicating a full body experience was incredible. In another activity, they actually had blindfolds and ropes to encourage teamwork.

You can quickly see how this would help a team to embed the learning.

But how does the team take it back?

The longer term learning

I think that’s why Rohei also introduced the relational coaching programme, a 9 month programme to encourage more touchpoints with instructors, and better consistency in the learning.

If you’ve been in the training space long enough, you would realise that one of the biggest problems is often with how short a day, or a few hours is.

You would see that you can hardly make enough change in the span of a few hours.

So Rohei has focused on longer-term programmes, at least with this relational coaching programme.

The personal vulnerability of the trainer

That afternoon, as Wen Wei took us through the various lessons, I quickly realised that he was being extremely vulnerable with us.

If you’ve had a bad trainer, you will feel like this.

He shared about how he had made mistakes as a coach, and his own personal family life.

I was deeply moved by his sharing.

He didn’t have to do this. Especially as a guru, who was well regarded in the field of coaching.

The training is not a place for personal therapy. As a trainer myself, I’ve seen that I’ve sometimes used the training ground as a space to process my own thoughts, and to share things that I’ve not personally worked through.

In one example, I was teaching about forgiveness when I struggled with the forgiveness of my own family members.

With Rohei, the trainer (at least Wen Wei) knew when to use vulnerability, and when not to use it.

Does training work?

If I look at all the adult training I’ve attended over the years, with official certificates like the Advanced Certificate for Learning and Performance, and so many other places, I can’t recall a single training that has ‘transformed’ my life.

Perhaps the closest would be Tong Yee’s And, which helped me to have a better understanding of my self in the systems I operated.

Rohei does adopt similar principles in designing training.

But you realise that it also matters who does the training.

My advice?

Before you go for your next training, know what you’re actually lacking in. And the real training begins after the training, and not before.

It begins as you continue to reflect, apply, and embark over and over again on those learning loops.

That’s how you learn.

It’s not just because you paid $450 for a training with Rohei, or anyone else for that matter.

It’s because you applied the training.



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