It’s a new season. Time for a fresh start!
Blooming trees and the scent of spring in the air - feels like the time of year for new beginnings and accelerating growth. But in a job search, how?
That's what we're here for.
Coaching is hard to define in real terms, yet everyone knows when they need help. They say things like:
Won't somebody help me find a job!
I'm really scared. I can get to #2, but not #1.
How much longer is this going to take?! What am I doing wrong?
Coaching is my life's work. I’ve been providing support and career advice for over 20 years. I wish I could tell you a success rate, an acceleration rate or something measurable like that. But, like other coaches, I can't compare you to what would have been. We'll never know. But clients do have changed outcomes. For instance:
Positioning Yourself for a Fabulous job
Sam had been the president of a small steel company which was bought out. He was looking for a similar role in another steel making or similar firm. Early on in the assessment phase, we determined that the best strength he uses in his approach to business is taking care of his team. He hires the best in the world he can get and then takes care of them so they can do their best at a minimum.
Taking care of people is not usually the first thought that comes to mind on a board of directors looking to hire an executive for steel making. Yet, there was such a board that wanted the culture of their company to be hire the best, train them, take care of them and let them move the mountains that are in the way of gaining market share, quality highs and cost lows. Sam was hired in less than six months for the job he really wanted.
Handling Really Difficult Interview Questions
George crashed his last employer’s company. He was the CFO, but he went along with the CEO’s decisions that he knew were not good for the company and it finally went under. He was only in his early 30’s. How was he going to get back on his feet and get a professional job after that big a failure?! How could he answer the common interview question about why he left his last employer?
Here’s the back story. George had been in the Navy, had a good financial background, landed this, his first job post-military. The owner was a command and control type of person, so George felt right at home. Even though he could do the financial analysis, he was still in his former military mode of following orders. So when the owner overruled his suggestions, George went back to the drawing board to see what would be best to do next.
An experienced coach knows life lessons as well as business lessons. We looked at George’s confidence in analyzing facts and figures. Then we walked through his learning. Signs and signals of what was going wrong were everywhere. We made a list of all these red flags (Best sales people leaving, quality complaints increasing, delivery dates slipping early on) and came up with plans for what he would do the next time he saw those red flags.
George was now ready to argue that in his early years he had learned to follow the chain of command and not take responsibility as a civilian company would expect. (This was before the now-common practice of After Action Reviews involving all levels.) He now could see and was ready to take on that he had rights and responsibilities that were meaningful. Only then did he learn that he could have insight into what was happening around him and give insights to others who needed it. He could plan an exit strategy for a company if need be. But more important he could alert the company to needs that were going unmet before the crisis got too big to overcome.
George got a really good job in finance in another company and, so far as I have heard, has been happy ever since.
Getting Unstuck After a Long, Drawn-Out Search
Sean, a customer service delivery expert, had been out of work almost two years and was really, really discouraged. He had let his contacts go and did not have a good story to tell. His tone, language and demeanor were all negative. Sean needed help big time!
A complicating factor was Sean’s father was really angry with him for losing his job, even though it was a downsizing and not Sean’s fault in any way. (He had good recommendations.) Sean just could not win his father over and this really nagged at him. That discouragement made it harder to pick his head up and go back out there again. He expected more ridicule from every person he connected with.
We started from scratch. The process of filling out assessments and writing a resume helped Sean get back to speaking about his accomplishments. I also asked him to join a Master Mind group so he had people around him pulling for him. He had to start over with new contacts we could dig up who didn’t know him already and start networking all over again. Referrals from the group helped.
Then I did the unthinkable: I insisted he call me every day – Christmas Day! - and tell me what he was doing for his search. Sean needed someone who adamantly believed in him. We could not let his search dwindle again.
We also needed a true explanation for the length of time he had been out of work and what he was doing in the meantime. Fortunately, he had taken some workshops we had available and had worked on some projects around the house, so we could say he was learning new skills with some of his time. Then, with my insistence, he really started working on skill-building, especially with more computer programs. He became so busy he hardly had time to be negative!
Slowly but surely, the positive attention and people around him helped him see more positive things coming his way. Gradually he got excited about networking and customer service. With all the studying he was doing, he discovered his strength in training and ended his search with a job better than he originally dreamed of – customer service management and training!
The change in Sean’s demeanor, language and outlook on life were complete. I’m happy to report that his dad came around at the end, too. Father and son spent the next 18 months of his father’s life on good terms and Sean was at peace when his father passed away.
Coaching Is Affordable
There are two investments you make when you begin a coaching relationship.
One is the financial investment. More important than the money, however is your willingness to do the work the coach lays out for you. Sean had to work on his search every single day. George had to look at all the red flags he had not addressed. Sam had to take a risk and say, this is who I really am. This was hard, AND they got the support they needed to do the hard work.
Coaching is an investment you make with the intention of getting many times the value back. Working with an experienced coach brings relief from wondering (about almost everything). The coach brings his or her talents to bear on your specific situation. They bring skill and wisdom to affect your outcomes and strategies that get things to change, all with your motivation in ways you hadn’t imagined. That’s part of the point: It’s hard to imagine different ways on your own.
How Can You Calculate the Return on Investment?
Sometimes coaching brings a job search to an end very quickly. Other times, there is a lot of inner work to do to get ready to receive a wonderful new position. You can calculate your cost and benefit this way:
First, gain perspective on price
What is one week's pay for you?
What does the service you wish you could have cost?
If your search is shortened by only 1 week, would you still have a positive return on your investment?
Second, what is the change in your outcomes?
How many good appointments and interviews do you have in a week? How satisfied are you with the quality of your networking contacts, the people who can design or think up your new job? That's what you're current state is.
What have you heard about other job searches? What traction are other people gaining?
Then, what changes do you see as you take advantage of your coaching sessions? What traction are you gaining?
That's the initial value you received from your investment.
But there’s more! The changes you see in yourself last a lifetime. It is truly an investment designed to aid your career over time, not only land the next job, but position you well for the rest of your career(s).
At The Job Search Center you have the opportunity to find out what a coaching approach might look like for you. We offer a free individual meeting so we can get acquainted and, if we both feel we’re a good fit, then we can discuss what program is right for you. You may schedule a complimentary Insights and Strategy Session with me when you’re ready to dig in to the work.
Every transition has a gift in it. For George it was realizing he had rights and responsibilities he hadn’t imagined. For Sean it was reunion with his father’s good graces and a really good job. For Sam it was a really good job. What could be yours?
Wishing you every happiness in your search, your new job, and life!
 For those who have heard the story, Sean is the one who tried networking in the Home Depot line. He met seven people, got two leads, gave two leads and had a good time talking with everybody!