Career Coaching – it could be the ideal gift for your grad. I figure this is the optimum time to talk about this subject – for two reasons.
I am certain that over the last few months, you’ll have been reading about the great college admissions scam, with parents bribing mega-bucks (like $500,000!) to get their kids, with false credentials, into posh, hip halls of learning.
I’ll take a moment to reflect that these young people, as well as their parents, could possibly benefit from a good Career Management coach. It’s also inspired me to write more about ethics, which I will in my next post.
But right now, it’s springtime – which is when a young person’s thoughts turn lightly or heavily to graduation – and parents, godparents and other relatives and friends wonder about the perfect gift to celebrate and reward student achievements.
How about one of those gifts that keeps on giving (a cliché, maybe, but true)? I’m talking about Career Coaching. It can take your adult child much further than that car or bike or vacation he/she wants.
On May 19th 2019, billionaire Robert Smith in the United States made an announcement – when he was addressing a graduating class at Moorehouse University – to pay off all of the student debts for the graduates. To a man who has a few billion dollars, this gesture to pay off 40 million dollars for the grads at this university was rightfully praised by so many people.
This gift by Mr. Smith will enable graduates to start the next chapter of their lives, whether continuing their education or launching their careers, with clear heads and less stress to worry about the debts they had to pay for their education. The 40 million dollars given by Mr. Smith is a small cost to him, but to the students it means a lot and it will help them to establish and progress in their careers.
You as parents have already invested your earnings and funds in your children’s future by ensuring that they receive the education they need. In contrast to the money that you have already spent on your offspring’s education, it is a small additional investment after they graduate to pay for objective professional coaching for your children to help them to make appropriate decisions and to move successfully ahead in their careers.
I have worked with students and graduates as a Graduate Placement Advisor at a local community college and a Career Coach at a university. I have also coached some students and graduates in my own private practice. I truly enjoy working with young people who are so optimistic and idealistic .
After these young graduates have completed 3, 4 or more years of learning-specific areas of study in college or university, I have always appreciated how motivated and enthusiastic theyare in finding the right career path for them. At the same time, I have found that some graduates and students may be lacking confidence and need support as they make major decisions about their continued studies or the job market they wish to enter.
I have found the Coaching relationship has been beneficial to the graduates and rewarding to me. These graduates and I have worked together in making decisions about Post-Graduate studies, continuing their studies in programs that may complement what they have already studied, or launching their careers.
When required, I have assisted graduates and work seekers to prepare their branding, resumes, LinkedIn profiles and cover letters. I have coached them to be the best they can be in their interviews and I have supported them as they have transitioned into their new work roles.
I do admire the increasing numbers of colleges and universities offering some genuinely applicable coaching – as I’ve been reading here: https://alumni.ucalgary.ca/grow-your-career/career-coaching
The best career coaches, I believe, also build upon what the student may already have received, coaching-wise, in school. An astute coach can take that knowledge and understanding gained in the academic environment, and extend and adapt it for use within the corporate profit model of the real business world or for other organizations and institutions that graduates may start work in.
Good coaching can focus on learning how to work as a team player, which essential in the work environment. There’s also the need to learn and use negotiation skills – and how to achieve balance and avoid burnout.
I feel gratified to have coached grads from almost every profession and career path. I have directed them to demonstrate the required professionalism for their chosen path.
Coaching can be a great gift at graduation time. But it’s also the gift that gives, all year round, and at any time of year.
As a Career Transition or Outplacement Coach, I have met many managers over the years who were not happy with their jobs. Interestingly, they became happy when they were laid off! These clients felt that they were Executives and managers in the wrong organization, so when they were laid off, it was a relief.
Of course, I asked the question: ”Why did you not leave sooner if you were not happy with your job?”
Clients often have said to me that they realized that their work or job was wrong several years ago, but they still stayed where they were. Maybe they had major bills to pay and they didn’t want to risk unemployment.
Perhaps you can relate. As a Manager or Executive in a company, you have provided the best service that you can, for years. You have put your knowledge, skills and competencies to good use, to make the company that you are working for, very profitable. And because of a change in leadership or a merger/acquisition, you find yourself in a situation that makes you very unhappy.
So – being laid off may now be almost welcome. And as a coach, I can help you *before* you receive any layoff notice as a manager. I would like to support you to proactively begin your work search.
I am working with one client right now who believes there is a good chance he could be laid off any time. He wisely started preparing for his search, before he is downsized from the company that he works. Along with helping prepare his resume, linkedin profile, and cover letter, I have effectively coached him on the best ways to look for a job and to build a professional network. This week, we are preparing for future interviews.
- Are you ready now to dedicate time to your job search?
- Do you have the flexibility and autonomy to be able to take time off in work hours to look for a new job?
- Or do you have a new job lined up to start in the next couple of weeks, but need help making the transition?
Some outside professional advice may be needed. As a Business and Career Coach and Consultant, I can support you in conducting an effective career search and ensuring that your transition into your new role is successful!
You’re not alone! In a 2011 Berrett-Koehler survey of 150 leaders, a stunning 68% of managers confessed they don’t like being managers. So what can you do about it?
The best leaders can see it as the signal to make a change. An effective manager or leader doesn’t make excuses and stay stuck. They figure out how to extricate themselves and reconnect with their sense of passion and meaning – so that they can find managing exciting again.
Recognize Myths At Work
First, is it possible you’re managing by hit or myth? (myth meaning a long-standing belief that could be bunk).
The book ‘Myths of Management: What People Get Wrong About Being the Boss’ (by Stefan Stern and Gary Cooper CBE (Kogan Page 2018) presents 44 of what the authors say are faulty beliefs:
E.g., that leadership is more important than management/that there is one right way to lead or manage/that you must keep up with all the new management ideas and give them a try. Stern and Cooper gently kill off these myths, while indicating how to find the balance. That’s my goal as a career consultant and coach, too – to find the balance that works for you.
Be Authentic – and Flexible.
I’ve been reading another book called ‘Managing For People Who Hate Managing: Be A Success By Being Yourself’ by Devora Zack (Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc. 2012).
According to Zack, success as a manager comes through finding the managing that fits who you are. This is not to say you do whatever you want. As she says, “Be who you are – just flex your style to manage others.” Whether the approach you take is tough or mild, it’s about a range of techniques – being versatile in how you lead, communicate and motivate. The ideal is “maximizing your rapport with others while maintaining your core of integrity.”
It could be that your dislike of being a manager is because you are not taking charge of and ‘owning’ what you do. As I say in my ebook ‘The Top 5 Advantages of Hiring A Business Coach Today’ (at epsteinsuccesscoach.ca ) accountability means owning responsibility for all your decisions and actions regardless if the outcome is good or bad. Accountable leaders do not point fingers to try and shift responsibility to others when things go wrong. They focus on fixing the problem and making things right.
The Value of Learning and A New Perspective
Could you benefit from research, a refresher course, new kinds of relationships with colleagues? In my work with executives and entrepreneurs, I have often found that those who remain open to learning and flexibility are more likely to ‘close’ on success. Approach struggles and setbacks as great opportunities to refine skills, grow professionally, and meet and conquer challenges
While you may not enjoy what you’re doing, doing it well can provide a lot of satisfaction.
(Of course, your dislike of being a manager at this company may have to do with issues that are too major to overcome. This month I’ll be writing more about how to find a new position, professionally.)
Improve Your Managerial Skills With A Business Consultant + Coach
You may be expert in terms of education and experience at your specific field, but may not be proficient with the management skills needed to run an effective team. A business consultant/coach can help you develop those critical interpersonal, strategic, and management skills that are essential to be effective at the executive level – or any level.
I can help you pinpoint the cause of why you are overwhelmed and becoming unproductive, and help put you on the path to make changes. Please download my free ebook, and let’s arrange a 30-minute initial consultant. It’s easy to manage, can help you significantly improve your managing skills – and it’s free!
To be an effective leader who excels in your industry and cultivates the best employees in the world, it’s important to look both back and ahead at this time of year.
It seems to be a good time to be thinking about, for example, time-management techniques. After all, don’t you want your business environment and employees to be as efficient and productive as possible?
Maybe you’re also thinking about refining your digital presence – and sharing the wealth of wisdom you’ve accumulated as a corporation. Are you doing a SWOT review? Perhaps a thorough examination of your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats can help you go into the new year more prepared.
As a Business Coach helping companies review their end-year results and look ahead, I have found this to be true. One of your most strategic initiatives is the people who comprise your company. I believe that the success of your company comes partly from treating people well.
Happiness, rather than technology, is the key ingredient in a unique workplace experience, according to a global study of 7300 workplace employees in 12 countries; Workplace—Powered by Human Experience http://humanexperience.jll/global-report/
It is estimated that corporations make donations of approximately $125 billion a year. Management and employees can show their interest in caring for other people by giving in other ways that aren’t so easily measured.
Sending brief personal letters to employees thanking them for their particular skill-sets and services can be a great December-seasonal gesture. But it maybe even more important in the new year, when the festivities have wound down, and normal/abnormal business life returns. Humanity in the corporate world can pay great dividends, and definitely show a strong ROI.
Consider being a mentor when you can – bringing the gift of your years of experience to help someone starting out. Take time to develop corporate mentorship programs. When done right, these programs can highly benefit employees, their managers and the bottom line.
Year-end is also often a great time of year to find and hire top talent. And it’s equally a good time to think about creating and developing leadership training. Professional development is what leaders, management and other employees want. Investment in professional development is the kind of ‘gift’ that lasts year-round and beyond – fir as long as your company exists and grows, and soars past the competition.
Even the most successful leader, manager, company owner and CEO can also benefit from expert coaching. A seasoned, versatile outsider who can understand your business and its people like the insider you are, can help give you that valuable perspective and input you may be too close to see. Surely, it can be a good way begin the new year – with a unique and objective perspective?
As it’s the season of gift-giving, I have the perfect item for you: my free downloadable e-book, ‘The Top 5 Advantages of Hiring A Business Coach.’ I also offer a free 30-minute consultation – to help focus on and define the guidance you need, for the best leadership of the best people. Think of it as the present for the future.
Here’s to a great new year of success – for all of us!
Tackling business – and how to achieve goals, set priorities and improve skills – is often helped with a great cup of coffee (or tea or juice). As a business/career coach, I sometimes treat clients and colleagues, as I advise them on many career and management issues.
And one place I sometimes went was a local longtime coffee-deli-restaurant-bakery place I’ll call BCW (and now closed and replaced by a new business). What happened to the aromatic BCW – and would the benefits of a business coach have helped it?
Though it was a social venue, it often was, like many cafes, a meeting place – if not for high-level business meetings, at least some good exchanges. Its very location was a kind of ‘how to succeed’ geographically. Right on a main street, smack at an intersection and lights, right where the streetcar and bus stop. It was spacious yet intimate, with a summer patio. And the internet, through Reddit, Yelp and other post-it places, has no shortage of opinions and experiences as to why it’s good riddance.
Amidst the raves for certain food items, there were dozens of comments and complaints about the service, the food, the size of the place, and dealing with difficult people – like the owner of the place. (Maybe she was overwhelmed at work.) Many ‘posters’ recommended nearby Starbucks as the better way to go. Amongst the complaints, I began to get the picture of what *might* have been done with this place. ‘What not to do’ morphed into ‘how to manage well, reduce stress at work, meet and exceed goals with great service’ – and overall ‘how to succeed’ in a business.
Good decisions, bad decisions – sometimes it helps to have an outside-inside professional, like a Career Management and Business Coach, to help you manage the myriad issues in your working day. I generally work with corporate upper-management people, but doing business day-to-day involves people from all disciplines. There are some things big executive business can learn from small business, and vice versa.
As for what you can do when you’re at the mercy of the internet, and people dumping on you just because they can? Not much, because the web is all about democracy. That BCW owner will no doubt be coming to grips with the fact that the business she’s closed up just won’t let her alone.
When (and if) you should defend your reputation online is something I’ll address in another post. For now, try envisioning your business as a kind of main-street cafe. Where everything you do/don’t do is immediately seen – to contribute towards success or disaster. Where the world has a front window on how you prep and implement throughout the day. Where your workplace ambiance has to be pretty darn good for people. And that it’s a kind of meeting-place that succeeds with customers and clients.
Would you like to talk about your business issues over coffee (or alternative)? I offer a free 30-minute consultation. Consider it a great comp appetizer before the ‘entree’ into complete career and business coaching! Brian Epstein, the Success Coach: https://www.epsteinsuccesscoach.ca/
I was recently interviewed by Dragons’ Den for my expertise on working with friends. Here is the article they published.
Working with a friend seems like a logical and fun proposition. A friendship at work (a “workship,” if you will) can come in many forms — hiring a friend, working for a friend or becoming partners. Having someone in the workplace that you already trust and like can give you a morale boost and an impetus to get some good work done. However, for all its benefits, turning a friendship into a workship can have its risks. Any business association can get complicated or strained, but when it’s with someone you’re already friends with, it can quickly test both ends of the relationship. That’s why it’s crucial to know what qualities to look for in a potential friend-turned-colleague, how to set boundaries and the best ways to manage any conflicts so the partnership can thrive. Here’s how.
SETTING UP FOR SUCCESS: WHAT TO ASK EACH OTHER BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Likability is key for a friendship, but it’s merely the tip of the iceberg when working with friends. Whether you’re a friend/boss or a friend/employee, it’s important that you both share core values. Career management and leadership coach Brian Epstein believes the most crucial values in a business relationship between friends (and any business relationship) are integrity, commitment, emotional intelligence, passion, trust and reliability. Beyond this, you should both be able to roll with the punches. A word of warning; if you seriously doubt some of these key values in your friend, it may be best not to work with them.
Is your sibling also your best friend? Epstein also warns that it’s perhaps “a good idea not to bring family members into the business fold,” since familial relationships often have less flexibility than normal friendships.
GETTING STARTED: WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
Establishing clear responsibilities and expectations from the start can prevent a lot of the more common conflicts that arise from working with friends. Epstein even suggests putting together a sort of “prenuptial agreement,” with a “complete understanding of the skills, experience and strengths that each person brings.” This agreement should detail the workload both topically (what each person is responsible for) and time-wise (monthly, weekly, daily), as well as preferred working styles (eg. your friend/boss prefers to have scheduled meetings rather than an open door policy). Be as transparent as possible by outlining your weaknesses, concerns and future ambitions (e.g., determine whether the friend you hired is planning on making this a temporary stepping stone or a long-term position). Remember, this is not an exact science and this agreement can always be subject to review and revision. If possible, you may even want to begin your new partnership with a trial period where you both get to test drive the arrangement and establish clear guidelines from there.
And as your new workplace relationship takes off, you should anticipate a change in your old dynamic. You can’t always be buddy/buddy in a boardroom and you may pull back on the social time you spend together outside of the office because the work time has increased — and that’s okay. Being flexible while adapting to this new relationship will do a lot to ease growing pains.
MANAGING CONFLICT: WHAT TO DO WHEN THINGS GO WRONG
Any workplace friendship is bound to have its rough patches, and that’s where your guidelines come in handy. For example, if you’re being overworked by your friend/boss or if you feel like your friend/employee is not pulling their weight, referring to the terms in your initial agreement can keep the discussion from becoming too personal, and that is key.
“Conflicts should be about the business,” says Epstein, “no personal attacks should ever happen.” When working toward a solution, Epstein hopes each individual will be willing to talk and listen to the other person’s perspective in a diplomatic manner while using “I” statements to express their concerns. He believes other colleagues can also play a helpful role in tough situations like this, so it may be best to “invite outside opinions and judgements where possible to keep work scenarios unbiased.”
But a friendship-turned-workship is not all doom and gloom because, even in conflict, working with a friend can have its advantages. Don’t overlook the fact that since you started out as friends, you’re already comfortable with each other and you know how to communicate, even when it means tackling tricky situations.
It’s elements like this that can make a workship worth it — but only if the aforementioned values, clarity and adaptability are firmly in place.
Originally published on the CBC’s Dragons’ Den