When I am engaged by companies or individuals for outplacement or career coaching, I have a checklist of issues I like to handle in my first one to two sessions.
I’d like to share with you 5 common observations based on my experience in coaching professionals who are relaunching their careers after lay off/redundancy as well as coaching tips that will serve as your guide:
1. ‘Why should I be trusted?’.
One of the most immediate issues I like to handle right away is that, as a Career Coach, I can be trusted.
- That I act confidentially
- That I have my primary loyalty to the individual’s career progress.
- That I have the experience and credibility to help the individual move forward.
I make sure that from the get-go, I emphasise that our sessions and conversations together are only between us. Akin to the bond of: “What goes on tour, stays on tour.”
I use something like, “While this doesn’t need to be said, I will say it anyhow. Our conversation is between us and only us. I will disclose to your former employer that you have engaged with the CareerSupport365 program. But that is all.”
2. ‘What’s really going on inside?’
This is a big one. This week, I had a very elegant lady arrive for her first meeting with me. While on the surface she looked fine, just under skin-deep level, she was a bundle of nerves and very insecure.
What was she insecure about? Starting all over again. Learning new skills. Being over the hill. Being a spent force. Had she topped out? Feeling like she’d been lied to. Losing her house. Losing her marriage. … and the list went on…
In this situation, I find it’s best for me to listen and help the Participant reflect. I establish genuine empathy, care and concern, and then a way forward.
As a Coach, I am not there to be anything other than a help, an advisor and more often than not, a sounding board.
But what is important is that I focus on the Participant – gaining their confidence that there is a plan to move forward. And that I am there to help them, just as I have helped others before.
3. ‘Is this person blaming themselves for their departure?’
When people have been let go suddenly, they often:
- suffer shock.
- don’t fully grasp the reasons behind their redundancy.
- frequently feel that their employer was not exactly telling them the truth.
There is a common belief that the problem was really not about the business having issues, but it was actually about them.
When I hear this, I am keen to hear from the Participant – how they articulate what they have been told by their former employer. If I have been briefed by the employer, who has engaged CareerSupport365 to transition this individual, then I like to discuss what I understand were the circumstances I have been told and assure the individual of this and help them work through the reasons.
There is a strong parallel with job loss and with the feelings of rejection over a relationship that has failed. This is especially so, if the person is not the initiator of the break up.
Unless clearly and authentically examined, the residual feelings of rejection and loss can take some work to disappear.
When encountering this, I aim to acknowledge and then set about to reinforce the message from the business – to assure the Participant that it’s regrettably rather common place nowadays and that I can help them move forward with some of the tools and techniques in the CareerSupport365 outplacement program.
4. ‘Are they thinking that they need to go backwards to go forward in their career’.
It’s quite common to find that people feel that they have to take a backwards step or two in their next job. This is especially among the less experienced or assured of professionals.
As case in point was with a senior manager who had been employed by a service company for 20 years. Understandably, his job searching skills had not been needed for all that time, his CV was out-of-date and his interview technique was very poor. Had he carried out his belief, he would have set back his career for many years, let alone his own self esteem.
As a Career Coach, I help the Participant check in with that assumption. It’s also extremely important that I help the Participant slow down and discover more about themselves before they make a career decision out of desperation and by being influenced by some less than scrupulous recruiters. There is huge value in guided self-reflection.
I aim to help to equip the Participant with behavioural based interview skills; a modern résumé and a strong LinkedIn profile that are appealing to Hiring Managers and Recruiters.
With these done, I find the Participant is likely to feel much more assured to return to a role at least at the same level, rather than one or two steps backwards.
5. ‘Is this person prepared to go through this process?’
Despite the circumstances, often I find people are just too scared or overwhelmed to take the steps in relaunching their careers. Have they ever really cared to find out how they are wired? Who they are? What are their passions? What is their purpose?
As a Career Coach I know it’s important to set up a clear path forward. I like to set goals for our Participants; to set exercises and activities that require checking in with me; and I like to engage the Participants in relevant and quick-win activities that give them confidence and move them in a positive direction towards their next career step.
When Participants follow the path that others have gone on before them with CareerSupport365, then “there is an 83 percent chance of success that they will find the job they want within a short 6-week period.” That’s our record so far and I am very proud of that.
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