As part of the yearly International Coaching Week, we asked RiseSmart Certified Career Coaches about their experiences coaching transitioning employees from organizations that had undergone layoffs to new beginnings. In many cases, these experiences were life changing for not only the employees, but for the coaches themselves.

What we discovered were some recurring themes and amazing stories. One thing is sure, if you are looking for inspiration to take the next step, or just reassurance that your employees are cared for when they receive outplacement services, these stories will inspire and comfort you.

Q: Tell me about a time when coaching an individual took you beyond your role as career coach?

A: Jessica Harrison, senior manager of Transition Services at RiseSmart

I had the privilege of coaching an individual who had been going through a reduction in force at his organization. In my role as coach, I began the process of exploration with him to determine what his next steps might be. As part of those conversations, he decided it was a great opportunity to seek traditional employment, while also taking some time to discover and explore one of his passions—building his own coaching practice. We definitely connected around our mutual interest in coaching. I helped explore that opportunity and more traditional roles within companies with him for during his six-month package with RiseSmart. During that time, we were working together to really define what it was that he was targeting and searching for, kind of this multi-prong approach search. The conversations around growing his business included discussing a marketing plan, and deciding how he would get himself out there, how he would determine pricing, and what his website branding might look like. During that time, we really connected and built a relationship through those conversations.

Related content: Expert Career Coaching Advice to Find Your Career Passion

He did end up landing a position back at his organization. He decided that his best option was to go back to the organization and then slowly continue to pursue his business at the same time. He also decided to continue to grow his coaching business as a side gig while collecting a regular paycheck. He returned to his organization and his program with RiseSmart came to an end. What we decided after building our relationship around his coaching background and mine was to continue to have conversations even though he would no longer be a client of mine. We started working together eight years ago in 2011, and we've continued to become career and life accountability partners. We’ve continued to build a relationship and we've been speaking once a week ever since.

Relationships with the people that we're working with is really the core of coaching. They need someone they can confide in and trust to explore and move forward. Jessica Harrison @RiseSmart #SmartTalkHR

[video] RiseSmart Coaching is Personal

Q: Tell me about a coaching experience where the job seeker was not engaged in a traditional job search?

A: Jacquelyn Azar, team lead for coaching in Transition Services at RiseSmart

I had one experience that really stands out to me because it challenged me as a coach to try to figure out how I would help this person. She was someone that was in the financial industry for 30 years in Corporate America. During her tenure, she worked lots of hours and when she was laid off, she said, "I'm done. I don't want to do this anymore. I don't want to get back into that." Given that she had not done anything else in her career, I knew it was going to be hard to transition her into something else. In addition, she wasn't super motivated because she didn't really need the money. Still, she did want to continue doing something. Since there was no hurry to find a new role, we took a step back and started talking about what she liked, what she enjoyed, and what she wanted this next chapter of her life to include. Surprisingly, the two things that came out were that she loved softball and that she loved working with youth. She had some experience volunteering to share her knowledge of finance to help people learn how to write a check and balance a checkbook and that sort of thing. As we dug a little bit deeper, we began to ask ourselves what might be possible.

Related content: A Day in the Life of a RiseSmart Certified Career Coach

Long story short, she knew some people at the high school in her town. I said, "Well, reach out to them. Just to have a conversation. Maybe you can volunteer to do something since money isn't a motivator right now." By the end of our time working together, she was the high school softball coach. When she first told me about it, she said, "They don't have paid positions open. I'm just going be the assistant coach. It's not paid but I'll still get out there." When I talked to her a few weeks later, a position became available and she actually got a paid position. So, it worked out. She had a little extra cash and she was doing something that she really loved.

[video] RiseSmart Coaching is Conversational

Q: Have you ever had to find a creative way to help someone land a job?

A: Laura Olert, executive coach at RiseSmart

I was working with an executive client, a very well-connected client who very comfortable with networking and he was jumping right out there doing all the things he needed to do. Pretty quickly, he landed an interview for a role that he was super excited about. He had a couple of rounds of interviews that went well and he felt very comfortable. Then it came to the final round of the interviews and they asked him to put together a PowerPoint presentation. This is where he really hit a wall. He was not comfortable at all. Because of the level of his last role, he never had to create a PowerPoint presentation. There was always somebody that did that for him. As we were discussing how to get him prepared for this final round, he said to me, "What I really need is somebody to do this PowerPoint for me. I'm not comfortable with it and, you know, I should be but I'm not." I was stumped for a second because this was not a typical service that we offer at RiseSmart, and I thought, "How can I help him best?" To add to the challenge, he found out Friday morning that he needed this presentation and he had attempted to do it, but realized it was not going well. When he reached out to me, he was in a panic. He needed a finished presentation by the end of the day because he was going to be on a plane Sunday morning for this interview. So, the turnaround time was obviously tight and we actually delivered.

Related content: How Does Career Coaching Work?

We found someone who was available to do it and it was in his hands by the end of the day on Friday. The response from him was incredible, just...first of all, wow, wow, wow as far as the content and the level of what she was able to do with this presentation. He just said, "You guys are making me look like a superstar and I'm so confident and pumped up for this interview." He got on that plane and felt 100% prepared.

It was a great story because it was something that was not typical in our coaching, not something that's a typical service that we offer, and yet we were able to meet him where he needed to be and really deliver what was really going to provide him the most value.

[video] RiseSmart Coaching is Collaborative

Q: How has being a coach impacted your life?

A: Emma Garrett, senior transition coach at RiseSmart

I'm beside myself with coaching. I can hardly believe how much I love the work that I get to do with clients. I've been known to lay down on the floor of my office because I'm so overcome with gratitude. I was just doing an informational interview with someone on a Monday and he said, "You know how we had a breakthrough that Friday, I'm wondering, what's the best day at work like for you? Is it a day where you had a breakthrough, like, with me on Friday?" And I thought to myself, "It is just one conversation after another. Not every moment is a breakthrough obviously but it is all the time wonderful." In the informational interview that this individual recently asked me to have with him, he asked me to identify my favorite day that I've ever had as a coach, and it was like, "This is impossible." It is so good, so often. I can't believe how lucky I am even though I'm someone who really believes in celebrating where we're fortunate in life. And as a career coach, I believe in aligning oneself to a career that's a great fit. It's so good that I can hardly express it sometimes.

I'm beside myself with coaching. I can hardly believe how much I love the work that I get to do with clients. I'm so overcome with gratitude. Emma Garrett @RiseSmart #SmartTalkHR

[video] RiseSmart Coaching is Transformational

When we talk about career coaching, the conversation is often about the impact of the coach on the client’s life. What we don’t talk about is the personal connection that transforms not only the individual being coached, but the coach. The stories our coaches tell are as numerous and varied as the people whose lives they touch every day. To all the RiseSmart Certified Coaches all over the globe, Happy International Coaching Day!

02 May 2019

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