Wednesday, November 7, 2012

FAQ’s about hiring a Coach

As an active Board member of ICF NJ I am often approached by people who want to hire a coach who will  help them achieve their goals or they are thinking of becoming a coach.   They are unclear regarding the differences between coaching, consulting and therapy.  They want to understand the potential outcomes of working with a coach and what they should think about before they hire their own coach.

I have collected the following questions throughout my past 9+ years as a career coach and I hope that they will answer many of the questions you  may have about coaching.                       

What is coaching?

Coaching is an interactive process that helps individuals develop more rapidly and attain more satisfying results. Coaching enables people to set better goals, take more action, make better decisions and more fully leverage their natural strengths. Coaching helps people figure out what they want and how to achieve their dreams.

Coaching is a professional partnership between a qualified coach and an individual that supports the achievement of extraordinary results based on goals set by the individual. Through the coaching process, individuals focus on the skills and actions needed to successfully produce results.

How does coaching work?

Your coach works with you via telephone or in person to skillfully support you in clarifying specific goals and implementing actions that lead to dramatic results. Coaching is not a spectator sport. Productive coaching happens when one person desperately wants to move forward. Your coach will consistently strive to help you achieve your dreams step by step.

Most coaching is conducted weekly over the telephone. It is the standard practice for the coaching industry. Most clients prefer the comfort and convenience of being in their own home or office. Tele-coaching gives you the opportunity to be coached by the best coach for you, without geographical constrictions. In-person coaching can occur upon request.

Ark Career Coaching works with you to determine and achieve your unique goals. We uncover and help you build upon your strengths. We work with you to design systems that help you succeed.

Does coaching work?

YES, coaching works! Just ask anyone who has tried it or read coaching testimonials. Coaching is most successful when the person being coach truly wants to move, to learn and to grow. Coaching will work for you when you dedicate yourself to spending time and energy to achieve your goals.
Coaching isn’t something that happens to you – it happens through you. To be successful, it is essential that you work with your coach as an active participant.
The coach must be a good match for you and your goals. It is up to you to select the best coach for you and to commit yourself to the coaching process.

When should I hire a coach?

You should hire a coach when you:
  • want to move forward and take the next step on your path to success.
  • have a strong desire to choose and direct your own career rather than have life choose it for you.
  • know that something is blocking your peak performance, and but can’t seem to overcome it.
  • feel overwhelmed by how much there is to do and you aren’t sure how to manage your time most effectively
  • are ready to do something that incorporates your interests and expertise.
  • have issues that are preventing you from focusing on your career growth and you’re ready to deal with them.
  • want to fully leverage your strengths.
  • want to establish goals, as well as develop and execute action plans to achieve them.
  • have certain skills or behaviors that you would like to develop.
  • are ready to move into the next phase of your career and need some support and encouragement to motivate you.


How can I get the most out of the coaching experience?

  • By having a strong desire to work hard and receive feedback that will produce change.
  • By demonstrating a willingness to explore, challenge and change things that are not working for you.
  • By maintaining an open mind as you try new concepts or different ways of doing things.
  • By making a commitment to the coaching process.

What can I expect during the coaching process?

When you become engaged in the coaching process you can expect your coach to listen, make observations, ask questions and introduce concepts to assist in generating possibilities and identifying opportunities for action. While your coach will provide feedback and an objective perspective, you will be responsible for taking the steps to produce results.
Coaching accelerates progress by providing a greater focus and awareness of possibilities, leading to more effective choices. By engaging in a coaching relationship, you can expect to experience fresh perspectives on challenges and opportunities, to enhance your thinking and decision making skills, to improve your interpersonal effectiveness, to have increased confidence and a strong knowledge of your strengths and how to leverage them to achieve success.

What exactly is a career coach?

A career coach is someone who:
  • Motivates you.
  • Provides unconditional support.
  • Identifies your strengths and helps you build upon them.
  • Shines a light on what is holding you back.
  • Helps you move forward to achieve your goals.

Your career coach will help you figure out what you really want in a career or educational experience, what skills and talents you possess and then your coach will give you the tools, resources and support to help you achieve success.
A coach is not a therapist who digs into your past. A coach is not a consultant who will tell you what to do. A coach is someone who partners with you, motivates you and supports you in your efforts to grow, move forward and achieve your dreams.

Career coaches are trained to listen and observe, customize their approach to the individual client’s needs and to elicit solutions and strategies from the client. Coaches believe that the client is naturally creative and resourceful.
The coach asks the right questions at the right time. A great career coach helps uncover possibilities that had never been considered or understood before. Tools, assessments and articles are introduced to help enhance the coaching process.

What will the coaching process do for me?

Coaching will help you:
  • Set goals and align them with your unique values
  • Identify what you like and dislike about your current situation and help you overcome your obstacles.
  • Learn to take control of your future and make choices by identifying options that will enable you to achieve your goals.
  • Find new and exciting ways to manage your future.
  • Uncover ways to create desired change with minimal challenge.
  • Tackle techniques that will help you move beyond your self-limiting beliefs.
  • Understand your strengths and areas for development so that you can capitalize on your talents.
  • Learn strategies to identify and secure desired opportunities.
  • Stay on track as you take progressive actions to achieve your goals.
What should I consider when selecting a coach?
Three critical questions to ask before hiring a career coach:
  1. Do you customize your coaching with tools that will specifically work for me?
  2. Do you keep your finger on the pulse of the Human Resources community so that you know the latest training, development, recruitment trends?
  3. Have you been specifically trained as a career coach beyond recruitment and job search strategies?  Are you trained in behavioral change and leadership development too?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Enjoy the free recording of "You May Be Doing Well Today, But Will You Be Gone Tomorrow?"

I have gotten fantastic feedback regarding the valuable information I gave people who joined the call last evening:

 "You May Be Doing Well Today, But Will You Be Gone Tomorrow?"
During the call I shared five things that will keep you from being left behind in our highly competitive and economically turbulent professional environment.

Go to and scroll to the bottom of the page to listen to the information that I shared.  My phone has been ringing off the hook with positive feedback regarding what people learned during the 57 minute call and I wanted to share the information with everybody!

I encourage you to listen to the entire call so that you can take advantage of a special offer and learn about some limited time, special bonuses that you can receive, such as four emergency 911calls with me and a resume review.
You are also invited to learn about my newest program that is beginning on October 30

Don't forget to scroll to the bottom of the page if you want to listen to the free recording!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Where Are You on the Accountability Spectrum?

Take a moment and honestly ask yourself whether or not you feel like you forced to blame others so that you won’t be blamed for mistakes that occur at work?

It is easy to fall into the trap where you spend a lot of time and energy deflecting blame rather than addressing it head on.  It is especially difficult to take credit for errors when you have a boss who always needs to figure out who is at fault, but by owning up to your mistakes you are in a position to learn from them and to take establish corrective actions to enhance your future performance. 

 A critical component of your professional growth is learning how to manage mistakes effectively, to your advantage and to the advantage of others.

Review the following Accountability Spectrum and determine your current level of accountability.
Level One:  Playing the blame game?   If your mistakes, missed deadlines, inferior quality of work is usually due to your lack of assistance, funds, resources, tools, support, time… are playing the blame game.

Level Two:  Realizing that change is needed, identifying the issue, but expecting someone else to come to the rescue.

Level Three:  Acknowledging mistakes and failures, confronting them directly and hoping that your willingness to own up to your faults is enough.

Level Four:  Identifying and taking responsibility for your mistakes, missed deadlines, and failing to meet standards. Examining the errors, identifying the root cause and what needs to change, developing a strategy to correct the problem and creating a plan that will prevent you from making the same type of mistake. 

Level Five:  Taking Level Four and running with it!  Executing the plan with a clear focus,  discipline and extraordinary effort.  In Level five you are consciously using your strengths to enhance your performance.  You are willing to do what it takes to break down any roadblocks to your success.

Everyone wants to work with a Level Five.  They are the leaders.  They take risks and use their failures as building blocks.  They are always looking for ways to be more effective, efficient and add value as a team player. Having your own personal  career coach will help you become a Level Five and maintain that energy when events or that surround you, or a challenging boss tries to drag you down the spectrum.  

We all fall short once in awhile.  If you don’t miss the mark occasionally you are not pushing yourself and trying new ways to add value professionally.  

“I’ve missed more than nine thousand shots in my career.  I’ve lost almost 300 games.  26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.  I’ve failed over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”  Michael Jordan

Become the Michael Jordan within your profession.  Don’t be ordinary, take the steps you need to take to be extraordinary.

Please email me at and let me know what you have done this week that pushes you toward being a Level Five.  It is within your reach, it is up to you to reach Level Five and to stay there with gusto.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Don’t fade into the cubicle (A.K.A. Woodwork)

Do you work your tail off, but nobody notices?

Do you have more and more assignments thrown your way and it seems as if nobody knows how much you already have on your plate?

Do you feel unrecognized for your contributions and accomplishments?

Perhaps you have faded into your office cubicle?  Perhaps you have become the wallflower who is present when you stop to look at it, but never consciously noticed.

Many of my clients start working with me because they have been overlooked for a promotion, they received a poor performance review,  or they are afraid that their job will be eliminated.  They add value to their companies, however they fear that the decision makers have no idea how much they contribute on a daily basis.  The sad thing is that they are usually correct in their suspicions.

It is your responsibility to strategically position yourself to get noticed.  You must make sure that your decision makers are aware of your contributions, the projects you are currently working on completing and how you fit in the organization.  It is up to you to toot your horn.

There are a many ways to let the “important” people know the value that you add to your organization. 

 1.    Become as indispensable as possible.  Voluntarily spearhead projects and responsibilities that are critical to the company.
2.    Offer to work on high visibility projects, especially if they will enable you to work with a wide variety of people from a number of different departments.
3.    Volunteer to make presentations or help prepare presentations, especially when you know that when the decision makers will be present. 
4.    Go out of your way to make your boss look good 
5.    Attend meetings, conferences, lunches with a sense of purpose.  Go out of your way to connect with people who will be able to help you move up within your company or retain your job if your company is downsizing
6.    Always over deliver!  Simply doing your job as described in your job description will not help you stand out and get noticed.

In your quest to become extraordinary you need to move out of the mindset of going with the flow.  You need to find opportunities to leverage your strengths so that you can outshine others who have similar responsibilities.

Please let me know what you did this week to set yourself apart.  It may take some creativity and careful planning on your part, but it is critical to your success and climb up the professional ladder of success.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Do You Hear What I Am Saying… Are You LISTENING?

How often have you muttered those words under your breath? 
How many times have you wanted to shout that question to someone who doesn’t appear to be absorbing what you are trying to explain, express, describe or teach? 
Listening takes practice and requires focused attention to the person who is speaking.  We often hear what our boss, colleague or customer is saying, but the challenge is to consciously listen for understanding.
Active listening is a strategy that successful people have mastered and integrated into their work style.  Active listening entails a deliberate effort to understand a message from the speaker’s viewpoint.  A skilled active listener is able to clarify meaning by rephrasing the speaker’s statements and reflecting upon what the speaker is trying to communicate.
Active listening is the foundation for developing empathy.
For example, when your boss starts to give you a hard time about a new initiative or deadline perhaps he is really upset because he just came out of a big meeting where the parameters of the project were changed.  By actively listening you can ask questions that will enable you to gain clarity regarding the deeper issue.   When trying to see things from his viewpoint you are in a better position to support him most effectively, which ultimately makes you a more valuable employee.
Empathy is the deepest form of understanding.  It occurs when you are able to imagine what it feels like for the other person.  Imagine if you were in your boss’ shoes. Studies show that when someone feels that you are trying to empathize with them they are more willing to struggle to understand your point of view and work with you as a valued partner.
Active listening is the foundation for successful negotiations
Your customer wants the sun, moon and stars from you by the end of the week.  You only want to give your customer one star this week.  There is a huge gap in expectations.  By using active listening techniques you can learn why the customer feels the need to get all three things by Friday.  You can let the customer know that you understand the request and that you recognize their needs.  You will be in a better position to explain how you can help while presenting your limitations.  You can work together to develop a solution that will be acceptable to both of you.
Conflicts are resolved faster and result in more positive outcomes when active listening skills are employed. During conflicts one of the biggest complaints is that the other person is not listening.   
You and your colleague are working on a project and you don’t agree on the division of labor or the timeframe for completion.  Before you learned about active listening you would have continued to state your point of view so that she could see things from your perspective.  People thought you were stubborn.  As an active listener you have learned to listen for feelings such as frustration, fear, ego related issues.  Using the information that you gather during your conversation you are able to diffuse negative emotions and get to the solution most efficiently.  You are able to turn the conflict into an opportunity for both of you to problem solve and grow professionally as you complete the challenging project.
The outcomes of active listening are very powerful.  It is a skill that successfully and extraordinary achievers use on a daily basis.
To actively listen you need to:
·         Ask questions to gain clarity.
·        Paraphrase what the other person is saying.
 ·      Make sure that the other person knows that you understand what they are trying to  communicate.
 ·        Listen for feelings
·        Become genuinely curious and interested in what the other person is saying.
·        Avoid passing judgment until you have a complete understanding of the issue and the other person’s perspective.
 ·       Acknowledge the other person’s feelings and perspective

Think about the benefits of active listening next time you get into a conflict, begin negotiating a deal or try to work with a challenging colleague.  The more you often you practice the art of active listening, the more natural it will become for you.  It will also make difficult situations much less stressful.
As Benjamin Disraeli once said, “Nature has given us two ears, but only one mouth.”  Try to take time to truly listen, be attentive, listen for feelings and try to genuinely understand what is being said.  You will be surprised how it will help you excel professionally.
Please share your active listening experiences and challenges with me.  I look forward to helping you move forward to achieve your career goals.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Internships...Why Bother?

This is the time of year when students are finalizing their summer internships.  Some opportunities are unpaid and others provide a nominal salary that might only cover lunch and commuting.  A few lucky students secure an internship where they make “real” money, but they are few and far between.
Questions that I am often asked include:
What is the value of doing an internship?
Is it a waste of time?
How can an internship opportunity be maximized?
Internships are a very important component of a student’s education.  They are beneficial on many levels.  

  • They enable students to gain valuable experience in their field of interest.
  • They help students determine whether they like the field of work they plan to enter because they are exposed to many facets of the industry.  They are able to make meaningful observations as they are exposed to a variety of job possibilities.
·       Internships provide opportunities for students to build their resume by enabling them to add meaningful experiences. 

·    Interns have an advantage over other job applicants upon graduation.  They have been able to begin building their professional network by establishing contacts in their field of interest.  They have more confidence and experience in a world outside academia. 
  • provide an opportunity for students to identify their strengths.  They are able to see, firsthand, how they can use them to their advantage in a professional setting.
  • During internships people are very willing to tell the students all about their jobs, their career paths and how they can enter the field.  Once somebody graduates and has a real “job” in the same setting, coworkers are usually more guarded and it is not as easy to get them to share information regarding the details of their jobs. It is not as easy to try out different positions within an organization as an employee rather than an intern.
  • Students who have worked as interns have stronger resumes, their interviews contain work related examples of the contributions they can make to a potential employer and they have professional references.
  • They frequently lead to job opportunities.

Internships are often an investment in a student’s future.  Regardless of whether a student receives course credit or money, there are many benefits to being an intern.  Internships often shorten the job search process after graduation because they have relevant experience on their resume and contacts that may help them get their foot in the door to a desired job or company.
As an intern, it is important to strategically maximize the opportunity.  It is important to take steps to maximize the exposure and consciously use it to set the stage for future employment.

Top Ten Ways Maximize an Internship, Summer or Part-time Job

1.            Arrive on time.
2.         Dress for success.  Pay attention to what people are wearing and dress accordingly.     
3.         Accept all challenges and learn from them.
4.         Consider the experience as an opportunity to gain career clarification.
5.         Develop meaningful connections and build your network.
6.         Actively demonstrate your strengths.
7.         Maintain a professional demeanor at all times.
8.         Treat everyone with respect and respond to their requests with enthusiasm. Introduce yourself to everyone within the organization and always offer a solid handshake.
9.         Do your work with a smile and get the job done!
10.       Ask for a letter of recommendation, send a final thank you note and stay in touch with your professional contacts periodically throughout the year.

I encourage all students to commit to doing a few internships before they launch their careers.
Please let me know about your internship experiences!

Monday, March 26, 2012


Who is incredible at performing their job?  Who do you respect and admire?

Creating your own definition of what it means to be extraordinary at work is the first step in elevating yourself professionally.  Knowing how you want to perform when you are the leader at what you do for a living places you on the path toward becoming extraordinary in your career.
Most of us are familiar with the concept of mentors and role models.  They can be helpful if they are willing to take you under their wing, but what can you do if you want to learn from someone who you have never met?  Is it possible to use their expertise to help you achieve your goals?
YES!  You can learn from people who have achieved success, regardless of whether you have the opportunity to work with them. 
The secret to learning from other extraordinary movers and shakers is to observe them very closely.  Identify the characteristics that you admire. 
Create a list of:

·         Specific things that they do well
·         skills they use to help them stand out among their peers
·         how they communicate and lead others  
·         what they do that makes them remarkable, incredible and extraordinary
·         when they use techniques that set them apart
·         why they are respected
·         actions that enable them to excel

Your list will become an integral part of your roadmap toward becoming extraordinary at work.
Watch what other successful people are doing and commit yourself to finding ways to be even better than the people that you admire.  
Carefully examine how they add value, how do others view them, how do they handle challenging situations?  Analyze what makes them “the best” at what they do?
The next step is to carefully and honestly compare your performance with the performance of your respected role models.  Evaluate which strategies and characteristics you currently possess, as well as areas where you can improve by making a conscious effort and by learning new skills.  Perhaps you possess some of the qualities you need to be extraordinary, but you aren’t as strong as the people you admire or you don’t know how to do what they do.  Consider whether your strengths lend themselves toward each desired quality. You may find that you have identified some characteristics that you admire, but can’t see yourself possessing them.
I challenge you to be honest about how you currently perform, but encourage you to maintain an open mind regarding how you can learn to improve and adopt some of the characteristics that will enable you to become extraordinary. 
Continue reading this blog and you will learn specific ways in which you can be more successful.  
Taking yourself to the next level professionally will undoubtedly take work, but the reality is that nobody has the ability to do what you can do, and nobody had the opportunities that you will have. 
It is up to you to make things happen for yourself.  Identifying the characteristics that will enable you to thrive and excel is the first step toward incorporating them into the way that you work and relate to others.
After you have created your list of desired characteristics, skills and strategies, please share them with me.  It will be interesting to see whether some patterns and consistencies emerge.
Remember, knowing the characteristics of a superior winner is the foundation of becoming one!