Updated: Jun 16, 2022
Peter, a Senior Manager for a technology company is known for leading his group of analysts use relevant data insights to help his internal stakeholders find solutions across business problems in commercials and operations. He has been in the job for 6.5 years.
*Let’s call him Peter. I’ll need to use pseudonyms for the client's confidentiality. Some details are altered as the name of the firm can be easily identified. Majority of the details remain the same. Any name reference from the above is purely coincidental.
As market conditions evolve, there is a need to get a reliable and proven hand to steer the team forward and be able to create a competitive advantage for the firm. His boss decide to assign him to a new role – one that has greater responsibilities. It's to command a mid-senior leadership position with more markets to manage - Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Initially, Peter is delighted. Sounds like a promotion! His job scope changes for the better.
Problem is, that Peter doesn’t have the luxury of time to adapt to it. Neither he is given the transition period to upskill his knowledge. Part of his skill sets are not on the expert level, for instance knowing how to persuade and influence senior leadership team while making difficult decisions. Basically, these abilities are acquired from OJT (on-the-job) experience.
His peers are looking up to him, expecting Peter to possess the charisma to lead the team.
The shift of his job scope rattles Peter and he starts to wonder if this job is suitable for him.
Perhaps, he should move out to a greener pasture. He is feeling the immense pressure.
His immediate HR isn't available and the firm possess a culture of independence (and for an employee to handle ambiguity and change) instead. After all, he is a mid-senior Leader.
As such, he thinks it's better to find another suitable role externally. At that moment, there isn’t any internal recruitment.
As time goes by, Peter performance deteriorates - largely due to his current skills and the feedback from his counterparts. His boss gives him 30 days to think through, and if things didn't improve - he has to resign on his own.
Peter reflects back and wonders if his capabilities aren't good enough. He worries about his future career trajectory. Seems like there is also a dent in his confidence level too.
The Early Conversation
Peter decides to ring me up. He knows about my career coaching expertise.
He writes an email, detailing his situation and what he thinks about it.
To diagnose the scenario, I further asks more questions relating to his current role, what his boss expects, what he expects and where he feels his talent will be.
I dive deeper into his profile and get to understand the mechanics of things, how he pictures himself and where he feels works best for him. I will also like to address his confidence.
We then jump on a complimentary Discovery Call to join the dots together. This allows me to get a holistic understanding, where he feels I can intervene and how I can help to develop a bespoke coaching program.
With the intelligence gathered from emails/calls, I proceed to write an outline that breaks down the 1:1 coaching sessions (pre-work and post-work included) into a 3-step process. It's a brief with the scope of work highlighted in every stage.
I have also indicated the type of pre-work needed, any other reports (e.g. performance appraisals) required that will facilitate the first virtual session which is about 1.5-2 hours.
We'll need to conduct a "Needs Analysis".
Peter agrees to a bespoke Career Coaching Program that consists of a series of pre-to-post work and the number of coaching hours @ every stage. It's about a career transition due to a change of job scope. The program aims to get Peter make better informed decisions too.
A mix of formal and informal tools used:
1) Knowdell Card Sorts
2) RIASEC test (to get his Holland Codes) - by Dr John Holland
3) Gallup Clifton Strengths Finder - top 5 themes
4) Visualization diagrams drawn up by me (after discussing in-person) 5) 4S Career Transition Model - by Nancy Schlossberg (it's a transition phase for Peter)
A structured framework is put in place - VIPS. Tools evolve around it. Analysis to help Peter internalize his profile (which will shape his elevator pitch thereafter), help him make sense to craft smaller action steps for his next job move.
There is also another component - the external triangle where variables like risks and trends are considered, as part of fitting in his capabilities to seize the job opportunities across the local employment landscape (i.e. zoom into possible designations from LinkedIn).
Primarily, the aim is to identify his unique capabilities, level up his confidence and allow him to see how his expertise shine through the years (i.e. he has been in the firm for 6.5 years).
There may be gaps, and this is where the learning and development piece is included in the deliverable. Peter will possess the clarity to pinpoint where he can upskill.
In other words, use historic records/data to build a set of logical assumptions for his future roles. The 4S Career Transition Model (mainly the "Support" and "Self" ) would validate his understanding before building an action plan.
Information has to be unbiased (and not just based on his input), which explains why Peter has to ask around his folks who worked with him before. This will get me to have the primary research records that are independent, and not just based on his input.
I will produce a "Career Analysis Report" for Peter.
Thereafter, Peter and I will discuss to design a practical and actionable "Career Action Plan". It's a written piece of document that is specific, measurable and time-bound.
It's also to launch the plan immediately and to track the results every quarter - that is what Peter wants. Lastly, the implementation portion comes in.
His branding materials (resume critique, resume customization, smarter job search strategy) are transformed to increase his job transition success. He will learn how to craft an effective Elevator Pitch using a proper approach, flesh out his best accomplishments - one that brings out the best within him that speaks the language and keywords of the job specifications.
Also, to size up his potential Employers for deeper engagement during interviews. We will have mock interview practices in the last session before wrapping up.
According to the scope of work, we have a series of 1:1 deep dive coaching sessions as per the objective of the deliverable. Each duration is about 2 hours on average - with pre-work completed, and for me to prepare before we jump in to a Zoom call.
Every session is ended with a summary of actions. Post-work includes research and tactical follow-ups, ensuring the benefits are reaped. Both Peter and I are fully committed.
Interestingly, I discover that Peter has an innate ability to synthesize information on his feet through his acute observation of data collected by the firm. He can work out solutions with his team. He possesses the ability to interact with his peers to brainstorm and co-find recommendations.
He is well-versed in the data analysis process; understand what business issues are about and what it means to the businesses.
On the flip slide, while the business moves fast, it’s a pity that time isn’t on his side. Due to the confidential nature of the business, I am also unable to mention the structure of the company and its internal processes.
After analyzing the situation, seems like identifying his abilities and getting self-affirmation is important for him. I can sense that Peter picks up his confidence level quickly and is cautiously optimistic to get into a suitable job. Gleaning through the information from the tools used, I manage to identify common patterns to build up useful hypothesis.
These positive nuances (mainly keywords and short phrases) such as his skills and his strengths (both are different) that matter to him most describe him perfectly. He self-reflects and begins to acknowledge that this is who he is, and what he is really capable of.
The working environment and how the company operates are merely "distractions".
But he realizes that it's not about how other define him; it is where he can plug in to another company who is able to place a decent value on him.
I think this is a superb self-awakening moment!
Next, I help Peter piece together the information to identify common patterns in his expertise. Thereafter, I co-relate the information back to him, getting deeper into his train of thoughts. Meaningful questions are asked to direct him to the answers through using ICF coaching core competencies. He proceeds to do a self-validation of his talent.
Peter gains clarity and starts to write it down, with my guidance, on a big piece of paper. He crystallizes his thinking. He can use them to map out a new role or jumpstart into the same position in a new company.
On my end, I did some desk research regarding examples of his perceived occupational interests. It helps Peter to foresee where he will like to be in his next job. He is a data-driven guy after all, one who is astute in problem-solving for the real world.
Therefore, he decides to find a company that will technically fits into his agenda. It won't be 100%, he accepts some trade-offs as we discuss.
We also work out his key accomplishments and classify it to sub-categories.
From there, I introduce the "CAR" approach to help Peter frame up his pitch.
2x CARs will be a great way to prepare for interviews.
On his learning and development side, Peter will like to train up his persuasion and influencing skills. He will search for short courses that emphasizes on application.
In summary, Peter plots out small, bite-sized action steps and writes out his goals. I believe in a one-year time frame, he agrees too. Humans need momentum to taste success within this period. 5 years is too long, Covid teaches us about black-swan events.
The last portion is to impart my knowledge to him - how to bring up his branding materials that get him interview call-ups.
I did a resume critique for him (i.e., he doesn’t need a detailed run-down since his former resume is well-crafted).
We focus largely on fine-tuning his elevator pitch, and how he can use it across different context: in-person, virtual or reaching out to contacts via his network.
He is competent in his job search and is active in LinkedIn with an optimized profile.
Finally, his narrative (and a storyline) is ready to launch. He practices his narratives with me during the 1:1 mock interview sessions.
Very happy that he got a number of interview call-ups!
He leverages on the key takeaways during the coaching and consultation sessions, follow his "Career Action Plan", play up to his authentic strengths/skills and compartmentalizes the information into a short and punchy pitch. He knows his profile better.
Often, he gets into the last round of the interviews with a compelling story that fits into the perceived talent the other parties are looking out for.
Finally, he got offers. He has a few of them to choose.
Mentally, that’s a good feeling to have!
Peter then signs up into a data-driven job from a multinational in the healthcare industry.
I am superbly delighted to make an impact with the appropriate intervention on Peter during his career life-stage. It's an important transition for him. I am glad that he picks up valuable insights from the tools used to shape a practical and actionable career plan. Equally important is a plan in-place and skills learnt to convince other parties about his abilities. He has also identified key areas for his personal learning and development agenda.
Are you in the same spot as Peter? Do you have burning questions in mind?
Schedule a complimentary 30 minutes Discovery Call with Ken, the Career Coach now.