April 29, 2011

Why I Chose Coaching

Life is about choices. We can't control what happens to us, but we can choose how to respond.

11 years ago, a supervisor asked me the day after I was hired, "Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?" My response, "Not here." I said that because I always dreamed of owning a business; I just wasn't sure what kind of business. Let me share with you how I came to my decision of being a coach.

"Client" Seat - I experienced coaching first as a client. Jay (my coach) met with me weekly or bi-monthly for about a year and a half. During our conversations, I loved how the focus was on my goals, my pace and my agenda. He listened, gave suggestions, but ultimately it was up to me to accomplish my goals. Similar to having a personal trainer, but for my mind. Towards the end of our professional relationship, I asked Jay what I needed to do to become a coach.

StrengthsFinder - Leadership was a hobby before it became part of my career. I decided to go back to school in 2005 to get a Masters in Organizational Leadership. Through the process, I met Dave, a classmate, who was getting certified in the StrengthsFinder assessment and part of his requirements was to take 10 people through the test and discuss their results. A year later I liked the assessment so much I got certified in it and to this day it's the only test I give to all my clients. Knowing my top 5 strengths affirmed that coaching was the perfect "fit" for me.

At the Core - A coach is more of who I am, rather than what I do. My job title can change, but I'll always coach people. I'm not a fan of job descriptions because they put people in a box. Why not create a role based on someone's strengths? When I coach someone one-on-one I'm at my best. Coaching is my sweet spot. I look back on my past and realize I've been coaching others from an early age. I just didn't know it was called coaching. I'm very fortunate to have found my ideal career. Coaching is just an extension of who I am.

Based on my faith, I believe everyone was made to do something special. Your career is a mixture of passions, strengths and experiences. What were you born to do?

April 11, 2011

L.A., home of the Entrepreneur

According to the study by the entrepreneurship foundation in Kansas City, Mo., Los Angeles had 620 entrepreneurs per 100,000 adults last year, the most among the country’s 15 largest metropolitan areas.  

With a slow, rebounding economy why not put your efforts into starting/growing your own business? (At least that way you have some control of your career)

Here are 3 tips to consider as an aspiring or current entrepreneur:

Make Logical Decisions, not emotional ones. Be passionate about what you do. Research and understand your industry. Don't be motivated by money. Share and get feedback on your idea to reveal your blind spots. Once the euphoric stage has passed, start moving forward.

The Myth of Risk. Smart entrepreneurs don't take as many risks as you think. They take "calculated risks." Risk is about emotion. Calculated risk is about research, understanding and having great people resources. Decrease your risk factor by building a strong network. 

#1 Attribute: Hard Work. Despite Tim Ferriss' 4-Hour Work Week, successful entrepreneurs don't count hours. Think and work on your business all the time. That doesn't mean you don't take breaks, but having your own business you should equal working more hours than a traditional 9 - 5. If you're not interested in grinding hard, don't start your own business.

Even with a college degree, there's no guarantee you'll get hired. Clarify your idea, then figure out how to monetize it. Simple concept, yet challenging to execute. L.A. is leading the way, so start positioning yourself as a star. 

April 4, 2011

Internships: The New Entry Level Position

Even with jobs increasing, is applying for entry level positions really the way to go?
Just like resumes, searching through Career Builder & Monster are outdated...here's why:

1) Useful Experience. Most entry level positions are just that. Menial work for menial pay. When searching for internships, look for experience in areas you want to grow in. Normally there is more than one position available, so you'll have the chance to collaborate with others while observing how your supervisors get the job done. Be a student and learn from those above you.

2) A Chance to Prove Yourself. Internships are a form of leadership development. Someone is overseeing you and there's a chance that if you rise to the top, your internship can turn into a full-time position. Entry level workers are usually trained, then left alone. Interns are watched over and usually do a decent amount of shadowing. A good recommendation from within can go much further than anything you can put on your resume.

3) Internships create Flexibility. When you agree to an internship, there's usually an end date. If you're a student, there's many opportunities to take on multiple internships during your career. Let's be honest. Most people don't have a clear idea of what they want to do. Part of figuring out your career direction is trying different things and eliminating your choices. How do you know if you can do something for a long time if you don't have any experience doing it?

With community colleges recently turning away 400,000 students, traditional education has it's downside. Even with a college degree, you are guaranteed nothing. At least with an internship you have experience and someone advocating for you (that's if you work hard). Think about it. What gives you a better chance to succeed than an internship?