A Coaching Model Created by George Goh
(Career Coach, SINGAPORE)
What does a career coach do when his client’s goal is to find a job?
(Examples given are from Singapore’s context but the general principles are applicable in any country)
What is coaching?
Coaching aims to enhance the performance and learning of others. It involves feedback but also uses motivation, questioning and matching your style to the client’s readiness to undertake a particular task. It is based on helping the client to help himself. Max Landsberg
Significance of the “i..GROW” coaching model
In the area of career coaching, the career coach can use the “i..GROW” blended coaching model to coach a client who is looking for a job. The Blue Skies and lush greenery in the picture above represent the fertile ground, conducive and supportive environment provided by the career coach, where the client is able to discover his own strengths and talents to grow and develop himself to his fullest potential.
The “i..GROW” career coaching model represents the “left to right” phases a client goes through in his growth journey, with the support of the coach, to discover himself, his skill sets, work experience and knowledge, in order to find the right job. The client may begin with feeling lost and confused in the state he is in. But he will grow “taller and taller” with greater self-confidence as he journeys through each phase of the model, to understand himself better and where his true capabilities lie.
Starting from the left, the client needs to allow the humble “i” in him to let go of his past underlying beliefs or limiting beliefs. He needs to “unlearn” and let go of the things that don’t serve him well in the past and “re-learn” new things about himself – his interests, job skills, career values, academic and skill qualifications, knowledge, past experience and aptitude.
After the deep “cleansing”, the client is ready to establish his new career goal, update his resume using the latest format, explore his career options and start his work/job search using the latest job search tools available in the market.
Steps in the “i..GROW” Career Coaching Model framework
When coaching a client whose goal is to find a job, the career coach can use the “i..GROW” Career Coaching Model as a guide to coach his client through the coaching process (as outlined below).
The career coaching process starts with the coach spending some time inquiring about the client, his current job situation and the issues he is facing. The coach then uses the following framework in his coaching process :
i – Initial Assessment
- Check the client’s career history to establish where his professional skills lie, eg. Sales, Marketing, Operations, IT, Accounting, Finance, etc, his academic qualifications, skills certifications, etc.
- Use Personality Profiling tools, eg. DISC, MBTI, Gallup StrengthsFinder, etc to help the client to discover his personality traits, strengths, weakness and possible occupations suitable for his personality type.
- Discuss his Interests, Aspirations, Aptitudes and Skills/Ability to check if these areas are aligned with and are supportive of his past, present& future jobs.
- Identify his top 10 Work/Career Values and its level of alignment with his past, present and future jobs.
G – Goal
- Establish the client’s career goals and transferable skills from previous work experiences and explore the industries & job roles that he is interested in.
- Most people will seek career coaching when they are facing issues such as the following:
- losing their jobs due to retrenchments or organisational re-structuring
- having resigned or planning to resign from their jobs
- having issues with their bosses
- being unhappy with their present job roles or functions
- experiencing job burnout & high-stress levels
- tired of doing the same job function for many years with no career progression
- planning to switch careers but are not sure how to do it and which alternative career is suitable for them
- wishing to leave corporate life and take a less stressful job role
- planning for a post-retirement career
- Each new client brings their own life experiences, expectations, and desires to the coaching session. The client is looking to uncover a future outcome that is different from the present state. The role of the career coach is to help the client identify his desired future, address potential concerns, and set goals to achieve desired outcomes. The benefits of coaching for the client include greater ownership and accountability for the client’s own goals and actions, increased self-reliance and greater satisfaction.
R – Resume Review
- Go through the client’s resume to ensure proper format& length, contains the right information, eg. Unique Selling Points, core competencies, past job achievements and validity & accuracy of career history information, etc.
O - Options
- Discuss the client’s career options using the Career Discovery Framework:
Same Job, Same Industry
- Find a similar job in another company in the same industry. The coach has to consider the client’s age, work experience and whether his current job is in a sunrise, matured or sunset industry. The client can also consider applying for jobs amongst his company’s competitors.
- If the client comes from a big-name multinational corporation (MNC), leverage on that and target specifically the smaller companies that are in the same space. The client’s premium will be amplified merely because of the gap between where the smaller companies are and where his previous MNCis.
Same Job, Different Industry
- Find a similar job role in another industry, finding a similar HR or Sales job in another industry. The coach has to consider the client’s transferable job skills (hard & soft skills) and his ability & willingness to learn new product & industry knowledge.
Subject Matter Expert (Parallel career path)
- For clients with extensive industry/job function experience and knowledge, they can also find jobs as a trainer in training companies that teaches industry subject matter. In every trade/function, there will be educational institutes to train people into them.
- For example, the Singapore Institute of Retail Studies (SIRS) provides training for the retail industry. As a former retailer, this could be a possible employer that allows the client to leverage his existing or former subject matter expertise.
- Another consideration for older clients with strong work experience & job/industry knowledge is to identify consultancy projects (paid or pro-bono) to participate in, doing freelance work or a consultancy role.
- With more investment dollars going into start-ups, it represents another huge opportunity for clients who have the financial resources, business knowledge & innovative ideas. Crowdfunding, venture capitalists & angel investors are some of the means to raise investment capital for the start-up.
- Similarly, such clients can also venture into setting up businesses in areas where he has prior experience, knowledge& connections, import/export, distributorships, franchises, retail, etc or in new areas like online businesses selling products and services or in the Food & Beverage business, starting up a cafe or restaurant, taking up a franchise cafe, etc.
- The client can also opt to switch to a new career altogether, from an engineer to a corporate trainer, a lawyer to a teacher, etc. However, they would need to take additional certification courses, Diploma/Certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education(Childcare teacher), degree/diploma/certificate in data analytics, security management, cybersecurity, digital marketing, counselling, etc, in order to work in the relevant industries/profession. The client must also be prepared to start at a lower level with a lower salary, given their lack of previous experience in that profession.
W – Work Search
- Examples of the more popular job portals in Singapore are JobsDB, JobsCentral, JobStreet, Monster, Glassdoor& STJobs. Most people will use 2-3 of these job portals to search for job openings. However, the client can also use job aggregators to look for jobs in Singapore, eg. Indeed.com, LinkedIn Jobs& Careerjet.sg. These sites show job openings advertised on other job sites and also jobs which are posted on company/employer websites. Social media sites like Facebook (www.facebook.jobs/) and Google Job Search also have job search features.
Government Schemes in Singapore (examples)
Adapt and Grow Initiative
- Workforce Singapore’s (WSG) Adapt and Grow programmes - to help executives adapt to changing demands in the economy and to grow their skills. This is done through Career guidance, Career Transition and Job Search, as follow:
a) Career Guidance:
For career guidance and employment assistance, job seekers can visit any of the 5 career centres located across Singapore.
b) Career Transition:
- P-Max (pmax.waf.org.sg) - A Place-and-Train Programme to help smaller companies better recruit, manage and retain newly-hired executives.
- Career Trial (adapt and grow.sg/career trial) - a programme offered by the government to strengthen employment outcomes, through a short-term work stint with an employer.
- Career Support Programme (CSP, www.wsg.gov.sg) - a salary support programme offered by the government to encourage employers to hire eligible Singapore citizens through salary funding up to S$42k, for up to 18 months.
c) Job Search:
Jobs Bank(www.mycareersfuture.sg) – a national government job database that put Singapore citizens first. It gives access to an extensive number of jobs in a variety of industries.
Industry events (http://www.visitsingapore.com/mice/en/events-calendar/)
Attending industry events, trade conferences& exhibitions is a good way to connect with people in the target industry over the same setting. The event, however, has to be targeted for it to be meaningful. For example, if the client is looking to enter into the maritime and offshore industry, it would make sense to visit “Sea Asia” trade exhibition(sea-asia.com).
- The client can use personal contact as an integral part of his job search. It is not what you know, but who you know that matters. Are there people in his existing network that can help him, or know someone who can? It could be an internal employee referral or opening the door to a conversation that might not have been possible. Personal contact can include friends, acquaintances, church mates, alumni, ex-colleagues, ex-managers, etc.
- The client can also “cold connect” with prospective peers and hiring managers if his network is limited. LinkedIn is the best portal to go to and mine out peers who are holding the jobs he is aiming for, as well as their reporting officers.
Finding Overseas Jobs
- The client can also consider job opportunities outside Singapore. If the client’s experience spans across organisations from certain countries, that could be good leverage since he would know their working culture better. He could approach the Foreign Chamber for help to find a job there.
- Examples of foreign chambers in Singapore include the British Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Chamber of Commerce& European Chamber of Commerce.