Coaching for Professionals in Transition

​Recently I spoke to a group of executives that are going through a career transition. Some are doing so on their own accord while others have been “involuntarily” placed in transition as a result of the economy. My talk was centered on the key ingredients to living an extraordinary life including getting reconnected with your core values and life purpose, being a servant leader by authentically helping others while networking, and the power of a personal brand.

This group of talented individuals meet weekly at Career Pro Inc. ( led by its founder and president, John M. O’Connor. John has been powerfully guiding professionals through career transitions for over 18 years and is recognized nationally for his contributions to this much needed profession.

While pulling together my talk, it occurred to me that career coaching and developmental performance coaching serve people before, during and after a transition, but in different ways. To further clarify the role of a career coach, I interviewed my colleague John O’Connor. Below are the highlights of our discussion.

What is a career coach John?

“Usually career transitions involve stress and change. I see this career transition time as an opportunity to invent or reinvent one self. A career coach provides insight, analysis, and sometimes a few radical ideas to help a client reach aggressive work-life goals. A career coach to me can provide bold ideas, new documents such as impactful resumes and bios, insight into companies and sought after positions during a career transition.”

Why is getting coaching and support so important during a career transition?

“For many people this is a crisis situation. I feel that some of our most ready clients are those who may not be at peace with the fact that they are looking for a job but they have a certainty that they want to make their career search a productive one. They want dynamic resumes and marketing materials. They want laser-like advice on how to handle interviews. They want to refine and reinvent their personal brand. They don’t want to “just get a job” but they want to identify and acquire a position that maximizes their talents and interests.”

When is the best time to engage your career coaching services?

“When you feel you need to have fresh ideas and strategies to move your career and compensation to the next level, you are an excellent candidate for Career Pro Inc. Individuals at or above the $100,000/year income mark should know about what we can do for them. Companies that want an individualized outplacement program for its highly compensated employees should get Career Pro involved early in the process. Professionals who are doing an executive search and need a high degree of confidentiality would also be good clients for Career Pro Inc.”

John, what do your clients walk away with that lives beyond securing that next career position?

“I feel we are a catalyst for change and that change starts to happen or gets moved forward for our clients during their career transition. At the heart of Career Pro Inc. is helping professionals accomplish their work-life mission which really humbles me. We help executives define and tell the story of their career. That’s cool to me. They deserve the credit for taking the advice, assistance and counsel and making it come alive.”

How do you differentiate a career coach from a developmental performance coach?

“At Career Pro Inc., our best skill set is to become a critical partner immediately before and during a career transition. Our company focuses on that critical period of time and provides the set of targeted services mentioned earlier. We should work arm-in-arm with developmental performance coaches like Excellerate Solutions because any executive or highly compensated professional is expected to perform and generate results – period! Developmental coaches partner with these type of individuals throughout their careers to help discover ‘blind spots’, collaborate on well defined solutions, commit to measurable goals and actions, and hold them accountable to achieve desired results. All the top performers that I work with use performance coaches.”