Let me introduce you to a therapist who is taking my current webinar series Introduction to Workplace Coaching – From Therapist to Coach: Broaden Your Skill Set/Create Options – 4 Sessions – Zur Institute. Let’s call her Anne.
Near the end of our second session last Thursday, Anne raised an excellent issue. Like many people who want to build a coaching business, Anne was having trouble envisioning how she could turn the skills and experiences she had spent her career building into something organizations would value and pay for. By raising this issue, she did everyone in our workshop a favor.
An American by birth, Anne has spent the last 20+ years living and working in Africa. Her life and professional background have naturally exposed her to many expats who work where she lives. While she didn’t say so specifically, it seemed clear that she had talked with many expat executives and their spouses as a therapist. Now she wants to work with organizations, but was feeling intimidated by what she saw as a chasm between her current business model and the coaching business model I teach. But she told us something that I could see would make it not a chasm but a small, manageable jump.
“The spouses of expat executives often have trouble adjusting. They don’t like this. They don’t like that. They want to go home. And many do, cutting short their spouse’s employment.”
She needed just a couple of sentences from me to recognize her opportunity.
I told her that she had already “sold the program,” by which I meant that she had identified the value that would lead a company to want to use her expertise. Here’s how our conversation went:
Dana: “What is one of the most expensive things a company has to do? Recruit new talent. If you can coach executives and their spouses to make the challenging psychological adjustment to a new country/culture/way of living, the company will save a bundle – every time.”
Anne: “Oh, I see. Companies will save money because they can keep valuable people. Not only will they not have the expense of having to recruit and train someone new, they won’t have the business disruption that happens when an executive leaves prematurely.” (Notice how she not only heard what I said but built on it.)
Anne’s background as a therapist, plus having successfully made a similar adjustment in her own life, sets her up for success. And by the way, once she becomes a trusted resource, other kinds of coaching opportunities will naturally arise.
What can readers learn from the issue Anne raised?
- Anxiety restricts focus. Anne had gotten anxious and discouraged about making this transition. Our brief conversation led her to have less anxiety and almost instant creativity/insight. She reached out by asking a key question, giving herself a chance to learn from someone not trapped in her set of assumptions. (We’re all trapped in our assumptions. That’s why we need coaches and trusted advisers to see beyond our assumptions.)
- If you want to figure out what kind of coaching services you can best provide, put yourself in the shoes of decision makers in organizations (the EQ skill of Empathy). What do they need? What problems worry them most? How can their organizations better achieve success? Psychological skills are almost always a constraining resource (a bottleneck that inhibits performance) for even the most talented leaders. That’s where you and EQ come in.
- If you are making a career transition into coaching, recognize that you have already been successful and can use what you have learned as a springboard to your next career. Figure out what insights you have developed in your current work, and perhaps in your personal life, that position you to help decision makers solve their most pressing problems. Then you just have to figure out how to reach and communicate with those decision makers. (That is the next topic in our webinar series.)
By the way, if an introductory course for making a transition to coaching appeals to you, it’s not too late to sign up for the program mentioned at the start of this post. It is a four-part series, each session lasting two hours. While we have finished the first two sessions, they are recorded and accessible to you. The third and fourth sessions will take place on June 2 and June 16 respectively. Use the link at the beginning of this post to get more information or to enroll and get access to those recordings. As always, feel free to reach out to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions.