The HRA Editorial - Feb 2009: Coaching and Coaches

  • 18 Feb 2009 00:31
    Message # 116919
    Jun (Administrator)

    The worst nightmare in any economic downturn has always been the prospect of losing one's job. However, even a recession can offer tremendous opportunities for those who are bold enough to step outside their comfort zones. The current slowdown in the economy may be the right time to engage in self-assessment, or rethink one's personal and professional goals. And there is no better time to do this than during a crisis situation.

    When an employee is laid off, for instance, a talk with a career counselor or a professional coach may help in mapping out available options in terms of career opportunities. Coaching can also provide an honest assessment of one's strengths, character, behavior and response. Coaching also serves as an ingenious way to inculcate upon the recently displaced employee that the unfortunate predicament is not just due to the uncertainties of market forces but, among other things, one's own limitations as an individual and as a professional.

    There are actually many definitions of coaching but for me coaching should be seen more as a process of helping a person, team or organization go from its present position to where it wants to be. In the early days people who want to go from one place to another take a carriage called a coach, tie it to a horse and travel wherever they want to go.

    No, coaching is not training. While coaching is also a way to acquire learning, a coach immerses himself as a facilitator rather than as an instructor as what is typical in a training environment. A coach helps his or her client answer his own questions instead of telling him the answers. Coaching is not even meant to substitute training.

    Professional coaching programs do not come free. But those wanting to have a third person perspective can always ask their priests, ministers, professor, senior colleagues, old bosses, or even friends to coach them. But then again, the most costly advice is free advice. Of course, those who can afford to pay a professional tend to benefit the most especially if it is seen as an investment for both the organization and the individual.

    Recently in Japan, a number of non-profit organizations have been providing coaching services to displaced employees, giving free advice and counseling on possible career options. In addition, the government has set up Hello Work offices to assist employees find employment elsewhere. The better known companies, however, typically hire the services of outplacement firms to facilitate the detachment and re-entry of former employees.

    No job is recession-proof but it helps to keep a positive attitude and be optimistic. Now that lifetime employment has become a thing of the past, we should strive instead to become lifetime employable. We can only do this if we overcome our fears to learn new things, to meet new people, and to accept the fact that there is nothing more constant than change.

    Needless to say, having a coach or a mentor by your side is an added help not only to survive but more importantly to thrive even in these trying times.


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    Last modified: 18 Feb 2009 00:31 | Jun (Administrator)

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