Picking Up After a Loss (Lessons from the Football Field)

If you’re a sports fan, then you know by now that yesterday’s championships game produced two winners and two losers. My team, the Pittsburgh Steelers were, unfortunately, in the later category; the Green Bay Packers were as well. Hope were given and relied on in both ‘nations’ but, as they say, there can only be one on the winning side.

However, I don’t look at it quite this way, despite the scathing comments I’ve seen in the newsfeeds I’ve read this morning. Sure, there were mistakes made by some of our rookie players; sure, the play-calling could have been adapted and better; sure, there were some missed calls by the refs; sure, there could have been more fire in our guys. But, there are positives and lessons to be learned.

For one thing, we started off with a 4-5 record, with many writing this season off. On the positive side – we won  9 games in a row and made it to the Championship game; how many other teams can say that, lest the 4 on the ‘stage’ last night? Another positive is that we did make some good plays; our quarterback threw for 314 yards, becoming the 9th on the all-time passing touchdown list; we did sack Brady twice. But, unfortunately, there were not enough good plays to capitalize on. This loss has been really tough for Steeler Nation (I’ll throw in Packer fans, as well).

Business, and life, are like football games. You can have the best game plan, the best players, and not come out on the winning end. There may be challenges to deal with (can we say fire alarm?) but, in the end, it’s all about execution. It’s about firing up and motivating the team; it’s about adjusting and adapting to challenges; it’s about stepping up and owning your part in the plan. There are times that you will be outplayed and out-led.

So how do you deal effectively with a loss like this? Fortunately, we’re not on the big stage, like these teams were but the world is watching. The best is to take responsibility, especially as the leader, celebrate the wins, and vow to move on and do better for the next times. You do have to ‘lick your wounds’ but don’t stay there or you become a victim – be the hero in the story you tell and present.

Win or lose, I love my Steelers. I pray that they don’t let this get them down. Leadership has to evaluate and make adjustments, but that’s the beauty in loss – we all have the same ability to do the same. But, we do need to move on. We either can let failure keep us in the dark or we can move to the light. Which will you choose when you have a setback? I have no doubt that the Steelers will be back and up on the stage next year. I have no doubt you will be, too!

If you’d like help in moving forward in your business or career, contact us today – let’s talk! http://www.cyscoaching.com


What Do You Do? Wednesday

Name: Jean Muurahaine, Managing Partner – College Park Consulting Group, LLC

Current Profession: Executive Recruiter

What led you into this profession?

When I graduated from high school, I would occasionally do secretarial temp jobs through “Kelly Girls”.  I was fascinated at the process of staffing and had a strong inkling I would really enjoy doing what the staffing coordinators did… interviewing and placing people on jobs.    It seemed like a natural fit to me.  Some people use recruiting as a stepping stone to move into HR or other areas.  Some people, like me, are born to this job and have made a life’s work of it.  From that first job in staffing, I took a career path into management with roles such as Staffing Manager, Branch Manager and National Service Delivery Director.  From there, I segued into Corporate Recruiting and then into retained Executive Search and Project Management with one of the largest Executive Search and RPO firms in the world.  In late career, my path changed again.  I decided it was time to open my own small recruiting firm.  I’m now Managing Partner and Executive Recruiter of my own firm specializing in Sales/Marketing, HR, and Manufacturing leadership. I plan to do this until I retire in a few years.

 What appealed to you about this profession?

The people interaction and fast pace.  I was an outgoing introvert.  I had very good people skills and, though a quite type, could develop instant rapport with people.  I genuinely enjoyed people.  I sat behind a desk doing administrative tasks as a secretary, but really hated it.  Staffing was a blend of administrative work with sometimes hours of chaos…ringing phones, a steady stream of people, urgent mandates.  The local branches of the agency were run like small businesses.  There was a lot of creativity and strategy involved in the job.  In my first job as a staffing coordinator, I learned how to manage/coach people, manage gross margin and profit, create candidate attraction strategies, assess talent, work with clients, customer service, and work toward goals.   I learned how all aspects of a business from sales to marketing to customer service fit together in a cohesive strategy for a successful business.

What did it take to get into this position?

One connection lead to another After getting my BA in Psychology, I was unsure of my next steps to find a career.  As so often happens in life, it was synchronicity that lead me to landing a great position. I had moved to a new city and was interviewing for HR positions without much luck.  I managed to get an interview with a large company, but they didn’t see a fit at the time.  My interviewer, however, knew a staffing agency owner who was looking for someone.  She thought I would be a terrific fit and she referred me to him.  I interviewed and received an offer within a few days.  I loved that job and stayed for 9 years.

What is the best part of your day?

When I have pulled together a great slate of candidates for my client’s position.  This doesn’t happen every day, but it’s the time when I get to do the things I love most….coaching for successful interviews, debriefing with the clients and candidates, negotiating, strategizing.

What is the worst part of your day?

Definitely business development- my least favorite thing in the process.

What is the average salary and perks of the job

It depends!  There are so many variations and entry points to this job.  I would say a typical starting salary with no experience may be around 35K – 40K.  An experienced Senior Recruiter can make 70k to the “sky’s the limit” with an average of 70K – 120K.  Again, it depends on experience, and whether one is working in a corporate role, 3rd party, RPO, or on a contract (1099) basis. An experienced Technical Recruiter can earn $60 – $75 per hour.   A retained search recruiter can make 200k+.   In a bad year, such as in a recession,  a 3rd party recruiter could make zero dollars.

How would someone get started in this profession?

The barriers to entry are actually pretty low.  I think HR is much harder to enter.   Seriously, people enter this occupation from all walks of life.  Usually, a college degree is all one needs to get in but, degree is not always required. A temporary staffing agency is a good entry point if you are fresh out of college.  A base salary is usually provided, plus a small bonus based on profitability of the office or other success measure.  Sometimes, individuals will move into recruiting after having been in other professions.  In this case, a degree plus business experience is usually all that’s required.  Corporate recruiting is a little tougher to enter because it is usually considered HR.  It’s very competitive and one would need to start as a recruiting coordinator or come up through a company through another route. If possible, I would intern somewhere to get experience on your resume.  Once you are “in” you are “in” and you can start building experience.  Then you can decide in which direction you want to take your career.

What words of advice and/or recommendations would you make to someone considering this profession?

What words of advice and/or recommendations – This is a terrific profession and, in my opinion, doesn’t get enough recognition in the world of careers.  It’s a great stepping stone to get into HR through recruiting.  And, where else can one have the impact on people’s lives and the business marketplace, and have such high potential earning power without advanced degrees and years of experience?  In many 3rd party agencies, one needs to be good at and enjoy sales to be successful.  If you are not interested in sales, I would look at temporary staffing, RPO (recruitment process outsourcing) or corporate recruiting. Some RPO companies recruit entry level graduates and train them as “Sourcers” or Coordinators.   It’s also possible to find agencies where the sales function is separate and this could work too.  One does not need to be extroverted to be successful in recruiting. But, you must like meeting new people, talking to people and have a genuine interest in people and business.   Also, it’s important to remember this is a business career, not social work.  Good computer skills are also a necessity.  You will spend a lot of time looking at resumes, e-mailing, and using social media on computer screens.

Recruiting is a spectacular career that can take you to places you never dreamed. And, this is an understatement.  There are many, many options in this field.  For the individuals who get in this business and find that it’s in their blood, you can rule the world.

The Importance of Communication May Not Be the Same to All

There is not a day goes by that I don’t hear issues with workplace situations, or even with interpersonal relationships. We all know that communication is not the same to everyone, and much as been written and trained on this topic. But, honestly, how often do we truly pay attention to this topic?

I recently had a client whose organization is planning to undergo some changes, at least that’s what the rumor mill says. This person’s manager admits that there is ‘something’ going on but they have not been forthcoming with exactly what ‘something’ is. I admit that when I was in a leadership role, I was not at liberty to divulge a lot of information but being vague and withholding is not doing your workers, or the work environment, any good.

Communication, especially in layered organizations, will stop somewhere; typically, this is dependent on the manager and his or her determination of the importance and necessity for their workers to know. The importance for one is not as important for another. Why might this be?

There can many reasons to speculate but some I’ve identified include (taken from real situations):

  • they are not at liberty to divulge any information
  • the plans for change are not clear yet
  • they don’t want to upset their workers until the change happens (so short-sighted)
  • they don’t know how to deliver the news
  • they don’t know how/lack the confidence to lead the change\
  • they are waiting for someone else to deliver the news

Do any of these sound familiar? Dealing with change is not easy, if we perceive the change in a negative manner; there will be reactions to change, some which may be positive, but if a leader is anticipating negative responses then they will stop that flow of communicating with those who deserve to know. What a leader needs to know is that by not giving workers any information, it creates an environment that opens the door to anxiety, worry, gossip, irritability, and overall, a very negative workplace.

As a coachable moment, work on being more open and transparent, as well as observant and empathetic, with those who report to you; while you may not be at liberty to give them details until given the ‘okay,’ you can let your workers know that. Talk to your workers individually to assess how they feel about potential changes and how you will be leading them through this – walking with them. Have meetings as a group to bring out and, hopefully, dispel any rumors so that everyone is hearing the same thing; have teambuilding exercises to relieve any stress or negativity and to bring members together – afterall, they are going through this together.

The biggest take-away is to be in a higher awareness that we all hear things differently; when we keep this in mind, then it helps in looking at our own communication patterns and to make any changes necessary; we can become more empathetic and try to look at situations from another’s perspective which can lead to less conflict, more understanding, more bonding, and better interactions.

If you’re looking to be a better leader, or improve your communication patterns and interactions, let’s talk! Contact us today at http://www.cyscoaching.com

Inspiration from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As we are celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., here are several of his quotes to savor and see how you can apply them to your career and life:

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

“In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

Take time to reflect on the meaning of these and how you can apply them to your live; journal on them and/or keep them visible so you can see them and get motivated to lead them in your life.

Doodling as a Creativity and Focus Tool

I was pleasantly surprised when I read a recent article tooting the benefits of doodling; I am not much of a drawer but I sure can doodle all day. Studies have shown that doodling helps with concentration, focus and retention of information. It also helps with our imagination and creativity, and seeing the big picture (Brown, 2014).

Doodling is also a mindfulness practice, which can help relieve stress and anxiety we may experience in our everyday lives. Doodling can be done while on the phone or at our desk, although I wouldn’t recommend spending hours in this practice. However, it can be a great way to resolve a problem or before you sit and come up with ideas for a new project. I read that Ron Howard doodles before he storyboards his movies. If this benefits him, I’m in!

The next time you feel stressed, or want to come up with how to deal with a situation, take some time and make marks on a paper; draw stick figures (my method), or words that come to mind. You can then color them, or even put them in different colors as the right brain comes alive and the left goes into problem-solving. As I already am practicing my gratitude and working on meditating, I’ll be adding this practice to my ‘tool box” – at least this one I can do without much effort. I’m looking forward to the added benefits. I hope you give it a try!

If you’re ready to take your career to the next level, contact us today – let’s chat! http://www.cyscoaching.com

What Do You Do? Wednesday

This week, I’ll be profiling, and answering, what it takes to become a Career/Executive Coach.

What is your current profession:

I am a career and executive coach; as a career coach, I assist individuals who are looking to make improvements in their career, either through finding a new job or a promotion. This could entail helping them to identify their skills, strengths, values, and developing job search strategies, as well as interviewing skills. Often, this also can include helping individuals who want to start their own business. As an executive coach, I work with mid- and senior managers with their performance, which can include communication skills, decision making or negotiating, and just being better leaders overall. Helping them manage the stress of leading and helping them deal with difficult situations are also focus areas.

What led you into this career/profession?

There were several roads I had to take to get to where I am today. I used to be in a mid-level leadership position, and oversaw a particular program where I had to be out with vendors. I was required to have meetings with them, where they basically ‘cornered’ me at one of them and questioned why I was not doing what I did for them and be on my own (they had better insights than I did at that time). I had never thought of working for myself but it really got me thinking. I found the field of coaching and signed up to take courses to become certified; I was also pursuing my doctoral degree. I did a lot of research on the field, wrote up a business plan, and set up a target date that I would leave my job and open my company. I completed my coaching certification and graduate with my Ph. D. close to each other, which was a nice complement.I left my job on a Friday and opened my business on the following Monday, which was 10 years ago this April.

What appealed to you?

I was attracted to this field because it meets my need to help others, but I like the fact that there are many ways to provide coaching, so you reach can be wider in helping more people to live the lives they desire, while earning unlimited income.

What did it take to get into this position?

I took a coaching course, which was six months long. As part of the program, you have to both give and get coaching; once I completed these I earned my certification. I had to determine the niche area to focus on – since I teach a career management course at a university, focusing on careers was an easy choice. Focusing on executive coaching, which entails behaviors, was also easy as I have a social work background and my experience in leadership positions are nice complements. I also teach courses to MBA students, such as organizational development (OB), leadership, change management and a few others, so the knowledge and research I’ve done help in both areas.

What is the best part of your day?

Coaching clients and seeing transformations is exhilarating. Helping people to uncover their skills and realize they have the power to make changes in their lives is very rewarding. I love helping individuals uncover their big ideas and make them a reality. I also would say that the connections I get to make, through networking and association meetings, and even through social media, we as well as having the opportunity to speak and write also make up great days. There are just so many opportunities that make my days successful.

What is the worst part of your day?

Building a business can be hard, as there is marketing that needs to be done, making phone calls, keeping control of finances, etc. These can be outsources but I still need to oversee them. Working with a difficult client can also be very challenging. As I teach also, working to find the balance between that and my business dealings can be frustrating and result in long hours.

What is the average salary and perks of the job?

This is hard to answer, as coaches make their own pricing structure, and it also can depend on which part of the country, or the world, you are from. According to Sherpa Coaching, the average hourly rate for executive coaches can be up to $300; business coaches – $150, and life coaches at $100/hr, but you can charge an amount you feel is comfortable and that you deserve. If a coach offers a program, they can price as little or high as they want. Coaching offers the option to create multiple streams of income and deliver through multiple mediums. There is much written out there on this, such as through the International Coach Federation (ICF) or Sherpa Coaching websites.

How would someone get started in this business?

While it is not necessary to have a certification to be a coach, I would highly recommend enrolling in a coaching school, or taking a program, as you will learn the basics of human behavior and motivation, how to move people through transformation, and how to ask compelling questions to enable a client to get their answers for themselves (which is the premise of coaching). Writing a business and marketing plan will set the tone for a coaching business; you would also need to register your name with your State, and get a business license (all of which are usually under $100). You can set up a website and get business cards, but these are not necessities to finding clients and being successful.  I’d suggest looking at your own experiences or background to align with the area of coaching you prefer, such as health, life, business and the like; if you have something you’ve overcome, such as a divorce or losing weight, are good ways to help others overcome them, as well. Once you are set up, I’d recommend finding 100 people to coach, either for free or a fee, to hone your skills. I’d also recommend getting a coach, who can help as you grow and develop your business.

What words of advice and/or recommendations would you give to someone thinking of this profession as a career?

I would tell them to run into this profession, as the possibilities are unlimited. Go to a coaching school to learn how to coach, take some marketing classes, and put yourself out there. Hone your skills to be the best. Don’t worry about what others think or set your bar according to others; be firm in your abilities and surround yourself with others who will support and lift you up. Get yourself a coach who can guide and support you, and hold you accountable to achieve your goals. Don’t be afraid – face any fears you may have and embrace changes you may need to make.  Focus on finding your ‘tribe’, or the people who need you, and you will have more happiness and opportunities than you thought possible.



A New Way to Be More Positive This Year

If you are still preparing for how you want 2017 to go, there is a new trend catching on that I encourage you to consider, and that is the act of kindness. I’m sure you’ve heard about the benefits of practicing gratitude, which is where you recognize and appreciate all that you have in your life. I’ve been doing this, in what started out as participating in a 100-day gratitude challenge – it caught on and I’m now on day 515. It has changed my outlook and has attracted so many positive things for me, both personally and professionally.

According to an article in Parade Magazine, kindness is ‘at the heart of intimacy, connection, self-respect and respect for others’; benefits include: happier and bigger hearts, better physical health, more connected neighborhoods, emotionally intelligent kids, better busienss, and a more connected world (Lerner, 2017).  A Kindness USA poll found that only 25% of Americans feel we are living in a kind world (Parade Magazine, 2017); I question why this change has occurred but recognize numerous factors that could lead to this alarming number.

Just like gratitude, being kind to others raises the happy chemical in our brain and we feel more positive and happier; our overall health improves as our heart rate goes down, stomach issues don’t arise and our outlook improves. The best part is that kindness is free; it is done from our choice and free will in trying to make a difference in someone else’s life; it’s important to remember that we don’t know what someone else is dealing with.

Kindness can take many forms:

  • small acts – holding the door open for someone, letting someone out in traffic, helping a coworker on a project they’re working on, or giving a compliment
  • saying thank you – this can be verbally or in written form, such as sending a card letting them know how much they mean to you, or through a text message or email
  • spending time together – as we can get busy, making time for someone is a great way to be kind, which can be your family, friends, someone you haven’t seen in a long time, or going to visit residents of a nursing home in your area (as most don’t get visitors)
  • donations – cleaning your closets out and giving to a local charity can help those in need; giving money to a nonprofit or charity is another way to ensure those who need have those needs met
  • volunteer – this involves giving of your time to a cause you believe in, such as children, elderly, veterans, or animals
  • get a group together – this can include family members or your neighbors who can spread kindness, but as a group. One suggestion would be walking for a cause, or sprucing up your neighborhood or a neighbor’s yard
  • recognition at work – giving compliments, recognizing the work of others, celebrating accomplishments or milestones, saying ‘thank you’
  • pay it forward – pay for the person behind you in line or buy someone’s meal or groceries

These are just some suggestions to get you started, which don’t just apply to our personal life – we need to use them in our work environments, as well. When we truly practice kindness, we are not expecting anything in return, so you will want to check your motives. But giving to others will come back to you ten thousand-fold in the end. You will be a better human being for doing so, which then spreads to others and we will have a kinder world in the end.

If you feel stuck in your career or need help in making realistic goals, contact us – let’s talk! http://www.cyscoaching.com

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