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21 November, 2014 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Career Management, Recruiting

Everyone Needs A Coach

Posted November 21st, 2014 | Author: John G. Self

What is the best career advice you have ever been given?

Source: Flickr user ffaalumni

Source: Flickr user ffaalumni

That is one of the questions we ask in our in-depth interview with potential candidates.  Some candidates, quickly assessing the risk-reward of an off-the-mark answer, try to guess what we want to hear.   If you look at them, you can see the mental wheels working at high speed.

Something to consider, any time you start trying to figure what the recruiter wants to hear, versus the real best advice you have ever been given, you are in trouble.

And more advice, as important as the first:  be authentic.  We have all received guidance regarding our careers.  If you are ever asked that question, share what resonated with you.  The only thing worse than playing outguess the recruiter is to admit no one has offered you career counseling, or worse still, you can’t remember anything specific.

One of the best answers I have heard in recent years is this:

When you start a new job find a mentor or a coach, someone you respect who will tell you the truth and help you grow.

Simple and to the point, and it is probably the best advice that anyone can offer.

Whether you are a newly appointed CEO or a first year consultant, you need someone to help you maintain balance and perspective.

In this new era of healthcare, with the pace of change rapidly gaining momentum, the jobs we undertake, and the rules that govern what we do and how we do it, are also changing.

The smart organizations, that is to say those with the best chance of surviving healthcare reform, will be the ones, big or small,  that invest in helping their people grow — providing access to outside coaches, or producing this type of leadership development service internally.

At the end of the day, success will be driven by these factors

  1. Quality of care and patient safety
  2. The cost of care and the outcomes
  3. Patient satisfaction

To achieve these objectives, an organization must hire, develop and retain the best people.  At a time when organizations are focusing on expense reduction, not investing in developing employees is beyond pennywise and pound foolish.   More broadly, mediocre leaders and managers who see their work as a job not as a profession in which the highest standards of performance must be achieved, simply will not survive.

Organizations that do not invest in their people won’t fare much better.

© 2019 John Gregory Self


  1. MJ klymas says:

    Hi John
    How would you go about finding a good career coach/mentor?

    • John G Self says:

      The selection of a coach can be as important as the decision to pursue this type of support as a growth/self development strategy. Here are the key words I feel are important in evaluating a potential coach: trust, respect and industry knowledge. While some may say that industry knowledge is not as important, I am not inclined to agree.

      My coach, Nancy Swain, is a master’s prepared counselor, a colleague/strategic partner and a friend. We have known each other for a long time and there is a high degree of trust. She has the keen insights of a counselor and solid industry leadership experience as an executive with P&L responsibility, team building and training, and as one of the really great career transition thought leaders. There is incredible trust which is important because entrepreneurs can be ego-driven people who are also control-driven. Nancy knows when to call me out, and when to sit back and listen and nudge.

      A previous coach let his outside relationships take precedent and guided me into a disastrous business partnership that resulted in my loss of a company I founded and spent 16 years of my life building. When that partnership began to head south, my coach did too. He did not want to provide me guidance or do anything that would jeopardize that other friendship. I trusted without verifying. It was a costly mistake, one that I have to own.

      Call me or email if you would like additional insights. Our Firm has a rule: help others even when it is not for a fee.

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