The Impact of Great Coaches

Rise upAs I write this blog, the days are getting closer to Super Bowl LI – and being from Atlanta, we love our Falcons!   So let’s all shout it together “Rise Up!!”  That phrase is all over this year’s Super Bowl LI theme.  I think it resonates because it holds different meaning, on different levels, for different folks.

I want to be clear: this blog isn’t about football and I’m not a full-fledged enthusiastic football fan. I just like our local team and it’s the Super Bowl! But given a choice between an episode of “Fixer Upper” and a football game, for me it’s going to be HGTV almost every time.

But back to the blog, what strikes me about this Super Bowl theme and the excitement it has stirred in our city, is that it’s so applicable for a discussion about careers. This “Rise Up” theme represents that with enough hard work, dedication, collaboration, and belief that better days are ahead, anyone can make a successful career change (internal or external) to where they are currently working.

But it’s just a slogan, right?

There has to be something more behind the words. And for the Falcons, the team spirit and accountability the coaches demand make all the difference.  Our head coach, Dan Quinn, laid out a vision for where the team was headed.  The players, owners, and staff worked with the coaches to learn to trust each other, create values, and understand what acceptable behaviors were required to personally align with their goal — to win games.  They didn’t focus on the losses of the past, but learned from their mistakes as the coaches kept them laser-focused on the future wins that would be theirs.  And isn’t that the kind of support and encouragement we all need to make successful change?

I often see individuals turn to online support for career transition and growth.  Technology and apps are helpful, yes, but nothing can replace the help an experienced professional coach can provide. It is often overwhelming to filter through all the career development advice offered through posts, articles and yes, even blogs. Just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s true. Having a career coach helps decipher the “noise,” assess professional goals, and strengthen your skills and resume to “tell your story.” These are essential elements to reaching your goal — finding a new job as quickly as possible.

“Rise Up” is more than a slogan, it’s a mantra for reaching to the stars to achieve your dreams – for being the best you can be.  The experienced guidance of a coach holding you accountable keeps you true to the mantra, especially when times get tough.

What are the benefits of working with a career coach?

If you’ve never worked with a career coach before, here are a few benefits you should expect from the experience and investment:

  • Faster results  – due to the accountability standards you will be held to, you will experience greater productivity, focused actions, and solid career development/transition processes;
  • Raised awareness – the mirror will be held up for you to learn more about yourself, your strengths, skills, and areas for improvement;
  • Sounding board – looking for a job has its high moments, along with its low ones.  Having the space and benefit to talk through issues with someone who is neutral and just there to support you is priceless;
  • Differences in perspectives – it’s an opportunity to be open to hearing and exploring different perspectives, attitudes, and beliefs (some that may even be holding you back from excelling);
  • Unbiased encouragement career change requires emotional support and compassion in those moments when you’re feeling alone, i.e, calls aren’t being returned, responses to ads aren’t being acknowledged, or you hear only crickets after an interview;
  • Third-party facilitation – the use of techniques such as various assessments (MBTI, 360, etc.), planning for change and making strategies for moving from point A to point B, and consultation for developing solutions to barriers that may creep into your transition journey;
  • Training and development – the opportunity to role play and do exercises together to improve your capabilities in areas such as: presentation and communication skills, team building, and leadership skills; and
  • Greater self-confidence – you have to know yourself and believe you can do the job before you can convince anyone else.  Working with a coach helps you practice your presentation, style, and confidence before you have to do it for real in front of that decision maker.

Coaching isn’t for everyone

In order for coaching to work, there has to be a good match of styles between you and the coach. They should be someone you feel comfortable with, and someone you can trust to be vulnerable with. Just as you “shop” for a hair stylist, ask the right questions.  Ask questions about experience, assessment tools, training, etc.  The profession is still maturing as far as certification and required training goes, so it may be helpful to start with a referral from someone you know.

And you have to be ready! You have to have a strong desire to learn, listen, and grow – and that’s going to require you to be open to stepping outside your comfort zone.  Coaching isn’t consulting and it’s not therapy.  Through provocative questions your coach will hold you accountable to the future you are seeking, and together you will co-create the path to your next job. The experience of working with the right coach could turn out to be your Rise Up moment! Good luck.

By the time you are reading this blog, the Super Bowl will be history. I wish our Atlanta Falcons the best!  I know they will give it their all. “Rise Up!”

For more resources visit the following webpages: EMI Store, training events and information relative to career management.


This blog was written by Deborah A. King, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, RCC.  Ms. King is CEO of Evolution Management, Inc., an experienced Executive Coach, and author of her latest book, I Want THAT Job! Debbie and her team are energized about assisting individuals with career development and transition, as well as outplacement support.  Contact EMI for more information about how we can assist you or your organization: or 770.587.9032.