Before running an executive coaching business, I followed a career in health, starting nursing in 1986. I have been privileged to work with a variety of professionals and as my career progressed from clinical to strategic management, people would come to me for advice about their career and next steps.
Most of the advice I gave was based on my experience of what worked for me: CV structure, responding to interview questions, preparation, clarifying meaning and how to interview prospective employers.
As a coach, I became more adept at asking those precise unlocking questions that would support a client in looking for their next role. However, having recently started to use a new online psychological tool called MindSonar to support career coaching, I look back at how much more I could have supported people in their decisions, getting to the heart of what they wanted.
What is the benefit of using MindSonar in the context of career coaching?
This month I have completed two career coaching sessions powered by MindSonar. It is based on meta programmes, which means that the tool explicitly identifies a person’s thinking style and their values, that is what is important to them. It is also context specific and assumes thinking styles change depending on the context.
So how do you career coach using MindSonar?
I ask the client to think about when they are at their best in work, or in a flow state at work. The context the client and I usually set is, “at my best in work.” This elicits the client’s best thinking style when at work and their blind spots, along with what is important to them.
Why is this important in career coaching?
Firstly, by identifying what is important we can establish what a client values in other people and the environment. This provides an objective and accurate picture of their prospective employer and narrows the search. It allows the client to prepare to ask questions pre-interview and at interview to identify if the company is suited to them. After all, why would you work with a company who does not share your values?
Secondly, we establish a client’s strengths and blind spots but more importantly, we can show how a combination of thinking styles works for them. How does this help? The client gains clarity about their thinking style and can review the job description to establish if they can meet the objectives. They can refine their CV based on the analysis in a short, punchy brand statement, “This is who I am and what I can do.”
The client can also identify how they may come across to an employer. For example, a highly proactive thinker and options client will tend to talk very fast and move from topic to topic. They may need to practice slowing down their speech and keeping to one or two points. Together as coach and client we can identify and challenge the blind spots in their thinking. Knowing thyself and being honest with an employer allows for an open and stable footing, as opposed to getting through the door and ending up on capability report!
How did the sessions go?
The coaching sessions I ran highlighted some great insights and changes for both clients, most notably it opened their eyes to new horizons. One client stated at the beginning of the session that his outcome was to walk away with new ideas of what to do and who to work for, also stating that his ideal role was in policy writing. His thinking style and value base when analysed did not appear to be a match for a policy writing role. What he enjoyed about his current role was shaping policy, working with a team, leading people and creating possibilities. He is now focused on what he wants to do and what type of employer he wants to work with.
Does MindSonar do everything?
No, MindSonar powers the coaching, it’s not a personality profile you post and leave people to read. MindSonar gives a specific advantage to both you and the client to challenge assumptions and achieve the best outcome.Your skills as a coach are still essential.
You will appreciate I have covered only a few aspects my coaching session, but as coaches, you will know how much work you take a client through. With MindSonar in my coaches toolkit, the coaching and any change work are more precise, getting to the heart of the matter. As a coach, you are able to quickly support a client who is, after all, paying for your expertise.
MS professional, LAB Consultant, NLP trainer, ILM Executive Coach