Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Monday, June 1, 2015

"Coaching your staff to coach themselves"/ job advice column

Apr. 27 "Coaching your staff to coach themselves": I cut out this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail on Sept. 18, 2013.  It talks about coaching your employees, and at the same time kind of be a counselor.

There are some really introspective questions at the end of the article, which I will put into my inspirational quotes.

Coaching for Breakthrough Success
By Jack Canfield and Peter Chee
(McGraw-Hill, 271 pages, $24.95)

Managers are akin to coaches these days. But managers are also managers, and the style of some managers may not be the approach that is most effective for coaching.

In some, if not many, situations, managers are directive. In other words, they tell employees what to do. But according to a new book, that would be a mistake.

The authors argue that employees being coached actually know best, even if they don’t know it.

“Let them do most of the thinking and find their own solutions – that’s the essence of good coaching,” Jack Canfield, famed co-author of the Chicken Soup series, and coaching associate Peter Chee write in Coaching for Breakthrough Success.

This unleashes the protégé’s potential to maximize their own performance by encouraging self-leadership. It empowers them, which will be helpful as they seek to improve – after all, a manager can’t make the changes on the employee’s behalf.

It also builds a stronger commitment to the direction and changes the employer might make. It’s their path, rather than complying with a manager’s directions.

“This approach may be more time-consuming than giving orders, but is also much more satisfying to both the employee and the manager acting as a coach,” they observe.

If coaching is about helping people to help themselves, you must be present, listen well, care and understand.

The authors suggest that if you are listening intently, you should feel a bit tired after the other person you are coaching has finished expressing themselves. Listening is an active, not a passive, activity.

An equally sensitive skill, and one that may be more difficult to develop, will be helping the protégé to release negative emotions that are blocking them.

The authors note that many people live in a negative world – they’re surrounded with negative forces and negative news that wears them down. As a result, highly stressed employees are often good candidates for coaching.

The authors advise you to ask questions to encourage the individual to articulate emotions and feelings related to the issues being faced.

This increases the individual’s emotional awareness and allows them to talk about and presumably release any psychological pain building up within. While doing this, it’s important you remain resilient and not let the individual’s problems and pain drag you down.

“Don’t be surprised if some clients cry in front of you. It is usually a good thing, a cathartic release of emotion, and they will be much better afterward. Just make sure you have tissues ready,” they write.

The authors stress that at the heart of a great coach is a firm belief that each person is uniquely valuable, with distinct gifts and a potential for greatness.

A coach has to appreciate what is special in others, believing that everyone can be magnificent in their own way.

“Even at a time when someone is going through great difficulties, you must still be able to see the goodness in them and bring it to the surface,” they write.

You must also connect with the individual, building rapport, often with the help of humour. Touch their heart by showing care and sincerity. The protégé can tell when you are just being courteous and when you really care.

“In fact, care and sincerity should be unconditional. A coach simply cares even when the client does not deliver or measure up to expectations,” they write.

The ideas in the book are sensible, but the presentation is weak. The authors call their approach the Meta Model (30-6-8), which seems an excuse to tie together three disparate sections, one with 30 ideas, the second with six approaches, and the third with eight.

While the authors are thorough, they aren’t concise, and it’s hard to tie it all together in your own mind.

POSTSCRIPT

To help your coaching protégé to open up emotionally, here are some questions offered by Jack Canfield and Peter Chee in their new book Coaching for Breakthrough Success:
  • What’s getting in the way of living the life that you want to lead?
  • Is there any fear that might be holding you back?
  • What’s stopping you? How do you feel about it?
  • Imagine being in that situation. What thoughts and emotions does that evoke?
  • How are you feeling in your body right now? What are you feeling in your heart right now?
  • What would it take for you to let go of this negative situation and feeling?

Job advice column:
 
May 28 "I've got a criminal record. how can I get a job?": This is in the "Nine to Five" job advice column in the Globe and Mail on May 11, 2015.  This article stood out to me because it's a really big problem, but there are solutions to it.

THE QUESTION

I was incarcerated for trafficking narcotics several years ago. As a result, I have a federal criminal record. I am ineligible to apply for a pardon for eight more years.

My criminal record is hamstringing my job search. Every job seems to ask for a background check as a condition of employment.
How can I work around this problem? What can I do to get a job before they prejudge me?

THE FIRST ANSWER

Shannon Young
Director of Human Resources, Randstad Canada, Toronto

The law does not allow employers to disqualify candidates solely on the basis of a criminal conviction. In order to do so, they need to establish that the nature of your conviction is related to the role for which you’ve applied, and that choosing not to hire you is necessary to protect their or the public’s best interests. In the financial, education, or health care sectors, it may be a legitimate occupational requirement that you have a clean criminal background.

My advice is to be honest and up front in your job search. When asked to complete a background check, provide a response that details your experience and qualifications for the core responsibilities of the job, explain the nature of the conviction and how it’s not related to your ability to perform those tasks. Detail the steps you’ve taken to improve your personal circumstances and prevent a relapse. Offer professional references to speak to the quality of your work, and list any personal or professional development activities you’ve completed. Keep a positive and open mind. You could also suggest a contract-to-permanent offer, which gives them a chance to test you out, and you the opportunity to prove yourself.

Most importantly, take responsibility for your actions. Employers won’t hire someone who hasn’t learned from their mistakes and accepted the consequences of their actions.

THE SECOND ANSWER

Julie Labrie
President of BlueSky Personnel Solutions, Toronto

First, consider the types of jobs for which you are applying. Criminal background checks are usually required for jobs that handle sensitive information or finances, where you must be bondable, are working with children or vulnerable persons, are required to travel internationally, or are working on a secured job site. It’s also often required for employee theft prevention.

Second, consider small or medium-sized businesses that may not have as many stringent or blanket policies. Though you are not required to voluntarily disclose your conviction, if an employer requires a background check, it may give you an opportunity to speak candidly about your record, directly with the company owner. In such an instance, highlight the positive things you’ve done over the past several years since your incarceration, in terms of work experience and charitable or community-driven volunteer efforts.

In the past, we have had a few candidates who proactively shared with us that they had a criminal record. Accordingly, we advised our clients who were interested in these candidates. Prior to making a job offer, they ran background checks as per their processes, and decided to hire them.

It can feel like an uphill battle, but there are success stories out there. Stay positive, strategically look for the most viable job opportunities, and when you have a chance, share your story so the focus is not solely on your incarceration but on the good things you’ve done.

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