Could a Coach Improve Your Life?

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

Do you wonder what it is like to hire a coach? Join us for our second annual Taste of Coaching event today at Central: May 22nd 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and tomorrow at Crowfoot: May 23rd 6:30 to 8:30 pm. We interviewed Carol and Anita about their experiences working with a coach. After working with a coach, Anita Yok Sim Ho was inspired to become a coach herself.

How did you find out about Coaching as an option?

Anita: I was very curious about professional coaching while being coached myself in a Leadership Program. I decided to push beyond my usual comfort zone and become a professional coach. To me, coaching is all about love for people and reminding them of their infinite personal potential.

Carol: I first learned about coaching through a friend when she mentioned she was finding it extremely helpful talking with a life coach. Her comment was in response to an observation I had made about how she seemed to have a greater zest for life lately. It was a couple of years after that conversation before I sought out a coach for myself when I was struggling to create and implement a plan for how to accomplish my vision of living somewhere warmer than Calgary in the winter months.

Was the process what you expected?

Anita: I have come to learn in life to expect the unexpected, which means I enjoy the sweetness and fullness of the present moment so much more and have many more possibilities than if I were stuck in a certain expectation. To be an effective Coach, you have to go through the depths of yourself first before you can really ask a client to do so. You have to walk the talk!

Anita Yok Sim HoCarol: I wondered how someone who didn’t know me and didn’t have any corporate or small business experience would be able to assist me. I was pleasantly surprised – no, totally amazed – to find that this coach could help me move forward without having much in common with me at all. I attribute this to the professional approach taken of creating a joint understanding of the outcomes I wanted to achieve through coaching, the presence and engagement of the coach as I explored and came to my decisions, her persistence with insightful observations and inquisitive questions designed to assist me in gaining greater clarity and subsequent encouragement so I would commit to the actions that would move me closer to my vision.

I have heard coaching described as having an experienced guide walking alongside and guiding you towards your own answers that lie within. Can you describe your experience of being coached?

Carol: For me, the coaching experience was an opportunity to dive into myself and discover both delightful strengths and characteristics that aligned with my vision and life objectives as well as a few key beliefs and behaviours that were working against what I said I wanted. Having a coach make objective observations and ask insightful questions was fundamental in helping me get real with my underlying motives. The coaching experience was the opportunity for me to have a neutral and confidential sounding board so I could talk ‘out loud’ about my ideas and how I wished to achieve them while not worrying about being judged or told what I should or shouldn’t do.

Anita: At CTI, which is considered as one of the Harvard’s of the Coaching Schools, I experienced an environment which cradles you in love, compassion and acceptance in all that you can be. There was absolutely no judgment from other coaches, only vast possibilities. I had say in whatever direction I choose for me, period. There were no excuses, approvals or “shoulds,” only what I wanted and that was all I needed! This resulted in a sense of clarity, focus, passion and peace of mind in all that I wanted in life. This leap of faith into the unknown has allowed me to live a life I never thought possible. Coaching respects and maintains your personal values while providing a structure of accountability to empower you to persevere in fulfilling all of your wishes, which is our natural birthright.

Did your coach talk about accountability? In other words, did they help you move forward and keep to your plan?

Anita: Coaching is all about accountability and self-responsibility. Life happens and we often become unfocussed and push away our needs and focus on the needs of others. In coaching, the focus is always on the client’s interests to ensure precise continued forward movement and growth.

Carol: Yes, we definitely spoke about accountability and accountability partners – people in my life that I can call upon to support me achieve success in a specific action or activity. What I liked is that we also looked at the potential internal and external barriers to me achieving the actions I committed to at each coaching session.

Is coaching like most things in life, whereby if you put your whole self forward, you are likely to receive more in return?

Carol: Absolutely!I quickly realized what a treat I had given myself to be able to voice and work through my ideas, visions and plans in a safe confidential environment that also encouraged me to consider alternate perspectives simply by offering a non-judgmental observation or question.I could physically feel the change in my energy level both during and after the coaching experience.Since that first coaching experience, I continue to invest in regular coaching for myself because of the tremendous value I get from these precious moments of 'me time.'

Anita: Absolutely! I feel so honored when a client puts their trust in me and decides to lay their cards out on the table in order to truly take the driver’s seat in life. I greatly admire my clients for their courage and strength in sharing the hopes and dreams that fell away or got lost somewhere along the way. For me, life is meant to be lived passionately and to its fullest expression. If you are going to be living, live BIG!

Many thanks to Carol and Anita for sharing their experiences. Anita Yok Sim Ho from Holistic Balance is an Integrative Health & Wellness Professional Coach.

Future Foggy? Need to Get Unstuck?

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

Calgary Public Library is thrilled to be hosting our second annual Taste of Coaching event on May 22–23rd. Along with learning more about what coaching has to offer, Library customers will have the chance to sit down with a coach to get a taste of the coaching experience.

I had the pleasure of working with a coach in the past year and know personally how the coaching process can create focus on personal and professional issues, provide insights into dilemmas, and encourage a commitment to personal goals. Each one of us has something we want to work on and improve in life, and sometimes there is great value in having a skilled coach meet us where we are in life and help guide and support us.

To help give you a sense of how coaching works, we talked with local coaches Gary Armstrong and Nancy Love:

What attracted you to the profession of coaching?

Nancy: I was a classroom teacher for many years. What I noticed was that when I ASKED students about things they remembered. When I TOLD, them they forgot. So I spent a lot of time finding the right question to ask to get them to think about things differently. I love coaching because it does the same thing. It provokes learning, self knowledge, and self confidence. I love to watch the lightbulbs go on and to see people believing in themselves and their goals.

Gary: I had a coach. The experience was significant in moving me forward and inspired me to learn to do the same for others. Coaching is a strong fit with the skills that I picked up in my career as a police officer and educator. Both professions required that I listen intently to what was being said and ask thoughtful probing questions, two hallmarks of great coaching. I was amazed how asking questions which reflected intent listening could uncover thoughts I had never articulated before—thoughts that were the catalyst to new and sometimes very personal discoveries about how I was being perceived by others.

Coaching can be a transformative and profound process. How does it affect your clients?

Gary: What I notice most is the impact being heard has on people. Consistently people will delve deeper within themselves to find the answer to their own toughest questions when they believe someone else is their willing to hear them through. I am awed by the progress people make in their careers when they explore their own thoughts and devise strategies they know are right for them. It is extremely rewarding to help people move forward in such a significant way.

Do you believe that many of your clients have the answers to their questions hidden inside them?

Nancy: Everyone knows what they need to do to change a situation. Most just need a nudge in that direction. I like to use time-lining. I ask the person to consider a future point or a point in the past and look at the present situation from that perspective and describe it in detail. It removes the emotional response or adds a different emotion to the understanding of the situation.

Gary: I believe we all know our best path. Early in life we develop a set of values which guide our conduct and help us chart a direction in a career, or for that matter life. Understandably we all differ and from time to time we face situations which collide with our values. In those moments we may make small sacrifices to our values for the sake of harmony. For me coaching, in part , is an opportunity to affirm my values and return to a course of action I know is right for me.

Have there been any books or articles you have read that really explained or spoke to the power of coaching?

Gary: Mary Beth O'Neil's book Coaching with Backbone and Heart stands out for me. My opinion is that for most friends the heart piece of being there for someone comes naturally. It is the backbone that can be harder to call on. However there are also friends who have more backbone than heart. They are the ones who sometimes are too willing to tell it like it is. O'Neil does a great job of showing how both are needed in a balanced coaching relationship. Moving between backbone and heart is quite similar to teaching someone a new skill or task following the old adage two steps forward one step back. Being challenged to take two steps forward at times can be quite daunting. Being able to judge when to take a step back is heart. Balancing both is an acquired skill that a coach brings that a friend may not always be able to.


 

Gary Armstrong is an Executive Coach and President of Empowered Employee Education. Gary’s services appeal to enterprises developing current and next generation leaders. Those who wish to positively implement and navigate change with a collaborative, communicative, strategically thoughtful leadership team that possesses the skills required to focus others on a clear mission and vision, centered on confirmed values. gary@empoweredee.com

 

Dr. Nancy Love, PhD, M.Ed. works in many cities across North America to present the PULSE programs to government agencies and private industry. She is the author of PULSE Conversations for Change. Her continued interest in how people use conversation and language lead to the formation of the PULSE Institute which studies People Using Language Skills Effectively. http://www.pulseinstitute.com/

Supercharge Your Business Videos

by Guin - 0 Comment(s)

Are you starting or maintaining a small business and want some ideas and help? Visit us at the Central Library on Tuesday nights this spring for Small Business Tuesdays.

Upcoming Program:


SUPERCHARGE YOUR BUSINESS VIDEOS

Tuesday, April 30th

6:00 - 7:30 pm

Central Library, 3rd Floor Open Area


Join Neil Scott where he'll share insights on how to optimize the success of using video for your business. Topics covered include:The Edge Communication

  • When to hire a professional or do it yourself.
  • The importance of pre-production planning.
  • Creating connection with your audience.
  • How are people going to find your videos?
  • How do you know if your video is successful?

The first of our Small Business Tuesdays programs is on Tuesday, April 30th and is presented by Neil Scott of The Edge Communications Inc. With a passion for storytelling, it's Neil's personal mission to help people communicate their ideas more effectively and to create postitive change through the use of video. Being the driving force behind a growing and vibrant agency for video production and webcasting, The Edge works with businesses of all sizes including Shell International, Nexen Inc., CTV Television and SMART Technologies.

To register for Supercharge Your Business Videos or one of our other Small Business Tuesday programs please visit our program page, call us at 403-260-2620, or visit us at any library.

Pump Up Your Skills ... In a Hurry

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This Friday, Calgary Public Library is pleased to host staff from SAIT as they present on their Fast Track program and its offerings. This is our last lunch and learn until September, part of our ongoing career and learning series in conjunction with the Career Development Association of Alberta.

Friday, April 19th

11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Calgary Public Library
Central Library, 3rd Floor Open Area
616 Macleod Trail SE

The SAIT Polytechnic Fast-Track training programs appeal to learners who are either changing careers or enhancing their current skills. Some students attend these programs to add Canadian training to their existing education and experience from their home country. These accelerated training programs could be between 4 to 10 months in length, and focus on providing the practical, technical skills students need move into the next stage of their careers. Most students have prior related experience or post-secondary education. Practicums are included in many of the programs. All applicants must meet minimum entrance requirements, and an additional selection process may be followed for many programs. Applicants are expected to do career research and show that they have a strong understanding of the field they are training in as part of the admission process.

Some of the Fast-Track programs at SAIT include:

Join us as we learn more about these programs and how to jump start our learning. To register, click on the Programs link, or call 403-260-2782.

Coworker Driving You Crazy?

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

Due to overwhelming demand, we have booked Avra from Calgary Career Counseling to offer a second session on Personality Types: Understand, Connect and Work Better, as part of our Accelerate Your Career event April 20th. You'll learn how Myers-Briggs Type Indicators (MBTI) can help you gain insights into your own and others' personality types, and hopefully be happier at work.

We asked Avra more about this test, and its popularity, and usefulness:

Avra, millions take this test annually. Why?

There are a few reasons for its popularity with two of the biggest reasons being perceived utility and availability. Many find the results to be useful both personally and professionally, as they can learn about communicating with a significant other or coworkers. It can be used at both an individual and group level to address a range of topics including career development, communication, team building, problem solving and decision making, to name few. Opportunities to become certified in using the MBTI are widely available as are "free" online MBTI resources although the reliability and validity of online resources are typically questionable. It's generally helpful to have a career counsellor go over your results with you as opposed to trying to make sense of them yourself.

Can MBTI help workers better understand better why their coworkers behave or react to situations in a particular way? In other words, can understanding people’s personality types help avoid conflicts in the workplace?

While we don't always know our coworkers personality type, knowing your own personality type can help you to appreciate and understand your own behaviours while possibly becoming more mindful of and purposeful in your interactions with others. By reviewing some of the type descriptions you can develop an awareness of the complexity of personality type, better understand the interplay of personalities in the workplace, and understand that all behaviours, whether yours or your coworkers, are contextual.

Following that, Avra, can this test help employees figure out how they can thrive and perform at a higher level in the workplace?

The MBTI can help you to learn more about your strengths as well as develop a plan for areas of improvement. If you know your strengths and areas for development, you can be more strategic in accepting new tasks and responsibilities as well as in your job search. The key is that an individual needs to have a sufficient level of insight and ability for reflection to apply their MBTI results to real life situations such as in the workplace.

What about the notion that one personality type is "best" or "better" than any other one in the workplace?

Absolutely not! It is important to note that there is just as much variation between types as there is within types and that each personality type has value. While some personality types are more commonly found in some career environments, all types can be found in all careers, and all types can experience success in the same career. It's helpful to remember that there are more determinants, in addition to personality, which influence whether or not someone is deemed to be a good fit for a particular workplace or career.

Register by calling: 403-260-2620 or online at calgarypubliclibrary.com


Avra has over 9 years of experience providing career development services to diverse individuals. In addition to providing individual counselling, Avra has experience designing and facilitating workshops, and is currently an instructor at Columbia College. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in psychology from the University of British Columbia, and also holds a Master’s in Counselling Psychology, with a career counselling specialization, from the Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology at Athabasca University. She is a Registered Psychologist with the College of Alberta Psychologists and is also a member of the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta.

QR Coded Resumes?

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

As part of our Accelerate Your Career event on April 20th, we will have great team on hand to review resumes between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm. This will be your chance to spring clean your resume, seek advice, and brainstorm. We asked one of our volunteers, a local human resources manager, a few questions to get the conversations started:

Carrie, some career practitioners are suggesting that job hunters include profiles in their resumes, as opposed to an objective, at the start of their resume. Is a brief synopsis of who you are and what you can do (2-4 sentences) more effective?

I think that the most important part to a resume is the cover letter, regardless of having an objective/profile. I believe that this is a non-negotiable piece of a resume that should be included with every submission for a position. I do agree with a profile instead of objective. However, I think that the cover letter is where a person should really be explaining themselves, their intent, and the fact that they are better than all other candidates. If a job seeker feels that they still want some sort of ‘introduction’ on their resume, the profile can be like a short business card to give a quick overview of who they are.

What about live links to blogs, web pages and portfolios in a resume? Do you see an increase in the inclusion of URL’s and QR (Quick Response) codes to link readers to additional materials about the job seeker?

This all depends on the job seeker, the requirements of the position, and the job seeker’s background. If someone has great experience in web work, marketing or drafting, then there should definitely be some sort of tie in to their portfolio. If the job seeker isn’t familiar with these strategies, then I would always recommend having a top-notch resume. Be good at one thing (your resume) instead of being ‘ok’ at a couple things: QR code, a website, etc. A job seeker should only include information, links, etc. if they feel that they are valuable pieces of information for the company to review that showcase abilities.

When you think back to some of the best resumes you have seen in the last 6 months, what stands out for you?

I can easily remember the worst: spelling mistakes, wrong company in the cover letter, or not formatted correctly. The not-so-good resumes stay in my mind much more easily! As for the best, I would say the people who really wanted to stand out from other candidates explained what they wanted to do and how they would benefit the company. They didn’t have the same cover letter for each position (it’s easy to tell if it is just an automatic template) as well as personalizing the resume to fit the job posting. I can understand that it is a lot of work to apply for positions. However, I see it as its your ‘job’ until you get the position. How are you showing that you are behind your job seeking 100% and putting your full attention to starting your career?

Is the first 3rd of your resume still the most important, to grab the employer’s attention?

Hmm... that is a tough one to answer. I personally look at the whole resume, no matter what. The first third rule may apply for longer resumes, however my thoughts are that there aren’t too many resumes that should be longer than 3 pages. All information should be relevant to the position that the job seeker is searching for. If a job seeker is trying to set out most important to least, then the last page is obviously the ‘less’ important information.

 

Interested? Want to spruce up your resume? Call 403-260-2782 to book your 30 minute resume review

Make Your Mark

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

Would you like to know that the work you do daily has a positive impact on the lives of Canadians? For the first time, Calgary Public Library is welcoming staff from the Public Service sector to take part in our Career Conversations event on April 20th as part of our Accelerate Your Career event, where they will answer questions about working for both the federal and provincial government. Representatives will discuss the wide variety of jobs available, so we asked them a few questions to get the conversation started:

Jackie, the Government of Alberta features several of the benefits of working for the federal government, but we’re wondering what you see as the top “selling features?”

To start, there are such a wide variety of jobs available. So although it’s one employer, there are many opportunities. For example, someone like me moved from a front line position, then pursued further education and switched to a support position in Human Resources , and then progressed into a management role. Employees also have the ability to make a huge difference to clients through the services they provide. We also know the importance of the work we do and are in it for the long term. Lastly, we get to work in a fast paced environment with the support of having good benefits and job security.

Are there any occupations or fields that are experiencing high demand?

Currently, we have a need for Social Workers in the Child Protection areas, Occupational Health and Safety Officers, and careers in our policy areas.

Jackie, what are some of the common questions that are asked by job seekers at career events, and what advice can you offer?

Questions are usually about the hiring process, specific jobs availability, training opportunities, and locations where new hires could work. As for advice, I would recommend that individuals interested in public sector careers should:

  • Look at all levels of government (e.g. www.govjobs.ca)
  • Given that opportunities are vast and varied, explore areas that you are passionate about. For example, environment, education, health care
  • Explore what type of work you are interested in, such as policy, direct-service delivery (aka front line), technical, etc.

Does the Public Service ever use social media to scout for talent or recruit?

Governments are looking at innovative ways (e.g. Web 2.0) to recruit individuals to the public service including:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter (e.g. @jobs_gc)
  • Second Life (Public Service Commission did a trial run and provided information booths and interacted with potential candidates)
  • LinkedIn (frequent posts from various government agencies are often posted on LinkedIn)

Career Conversations Meet one-on-one with twenty professionals from high-demand industries to learn more about their careers

11:00 am–3:00 pm

Main Floor Sign up during event First-come, first-served

Career Conversations 2013

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Connect with industry professionals: explore career possibilities

and find out what it's like to work in these industries:

 

Automations Engineer

Barrister & Solicitor

Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council (logistics)

CGA: Corporate finance, tax, accounting

EIT Engineer in training accredited project manager

Entrepreneur, Web Designer, Apple Technology Trainer

Geologist: ERCB

Human Resource Specialist

MAC Automation Project Manager

Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis CMA, MBA

Manufacturing and Pipeline: Consultant (Technical)

Public Service Careers: Federal and provincial

Registered Nurse, College of Registered Nurses of Alberta

School of Construction: SAIT

 

Mechanical Engineer

Veterinarian

 

 

Join us for one-on-one sessions:

Central Library, Main Floor

11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

 

No registration required, sign up upon arrival.
Note: this is not a hiring event

See the entire day's events!

Accelerate Your Career—Saturday, April 20th

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

Back...and better than ever

Accelerate Your Career 2013

A full day of career programs at the Central Library

Program

Time

Location and Registration

Career Conversations
Meet one-on-one with twenty professionals from high-demand industries to learn more about their careers

11:00 am–3:00 pm

Main Floor
Sign up during event
First-come, first-served

Resume Help
Register for a 30-minute session with a career professional to review your resume

11:00 am–3:00 pm

Main Floor
Preregister by calling 403-260-2782. Drop-ins may be accommodated

Career Serving Agencies
Come talk to staff from BVC Career Connection, Alberta Human Services, Directions for Immigrants in the Trades and Professions, and Bredin

10:30 am–3:00 pm

Main Floor
Drop-in

Moving Forward with Mentorship
Discover the merits of mentorship along with local mentorship opportunities. Hosts: Calgary’s Corporate Readiness Training Program and the Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council

10:30 am–12:30 pm

Third Floor Open Area
Register online or by calling 403-260-2620

Personality Types: Understand, Connect and Work Better
Learn how Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) can help you understand you own and others personality types in order to be happier at work. Presented by Calgary Career Counselling

10:30 am–12:30 pm

Lower level Meeting Room 1
FULL

Phone and Skype Based Interviews: Master Techniques
Learn insider tips for acing your telephone or web based interview from Calgary recruiter Sabina Souliere

12:30–2:00 pm

Third Floor Open Area
Register online or by calling 403-260-2620

How To Shine at Work
Learn how to build confidence and workplace connections . Presented by Bow Valley College Career Connection and Directions for Immigrants in Trades and Professional Careers

2:30–4:00 pm

Third Floor Open Area Register online or by calling 403-260-2620

Ed2go Launch: Overview of new educational resource for Calgary Public Library cardholders. Learn how to access 300 free online courses for professional and personal educational development

10:30 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm

Third Floor Learning Lab: drop in

Register by calling: 403-260-2620 or online at calgarypubliclibrary.com

Rattling the Chains

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

In celebration of Adult Learner’s Week, the Calgary Public Library recently welcomed Dr. Dianne Roulson, Diversity Manager at Calgary Board of Education. She provided fascinating insights into her research and the work of leading adult learning. For me, it was a time to look inward to discover “how we can gather around our core purpose” and help others to learn and excel.

Dr. Roulson reminded us that most effective leaders are those who are committed to learning. What was interesting is that her research showed that while we are constantly seeking harmony in our work and lives, that we often make the biggest gains in understanding and learning when we are in a state of unease or in the midst of disjuncture. As those of us who lead learners, we should be prepared to expect the unexpected and to “rattle chains around a good idea.”

She moved on to propose that good leaders should be prepared to sharpen their abilities to listen and respond in challenging situations, but should resist moving too quickly. That while we should be willing to wander into the middle of a situation that’s causing a stir, we should take the time to evaluate the current situation, who’s involved, and what’s currently happening. I know that I often try to respond as quickly as possible to solve a crisis, and this makes me wonder if a wiser approach might be to sit back and think a bit longer.

And on that note, she also stressed how important is it to carve out time every day to study and read what’s notable and meaningful in our jobs or industry, to gather new ideas, and take time to contemplate. In an era of constant email and increasing workloads, it’s often tough to refocus in stressful times. But she certainly provided a compelling argument to make it happen.

For more ideas on work, learning and leading, check out many of the Calgary Public Library's books, such as The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work by Alain de Botton. And don't forget about the wide array of databases for research on this and other topics.

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