Minds at Work #4 – Leverage your strengths through career coaching

Minds at Work #4 – Leverage Your Strengths Through Career Coaching

Host: Olivia Maitre
Guest: Angela Lee

For our fourth episode of Minds at Work, we welcomed Angela Lee, director of A.L consulting. In this episode, Angela delves into the world of career coaching and explains how it is vital to your success.

Listen to Angela discuss:

1.Career Coaching: Defined (2.40)

Angela defines coaching as a way to helping people grow and figure out who they are no matter what point they are at in their lives. Career coaching is a branch of coaching.

Career coaching is usually used in a transitional moment of one’s career – be it to climb the ladder or to define what job you will take. It helps to figure out exactly what you are looking for.

2.Misconceptions of Career Coaching (4.45)

Here, Angela explains that the word “Coaching” itself is completely misconceived.
It became a very generic word that we see pretty much everywhere. Even in job descriptions.
She expresses that people often think “I have a career coach so I will get advice” but coaches don’t give advice.

“People need to realise the formal definition of coaching isn’t to give advice – it’s to ask questions to let people think wider.”

As coaches, they help people facilitate thinking. It’s kind of like psychology, as you are dealing with people’s mindsets and how to change them. Angela explains that coaches find questions which lead to real answers – there is no right or wrong.

To avoid hearing misconceptions, Angela makes sure to remind her clients the definition of career coaching so that they set their expectations right.

“You need to do all the heavy lifting – I just facilitate your thinking.”

3.The results of Career Coaching (8.47)

Angela declared that with career coaching comes a better realization of who you are. But before considering help from a career coach, people must be sure to know what they are looking for.

“The person who asks for a career coach must know what they’re asking for”

Then, she explains the “Aha moment”: when people walk in a room frowning, head full of doubts – and they leave with a smile after facilitating their thinking. Angela adds that as a coach you can never know when that “Aha moment” comes as everyone is different.

The moment always arrives at some point. It’s called awareness!

4.Difference between a coach and a mentor (10.58)

*Mentor: someone who gives advice, who has done/seen it before. The mentor becomes role model and is a subject- matter expert.
*Coach: never has to be a subject-matter expert.

5.What kind of approach to efficiently coach people? (13.28)

Everybody’s challenges are different.

“One of the approaches I use to make it very simple is more from a strength-based perspective. I believe in positive psychology.”

Angela explains that as a coach, you want to bring your client’s energy up and not the contrary. Especially in career coaching, it’s necessary to shed light on your strengths – or what made you successful. But some people don’t even think about their strengths.  In that scenario, Angela advises them to use Gallup’s Strength Finder.

Later, she gives the example of Chinese Families, where parents or even teachers never say “You did this well, well done”. Instead, they constantly tell their children to do better.

“I always believed that if you focus on your strengths, it becomes excellence. If you focus on your weaknesses or your areas for improvement, you can strengthen them a bit but would it become excellence? I doubt it.”

When you work with your strengths, you tend to have a higher energy.

Then she gives an example of how she feels with a high energy: “I am energized every day no matter how tired I am. I’m doing something I love and that I’m good at – and I help others to grow”

Essentially, coaching means changing the fixed mindsets of people.

“Whatever you do, it’s important to utilize and leverage your strengths”

In other words, Angela uses a positive psychology strength-based coaching.

6.Specifically, in HK: Coaching landscape (18.43)

The coaching scene in the US and Europe has been booming since the 90s. Differently, in Hong Kong, China and generally in Asia, coaching is changing and growing rapidly now.

Angela reminisces when she was looking for coaches in the 90s: there was no Chinese coach.

“Leaders are getting younger and younger. They don’t want people to tell them what to do. They prefer being asked open questions and then decide how they will deal with it.”

To wrap the episode, Angela goes more in-depth into the current generation. Leaders today seek for freedom and autonomy – they don’t want to be told what to do.  They look for open questions which they can deal with an answer themselves.

Thanks Angela for taking time! It was very engaging to delve into the world of career coaching, that is most often that not misconceived.

Stay tuned for our 5th episode!


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