Written by Chuah Beng Swee, 2020
Kelly has been a very experienced and successful recruitment specialist. She has run her own head-hunting company for more than 20 years and has developed excellent business relationships with many mid-sized companies. She also offers a unique value proposition to her clients i.e. she provides a 6-month guarantee for successful placements.
However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, business has been adversely affected since many companies have stopped hiring. Instead, they have embarked on downsizing exercises in order to meet the challenges that had arisen due to the pandemic. This included pay cuts and retrenchments. Faced with such a negative outlook in the recruitment business and after much thought, she had decided to take up professional coaching with the intent of pursuing a new business focusing on life coaching. Hence, she has sought a coach to help her with the transition from recruitment to professional coaching.
The 7-part professional coaching protocol (Trial, Contract, Discovery, Deep Learning, Action Confirmation, Tracking and Auditing) was used to support Kelly in a professional coaching relationship done entirely via Zoom.
THE COACHING JOURNEY
When we started her coaching journey, her original aim and resolve was to discontinue her recruitment business and replace it with a professional coaching business which she believes is more sustainable.
As such, she wanted me to help her transition her recruitment business to coaching. Her original intent was to move her focus from recruitment to coaching i.e. to just concentrate on coaching. She was no longer keen to continue her recruitment business. She wanted a clean break and a fresh start.
Her main concern initially was that if she were to undertake both recruitment and coaching, she will tend to be distracted by her recruitment expertise which has become second nature to her and coaching will take a backseat. She may also subconsciously focus on recruitment as it within her comfort zone, and downplay or even neglect coaching.
She viewed coaching as a more sustainable and economical business with a long term perspective as compared to recruitment. Through coaching (especially life coaching), she envisaged that she can oversee the entire personal development process of her placements until the desired results are achieved. In recruitment, she doesn’t get to be involved in the entire career building process. Hence, this was the incoming mindset behind her desire to make the transition from recruitment to coaching.
After getting to knowing her strengths after a few coaching sessions, I was of the opinion that she could do both recruitment and coaching as they can complement each other. However, this realization has to come from her through the use of a series of thought provoking and powerful questions from me during the coaching protocol. It was therefore my challenge to steer and guide her to a different end state i.e. to undertake both recruitment and coaching.
Her original goal to develop a career transition plan, and it was named “Kelly’s Career Transition Goal Plan”. The objective of this goal plan was to gradually move her business focus from recruitment to coaching until the new business becomes sustainable within a year. And my role as her coach was to help her develop and strengthen her initial thoughts on this goal plan and to track her progress. Although she had some ideas on how to go about it, she felt that it lacked substance. As such, she wanted to me to give her some fresh ideas to make it more solid especially in the areas of Credentials and Clientele.
With that coaching goal plan i.e Kelly’s Career Transition Goal Plan, we proceeded to the Discovery Stage where we identified the desired outcomes for the areas of focus i.e. Credentials and Clientele that can help her achieve her goal.
The initial discussion revolved around why she had chosen coaching. Her response was that she had always been in the people industry, and coaching will leverage on her extensive experience to interest to help people enrich their lives. It is a natural extension of her current profession whereby she would be able to positively impact the entire process of a placement’s career development.
Through several coaching sessions, I steered my questions towards adding coaching into her current recruitment business instead of a clean break. This is especially so since she already saw coaching is a natural extension of her current profession.
After some deep thinking and reflection, she came to the realisation that this is more advantageous as coaching complements recruitment. After all, it is about helping a person to achieve his/her full potential in their careers. By doing both coaching and recruitment, she can definitely enhance the value of her recruitment business i.e. she can offer an enhanced service to her recruitment clients in the form of coaching. And due to her good relationship with her current clients, she can sell the idea with a high degree of success. Furthermore, she can also opt to do recruitment and coaching on a standalone basis depending on market demands thereby broadening her portfolio of professional services.
It was at this juncture that I asked if she would be open to reconsider her initial goal plan, and her answer was in the affirmative. She then agreed that she should do both even though she felt that this is challenging. This was a ‘breakthrough’ in her coaching journey. I told her that I was glad that she had arrived at this conclusion. And she concurred that it has taken a load off her mind!
So with the change in her goal, she then proceeded to name her new goal plan as “Kelly’s Enhanced Business Goal Plan”.
To give her confidence in achieving her goal of adding coaching to her recruitment business, she wanted to focus on securing her Credentials and Clientele.
On Credentials, she wanted to complete her CPC program and become a Certified Professional Coach. She will then aim for the ACC accreditation by ICF and eventually get her PCC certification.
On Clientele, she aimed to acquire both local and international clients with her coaching revenue to contributing 50% to her overall business by end 2021.
However, she realised that this will be challenging both in terms of the quantum and the short time frame as she would need an average of 40 hours of coaching at the current market rate just to meet one placement fee in her recruitment business. The hourly coaching fee may seem lucrative at face value but when she calculated the revenue versus time invested, she would really need to be creative in packaging coaching as an additional service (and not the core), at least in the near term.
To overcome this challenge, she would need to have the mindset of an Optimist i.e. brave, creative and persistent. There will always be a market for her coaching when she has proven her worth.
So we concluded the Discovery Stage of her coaching journey as follows:
- when she has obtained her CPC and ACC certifications, and her coaching revenue has contributed 50% to her overall business, this would mean that she has achieved her Enhanced Business Goal Plan. And to push through this goal plan, she has to constantly remind herself to have an Optimist Mindset i.e. she needed to be Brave, Creative and Persistent.
Deep Learning Stage
Moving on from Discovery, we proceeded to the Deep Learning Stage where we brainstormed the ways to achieve the desired outcomes and the possible challenges that she may face to ensure that she achieve her goal plan.
From the three desired outcomes that she mentioned i.e. Credential, Clientele and Optimistic Mindset, she picked Clientele as having the biggest impact to her journey. This is because Clientele means Revenue which is her main objective of adding coaching to her recruitment business. Although she would like to specialize in life coaching, it will be challenging initially to obtain a significant revenue from it alone. So in addition to life coaching, she also plans to focus on career coaching and onboarding coaching.
Career coaching is targeted at fresh graduates i.e. tapping into a new market by working with universities primarily for their 3rd year students. It will involve both coaching and training on resume writing, interview role play and communication skills.
As for onboarding coaching, she already has experience doing this as a counsellor / sounding board as she provides a guarantee period for the candidates placed. So she can include onboarding coaching / full potential coaching to ensure the candidates and other existing employees perform to their full potential in line with the expectations of her clients.
To market her coaching services, she will begin by contacting all her current active clients and introduce her coaching services to them. In addition, she will also contact her HR associates networks to tap into the university market as well as their clients. She will also revamp her website to make to market this new service and start posting more career coaching related articles to my current LinkedIn network to emphasize the importance of coaching as a means to market her coaching credentials.
In terms of revenue contribution, she is targeting 50% revenue contribution from these 3 new market segments i.e. current recruitment clients (25%), university market (15%) and potential new clients (10%).
The basis for this revenue split is as follows:
- Her current recruitment clients will be more willing to support this new service in view of the good relationships built through the years.
- For the university segment, it will be approached as a bulk order. This is because the universities will be more than happy to do a markup from her existing pricing to the students, and the parents of these students would not mind paying a small additional fee to help equip their children with the necessary skillset to secure jobs with a reputable company.
- The new clients be the result of spin offs from the work done for existing clients and through online marketing. As an incentive, she plans to offer a discounted rate until she has hit 500 hours of coaching and attained her PCC. It will be a win-win situation for all.
So we concluded the Deep Learning Stage of her coaching journey as follows:
- as soon as she has obtained her CPC, she will start approachingher existing clients and introduce her career coaching services to them. She will also discuss possible collaboration with her HR and social enterprise friends who have strong networks with the universities. She will start working on her website and complete it by year end. Her Credential goal would have been achieved.
- and once her coaching clientele has contributed 50% to the total revenue of her company with 25% from current clients, 15% from universities and 10% from new clients, she would have achieved her Clientele goal.
- and to ensure the success of her goal plan, she has to constantly remind herself to have an Optimist Mindset i.e. she needed to be Brave, Creative and Persistent.
And I (as her coach) will be tracking her progress and giving her feedback as the coaching journey progresses until she has achieved her goal plan.
- Coaching using a structured approach i.e. the 7-part professional coaching protocol (Trial, Contract, Discovery, Deep Learning, Action Confirmation, Tracking and Auditing) is valuable and indispensable.
Coaches must not take the coachee’s initial thoughts and plans as final but instead guide and stretch him or her to the right end state after getting to know his or her strengths as the coaching journey progresses. However, this realization must come from the coachee through the use of a series of thought provoking and powerful questions during the coaching protocol so that he or she will take ownership of the journey to success