Transitions

Will future employers check you out on social media?

Yes. You have to expect your future employers will check you out on social media

 

Check you out on social media? Potential employers will. You can bet on it.

Check you out on social media? Potential employers will. You can bet on it.

“Social media is where the world is today, whether we like it or not” Sichon of Executive HR Coach said. You have to expect your prospective employers, customers, friends, business associates, potential girlfriends or boyfriends, future in-laws to check you out on social media. It’s like asking someone, “Do you eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner?” It’s the way it is. It’s not a new strategy or a fad. It’s not a policy for the moment. It’s just the way the world is today and who knows what it is going to be like in the future.

 

High school students are now being coached to be very careful about their social media presence. They learn that college admissions officers will most likely look at their social media profiles. It’s the same advise I give job seekers. Employers may look at the social media profiles of their candidates, how professional their profiles are and would they want you to be associated with their company?

 

My social media manager tells me one if his clients does social media checks on job applicants. These people are applying for minimum wage jobs. If someone applying for a minimum wage job is getting their social media presence reviewed, you can expect a prospective employer to check your social media presence too.

 

Start by checking out what your social media presence looks like. Google yourself and see what comes out. List the sites you visit often. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest, You Tube, Instagram. Look for anything that you would not like to see. Look for pictures that do not paint you in a positive light.

Content originally from http://www.linkedin.com/in/lizasichon and  http://executivehrcoach.com/employer-social-media/ 

Three Valuable Lessons I Learned in my Global Assignment

woman globeIt has been several years since our expat assignment in Belgium but the experience remains fresh in my mind. The two years we spent in Belgium strengthened not only my career and understanding of global business but also my family’s bond.  The experience enriched our lives. Being an Asian American female executive in Europe sent by an American company holding the top job was not common those days.  I was not the typical expat, therefore I was not stereotyped and eventually, I think my uniqueness worked to my advantage.

 

  1. I learned what it takes to work closely and intensely with people from different countries. I learned to accept and appreciate differences including my own uniqueness. I learned that No did not necessarily mean No and Yes did not mean Yes.  I learned to probe further to understand others. I learned to flex my style to be effective.
  2. Since time was limited and we knew this experience would not last, we made instant friends.  We valued our new friends and chose which ones were going to remain our friends even when we moved back home.
  3. I learned a lot about myself. My executive coach was invaluable to me.  At our very first meeting he said since I am Filipino American, I am viewed as an Asian in Europe even if I came from the US.   They expected me to demonstrate typical Asian norms, because this what they know.  I realized how much I’ve forgotten or abandoned being Asian having lived in the US for most of my career years. I took a journey back to who I really am. It was quite an experience to have the freedom to be me again and get in touch with my “Filipina-ness”.

I will never forget my coach, Robert Brown, who helped me navigate through several difficult situations. He became an ally to me, a trusted advisor, mentor and friend.  He introduced me to a new business network who helped me understand local business better. He genuinely cared for my success and became a close family friend.  Sadly, Robert passed away a few years ago.  His influence on my life, career and our family was invaluable and we are forever grateful.

If you are in an expat assignment today or working outside your home country, you may be experiencing a range of emotions – from excitement to frustration.  From loneliness – missing your friends and family , to enjoying meeting new people and discovering new sights and experiences.  How are you viewed by your local colleagues?  What impact does your presence have on them?  How can you make the most of your expat assignment?

 

Join us at The Conference Board, Global HR Academy on June 9-12 and learn more about what it takes to be successful in a global role.  To read more about the Academy, click here http://www.conference-board.org/globalhrleadersacademy/.

 

To apply and receive special pricing, contact Fana Tekle at fana.tekle@conferenceboard.org or call her at 212-339-0210.

 

Transition with Ease and Grace. 3 Powerful Coaching Questions to Ask Yourself

golden gate cloudyOne of my potential clients is going through a major transition and called me to inquire about executive coaching.

She is a new mother of 15 month twin girls and is having a tough time balancing her work and personal life.  After working in a senior role for 15 years in a major company, she felt compelled to put in her resignation.  She needed time to rethink her career, finances, and family life and hopefully find a family friendly employer.  She is now in the process of winding down and closing this chapter of her life.

Transition times are tough and can be very stressful.  There is a sense of loss, maybe some humiliation, and a lot of anxiety about the unknown future.  There is also a tinge of excitement and anticipation about creating something new.

You may find yourself in the midst of a major transition.  Here are some coaching questions that could help you during these times.

  1. As you go through this process, notice how you are feeling.  Label it and acknowledge your feelings of the moment.  Do not judge or make this feeling wrong.  Whatever you are feeling is yours and you are entitled to this. Notice the change in your feelings as the transition progresses.  Do not be alarmed if it gets tougher before it gets better.
  2. Notice your thoughts.  What would you like your team and colleagues to remember about you?  What would you like your transition theme to be?
  3. Who are you being throughout all this process?   I’ve been through several transitions throughout my career and continue to do so during my encore career.  We moved 17 times and lived in 3 continents, all transitions have been very stressful, some more than others.  I have a theme or mantra that helped me tremendously whenever I am in transition and that is — “Move with Ease and Grace”.  I meditate on these words every spare moment I have and it never fails to center me.  It keeps me calm and greatly influences how I behave.

Transitions are wonderful, they give us hope, enable us to change to have a better life.  When I think of my major transitions, I was fortunate to have a coach guide me through it.  My coach helped make a cloudy and foggy journey clearer and certainly made me aware when I have reached my destination.

Why HR professionals think they do not need a coach

woman executiving talkingI had a conversation with an HR Executive recently about her business leader who needs an Executive Coach.  In the process of our conversation, she realized that she also wanted to have her own coach.  But she is hesitant to hire one.

Why is it that HR professionals quickly diagnose when a situation needs coaching but rarely do they raise their hands to ask for their own coach? Here are some reasons:

1. They may be embarrassed to admit that they cannot resolve their own leadership gaps?

2. They are used to solving other people’s problems, and are hesitant to face their own?

3. They do not think they deserve to have their own coach.  We are conditioned to being viewed as an expense.

4. They don’t want to call attention to themselves or be viewed as having a “problem”.  To the unenlightened, having a coach was traditionally  and incorrectly viewed as being a failure.

During the course of our conversation, I offered to coach her.  She was very thankful for the coaching conversation.  She is sharp, energetic and strategic but suffered from having everything in her head.  Talking through her options and choices empowered and refreshed her.  She became clearer on her course of action.

Working through issues with my coach have been some of the most powerful dialogues I’ve had in my career.  The answers have always been within me, I just needed a trusted advisor and partner to work through my options without judgement.

If you  need to work through certain choices, or are in the midst of transition or change, feel stuck or overwhelmed, work it through with a trained executive coach or email me at liza@executivehrcoach.com for a complimentary session.

How to Succeed while on a Global Assignment

global assignmentHave you just moved halfway around the world, sold your belongings or placed them in storage? Do you struggle to learn the local language? Are you on a plane most of the time, constantly jet lagged and have a huge fog in your head? Is headquarters calling you for regular updates? Do you feel like you owe your company for sending you in this assignment that you are willing to work day and night to prove your worth? You take conference calls at all times, they seem to forget that you are in a different time zone.

In the meantime, your personal life is non-existent, business pressures don’t seem to lighten up and you have not had the time to explore your new world.  You set some goals before you took this assignment – trips to explore the local sights, learn the local language, make friends with locals, but your work and travel have taken priority and you are stressed and lack sleep.

As glamorous as the word expat may sound, the reality of many expats lives are far from it.  Expats do not travel for leisure or live a life of discovery and exploration. Expats work long hours and take on the pressure of running the local business. They do not have their support system and they miss their family and friends.

The difficulties of expat lives can be managed and the assignment can be memorable and career enhancing.  Handled well, this could be a period of huge growth and development for the expat, their family and their careers.  What are some of the ways that your expat assignment can be successful?

  1. Keep headquarters regularly informed.  Set up regular calls or emails to let your bosses know the local conditions.  Try not to surprise them.  If you have bad news, deliver bad news in a timely manner with a couple of solutions that you have vetted out with your local team members.  Stay connected with mentors back in the home country and set up regular calls with them.
  2. Develop a new support system locally.  Find people who you can trust inside the company and outside.  Join your local professional organization and make the time to nurture new relationships.
  3. Learn at least 10 most popular local words – words of greeting, respect, agreement or disagreement, common courtesy words.
  4. Find a way to exercise regularly or find ways to keep your mind, body and spirit clear and centered.
  5. Figure out the number of weekends or vacation days that you have and plan to see the local sights.  Book your tickets.  Before you know it, your assignment is up and you would not have been able to see the sights if you didn’t plan in advance for it.
  6. Plan your home vacations yearly so you have something to look forward to.  Keep connected with friends and family through social media.
  7. Hire a local coach, find a trusted mentor.  This has been the most valuable thing I have done while on expat assignment, one that I would recommend to everyone outside of their home country.  Your trusted coach will help you gain perspective, reframe your thinking, challenge you when needed or push you out of your comfort zone to grow.

 

Being out of your comfort zone, while difficult, is a period of high growth and eventually high rewards.  An expat assignment is not for everyone, but you have that call inside you and you have it in you to succeed. With the right moves and a trusted support system, the benefits of an expat assignment far outweigh the challenges and difficulties.  Enjoy the journey.

Are you a Corporate Refugee? Part 2. 6 Ways to Cope with Your Corporate Transition

work, stress, familyThe other day I blogged about the signs of a corporate refugee.  A corporate refugee is someone who recently left the security and comfort of a corporate job and feels burned out.  While they know it is too early to sit in a rocking chair and do nothing, they also cannot gather enough energy to pursue or accept another corporate job.  What do you do if you find yourself in this situation?

  1. Be honest about how you really feel.  Do not blame yourself for feeling this way.  If being a corporate refugee sounds about right to you, be ok with it, acknowledge it.
  2. Take some time off.  It is automatic for us to start the job hunting process immediately.  If you can, try to do nothing for a few days, or weeks.  Try to control yourself  from jumping back.  Your mind and body needs space and healing.  It takes time – months, sometimes years, to distance ourselves from our corporate identity.
  3. Surround yourself with supportive and positive people.  These are people who you can share how you feel and who will not judge you.  See a career coach or begin a support group in your local community
  4. Cultivate new interests – something totally new or different from your regular activities.  Gardening, reading, art work, travel, or cooking.  New activities will not only keep you busy, but will also ignite your passion.  Experiment on activities that make you happy.
  5. Recognize that you are in transition and this is a process that you need to go through.  Read Transitions – Making Sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges or Life Launch – A Passionate Guide to the Rest of Your Life by Pamela McLean and Fredric Hudson.
  6. Hire a coach.  I had a coach when I transitioned from my corporate life to my entrepreneurial life. My coach was my supportive partner.  He helped me figure out not only what I could be doing next, but also who I am again.  I looked forward to our conversations and even if the coaching process lasted only for 6 months, we continue to be in touch and work on certain projects together.  His perspective is invaluable.

Once you acknowledge that you are a corporate refugee, the magic begins.  Don’t feel that you need to go through this alone.  There are many resources out there that will help you transition.

Feel free to share what transition strategies worked for you.

Are You A Corporate Refugee? What are the signs?

work, stress, familyA corporate refugee is someone who just left their job and feels blah, sad or angry. He or she knows they need to get back to the workforce but something inside them says they need a break. They need to process their whole company experience in many deeper levels but do not know how. This is a new experience for them. They also feel guilty about their decision to leave or for not being aggressive enough to find a new job. In some ways, they feel like a victim. They only remember the sad and unhappy times at work and seem  to have blocked the good times. If this resonates with you, you are not alone. I’ve experienced being a corporate refugee and many of my colleagues have similar transition experiences as well. Here are some of their experiences:

  1. Corporate refugees are no longer happy or interested in their jobs or their company but are afraid to admit this.
  2. Corporate refugees have the need to revitalize themselves and a week’s vacation doesn’t do it.
  3. Corporate refugees are burned out, confused and guilty.
  4. Corporate refugees have lost their soul or no longer know who they really are.
  5. Corporate refugees need space and healing.

Here’s the good news:

  1. Corporate refugees can go back to the battle field once again and find fulfilling work.
  2. Corporate refugees eventually learn to forgive others and themselves.
  3. Corporate refugees do not ignore transitions, they master transitions.  They do not merely jump to the next job, they allow themselves time to process their experience, own it and design a new life commitment.
  4. Corporate refugees bounce back stronger and smarter.
  5. Corporate refugees eventually find their passion and use their natural talents to fulfill their life purpose.

Do not be concerned if you find yourself in the early phases of being a corporate refugee. Don’t ignore the signs.  You need to go through the process to find the path forward, there are no short cuts.  I’ve witnessed many wonderful reinventions and transformations. I’ve also experienced the transformation myself.  It was not easy, but I was fortunate to have a supportive family, friends and coaches. The transition process enabled me to achieve better work life success.

Are you a corporate refugee?  How can you move yourself through the process?  What worked for you?

The Good News about Transitions

golden gate cloudyTransitioning to a new life is never easy.  Transitions are similar to crossing a bridge, sometimes the beautiful Golden Gate bridge gets cloudy and the drive can be difficult.  Sometimes the sky is clear and the drive is a breeze.

A prerequisite to a successful transition is a positive mind-set, a commitment to ourselves to emerge positively from this transition.  A sense of confidence that we will somehow end up ok – that we will get to the other side of the bridge in due time.

The good thing about transitions is –  it is not a permanent state.  We all go through phases of transition and while they make us uncomfortable and our initial reaction is to get out of it as quickly as possible, fight or reject it,  we are best served by recognizing transitions for what they are: uncomfortable yet necessary phases of fertile growth.

The next time you find yourself in transition, no matter how difficult it is, remember that it is not permanent and there are special insights and lessons awaiting you.  Take the time to seek deep and discover these messages.

 

7 Tips on How to Hire a Career or Business Coach

woman executiving talkingI’m inspired by a potential client who I met for coffee the other day.  She is planning her transition from corporate into something new and exciting, where she can live her passion and use her natural talents and creativity.  At the same time, she is scared and wisely seeking a partner coach for this important change in her life.

She asked some very thoughtful questions and I could sense that she is handling her career change purposefully.  She asked me about my own life and career and was very interested in the new opportunities that I’ve been able to create in my post corporate life.  She took notes and we shared books that we both found helpful.  I would be delighted to be chosen as her coach, am also just as delighted to have met her.  She is going about her transition in a very thoughtful way, very much how she lived her life – raised two boys as a single mother, built a successful career and completed graduate school later in life.  I am confident that her decision, whatever it will be, will turn out to be the very best for her.  I also know that no matter what, we will continue to stay in touch.

You may be deciding to hire a business or career coach but are unsure on where to start. Here are 7 tips on how to hire the very best coach for you.

1.Research on the coach’s background, experiences and credentials prior to your meeting.  Coaches have a diverse range of expertise and niches, find one who interests you.

2. Speak to people who were coached by your potential coach.  In addition to references, speak to mutual friends or acquaintances who know them well and learn more about them.

3. Request an information or complimentary session. Most coaches offer this to enable you to experience their coaching style.

4. Read their blogs, tweets and website.  Does their point of view interest or challenge you?  Is coaching a hobby or is this their profession? Working with a professionally trained coach makes a difference.

5. Determine if you and the coach can genuinely like each other.  Will you enjoy having the occasional lunch or coffee with them?  You don’t have to be best friends, but most coaching relationships are easy and enjoyable.  They can even turn into deep and lasting friendships.

6. Do you respect their point of view enough to trust them and have faith in what they are saying?

7. Is he or she capable of being honest and can hold you accountable even if the truth may sometimes hurt.  You do not want a coach who will just tell you what you like to hear.  You want a coach who would stretch you and make a difference.

Through the years, I’ve benefited greatly from my coaches’ presence and wisdom.  We continue to be in touch and our relationships turned into friendships or business partnerships.  Take your time in choosing the right coach for you.  Your coach will make a difference in the change you are experiencing and will also have a profound impact on your life.

My Husband is a STUD. 7 Tips to Make Your Career Transition Smooth

 

husband movingI read that relocation is one of the top stressful changes one could experience, third to death of a loved one and loss of a job.  I’ve mentioned before that we moved 17 times, across 3 continents in our 30 plus years of marriage.  Every transition is a family decision.  We discussed and agreed on the merits of the move, and did not look back.

It was not easy, especially with children in school, but my husband made it easy. While I adjusted to the new job, Danny looked for an ideal home location, researched schools, oversaw the movers and transacted the sale or purchase of our homes.  He has very good instincts in choosing locations and never settles until he has found the perfect home that met most of our needs.  We handled all our transitions smoothly and I did not worry, until I accepted an expat assignment in Belgium.

In my new role, I was responsible for the regions outside the US and knew that I’d be traveling extensively.  Once our daughter was happily settled in international school and we were all moved in, I was concerned about how Danny would adjust to a new life in a strange country.  Although we tried really hard to learn French, it is not an easy language for us.  My concerns quietly nagged me until I read about the STUDS.

On a business trip, I came across an interesting airline magazine article about this group called the STUDS – Spouses Trailing Under Duress Successfully.   They are husbands of expat wives hanging out together supporting each other through their transition in Belgium.  I got so excited about the possibility of Danny meeting new friends. Typical guy, he did not seem that excited nor did he contact them.

Browsing through their website, I saw that they had a biking and golf group.  I sent a note to the email address pretending I was Danny and he very quickly invited me to play golf the very next day. Danny had a great time! He enjoyed their company so much; they met for golf every day from Monday to Friday.  Occasionally they would invite the wives and organized wine tasting events, trips or picnics and I always looked forward to these events.  I met equally busy and high achieving expat women who were just as excited to have some kind of a social life in a foreign country.  The STUDS are fun-loving, very helpful husbands from all over the world.  They exchanged recipes, compared dry cleaning prices and commiserated on common experiences about living in a foreign country.  They made our expat experience delightful.

You may find yourself in the midst of a career move with a trailing husband/partner and children.  They may not be as eager and excited about your move, or they may be actively complaining about each strange new experience.   As the initiator of the move, you feel responsible, guilty, sometimes helpless about their adjustment.  Here are 7 tips to get your family happily settled in a new location.

  1.  Honest Talk – Before accepting the new role, discuss the pros and cons of the move with your spouse/partner.  We had spreadsheets, lists, metrics to aid us in the decision.  As we got better at this, we also asked each other how we felt.  I learned to read Danny’s body language and used this as cue.  He may say yes to a move, but I sensed his body and facial expressions said otherwise.  Once you are aligned, and only when you are aligned, call a family meeting.
  2. Have a Family Meeting – discuss the advantage of the move for your family, career and each member of your family.  Hear the concerns from each member and together work on a plan to resolve their concerns.
  3. Take advantage of all that your company or new town offers: attend cross cultural training, language lessons, employee assistance programs and orientation.  Check local listings for neighborhood meet ups.
  4. Invite family and friends over for a visit. Most will say yes, but only a few will actually make it.  It’s ok to cast a wide invitation and schedule them based on your availability.  Likewise, book your vacation back home so you have something to look forward to.
  5. Explore and Discover.  It’s ok to prolong your tourist status indefinitely. Seek groups that have similar interests as yours.  Break up the empty calendar by booking your leisure time with discovery appointments. Book tickets to his favorite games, restaurants, art shows or parks.  Sign him up at the local basketball, running, cycling or golf group.  Join a dancing or painting class together.  Actively explore your new location together and learn something new.
  6. Encourage him to establish a daily routine. Danny kept himself busy by managing our finances, household, post office – yes, this is a big deal in Belgium, licenses – another big deal and all items required to settle down in our new home.  He had his own home office space equipped with a TV, PC, printer and all his files.
  7. Proactive Therapy. At the end of the day, realize that you cannot truly make someone else happy.  Your spouse/partner needs to sincerely want to make your new location work for your entire family.  I booked my family including myself to proactive therapy sessions before the move.  I prepared the kids for what therapy would look like and sent them in one by one to see the therapist.  After their meeting, I curiously asked how it went and all they said was – “its confidential Mom”.  If you sense resistance, passive or otherwise, some proactive therapy could help.

Career relocation can be tough.  It can also be one of the most rewarding and broadening learning experience for you and your family. Are you considering a career relocation or have experienced one?  Feel free to share what helped.

 

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Why Hire a coach?

Top Reasons Coaches are Engaged:

(HBR Jan 2009)

    • Develop high potentials or facilitate transition: 48%
    • Act as a sounding board: 26%
    • Address derailing behavior: 12%