Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summer Career Coaching Group Begins July 15

I've decided to start a Master Chameleon Career Coaching Group this summer. Why?

As a coach in today’s ever-changing economy, I feel compelled to create a safe space for people to learn, grow, discover and even vent a little [in a constructive way!]. And, to help them recognize how to adapt their skills and their “buzz” to find their next adventure – in a way that doesn’t compromise what they believe in and value.

Where does the chameleon concept come from? Five and half years ago, I received notification that my position would be eliminated because of a recent company merger. Ironically that was the second such notification I’d received within 13 months. The way I saw it, I had two choices [now I know there were many others too!]:
  1. Attempt to find another job
  2. Attempt to sell my skills on the "open market" as a consultant

What did I do? I leveraged my contacts and skills, and chose the latter option. I’ve spent the past five years building my consulting (and now) coaching practice to the level it is today. For me, the chameleon concept is really at the heart of the Competent Advantage TM model.

How can you "change colors" or adapt your skills/talents/abilities to add value to an organization? But, what's most important, is how can you stay true to your personal and professional goals, motivators and values?

So, that's what I'm hoping this Master Chameleon Coaching Group will help people to explore. Because, I think the real lessons I learned about career transition came from my first “downsizing” experience, which came without warning [or so I thought!].

What did I do that time? I panicked. I spent a good two to three weeks in partial denial and seclusion. I was embarrassed and ashamed that “it” had happened to me. I eventually came out of hiding, began to establish new contacts and expand my network and think about what I wanted to do. Through these efforts, I successfully “landed” approximately three months later.

Do you know people who could benefit from this supportive, transformational experience? Could you? If so, join us for 4-weekly tele-sessions plus structured activities and online support. Don't be like everyone else who takes the summer off, empower yourself NOW!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Disconnect Anxiety - Is it Real?

I stumbled on this article on the MSN Tech & Gadgets site and thought it would be a good topic to discuss in this my 2008 Year of Technology. I've posted before about the challenges of "unplugging" from our tech gadgets. And, I've even discussed the potential upsides of staying connected. Yet, I didn't know that there's now a phrase that describes the challenge -- Disconnect Anxiety.

You know it's serious stuff when there's talk of adding it (tech-related compulsion) to the updated manual of psychiatric disorders. This would be the dangerous level when the desire to stay connected overwhelms someone to the point it significantly impacts personal and professional relationships. It suggests that the compulsion to check email or text or "Twitter" others would be as strong as the pull people may feel from food or other controlled substances.

I do know that I'm a bit fascinated with my new laptop because of its newer features and software. I like the fact that I can check email on my BlackBerry when I'm on the road. And, to be honest, I felt a bit guilty when I couldn't check in or post to the blog when I was in St. Maarten as I said I would [I don't have international coverage yet]. Although speaking as a stress management coach, I don't believe I need an intervention just yet. I do manage to find some balance -- e.g., my BlackBerry doesn't chirp or buzz when I have a new email [OK, really b/c I didn't know how to change the setting at first]; I typically don't answer business email at night unless I've been out of the office all day.

What struck me most, perhaps, was the almost Catch-22 nature of our social networking tools and sites [including, GULP, this blog?!]. Could it be that the very systems we're creating to stay in touch and build networks are actually facilitating the problem? What do you think?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Pictures from Nonprofit Coaching Event

Happy Friday! I've just posted pictures from yesterday's Advice-Link event to my Facebook page. Congratulations to Sue Green of Nonprofit Central for organizing this valuable, interactive event! And, kudos to Howard Levy of Red Rooster Group for updating our website so quickly!

It was great to meet nonprofit leaders in New York who are seeking creative ways to strengthen the capacity of their organizations. And, it also was fun to connect with other talented consultants. I'm looking forward to future strategic coaching events ... or, as I think they should be called 30-Minute Dating for Organizations. LOL!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Colette Joins other Nonprofit Experts on June 12

This quarter has really brought attention to my public sector work --
  • Leadership Training events for public librarians back in April
  • Coaching trainees in May for yesterday's Debate Day event for OBT
  • Volunteering on Tuesday for the Games for Change conference [more details soon]

And, the trend continues! Next Thursday (June 12 beginning at 8:30 AM), I'm delighted to be participating in another fantastic, half-day event to build capacity of the nonprofit sector -- Advice-Link: One-on-One Consulting for Nonprofit Leaders.

Are you running a nonprofit program in the New York area (or are you thinking of starting one)? Do you have a "burning question" about how to improve your organization?

Nonprofit Central has gathered some of the tri-state area's top consultants to provide 30-minute strategic consultations to nonprofit leaders -- think speed dating meets organizational coaching! In addition to the individualized coaching sessions, attendees will engage in pre- and post-networking activities to expand their contacts and brainstorm new ideas.

Register NOW for Advice-Link on Thursday, June 12. Appointments will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Young People Shine at Brooklyn Marriott

Once again, the trainees from Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow delivered a series of compelling persuasive speeches at the Third Debate Day held this morning at the Brooklyn Marriott. Considering such current topics as the dangers of online chat rooms to the merits of school uniforms, these youth never cease to inspire. And, let's not forget the future-attorneys on the Mock Trial teams who significantly impressed the practicing attorney who served as the jury fore-person.

I'm truly glad the InStep team played a small part in their futures. Reach for the stars!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Entrepreneurs: What Are You Curious About?

The question of today's post is the underlying theme of a NEW podcast on the Competent Advantage TM channel about professional development for business owners. The podcast is my conversation with Eva Lilijendahl, an executive coach and founder of Inspiration for Excellence.

In today's business economy, you may be wondering why Eva and I spent time talking about curiosity -- why not talk about developing new business strategies, or expanding into new markets? Well, indirectly, we were talking about that -- how to be proactive about deciding in which areas to develop your skills (that will presumably help grow your business), by first spending a little time tapping into your curiosity. In fact, Eva believes that curiosity has everything to do with business development; and, I'm inclined to agree.

As I've mentioned, 2008 has become my year of technology with my recent hardware purchases. These purchases have made me more curious about social networking and Web 2.0 -- now that I have the gadgets that enable me to take greater advantage! What has that meant for my business? Well, I've yet to see the full impact; but I can speak to new habits I've included into my routine: checking in and updating my Facebook page; monitoring and adding posts to my MOLI Life Balance Board. On the fun side, I've created a new Avatar for myself on Meez (see sidebar)-- a true example of how learning can be fun!

In my world of coaching and consulting, being curious about technology will likely serve me well. Yet, Eva and I also discussed indirect benefits from learning things that may have nothing do with your business or career (won't give too much away but example in the podcast involves stage performance). Have you ever been surprised by being able to use a skill for work that you gained during a purely fun activity?

While on the road with the librarians, I recall that Kevin (Carroll) always encouraged them to stir up their sense of "neoteny" as a way of keeping an open mind during the training sessions. Don't worry, I hadn't heard of the word before either! But, it's the ability to keep your childlike quailities -- one of which is curiosity.

So, I'll ask again: what are you curious about now?